What's the best definition of God that you guys can come up with or find?
I came up with this one:
"God: a literary device (used mostly in fantasy) to bypass the laws of physics and nature in order to speed up the writing process."
Modern Example: Eru from "The Silmarillion" by JRR Tolkien.
The traditional example you all know.
Maurice Whitehurst said (in part) "When people use the proposition, all religions are the same, what they are basically stating is that all religions are somehow true."
This is inaccurate. That is one possibility. The other is that all religions are false. The statement "all religions are the same" is also valid if all of them are false which is my conclusion since I see no evidence for a benevolent god. And I know of no religion that accepts the premise that god is malevolent - such a religion is the only one that might possibly be true from my observations.
I asked you how something would come into existence without a cause -> you have not answered my question, only fluffed up some rhetoric. You've referenced a definition as enforcing necessity without supplying that definition. You've left out the option of infinitely recursive causes.
You've claimed 'all evidence' points back to this invisible boogieman of yours, and I've asked you for that evidence, even a shred, and you have provided nothing. Is there any evidence?
I've asked you for a definition of transcendental truth and you've overlooked that as well.
And yes, 'multiplicity of gods' -> why would 10, 1000, or even an infinite number of invisible boogiemen be anymore ridiculous than one?
You've also proselytized, and I'll ask you to stop that since it is against the discussion guidelines.
Ward...you are correct. that is a possibility. Yet, you too are making an exclusive claim so you fit right in with the religions. You are trying to answer 4 questions any worldview or philosophy has to answer: 1. origin 2. morality 3. meaning 4. destiny. And you are spouting a worldview.
Now lets talk about evidence...
Evidence is not proof. Evidence is like a gun, it can be used againist anyone.
Courts require no proof, only evidence.
I am sorry you cannot understand the meaning of what I said.
Nothing comes into existence without a cause. the 3 are the only options. By reasoning through it, you would have acquired the answer. but...Even if a crime was committed in a courtroom, the lawyer still would have to offer up evidence. Proof is observable.
When you ask someone for proof they can ride a bike, what needs to happen? The bike rider has to be observed. Proof.
Back to evidence. The same evidence is argued in court by different lawyers as to what the evidence means. Evidence points to meaning. So when you say there is no evidence of a God, you err. The evidence is clearly visible and invisible. When you go to explain how this universe or world came into existence, you point to evidence that you think (not know) explains.
ok, now that evidence and proof are parsed....
infinitely recursive causes is c. Recursion has to have something already existing.
As far as evidence...the problem isn't the sufficiency of evidence but rather the suppression of it. To give truth to him who loves it now is to give that man more reasons to misinterpret it.
All truth is transcendent. For example. You wrote the reply I am replying to. Correct? That is true. Now when will that not be true? Once you have done it, it is true. Even if you undo what you have done. You cannot rewind time. So every truth is transcendent.
The truth sets you free for those that believe in Jesus. Is that proselytizing or simple stating a belief. You would have to know my intent to know if I am, wouldn't you? Intent comes before content, rt? Then who can know the mind of a man except that man say?
maybe the truth is changing your heart and you feel the pull of conversion happening...but I can change no ones mind..only present what I think the truth is...as you claim to do.
Infinite recursion would be the case for an eternal super cosmos. You have yet to provide that definition for which I asked. You've also ignored my request for an explanation of how something could exist without a cause.
Now you've given a long winded trail of rhetoric on evidence without actually offering a single shred of evidence. Considering you have claimed that 'all evidence' points back to your invisible boogieman, it shouldn't be difficult for you to just provide a single example, one little snippet. It would seem that there isn't a single shred of evidence for your bugaboo, and thus your definition seems to refer to a non-existent thing.
By your definition of transcendent truth, it would seem you are the bearer thereof? Is this a correct evaluation? Are YOU claiming to be a deity?
You have yet to respond to my question as to why ten, a thousand, or even infinite invisible boogiemen would be less plausible than your claim of a single invisible boogieman.
