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Thread: NTs and God

  1. #411
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    If I may insinuate myself into this comment as well, Synarch, it seems to me that you have a rational intuition of the basic "better-and-worse" of existence. You can tell when something "works" or makes it "better" and when something "doesn't work" and makes it "worse". You get from this starting point to the possibility of God existing, no? I consider your "need for meaning" to be an intuition of the fact that the universe has meaning. Reason then supports or fails to support this intuition, but ultimately, the intuition can be more important. This is much the same as it is for me. My intuition tells me that life is inherently superior to death. This is the starting point from which I "reason" to the existence of God, and then after that there is what I do literally believe to be that God communicates with me, and then I find a perfectly logical reason: if God has a mind, why would he not communicate? (of course, there's room to doubt that God has a mind, but you understand the rationality involved, no?) Everything else is simply evidence which follows naturally from the real existence of God. I mean, since God exists, there necessarily follows some observable, logical result from His action. There's always evidence for what is. Even as I argue, I am not 100% certain (more like 90-95%) that reason can completely prove the existence of God. Perhaps something else is required. My hypothetical model would go something like this: reason gets you 95% of the way there, and then intuition, realization, gets you the rest of the way.


    Also, Costrin, I noticed that you mentioned a "good feeling" about doing something good. I presume you consider this to be an evolved response? Would you similarly consider the "bad feeling" one gets when one hears about death (not merely the death of someone that one has an emotional attachment to, but say, something like the Holocaust, or the genocide in Darfur)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverchris9 View Post
    And there is logical evidence for Pantheism, but now that I'm aware of how you use the word evidence, I would probably agree that Pantheism makes untestible and unfalsifiable claims.

    Oooh, that's good. Atheism defined as "an absence of belief" rather than a claim "God does not exist." I suppose it would put the burden of proof on the theist, at least until the atheist makes any negative claim against Christianity, which would necessarily be support for the claim "God does not exist". Of course, the two statements have no pragmatic difference whatsoever, but logic and semantics are like twin brothers (thanks, Aristotle), so I don't have any choice but to deal with it.

    So then, the refusal to affirm is a position, whereas an affirmation or a negation is a theory. That's something interesting to think on.
    Yup. And it is precisely this reason that I typically don't have to look things up when debating a theist. Burden of proof is on them to provide evidence for the claim that God exists. Usually by the time I've waded through the sea of fallacies they make and are able to ask for evidence, they tend to disappear.[/quote]

    No, no, no not at all. I haven't been able to catch you in what I thought to be such a simple error. If I have to be specific, those comments were directed towards individuals such as withoutaface and lazyhappy who genuinely believe, not that there is no convincing evidence, but that there is no evidence whatsoever, for Christianity. Of course, now that I've talked with you more, I realize that their position might have been that there's no testable and falsifiable evidence, which would be less lamentable, but still, the statement, just on its face, really really bothers me. And I don't think that it's just the fault of believers (although it's definately partially our fault) but also people who refuse to accept the existence of God yet also refuse to look for evidence that God does exist. It's just the responsible intellectual thing to do, which is why we're having this conversation, not only to convince but also to learn. But I'm much more willing to budge on this point that others; it could very well be that believers are the only one's whose responsibility it is to present this evidence. I suppose that's not one of those deeply-held, unshakeable ENFP values (although I do get into those further down...).[/quote]

    I didn't mean to imply that you thought that I was doing so, but rather, if I did, I trust you would point that out.

    I wonder if that has anything at all to do with type differences. It seems like the kind of thing that would just be a preference.
    Dunno. I don't have enough data to make a generalized rule on this.

    Yay problem of induction! I just learned problem of induction last semester, and I know Augustine has some stuff about that, so it's lookup time again. But yes, good point. I made a similar one above (not the same argument, but you know, similar conclusions) using Kant.

