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Thread: NTs and God

  1. #441
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Hmm, I guess that's true. But until such a time at which that happens, we are kind of forced to assume that there is no conscious deity, now don't we?
    No. As I and Costrin (and others) have been repeating to the point of nausea, we simply accept that we don't know.

    We know one thing for certain: our universe came into being. There are various theories as to how this occurred, and a deity is merely one theory. As it stands, the deity theory has absolutely no evidence. It's true that the possibility, however increasingly small, that this theory is the correct theory remains. However, at present, it lacks any supportive evidence.

    People inclined to believe this theory, for whatever reasons and of whatever private motivations, do everything possible to obscure or evade the fact that there is no evidence. They attempt to redefine what constitutes evidence. They question ration. They resort to variations of the "we can't even know what we aren't just a brain in a jar" rhetoric. Yet the simple point remains: their preferred theory lacks evidence.
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

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    rawr Costrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    They resort to variations of the "we can't even know what we aren't just a brain in a jar" rhetoric.
    Tangent because I feel like it:

    The "brain in a jar" argument is laughably easy to counter. Yes, there is a possibility that everything we perceive is a lie, but fact is, we don't know that, there is no evidence for that, and for all practical purposes, even if everything we see is false, we can only work with what we do see. Unless the person presenting the brain in a jar argument is offering a way out of the jar (and being out of the jar would be superior), then it's meaningless. But otherwise, I don't have a medicine cabinet full of Red Pills (tm), so to the Matrix I stay connected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Costrin View Post
    Tangent because I feel like it:

    otherwise, I don't have a medicine cabinet full of Red Pills (tm), so to the Matrix I stay connected.
    Lol

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    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    No. As I and Costrin (and others) have been repeating to the point of nausea, we simply accept that we don't know.

    We know one thing for certain: our universe came into being. There are various theories as to how this occurred, and a deity is merely one theory. As it stands, the deity theory has absolutely no evidence. It's true that the possibility, however increasingly small, that this theory is the correct theory remains. However, at present, it lacks any supportive evidence.

    People inclined to believe this theory, for whatever reasons and of whatever private motivations, do everything possible to obscure or evade the fact that there is no evidence. They attempt to redefine what constitutes evidence. They question ration. They resort to variations of the "we can't even know what we aren't just a brain in a jar" rhetoric. Yet the simple point remains: their preferred theory lacks evidence.
    Umm yeah, I agree with all of this and it leads me to the conclusion that, while the possibility does technically remain, evidence indicates that it's probably not true. I also accept that I *just don't know*, but I don't pretend that that means it's impossible for me to make an educated guess.

    If someone who somehow knew for certain whether or not conscious-force God existed offered me a sum of money for guessing correctly, I would guess no. Wouldn't you?
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Costrin View Post
    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.
    lol. Now I feel bad on behalf of fellow theists. Of course, I'm sure I would not find their statements as evidently fallacious, but then again, I might. There are stupid statements on both sides of any argument, I believe.

    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.
    Ah. I would indeed do my best.

    Dunno. I don't have enough data to make a generalized rule on this.
    Nor do I have a self evident truth from which to deduce a rule.

    Well, couldn't the universe have always existed, and be of a finite size?
    Yes, and in fact, I believe that it is and has to be because of Big Bang cosmology. But that's not my real argument. My real argument is about applying it to time, further down.

    This is covered in this website:

    Infinity and paradoxes (near the bottom).
    I read the website, and I don't see how it disproves my argument. I gladly concede that infinity is a mathematically workable concept. I just find that an actual infinite, defined as a thing actually infinite in some sense, (any sense, I think) existing within the bounds of the physical universe, is in contradiction with the principles of logic, and so the an infinite thing cannot exist. Certainly mathematically it is fine for infinity plus 1 to equal infinity. But is it fine for you to physically add something and yet not add anything? It seems to disagree with non-contradiction.
    But could this not also apply to God itself?
    Relative to time, no, it does not apply to the Christian concept of God, because the Christian concept of God holds not that He has existed for an infinite amount of *insert time demarcation here* but rather that He exists in a state without time, which makes perfect sense if I can ever establish that time and space began at the big bang, because obviously if He was the cause of time and space, it is likely that he is ontologically prior to time and space, and so must have existed outside of both at some point. Not that causation necessarily implies ontological priority. At least, I don't think it does. But causation does seem to increase the likelihood of ontological priority, at least from an inductive standpoint.

