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I wouldn't define that as educated guess. If you go and do research and decide to count on proven methods to make your decision, how is it an educated guess? If it is, then can't that be said about *ALL* of science?

The point is on what authority would you define it as an educated guess or not? Do you have a citation for defining what constitutes an "educated guess" and what doesn't? Is it or is it not "because you say so?" If not, there has to be some "higher authority" you are referencing to claim you are right, no?

 

Yes, but the difference between an expert and God is (a) that we have substantiated proof about the expert's track record (or we should, otherwise the reason to choose said expert should be a resounding NO), and (b) we also have an idea of why we consider the person an expert -- he studied something/somewhere etc.

God is not an external entity to cite. S/he/it is a process of faith-based reasoning. It is a method of pursuing reasoning in good faith where objective doubt is present.

 

Not to mention that an expert decisively physically exists, while God requires that its existence is outside of reality.

An expert's body may physically exist, but the person remains human and therefore fallible. ALL human authority can be doubted and question, including your own.

 

That on its own should give the expert an advantage on decisions that relate to reality, no? *and* be more trustworthy.

Again, ALL humans are human and therefore fallible.

 

I see the reasoning, but I don't understand its logic... I was trying to point out that the (a)/(b)/© that lemur gave are *not* equivalent to his "God" choice, like he *seems* to present it (I might be misunderstanding).

Don't think of God as a being or entity. That's just personification/metaphor. Just think of God as the ideal of using every possible means at your disposal to reach the best possible decision. Consider it the total love of goodness that drives people to work as hard as they can for the best possible outcome, regardless of all hinderance. A simpler way to look at it is in terms of the word, "God" being so close to "good." I.e. you could call "God" just the creation of the idea of goodness and the "good faith" pursuit that goodness can be identified and pursued regardless of any amount of confusion. I.e. it's the idea that no matter how lost someone is "in darkness," there is always a "light in the tunnel" to be found.

 

 

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A fiddle of gold against your soul says I'm better than you.

Fiiiire on the hill run boys run...(fiddle, fiddle, fiddle)...Devils in the house with the risin' sun...(fiddle, fiddle, fiddle)...

Religions which hold that God only requires people to discipline themselves to be good necessarily rely on oversimplified, unrealistically clarified situations in which good and evil choices are clear

It's an educated guess because you cannot know the outcome with certainty. As Hume pointed out, there's no logical reason that what we've observed to happen before should continue to happen in the future.

Strictly speaking, there's nothing that is certain. Everything is a varying degree of certainty, even in "empirical science".

 

The question is WHAT the degree of certainty is, no? I mean, if you have one thing that is 20% certain and another 95% certain, is it not more reasonable to choose the latter?

 

 

Presumably, yes.

 

 

I don't think he intended for them to be equally desirable choices.

 

I understand, but my point is that they aren't logically.

 

~mooey

 

The point is on what authority would you define it as an educated guess or not? Do you have a citation for defining what constitutes an "educated guess" and what doesn't? Is it or is it not "because you say so?" If not, there has to be some "higher authority" you are referencing to claim you are right, no?

No, again, I define every choice by varying degrees of expected certainty.

 

How do you know that when I throw a ball off the Eifel Tower it will fall towards the ground? You know because EVERY time you do that, it does. Every time you throw a ball anywhere on Earth, it falls. So this is a high degree of certainty.

 

When you consult with medicine, the vast majority of times, you will get better.

 

That's a high degree of probability of success.

 

I don't have a method of defining "Consultin with divinity"'s degree of success. Beyond that, by DEFINITION, I seem to not be able to do that because the divine is defined to be out of the realm of reality and hence unmeasurable.

 

So by definition it seems it has less "value" as support to any decision that requires some expected degree of success....

 

You see my point?

 

God is not an external entity to cite. S/he/it is a process of faith-based reasoning. It is a method of pursuing reasoning in good faith where objective doubt is present.

This is not a common definition of God. Let me ask you, then - what is the difference between asking the divine like you suggest and asking yourself? For that matter, why is the use of "God" needed at all if it's just a process of reasoning?

 

 

An expert's body may physically exist, but the person remains human and therefore fallible. ALL human authority can be doubted and question, including your own.

For this to be logically consistent you need to first show that (a) God exists and (b) is infallible.

Believing as a single proof of any of this is not enough....

