Are you ready for this?

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This topic contains 65 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 8 months ago.

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  • #34611

    Autumn
    Participant

    People frequently have experiences of impossible objects (as ‘experience’ is loosely defined in the video). They don’t have experiences of four-sided pentagons because definitionally, pentagons have five sides. That said, I would rule out that a person has ever dreamed of a pentagon, but the visual of that pentagon was actually a four-sided object. We can sense things which are entirely impossible due to the eccentricities of our cognition.

    The round square is an even worse example to use. Squares exist best in mathematical terms. In material reality, there are likely few (if any) squares as pure as a mathematically defined square. We can come up with all sorts of notions which would challenge our notion of what a square is and how roundness applies. Imagine, for instance, that square was printed on the surface of a sphere. Is it a round square? Resolving the issue becomes a matter of semantics and the limitations of definitions rather than what we can sense.

    As for other impossible objects, as soon as human experience extends into perception and imagination, all limits are off. All we have to do is combine properties of phenomena which can’t ordinarily coexist, or extend the natural properties of an object past the point of possibility. We can, to that degree, experience seeing a member of Homo sapiens sapiens that is 10,000m tall. That is an impossible object. Or we can experience a living fish composed entirely of diamond, which is also an impossible object.

    I am not totally against ontological arguments for gods. The Abrahamic god, for instance, is something that exists as a psychological and sociological phenomenon greater than what goes on in the mind of any one believer. That phenomenon acts on the world with cause and effect. It has properties which can’t be moderated with the same agency that we can manipulate our own imaginations. But it exists merely as a byproduct of mass psychology and as a cultural phenomenon. The being described as ‘God’ has no literal existence that anyone can confirm. Based on our experience of reality, that conception of ‘God’ is an impossible object.

    #34612

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I just watched the official Alvin Plantinga formulation.  I think, you could prove the existence of anything – say, orange unicorns – using the same logic.

    I think the game is, “if you can refute it, you don’t understand it”.

    #34613

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen and Reg,

    Unseen wrote:

    The woo-sters will talk about pyramid or crystal power or parpsychology or witch spells and refer to that sort of stuff as “metaphysical.” That is not the metaphysics philosophers talk about, when they talk about it, because large blocs of philosophy don’t talk about metaphysics at all. They don’t necessarily snicker at it but it’s not a “thing” for them.

    Actually there is a preservative power in the pyramids of Egypt, but it has nothing to do with the supernatural, but with thermal mass inside the pyramids and the dry climate of Egypt.

    Go inside the pyramids deep enough (or underground, for that matter) and it’s a constant 59 Degrees Fahrenheit.  Between this and the lack of humidity on the outside, and you have the proverbial “cool, dry place.”  Hence, that is the main reason the Pharoah’s remains, the Pharoah’s cat’s remains, and stored grains were so well-preserved.

    Also, there is power in crystals, but it was discovered by electronics scientists in places like Bell Labs, not on some Himalayan mountain top by some guru or sherpa.  Germanium crystals convert AM and Shortwave radio waves to electricity and then via speakers to audio waves.  Also, crystals in microphones turn sound waves to electricity to be used in audio or radio transmission.  And crystals convert electricity to laser light.  Nothing supernatural again here.

    #34617

    Unseen
    Participant

    3) Since God’s existence is necessary, God cannot not exist.

    It looks like a complete argument here. “God is necessary, therefore God exists”. Why is God necessary? Because God is the most perfect being, and anything that is all-perfect is better than anything non-perfect, and is therefore necessary? Lame.

    The Devil’s Advocate sez: I don’t think it’s debatable that a divine being providing a basis for morality who must exist is superior to one who just might possibly exist.

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  Unseen.
    #34619

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    In fact, hasn’t the argument been proven to be internally consistent, using a computer?  So it’s hard to refute, and most attempts at refutation are going to be dumb.

    #34640

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    You wrote;

    The Devil’s Advocate sez: I don’t think it’s debatable that a divine being providing a basis for morality who must exist is superior to one who just might possibly exist.

    What is debateable is whether either a real deity or a possible deity exists and the Ontological Apologetics aren’t addressing the existence of ether, but just assuming the existence of a real deity, the very thing they are supposed to prove.