    Now, whether or not it could apply to some other aspects of God is a more thorny question. I don't think so, because the logical contradictions caused by an actual infinite seem to be of a distinctly physical nature, so an immaterial being could probably evade them, but I've no certitude on that point.

    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.
    Unfortunately, I can't figure out what's wrong with your particular variety of subjective morality either. So I have a question, and a pseudo-argument:

    1) Do you consider morality to be relative to a culture, an individual, or neither?
    2) Would you also agree that there is a "bad feeling" that people almost universally get when they find out about death in large numbers---not necessarily death of people close to them, but things like the Holocaust or the genocide in Darfur or the tsunami in the Indian Ocean? If so, is this a result of acculturation, or does it confer some selective advantage?

    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.
    So then, if one is able to do something society generally considers immoral, but is able to get away with it, no harm, no foul?

    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.
    That does seem to be fair justification both for punishing and for acting to counter criminals. Thus far I can't attack this particular form of relativism on the basis of its practical consequences. I'm not really sure where to go from here vis a vis defending objective morality. Maybe I'll think of/come across something? Although it seems to me that most appeals from moral objectivists come down to "but that would violate principle x, and you're not allowed to violate principle x, so moral relativism must be wrong, right?"

    But, some more examples:

    1) Say there are two kings (or other heads of state). King 1 does everything for the benefit of his subjects, makes reliably correct decisions on their behalf, lives fairly modestly, and is in general the ideal king. Yet his subjects abhor him. King 2 does nothing for the benefit of his subjects, works entirely for his own self-interest, lives lavishly, using up resources that should go to benefit his subjects, and is in general the worst possible king. Yet his subjects love him and fawn over him. Which king, if either, is better?

    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)
    This is rather comical; thus far, I believe that both of us find each other's systems of morality largely internally consistent, but disagree on the necessary premise that leads to one or the other, that being "morality is objective".

    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?
    No, if it sounds Calvinist, I must've misspoken, because Calvinists consider Molinism to be a complete heresy that makes a mockery of God's omniscience by including contingent information among all the necessary information. I don't think I properly explained the idea. The idea of Molinism is that some of God's knowledge is contingent upon human action. Middle knowledge includes (but is not limited to) counterfactual knowledge of what creature x would freely choose to do in situation y. But this knowledge is not translated into actual knowledge of what actually is until creature x does freely choose do to action z in situation y. Of course, using counterfactual knowledge, God is able to actualize a particular world in which a certain set of propositions are true, but I think the point is that human action limits God's possible worlds. For instance, he could not actualize a world wherein creatures have free will AND none of them will choose to sin. So then, to return to your example, you are still freely choosing to disbelieve in God, because who you are (and most importantly, the impossibility above) limits God's options. He perhaps could have brought about a state of events in which you are a Christian when I come across you on the internet. But because of who you are and the choices that you make, to actualize that possibility will require Him to sacrifice another possibility. I still am not quite able to put this argument together... sorry! And, again, it's just one theory for avoiding a conflict between omniscience and free will without sacrificing God's omniscience"

    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.
    Of course not. I tend to do that; hope I don't derail the discussion with it. I don't think any of it was important to my argument. (I don't think so anyway)

    This entire discussion has been quite productive. I'm led to suspect that perhaps certain truths must be intuited and then argued from in order to support my worldview. Of course, this is a distasteful conclusion, and I will go on attempting to establish a rational framework, but perhaps my only recourse will be to return the cultural mindset to one which more readily accepts certain kinds of intuition (awesome Plato-y kinds of intuition). Meh, who knows?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    I define "ration" as the faculty by which we arrive at real information about the real universe we inhabit. This definition necessitates the following two criteria:

    1.) the premises must be factual -- i.e. verifiable fact
    2.) the conclusions arrived at must be arrived at via logic

    A theory with false premises will not beget real information about the real universe we inhabit. A theory with conclusions drawn on the basis of anything other than logic will not beget real information about the real universe we inhabit.
    I would hold that a given thing can be true without being scientifically verifiable. The reliability of perception, for instance.
    You may define ration as something other than a faculty for arriving at real information about the real universe we inhabit, altering your criteria accordingly. However, if you do not define ration as such, then we are talking about different faculties.
    This definition of "ration" seems largely workable to me (so long as one expands the definition of fact to include things ascertained by extra-scientific means). It's when you apply the criteria of testability and falsifiability that I am somewhat more skeptical.



