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  • a year ago

    Here is a relevant video debate on this topic: https://www.qallout.com/debate/1946-god-does-exist

    • a year ago

      @zacharyrobert I noticed this is your first posted debate. You picked a heck of a topic to start off with.

    • a year ago

      I don't think so, though it is possible. The more specific we get about what God is, the more I find the proposition unlikely.

      My main argument against God is that the means that people come to believe in god are unreliable and lead to widely variant results and conclusions. More generally this is true of all supernatural claims.

      As where natural claims use a tried and true method that has produced spectacular results in learning about our world, making accurate predictions, and advancing our power and comfort.

      Thus I trust natural claims based on science and rational inquiry far more than spiritual claims based on personal experience, tradition, and "logical" proofs.

      This argument does not disprove god, it only makes god a lot less likely and thus I do not have any faith in the idea. This is an inductive argument by the way, not a deductive one.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried Why do you assume belief in God, logical consistency and rational thought are mutually exclusive?

      • a year ago

        @meta_self I didn't say any of that.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried "Thus I trust natural claims based on science and rational inquiry far more than spiritual claims based on personal experience, tradition, and "logical" proofs."

        You cannot prove anything by induction. You are aware of this, correct? The problem of induction exists.

        So then that leaves us with the only valid proofs being deductive ones, like syllogisms.

        Now, as for your argument that we cannot trust supernatural claims, you are gravely mistaken. If you are to say that which has not matter and form does not have existence, then there is no such thing as the laws of logic, no such thing as reason.

        You lose all meaningfulness and intelligibility, now you may retain psychological confidence, but psychological confidence is not truth or validity.

        Finally, since it is true that supernatural claims must not be thrown out so to save the laws of logic, then it must be said that we can use those laws of logic to PROVE, deductively the existence of God.

        So,
        Whatever begins to exist has a cause;
        The universe began to exist;
        Therefore:
        The universe has a cause.

        This view is preferable to that of infinite regression because for one thing infinity does not occur in reality, moreover infinity is a meaningless concept.

        Let us say that I have infinite coins, I take away half of those coins I have infinite coins left, let's say that I take away all but three coins, I am left now with three coins. This is problematic as this says that infinity - infinity may have contradictory results, thus it is a meaningless concept or at least one which in this sense has no explanatory power.

        Moreover, if you have an infinite series, to apply that same recursivity to the set is contradictory and illogical.

        Thus, I have proven the existence of God. The argumentation is sound, the debate now is upon the validity, you cannot defeat the validity of that argument because you, as an atheist, lack a metaphysical framework from which you may make truth claims.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert Not so much sir.

        A. Inductive arguments are used to arrive at likely conclusions in the face of missing information. Abductive arguments likewise. They are not proof, but proof is impossible when there are too many missing values. We humans then use faith to fill in the missing blanks and use inductive and abductive reasoning to arrive at good decisions.

        Any deduction in the face of missing information is flawed. There is a great deal of missing information about both the natural world and God. Therefore any deduction on the totality of these subjects is deeply flawed.

        ---- Ah, the Kalam cosmological argument - I've debated it at least 50 times in great detail. Every time Christians whip out this deist argument like it was the holy grail that no one could possibly question.

        "Whatever begins to exist has a cause"

        This is a flawed claim. Name me one thing that "begins to exist" in the known universe.

        So far our study of the universe is that mass and energy are universally conserved, which is to say they are never created nor destroyed, only transformed from one to the other.

        There is no basis for this first claim what so ever. If you can provide it, you will be the very first to do so.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried Your misunderstanding regarding the cosmological argument is a result of the fact that you do not understand causes.

        As to your argument that mass and energy are universally conserved, are you really going to argue that there is no substance to existence?

        Do you really want to posit that existence lies entirely in the matter and the form? If you do that you end up with the same problem as Berkeley. If there is no such thing as substance or essence, only matter, and form, can something exist without qualia? Taken to its logical conclusions it cannot.

        When we talk about existence we have several ontological components, we have the substance, the superior class of which a thing belongs to which it calls its existence, matter, that which it is made of, and finally form, what kind of thing the object is.

        We may summarize by saying: 1) Substance is Form 2) Form is universal 3) No universal is a substance.

        This saves us from having to say that something which ceases to be perceived ceases to exist.

        Now, when for example wood and steel are turned into hammer we may speak of its cause in several ways:

        1) Material Cause: The hammer is so because it is composed of a steel head and wooden helve.

        2) Efficient Cause: The hammer is so because the smith forged it.

        3) Formal Cause: The hammer is so because it is an object with a head and a helve, that which we call a hammer.

        4) Final Cause: The hammer is so because it can be used to pound things, like nails.

        So when we talk about things like contingency and existence we are talking about efficient causes, what pushed something into existence.

        It is fair then to say, "What pushed the universe into existence?"

        The universe I would argue was pushed into existence by a being which necessarily exists.

        The existence of our universe proves the existence of a necessarily existing being, such a being, being atemporal is that which we would call God.

        Now, keep in mind God is nothing other than what I can prove him to be, I say not that he is anything else, I understand that he is anthropomorphized for the sake of understanding his mysterious ways, however, God is an infinitely simple being by proof.

        Finally, to your point about induction, I understand what induction is, maybe you don't.

        "Any deduction in the face of missing information is flawed. There is a great deal of missing information about both the natural world and God. Therefore any deduction on the totality of these subjects is deeply flawed."

        Yes, there is much missing sensory, temporal, or natural information, however, there are certain supernatural, atemporal, and necessary laws which we must admit exist so we may make truth claims, or deny and lose meaningfulness and intelligibility.

