The Argument from Desire
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12-09-2014, 02:25 PM (This post was last modified: 12-09-2014 02:52 PM by Doubter.)
The Argument from Desire
Hi there! There is an argument for God that I've always found strange:

(1) All innate, universal desires we know of so far have objects that exist, (for instance we have a natural, universal desire for food, there exists such thing as food.)
(2) Human have a natural, universal desire for supreme agency responsible for the creation of the Universe and/or our fate (whether it be God, deities, protective ancestors).
(3) Therefore, it is very probable that such agency exists.

At first, it looks completely ridiculous, indeed there is no logic that requires our desire, innate or not, to correspond to reality!
However, premise (1) looks quite strong, so assuming (2), do you think one can infer (3)?
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12-09-2014, 02:55 PM
RE: The Argument from Desire
No. Inductive arguments such as this one are notoriously unreliable. Some examples:

(1) I am over 59 years old, and I have never died, not even once. Therefore I will live forever.

(2) In those 59+ years, I have interacted with hundreds of dogs, and no dog has ever bitten me. Therefore, dogs don't bite.

(3) (The product of the first n prime numbers) + 1 is always a prime number for any value of n (true or false?). Let's try a few:

(2) + 1 = 3 (3 is prime)
(2 x 3) + 1 = 7 (7 is prime)
(2 x 3 x 5) + 1 = 31 (31 is prime)
(2 x 3 x 5 x 7) + 1 = 211 (211 is prime)

Without a computer, it becomes increasingly difficult to test whether the final result is indeed prime, and most people will stop testing and conclude that all such results are prime -- but they are not. I don't remember where the sequence fails, but fail it does. There are numbers of this form that are not prime.

Furthermore, the second premise is dubious. Good luck proving whether or not a given desire (the desire that there be a Creator, or any other desire) is "innate". Desires can be manufactured (the advertising industry depends on this).

The argument from desire is even more obvious poppycock than other "proofs" for the existence of God.
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12-09-2014, 03:00 PM (This post was last modified: 12-09-2014 07:10 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The Argument from Desire
One of the traits Homo sapiens evolved with, as a specie, is pattern seeking/recognition. In fact pattern-seeking is probably more descriptive of humans than "the tool-using monkey". Humans evolved on the savannahs of Africa, with skills that promoted survival. Humans look for patterns and try to find (simple) agency, as that promoted survival. Humans did NOT evolve to look for "supreme agency". That search in human history is very very recent. If human history is set as 24 hours, it probably lasts about a minute or two, and in general is pretty crazy (see the Egyptian cosmogenies). Reality has been proven to be non-intuitive, at it's deepest level, that is, at a level which we can detect ONLY with complex scientific instruments, (Relativity, Uncertainty). Alistar McGrath raises this issue in one of his books, (which I think I'm going to write a long complete review-refutation of ...as he's a British Christian apologist who goes WAY off the rails, ie the "need for meaning" and religion, and Kingsy raised his name as someone he respects). So that's about all I'm going to say about it at this point, I'll deal with it in the review, but it's completely false. Humans want/wish/think all sorts of things are true, and/or think they are "logical". Without evidence for any of them, they cannot be assumed.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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12-09-2014, 03:01 PM
RE: The Argument from Desire
Complete and utter nonsense.

There is nothing that exists in our universe as a result of us needing it. This is nothing more then an ego fetish for those who think the universe is dictated by humans. People who have no idea how the universe works, how big it is or have any real grasp on reality.

It is utter nonsense.


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12-09-2014, 03:05 PM
RE: The Argument from Desire
(12-09-2014 02:25 PM)Doubter Wrote:  Hi there! There is an argument for God that I've always found strange:

(1) All innate, universal desires we know of so far have objects that exist, (for instance we have a natural, universal desire for food, there exists such thing as food.)
(2) Human have a natural, universal desire for supreme agency responsible for the creation of the Universe and/or our fate (whether it be God, deities, protective ancestors).
(3) Therefore, it is very probable that such agency exists.

At first, it looks completely ridiculous, indeed there is no logic that requires our desire, innate or not, to correspond to reality!
However, premise (1) looks quite strong, so assuming (2), do you think one can infer (3)?

In addition to the unsoundness of the argument's structure (meaning we can't assume 3), premise 1 is demonstrably false.

We want a quick, painless panacea for any disease we might suffer from. This does not exist, and (due to the nature of some diseases) likely cannot exist.

(2) is also highly unsupported. Divine origin is a highly cultural position, and describing it as an instinctive DESIRE is questionable. I'm willing to allow that maybe it's an instinctive ASSUMPTION, based in our innate tendencies when faced with the unknown, much as assuming that a rustle in the grass or scratching at the window is something dangerous to us. That doesn't mean that we actually desire that the rustle in the grass is something dangerous, just that we're wired to assume the worst. However, the desire for it to be true seems linked more to cultural upbringing rather than innate instinct. As evidence, bring stories of, say, Hindu mythology to the Bible Belt, or Aztec mythology to India, and see just how much desire the locals evince. The desire is tied to upbringing within the culture, not to any sort of innate instinct.
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12-09-2014, 03:43 PM
RE: The Argument from Desire
You are arguing that the things we desire exist. Some of the things we desire do exist, but I would say most of the things we desire do not exist because our desires, in a general sense, cannot be fulfilled on the large scale.

We can only effect our immediate lives. I may have the desire for world peace or even a fantasy desire to fly like Superman.
Some desires are unattainable due to the limits of our own human nature. Others are unattainable because we cannot effect others on a massive scale that would create peace throughout the world, unless you killed everyone in the world. I guess that would bring about peace.

Either way, a desire for something to exist has no bearing on whether or not a thing does exist.
Each night I desire for supermodels to clean my house and make me dinner. So far, hasn't happened.
And it's very probably that it won't, as it's also very very very probable that there isn't a god.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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12-09-2014, 04:45 PM
RE: The Argument from Desire
We all have a powerful innate desire to live. How has that worked out so far?

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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12-09-2014, 05:13 PM
RE: The Argument from Desire
I'd never even heard of the "argument from desire" before now... It's complete horse shit.

I think Misanthropic posted a thread on this sort of thing... About the universe not being subjective.

I'll see if I can find it.

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12-09-2014, 05:21 PM
RE: The Argument from Desire
Or maybe it wasn't Misanthopik...

Can't find the thread.

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