    Observing phenomenon and forming theories on the basis of observed phenomenon until the theory fails to adequately explain the observed phenomenon is still the way science is conducted.

    It is true that there are a few who question the scientific method, such as the notorious "Vienna Circle" cited in the Wikipedia article, but it is a baseless exaggeration to say that falsifiability has "fallen out of favor".
    I don't disagree that it's the way that science is conducted. It is certainly the way that science is conducted, and not a bad way to do it at all. As a "line of demarcation" between science and non-science, it is perfectly acceptable. It is the further assumption that only conclusions reached on the "science" side of that line that can be used as evidence for a theory that I find untenable. I will confess that I could be wrong about falsifiability falling out of favor. I'm more confident on this note vis a vis verifiability, but I'm not willing to abandon either position until I study more.

    To be pointed, every "argument" I've seen from these dissenters has boiled down to, "Yeah, well, I don't think that's what science is, and I'm a philosopher!" If you are familiar with an argument against falsifiability that doesn't amount to this, I will certainly give it a perusal.

    Meanwhile, on the basis of falsifiability and repeatability, science continues to move along providing real information about the real universe we inhabit.
    This article may prove fruitful for discussion, but I would point you to a specific sentence where it is stated "for [Karl Popper, creator of the falsifiability criterion] the falsifiability criterion was not itself falsifiable." Now, I have not yet read The Logic of Scientific Discovery in order to refute or verify this claim, but surely if we can rely on falsifiability which is itself not falsifiable, then some kinds of knowledge must be permissible and rational which are not themselves falsifiable. Or again, from the wikipedia article, which itself quotes Rafe Champion, "[Popper's] theory of conjectural knowledge does not even pretend to provide positively justified foundations of belief." It seems to me, then, that while falsifiability provides a largely useful guideline for scientific inquiry, falsifiable propositions by no means are the only propositions with meaning, assuming that the proposition "all evidence is falsifiable" is in any way meaningful.

    Please elaborate.
    Well, I was entirely prepared to argue to you that "there is at least one electron" is not falsifiable, but then someone pointed out to me that it is indeed falsifiable, but cannot be falsified on an inductive basis. Obviously, you cannot inductively look throughout the world and fail to find any electrons, and from this conclude that "there is at least one electron" is false. Let us, for the moment, define an electron as "a negatively charged particle significantly smaller in mass and equally and oppositely charged relative to a proton." You can, however, falsify it deductively: if, per impossible, it were determined that it is impossible for matter to be smaller in mass than a proton, then it "there is at least one electron" is falsified. So, my new contention is that "there is a God" can be similarly falsified. If you grant that it is a possibility that there are objective morals, then it is also possible that the existence of evil (problem of evil) logically precludes the existence of God, defined as a perfectly good, perfectly powerful, and perfectly knowing being. This would make "there is a God," in principle, falsifiable.


    You have propounded several variations of the "what if we're really, like, brains in a jar, man?" argument, which is indeed questioning the veracity of perception.
    But obviously I do not hold to such a theory. I bring it up merely to point out that it is circular to define the veracity of perception with another perception, as below.

    Furthermore, the veracity of perception is exceptionally simple to verify on the basis of observed phenomenon:

    A species whose sense organs imparted false information about the universe it inhabits would not have made it far.
    Allow me to state your argument this way:

    1) If a species' sense organs impart false information, then it does not survive long.
    2) Our species has survived long
    3) Therefore our species' sense organs do not impart false information.

    Not only does this argument commit the fallacy of affirming the consequent (although I remain open to the possibility that this is due to my off-the-cuff formalization of it, and would love to see it stated in a way that avoids this fallacy), but also this argument assumes that we accurately perceive both that our species "[has] made it far" and that creatures whose sense organs impart false information tend not to survive. The premises assume the conclusion. And if you argue that these premises have their origin in anything other than sense perception, then we already agree. This is the entire point of the argument: you cannot justify the veracity of perception with another perception. Thus, some other kind of knowledge must be necessary if we are going to continue to believe in the veracity of perception for any reason other than pragmatism.