        For example, I may not know if there exists such a thing as a black swan, I have never seen one, I only know of white swans, but I cannot say I've proven the non-existence of black swans. Moreover, I cannot say that I have proven the existence of white swans as all sensory data is potentially flawed. The only way to make absolute truth claims is to use deduction from absolute laws.

        The only way you can refute my argument is to refute these laws, which if you do takes away all ability for you to argue meaningfully and intelligibly.

        Now, I will conclude here by saying that with this paragraph you have shot your intellectual foot.

        "Inductive arguments are used to arrive at likely conclusions in the face of missing information. Abductive arguments likewise. They are not proof, but proof is impossible when there are too many missing values. We humans then use faith to fill in the missing blanks and use inductive and abductive reasoning to arrive at good decisions."

        By this you have conceded that your entire foundation is based upon psychological confidence rather than truth.

        If you truly believe what you've written in this paragraph everything you are saying is babble, and if you do not rescind what you've said I will not continue to talk with somone who babbles.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert What I contend is that you are a great deal of false confidence in your conclusions which come from mere wishful thinking on your part and the part of other philosophers who contend, for no good reason, they are in possession of absolute truths and that anyone who is not is spouting utter gibberish.

        If you think I am capable of nothing but nonsense, don't argue with me. It is a waste of your time or you can prove nothing and learn nothing.

        But frankly, I find that is a big load of horse shit to put a philosophical edge to it.

        I reason and think quite well. I don't claim to be flawless, but I do pretty darn well for myself. I find your reasoning to fly in the face of the world in which we live. Claiming I cannot reason is self evidently false. It would be quite a challenge for someone with no ability to reason to win all their debates, yet that is what I've done so far.

        Your argument about what it means to come into existences is a pile of semantics with no real meaning. We have a word for that, it is called Transformation. You can transform ore and wood into a hammer. A hammer is not truly created, it is merely fashioned. In fact, nothing is truly created so far as we can tell.

        Yet, your cosmological argument claims everything is created. It is not. Further, it claims the universe was created. There is no real evidence for this claim and it flies in the face of what we consistently observe, that nothing is truly created.

        You try to deflect these very simple facts with a lot of noise, but no actual evidence.

        Kalan had a good excuse, he didn't know about the laws of thermodynamics. You should know better, however.

        --- so let us reconstruct ---

        All events have causes
        The universe has events
        The causes for those events come from the universe in which they take place

        I don't seem to need God for any of that.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried

        "I reason and think quite well. I don't claim to be flawless, but I do pretty darn well for myself. I find your reasoning to fly in the face of the world in which we live. Claiming I cannot reason is self evidently false. It would be quite a challenge for someone with no ability to reason to win all their debates, yet that is what I've done so far."

        Again, this is psychological confidence, you reject the laws of logic as a naturalist, and you fail to understand how a naturalist cannot prove anything. Everything you say is merely molecules bumping around, is it not? What validity is that? Everything you say that is "true" within your worldview is merely you saying you have enough faith to believe it.

        I assume one thing: the existence of the laws of logic.

        I assume the existence of the laws of logic because they are self-evident, an appeal to Moorean logic and because they are necessary for truth claims, meaningfulness and intelligibility.

        Due to the absolute and universal nature of the laws of logic and reason, we may come to have logically true or necessarily true claims.

        These claims include the metaphysical claims of Aristotle; his metaphysics is essentially an attempt to exhaust all meaningful definition from the laws of logic.

        So, with these same laws of logic, we may prove the existence of God.

        Now, you seem to continue to complain that you only need induction, but induction without the laws of logic are meaningless.

        What is it to say "I have seen a white Swan" when truths are not absolute? When truths are not absolute to say such means just as much as it does to say "I have seen an invisible Swan of the color orange". Why does it mean as much, well because you reject that the law of non-contradiction and the law of cause and effect, and the law of identity exist, both statements are equally meaningless.

        "Your argument about what it means to come into existences is a pile of semantics with no real meaning. We have a word for that, it is called Transformation. You can transform ore and wood into a hammer. A hammer is not truly created, it is merely fashioned. In fact, nothing is truly created so far as we can tell."

        Again psychological confidence is not proof. I don't care how sure you are. I want to know how well it holds up against the universal constants known as the laws of logic.

        "Kalan had a good excuse, he didn't know about the laws of thermodynamics. You should know better, however."

        The laws of thermodynamics, mainly the second one, helps my position of the existence of God, as it states the universe began to exist. If the universe had not begun to exist there would have already been the actualization of this law.

        "All events have causes
        The universe has events
        The causes for those events come from the universe in which they take place"

        The universe itself is an event. You can't just say the universe caused itself unless you want to throw away the laws of logic, and I explained to you the consequences of that several times, mainly that you lose meaningfulness and intelligibility.


        "I don't seem to need God for any of that."

        Nice pyschological confidence, but I really don't care about how you feel, I care about the logical validity of what you say, not your own self assurance.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried Moreover, let me ask you this: Is it absolutely true that absolute truth does not exist?

        :)

        When you make such a statement you are stating a universal negative.

        You are assuming absolute truth to disprove it.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert

        I spent 25 years doing logic for a living. I was a software engineer. I used digital logic to make machines do all kinds of wondrous things. They use logic constantly, in fact, that is all they do.

        Logic is simply a reflection of the physical world patterned in our minds. It is not magical, it is true only unto itself. You can use logic to make the most absolutely false statements possible. All you need are false premises, and those are easy to come by.

        We made logic. It is a codified system and it is 100% naturalistic. Try to make a square circle and you will discover it is impossible. Why, because the physical properties we define as a circle, and the physical properties we define as a square are mutually contradictory in the real world.