 

Don't think of God as a being or entity. That's just personification/metaphor. Just think of God as the ideal of using every possible means at your disposal to reach the best possible decision. Consider it the total love of goodness that drives people to work as hard as they can for the best possible outcome, regardless of all hinderance. A simpler way to look at it is in terms of the word, "God" being so close to "good." I.e. you could call "God" just the creation of the idea of goodness and the "good faith" pursuit that goodness can be identified and pursued regardless of any amount of confusion. I.e. it's the idea that no matter how lost someone is "in darkness," there is always a "light in the tunnel" to be found.

 

 

 

Okay, then why use the term "God" at all? This isn't the common use of the term, by the way. Most religious folk treat God as an entity. Obviously, it's your right not to -- it's personal belief, and you have every right believing and holding this position. I'm just trying to understand what benefit it has over anything else, if it SEEMS to be indistinguishable from other processes?

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How do you know that when I throw a ball off the Eifel Tower it will fall towards the ground? You know because EVERY time you do that, it does. Every time you throw a ball anywhere on Earth, it falls. So this is a high degree of certainty.

 

When you consult with medicine, the vast majority of times, you will get better.

 

That's a high degree of probability of success.

That works where there are no conflicts among authorities. What if you have two doctors who disagree and you have no logical basis for trusting one over the other?

 

I don't have a method of defining "Consultin with divinity"'s degree of success. Beyond that, by DEFINITION, I seem to not be able to do that because the divine is defined to be out of the realm of reality and hence unmeasurable.

You haven't tried it either though. From personal experience, though, I can tell you that it's not like I consult "God" in a way that would test accuracy. It's more like I use the philosophy to reason choices based on the logic(s) I've discerned from theological study. So, for example, I might resist applying to some job because I don't see the relevance or value of it and then "divine revelation" will suddenly cause a light-bulb to go on and "show me the light" of why the job would be a good thing for me to do. I still might not get the job, but the point is that I suddenly had faith in the goodness of seeking it instead of just applying because someone else told me it was available and I should apply.

 

This is not a common definition of God. Let me ask you, then - what is the difference between asking the divine like you suggest and asking yourself? For that matter, why is the use of "God" needed at all if it's just a process of reasoning?

If you are a true atheist (as I was/am prior to understanding God as a true artifact of subjective faith), you should recognize that anyone consulting God is really just consulting themselves in an elaborate way. So what's the point of getting so elaborate instead of just asking yourself directly? The answer lies in the fact that humans are subjectively complex and they regard themselves in a multitude of ways. For example, I used to work in a situation where people would go around saying, "if you do that, the boss will get mad tomorrow." The boss wasn't there but they had internalized their experience of the boss's perspective, which they could consult as being different than their own personal perspective. So this is what "God" is like. When people consult God, they are actually consulting an imaginary authority inside themselves but the authority they imagine is the absolute highest, most decent, caring, authority with the best interest of "all the children of the creation" in mind. So it is an ideal of absolute benevolence. How many people do you know regard themselves as absolutely benevolent? God may be an internalized ideal, but it is an ideal that people don't usually evoke by consulting themselves in terms of their ego or their identity as they believe other people see them.

 

For this to be logically consistent you need to first show that (a) God exists and (b) is infallible.

Believing as a single proof of any of this is not enough....

God is a subjective ideal. Infallibility is faith-inspiring but in practice, you can do things inspired by God that turn out in retrospect to have been fallible. God is more like the hope that you can transcend the feeling of being fallible, even though you are. God is the ideal of infallibility. In the bible, God says he made a mistake after flooding the Earth out of anger for human sin. The point is that God acts in good faith and love and evolves. If he/we cynically threw up his/our hands at the impossibility of hope for improvement, that would constitute a fall from grace - i.e. loss of faith.

 

Okay, then why use the term "God" at all? This isn't the common use of the term, by the way. Most religious folk treat God as an entity. Obviously, it's your right not to -- it's personal belief, and you have every right believing and holding this position. I'm just trying to understand what benefit it has over anything else, if it SEEMS to be indistinguishable from other processes?

I'm just trying to explain to you what I think people are doing at a sub-conscious level when they consciously believe in God as an external entity. In they're minds they are thinking of God as external because if they thought about him/her/it as internal/subjective, that would cause them to question God's existence because they can't reconcile spirituality with materialism. In the bible, Jesus actually says that it's a mistake to confuse matters of the spirit with matters of the flesh. That's the part where someone asks him if being born again means returning to your mother's womb physically. Don't assume that all religious people have theology right. They are doing their best, most of the time, but they are struggling with things they don't understand, as everyone is in every disciplined study.