    The Ontological Argument is like some M.C. Escher sketch put in the form of a syllogism.  It refers to nothing but itself and has no relation to anything real.

    #34643

    Unseen
    Participant

    Unseen, You wrote;

    The Devil’s Advocate sez: I don’t think it’s debatable that a divine being providing a basis for morality who must exist is superior to one who just might possibly exist.

    What is debateable is whether either a real deity or a possible deity exists and the Ontological Apologetics aren’t addressing the existence of ether, but just assuming the existence of a real deity, the very thing they are supposed to prove. The Ontological Argument is like some M.C. Escher sketch put in the form of a syllogism. It refers to nothing but itself and has no relation to anything real.

    The Devil’s Advocate sez: But you are treating the concept of God as an ordinary concept. I don’t assume God exists. I assume that any concept of God must include necessary existence among its attributes. That assumption isn’t a free choice, it’s required because any concept of God lacking it, is a lesser being, and God is anything but a lesser being.

    #34644

    Anselm’s idea is that God must be a being which “nothing greater can be conceived”. By contemplating this we come to understand the nature or essence of God and have no choice but to admit that God must necessarily exist. The atheist must at least concede that God exists subjectively.

    According to Anselm, if atheists can contemplate the concept of the perfect being existing and accept that this prefect being must be God then we cannot logically say that “God does not exist”. We already hold this concept of God in our minds so we are engaging in a logical contradiction within our own thought processes by saying He cannot exist.

    I think that is a reasonable summary of Anselm’s position. But it is flawed.

    Firstly, there is something greater than the most “perfect being imaginable” and that is the most perfect being existing in actuality. A perfect being in existence would have to hold a greater position than one of the imaginations.

    As I have said before (Dr. Bob), the concept of God is a concept. It is not possible to move from a subjective god to one existing in actuality without objective evidence to support the proposition.

    Speaking for myself, I am unable to maintain a concept of god in my mind without finding the weaknesses within it. It almost immediately dissolves because all the “omni traits” are self-contradictory. I am yet to hear a definition of god that stays standing long enough for me to appreciate it as a subjective possibility worthy of further contemplation. It is always (not hyperbole) the case that the god the theists profess to believe in is not the god of their arguments.

    Anselm’s argument is a priori, which is fine by me but I think the problem with his argument is that he uses the word “existence” as a descriptor. To claim God is all powerful or all knowing is to help define the concept but as Kant says, “Existence is not a predicate”. Claiming something exists does not help to inform us about it. We are no wiser in forming a concept about it.

    The argument is almost a thousand years old and based upon ideas of the time, like the “perfect triangle” of Plato. If we can conceive of it then the perfect triangle must exist (in his world of pure forms). But I am unable to form a concept of god, at least one that consists of a “perfect being”. I find it impossible to discover the existence of a god based upon attempts to define the essence of “his” nature.

    Anselm also defined atheists as people who denied the existence of god. This is not a correct definition. I don’t believe God(s) exists because I do not have a concept of god in my head. It never enters it. I am unable to understand what people mean by “god” because they are unable to explain it to me. So, I just don’t believe what they profess to believe. As soon as they try to explain their “concept” it falls apart and they start arguing for something else or start talking about how Evolution is wrong. I find it easy to hold the concept that no god exists. It makes more logical sense to me, necessarily.

    Sorry, a bit of topic there as I am working late tonight and everyone keeps interrupting me!

    #34645

    Unseen
    Participant

    Anselm’s idea is that God must be a being which “nothing greater can be conceived”. By contemplating this we come to understand the nature or essence of God and have no choice but to admit that God must necessarily exist. The atheist must at least concede that God exists subjectively. According to Anselm, if atheists can contemplate the concept of the perfect being existing and accept that this prefect being must be God then we cannot logically say that “God does not exist”. We already hold this concept of God in our minds so we are engaging in a logical contradiction within our own thought processes by saying He cannot exist. I think that is a reasonable summary of Anselm’s position. But it is flawed. Firstly, there is something greater than the most “perfect being imaginable” and that is the most perfect being existing in actuality. A perfect being in existence would have to hold a greater position than one of the imaginations.

