• SophistiCat
    476
    Also, the theological story only has one assumption - God did it.T Clark

    so if we're following Occam's razor, that means we should just go with the 'God did it' theory...Mr Phil O'Sophy

    "It" in "God did it" is a free variable; "God did it" is not a theory of anything in particular until "it" is bound to something. Whatever it is that you want to explain by appealing to an act of God, you have to include it word-for-word into your explanation. So the explanation that you end up with will always be more elaborate than the the facts that you wanted to explain, and that goes against Occam's razor as surely as anything. You are supposed to make less, not more, simpler, not more complicated.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    "It" in "God did it" is a free variable; "God did it" is not a theory of anything in particular until "it" is bound to something.SophistiCat

    I was being facetious. God did it, would be synonymous to 'God did everything'. I don't think it follows by saying God did X, you are making it more elaborate at all. No more than if you change it from [God did X], to [A is the cause of X] which is the line of logic any argument that uses Occam's razor uses. If you are implying that by that saying God did it, that somehow makes it more elaborate, then you are saying that any causal explanation would fall under the same problem, which makes Occam's razor completely useless.
  • NKBJ
    316
    The infinite is that which has no limits (limitless).
    Finite is the opposite, it is confined to its limits.
    Mr Phil O'Sophy

    This seems like a pretty vague definition/distinction to me.

    Energy can neither be created not destroyed, it can only change form an atom does not exist for eternity.Mr Phil O'Sophy

    I don't think the shape-shifting abilities of matter impact the basic concept of the infinity of energy. Atoms shift shapes because the tiny building blocks they are made of--energy--reassemble themselves. I believe scientists are discovering particles even smaller than protons and ions which make these up in turn, and perhaps we'll find even smaller particles than that, but whatever is at the bottom of this cosmic Russian doll is the basic building block of the universe (please excuse the mixed metaphor). It may come together in different constellations with it's own kind to create different kinds of matter, but in and of itself, it does not change.

    This is as much of a leap of faith as belief in God.Mr Phil O'Sophy

    I totally understand why you would say this. However, I don't think it's the same "leap" in kind or in distance. The scientific understanding of the world is based on our direct observations about the world around us. From boiling tea, to roasting chestnuts on a fire, to making snowpersons, I can observe the phenomena science explains with my own senses. In the science lab or classroom, I get to see scientific knowledge put to the test and proved over and over again--even by my own hands. It is therefore reasonable for me to assume that scientists have used their knowledge of what we know from our immediate surroundings to draw sensible hypotheses and create logical theories about the parts of the universe outside of what we have direct access to.

    Faith in a deity, however, does not give me any basis from which to conclude that it could even remotely be true, other than things like, "lots of people believe it", "the good book says it's true", "we can't 100% prove it's not true", and other (in my opinion) easily dismissable claims. Without a shred of evidence to even wave in the general direction of the existence of a deity, I think believing in such a thing is about as sensible as believing in wood nymphs. (I mean no disrespect towards anyone's beliefs--I am very sympathetic to the desire to believe in a deity.)

    Sorry for the long post--I will stop now before this becomes the beginning of a dissertation! ;)
  • T Clark
    3k
    I understand.The way you worded it confused me, it made it sound like accuracy was a minor benefit among a whole range of equally viable attractions. Apologies if I misrepresented you.Pseudonym

    I did phrase it, intentionally, to be a bit ironic.
  • S
    6.2k
    No, because no one has come up with a basis for belief convincing enough for people like me who require more than speculation, faith, a funny feeling, magical thinking, or centuries old arguments which have been picked apart.
  • SophistiCat
    476
    I don't think it follows by saying God did X, you are making it more elaborate at all.Mr Phil O'Sophy

    Yes, that's literally what it is: you are not replacing X with an explanation of X, you take X and add God to it. X is still there in full, but now you also have God and his actions.

