Assumptions about a creator
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09-03-2017, 08:11 AM
Assumptions about a creator
Firstly, I'm going to use "creator" rather than "God" because the latter is such a ludicrously loaded term.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that this reality was intelligently designed. There is no scientific evidence that this is the case, but let's allow it for now.

What else do we know about this creator? Nothing. But that doesn't stop lots of people making any/all of the following assumptions. Why are these so frequently made? For each one, I ask, "Why would you think that?" What I'm trying to achieve here it to show people that they may have just accepted assumptions without even realising that they are assumptions.

1) The creator is still alive, cannot die and/or has existed forever. Things change. Things die. The predictable nature of reality suggests that there's no targeted intervention going on.

2) The creator knew how things were going to pan out. What would be the point of creating a whole reality just to watch it unfold in the exact manner that you decided? The only thing I can think of is some weird form of entertainment.

3) The power the creator has over our reality translates to outside of our reality also. Why the hell would it? If I make a computer simulation of something, I can have a near-omnipotent level of control over the simulation, but outside of it I'm just Johnny No-Pants.

4) The creator has some interest in humans. We're cosmically insignificant. The only rare quality we have is that we are a life form. But there's no reason to think there isn't life elsewhere, given the vast nature of reality. We already know of many planets similar to ours that could support life. We also know we're not going to be around very long, in the grand scale. Apart from a small part in some sort of experiment, what purpose could we possibly serve?

5) The creator knows we are self aware. This is a big one. Let's say I make a computer simulation, and this simulation manifests somehow, and that some of the "beings" in my simulation become self-aware. How could I possibly know that? Even if a character in my simulation started stating that it was self-aware, I'd probably assume this is just part of their programming.

6) The creator intends to remove us from this reality and place us in others, possibly his, when we die. Imagine again the computer simulation scenario. This would be like me "pulling out" one of the beings when they die, and it manifesting in our reality. Is this even a remotely sensible thing to think? Even if it was, and if it has the technology to create things like this, then going via our reality seems like a ridiculously long-winded way of doing it.

7) The creator has set ideas about how it wants us to act, and has tried to communicate them with us. Even if we assume it knows about us, why would it care how we act? If it was important to the purpose of reality, we would have just been programmed to act the way it wanted. The only thing left seems to be some bizarre experiment on us, by which genuine communication is garbled and hidden next to hundreds of other similar looking garbled messages, and we're supposed to somehow pick out the right one. This could be some sort of experiment in AI, but the idea that it could actually become happy or upset as the result of our actions is ludicrous.

8) The creator made this for us. The vast nature of reality is ample evidence against this. So is the fact that almost all of it is toxic to us. So is the way the laws of physics restrain us from exploring anything further than a tiny fraction away from ourselves. If there is any point at all to this, its suitability for us is way down on the list of sensible agendas. The fact that it's so easy to imagine incredibly better environments for us (pretty cruel really) also works against this.

Did I miss any?

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09-03-2017, 08:25 AM
RE: Assumptions about a creator
Is the point of your thread to discuss a Christian perspective? The description you gave seemed to me to have described a creator from a Christian viewpoint.
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09-03-2017, 09:39 AM
RE: Assumptions about a creator
Not especially, any viewpoint. Of course, it's religions which are most commonly making these assumptions. But I've even noticed some atheists, from time to time, assuming some of these things just off the back of a hypothetical creator.

I just wanted to point out how loaded the creator often is, and how little I hear about the further assumptions made about it.

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09-03-2017, 10:02 AM
RE: Assumptions about a creator
I'm also demonstrating the point about how utterly irrelevant a creator is, once you drop all these unfounded and unlikely assumptions. I'm undecided on the existence of a creator personally, and I see it as essentially unfalsifiable, at least for now. But I see it as being of no consequence, for these reasons.

I missed one:

9) There are just 2 or 3 realities. This is a very common model, where we have our reality, the place the creator is, and then maybe some other dustbin for him to put beings in. It's in fact quite ridiculous to assume that if something could create realities, it would only ever have made one. And there's no reason to think that the creator"s reality is the master; it too could be a manifestation from another reality. And there could be independent other realities that we probably can't ever be aware of.