 

The main thing I'm trying to get across to you is that you can't really evaluate the effect of believing in God has on you until you really try it in practice. When I was an atheist, I experienced the idea of God so differently than I do after learning to interpret the ideas in a constructive way. The main thing it does is to "lift your spirits" in things that you do. E.g. I might used to just see "enlightenment" as a political ideology whereas now i can really feel a deep sense that enlightenment and truth are really good and I'm doing good in the world by interacting with others in a way that welcomes enlightenment without fear, suspicion, cynicism, etc. Do you see how that relates to experiencing more faith and less doubt? This doesn't mean I don't question and criticize things, because I think it's good to do that - but I don't doubt that questioning and critique will lead to better knowledge, which I probably would have done before because I would doubt anything in every possible way, second-guess all reasoning etc. You're probably not as much of a mess as I used to be, so you might not benefit as much from faith as I have been able to - but considering how much conflict you seem to have with it, you might overcome a lot of intellectual tension just by understanding religion at the level of a believer instead of endless beating your head against the brick wall of people whose strength lies in their conviction and resolve not to be deterred by reason or anything else. Once you understand how this logic of conviction in faith works, you will wonder why atheists bother arguing with theists because they're just not searching for a reason to doubt God's existence. I actually began studying the belief because I wanted to find out what religious people were thinking and how you could reason with them - and now that I understand it (I think), I realize that arguing with them is like trying to tell someone their self-confidence is unfounded when that confidence is nothing more than something they evoke in themselves to be successful in business. People don't care if God exists because their faith helps them maintain confidence in every aspect of their lives. You should experiment with it and once you get to the point where you feel you understand it as deeply as any believer, try to find a logical way out. I don't think you will be able to, because you will have bought into the spiritual strength of it all. I have, to an extent, but I can separate my first-hand knowledge of religious experience from other approaches to knowledge, like physics for example.

 

 

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That works where there are no conflicts among authorities. What if you have two doctors who disagree and you have no logical basis for trusting one over the other?

Go to the source - the scientific method - medicine. Take the opinion of 5 more doctors.

There are more options.... my point is that I am not going to refer to a deity on this. I don't quite see a reason to refer to one ever, specially if it is comparable to making one's own judgment, in which case I don't see a situation where doing that is not superior to asking a deity.

 

You haven't tried it either though. From personal experience, though, I can tell you that it's not like I consult "God" in a way that would test accuracy. It's more like I use the philosophy to reason choices based on the logic(s) I've discerned from theological study. So, for example, I might resist applying to some job because I don't see the relevance or value of it and then "divine revelation" will suddenly cause a light-bulb to go on and "show me the light" of why the job would be a good thing for me to do. I still might not get the job, but the point is that I suddenly had faith in the goodness of seeking it instead of just applying because someone else told me it was available and I should apply.

I have a logical problem with this paragraph.

I haven't tried talking with UFOs, either. Or digging a hole through the earth to China.

I also haven't tried taking LSD and having my own version of divine revelation (and this isn't disrespect - the Greeks did it much the same with drugs).

 

There are a whole bunch of things I -- and you -- didn't try. So if this is our current "set", God doesn't fit there either. Even if God does, it seems there are about a billion other things that I didn't try that seem better and with higher odds of success (like I said above). So the question remains - why appeal to the divine at all?

 

 

 

(I will answer the rest later, I must run to class)

 

~moo

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Go to the source - the scientific method - medicine. Take the opinion of 5 more doctors.

There are more options.... my point is that I am not going to refer to a deity on this. I don't quite see a reason to refer to one ever, specially if it is comparable to making one's own judgment, in which case I don't see a situation where doing that is not superior to asking a deity.

But then whose authority will you use to choose which of the 5 doctors you obey? If the authority is your own, what legitimates your authority? What authority is powerful and trustworthy enough to entrust your life to? Whatever you call it, it must be an authority as high as you value your own life, which I assume is highly.

 

 

I have a logical problem with this paragraph.

I haven't tried talking with UFOs, either. Or digging a hole through the earth to China.

I also haven't tried taking LSD and having my own version of divine revelation (and this isn't disrespect - the Greeks did it much the same with drugs).

Ok, what authority validates your avoidance of these things? Sure, you have reasons to believe they're silly or bad ideas - but what causes you not to question and rebel against them and attempt to prove them wrong? I would call that faith, whatever evidence, reason, or logic you base that faith on. You don't have to use the word, "God" if you don't like the sound of it but it's the same thing, imo.