    No more than if you change it from [God did X], to [A is the cause of X] which is the line of logic any argument that uses Occam's razor uses. If you are implying that by that saying God did it, that somehow makes it more elaborate, then you are saying that any causal explanation would fall under the same problem, which makes Occam's razor completely useless.Mr Phil O'Sophy

    Causal explanations do not have the form of [A is the cause of X]; that is to say, they do not amount to just naming something as the cause. There is no explanation in that. A good explanation is such that your explanandum, X, can be replaced by the explanance, A (because X will then be a consequence of A). And importantly, the explanance should be simpler, more parsimonious than the explanandum that it replaces, otherwise there is no point in it.

    Newton's theory of motion and the law of universal gravitation "explained away" a huge mass of seemingly disparate phenomena by showing how those phenomena can all be accounted for with a few simple equations and data points (and it opened up the possibility of explaining infinitely more such phenomena in the future). That is an example of a good explanation. "Gravity did it," on the other hand, would be an example of a bad explanation: not only do you still have all of "it," you now also have "gravity" to contend with. You are worse off than where you were before.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966

    Very good point. Thank you for clearing that up for me. I concede to your very well put together response. You explained that beautifully. Sorry for my blunder.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Causal explanations do not have the form of [A is the cause of X]; that is to say, they do not amount to just naming something as the cause. There is no explanation in that. A good explanation is such that your explanandum, X, can be replaced by the explanance, A (because X will then be a consequence of A). And importantly, the explanance should be simpler, more parsimonious than the explanandum that it replaces, otherwise there is no point in it.

    Newton's theory of motion and the law of universal gravitation "explained away" a huge mass of seemingly disparate phenomena by showing how those phenomena can all be accounted for with a few simple equations and data points (and it opened up the possibility of explaining infinitely more such phenomena in the future). That is an example of a good explanation. "Gravity did it," on the other hand, would be an example of a bad explanation: not only do you still have all of "it," you now also have "gravity" to contend with. You are worse off than where you were before.
    SophistiCat
    Interesting explanation. In the bolded bit you skim around what we're looking for in an explanation. We are really seeking to reduce a multiplicity to a unity. Then the multiplicity can be replaced by the unity, and the phenomenon is understood. The reduction of the multiplicity of Creation to the singularity and unity of an Uncreated Creator is precisely in this line of thinking.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    The infinite is that which has no limits (limitless).
    Finite is the opposite, it is confined to its limits.
    — Mr Phil O'Sophy

    This seems like a pretty vague definition/distinction to me.
    NKBJ

    That wasn't all I wrote, I did explain that a bit more from what I recall.

    Basically, if God is infinite, that means there is no limit. Can something finite (that has limits) be bigger than something that has no limit? Can something finite (which has limited power by definition) overpower something that has infinite power?

    I don't think the shape-shifting abilities of matter impact the basic concept of the infinity of energy. Atoms shift shapes because the tiny building blocks they are made of--energy--reassemble themselves. I believe scientists are discovering particles even smaller than protons and ions which make these up in turn, and perhaps we'll find even smaller particles than that, but whatever is at the bottom of this cosmic Russian doll is the basic building block of the universe (please excuse the mixed metaphor). It may come together in different constellations with it's own kind to create different kinds of matter, but in and of itself, it does not change.NKBJ

    My point with regards to this was,
    1, they are subject to change, and so cannot be infinite, as if something changes, it implies that it lacks, as to change is to go from something you are to something you are not. This is not befitting of the infinite as it implies limits. If A becomes B, then A is not B, therefore A is limited A and cannot be infinite because that would already also contain B.
    2, lasting an eternity does not imply being infinite. if a finite point of matter in space could theoretically exist as it was forever, that would again not imply it was infinite, only that it exists for an eternity. It would still be limited to the amount of energy it contains.
    3, when refering to particles, the clue is in the name: particles. Parts or not infinite. They are limited.
    You are pointing out interesting things, but none are worthy of the description infinite.