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09-03-2017, 10:45 AM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2017 01:04 PM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Assumptions about a creator
(My comments are in parentheses: You have proposed an interesting literary problem: How do you make any idea of a Creator internally consistent. You could solve many of your problems by making it a pantheistic Creator.)

1) The creator is still alive, cannot die and/or has existed forever.

(Since a patheistic Creator is defined as the existence underlying all existence, you must assume he still exists.)

2) The creator knew how things were going to pan out.

(It's him doing everything, and he knows his own intentions.)

3) The power the creator has over our reality translates to outside of our reality also.

(If you are crediting such a Creator with consciousness and will, then of course he could have chosen to make everything different.)

4) The creator has some interest in humans.

(His awareness must necessarily encompass our own.)

5) The creator knows we are self aware.

(We are only aware because we share a portion of his over-all awareness.)

6) The creator intends to remove us from this reality and place us in others, possibly his, when we die.

(We are just a part of his over-all awareness, so our own awareness will continue to exist in him for as long as he exists.)

7) The creator has set ideas about how it wants us to act, and has tried to communicate them with us.

(If he is the underlying reality, then the knowledge of him and of our place in the total scheme of things should change our thoughts and behaviors about ourselves and others.)

8) The creator made this for us.

(His existence would give us a higher standing in reality than we previously knew, since we share his awareness.)
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09-03-2017, 10:52 AM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2017 01:42 PM by TheInquisition.)
RE: Assumptions about a creator
Another assumption is that this creator will be honest with it's creations about it's agenda. How could we possibly know this? It's totally unfalsifiable.

Just because your favorite holy book says we'll be floating on clouds playing harps, doesn't mean this creator will lift a finger to make this happen or even have the power or desire to make an agreeable post-mortem reality for you.

I thought of something along these lines, I called it the presuppositional stack:

1. A god exists

2. Out of the multitude of gods that have been claimed to exist, Canaanite barbarians around 1500 BC nailed it, they got the right god.

3. The Canaanite barbarians got the right god, but they didn't understand the whole trinity thing, so the Christians really understood the Canaanite god better than the Jews. Facepalm

4. Out of the 40,000+ Christian sects, your sect is the right one.

5. Your particular sect didn't miss a single thing in terms of original manuscripts, based from word-of-mouth transmission over several decades.

6. You personally understood the exact truth from your particular sect's interpretation.

Is this any way to transmit truth? It's easy to come to the conclusion that if there was a god, it is not concerned with accurate communication with humans.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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09-03-2017, 12:43 PM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2017 12:55 PM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Assumptions about a creator
(09-03-2017 10:52 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  Is this any way to transmit truth? It's easy to come to the conclusion that if there was a god, it is not concerned with accurate communication with humans.

More likely, if there is a God, he doesn't care whether we know about him or not, even though it might be in our own best interests to know. That could be rationalized as a part of his non-contingency.

Similarly, variations in the perceptions of such a God could be blamed on the subjectivities of us humans. The question then becomes, is there any God concept which really makes sense? The pantheistic concept I mentioned makes more sense than most, but still isn't required by anything we've learned. At best it is only another attempt to find a God concept which doesn't have fatal internal contradictions -- a kind of rationalization of past, failed attempts.
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09-03-2017, 02:32 PM
RE: Assumptions about a creator
(09-03-2017 08:11 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Firstly, I'm going to use "creator" rather than "God" because the latter is such a ludicrously loaded term.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that this reality was intelligently designed. There is no scientific evidence that this is the case, but let's allow it for now.

What else do we know about this creator? Nothing. But that doesn't stop lots of people making any/all of the following assumptions. Why are these so frequently made? For each one, I ask, "Why would you think that?" What I'm trying to achieve here it to show people that they may have just accepted assumptions without even realising that they are assumptions.

1) The creator is still alive, cannot die and/or has existed forever. Things change. Things die. The predictable nature of reality suggests that there's no targeted intervention going on.