    Okay, I've studied up some, and here's some arguments for the finitude of the universe. I haven't gotten to the ones that are Big Bang = finitude, but maybe I'll find those later. For the moment:

    1) Philosophical absurdity of an actual infinite. Say that there existed a library containing an infinite number of books. Say again that half of the books were red and half of the books were black. If there was indeed an actual infinite number of books, then all of the red books + all of the black books would = all of the red books, because infinity/2 = infinity. So each "half" of the books is also all of the books. Inductively unlikely and it violates the law of noncontradition: how can "half" be "all"? It's a philosophical absurdity, and more significantly, it undermines the very laws of logic whereby we came to conclude that the universe is infinite. Logic (hypothetically) tells us that the universe is infinite, but the universe is infinite implies that logic doesn't work.
    Well, couldn't the universe have always existed, and be of a finite size?

    2) Furthermore, imagine that every book in the library had a number on its spine. Since there are an infinite number of books, every number that exists is represented on the spine of one of the books. Say then that we added one more book to the number of books. There would be no number that we could add to this number of books; it would be logically impossible to count. Yet inductively, we are familiar with the principle that everything that exists in reality can be counted. Furthermore, say we just assigned the book the number infinity + 1, and we have infinity + 1 books. But infinity + 1 = infinity, so then we would have added a book and not added a book, because the number of books did not increase (it is the same number).
    This is covered in this website:

    Infinity and paradoxes (near the bottom).

    The idea is that the same thing that applies to the number of books applies to the number of days, hours, seconds, minutes, half-lives of uranium, or whatever measure of time one chooses, so that an actual infinite number of time demarcations is impossible. By the way, both of these arguments are shamelessly plagiarized from "Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology," which is a book co-written by William Lane Craig which would appear to address the issue from a fairly balanced perspective (it was also co-written by an atheist arguing against Craig). It looks to be good reading (and quite a few pages are apparently readable on Google Books for free.
    But could this not also apply to God itself?

    If Hitler's perspective is just as objectively valid as MLKs (and I'm not ready to grant that, but defending objective morality requires God, IMO, or as I might say, God is part of the "necessary structure" of support for objectivity of morality, no matter what Plato and Aristotle say), then this would be a good enough reason for me to reject a purely rational and objective point of view. This would disqualify me from rationality, I know, but I would sooner concede the insufficiency of logic than subjectivity of morals.
    I'm not sure what is so bad about subjective morals. Clearly there will be conflicting morals, but at least there is some things societies can use to construct a shared set of morals that the majority can agree with. Things like happiness, sadness, love, anger, emotions in general basically. From an evolutionary perspective, emotions evolved to give humans a reason to work together.

    You have a really complex take on this issue; it appears to me to be more complex than simple relativism. Before I attack it, let me attempt to understand it better. The Olympics analogy was very effective earlier (which is odd, because generally I detest sports metaphors). So, a given thing is only "better" or "worse" relative to a given situation or set of goals. So "good" and "bad" are really "effective" and "ineffective," no?
    Essentially. My goal is happiness (and I would suspect, the goal of most humans), so anything that interferes with that, is "bad". But say you became happy by stealing or rape? Well, that's fine, go ahead then, but be sure to also factor in the possible consequences, such as being caught and going to jail for the rest of your life, which is generally not a happy thing.

    But then, how do you condemn a murderer? Heck, how do you justify punishing criminals at all? Good thieves are very, very effective. Serial killers are effective. Should, then, they be praised, rather than censured? Is this a Nietzschean system, wherein, since the most effective is the most good, a super-effective individual (ubermensch-like) arises and "defines" morality for a given people group?
    Well, clearly, murderers and thieves are contrary to the goals of society, so therefore they can and should be punished. Others might condemn them, but personally, I don't condemn people at all. The murderers and thieves clearly felt that murdering and thieving would advance their goals, whatever they were, and to condemn someone for working towards their goals is hypocritical. However, the actions of the murderers and thieves interfere with my goals, so I would take action to stop them.