 

There are a whole bunch of things I -- and you -- didn't try. So if this is our current "set", God doesn't fit there either. Even if God does, it seems there are about a billion other things that I didn't try that seem better and with higher odds of success (like I said above). So the question remains - why appeal to the divine at all?

I'm tired of explaining it. It's just a different discourse of authority than any other. If it works for you to make rodent sacrifices to imaginary unicorns, maybe you should stick with that and avoid the bible. I can only recommend the bible or even non-biblical explorations of the meanings and practices of divinity because I've had positive experiences with it. Why would that mean your experience would be the same? I'm just trying to explain it because you seem so fascinated with it. Now I'm starting to think the only reason you engage me on it is to prove that your rejection is objectively valid. How can you prove something subjective is valid, whether its God or the rejection thereof? Sure, anything is valid within the reasoning of the validator. I don't think either of us are convincing each other of anything, though, so why are we trying? Is religion and divinity really that important? It is to me because it does something for me, but why should it be for you if it is completely impotent in your experience? As far as you're concerned, you might as well be arguing about the validity of believing in Donald Duck so why bother?

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I think the ultimate answers to Lemur's problem come from the philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and Soren Kierkegaard. Wittgenstein wrote: "What does it mean for me to check my memory? What do I check my memory by? Isn't that process like buying a second copy of the morning newspaper to check the accuracy of what was published in the first copy of the paper I bought?" What Wittgenstein is referring to here is the problem that our subjective states constitute a flat playing field. There is no internal geography within our subjectivity which marks out any feelings as having superior certainty over other sensations and feelings. The only way we can build a structure of relatively higher and lower certainty into our subjective states is by modelling our mental convictions on objective standards of proof, either in the form of empirical data or logical inference. So your inner conviction of God can do nothing to bolster your confidence in making decisions, since your feeling that a given decision is animated by the spirit of the Lord cannot be rigorously distinguished, within the perspective of subjective sensation, from your feeling that vanilla is a better flavor than chocolate, which might change at any moment.

 

Kierkegaard also came to a similar conclusion that Lemur has reached when he wrote that in all human decisions, objective, empirical, or logical reasons ultimately give out, so our final stage of decision always has to be a 'leap of faith' in which we just throw ourselves into being a hairdresser rather than a bank clerk as our life's vocation without fully adequate reasons. But this existential leap of faith is a dumb, blind faith that what we are doing is right, and in principle cannot be further justified or based on any logic. Trying to support it with some metaphysical ghost like a 'God' that exists only in our own hearts alongside our inner convictions that our neighbor doesn't like us despite her apparent friendliness, that the Moon landing was faked in Hollywood, or that vanilla is better than chocolate won't help us out of our dilemma of having to make choices without sufficient reasons.

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I think this is the source of our disagreement: lemur (if I understand you correctly) claims that it's just about picking different authority. I claim that while it might be about that, the different authorities are not equal logically. Anything that exists and has a defined methodology is, in my view, preferable on something that is unknown, unknowable and whose existence is outside the realm of reality.

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Go to the source - the scientific method - medicine. Take the opinion of 5 more doctors.

There are more options.... my point is that I am not going to refer to a deity on this. I don't quite see a reason to refer to one ever, specially if it is comparable to making one's own judgment, in which case I don't see a situation where doing that is not superior to asking a deity.

Suppose we have a group of psychics. Suppose psychic powers don't exist, but the psychics are right 51% of the time because they apply a bit of common sense along with chance. Poll enough psychics and your results will be just as good as an expert's opinion.

 

I think this is the source of our disagreement: lemur (if I understand you correctly) claims that it's just about picking different authority. I claim that while it might be about that, the different authorities are not equal logically. Anything that exists and has a defined methodology is, in my view, preferable on something that is unknown, unknowable and whose existence is outside the realm of reality.

But that's a preference. There is no logical reason to believe that an expert's past ability to predict events will have any relevance to future events, just like there is no logical reason to believe that physical laws will continue to hold in the future at all. And as lemur already said:

 

The existence of God beyond subjectivity is irrelevant to whether the technique functions well for people at the subjective level. At best you could say that if people lose faith in God's existence, it would impair their ability to exercise faith. You, however, are focussed on objective certainty. Theology doesn't give you that. "God" doesn't increase your odds of winning; it's just that you feel more assured in your decision-making process because you have faith that the steps you take are good.

 

Theology gives different benefits than expertise, and the benefits apply even if it gives you terrible decisions.

