I'm thinking about posting this to a few more religious forums, but I'd just like to hear what people have to say on here.

So, playing Devil's Advocate, and hopefully without a bunch of straw man replies, what is the best argument for God you've heard? And, if you really can't stand it, why is that argument not good enough?

My favorite is Descartes' Ontological argument- but since I don't have a clear and distinct perception of God, this one still isn't enough for me.

Excited to hear replies!

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No, no, a little to the left, your other left - ahh, that's it!

RE: "But you must understand the mathematics in order to apply it properly."

Which brings us back to my still-ignored question, regarding peer-reviewed publication --

Such answer, Arch, if it actually appears, will hopefully not have yet another link to the G spot website that has already exceeded the boundaries of good taste in its repetitive inclusion in the Emerson posts...

I would love to invite visitors to my website, but even I don't self-promote that shamelessly!

Unseen is right in repeating what I suggested earlier, get your Dad's work peer-reviewed, then get back to us with the written, annotated accolades.

Which brings us back to my still-ignored question, regarding peer-reviewed publication --

I expect that, on the off chance that it does get answered, the vast conspiracy of journal editors which are plotting against Bob and his pater will make an appearance. Think it'll be the 'They won't allow evidence for god because it upsets their atheistic agenda' or the 'They are too blind to see/we're like Galileo' version?

"Bop," Dave - not "Bob," "Bop" - I made the same mistake --

Curse my habit-following fingers.  Yes, I meant to type Bop. 

A mathemagical proof of the existence of God is going nowhere. A proof only mathematicians can understand is no better than one only blacksmiths can understand. You need to persuade non-mathematicians either with a proof that's obvious to laymen or (as is the case with physics and cosmology) with the consensus of all the specialists.

Come back when all the mathematicians agree your proof is good. They are the ones best-suited to understanding it and evaluating the proof.

How Is The G Proof Different from Related Arguments?

G Theory is a formal mathematical theory which fully expresses and proves variations of the Cosmological Argument. These proofs collectively are called The G Proof.

Generally, a Cosmological Argument first assumes some version of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR), which declares that causation or reason is requisite for existence: simply put, PSR says that everything must have a sufficient reason for its existence. The PSR is then used in conjunction with a few more assumptions to conclude that God exists as the causal agent or explanation for the universe and everything within it. In this context, God is understood to be omnipotent: not necessarily omnipotent in the traditional sense of an overseer who steps in and out of the world, influencing various events at will; but at least omnipotent in the naturalistic sense of initiating and/or perpetuating an immutable chain of events, i.e. all events.

Here are the most important objections to Cosmological Arguments:

Objection 1. There are aspects of the universe which transcend explanation - they “just are”.
Objection 2. In particular, the universe as a whole transcends explanation - it “just is”.
Objection 3. The PSR leads to an infinite regress of causes. (e.g. What caused God? What caused the cause of God? etc.)

G Theory recognizes Objection 1 by defining an Absolute phenomenon as anything which “just is”. This makes it possible to avoid infinite regression by falling back on an Absolute phenomenon (such as God, if God is Absolute). In fact, if the existence of Absolute phenomena is altogether denied, then infinite regression is required. Now supposing an infinite regress does in fact exist, one must further ask: is this infinite regress Absolute, or is there an explanation for it? This question is thoroughly analyzed in G Theory Version 2. Modeling Georg Cantor's foundational mathematics of transfinite numbers, Version 2 demonstrates that, even if a given infinite regress is not Absolute, there necessarily exists another infinite regress which is Absolute and which causes the first one.

This means that, for any given phenomenon, either the phenomenon is Absolute or it is caused by an Absolute phenomenon (even if an infinite regress is involved). Now, clearly the vast majority of phenomena experienced by most people are not Absolute: often when we analyze a situation, and we have a decent intuition about it, we can come up with a reasonable explanation. Even when we fail to come up with a true explanation, it is not too far-fetched to believe that some true explanation exists. Thus a significant portion of the universe is not Absolute, moreover this entire portion is fully explained by the Absolute portion. This Absolute portion is just the totality of all Absolute phenomena. We formally define God as this Absolute totality, and we see that this totality explains the rest of the universe.