        They are also contradictory in our imagination, which itself is nothing more than a reflection of our sense experiences. However, in our minds, if we alter those definitions, well then we could make squared circles. That is because our imagination is arbitrary and symbolic. You can do pretty much anything you like with it, but if you then take those models and try to apply them to the world around you, you will find they just dont work.

        And what works matters, it matters a lot more than logic. You can logically deduce that you should not drink water (some people have) and then you will die of thirst. Reality does not obey logic.

        Naturalism has given us digital computes, airplanes, spaceships, video games, vaccinations, telescopes, compasses, boats, and many other wonderful things. And logic is one of the tools we use in naturalism because it describes essential truths we find in the natural world. Up is not down, right is not left, a thing cannot be and also not be at the same time, etc...

        Spiritualism gives us bogus doomsday dates, astrology, rain dances, ritual sacrifice, suicide bombers, crystal healing, elves, funny hats, pretty buildings, hope for cosmic justice, hope for eternal life, etc... none of it really all that practical except for our emotional lives which it does enrich in various ways.

        ---

        As to events and the universe.

        The universe is all things, all events, all existence unless of course, it is part of a larger universe, but universe pretty much means everything. It is the cause, it is the result. It is all things.

        But your argument is you need god to make the universe (ignoring that there is no real reason to assume it was made at all). I can then say, OK then what made God? And you say "God is the alpha and omega, he is the ultimate cause and needs no cause." And I ask "Why?" And you say.... Because God is a magic man that doesn't need a cause! He's eternal and non-material and non-temporal and non whatever else you can imagine.

        And that is just a bunch of trumped up language that has no real meaning but a grand excuse for you to justify his existence so you don't have to feel existential despair of one kind or another.

        I can make up words also.

        The Universe is a non-transtemporal singularity of diversified qualities that is eternal and transcendent. Whee, it sure is fun to make shit up.

        Any nonsense you can make up about god, I can ascribe that same quality to the natural universe. Its a rather boring game but we can play it if you insist.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert Is it absolutely true that absolute truth does not exist?

        Answer: No. I strongly suspect there is Absolute Truth, I am also pretty darn sure you and I will never know it.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried

        "Logic is simply a reflection of the physical world patterned in our minds. It is not magical, it is true only unto itself. You can use logic to make the most absolutely false statements possible. All you need are false premises, and those are easy to come by."

        Okay cool, if that's the case nothing you say is meaningful, nothing you say is intelligible, and nothing is true or false.

        Everything is based upon psychological confidence to you. That's fine. I will not continue to debate with you, you lack an epistemological framework, and you continue to talk past every point I make.

        You're babbling.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert I am babbling and you live in a comfortable fantasy. Such is the way of the world.

        Should you ever seek to put my babbling to the test against your vaunted logic, by all means, challenge me to a live debate.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried No, I'll have to decline. I don't want to continue discussing this issue with you.

        You essentially just ignore the point that within your worldview there is no meaningfulness or intelligibility.

        We must understand the underlying assumptions of each of our systems, you act as if you make no assumption, which may be the case, but if you make no assumption you also cannot make valid truth claims.

        The fact that you continue to ignore this just makes it pointless to debate you.

        You haven't made a single point valid point. You haven't disproven any of my truth claims.

        You woefully and egregiously conflate spiritualism to my position that transcendent truth exists, then you can't even recognize how transcendental authority is required for truth claims even though I've walked you through step by step why this is the case you just ignore it and babble.

        You're out of your league here, I think you should stick to debating topics of popular discussion like politics and video games.

        "I can make up words also.

        The Universe is a non-transtemporal singularity of diversified qualities that is eternal and transcendent. Whee, it sure is fun to make shit up."

        Really? Do you really not understand the words atemporal? Should I stop using big boy words? Should I stop assuming the person I'm debating has some understanding of basic philosophical concepts such as temporality? I guess so...

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert For a man who was done talking to me, you sure seem to have a lot to say. That is pretty illogical of you. If you really are done, then I can argue anything I like and you will stay silent.

        But you don't seem to be a man of your word. Here you are continuing to try and argue with the person who you say is babbling.

        You can't seem to even be correct about declarations of your own intent. Why should I trust you with cosmic truths?

        If you are so terribly persuasive and correct, why not face me and be judged by others and see if they agree with your assertions or not?

        -- Temporality --
        Of time. Atemporality - not of time. Nothing is atemporal. All is affected by time and space-time and the arrow of time travels in but one direction. There is no evidence of aptemporality, no examples of it. It is a figment of your imagination that you find useful in justifying your image of God.

        Time is a property of the universe, a concept we use to judge the change around us. It is a relative measure. The truth is that the universe changes. The rate at which it changes is what we call time. We pick certain changes such as the motions of the Earth, and Moon and the rate of radioactive decay and we measure time by those things. We then compare all other changes to those standards.

        But time is not like a film. You can't wind it back. The first frame and the last frame are not co-existent. Every "moment" we are not made and unmade anew, we are a continuity of change. This is the truth of time. Spacetime is such that the relative acceleration of different bodies can cause relative time differentiation. That is, if you zip around fast enough time slows for you relative to others. This is about as atemporal as it gets. but you still co-exist in the universe despite your relative time dilation.

        To be atemporal in this universe would be to mean that nothing ever changes for you. You would exist in a static universe that never ever changes in any way. That would be the only real atemporality. And that would not work well for God I think. Nor could there ever be any causes in an atemporal context because nothing can ever happen.

        --- the difference ---

        What separates you and I intellectually is that I accept I cannot know all the truths of the universe. All I can do is seek better understanding through constant questioning and examination.

