• Mr Phil O'Sophy
    846
    Also, the theological story only has one assumption - God did itT Clark
    @NKBJ
    so if we're following Occam's razor, that means we should just go with the 'God did it' theory...
    :joke:
  • NKBJ
    224

    Interesting hypothesis for sure. A couple of things I wonder though:
    1. What does it mean to be infinite versus finite?
    2. If the problem is that God is infinite while a stone is finite, why can't God create an infinite stone?


    As to the finite nature of matter in the universe-- according to our current understanding of things, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, therefore is infinite. Some people assume the Big Bang is scientists' theory of the beginning of everything, but really they consider it the beginning of the current version of the universe which has been going through series of Big Bangs, expansions, implosions, restarts for an infinity of time.

    God did it.T Clark

    Very cute! However, let's not conflate the ease of saying something with the total sum of assumptions, premises, and logical leaps which have to be made in order to get to that conclusion, or at least for that conclusion to hold water. Occam's razor doesn't state that we should go with the pithiest phrase, but that the whole rationale for it should be as simple as possible. The way I see it, the believer would have to believe pretty much everything I believe in (unless s/he sticks to the exact word of the Bible or other religious text) +1 (at least), that 1 being God.
  • Pseudonym
    789
    The only thing it has going for it is it seems to be an accurate view, at least within the bounds of current science.T Clark

    That seems like a bizarre method of judgement you've got going on there. The only thing it has going for it is it seems to be an accurate view. What other things might a theory have going for it? That it's quite nicely written? That it scans well?
  • Agustino
    11k
    This was a great video actually.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    846
    What does it mean to be infinite versus finite?NKBJ

    They’re opposites. Like white and black. By definition they are opposed to one another.

    The infinite is that which has no limits (limitless).
    Finite is the opposite, it is confined to its limits.

    So to ask for something that is limited, to be made less limited than that which has no limits is a bit of a higeldy pigeldy question to be asking.

    Also the question itself, is anthropomorphic. To picture a scenario where you are asking God to pick something up you are presupposing that God would be affected by gravity, and that being unable to lift the stone means he has become limited by something which effects limited things living on limited planets. Also to pick something up again implies having a body, which is also limited. But if god is infinite His Being is beyond bodily form, which is for finite things alone.

    2. If the problem is that God is infinite while a stone is finite, why can't God create an infinite stone?NKBJ

    Because that again is a contradiction in terms. There can only be one infinite thing. If the infinite is that which has no limits, then if you say there are two infinite’s you are saying that infinite #1 is limited to infinite #1 and does not contain infinite #2 and vice versa. Which means it’s a limited being not a limitless being.

    If you have multiples of something, the particulars are not the infinite. The infinite contains all of the particulars, if that makes sense? If not let me know and i’ll try explain it a little better

    Infinite is everything and more, A+B+C+D.....(without end)

    Infinite is not (A but not B & B but not A)

    So if you ask an infinite being to make another infinite thing so there are two infinite things, you have misunderstood what infinite means. Which is a fault of the questioner, not a fault in God.

    As to the finite nature of matter in the universe-- according to our current understanding of things, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, therefore is infiniteNKBJ

    That conclusion doesn’t follow because you missed out the next part of that scientific statement. Energy can neither be created not destroyed, it can only change form an atom does not exist for eternity. It is not infinite, the energy that makes it up may not be destroyed, but it does change form. And each thing it becomes has a finite life span.

    The energy that makes up your body may not be destroyed, but that does not make you infinite. It means the source of your being (energy) is infinite (God) who is the source of all power, and he gives and takes it away from who He wills.

    Some people assume the Big Bang is scientists' theory of the beginning of everything, but really they consider it the beginning of the current version of the universe which has been going through series of Big Bangs, expansions, implosions, restarts for an infinity of time.NKBJ

    This is as much of a leap of faith as belief in God. It is not an empirical observation. And they are not sure because it can’t be proved via the scientific method. It is an untestable hypotheses. You’re welcome to hold it as a belief, but then you are holding a religious belief, one which contains no God, but religious none the less (in the sense that you are holding the untestable and unprovable belief based on pure faith)

    I will admit it is an incredibly interesting theory, it’s one I held myself when I was younger (I was a massive fan of ‘Through the worm hole with Morgan Freeman’) but eventually I gave it up.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    846
    This was a great video actually.Agustino

    Yeah it’s awesome isn’t it. I really like the physicist as well he explains things so clearly.
  • T Clark
    2.8k
    ....let's not conflate the ease of saying something with the total sum of assumptions, premises, and logical leaps which have to be made in order to get to that conclusion, or at least for that conclusion to hold water. Occam's razor doesn't state that we should go with the pithiest phrase, but that the whole rationale for it should be as simple as possible.NKBJ

    As I said in my post, Occam's Razor has no particular rational basis beyond "seems like a good idea to me." That doesn't provide any authoritative answer. So, you're really just saying that it seems to you a scientific explanation is better than a theological one.

    The way I see it, the believer would have to believe pretty much everything I believe in (unless s/he sticks to the exact word of the Bible or other religious text) +1 (at least), that 1 being God.NKBJ

    I don't see that at all, but that wasn't my point. I was saying that you can't legitimately use Occam's Razor as a rational argument. Also, for what it's worth, it only really makes sense when two opposing theories are otherwise equivalent, which I don't think is what you believe.
  • T Clark
    2.8k
    That seems like a bizarre method of judgement you've got going on there. The only thing it has going for it is it seems to be an accurate view. What other things might a theory have going for it? That it's quite nicely written? That it scans well?Pseudonym

    You are ignoring the context of my statement. NKBJ said that the theological argument is fantastical. I said I believe the scientific argument is just as fantastical. We don't choose one over the other because one is more or less fantastical than the other, we choose because one explains our observations better, which, in my opinion, the scientific argument does.
  • Pseudonym
    789


    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.
  • Sivad
    143
    I've always had trouble believing in a theistic creator because of the problem of evil as well as the flaws and imperfections in nature, but I'm also pretty strongly committed to the existence of a necessary being because brute facts just don't seem at all plausible to me. I guess I believe in something like a Divine Singularity that doesn't deliberately create but somehow unintentionally induces or inspires the world into existence.
  • SophistiCat
    348
    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
    846
    "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
    224
    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
    2.8k
    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.
  • Sapientia
    5.4k
    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
    348
    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
    846

    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
    11k
    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
    846
    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.
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