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Old 05-15-2014, 06:20 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,097,133 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apathizer View Post
So ultimately my point is that 'god' (or any other deity) seems to be a way of denying the epistemological limits of human perception. As such, 'god' is a completely useless, meaningless, and arbitrary term.
I agree. The general thought process seems to be, "Because of X, there must be a god" (where X is any gap in knowledge or understanding or anything that inspires a sense of awe or amazement or dread). Which is just a way of saying, "because there are limits to my perception and comprehension, I shall now personify those limits and label as god."

The primary difference with unbelievers is we change that last phrase such that the statement for us becomes:

"There are limits to my perception and comprehension. I accept them. Until better information or arguments can be obtained, I shall simply relegate whatever is beyond my limits to the unknown and possibly unknowable, that I might instead focus on what is actionable and in my scope."

 
Old 05-15-2014, 09:56 AM
 
40,117 posts, read 26,779,715 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
The rather simplistic point that seems to elude you (or you pretend it does) is that God is that which is responsible for everything that exists. It is not a difficult concept and one that has a long history within humankind . . . your flirb and pretended obtuseness notwithstanding.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apathizer View Post
Humans are probably incapable of understanding "that which is responsible for everything that exists". The reasons for this are somewhat complicated, involving neuroscience, epistemology, and psychology, so please bare with me:
Believe me nothing you can present will be too complicated for me to grasp, Apathizer.
Quote:
As humans, we are physical beings composed of matter and energy that exist in space and time. Consequently, everything we are capable of perceiving is limited to others things composed of matter and energy that also exist in space in time. If something somehow transcends or exits outside of the space/time continuum, we are incapable of perceiving or even imagining such a thing.
But why must it exist outside timespace? Why can't it BE what establishes timespace . . . the unified field? I suppose that would involve transcending timespace . . . but without being outside.Our own consciousness transcends our physical body and timespace through abstraction and imagination. That negates your claim that our imagination is limited by this timespace.
Quote:
Because of these limitations, humans are probably incapable of understanding true nothingness because no human has ever experienced nothingness; every human that has ever lived and ever will live co-exists with other physical things. Since we can't understand the fundamental origin of existence itself, how can we possibly understand "that which is responsible for everything that exists"? We simply can't, and rather than accept this fundamental, epistemological limitation of human perception, arbitrary deities were fabricated as an explanation. 'God' simply happens to be the name in most Western religions.
So ultimately my point is that 'god' (or any other deity) seems to be a way of denying the epistemological limits of human perception. As such, 'god' is a completely useless, meaningless, and arbitrary term.
Frequently naming the composite of attributes is the first step in understanding. We try to go further . . . but are frequently stymied. Nevertheless . . . acknowledging "that which is responsible for everything that exists" by name is NOT "a completely useless, meaningless, and arbitrary" exercise. It encapsulates the concept that describes the attributes in the composite.
 
Old 05-15-2014, 03:39 PM
 
561 posts, read 1,034,451 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
"There are limits to my perception and comprehension. I accept them. Until better information or arguments can be obtained, I shall simply relegate whatever is beyond my limits to the unknown and possibly unknowable, that I might instead focus on what is actionable and in my scope."
Thank you. That's a very concise way of summarizing my point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
But why must it exist outside timespace? Why can't it BE what establishes timespace . . . the unified field? I suppose that would involve transcending timespace . . . but without being outside.Our own consciousness transcends our physical body and timespace through abstraction and imagination. That negates your claim that our imagination is limited by this timespace.Frequently naming the composite of attributes is the first step in understanding. We try to go further . . . but are frequently stymied. Nevertheless . . . acknowledging "that which is responsible for everything that exists" by name is NOT "a completely useless, meaningless, and arbitrary" exercise. It encapsulates the concept that describes the attributes in the composite.
Here's the problem: god is usually defined as a being that behaves with intent. On a fundamental level there's absolutely no evidence that the natural world behaves with any kind of intent; certainly not in any sort of human way.

Fundamentally, the universe is the random interaction and transformation of matter and energy based on what we understand about the principles of physics. Again, the interaction seems to be random (again, within the context of physics), which seems antithetical to conscious intent. So unless 'god' is synonymous with randomness, there's absolutely no directly observable evidence in the physical, space/time continuum that it exists.

[To be clear, though the laws of physics themselves might not be random (though they probably evolved in a random manner), the way matter and energy interact in a natural state within these laws appears to be random. A good analogy is a deck of cards. While the cards themselves are not random, whichever one appears first (top of the deck) from a well-shuffled deck is random: there are only 52 possible card that could emerge. Arguing that 'god' exists would be sort of like arguing that there is 53rd card in the deck that no one can see.]