    I can observe the phenomena science explains with my own senses. In the science lab or classroom, I get to see scientific knowledge put to the test and proved over and over again--even by my own hands. It is therefore reasonable for me to assume that scientists have used their knowledge of what we know from our immediate surroundings to draw sensible hypotheses and create logical theories about the parts of the universe outside of what we have direct access to.NKBJ

    using your senses to find the creator of the sensible, is like searching inside a painting for the painter. Or for a bacterium to try and rely on what it can sense inside of a body to understand whats going on in the universe and all that lies beyond it. If you rely on senses, you are relying on limited things. I don't think it is reasonable, although its not inherently bad, I don't think you should assume you have the full picture from it. Even if we had access to full knowledge of everything in a computer program, we would still be finite beings, and have a finite capacity for understanding. Regardless of how much information we can mine from reality.

    Faith in a deity, however, does not give me any basis from which to conclude that it could even remotely be true,NKBJ

    No it wouldn't. But again, you're overlooking the definition of faith. Its not a knowledge claim, its a belief claim. To say I have faith in God, is not to say that know for a fact that God exists. Its a statement that says I believe. Now that in itself isn't necessarily an argument to convince someone to believe, and I completely understand that. There are many reasons, beyond simply having faith, why people choose to believe. Basically, its not a scientific truth claim, and should never be viewed as such.

    other than things like, "lots of people believe it", "the good book says it's true",

    I wouldn't use these arguments to convince you.
    NKBJ
    "we can't 100% prove it's not true"NKBJ

    This is a true statement, I don't think you can prove something that in its essence is infinite, as not being true because we don't have access to a limited view of it. Although I wouldn't say its a good enough argument in and off itself to convince anyone to believe either.

    Without a shred of evidence to even wave in the general direction of the existence of a deity, I think believing in such a thing is about as sensible as believing in wood nymphs. (I mean no disrespect towards anyone's beliefs--I am very sympathetic to the desire to believe in a deity.)NKBJ

    lol, I don't take offence don't worry. But I don't agree they are comparable. I do believe there are a number of proofs for it though, but its a long argument. One we can continue over time if you wish too. (you may need to be patient with me though).

    Sorry for the long post--I will stop now before this becomes the beginning of a dissertation! ;)NKBJ

    haha, its ok, i'm enjoying the conversation :)


    heres some definitions to compare, see if it makes sense to ask if a finite thing could be made to be bigger or more powerful than something infinite. I think if you really examine the definitions, you'll see it makes as much sense as asking to make something so white, that it is more black than the blackest thing there can be.


    finite
    adjective: finite
    1.
    limited in size or extent.
    "every computer has a finite amount of memory"
    synonyms: limited, not infinite, subject to limitations, restricted;
    antonyms: infinite
    2.
    GRAMMAR
    (of a verb form) having a specific tense, number, and person.

    infinite
    adjective: infinite
    1.
    limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate.
    "the infinite mercy of God"
    synonyms: boundless, unbounded, unlimited, limitless, without limit, without end, never-ending, interminable, cosmic;
    antonyms: limited, small
    very great in amount or degree.
    "he bathed the wound with infinite care"
    synonyms: very great, immense, supreme, absolute, total, real; More
    antonyms: very little
    MATHEMATICS
    greater than any assignable quantity or countable number.
    MATHEMATICS
    (of a series) able to be continued indefinitely.
    2.
    GRAMMAR
    another term for non-finite.
    noun: infinite
    1.
    a space or quantity that is infinite.
    "beyond the infinite, the space traveller is transformed"
    God.
    noun: Infinite; noun: the Infinite
    "intimations of the infinite"
  • Harikrishna nair
    7
    Finite or infinite. God may be any of it. The basic idea of god is that it's remouldable. Perception of god is different for each. But what matters is all different kinds of plants grow from the same soil or earth or whatever. If one truly wishes to believe in creator or god, he/she has to see god as a concave mirror. See in times of hardships, the brain hardly works right. What is needed in those times is thr focussing of your energies so you can perform effective work. Let's assume you pray to god for betterment of your conditions so, what you are basically doing is you are concentrating your energy at one thing(here,god). So, a god/creator can be reshaped, remoulded according to one's needs. There just doesn't arise a need for a single or multiple god. It's just you.
  • August
    1
    Do not you think that we all are lost in words? The same words mean so many different things to different people. Should not we need to avoid "contaminated" (with all the respect) words? Using the word G'd could be a hint that the subject is religion, or creation of universe, or beginning of life, or the morals, etc. All these topics are not the same. So I would use the word G'd only in reference to religion and every time to only very specific religion. This way we may have a meaningful conversation.
  • NKBJ
    316
    using your senses to find the creator of the sensible, is like searching inside a painting for the painter.Mr Phil O'Sophy