        You seem to think you already have all the relevant answers and that anyone who disagrees is somehow illogical, irrational or just plain stupid. It is an arrogant and closed minded view and very likely utterly wrong because you have stopped the process of trying to seek new knowledge. You don't really listen to others. You just lay all your assumptions at their feet and proceed to knock down strawmen you see all around you.

        -- My league --

        My league at the moment is the undefeated champion of Qallout. If you think you can do better, step up and beat me. Someone will beat me eventually, why not have it be you that does it?

        Until then, have fun not responding to my post or admitting that you don't have the self discipline to follow your own claims. Go ahead and chose which of those you like best. :)

      • a year ago

        @sigfried
        "My main argument against God is that the means that people come to believe in god are unreliable and lead to widely variant results and conclusions. More generally this is true of all supernatural claims"

        Can you give me an example of this?

      • a year ago

        @the_peoples_champ Sure thing.

        So I find there are two primary ways people arrive at supernatural beliefs.

        1. Tradition/Authority It is taught to them as a child, or as an adult and accepted based on the authority of the teacher.

        2. Spiritual experiences. Many people I have talked to believe because they have felt the presence of the holy spirit or their religion's equivalent touch their heart at some pressing moment of their life.

        Often they have a mix of these two.

        Some folks do use "logical proofs" for god (as we just saw) but I've never met anyone who became a believer based on those, only people who already held their beliefs and use these proofs as further justification of their faith.

        Most original claims are some kind of #2. Claims that God spoke to them and told them the truth which they then brought to others. See the founder of Mormonism as a good example of the origin of a religion.

        --- that said ---
        When I observe religious groups and people, they all have these things in common, Tradition and Spiritual experience to some degree. And this goes beyond religion into astrology, numerology, ghost hunting, and all manner of other supernatural claims.

        But I observe that these methodologies have led to a huge and ever-widening array of religious beliefs and spiritual claims. If the methodologies are good, I would expect a convergence of claims and a unification of beliefs.

        And when I look at predictions religious groups make about the future based on their understanding of the world, they get it wrong nearly all the time. Every end of the world prediction, every doom and gloom scenario of punishment for sin, every bold claim about the heavens or the environment, almost always dead wrong.

        -- On the other side of the coin --
        Naturalism and empirical science have a much better track record. We see varying opinions, but over time, and with more knowledge those opinions consolidate into widely held consensus views. They do not lead to ever-widening branches of competing claims. This is because they have objective tests to determine which claims are correct and which ones are not.

        And likewise, the predictions of science are very often correct. Not all the time, but again, there is a mechanism that says, if it failed, you did it wrong and should try again until you get ti right. And once you do, it keeps working the same way over and over again. The reliability of the conclusions is what has created all modern technology.

        -- So... --

        Whenever the evidence is either "my tradition tells me it is true" or "I felt the truth of it in my heart" I try to be respectful, but I don't find it at all persuasive. Those methodologies lead to thousands of different and mutually exclusive conclusions.

        When I hear, I tried it out, and this is something you can do for yourself if you want to see how it works. I am a lot more likely to think that is going to pan out to be true because it is a method that has produces solid results time and time again.

      • a year ago

        @the_peoples_champ Here is a concrete example I thought of.

        If you wanted to know what the weather is like next week do you

        A. Consult your astrologer
        B. Ask your priest
        C. Consult a meteorologist

        For thousands of years, priests and astrologers were consulted on the weather. And for thousands of years, they weren't terribly reliable.

        As we started to make scientific examinations of the weather, we still had some real challenges with accuracy, but the more we worked the system, the better they got at it. Priests and astrologers still can't get the job done and we have stopped asking them (mostly).

        So you might say "OK, but it's not really fair to expect a priest to know the weather, that is not his specialty."

        I'd say, what is their specialty exactly? What can I go to a priest about and get an accurate prediction based on their knowledge?

        Perhaps relationship advice, or other general moral advice. Which moral choice would be better for my life. I think that is fair enough and that you probably could get decent advice. But I think that is not because of their religion but their experience as councilors. And I would probably find that a secular counselor or psychiatrist could give me equally good moral advice for the same reasons. These are people wise in human interaction, an area where empirical science is simply not well suited to passing any judgments.

        Spiritual advice is the other. But if I ask one priest, say a catholic for spiritual advice, and then went and asked another, say a Hindu Guru, I'd get utterly different answers about the fundamental nature of the universe. This is their real religious expertise, and it's all over the map.

        There are common themes to religion, but they also are not all that different from secular themes. They simply appear to me to be human norms rather than spiritual truths. The stuff that is outside common human experience, they have wildly different answers for. Yet they all use the same types of methodologies to arrive at those wildly different answers.

        That leads me to strongly suspect those methodologies don't work well and that any belief system based on them is higly suspect.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried You said that the belief itself is unreliable, implying it's irrational and/or meaningless.

      • a year ago

        @meta_self This guy doesn't care. He does not feel he needs to justify any of his claims. None of his arguments are deductive, he has brought a knife to a gun fight. I've tried to explain to him multiple times the underlying issues with his position and how what he says is of no relevance to my position.

        He continually makes a universal negative claim by saying "We cannot know absolute truth." I explain this to him and his response is: "Is it absolutely true that absolute truth does not exist?

        Answer: No. I strongly suspect there is Absolute Truth, I am also pretty darn sure you and I will never know it."

        So he makes an absolute epistemological claim regarding absolute truth.

        He doesn't care, he just continues to argue inductively. If you replace cosmology with physics and ontology with biology, of course, you'll find no answers like this dude has. BECAUSE BIOLOGY CANNOT EXPLAIN ONTOLOGY and PHYSICS CANNOT EXPLAIN COSMOLOGY! Physics is a product of cosmology, it precedes it.