    Now, as for the "way out of the jar," Descartes provides only the option of a benevolent God as a means for securing of the reliability of perception. Sans God, there really is no certain or necessary foundation for the reliability of perception. Now, it's fine to still believe in perception without justification by God, as long as one will allow either that there is a measure of faith involved every time one assumes that the senses have not lead him astray, or the existence of self-evident truths and the inclusion of the reliability of perception within this category. Thus, it seems, we are indeed required to accept a measure of intuition rather than pure "ration" if for nothing other than to justify perception, unless we can deduce the existence of a benevolent and omnipotent agent to secure the reliability of our perception. And, surprisingly to myself, I do appear to have questioned "ration," although only accidentally. Darn it! I will perhaps need to concede sense perception as self-evident, then. Still, my point about the necessity of extra-falsifiable claims stands.

    I will certainly concur that people who can provide literally zero hard evidence in support of their theories will find it difficult to enter into a productive debate with myself and people like me.
    I would agree. As long as hard evidence means scientific evidence and intelligent design/the teleological argument is dismissed (I suppose I ought to try arguing it soon, though), I cannot see an effective means of debate. But I can try, right?

    I have claimed, quite simply, that those who believe in God are unable to provide any evidence in support of this belief. So far, in 40-plus pages of exchange, no one has demonstrated this assertion to be false.

    You are the one claiming the existence of something, not I. The burden of proof, good sir.
    I have been busy providing evidence since I began writing: the ontological argument (which, yes, presumes that perfection is possible, at least in the Cartesian version), the cosmological argument (which is merely dependent upon proving the finitude of the universe, and can you prove that this is impossible to do?), and I've implied the moral argument (God as necessary for objective moral values). The fact that you define evidence as only including the scientific verification process does not make these arguments illogical.

    I've made no ad hominem attacks. Your verbosity is a readily observable fact. If I'd said, "Silverchris is clearly a pantywaist and, accordingly, should not be taken seriously", that would have been an ad hominem attack. (Mind you, I don't know you well enough to make any such claims and don't intend to indicate that I consider you a pantywaist. I simply used this statement for illustrative purposes.)

    On a somewhat related note, I think members of these forums should read up on what constitutes an ad hominem attack and a straw man fallacy before littering the terms about like so much wedding confetti.
    Hmmm... you know what, you might be correct, at least from your perspective. Since you genuinely believe comments such as the pattern of theistic argument that you presented to be true, then such comments are not an attempt to prove my statements wrong by means of portraying me in a negative light. You believe that you are making a factual statement (heck, it might even be factual that this has been your entire experience with theists, in which case I'm very sorry).

    And I'm not by any means offended by the verbosity quip. I'll cop to that faster than I copped to argument from authority.

  7. #447
    rawr Costrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverchris9 View Post
    lol. Now I feel bad on behalf of fellow theists. Of course, I'm sure I would not find their statements as evidently fallacious, but then again, I might. There are stupid statements on both sides of any argument, I believe.
    Indeed.

    I read the website, and I don't see how it disproves my argument. I gladly concede that infinity is a mathematically workable concept. I just find that an actual infinite, defined as a thing actually infinite in some sense, (any sense, I think) existing within the bounds of the physical universe, is in contradiction with the principles of logic, and so the an infinite thing cannot exist. Certainly mathematically it is fine for infinity plus 1 to equal infinity. But is it fine for you to physically add something and yet not add anything? It seems to disagree with non-contradiction.
    Hmm, yeah I suppose. These dern paradox thingies are annoying.

    Relative to time, no, it does not apply to the Christian concept of God, because the Christian concept of God holds not that He has existed for an infinite amount of *insert time demarcation here* but rather that He exists in a state without time, which makes perfect sense if I can ever establish that time and space began at the big bang, because obviously if He was the cause of time and space, it is likely that he is ontologically prior to time and space, and so must have existed outside of both at some point. Not that causation necessarily implies ontological priority. At least, I don't think it does. But causation does seem to increase the likelihood of ontological priority, at least from an inductive standpoint.

    Now, whether or not it could apply to some other aspects of God is a more thorny question. I don't think so, because the logical contradictions caused by an actual infinite seem to be of a distinctly physical nature, so an immaterial being could probably evade them, but I've no certitude on that point.
    Well, then, perhaps the universe exists in a state without time. Well of course it doesn't, as we perceive time passing, and we are in the universe. But what is time anyway? Suppose the universe is on a big time loop, (such as versions of Big Bounce theory) then the whole concept of infinite denominations of time, is meaningless.

