Belief versus reality
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29-10-2017, 11:20 AM
RE: Belief versus reality
(29-10-2017 11:06 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  
(29-10-2017 10:56 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Again, we have to be careful with terminology. Aristotle and Aquinas did not mean the same thing by "motion" and "mover" that we commonly mean today. This will become apparent if you read the first of Aquinas's "Five Ways", in which he uses fire making something else hot as an example of "motion". Whenever they say "motion", you can read it as "change". Motion, of course, is one kind of change, but their concept is broader than just "motion" as we know it.

This is not an attempt at deception or equivocation. Language changes over the years, and translation is imperfect even between modern languages (and philosophical arguments in general often use words in different ways than they are used in everyday discourse). When looking at translations of philosophical arguments made many centuries ago in foreign languages (and more than that, dead languages), you have to take great pains to learn their terminology and understand what they're actually saying (as opposed to what they appear to be saying if you only consider the modern meanings of words). You can't intelligently critique the arguments without this preliminary step.

Also, the fact that Aristotelian metaphysics is out of fashion today doesn't necessarily mean that it's wrong. It's just a different way of looking at things. Maybe it's wrong, but this would need to be demonstrated, not just asserted. In metaphysics, such demonstrations are notoriously difficult, so good luck. The arguments we're talking about are not scientific arguments, so I'm not sure how useful science is in attempting to refute them.

If we're staying strictly in the philosophical realm, then science is not related, however these arguments are dipping into the physics realm and the plausibility of their arguments become subject to scientific scrutiny.

They're also arguments used to convince minds, so from my perspective they can construct a perfect argument, but it's meaningless unless they can back it up with an underpinning reality behind it.

Ultimately it's not up to showing evidence against any metaphysical thing, it's up to those making claims about the metaphysical to provide the evidence.

I'm not sure that "metaphysics" and "evidence" even belong in the same sentence. David Hume dismissed metaphysics altogether on this basis.

Tongue
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29-10-2017, 11:33 AM
RE: Belief versus reality
(29-10-2017 11:18 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(29-10-2017 09:27 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Do all contingent entities require a "cause", or ground? And, if so, can there be an infinite regression of such "causes"? I'm not prepared to grant either of these assertions, but I can't refute them outright either. We are in the realm of "ultimate questions" here, and such questions tend not to have easy answers. I prefer to say "I don't know" -- and indeed, my only beef in this thread is with those who claim that they do know.

What I've said is that the grounds for contingent entities can't be a God by any commonly accepted definition of God. I say I know it can't be God, not that there must be no grounds as you are defining it. I maintain this on the basis of the specific nature of the world we see around us, which is not as it should be given the commonly accepted attributes of God, specifically "conscious and willful," but also "all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly good" for the Christian and Islamic concepts. I think it's a good question as to what the real grounds may be. But I think the question of whether those grounds might be God has been satisfactorily answered in the negative.

But "God works in mysterious ways."

Tongue

I'm only partially kidding with that comment. The question of God's existence may have been satisfactorily answered in the negative as far as our intellects can determine, but our intellects are finite and limited. I'm willing to remain open to the possibility that there exists a god whose intellect exceeds ours to the same degree that ours exceeds that of a bacterium -- in which case we couldn't hope to understand the things he does or why he does them. I think this unlikely, but I'm not confident enough to say "impossible".
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29-10-2017, 11:36 AM
RE: Belief versus reality
(29-10-2017 11:33 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I'm only partially kidding with that comment. The question of God's existence may have been satisfactorily answered in the negative as far as our intellects can determine, but our intellects are finite and limited. I'm willing to remain open to the possibility that there exists a god whose intellect exceeds ours to the same degree that ours exceeds that of a bacterium -- in which case we couldn't hope to understand the things he does or why he does them. I think this unlikely, but I'm not confident enough to say "impossible".

I think it’s impossible. Big Grin

What you just described above places the god within nature and not outside of it.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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29-10-2017, 11:39 AM
RE: Belief versus reality
(29-10-2017 11:33 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(29-10-2017 11:18 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  What I've said is that the grounds for contingent entities can't be a God by any commonly accepted definition of God. I say I know it can't be God, not that there must be no grounds as you are defining it. I maintain this on the basis of the specific nature of the world we see around us, which is not as it should be given the commonly accepted attributes of God, specifically "conscious and willful," but also "all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly good" for the Christian and Islamic concepts. I think it's a good question as to what the real grounds may be. But I think the question of whether those grounds might be God has been satisfactorily answered in the negative.