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Suppose we have a group of psychics. Suppose psychic powers don't exist, but the psychics are right 51% of the time because they apply a bit of common sense along with chance. Poll enough psychics and your results will be just as good as an expert's opinion.

They would still be higher probability of success of a deity that is *unknown* and its methods completely unknown and unmeasurable.

And they would still be lower probability of success than more empirical/scientific methods.

 

Hence, while they are probably less good than a more empirical way of making a choice, they are still better than an unknowable and unknown deity...

 

But that's a preference. There is no logical reason to believe that an expert's past ability to predict events will have any relevance to future events, just like there is no logical reason to believe that physical laws will continue to hold in the future at all. And as lemur already said:

Why not? The mere fact that an expert or even an amateur work INSIDE reality is better than anything that works outside it, logically speaking.

Anything that is absolutely known to exist is better than something that is not as absolute in its existence.

 

No?

 

Theology gives different benefits than expertise, and the benefits apply even if it gives you terrible decisions.

That, yes, I accept. I don't *personally* go by it, but I do see the point of that. My own point, though, was that logically you can't really equate consulting a deity (or having "divine" suggestion) with consulting any other human or yourself.

 

~moo

 

P.S Regarding the claim that God doesn't give you higher odds, rather just a reassurence -- could you not replace that by ANYTHING else that you trust? replace it with "Mom" or "Me" or "My lover" or "Best Friend" or "The pink unicorn" and it's equally true; all you need is to have trust in this thing you ask the question of. My point is that I don't quite see how God is unique in this, and hence why would we claim logically that it has any room in a list of potential places to ask a question in. If we do, then we should add "The Pink Unicorn" and "Aliens from Ursa Minor" to the list, as well as about a billion other possibilities that result in the same thing.

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Why not? The mere fact that an expert or even an amateur work INSIDE reality is better than anything that works outside it, logically speaking.

Anything that is absolutely known to exist is better than something that is not as absolute in its existence.

Why? Mathematically: Suppose something that exists with 100% certainty is right 10% of the time. You have 10% odds of getting the right answer. Suppose that something that exists with 10% certainty is completely infallible. You also have 10% odds of getting the right answer.

 

P.S Regarding the claim that God doesn't give you higher odds, rather just a reassurence -- could you not replace that by ANYTHING else that you trust? replace it with "Mom" or "Me" or "My lover" or "Best Friend" or "The pink unicorn" and it's equally true; all you need is to have trust in this thing you ask the question of. My point is that I don't quite see how God is unique in this, and hence why would we claim logically that it has any room in a list of potential places to ask a question in. If we do, then we should add "The Pink Unicorn" and "Aliens from Ursa Minor" to the list, as well as about a billion other possibilities that result in the same thing.

Sure, but religion brings a number of benefits. Faith in an infallible being is surely more reassuring than faith in a fallible mother. Pre-written holy books provide more guidance. And organized religion is known for providing strong social support networks for many people.

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Why? Mathematically: Suppose something that exists with 100% certainty is right 10% of the time. You have 10% odds of getting the right answer. Suppose that something that exists with 10% certainty is completely infallible. You also have 10% odds of getting the right answer.

Because in order to support the fact it is infallible, you need it to exist. 10% chance of existence is lower than anything else with higher chances, obviously, which automatically will make ANYTHING with higher chance of existence better at being able to support the possibility of either fallibility or infallibility or percentages of accuracy.

 

Sure, but religion brings a number of benefits. Faith in an infallible being is surely more reassuring than faith in a fallible mother. Pre-written holy books provide more guidance. And organized religion is known for providing strong social support networks for many people.

 

We can argue about that (I only partially agree). I am not exactly sure how this line of argument is relevant to the topic, though? Actually, quite honestly, I don't quite know what any of this is relevant to the topic anymore.

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Because in order to support the fact it is infallible, you need it to exist. 10% chance of existence is lower than anything else with higher chances, obviously, which automatically will make ANYTHING with higher chance of existence better at being able to support the possibility of either fallibility or infallibility or percentages of accuracy.

What?

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What?

 

I am not sure I understand what's not understood?

 

If you have 2 options, and one option is not likely to exist (10% is "unlikely", I think, but most definitions, no?) or even "less likely to exist", doesn't it mean that automatically it is less good as an option than the other, regardless of *any* other property?

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I am not sure I understand what's not understood?