        This man willingly conflates concepts, willingly lies, and posts walls of text ignoring these glaring flaws.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert Why don't you take it on a Head-2-Head debate? You can challenge the user you disagree with directly from the camera icons next to his name and at his profile too.

      • a year ago

        His example of the priest not being an astrologer pretends that the priest's cosmology is bad meteorology. The dude is a mechanist, a scientific positivist then tries to make appeals to logic. If you're a naturalist like he is then there is no such thing as truth, truth is a quality of propositions and their relations to reality, but if you contend that logic is non-existent or not transcendent then you have no metric for truth. HOW CAN YOU CALL A LINE CROOKED IF YOU HAVE NO STRAIGHT LINE AGAINST WHICH YOU MAY MEASURE???

        This is just absolutely absurd. I must be some sort of masochist because I continue to engage these intellectual dishonesties.

      • a year ago

        @gigi Why would I engage him? He doesn't even respond to what I say. He either ignores it or strawmans it then proceeds with a bunch of inductions or anecdotes. But the issue is, induction cannot prove. And this guy rejects that you can prove anything absolutely, yet makes an absolute claim to do so. I point this out to him, then he responds with little fables about priests being weathermen.

        I've debated people like him long enough to know their dishonesty, I'm not going to engage him.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert We strongly encourage individuals who are seeking to challenge their views and advocate for their beliefs to do so over video so that they have a constructive dialogue and avoid the misunderstandings and flame wars that happen via text. You can check sigfried's profile and previous debates to see that he is actually one of the more open minded and respectful online users that you will come across

      • a year ago

        @meta_self "You said that the belief itself is unreliable, implying it's irrational and/or meaningless."

        That's not what I intend to say. Let me frame this a bit since this discussion wandered around.

        My own reason for not believing in god is partly that the methods by which others come to believe in god are suspect because they do not yield consistent truth claims. The two methods are Personal Revelation and Tradition.

        That is not meant to say that they are irrational or meaningless. Personal Revelation is very meaningful to the person that experiences it. The problem is that it is incredibly subjective. It is a personal truth that I cannot really access. Tradition is very rational, but there are many competing traditions and no reliable means of deciding which is true (that I have found).

        So, this leaves me without a reliable means to examine claims about God. Mostly...

        Zach brings up logical claims. But these are not generally used to discover god, only to argue for him after people have decided on his existence. And I find logical fault in these arguments, especially in their underlying assumptions and definitions.

        Zach claims that such logical puzzles are the ultimate truth of the universe. I don't agree. Beneath each are more unanswered questions than truths.

        --

        Belief itself is not a problem. Human beings have to have beliefs. It is more a question if the beliefs are reliable and trustworthy. Because I don't think it is possible for us to Know ultimate truth without any possible fault, then I always couch my views with some measure of uncertainty. For many things I am very certain, for others, not so much.

        For God, I'm about 99.5% certain that specific gods worshiped by human beings are not real. For a much more general Deist God, aka some force that is or creates the universe, I'm much closer to 50/50 odds. It is entirely possible, my human instinct suggests it, but I don't see any strong indicators of it and have no way to test the hypothesis. Thus it remains an open mystery. If there is a God, I'd strongly suspect it is a Pantheist one. Which is to say that all the universe is what God is.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert "This is just absolutely absurd. I must be some sort of masochist because I continue to engage these intellectual dishonesties."

        That does seem to be a problem for you. Have you stopped to ask yourself why? Not just rhetorically, but in earnest.

        Naturalism works, it has made incredible strides in the human condition and our ability to survive and explore our universe. Philosophy is part of naturalism and science, you know this. It is a measure of pragmatism about knowledge that drives the mechanisms of science.

        For all your talk of truth, your line of philosophical reasoning is a dead end that hasn't advanced human understanding in many hundreds of years.

        I follow a path of proven success and advancement of knowledge that we can witness in every moment of our lives.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried

        This is the last time I ever respond to you. I hope that you in some way understand how insane your worldview is from this, however if you are still left confused, cry elsewhere for help.

        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


        "Naturalism works, it has made incredible strides in the human condition and our ability to survive and explore our universe. Philosophy is part of naturalism and science, you know this. It is a measure of pragmatism about knowledge that drives the mechanisms of science.

        For all your talk of truth, your line of philosophical reasoning is a dead end that hasn't advanced human understanding in many hundreds of years.

        I follow a path of proven success and advancement of knowledge that we can witness in every moment of our lives."

        This is literally just a bunch of nothing.

        I feel you clearly do not even understand what naturalism is.

        Naturalism is not some development, naturalism is not some technology, naturalism is not the scientific method, naturalism is not science itself.

        "Naturalism urge[s] that reality is exhausted by nature, containing nothing “supernatural”, and that the scientific method should be used to investigate all areas of reality, including the “human spirit” (Krikorian 1944; Kim 2003)."

        "A central thought in ontological naturalism is that all spatiotemporal entities must be identical to or metaphysically constituted by physical[3] entities."

        However, I will take on the position which you espouse, which is logical positivism.

        One problem with logical positivism is the verificationist theory of meaning, which states that the only meaningful synthetic claims are those which can be verified by experience. This has two problems:

        1) It is self-refuting; after all, what experience verifies the verificationist theory of meaning?

        2) When fully explicated, it either lets too much or too little in.

        The logical positivists were fully committed to science, and so they made sure that scientific claims would admit of verification. But certain scientific claims, like "all swans are white", are not directly verifiable; no amount of white-swan-experiences will verify the universal generalization. But attempts to weaken the VTM to accommodate such claims have made too many claims verifiable, even metaphysical claims like "the nothing noths".