Yes, proselytizing. When you wander off into biblical quotations that are not pertinent to the discussion at hand, you do so for no other purpose than to insert your cult scripture into the forum. You've suggested that the words attributed to the mythological Jesus figure are an exclusive claim on the truth without providing evidence. That is nothing more than preaching and it is not welcome here. Keep it relevant and back up your claims.
What have I claimed to be the truth in our exchanges? I've pointed out that you are being evasive about providing evidence, and I can cite this very exchange as evidence of that. I'm not the one making unsupportable claims here.
Now, you've claimed that a god would be, amongst other things, a thing to which all evidence would point. I must evaluate that the god which you have defined does not exist since it seems that not one bit of evidence I have ever encountered has pointed in that direction, let alone every single bit of evidence I have ever seen. Would you like to change your definition?
Quotes from Maurice Whitehurst on Saturday addressed to me – most are from his 3rd post in this thread (unless otherwise indicated). Although only this portion really applies to what I wrote:
"Ward...you are correct. that is a possibility."
The rest of his 3rd post seems more like he's replying to Heather Spoonheim's post – immediately after mine. But since it was addressed to me I'll take a shot at it especially since this next quote was the next sentence in the same paragraph as the above quote.
"Yet, you too are making an exclusive claim so you fit right in with the religions."
Not true – I stated what a conclusion of mine was. I made no claim, exclusive or otherwise. Second reason your statement is not true is that the observation regarding a malevolent god was not a proposal for the creation of a religion. If I ever choose to sink that low, I won't be so foolish as to do it on an atheist site.
"You are trying to answer 4 questions any worldview or philosophy has to answer: 1. origin 2. morality 3. meaning 4. destiny. And you are spouting a worldview."
Not true, by saying I am an atheist I am saying I reject all religious worldviews. Since I'm not the one pushing the worldview (you are), I wasn't trying to answer a set of questions. You also incorrectly equate a worldview with a philosophy. While they could be the same, they are not always so. You also got the number of elements wrong. While Wiki is not perfect, I'm going to trust it over someone who is as incorrect as you have shown yourself to be.
A worldview should comprise these six elements:
1. An explanation of the world
2. A futurology, answering the question "Where are we heading?"
3. Values, answers to ethical questions: "What should we do?"
4. A praxeology, or methodology, or theory of action: "How should we attain our goals?"
5. An epistemology, or theory of knowledge: "What is true and false?"
6. An etiology. A constructed world-view should contain an account of its own "building blocks," its origins and construction.
"Evidence is not proof. Evidence is like a gun, it can be used against anyone." AND
"Back to evidence. The same evidence is argued in court by different lawyers as to what the evidence means."
Again, not true. It can only be used against anyone if you are willing to manipulate and distort the evidence.
"I am sorry you cannot understand the meaning of what I said."
I understood your first post in this thread on Saturday – religiosity you believe to be true. Your second post was a bit muddled and somewhat incoherent which is why I only addressed part of it. If you wish to restate that post so it is more clearly stated, please do so.
"Nothing comes into existence without a cause. the 3 are the only options. By reasoning through it, you would have acquired the answer. "
Yet, you gave as your first definition of god:
"1. The only being in existence that need no cause to exist." 1st Saturday post
So you contradict yourself.
"<a> that which is caused into existence by an external entity." 2nd Saturday post
You make a huge presumption here embodied in one word: "entity". You would need to prove the external cause was an entity.
"Evidence points to meaning. So when you say there is no evidence of a God, you err. The evidence is clearly visible and invisible. When you go to explain how this universe or world came into existence, you point to evidence that you think (not know) explains."
I have yet to explain how the universe came into existence since this thread was about defining god. Saying I'm wrong about there not being any evidence for god doesn't make it so. So you need to provide some – the supposedly clearly visible kind.