Now all three objections are resolved as follows:

Objection 1 does not refute the argument; on the contrary it supplies the definition of God.
Objection 2 fails because any given phenomenon in the universe either is Absolute and hence part of God, or else is caused by God. Clearly God is not the entire universe.
Objection 3 only strengthens the argument because G Theory embraces infinite regression, rather than outright rejecting it as many versions of the Cosmological Argument do.

Another possible objection questions our formal definition of God: how does any of this prove that God is personal or benevolent or even conscious? The answer is simple: it neither proves nor attempts to prove any of these things. Why, then, should we call it God? Some prefer a different name such as the Absolute or Absolute Truth. For Cantor it was the Absolute Infinite, and for Aristotle it was the Unmoved Mover. But among religious and spiritual people from cultures all over the world, God is by far the most popular name in English to describe that which has generated – with or without the “intent” to do so – everything in the universe, and therefore this is the most appropriate name suiting our definition.

One more objection concerns the doctrine of free will. Ironically many people who accept some form of the Cosmological Argument also believe in free will, which seems to undermine God's omnipotence: if agents of free will can cause events independent of the natural course of action determined by God, then God is insufficient to cause these events. To resolve this objection, we simply ask: is free will Absolute? If so, then free will is just a part of God; and if not, then free will is ultimately caused by God, and our experience of it is akin to a character in a story who appears to be making choices, when it was in fact the author who made all of these choices. Thus free will is not independent of God.

G Theory does not commit the “God of the gaps” fallacy. There are countless phenomena which science is still unable to explain, for example existence itself: why is there something rather than nothing? When pondering any of these mysterious phenomena, we might conclude one of three possibilities:
1. the phenomenon transcends explanation – it “just is” (i.e. it is Absolute);
2. there exists a naturalistic explanation, but science does not know it yet; or
3. the explanation requires something supernatural, e.g. God did it.

A God of the gaps fallacy just asserts option 3. G Theory concisely and explicitly takes options 1 and 2 into account without ever resorting to option 3. This is easy to see because an Absolute phenomenon, by definition, precludes both options 2 and 3. When considering an Absolute phenomenon, there is no “gap” – no explanation for it is missing because no such explanation exists.

What about the Big Bang? Is the Big Bang the Absolute phenomenon that generated the universe? This raises an extraordinarily difficult question: How can we determine whether a phenomenon is Absolute? Is it even possible to do so? If we assume that the Big Bang or any other mysterious phenomenon is Absolute, then we are guilty of an alternate form of the God of the gaps fallacy: we have merely crossed out “God” and written, “No explanation, it just is.” Our inability to provide any explanation for something is never grounds for declaring it Absolute.

However, consider another possibility: if some Absolute phenomena turn out to be self-sufficient in a meaningful way, then we may eventually develop ways to understand them. For example mathematics is self-sufficient: it exists independent of the Big Bang and all the material energy in the universe. Indeed, mathematics appears to be Absolute, providing its own explanation – it “just works”. It is unchanging and perfect (though our conceptions and understanding of it are changing and imperfect). And mathematics plays a key role in providing scientific explanations. Therefore, through mathematics (including G Theory), and perhaps through additional means yet to be discovered, it may be possible to understand the parts and properties of God, such as self-sufficiency, and why something exists rather than nothing.

Uh-oh, Bop is back --

"We formally define God as this Absolute totality, and we see that this totality explains the rest of the universe." - and therein lies your problem, the definition is yours, and not necessarily anyone else's.

"Objection 1 does not refute the argument; on the contrary it supplies the definition of God." - no, YOU supply the definition of god. You state: "Objection 1. There are aspects of the universe which transcend explanation - they 'just are.'” Until science has a complete explanation for the Universe, it "just is," thereby removing any need for a creator god, precisely as stated in Objection 2: "Objection 2. In particular, the universe as a whole transcends explanation - it 'just is'.”

You feebly attempt to refute Objection 2, by saying, "Objection 2 fails because any given phenomenon in the universe either is Absolute and hence part of God, or else is caused by God. Clearly God is not the entire universe." - other than your own definition, you've offered no evidence there even IS a god, much less that he/she/it causes anything (definitions don't tend to be overly active). The Universe presently transcends explanation, but that doesn't mean that it always will.