        One example of a defective attempt at amending the VTM is Ayer's. His reformulation, as paraphrased by the SEP article on Ayer, is:

        "a statement is directly verifiable if it is either an observation statement or is such that an observation statement is derivable from it in conjunction with another observation statement (or observation statements), such derivability not being possible from the conjoined observation statement(s) alone. And a statement is indirectly verifiable if, first, in conjunction with certain other premises it entails one or more directly verifiable statements that are not derivable from these other premises alone, and, second, that these other premises “do not include any statement that is not either analytic, or directly verifiable, or capable of being independently established as indirectly verifiable.” (LTL 2nd ed. P. 17)."

        Alonzo Church, paraphrased in the same SEP article, shows why this won't work:

        "This principle generated further criticism, most significantly from Alonzo Church (1949), who claimed to show that, again, it allowed any statement to be meaningful. Take O1, O2, and O3 as logically independent observation statements, and S any statement whatsoever. Then
        (1) (¬O1&O2) v (O3&¬S)

        is directly verifiable, as (1) in conjunction with O1 entails O3. S becomes indirectly verifiable, as O2 follows from S and (1), and (1) is directly verifiable. Should O2 follow from (1) alone, then O2 follows from O3&¬S, which means that ¬S is directly verifiable (O2 and O3&¬S being logically independent)."

        Just read the following article:

        https://philosophynow.org/issues/103/WittgensteinTolstoy_and_the_Folly_of_Logical_Positivism

        Wittgenstein was the crowned jewel of the positivists, but even he eventually anathematized his own work.

      • a year ago

        Moreover, verificationism has a serious problem with creating an object-language. If verificationism attempts to reduce all meaningful statements to elementary statements of experience or analytic truths, think of the following: I have these terms that can be verified, such as "water" or "glass". What makes them verifiable? We can define 'water' by ostension: we point at a glass of water; we can't point at a god. One's verifiable while the other is not.

        But that doesn't really work if you think about it a bit longer. You're not really giving a definition devoid of theory when you point at water and call it 'water'. Really, you're implying all sorts of dispositional properties: water will choke you if you drink it too fast, boil at 100 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level, yadda yadda yadda. So when you say, "Here is a glass of water" you're not really verifying anything. But how do we get there? Due to the following ...

        Already many LPs accepted Popper's criticism that strictly universal statements were either meaningless or functionally helpful (but nothing more) in science. No number of confirmations can verify a strictly universal statement, by that very criterion of meaning, scientific laws cannot be reduced to elementary statements of experience, and ought to be rejected as meaningless. But wait! Dispositional properties are structured as strictly universal statements! So the theory-laden aspect of language undermines verificationism on the grounds that all dispositional properties are meaningless by verificationism's lights. But dispositional properties are clearly meaningful, as are strictly universal statements.

        So the LP definition of 'meaning' is derogatory rather than descriptive, and gives no compelling reason for adopting it other than that it calls metaphysics 'meaningless'. In other words, it attempts to restrict a definition, but it is unsuccessful at that by defining scientific statements away as meaningless.

        Here's another one: most LPs accepted that science was inductive, and scientists practiced an inductive logic. But wait! Their proposed inductive logics are not reducible to elementary statements of experience or analytic truths.

        What else? Statements that are self-defeating are very problematic. To simply things a great deal, why take that mathematical axiom seriously when by taking it seriously it demands that you reject it? Analogously, why take a epistemic theory seriously when by taking it seriously it demands that you reject it? Either you reject it, or you accept it and therefore reject it. It's not a problem if you adopt an epistemic theory makes some uncontroversial assumptions, but it's a big problem if you adopt it when it demands that you reject it.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert FYI, because you open with such an insulting statement, I'm not going to bother to read a word of what you just typed beyond the introduction.

      • a year ago

        And finally, your claim that positivism/naturalism has brought so much innovation is for one thing irrelevant and for another unrelated.

        There is nothing which requires one to be a positivist or a naturalist to say be a software engineer. I have experience developing as well, yet I am not a naturalist, nor do I operate within any naturalist framework to do my coding.

        Moreover, how do you explain the connection between naturalism and innovation? You can't, there is no link. You have merely conflated or associated by connotation naturalism to science and reason.

        The naturalism you espouse is an ontological position, it has nothing to do with innovation.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried Have you heard of Natural Theology? It has nothing to do with tradition or special revelation.

      • a year ago

        @meta_self Yes, though I've generally found it is most often used by those who come from a revealed tradition to back up their views rather than people with no tradition to build one.

        I think an honest Natural Theology can lead to not a lot more than Deism. AKA a God that creates a world, then simply lets it play out, or a Pantheist God that literally is the universe. Most religious people I know are not satisfied with those constructions.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried That's a genetic fallacy. Who cares about the background of its subscribers.

        I came to it from a rational perspective.

        Natural theology isn't a defense for the Christian Triune God. It's a defense for theism in general. The evidence for the resurrection is evidence for Christianity.

      • a year ago

        @meta_self My whole argument is about the means by which religion is discovered and revealed. If someone is raised as a Catholic, then they didn't discover the faith through natural theism, they simply used that practice later as a justification for what they already held true.

        That is not a genetic fallacy.

        People do use Natural Theology as a defense of the Christian Triune God very often. Not all, but many do.

        I hardly ever met any theists who are simply Deists. People do not come to know Jesus Christ through natural theology. Indeed a close study of the natural world argues strongly against a number of Christian biblical claims.

        I find it disingenuous to use naturalism to argue for theism, but then reject it when it is inconvenient for specific dogma.