    I see why you're using this analogy, but if you think about it, it just all the more proves my point. By examining a painting, I can very well say that it must have been created by someone, and even hazard guesses as to the nature of that person. Looking at the colors of his paintings, they have just found out that Van Gogh was likely color-blind! Looking at any painting, I realize that it is an artifact and that it didn't grow itself in to that particular shape and colors. The universe, as far as we have been able to conclude through scientific inquiry, has no hints of having been created by a third party. There are no "brushstrokes" (to stick with your analogy) that might indicate a creator.

    No it wouldn't. But again, you're overlooking the definition of faith. Its not a knowledge claim, its a belief claim. To say I have faith in God, is not to say that know for a fact that God exists. Its a statement that says I believe. Now that in itself isn't necessarily an argument to convince someone to believe, and I completely understand that. There are many reasons, beyond simply having faith, why people choose to believe. Basically, its not a scientific truth claim, and should never be viewed as such.Mr Phil O'Sophy

    So, you're admitting we have more reason to rely on science than to believe in a supernatural creator?

    And why do you think people like to believe in deities? I can think of some psychological reasons, a few evolutionary/biological ones, but none that would convince me objectively that there is anything to be gained (especially not in the 21st Century) from the practice.
  • Rank Amateur
    427
    Believe to be true is a dependent question. One can believe something to be true because of Fact, Reason or Faith.

    It is not a fact that God exists
    It is a reasonable belief that an un-created creator existed
    The God of the Bible ( or Torah, or Koran, or ) is a belief of faith

    I don't place any value judgement on any of those beliefs.

    However, only belief based on reason is worth argument. Reasonable theism has been well argued. Both positions are reasonable. Personally, I find the compensating good argument convincing over the argument from evil, which I find the only real argument against a omniscient, all powerful, all good God.
  • Michael
    7.3k
    I'll bite: what's your solution to the stone conundrum?NKBJ

    If God can, but doesn't, create the stone then there's nothing he can't do.
  • Uber
    147
    No I don't believe in any kind of supernatural deity or creator. For two primary reasons:

    1) There is no reliable empirical evidence that anything supernatural exists. To the contrary, all reliable empirical evidence that exists conclusively shows that the world only contains material and natural things, such as fields and particles, that have interactions which can be measured or detected in various ways.

    2) There are no sound logical arguments to believe in a supernatural creator. There may be arguments that are logically valid, but none that are sound. The two primary ones, the cosmological argument and the ontological argument, have both been defeated and largely discarded, in what serves as a great example of how philosophy makes progress over time (ie. by ditching bad arguments).
  • Marcus de Brun
    450
    The question as to whether I believe in God presupposes an 'I' distinct from this 'God' thing, and is secondary to the question as to whether or not this God thing actually believes in me.

    If he does, he is more a fool than 'I' am.