 

If you have 2 options, and one option is not likely to exist (10% is "unlikely", I think, but most definitions, no?) or even "less likely to exist", doesn't it mean that automatically it is less good as an option than the other, regardless of *any* other property?

No. Take a look at gambling, in which people spend a great amount of time figuring out which incredibly unlikely option is the best.

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No. Take a look at gambling, in which people spend a great amount of time figuring out which incredibly unlikely option is the best.

 

That's because the only AVAILABLE options are all unlikely. So you pick out of "the best".

 

You do the same in relation to the God issue, which would go back to what I was saying in my previous post.

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That's because the only AVAILABLE options are all unlikely. So you pick out of "the best".

 

You do the same in relation to the God issue, which would go back to what I was saying in my previous post.

Do you have any idea how many variables are interdependent in most real-world situations involving humans? How can you presume to assign accurate probabilities to weigh different possibilities against each other in a way that doesn't rely heavily on subjectively defined criteria/parameters like perceived-probability?

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Isn't that what we do as critical thinkers? Assign probability of success values to variables?

 

We don't guess those, we do that according to a certain rational methodology, namely experimentation and evidence, but that is what we try to do.

 

 

 

 

I still fail to see how a concept of a deity is relevant as a solution in any step. I understand that religious people think that, I just don't see how it follows logic.

 

If the claim is that it doesn't have to follow logic, okay then. But... I thought that it was supposed to be "logical", and I don't see how it is at any stage of the process.

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Isn't that what we do as critical thinkers? Assign probability of success values to variables?

 

We don't guess those, we do that according to a certain rational methodology, namely experimentation and evidence, but that is what we try to do.

There are lots of ways to think critically. Questioning the limits and assumptions of any of them is also a way of thinking critically. When you are questioning authority, what gives you the authority to do that? When you go beyond citing the research of others to making claims about it, what gives you the authority? The answer is either nothing or something, so when someone says there's no higher authority than X, you can find one, even create one. That creative power, to create valid authority (i.e. not just make something arbitrary up), to seek truth where its not already confirmed, that is original creative power. You can just call it OCP if you like. You can even use it to define it some other way. Just do me a favor and don't beat me down in the process for putting in my two cents opinion, please.

 

I still fail to see how a concept of a deity is relevant as a solution in any step. I understand that religious people think that, I just don't see how it follows logic.

I guess it ultimately depends on what you understand deity to mean. If you define it as some ridiculous authoritarian controller, the way many atheists seem to, then of course it's not helpful even if it could be interpreted as relevant for adding force to authoritarian ideologies. If you define it as the creative power to either create without precedent or create from precedent in radically innovative ways, I find it very relevant and useful. If you define it as the power for humans to act repressively toward each other by trying to control their ability to freely explore thought/ideas, I would say it's more detrimental than beneficial, at least in the long term.

 

If the claim is that it doesn't have to follow logic, okay then. But... I thought that it was supposed to be "logical", and I don't see how it is at any stage of the process.

Think about the meaning of absolute creative power. If it was bound by logic or any other system of defined parameters, would it be absolute? What if it was unlimited and included every possible form of power you could imagine, including the power to analyze and evaluate all those forms of power according to relative goodness or badness by all possible definitions/approaches? How would you deal with that amount of processing power? Logic would probably help, but do you think it would be sufficient?

 

 

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Your last comment reminds me of the medieval debate between Peter Abelard and St. Anselm about the ontological proof for the existence of God. There it was said that if we conceive God as perfect, as our definition of him requires us to do, then he would obviously not fulfill the prerequisite of his definition if he did not exist, since his non-existence would be an imperfection. Therefore, he must exist just by virtue of his definition. The counter to this argument was that we could also imagine a perfect island, which would obviously not be perfect if it did not exist, so now we have it that a perfect island exists, and by similar reasoning a perfect ant, stockbroker, turd, or New Jersey township must necessarily exist.

 

In your example, you construct an inner sense of the absolute which just by virtue of its definition as absolute purports to be able to break through the normal bounds of logic and the gulf between subjectivity and objectivity which keeps thoughts and imaginings in an inferior ontological status to things in the real world. But just as Abelard and Anselm can't define God into necessary existence, since ultimately their definition of him must face an independent empirical test to gain objective status, so too your inner conviction of the absolute can't propel it into real existence or carry it above the normal constraints of logic.