        Now if an avowed Deist wants to argue natural teology, or someone creates a religion based entirely on natural observation, I'd be very interested in discussing that wit them and coming to understand their ideas.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried That isn't necessary. It's just a potentiality.

        It's a fallacy to argue the validity of a statement from where it's proponents come from or are predisposed to.

        I have never seen anyone argue for the Trinity with natural theology. It may be that those naturalistic arguments are the first line of support for Christianity by establishing a personal creator God.

        What claims about Natural theology contradict the life of Jesus and the resurrection?

        When did I reject or uphold naturalism? Natural theology isn't philosophical or methodological naturalism.

        Deism already exists as a belief system today:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism#Contemporary_deism

      • a year ago

        @meta_self

        Yes, that is a fallacy, and that is not what I am doing.

        I am saying that natural Theology is not how Christianity was formed. It is not how God of the Christian faith was first discovered or conceived. It is not the means by which the church was founded or justified. And thus it is not an underpinning belief of the Christian faith.

        My concern with religion is how it was founded and discovered, not what is then used retroactively to justify it.

        Natural theology is supposed to extend from reason and natural experience in nature. These are the underpinning mechanisms of methodological naturalism which in turn is how science generally operates. Reason and observation of the world around us.

        How does that contradict Jesus and his resurrection? Lots of ways. The dead have never been known to come back to life. Nor does the process of the body on death really allow for that except under conditions where it is very well preserved. (not in a hot desert tomb for instance). Men cannot walk on the surface of the water. People cannot turn water into wine. Bread and Fishes cannot be created spontaneously etc...

        Naturalism also tells us there has never been a global flooding of the earth. It tells us that life evolved over time rather than being created all at once as described in Genesis. That snakes don't have vocal chords nor ever had them. People cannot survive inside the bellies of whales or any other creature. Lots of stuff in the bible does not comport with reason and observation of the natural world.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried I never made a claim about how religion was formed.

        Christianity started with the historical figure Jesus.

        Just because methodological naturalism uses reason doesn't mean that the two are identical.

        But how do you explain him appearing to 500 people after death, some of whom were killed because they proclaimed it to be true? The arguments that the apostles were lying or hallucinating are unreasonable given the circumstances.

        I'm not sure how to classify the Old Testament. That's why I'm not calling myself a Christian (among other reasons). With that said, a lot of scientific and rational evidence of God (basic theism) existence exists.

      • a year ago

        @meta_self I made the claim about how religion was formed, that was the topic of my comment here that you are responding to. I will quote myself...

        "My main argument against God is that the means that people come to believe in god are unreliable and lead to widely variant results and conclusions."

        I presume that arguments in response to my post are on the topic of my post and its contentions.

        ---

        My explanation for the testaments of Jesus coming from the dead is that they are legends. Not different from legends about Mohamad's miracles, or the miracles of Hindu Yogis, or all the stories of Joseph Smith and his angels and golden tablets. I don't think those things ever actually happened.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried Legends need hundreds of years to develop. The Gospels were written within a generation.

      • a year ago

        @meta_self Legends can take almost no time at all. Joseph Smith created a legend in a very short period of time.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried Legends aren't made like that. Joesph Smith wasn't 500 different people.

      • a year ago

        @meta_self Look, legends can get made in an afternoon. There don't need to be 500 actual people. I can just tell you there were 500 different people who saw Jesus. Then I can write that down and tell a bunch more people.

        The bible does not contain an annotated list of 500 witnesses and their signatures. It is just an account of an event and you could say literally anything you wanted to. I could say 10,000 people saw me fly in the Arizona desert yesterday and write a story about it. If enough people believed it or shared the story it would be a legend.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried All scholars in the area disagree.

      • a year ago

        @meta_self Scholars who have faith in Christianity disagree. That is because they have faith. There is nothing in sholarship that cn verify the truth of those claims.

      • a year ago

        @sigfried Even Bart Ehrman disagrees with you...

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert are you taking into account multiple dimensions that we cannot visualize, test, imagine or understand. If not you need to see this. https://youtu.be/aSz5BjExs9o

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert the reason I ask is because what you perceive as god, could be no different than what the 2 dimensional beings perceive as the images they are perceiving. You simply do not have enough data to verify and justify your statement.

    • a year ago

      Zachary Robert: I'm just a simple-minded atheist (probably an oxymoron). But, your arguments make absolutely NO sense to me. I think it was Einstein who once said, if you can't explain your position simply...you really don't understand what you're talking about. I read most of this crap below, before I became both exhausted and bored. So, my challenge to you is to explain your position in SIMPLE terms for a simple-minded atheist like me. If you can't, I suggest Einstein would say you don't know what you're talking about. I hope I haven't stirred up a hornet's nest, but I fear I have.

      • a year ago

        @dorothy8532 You improperly tagged me in this post, so I was not aware that you had written this.

        Simply put:

        1. If we are to talk about proof we may only use deduction, as you cannot prove (make absolute truth claims) via induction. This is known as the problem of induction.

        2. Since we are talking about a proof for the existence of God, we may use several deductive methods to prove his existence. However, I feel that since we are dealing with existence, we might as well use the field devoted entirely to the existence of things: ontology.

        3. The proof:

        1. By definition, God is a being than which none greater can be imagined.

        2. A being that necessarily exists in reality is greater than a being that does not
        necessarily exist.

        4. Thus, by definition, if God exists as an idea in the mind but does not
        necessarily exist in reality, then we can imagine something that is greater than
        God.

        5. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God.

