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Arguments for the existence of God

For topics that are more about faith, religion and religious organisations than anything else.
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Nirvanam
Posts: 1023
Joined: April 15th, 2009, 11:29 pm

Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#441 Post by Nirvanam » October 25th, 2010, 3:15 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Folks, come to the "Game of Life and God" thread to discuss whether a God exists or not. This thread is going in circles about chritianity and jesus' divinity and what not.

Since some scientific thought is needed, how about visiting the Game of Life and God thread. It gives a perfect example of how the atheists viewpoint that "science establishes that it is more than likely that there is no God" is irrational. Forget Jesus and the chrisitian god for a moment and let us see if our argument that there is no god itself has any rational basis. Come there...it's a beautiful example that can reveal some rational and logical errors we make.

mickeyd
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#442 Post by mickeyd » October 25th, 2010, 5:36 pm

Hi Philbo,
I haven't seen anything (be it in anything you've posted, nor anywhere else for that matter) that successfully demonstrates that the reduction of mind to matter involves logical contradiction.
The reduction of mind to matter presupposes that mind is an aspect or state of matter. My analysis shows that mind is substantially distinct from matter, that is, it has a different essence. Mind, therefore, has no essential relationship to matter and so is not reducible to it.

If you really could show how a brain impulse can be kind, or how a thought can be spatially extended, your objection would have validity. But so far, with respect, you've merely appealed to a vacuous asylum ignorantiae, positing some future acquisition of knowledge which will show how mind is reducible to matter. Presumably you think that the matter of which mind is a state differs from the matter which we at present know, but if the known forms of matter are distinct from mind an unknown form of it must be also, since the only difference between known and unknown would be a difference in form not essence.

Best,
Mick

philbo
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#443 Post by philbo » October 25th, 2010, 5:46 pm

mickeyd wrote:
I haven't seen anything (be it in anything you've posted, nor anywhere else for that matter) that successfully demonstrates that the reduction of mind to matter involves logical contradiction.
The reduction of mind to matter presupposes that mind is an aspect or state of matter. My analysis shows that mind is substantially distinct from matter, that is, it has a different essence. Mind, therefore, has no essential relationship to matter and so is not reducible to it.

If you really could show how a brain impulse can be kind, or how a thought can be spatially extended, your objection would have validity. But so far, with respect, you've merely appealed to a vacuous asylum ignorantiae, positing some future acquisition of knowledge which will show how mind is reducible to matter.
"appealed to a vacuous asylum ignorantiae"?

If one doesn't know something, then it's far more honest to admit that one doesn't know it than make stuff up and pretend one has the answers.

If you could show kindness without a brain impulse, or thought without the space a brain contains, your contention might have validity. As it is, it seems far more likely that kindness and thoughts are a result of brain activity - at least that thesis actually has some evidence behind it.. unlike yours which simply says "can a brain impulse be kind? no, therefore god".. and you claim some kind of grasp of logic?
mickeyd wrote:Presumably you think that the matter of which mind is a state differs from the matter which we at present know, but if the known forms of matter are distinct from mind an unknown form of it must be also, since the only difference between known and unknown would be a difference in form not essence.
Nope. That's not what I think at all.

mickeyd
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#444 Post by mickeyd » October 26th, 2010, 11:00 am

Hi Philbo,
If you could show kindness without a brain impulse, or thought without the space a brain contains, your contention might have validity.
I already have shown this, logically, by showing that mind and matter exist in different modes. Science, however, has no instruments for measuring supersensible realities, so it can only observe mental events indirectly in their correlation to brain events, or through indirect inferences from phenomena such as near death experiences (which I remember reading is being researched by the NHS).

Best,
Mick

As material entities we can only observe

mickeyd
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#445 Post by mickeyd » October 26th, 2010, 11:01 am

Philbo, Please ignore the last partial sentence of my last post.

Mick

philbo
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#446 Post by philbo » October 26th, 2010, 1:48 pm

mickeyd wrote:
If you could show kindness without a brain impulse, or thought without the space a brain contains, your contention might have validity.
I already have shown this, logically, by showing that mind and matter exist in different modes.
NO, YOU MOST CERTAINLY HAVE NOT.

Give me an example of kindness existing without a brain somewhere behind it. You cannot. Get over it.
mickeyd wrote:Science, however, has no instruments for measuring supersensible realities, so it can only observe mental events indirectly in their correlation to brain events, or through indirect inferences from phenomena such as near death experiences (which I remember reading is being researched by the NHS).
Whereas your posturing cannot measure, nor observe anything whatsoever. You're left with making completely unsupported assertions.

Are you really trying to say that when brain activity is measured when somebody is thinking, it is incidental to the actual thought process itself? Why does physical brain damage have any impact on cogitation, then? In your world, it shouldn't make any difference at all.

mickeyd
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#447 Post by mickeyd » October 26th, 2010, 4:58 pm

Hi Philbo,
Are you really trying to say that when brain activity is measured when somebody is thinking, it is incidental to the actual thought process itself?
No, I'm saying that the two are correlated.