    M
  • Andrew4Handel
    638
    I just want to make a distinction between belief and non belief that I have. I think belief is problematic without argument or evidence. So I tend to believe things based on evidence, or I can be made agnostic by argument (My own usually).

    But I think non belief does not entail I am certain that something is not the case. So If I say I don't believe something it might just mean I have no direct evidence for it at the moment.

    So I am agnostic about a lot of things andI think it is problematic to take too strong a stance on something where current evidence does not resolve an issue.
  • S
    6.2k
    I didn't vote because I didn't like the choices. Here's from the Tao Te Ching:

    The Tao is like a well:
    used but never used up.
    It is like the eternal void:
    filled with infinite possibilities. It is hidden but always present.
    I don't know who gave birth to it.
    It is older than God.

    I believe that the concept of god or gods is a reasonable approach to understanding the world. The concept is created by humans. More accurately, it is a reflection of an interaction between the world inside us and the world outside us. The question of whether this kind of god exists is not a question answerable with a yes or no answer. This is one of the themes you will hear over and over in my posts.

    As for whether or not a living or sentient God who takes or has taken an active role in the physical world, which is a question answerable with a yes or no, I don't have an opinion.
    T Clark

    There's always one. It's either yes, no, or not sure. But you're right, it was wrong of him not to have included an option for those who believe in an old well.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    Do you believe in a creator?Mr Phil O'Sophy

    I don't know. Perhaps we'll need to die and find out. I tried believing in God but which one?
  • Marcus de Brun
    450
    Today it would seem that many people find it more difficult to believe in a God when they have money which tells them they don't need God, and a smart phone which tells them they are God.

    Nietzsche's analysis stands firm: He is dead, and we have killed him.

    M
  • Rank Amateur
    427


    "2) There are no sound logical arguments to believe in a supernatural creator. There may be arguments that are logically valid, but none that are sound. The two primary ones, the cosmological argument and the ontological argument, have both been defeated and largely discarded, in what serves as a great example of how philosophy makes progress over time (ie. by ditching bad arguments)."

    I challenge your claim that the cosmological argument has been largely discarded. In my limited and
    amateur reading on the topic, all challenges basically come down to the “ well then who created the creator then, position” witch seems an invalid claim against a proposition that there is an un-created creator.

    Since the general scientific acceptance of the Big Bang, acknowledging a scientific belief that at one time there was nothing, and then there was everything – has done nothing but strengthen the Cosmological argument. A “who created the creator argument “ is in effect saying the universe is not finite – it did not have a beginning. Or conversely, we don’t know the beginning. Which then turns the argument against to “we agree with the premise but disagree with your conclusion – because we disagree with your conclusion. “

    Even the search to singularity – changes the particle, or the nomenclature - but it always has a “something” at the beginning – without an explanation of how that “something” got there.

    At its core - this most common objection to the cosmological argument, is nothing more than elevating
    Science to religion. It is saying – we don’t have the scientific answer to how the world was created, we know it is not a supernatural being, because we don’t believe in them, but we have faith that science will answer the question one day, because we have faith in science.
  • Uber
    147
    The biggest gripes against the cosmological argument have been about equivocation in its use and understanding of causality. But that aside, the proposition that there's an "uncreated creator" is nonsense, and just invites an avalanche of questions that lead you back into circular arguments (God's being is an inherent property because it's God, ships float on water because they're ships).

    Physicists have largely abandoned the idea that the Big Bang represents the creation of everything, because the status of 'everything' in theoretical physics is very much up in the air. Also the vast majority of physicists are atheists or agnostics, including almost all the people that William Lane Craig glibly cites in his work, so clearly they did not see the discovery of the Big Bang as evidence for the cosmological argument.
  • Rank Amateur
    427


    The biggest gripes against the cosmological argument have been about equivocation in its use and understanding of causality. But that aside, the proposition that there's an "uncreated creator" is nonsense, and just invites an avalanche of questions that lead you back into circular arguments (God's being is an inherent property because it's God, ships float on water because they're ships).Uber

    you are giving opinion, not argument with "he proposition that there's an "uncreated creator" is nonsense" and you are making a circular argument - there is no creator, because there is no creator" as argument against a circular argument.