    Ah, this is covered under the idea of hierarchy of values. Certainly, at certain times the good of knowledge (as opposed to ignorance) is superceded by the good of mental stability. Certainly, at certain times, the good of order is superceded by the good of freedom. To make it even clearer, the Christian would say that the good of sexual relations (because pleasure is a good, although many Christian denominations would refute that opinon) is superceded by the good of having one sexual partnership throughout one's life. The Christian would say that the good of a woman choosing what to do with her own body is superceded by the good of protecting the life of a fetus, in the case of abortion. And yet, although one good is superceded by another, in all of these cases, each one of those things were a good and never ceased to be a good. Because one good is not the best, it does not follow that that said good ceases to be an objective good; it is merely not best in that situation.

    So yes, pain is better than non-pain, and if we lived in an ideal world, pain would not be necessary to gain knowledge, because all possible goods would be actual in every situation. But since we live in a flawed world, not all possible goods are attainable, and one good must be sacrificed for another. It's like moral economics.
    Moral economics, eh? That makes sense. So basically, all of these things are good, but some are contradictory to an extent. So it's a fine balancing act to get the most possible. So I agree this would work, if indeed there were objective good and bad (which I of course disagree with, and elaborate in other parts of this post)


    Okay, I was trying to re-figure out the Molinist position well enough to state it coherently here. Let me know if I've done a decent job. I think that some Christians that hold to Molinism would argue that God IS actually omniscient, but uses a process more like eternally completed deduction to arrive at His knowledge: He has "foreknowledge" which roughly corresponds to your "non time-related data". This would include (but not be at all limited to) perfect knowledge of how people (who He created) work, sort of like a super-Shakespeare, as well as the inherent characteristics (insofar as inherent characteristics exist, which I suppose is not at all if you're an existence-precedes-essence person) of all of the people who would ever live. In consequence, God would have "middle knowledge" of counterfactuals, that is, he would not so much foreknow as predict with 100% accuracy what person x would do in situation y. This would allow Him to know (or perhaps more accurately, imagine) every possible universe He could create; that is, every possible chain of events depending upon which actions He Himself took. Then He actualized (created) one particular possible universe, which is the actual universe in which we live. Consequently, at the creation of this particular universe, He did know exactly what would and will happen throughout time on the basis of His actions and His perfect prediction of how humans would/will behave. I think it's like your system, except that the omniscience of God allows Him to "figure out" what will happen despite the butterfly effect, and furthermore, He did this "figuring out" before He created the universe. Of course, this falls apart if there's something about the butterfly effect that makes knowledge of the future logically impossible rather than too difficult for anyone to do (rather like the difference between infinity and uncountability)

    It's not much for Ockham's Razor, but it's a pretty good theory.
    So basically, sort of a Calvanist position? Wouldn't that negate free will though? God chose the universe he wanted, knowing exactly everything that was going to happen. He knew beforehand who was and wasn't going to believe in and worship him, who was destined for salvation, and who wasn't? I may think I'm choosing not to believe in God, and I am technically, but not really. He knew exactly how my mind works, and exactly what information I would receive, and he knew that I would end up not believing in him. Furthermore, if he does indeed send people to hell, he would have known beforehand, and yet he still chose this universe where he does that, I would be forced to conclude that God is an evil bastard. Why would he not create a universe where all people would end up believing in him and would all go to heaven?

    Hmmm. I probably agree with that, although it might have implications which I find distasteful. (Which is more of my feeling-ness. I say, "can this be true" and then decide why it is true or false. This is not to say, of course, that I could never be convinced that something I decided "couldn't" be true isn't true, but merely that it would take a lot longer, and probably some-ick-"soul-searching" (I hate outworn terminology)). I really think some good study of Augustine would be productive to me in this discussion (which is really somewhat of a concession; I've just about run out of my own resources, so I should probably capitulate, right?)