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Your last comment reminds me of the medieval debate between Peter Abelard and St. Anselm about the ontological proof for the existence of God. There it was said that if we conceive God as perfect, as our definition of him requires us to do, then he would obviously not fulfill the prerequisite of his definition if he did not exist, since his non-existence would be an imperfection. Therefore, he must exist just by virtue of his definition. The counter to this argument was that we could also imagine a perfect island, which would obviously not be perfect if it did not exist, so now we have it that a perfect island exists, and by similar reasoning a perfect ant, stockbroker, turd, or New Jersey township must necessarily exist.

Couldn't you also say that if God was not capable of simultaneously existing and not existing, His omnipotence would be limited and therefore he MUST be able to not exist as well as exist, by whatever logic is required to permit both states to co-exist in some way? This makes sense to me, since God is deemed the creative power behind EVERYTHING, including the possibility of atheism, evil, etc. Yes, I know the argument that if God is everything then what's the point, because ubiquitous things have no distinguishing value - but the point is that everything is known and evaluated by means of bringing creative power to bear.

 

In your example, you construct an inner sense of the absolute which just by virtue of its definition as absolute purports to be able to break through the normal bounds of logic and the gulf between subjectivity and objectivity which keeps thoughts and imaginings in an inferior ontological status to things in the real world. But just as Abelard and Anselm can't define God into necessary existence, since ultimately their definition of him must face an independent empirical test to gain objective status, so too your inner conviction of the absolute can't propel it into real existence or carry it above the normal constraints of logic.

It's within your authority to say that because it is your prerogative. But consider the following logic as well: if distinguishing between subjective and objective is valued as a sane trait by psychology or even popular opinion, does the authority of either psychology or popular opinion trump whatever authority was behind their creation. E.g. if popular opinion is based on, say, Freudianism (just for discussion sake), and Freud based his opinion that subject and object must be distinguished on, say, Kantian philosophy and then Kant's philosophy was, say, based on the book of Genesis claiming that God distinguished light from darkness and the heavens from the Earth and that was good, wouldn't that provide a basis for questioning what Moses' authority in claiming such was and whether it was fundamentally valid/true or whether there was some higher authority that could reveal its falsity?

 

 

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Couldn't you also say that if God was not capable of simultaneously existing and not existing, His omnipotence would be limited and therefore he MUST be able to not exist as well as exist, by whatever logic is required to permit both states to co-exist in some way? This makes sense to me, since God is deemed the creative power behind EVERYTHING, including the possibility of atheism, evil, etc. Yes, I know the argument that if God is everything then what's the point, because ubiquitous things have no distinguishing value - but the point is that everything is known and evaluated by means of bringing creative power to bear.

I believe Anselm would respond that the ability to not exist is a weakness, not a strength, and does not contribute to God's perfection. (Anselm's God is perfect, not omnipotent, and his extreme power derives from perfection.)

 

However, there's an existing discussion on the ontological argument you can join if you'd like to discuss it further:

 

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/49226-the-ontological-argument-for-the-existence-of-god/

 

It's rather off-topic here.

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Let X be any entity which is so special that it can transcend any logical standards and overleap the ordinary bounds between subjectivity and objectivity, since it has created everything and so stands outside of any prior to any standards of rationality as well as the distinction between subjectivity and objectivity which are themselves only first defined within ordinary reality.

 

Problem: Is the rationality, existence, and objectivity of X to be determined by reference to the standards of these terms in the only context in which they are meaningfully defined, that is, within ordinary reality? Or is the rationality, existence, and objectivity of X to be understood in some special, transcendental sense so that X can both have these properties but still not have to meet the criteria for having these properties which are set by these terms in their ordinarily defined context, that is, within ordinary reality?

 

Solution 1: Since rationality, existence, and objectivity are only defined within ordinary reality, and their only criteria for application are understood solely within ordinary reality, any asserted X, no matter how transcendent it purports to be, must still satisfy the ordinary standards and meanings of these terms if it is to claim the valid application of these terms to itself. Words are only meaningful in the actual empirical contexts which give them life, and to use them in any 'special' sense necessarily deprives them of the only meaning we really understand, since in a transcendental context they are used only analogically, and who knows how much of the original sense is preserved and how much left behind in this metaphysical use?

 

Solution 2: The ontological proof of God's existence essentially held that he was such a special, transcendental concept that he had to exist just by virtue of his definition, rather than, as with all other defined concepts, having to prove his correspondence to some empirical object to be able to claim existence. But Kant famously answered this proof by saying that 'existence is not a predicate of any definition,' or in other words, existence always remains an empirical fact which stands outside of any assertion we make in inventing a concept, and so the existence of any concept can only be proved by showing that it does in fact correspond to something in the outside world.