Why does physical brain damage have any impact on cogitation, then?
Because mind and brain are correlated.

Remember, logic cannot show us what's true, only what's not true: in this case, that mind and matter are distinct in essence, because what can be predicated of one categorically cannot be predicated of the other, and vice versa. This tells us nothing about what the relation between the two actually is, only what it is not. But on the logically determined a priori basis of what it is not, combined with a posteriori knowledge through science, I believe we can say that ultimate reality is not matter but mind, and that a human being is more than one kind of essence, an immaterial and a material essence.

Best,
Mick

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animist
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#448 Post by animist » October 26th, 2010, 5:08 pm

mickeyd wrote:If you really could show how a brain impulse can be kind, or how a thought can be spatially extended, your objection would have validity.
Mickey, it's not that a impulse in the brain is literally kind or not, it is that there cannot be such a thought without some corresponding impulse; yes they are different "modes" if you like to put it that way, but you yourself said that there is a "correlation" - what do you mean by that? I assume you want to show that there can be thought without matter, but this is not the way to go about it

philbo
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#449 Post by philbo » October 26th, 2010, 5:19 pm

mickeyd wrote:
Are you really trying to say that when brain activity is measured when somebody is thinking, it is incidental to the actual thought process itself?
No, I'm saying that the two are correlated.
What exactly do you mean by that?

mickeyd wrote:But on the logically determined a priori basis of what it is not, combined with a posteriori knowledge through science, I believe we can say that ultimate reality is not matter but mind, and that a human being is more than one kind of essence, an immaterial and a material essence.
It does seem to me that we have a fundamentally different view on what the word "logically" means.

"Ultimate reality"? Maybe you'd like to define what you mean by that, too.

But.. no, I don't see your "immaterial essence" as being anything other than a side-effect of material essence. As soon as the material side stops functioning, you get nothing abstract.. you haven't given any reason to believe otherwise.

Nick
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#450 Post by Nick » October 26th, 2010, 5:57 pm

mickeyd wrote:Hi Nick,
So. God was constrained by forces greater than himself?

And all our efforts to improve nature will be countered by a necessary 'minus'? And if each is equal and opposite then there is no value to Creation.

And what is 'goodness'? Is it separate from your god? Or does your god equal goodness, thus destroying any concept of 'goodness'?
I suppose Nick that God cannot do something which would involve contradiction, since God is not anti-rational although he is trans-rational. It seems that to create a universe containing change and adaptation involves negatives which are the inevitable counterparts to positives, as the examples I give show (there are many others).

I do not mean negatives and positives that cancel out to a zero sum, as per your comment that Creation has no value. I believe that God is good. Part of the answer available to us is to note that the exercise of many forms of goodness would not be possible without adversity: compassion, courage, self-sacrifice, patience etc. A character formed by suffering differs from a character formed where suffering is unknown. Also, the many sufferings, injustices and unfulfilled good potentials of this brief earthly existence will be more than recompensed by the inexpressible joy of being together with God in a future life where all pain is absent.

What is goodness? It's essential element is the other, acknowledgment of, respect for, care of, desiring the highest welfare of, the other. As Jesus taught, love your neighbour as yourself. All evil involves abolishing, to one degree or another, the other, and in so doing is in every case a crime against God who has made all others.

Since God is not evil, whatever one may say about the inevitability of suffering in a changing, adapting universe, God will not finally sacrifice the good of any individual to the good of the system as a whole. He will vindicate his goodness. (I preclude from this comment the question of hell, which is not an inevitable concomitant of the natural order, and should be discussed separately).

These are some of the points which theism can make in the face of suffering, by using pure reason alone. But crucially, revelation points us to the Gospel, revealing the Christ who took on human nature and suffered for us, giving us a clear demonstration of the infinite love of God that cannot be gleaned by speculative reason.

Regards,
Mick
Hmmm... why did god bother to create the earth? Why not just let everyone and everything go straight to the “inexpressible joys of heaven”, where everything is perfect. It would have saved a lot of trouble. And in view of the unlikelihood of any such thing, what is your evidence for such an absurd proposition as heaven anway?

You have not explained whether god created goodness, or whether goodness exists independently. I certainly don’t see sadistic or masochistic suffering as a form of goodness. And what’s trans-rational?

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animist
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#451 Post by animist » October 26th, 2010, 6:13 pm

mickeyd wrote:It seems that to create a universe containing change and adaptation involves negatives which are the inevitable counterparts to positives, as the examples I give show (there are many others).
I do not mean negatives and positives that cancel out to a zero sum, as per your comment that Creation has no value. I believe that God is good. Part of the answer available to us is to note that the exercise of many forms of goodness would not be possible without adversity: compassion, courage, self-sacrifice, patience etc. A character formed by suffering differs from a character formed where suffering is unknown. Also, the many sufferings, injustices and unfulfilled good potentials of this brief earthly existence will be more than recompensed by the inexpressible joy of being together with God in a future life where all pain is absent.
the trouble with all this, which is common Christian theodicy, is that ANY amount of suffering can be explained away by it. Yes, of course some adversity is needed to make life a challenge, but not the sort of horrendous suffering that we see in real life. Heaven is such childish concept to hold out, and anyway - as I have said before - how do animals fit into this? They're not going to heaven to make up for their suffering are they?

redsquirrel
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#452 Post by redsquirrel » October 26th, 2010, 8:45 pm

I agree with animist that the suffering of animals, in fact the whole way that nature is made up from the big bang, death of stars and planets, natural disasters and other similar events here on earth (that affect animals every bit as much as humans) doesn't seem to point to anything like a good deity controlling it all (at least not in any human understanding of good). The whole of life basically involves a fight for survival (and reproduction) for most animals, with resulting pain, suffering injury and death.