Objection 3, stated: "Objection 3. The PSR leads to an infinite regress of causes. (e.g. What caused God? What caused the cause of God? etc.)," to which you responded, "Objection 3 only strengthens the argument because G Theory embraces infinite regression...." I have no problem with this, as there may indeed be an infinite regression to some natural, scientific phenomenon that caused the Universe to generate, and someday, possibly we will determine what that was, but possibly we won't either, and most of us are OK with that. On the other hand, you are left with telling us what caused your non-existent god, and what caused the cause of your nonexistent god - I suspect the answers to both questions will be the same - human imagination.

You further contend: "God is by far the most popular name in English to describe that which has generated – with or without the 'intent' to do so – everything in the universe." So popularity is an important issue with you --

"...many people who accept some form of the Cosmological Argument also believe in free will, which seems to undermine God's omnipotence..." - a non-existent entity has no degree of potency, omni- or otherwise.

"There are countless phenomena which science is still unable to explain, for example existence itself: why is there something rather than nothing? When pondering any of these mysterious phenomena, we might conclude one of three possibilities:
1. the phenomenon transcends explanation – it “just is” (i.e. it is Absolute);
2. there exists a naturalistic explanation, but science does not know it yet; or
3. the explanation requires something supernatural, e.g. God did it."

Why would you choose only those possibilities - is that what you require to make your argument? As to why there is something rather than nothing, I suggest you familiarize yourself with the work of Dr. Lawrence Krause, which speaks to possibility number two, bypassing 1 and 3 entirely. Again, no need for a god.

"G Theory recognizes Objection 1 by defining an Absolute phenomenon as anything which 'just is'. This makes it possible to avoid infinite regression by falling back on an Absolute phenomenon (such as God, if God is Absolute). In fact, if the existence of Absolute phenomena is altogether denied, then infinite regression is required. Now supposing an infinite regress does in fact exist, one must further ask: is this infinite regress Absolute, or is there an explanation for it? This question is thoroughly analyzed in G Theory Version 2. Modeling Georg Cantor's foundational mathematics of transfinite numbers, Version 2 demonstrates that, even if a given infinite regress is not Absolute, there necessarily exists another infinite regress which is Absolute and which causes the first one."

Are you noticing any conflict here?

"Our inability to provide any explanation for something is never grounds for declaring it Absolute."

Unless of course, you're counting on your model ov Georg Cantor's foundational mathematics of transfinite numbers to accomplish that for you, which brings me to your last contention: "mathematics is self-sufficient: it exists independent of the Big Bang and all the material energy in the universe. Indeed, mathematics appears to be Absolute, providing its own explanation – it just works'."

Here's what you do, Bop - first, send your god down to the nearest local employment office to file for at least temporary unemployment compensation, because he/she/it's going to be out of a job for a while. Then you and your dad put something comprehensible together on the mathematics of "G theory," and submit that to a number of American Mathematical Society peer-reviewed journals - in fact, while you're about it, shoot a copy over to the Glasgow Mathematical Journal as well - let us know when they've been reviewed and are ready for publication, as I've no doubt several of us here would love to pick up a copy and be in a position to tell our grandchildren that we were in on the ground floor when absolute proof of god was finally established!

Until then, I can't imagine any need you might have for stopping back by, so, see you then --

Why would you choose only those possibilities

Because that's how you set u a straw man argument?

Oh, I know that, I just want to be sure that everyone else sees it too.

I have a little card trick I play with kids, that allows them to select a card, and for me to tell them what it is. It involves, bottom line, 20 cards that I divide into five piles of 4 each, face down. I know exactly which pile their card is in, via card counting, and in fact, which card it is, so in the end, that pile must still be available, so I ask them to choose two piles - if one they choose is the pile with their card in it, I tell them we'll "burn" (discard) the other three, if they choose two that do NOT contain their card, then we burn those two. The point is, that by the time we whittle down the pile of cards to the actual one they originally chose, they believe that their choices have guided me to their card, where in actuality, I have manipulated their choices all down the line.

Same song, different verse --

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