    But basically, these paradox thingies need more thinking from me. Naturally if it's an actually a paradox, then there is no solution, but if there isn't one, then there isn't a problem in the first place.

    Unfortunately, I can't figure out what's wrong with your particular variety of subjective morality either. So I have a question, and a pseudo-argument:

    1) Do you consider morality to be relative to a culture, an individual, or neither?
    Yes. An individual has his/her own set of morals, but also, a society acts sort of as a collective, and it has it's own set of morals. Likely the morals of society and the individual will be mostly the same, but sometimes they aren't. I think what you're asking here, is when they disagree, which is more right? The answer? It depends on your own morals! Objectively, neither is more right or wrong, they're both neutral. However, the individual and society should weigh the cost and benefits of each of their morals and decide for themselves. Likely though, society will have more power to enforce it's morals then an individual, and "might makes right".

    2) Would you also agree that there is a "bad feeling" that people almost universally get when they find out about death in large numbers---not necessarily death of people close to them, but things like the Holocaust or the genocide in Darfur or the tsunami in the Indian Ocean? If so, is this a result of acculturation, or does it confer some selective advantage?
    "The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic."
    This article talks about this. Essentially, people don't care, and effectively, can't care about any more than approximately 150 people. Any bad feeling they get is likely cultural in nature. However, just because the source is different, doesn't mean it's any less powerful or less useful. Clearly millions of people dying is a bad thing (from a whole species perspective (or is it really, what with overpopulation and stuff (lol nested parenthesis))), so even if the feeling is imposed by society, it's still has a use in preventing deaths (now if only societies wouldn't conveniently forget about this when they think it will benefit them).

    So then, if one is able to do something society generally considers immoral, but is able to get away with it, no harm, no foul?
    There was harm, but it wasn't done to you, but others. However if they aren't capable of punishing you, then you essentially gained with no consequences. Assuming of course, that you aren't punishing yourself. Perhaps a "bad feeling" you might get, or even if there is little chance of you being caught, you might constantly doubt yourself, and be overly paranoid. You should factor this into your calculations before you decide to commit the crime.

    That does seem to be fair justification both for punishing and for acting to counter criminals. Thus far I can't attack this particular form of relativism on the basis of its practical consequences. I'm not really sure where to go from here vis a vis defending objective morality. Maybe I'll think of/come across something? Although it seems to me that most appeals from moral objectivists come down to "but that would violate principle x, and you're not allowed to violate principle x, so moral relativism must be wrong, right?"

    But, some more examples:

    1) Say there are two kings (or other heads of state). King 1 does everything for the benefit of his subjects, makes reliably correct decisions on their behalf, lives fairly modestly, and is in general the ideal king. Yet his subjects abhor him. King 2 does nothing for the benefit of his subjects, works entirely for his own self-interest, lives lavishly, using up resources that should go to benefit his subjects, and is in general the worst possible king. Yet his subjects love him and fawn over him. Which king, if either, is better?
    It depends on your metric. I would be inclined to say King 2, as his subjects are happy. Assuming that in case 1, the subjects are unhappy as a whole, and in case 2, they are happy as a whole. If as a whole King 1's subjects are unhappy, even if they like him, and vice versa for King 2, then I would be inclined to say King 1 is better. Essentially, it's moral economics, with happiness acting as the objective value that one would try and maximize (even if in actuality it isn't objective).

    This is rather comical; thus far, I believe that both of us find each other's systems of morality largely internally consistent, but disagree on the necessary premise that leads to one or the other, that being "morality is objective".
    Yup. However, I don't think you are going to be able to convince me about objective morality. Even with a God, it's still subjective morals, just in this case there is an an omnipotent enforcer of them.