    Okay, my post is now less disastrously incomplete (and better spelled).
    And I have now finished replying to your post. I left out some parts where you weren't arguing anything (at least, I think you weren't), merely stating meta-level discussion, hope you don't mind.

  3. #413
    rawr Costrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverchris9 View Post
    Also, Costrin, I noticed that you mentioned a "good feeling" about doing something good. I presume you consider this to be an evolved response? Would you similarly consider the "bad feeling" one gets when one hears about death (not merely the death of someone that one has an emotional attachment to, but say, something like the Holocaust, or the genocide in Darfur)?
    I think I covered this a littler in my response to your previous post. Yes, I do consider this an evolved response. Emotions evolved so that humans would work together. The good feeling leads toward people helping one another, and the species as a whole survives better and reproduces more. If there's anything in my view of the universe that gives meaning to life, it's emotions. Regardless of the origin, happiness is the main driving force in our lives, is it not? I don't need God to be happy. I am happy if I am able to research and contemplate my theories, and have debates such as this one. I get joy from simple things like eating good food, playing games, hanging out with my friends, and most nebulous of all, love. Sure, love may just be a chemical reaction, but it's powerful, and I like it (ban love, it's a highly addicting drug with many negative side effects!).

    So yeah, there may be no objective meaning to life, but you are perfectly capable of defining your own goals and values.

    @Synarch especially, but anyone who's interested,
    Daylight Atheism blog has many posts on this subject (everything in 'The Garden' section), for starters I might recommend this one, or this article from Ebon Musings (same author).

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    Well, seriously I can't say yet that I have been convinced that God does or does not exist. I don't have concrete evidence of either. I also have "evidence" that pink elephants exist in space. You can't see them though. Check out this esoteric bookshop in downtown Los Angeles. There's proof all in there. But I do recall the topic of the discussion being opinions about religion with respect to some NTs, right?

    And my opinion is that belief in a God makes me complacent. Maybe not for others, but it does for me. I just want to live life with no expectancy of reward. I want to be good, and do good for the sake of good. That's it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WithoutaFace View Post
    But I do recall the topic of the discussion being opinions about religion with respect to some NTs, right?
    Been a long while since that's been the topic.

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    Well but seriously, a god does exist because our universe is so complex and things are so ordered. If you think of our universe as a complex system and compare it to the mechanisms of a watch, you can't help but think: "Hey god does exist, if a watch is an ordered system like our universe" Why? Because the watch needed a watchmaker. Intelligent design = need of a creator.

    However, the atheist says that we are too anthropomorphic. We are likening everything through our schema, and the analogy is weak at best. Therefore God cannot be examined because of our inability to comprehend something that we cannot understand.

    But the believer is having none of that, because god is omnipresent; so if he is omnipresent he exists everywhere in the universe, including planet earth. Since he exists everywhere on Earth, that must mean that we can physically or rationally contemplate and define God's existence. Whether it is through mathematics, pure logic, or physics, it can be done.

    Until the atheist/agnostic has an answer for that, I believe the ball is in the believer's court for now. I apologize for my nauseating textbook regurgitations.

  7. #417
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    What's your definition of verifiable?
    1.) falsifiable
    2.) repeatable

    Silverchris:

    It has been my observation that people inclined to believe in a thing for which there is no evidence will approach debate in three stages:

    - By pointing out all of the flaws in theories for which there is evidence.

    When the basis of this strategy is shown to be fallacious, they move on to:

    - Attacking ration

    When people raise eyebrows at this approach, they finally move on to:

    - Questioning the veracity of perception itself

    You've done quite the job of demonstrating this procession, verbosity aside.
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, June 1746 --

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    1.) falsifiable
    2.) repeatable

    Silverchris:

    It has been my observation that people inclined to believe in a thing for which there is no evidence will approach debate in three stages:

    - By pointing out all of the flaws in theories for which there is evidence.

