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.
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.