    Physicists have largely abandoned the idea that the Big Bang represents the creation of everything, because the status of 'everything' in theoretical physics is very much up in the air. Also the vast majority of physicists are atheists or agnostics, including almost all the people that William Lane Craig glibly cites in his work, so clearly they did not see the discovery of the Big Bang as evidence for the cosmological argument.Uber

    This - "status of 'everything' in theoretical physics is very much up in the air" is making my point - of just elevating science to religion. Science knows, has a very very good idea it does know, or it does not know. - attributing any conclusion based on what it does not know - is not a basis for anything.

    this "Also the vast majority of physicists are atheists or agnostics" is completely irrelevant to the argument
  • Uber
    147
    Then show us why the claim that there's an "uncreated creator" is not nonsense. Or justify it, if you so prefer. My point is that any attempt at justification you can conceive of will land you back into some kind of circular argument. Unless you try to justify God's properties by invoking sources external to God, in which case you are acknowledging God is just another piece of the puzzle, another link in the chain. Not an ultimate explanation of anything. And if you don't, you're forced into a circular argument: God is uncreated because it's God, cats have four legs because they're cats.
  • Uber
    147
    What's uncertain in theoretical physics is the full extent or size of nature (multiverse, extra dimensions, etc). Because we don't know the full extent of nature, we don't know if the Big Bang represents the beginning of everything in nature (as opposed to some small part of it). There is no presumption beyond materialism in science because there's no reliable evidence to think along those lines. If there was, then we could talk about ghosts and fairies all day long.
  • NKBJ
    316


    That's actually pretty cute. :lol:
    But I don't think it works to say you can do something as long as you don't do it--that's the same as saying you can't do it.

    OT: Incidentally, I think that's the sort of thinking that stops people from trying to do things. If you never try to learn to play the piano, you can always tell yourself "I could become a concert pianist if I just wanted to.
  • Michael
    7.3k
    But I don't think it works to say you can do something as long as you don't do itNKBJ

    I'm not saying that he can do something as long as he doesn't do it. I'm saying that he can do it. But if he doesn’t then it is wrong to say that there’s a stone he can’t lift, which is what the paradox claims.
  • Michael
    7.3k
    OT: Incidentally, I think that's the sort of thinking that stops people from trying to do things. If you never try to learn to play the piano, you can always tell yourself "I could become a concert pianist if I just wanted to.NKBJ

    That’s not what I meant. An example would be that I can cut off my legs, but if I don’t then I can still walk. So God can create an unliftable stone, but if he doesn’t then he can still lift every stone.
  • NKBJ
    316


    Oh, sorry, I just realized OT is an abbreviation from other discussion forums I've used. It means off-topic. I was just going off on a tangent :smile:

    Anywho,

    I'm not saying that he can do something as long as he doesn't do it. I'm saying that he can do it. But if he doesn’t then it is wrong to say that there’s a stone he can’t lift, which is what the paradox claims.Michael

    I don't read the paradox that way. It doesn't claim there exists a stone which an omnipotent being couldn't lift, it's about whether the omnipotent being could bring one into existence.

    It's a problem of logic, really:
    A->B (if omnipotent, then can create stone)
    B->~A (if create stone, then not omnipotent)

    Your claim sounds to me like:
    ~B->A
    Which together with the above would still lead to ~A
  • Michael
    7.3k
    It's a problem of logic, really:
    A->B (if omnipotent, then can create stone)
    B->~A (if create stone, then not omnipotent)
    NKBJ

    The B in the first sentence is "can create stone". The B in the second sentence is "does create stone". These are two different things. The paradox conflates God being able to create the stone with God actually creating the stone.
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