    The Devil’sAdvocate sez: Wait a second. Aren’t you granting Anselm’s point which is that once you understand the concept of God, his existence is undeniable? If not, how not? Many formulations of the OA more explicitly lay out that an actually existing perfect being is more perfect than a merely possibly-existing perfect being.

    #34646

    Unseen
    Participant

    Anselm’s argument is a priori, which is fine by me but I think the problem with his argument is that he uses the word “existence” as a descriptor. To claim God is all powerful or all knowing is to help define the concept but as Kant says, “Existence is not a predicate”. Claiming something exists does not help to inform us about it. We are no wiser in forming a concept about it.

    The Devil’s Advocate sez: Oh that old existence is not a predicate hogwash. To say something exists is simply to assert the verb “to be,” right? And if anyone is saying “to be” can’t be a predicate, who are they?

    #34658

    I am granting him the point insofar as if I could conceive of a perfect being in my imaginations then yes, a subjective god would exist in my mind. But I cannot keep such a concept in my mind to entertain it as it collapses as soon as I build it because all the”materials” I use in its construction are self-contradictory or easily shot down. I cannot conceive of a god that I can meaningfully describe, even to myself, never mind anyone else. Even if I somehow did manage to, then how do we move from a position of deism to a position of theism, from “god exists” to “this particular god exists”. We can only do this by engaging in presuppositional apologetics.

    It is logically invalid to move from the position that a conceptual but entirely subjective god exists to a position of declaring”ergo God exists in objective reality”.

    Can anyone describe the traits of a conceptual god that could exist without collapsing almost immediately upon being challenged? One that is logically consistent?

    I will agree that a perfect being implies “existence” but saying “god exists necessarily” is somewhat begging the question. God would exist in reality if god was a perfect being but only if existence was a perfection. We cannot claim he exists necessarily unless we already know that god exists. If god exists only in the human mind then whatever attributes he is given are just as imaginary as his existence. He must objectively exist before he can be described. Therefore god is an abstraction, necessarily.

    OK. almost 01:30 here so going to make a perfect coffee which is necessary.

    #34673

    Davis
    Moderator

    Indeed Reg those are just a few criticisms. Others easily follow:

    I can easily think of a more perfect being than a who would have created this planet with the derranged people who live on it.

    I can conceive of an absolutely perfect universe of which a universe more perfect could not be concieved and so it must exist and yet this universe is clearly not perfect

    I can conceive of a beef taco that is so perfect no beef taco could possibly be better. Where is this taco and how do I find it?

    #34677

    Unseen
    Participant

    I will agree that a perfect being implies “existence” but saying “god exists necessarily” is somewhat begging the question. God would exist in reality if god was a perfect being but only if existence was a perfection. We cannot claim he exists necessarily unless we already know that god exists. If god exists only in the human mind then whatever attributes he is given are just as imaginary as his existence. He must objectively exist before he can be described. Therefore god is an abstraction, necessarily.

    The Devil’s Advocate sez: Oh, come on, wouldn’t it be better for a perfect being to be more than just a string of grammatically put together words? Things we can imagine can still exist with necessity. Example: a syllogism. If we imagine something like 1) If all dogs are canine, 2) And if Bowser is a dog, then 3) Bowser is a canine. And the conclusion exists with necessity whether or not we draw the conclusion. It’s a fact, like it or don’t.

    #34678

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen and Devil’s Advocate Doppelganger,

    You wrote:

    The Devil’s Advocate sez: But you are treating the concept of God as an ordinary concept. I don’t assume God exists. I assume that any concept of God must include necessary existence among its attributes. That assumption isn’t a free choice, it’s required because any concept of God lacking it, is a lesser being, and God is anything but a lesser being.

    If God is anything but a lesser being, couldn’t he a perfect, necessary non-being or non-entity?

    Given the contradictions inherent in the concept of a God, I can more easily conceive of a God not existing than existing,  So why doesn’t that figure into the whole Ontological Argument?

    If the Ontological Argument is the most cutting-edge argument (1078 C.E.) that Theists can come with, then Theism and Theistic religion have been running on fumes for a long,’long time.

    #34679

    jakelafort
    Participant

    If it is running on fumes and is indefensible why hasn’t the free market place of ideas delivered a knockout punch?

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