But "God works in mysterious ways."

Tongue

I'm only partially kidding with that comment. The question of God's existence may have been satisfactorily answered in the negative as far as our intellects can determine, but our intellects are finite and limited. I'm willing to remain open to the possibility that there exists a god whose intellect exceeds ours to the same degree that ours exceeds that of a bacterium -- in which case we couldn't hope to understand the things he does or why he does them. I think this unlikely, but I'm not confident enough to say "impossible".

With this understanding, we would be the gods around here.

Nawww ... we are speaking about a supernatural being, not a being susceptible to the rigors of life and space-time as we are.

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29-10-2017, 11:51 AM (This post was last modified: 29-10-2017 11:59 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Belief versus reality
(29-10-2017 11:33 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  The question of God's existence may have been satisfactorily answered in the negative as far as our intellects can determine, but our intellects are finite and limited. I'm willing to remain open to the possibility that there exists a god whose intellect exceeds ours to the same degree that ours exceeds that of a bacterium -- in which case we couldn't hope to understand the things he does or why he does them. I think this unlikely, but I'm not confident enough to say "impossible".

Yes, but you would have to redefine God to do it.

Why bother? There's already a very strong tendency for religious people to say, "We know more than everybody else." Why would you want to aid and abet that tendency by redefining an already failed God concept?
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29-10-2017, 11:57 AM
RE: Belief versus reality
(29-10-2017 11:51 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(29-10-2017 11:33 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  The question of God's existence may have been satisfactorily answered in the negative as far as our intellects can determine, but our intellects are finite and limited. I'm willing to remain open to the possibility that there exists a god whose intellect exceeds ours to the same degree that ours exceeds that of a bacterium -- in which case we couldn't hope to understand the things he does or why he does them. I think this unlikely, but I'm not confident enough to say "impossible".

Yes, but you would have to redefine God to do it.

Why bother?

Why would I have to redefine God? The "God of the philosophers" and the Christian God are both said to be infinitely intelligent.
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29-10-2017, 12:00 PM
RE: Belief versus reality
(29-10-2017 11:36 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(29-10-2017 11:33 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I'm only partially kidding with that comment. The question of God's existence may have been satisfactorily answered in the negative as far as our intellects can determine, but our intellects are finite and limited. I'm willing to remain open to the possibility that there exists a god whose intellect exceeds ours to the same degree that ours exceeds that of a bacterium -- in which case we couldn't hope to understand the things he does or why he does them. I think this unlikely, but I'm not confident enough to say "impossible".

I think it’s impossible. Big Grin

What you just described above places the god within nature and not outside of it.

How so? It can be argued (and has been argued, in the books that I referenced earlier in this thread) that the first cause of the cosmological argument must be not only supernatural, but also intelligent, and infinitely so. If we consider a bacterium to have no intellect at all (after all, it has no brain), this is consistent with my hypothesis.
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29-10-2017, 12:01 PM
RE: Belief versus reality
(29-10-2017 11:57 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(29-10-2017 11:51 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  Yes, but you would have to redefine God to do it.

Why bother?

Why would I have to redefine God? The "God of the philosophers" and the Christian God are both said to be infinitely intelligent.

Yes, but along with a bunch of other attributes which are unnecessary or make no sense.

And why exactly is "infinite intelligence" even required?
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29-10-2017, 12:03 PM (This post was last modified: 29-10-2017 03:39 PM by Full Circle.)
RE: Belief versus reality
(29-10-2017 11:57 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(29-10-2017 11:51 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  Yes, but you would have to redefine God to do it.

Why bother?

Why would I have to redefine God? The "God of the philosophers" and the Christian God are both said to be infinitely intelligent.

...but outside of space-time right?

I’ll agree with you that there may be organic beings in the universe that make our intelligence minuscule by comparison, but the instant the definition includes supernatural I say impossible, it's a self-defeating definition.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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29-10-2017, 12:06 PM
RE: Belief versus reality
(29-10-2017 12:01 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(29-10-2017 11:57 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Why would I have to redefine God? The "God of the philosophers" and the Christian God are both said to be infinitely intelligent.

Yes, but along with a bunch of other attributes which are unnecessary or make no sense.

I fully agree that the Christian God makes no sense, but the "God of the philosophers" has only attributes that can be derived from general metaphysical principles, and are perfectly consistent and sensible in that context.

And even the Christian God makes no sense to me, but as he reputedly said to Job, who am I to question him? (This is tongue-in-cheek, but only partially so.)
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