    When the basis of this strategy is shown to be fallacious, they move on to:

    - Attacking ration

    When people raise eyebrows at this approach, they finally move on to:

    - Questioning the veracity of perception itself

    You've done quite the job of demonstrating this procession, verbosity aside.
    1) I am attacking "ration" insofar as I find it to be defined excessively narrowly, because there are types of knowledge upon which my arguments depend which are accessible through rationality but not science. I fail to see the irrationality of this strategy. Again, I encourage you to study your positions of falsifiability and repeatability. While they are effective for the scientific method, I believe that you will find that it has fallen out of favor with philosophers and scientists alike as the sole basis for knowledge. Consider reading this wikipedia article. Also consider the fact that under falsifiability, the statement "there is at least one electron" is totally meaningless.

    2) I do not question the veracity of perception itself. I can only assume that you came to this conclusion through a misreading of my posts. I believe completely in the veracity of perception. I do not believe that the veracity of perception can be adequately defended using scientific means, because to do so tends to be rather circular. Consider this: if the veracity of perception is to be held true, then it must be justified on some grounds that do not assume the veracity of perception. Do you hold that these grounds are capable only of demonstrating the veracity of perception, and insufficient to demonstrate anything else?

    3) I believe that you have come to these conclusions, quite rationally, I might add, because you have a definition of "ration" that a priori makes claims regarding the existence of God meaningless. It is impossible to provide evidence for a meaningless proposition, so the theist arguing with you is forced to either argue negatively (since you have denied him the opportunity to work positively) or attack your framework of understanding so that he may argue positively.

    4) I might also note that you are providing no positive evidence, nor demonstrating the falsity of anything, nor providing evidence for your falsifiability and repeatability criteria. Consequently, I should probably stop arguing with you, since we are making claims about each other's style of argument, rather than having any productive dialogue whatsoever.

    5) You are aware that ad hominem is a fallacy, no?

    And thanks, about the verbosity.

    (Costrin, I'm of course going to hold up my end of our discussion, but your posts require rather a lot more thinking, and therefore effort, and since I'm home sick, it's gonna take me a minute to muster some.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    1.) falsifiable
    2.) repeatable
    Have you reached any conclusion as to the verifiability of the existence of God?

    If you don't consider it verifiable then there is no point in arguing about the lack of logic when people deal with this subject. Logic would have no place in the conversation in the first place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WithoutaFace View Post
    Well but seriously, a god does exist because our universe is so complex and things are so ordered. If you think of our universe as a complex system and compare it to the mechanisms of a watch, you can't help but think: "Hey god does exist, if a watch is an ordered system like our universe" Why? Because the watch needed a watchmaker. Intelligent design = need of a creator.
    That's a big assumption, considered we're still debating the viability of a self-ordered system.

    Creationists tend to stack the deck once things seem complicated enough -- "there is no way *I* can imagine for this system to have developed and self-organized, therefore it must have needed a watchmaker."

    That claim has yet to be shown to be true. In fact, the more we learn, the more we realize there's a lot of self-organization with the system(s). The biggest question is root origin: Could it have originally STARTED on its own? Or did something have to give it all a big push?

    But the believer is having none of that, because god is omnipresent; so if he is omnipresent he exists everywhere in the universe, including planet earth. Since he exists everywhere on Earth, that must mean that we can physically or rationally contemplate and define God's existence. Whether it is through mathematics, pure logic, or physics, it can be done.
    ?

    For starter's, what if there are aspects of God that you cannot observe because they exist outside the realm of your senses? Since you could only see the tip of the iceberg (or the fin above the water, so to speak), there's no way you could be sure of what you're imagining beneath the waves.

    Until the atheist/agnostic has an answer for that, I believe the ball is in the believer's court for now. I apologize for my nauseating textbook regurgitations.
    Don't copy out of a textbook, engage!
    What you said isn't conclusive in the least... and I say that as a Christian agnostic, not an atheist.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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