        6. Thus, if God exists in the mind as an idea, then God necessarily exists in
        reality.

        7. God exists in the mind as an idea.

        8. Therefore, God necessarily exists in reality.

        4. The beauty of this proof is that it is definitional. Do you know what else is definitional? Mathematics! This proof uses what we call predicate calculus:

        (1) ¬A
        (2) ¬A → B
        (3) B → C
        ---------------
        (4) C
        (5) A

        A = that than which nothing greater can be conceived
        B = that something can be conceived to be greater than A
        C = Contradiction

        5. That's as simple as it goes, and I doubt Einstein would hold his theory of special relativity to that standard, there are some things which require a bit of effort on the part of the unlearned to understand.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert
        Stealing a line from The Police: your "logic ties me up and rapes me."

        Just a couple of logical problems...premise number two: "A being that necessarily exists in reality is greater than a being that does not necessarily exist." This premise is invalid if I can think of
        one example where it is not true. I see a tiny spider on my carpet. Is that tiny spider greater than an alien from outer space? So far as we know, aliens don't necessarily exist (they may or may not exist),
        but if they do exist, they probably are greater than that tiny spider. Is an amoeba that necessarily exists greater than a future president of the United States who does not necessarily exist - who may or may not be alive today?

        I can go on and on but, I find this absolutely absurd.

        Essentially, what you're arguing is - in your words - "if God exists in the mind as an idea, then God necessarily exists in reality."

        So, you're suggesting that if God didn't exist, there's no way that mankind could have ever possibly conceived of God. That's blantantly absurd at face value.

        And, here's my final point. Let's hypothetically say you're absolutely right. WELL THEN, YOU HAVE JUST PROVED THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. OMG!!!! Submit your logic to scientists around the world who will
        validate that Zachary Robert has finally proved God does exist. Hallelujah! You'll be rich and famous beyond your wildest dreams.

        All you have to do is submit your logic and reasoning skills for scientific verification.

      • a year ago

        @dorothy8532 Okay, let me address the few contentions you've raised.

        1. You claim that you can contradict the claim that a necessarily existing being existing, in reality, is not greater than a necessarily existing being which does not exist in reality.

        You seem to have misunderstood the word necessary in this context. When we are talking about ontology the word necessary means "Could not have failed to exist". So we separate existence into two categories, those which could have failed to exist (contingent beings) or necessary beings.

        Because of this, your objection is a result of a misunderstanding and has no bearing on the validity of my argumentation.

        2. "So, you're suggesting that if God didn't exist, there's no way that mankind could have ever possibly conceived of God. That's blantantly absurd at face value."

        No, I'm suggesting that by the very nature of reality we could not ever have such a thing. Just like, we could never have such a thing as a square triangle, it is a logical impossibility. I am arguing it is a logical impossibility to have a world without the existence of God. I assume the non-existence of God to illustrate a contradiction. This contradiction then proves his existence necessary.

        3. "And, here's my final point. Let's hypothetically say you're absolutely right. WELL THEN, YOU HAVE JUST PROVED THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. OMG!!!! Submit your logic to scientists around the world who will
        validate that Zachary Robert has finally proved God does exist. Hallelujah! You'll be rich and famous beyond your wildest dreams. "

        Most people already know God exists, actually. Including the majority of scientists. Only 2% of the world self-identifies as atheist.

        http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/
        https://www.britannica.com/topic/religion-Year-In-Review-2010

        Sorry to say, but this would be like submitting a proof for 2+2 = 4 to an academy of mathematics, nobody'd get excited over such an obvious thing.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert It would seem that you speak about god as the omnipotent, omniscient, and creator of everything..

        However, the term god.. could be applied to Superman. Superman compared to humans is a god. He can live for endless millennia. Gravity, space, heat, pressure and and the need to breathe are irrelevant to him.

        So you have yet to define what God you are speaking about.

        Furthermore, you are arguing the existence of god from the viewpoint of man. Which is like an ant arguing the understanding of the cosmos from that of the anthill. Odds are, even if it makes sense to the ant and ant logic, the ant is going to be wrong.


        What you think you can explain can only be understood to certain levels, at which point indeterminism must take a central role, which leaves just about everything up in the air for opinion.

        I appreciate you taking your logic as far as it can be taken. But it's not an end all explanation of the subject, and that you are so convinced that you understand it shows just how little you truly have grasp of the subject.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert This is so absurd, it really doesn't require a response. Your words: "I am arguing it is a logical impossibility to have a world without the existence of God." I don't want to be rude, but your arguments make no sense whatsoever. Including what I can only call your delusional statement: "Most people already know God exists, actually. Including the majority of scientists. Only 2% of the world self-identifies as atheist."

      • a year ago

        @vermontrevolutionary So are you suggesting God is a metaphor for Superman or some other being? I can use the word Goddess to describe some women like Marilyn Monroe, or my nextdoor neighbor, Susie, but nobody would seriously consider her to be a Goddess. I think we all agree God means, omnipotent, and the creator of everything. If you have a different definition please let it fly...I'm anxious to hear.

      • a year ago

        @dorothy8532 I'm saying the term "god" here is not clearly defined.

      • a year ago

        @zacharyrobert a square triangle is called a pyramid. Just saying.

    • a year ago

      I think God exists or excited , to Jesus , Mary , Joseph and the poor little donkey . His / there people's story . I think was just told so everyone listens to people in there family over time. Tune in you'll hear your people if you ask them instead of living your life asking worshiping a man no one has ever seen . Or heard . . Xx

      • a year ago

        Prove it.

        • a year ago

          I can prove oxygen, sunlight, water, and the moon exist.. you are claiming the existence of something that can neither be measured nor tested. So I say to you again. Prove it.

      • a year ago

        Prove it!!