"All truth is transcendent. For example. You wrote the reply I am replying to. Correct? That is true. Now when will that not be true? Once you have done it, it is true. Even if you undo what you have done. You cannot rewind time. So every truth is transcendent."
Responding to the underlined portion (underline mine): Right now it's not true. It is clear from your muddled reply you are replying to both Heather and myself. So, you are correct AND incorrect. Thus, true AND false. So your premise fails and every truth is thus NOT transcendent.
Seems like Maurice here doesn't really know what the word evidence means. Not to mention the words ethics and honesty. I'm sorry, but I cannot think of any other explanation for his behaviour in the past few pages of this thread.
All evidence actually points that there is absolutely no need for divine creators, and in all probability, they don't exist. Evidence is not proof indeed, but it is an important part of proof. The other part of proof is logic. Not belief, not authority, not scripture, but logic and logic alone.
By ignoring the part about logic, it is possible to make rhetorically dishonest (and indeed absolutely false) propositions such as "evidence is like a gun, it can be used against anyone", and "courts need no proof, only evidence".
As far as evidence, ethics and honesty go, I'm also eager to see what actual "evidence" points to some deity, and indeed, which deity it is that the "evidence" points to.
Does the evidence point to Zeus? Or to the Flying Spaghetti Monster perhaps? Or maybe Lord Inglip? It is amazing how arrogant christians (and other jesusists) can be, claiming and constantly acting as if the word "god" only means their own particular deity.
I am not sure what he means about anything. He seems to be talking Powerpoint-English, half of it might make sense as to what he's trying to convey, when accompanied by scribbled circles, lines, arrows and stuff. I hope he's not doing it deliberately to obscure the lack of actual content.
Unfortunately, from my personal experience - not with him, mind you, but with most theists who act similarly - he most probably is doing it on purpose. For one reason or another. Yes, one reason might be to obscure the lack of actual content, but there might be other reasons as well.
"god" Cop out to those who can not deal with reality..
Cop out for those who are can not want to take responsibility for their own situation in life.
Cop out for those who are complacent in their lives and do not feel that personal advancement is necessary.
Cop out for those who commit evils in the world so that they can claim forgiveness and rationalize their stance.
I could go on but this could go on for a very long time..
Well, that's precisely the problem, isn't it? You can't define "god". Here's a proof:
Adherents have a predictable pattern of appealing to cognitive modes of fantasy. This creates fundamental logical problems in their arguments which the deconverter can readily exploit. We can frame this formally as a problem having to do with what is called the “necessary and sufficient” clause of empirical reality. To wit, a thing is necessary and sufficient provided:
1.) A set of values for independent variables are operationally observed to have been necessary and sufficient for an hypothesized value of a dependent variable to obtain AND
2.) All independent and dependent variables are sufficiently well defined.
Something is sufficiently well defined iff there can be found some causal link in which it can be entrained consisting of at least one antecedent and one descendent such that the effect of the causes entrained can be, in principle, reliably predicted in advance. That is, the causal train must be, in principle, algorithmic and deterministic.
An excellent hands-on example of the Second Axiom regards the so-called First Causes argument used by apologists of various faiths. Popular and oft-accepted without any critical thought whatsoever, even some of the most educated members of society repeat this fallacy ad nausea. Let us dispatch it by contradiction to illustrate:
First please allow me to introduce some basic logical terminology to describe what one might call the No Evil Genius’ Proof:
"Something" (think an event) is possible in a system Q (think universe) "in principle" if Q admits of "Something" that is sufficiently well defined relative to Q.
The word "admit" here is taken to mean "allows"; in the sense that the "laws" governing all behaviors in Q "allows" an event to occur. Those laws are simply the essence of what Q is; it is what defines Q as Q.