    No, if it sounds Calvinist, I must've misspoken, because Calvinists consider Molinism to be a complete heresy that makes a mockery of God's omniscience by including contingent information among all the necessary information. I don't think I properly explained the idea. The idea of Molinism is that some of God's knowledge is contingent upon human action. Middle knowledge includes (but is not limited to) counterfactual knowledge of what creature x would freely choose to do in situation y. But this knowledge is not translated into actual knowledge of what actually is until creature x does freely choose do to action z in situation y. Of course, using counterfactual knowledge, God is able to actualize a particular world in which a certain set of propositions are true, but I think the point is that human action limits God's possible worlds. For instance, he could not actualize a world wherein creatures have free will AND none of them will choose to sin. So then, to return to your example, you are still freely choosing to disbelieve in God, because who you are (and most importantly, the impossibility above) limits God's options. He perhaps could have brought about a state of events in which you are a Christian when I come across you on the internet. But because of who you are and the choices that you make, to actualize that possibility will require Him to sacrifice another possibility. I still am not quite able to put this argument together... sorry! And, again, it's just one theory for avoiding a conflict between omniscience and free will without sacrificing God's omniscience"
    Right, so I just read the wiki article, that clarified some stuff, but I'm still not sure I understand it. Basically, God knows what would happen in any situation unrelated directly to his actions, given certain starting premises, but he does not know exactly what premises will come into existence, until after he already made the world?

    Of course not. I tend to do that; hope I don't derail the discussion with it. I don't think any of it was important to my argument. (I don't think so anyway)
    Actually it was, and you didn't realize it. But it's too late now! You can never go back, you are doomed to argue from a crippled position from now on! *insert evil cackle here*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    If there were, indeed, "mountainloads" of people who personally witnessed a deity creating the universe, I would certainly believe in the existence of a deity. Such is not the case.
    There are mountainloads of people who have had encounters with a deity of some sort. I suppose it is something of a logical leap to assume the same deity created the universe. That probably depends more on the specific nature of the encounter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLessard View Post
    What do NTs think of God, and how do they relate to Him ?
    Three Christian-culture NTs I know admit either indifference or little understanding of what they call "religion."

    Is it possible for an NT to be interested in God ?
    I have been, and it pays off fruitfully! Stay in His will and honor Him...and He will honor you! Under that scenario He'll make you the head and not the tail! Try it, you can always change if you don't like it! Let's see some guts! Go for it!

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    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverchris9 View Post
    Allow me to state your argument this way:

    1) If a species' sense organs impart false information, then it does not survive long.
    2) Our species has survived long
    3) Therefore our species' sense organs do not impart false information.

    Not only does this argument commit the fallacy of affirming the consequent (although I remain open to the possibility that this is due to my off-the-cuff formalization of it, and would love to see it stated in a way that avoids this fallacy), but also this argument assumes that we accurately perceive both that our species "[has] made it far" and that creatures whose sense organs impart false information tend not to survive. The premises assume the conclusion. And if you argue that these premises have their origin in anything other than sense perception, then we already agree. This is the entire point of the argument: you cannot justify the veracity of perception with another perception. Thus, some other kind of knowledge must be necessary if we are going to continue to believe in the veracity of perception for any reason other than pragmatism.

    Now, as for the "way out of the jar," Descartes provides only the option of a benevolent God as a means for securing of the reliability of perception. Sans God, there really is no certain or necessary foundation for the reliability of perception. Now, it's fine to still believe in perception without justification by God, as long as one will allow either that there is a measure of faith involved every time one assumes that the senses have not lead him astray, or the existence of self-evident truths and the inclusion of the reliability of perception within this category. Thus, it seems, we are indeed required to accept a measure of intuition rather than pure "ration" if for nothing other than to justify perception, unless we can deduce the existence of a benevolent and omnipotent agent to secure the reliability of our perception. And, surprisingly to myself, I do appear to have questioned "ration," although only accidentally. Darn it! I will perhaps need to concede sense perception as self-evident, then. Still, my point about the necessity of extra-falsifiable claims stands.
    That living creatures have sense organs is readily observable and, consequently, verifiable. The purpose of sense organs is to transmit data from the external world into the mind of a creature. As I have mentioned earlier, the degree to which a given creature's sense organ imparts the type of information it evolved to impart varies (compare the canine olfactory organ to that of a human or a chimpanzee), but a sense organ is defined as an organ which transmits data from the external world. To speak of a "sense organ" which does not impart data from the external world is a contradiction in terms.

    You don't need to read Descartes to come to this rather obvious conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    There are mountainloads of people who have had encounters with a deity of some sort. I suppose it is something of a logical leap to assume the same deity created the universe. That probably depends more on the specific nature of the encounter.
    There are mountainloads of people who have observed things which they ascribed to a deity. This is an important distinction to make.
    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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