2) The creator knew how things were going to pan out. What would be the point of creating a whole reality just to watch it unfold in the exact manner that you decided? The only thing I can think of is some weird form of entertainment.

3) The power the creator has over our reality translates to outside of our reality also. Why the hell would it? If I make a computer simulation of something, I can have a near-omnipotent level of control over the simulation, but outside of it I'm just Johnny No-Pants.

4) The creator has some interest in humans. We're cosmically insignificant. The only rare quality we have is that we are a life form. But there's no reason to think there isn't life elsewhere, given the vast nature of reality. We already know of many planets similar to ours that could support life. We also know we're not going to be around very long, in the grand scale. Apart from a small part in some sort of experiment, what purpose could we possibly serve?

5) The creator knows we are self aware. This is a big one. Let's say I make a computer simulation, and this simulation manifests somehow, and that some of the "beings" in my simulation become self-aware. How could I possibly know that? Even if a character in my simulation started stating that it was self-aware, I'd probably assume this is just part of their programming.

6) The creator intends to remove us from this reality and place us in others, possibly his, when we die. Imagine again the computer simulation scenario. This would be like me "pulling out" one of the beings when they die, and it manifesting in our reality. Is this even a remotely sensible thing to think? Even if it was, and if it has the technology to create things like this, then going via our reality seems like a ridiculously long-winded way of doing it.

7) The creator has set ideas about how it wants us to act, and has tried to communicate them with us. Even if we assume it knows about us, why would it care how we act? If it was important to the purpose of reality, we would have just been programmed to act the way it wanted. The only thing left seems to be some bizarre experiment on us, by which genuine communication is garbled and hidden next to hundreds of other similar looking garbled messages, and we're supposed to somehow pick out the right one. This could be some sort of experiment in AI, but the idea that it could actually become happy or upset as the result of our actions is ludicrous.

8) The creator made this for us. The vast nature of reality is ample evidence against this. So is the fact that almost all of it is toxic to us. So is the way the laws of physics restrain us from exploring anything further than a tiny fraction away from ourselves. If there is any point at all to this, its suitability for us is way down on the list of sensible agendas. The fact that it's so easy to imagine incredibly better environments for us (pretty cruel really) also works against this.

Did I miss any?

10) The Creator has total knowledge of and power over this reality. Why would we be sure of this? How many software engineers have created huge products that they don't really understand after X iterations? That runs too quickly for them to keep up with? Could a creator make natural laws so ironbound that it can't violate them after the fact?
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09-03-2017, 04:03 PM
RE: Assumptions about a creator
It's my view that the urge to insert an first-mover / creator / designer into things is, at bottom, a desire to render the uncertainties and outright absurdities of existence and the human condition, comprehensible and less risky. Some people simply cannot tolerate anything but absolute certainty; some can tolerate some uncertainty but not too much; others care more about dealing in reality even when it's unpleasing to them.

A designer does not add explanatory or predictive power to experienced reality, but it allows some of us to tell ourselves that Everything Will Be All Right or at least that it will be explained in some ultimate sense.

Ironically people feel this need in large part because they have it drilled into them from the cradle that their locus of control is outside themselves when it comes to meaning, purpose, and coping with uncertainty. That this external locus is asserted as necessary and absolutely crucial. The notion that nature doesn't follow a Plan is considered intolerable ... in the sense of "that way lies madness". That is why it's such a popular trope that unbelievers are bitter and/or angry and/or miserable creatures -- a Trumpian claim presented without evidence but with the implication that it's self-evident.
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09-03-2017, 04:15 PM
RE: Assumptions about a creator
One that I always like to ponder is - does "the Creator" even know we exist, does it have any idea it's a creator of anything? Did it make us intentionally?

For all we know, if there's a creator we're nothing more to him than the mold on a tomato in the back of his refrigerator. We may be the result of nothing more than his sheer neglect. He could have absolutely no idea we're even here - and he'll get rid of us as soon we stink the place up too bad.
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