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Let X be any entity which is so special that it can transcend any logical standards and overleap the ordinary bounds between subjectivity and objectivity, since it has created everything and so stands outside of any prior to any standards of rationality as well as the distinction between subjectivity and objectivity which are themselves only first defined within ordinary reality.

 

Problem: Is the rationality, existence, and objectivity of X to be determined by reference to the standards of these terms in the only context in which they are meaningfully defined, that is, within ordinary reality? Or is the rationality, existence, and objectivity of X to be understood in some special, transcendental sense so that X can both have these properties but still not have to meet the criteria for having these properties which are set by these terms in their ordinarily defined context, that is, within ordinary reality?

 

Solution 1: Since rationality, existence, and objectivity are only defined within ordinary reality, and their only criteria for application are understood solely within ordinary reality, any asserted X, no matter how transcendent it purports to be, must still satisfy the ordinary standards and meanings of these terms if it is to claim the valid application of these terms to itself. Words are only meaningful in the actual empirical contexts which give them life, and to use them in any 'special' sense necessarily deprives them of the only meaning we really understand, since in a transcendental context they are used only analogically, and who knows how much of the original sense is preserved and how much left behind in this metaphysical use?

 

Solution 2: The ontological proof of God's existence essentially held that he was such a special, transcendental concept that he had to exist just by virtue of his definition, rather than, as with all other defined concepts, having to prove his correspondence to some empirical object to be able to claim existence. But Kant famously answered this proof by saying that 'existence is not a predicate of any definition,' or in other words, existence always remains an empirical fact which stands outside of any assertion we make in inventing a concept, and so the existence of any concept can only be proved by showing that it does in fact correspond to something in the outside world.

My general impression of this whole post is that it attempts to respond to the idea that "X" is omnipotent enough (how illogical is it to use the phrase "omnipotent enough?") to truly transcend ALL submission to any logic, terms, criteria for evaluation/proof, etc. except the ones 'X' chooses to create and/or apply? Generally, I would think the logic of omnipotence itself is that the power exists to transcend any possible logic, including that of Kant's supremacy of "external existence" or that of omnipotence itself. Theoretically X's omnipotence would give X the power to choose to submit to any logic it wants BUT it would also have the power to do so or not for any reason which would require some kind of ethics of choosing to submit to authority that go beyond the necessitation (by logic or otherwise) of such submission. If there was some logic or social means of requiring X to submit to criteria for evaluation, such as proof, then X would not be omnipotent, correct? So either you have to define omnipotence itself as impossible, or if you accept the reality of subjectivity as the possibility to conceive of possibilities regardless of whether they are empirically observable, then the logic of omnipotence gives people the subjective power to imagine transcendence of necessary submission to every possible logic and authority, including that of E Kant. It might be simpler to just express this by saying that people have the power/ability to go insane by the standards of some authority/logic and yet to create their own authority/logic that confirms their sanity. Or you could just say that omnipotence is the logic that there exists no authority or logic that cannot be transcended.

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Given that omnipotence certainly exists -- at least in the uninteresting sense that the entire universe has all the powers which the entire universe has -- I don't think we can assume that omnipotence has to be able to transcend the laws of logic, since the trivial example of omnipotence we do have doesn't seem to transcend those boundaries. Consider the old puzzle: If God is omnipotent, can he make a stone so heavy that he can't lift it, and if so, is he no longer omnipotent, since the stone is more powerful than he is? But if he can't make a stone heavier than he can lift, then he is also not omnipotent, since there is something he cannot do. This seems to suggest that we should not try to define 'omnipotence' as something which has to be able to break the bounds of logic, but rather, omnipotence is better understood as the sum total of all possible power within a logically coherent universe. If we take the latter position, then the God-hypothesis seems to have to accept all the criteria of the concepts by which atheists insist it be tested, since his omnipotence is defined only within ordinary logic, not above it. Also, anything that extends beyond ordinary logic, or reaches beyond the fundamental rational schema that subjective thought-entities don't exist while objective facts do, seems to lose rational definition and comprehensibility, so it amounts to nothing more than what Wittgenstein criticized as a bizarre overextension of words outside the ordinary contexts in which they had their only definition.

 

If I say that X is an integer not greater than, less than, or equal to 5, because it is some sort of transcendent concept, then rather than asserting the existence of something transcendent I think I am just losing my logical footing and starting to talk nonsense.

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