"Sufficiently well defined" relative to Q here means the set of properties (to include possibly laws) in Q minimally sufficient to causally entrain an arbitrary event, call it k1, occurring in Q into the causal history of Q. The causal history of Q is the set of events that did, are and will (think all conjugations of “to be”) occur in Q “since” its creation. Think of it like a proton. a proton in free space has what is called a Hilbert Space that describes all its possible states (degrees of freedom). All those allowed states are allowed because of the properties of the spatial system in which it is defined; that is, Q. So, a particle can have mass, for example. That is “allowed” because that is how Q (the universe) works.
Now, we can formalize our statement supra to a first-order approximation of where we’re going with this:
Let an event k1 be sufficiently well defined relative to a spatial system Q. An event k1 is possible in a spatial system Q in principle if Q admits of k1.
Now, consider two spatial systems R and S. Let an event k1 be sufficiently well defined relative to R.
In order for causality between R and S to exist, a special condition must be met. Let an arbitrary event k2 ∈ S.
Let the subset of all properties A ∈ R necessary and sufficient to define k1 relative to R be denoted, r, and the subset of all properties B ∈ S necessary and sufficient to define k2 relative to S, denoted s.
Now, the required condition is trivial,
r ∈ S, R and s ∈ S, R ∵ s ≡ r.
But this is just the same as if r ∈ R and s ∈ R where R is the natural world exposed to empiricism and s contains all the properties necessary and sufficient to define a cause that is super natural. But that means that s can be fully predicted and understood using empiricism alone, which is not allowed under the presumptive definition of a god. Q.E.D.
This is just how easy it is to disprove “gods”. Unfortunately, few understand it. Therefore, other approaches should be put before the adherent. This proof is provided primarily for the deconverter to better understand both the problem and opportunity outlined by the Second Axiom of Deconversion.
Due to the somewhat obtuse manner in which a formal topic such as the above can be introduced, and appreciating how important it is for adherents to understand all Axioms if at all possible, we will attempt to expand on what this implies in a real world scenario.
Recall the key lemma:
Something is sufficiently well defined iff there can be found some causal link in which it can be entrained consisting of at least one antecedent and one descendent such that the effect of the causes entrained can be, in principle, reliably predicted in advance. That is, the causal train must be algorithmic and deterministic.
Let’s be blunter. Whenever a condition ‘exists’ such that it is not sufficiently well defined we are, in effect saying it in the equivalent way as well:
Whenever a condition ‘exists’ such that it cannot be sufficiently well defined in order to entrain any such event (“condition”) in a causal linkage such that it can be algorithmically and deterministically predicted in advance, the “condition” referenced is logically meaningless and irrational, relative to any observer kn whose existence is necessarily and sufficiently defined in nature (as opposed to super nature).
Yea, but why?
Whenever a condition ‘exists’ such that it lacks the definition required in order to entrain any such event (“condition”) in a causal linkage such that it can be algorithmically and deterministically predicted in advance, the “condition” constitutes an infinite effects scenario whereby the “condition”, as we attempt to entrain it, can produce any effect and we have no way of knowing which one is the correct one. It is the very concept of “definition” itself that allows us to narrow the infinite list down to something finite and, if sufficient, to a single cause.
The reader may care to note now, as this concept begins to sink in, how philosophical arguments all have the quality of over generalizing in such a manner as to deny logically valid application to the real, tangible, physical universe. And this is why all the philosophical arguments (or the vast majority) are nonsense. In our case we held strictly to nature and required, as we must, that whatever we claim can be causally entrained in nature, even if only in principle.
I loved the post that mentioned folklore. That sparks a whole bunch of thoughts on this subject for me. So, here's my take:
God: A word created by man and intended to represent and give meaning to human abstractions of unexplainable concepts, and is usually typified in the form of a supreme being of some sort. This being, or deity, is considered to have powers far beyond that of mere mortals. Many "believers" give hope that they can have a personal relationship with this deity and gain influence over uncontrollable events in their lives through things like prayer and sacrifice. Socially, this can become a form of religion. Belief is kept alive through stories of folklore, teachings, testimonials, and are often passed on and symbolized as "truthful" fact.