As amazing as nature and the natural world can be (and it is to me), it's hard to see how anything other than blind evolution, with the only real driver of survival/reproduction, has come up with this.

redsquirrel
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#453 Post by redsquirrel » October 26th, 2010, 8:50 pm

Nick wrote:Hmmm... why did god bother to create the earth? Why not just let everyone and everything go straight to the “inexpressible joys of heaven”, where everything is perfect. It would have saved a lot of trouble.

Not wishing to sound like I've just come from the UK general election debates, but: 'I agree with Nick' :laughter:
Last edited by Alan H on October 26th, 2010, 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Quote tags added around Nick's quote.

mickeyd
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#454 Post by mickeyd » October 26th, 2010, 11:08 pm

Hi animist,
it's not that a impulse in the brain is literally kind or not
Analyse your own statement. If a thought is kind, but its correlated impulse is categorically neither kind nor not kind, then you prove me right. We stand in agreement. Mind and matter are essentially different.

Best,
Mick

mickeyd
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#455 Post by mickeyd » October 26th, 2010, 11:18 pm

Hi animist,
the trouble with all this, which is common Christian theodicy, is that ANY amount of suffering can be explained away by it.
The purpose of my comments on suffering were not to prove that God is good, but to show how suffering does not prove that God is evil.

Mick

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Alan C.
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#456 Post by Alan C. » October 26th, 2010, 11:46 pm

I still (after 23 Pages) don't see any rational argument for Zeus, are you going to start any time soon mickey taker?
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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grammar king
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#457 Post by grammar king » October 27th, 2010, 12:17 am

I'm not really following this thread very closely, but remember mickeyd that (according to Aquinas anyway) God is only incapable of doing things which are logically contradictory, like create a square circle, or make a rock so heavy that he can't lift it. It would be perfectly possible for God to create a world with free will, that changes, but that does not contain natural disasters, for example. He could create a world without disease.

You're right, evil does not necessarily indicate the non-existence of God. Indeed nothing could do that because 'god' is such a nebulous term that you can redefine it to mean whatever you want. What evil does indicate is the non-existence of a God who is omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient. If you claim your God is those things, he doesn't exist.

Nick
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#458 Post by Nick » October 27th, 2010, 10:28 am

redsquirrel wrote: Not wishing to sound like I've just come from the UK general election debates, but: 'I agree with Nick' :laughter:
Music to my ears, redsquirrel! Doesn't happen nearly enough on this forum :laughter:

philbo
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#459 Post by philbo » October 27th, 2010, 11:04 am

mickeyd wrote:Hi animist,
it's not that a impulse in the brain is literally kind or not
Analyse your own statement. If a thought is kind, but its correlated impulse is categorically neither kind nor not kind, then you prove me right. We stand in agreement. Mind and matter are essentially different.
That bit of selective quoting comes really rather close to categorizing you as a troll. Anyone with a modicum of intellectual honesty would read what animist had written and realize he was saying the precise opposite of what you're claiming.

Do you actually believe what you've written above, or was it just a bit of sly mischievous misquoting to relieve the boredom?

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animist
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#460 Post by animist » October 27th, 2010, 1:04 pm

mickeyd wrote:Hi animist,
the trouble with all this, which is common Christian theodicy, is that ANY amount of suffering can be explained away by it.
The purpose of my comments on suffering were not to prove that God is good, but to show how suffering does not prove that God is evil.

Mick
don't think you are being honest somehow, as you were trying to show that somehow suffering was good for "us"; and I did not say that God is evil. I simply think that the hugely uncaring scale of life, the universe and everything leaves no reason to suppose a benevolent and powerful creator. Have you read that chapter of Peter Cave yet?

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animist
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Re: Arguments for the existence of God

#461 Post by animist » October 27th, 2010, 1:06 pm

grammar king wrote:I'm not really following this thread very closely, but remember mickeyd that (according to Aquinas anyway) God is only incapable of doing things which are logically contradictory, like create a square circle, or make a rock so heavy that he can't lift it. It would be perfectly possible for God to create a world with free will, that changes, but that does not contain natural disasters, for example. He could create a world without disease.

You're right, evil does not necessarily indicate the non-existence of God. Indeed nothing could do that because 'god' is such a nebulous term that you can redefine it to mean whatever you want. What evil does indicate is the non-existence of a God who is omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient. If you claim your God is those things, he doesn't exist.
you've just about said it all

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