Last edited by Apathizer; 05-15-2014 at 04:16 PM..
 
Old 05-16-2014, 07:34 PM
 
Location: California
30,708 posts, read 33,513,041 times
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I have nothing figured out, but I'm not willing to go along with someone else's ideas just so I can pretend I do.

Nobody has the slightest idea about most things, they just carry the clipboard (or bible or whatever) and act like they do.
 
Old 05-30-2014, 11:14 PM
 
43 posts, read 33,733 times
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:48 PM
 
40,117 posts, read 26,779,715 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
Believe me nothing you can present will be too complicated for me to grasp, Apathizer. But why must it exist outside timespace? Why can't it BE what establishes timespace . . . the unified field? I suppose that would involve transcending timespace . . . but without being outside.Our own consciousness transcends our physical body and timespace through abstraction and imagination. That negates your claim that our imagination is limited by this timespace.Frequently naming the composite of attributes is the first step in understanding. We try to go further . . . but are frequently stymied. Nevertheless . . . acknowledging "that which is responsible for everything that exists" by name is NOT "a completely useless, meaningless, and arbitrary" exercise. It encapsulates the concept that describes the attributes in the composite.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apathizer View Post
Here's the problem: god is usually defined as a being that behaves with intent. On a fundamental level there's absolutely no evidence that the natural world behaves with any kind of intent; certainly not in any sort of human way.
But we are talking about an existential issue that has nothing to do with what people usually define or think about it. Reality, per se . . . is relative to us puny creatures that inhabit it . . . God. There is no other concept that encompasses all that "It just is!"
Quote:
Fundamentally, the universe is the random interaction and transformation of matter and energy based on what we understand about the principles of physics. Again, the interaction seems to be random (again, within the context of physics), which seems antithetical to conscious intent. So unless 'god' is synonymous with randomness, there's absolutely no directly observable evidence in the physical, space/time continuum that it exists.
To us it SEEMS random based on our limited self-absorbed perceptual platform. All that random means is that we are not able to see any rhyme or reason or pattern or intent . . . NOT that there is none. The very existence of fixed processes and cause effect relationships argues against any true random or chaotic basis. Pretending our limited perceptual platform enables us to know what is going on throughout reality is just human vanity and hubris gone wild!
Quote:
[To be clear, though the laws of physics themselves might not be random (though they probably evolved in a random manner),
Nonsense. It is beyond a questionable premise that a random or chaotic source could produce unrandom and unchaotic processes.
Quote:
the way matter and energy interact in a natural state within these laws appears to be random.
Again with the appearance nonsense based on our limited perceptual platform. When God IS reality everything is purposed to support that reality and is therefore not random or purposeless . . . just because we cannot see it.
 
Old 05-31-2014, 01:37 AM
 
561 posts, read 1,034,451 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
To us it SEEMS random based on our limited self-absorbed perceptual platform. All that random means is that we are not able to see any rhyme or reason or pattern or intent
No, not at all. Remember the analogy of a well-shuffled deck of cards. When, let's say, 4 cards are removed from the deck, are those cards anything but random? Almost certainly not.

This seems to be a microcosm of how the natural world works. Matter and energy can interact in any number of seemingly random ways which result in any number of outcomes. Sometimes the results are what humans perceive as coherent structure, sometimes they're a chaotic mess. Either way, nature doesn't seem to care.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
. . . NOT that there is none. The very existence of fixed processes and cause effect relationships argues against any true random or chaotic basis.
If everything occurred in one single event, I agree it would be so highly unlikely that randomness seems like an unconvincing explanation. However, over the course of who-know-how-many-interactions (at least several billion, but I won't pretend to know enough to make even an approximate guess), it becomes highly likely that structured, coherent processes (again, based on what humans consider structured and coherent processes) would eventually emerge.

To continue with the card analogy... The likelihood of randomly selecting 4 aces in a single trial is extremely low. However, every time the deck is re-shuffled and 4 cards are selected it becomes more likely that eventually 4 aces will be selected. Over the course of, let's say 100,000,000 trials it becomes highly probable that eventually one of the results will be 4 aces.

Now, apply this model to an area of nature, let's say the emergence of life in the universe. Life emerges so rarely because in order to sustain life a planet must fall within a narrow parameter of variables: certain elements must be present in certain ratios; temps can't be too hot or too cold; the size (gravity) can't be too big or too small; etc.

While we don't know how many potentially life sustaining planets exist, it appears that very few are; 'earth' just happens to be one that is. Is the consequence of conscious intent, or a consequence of random variability of the universe? While there's no way to be certain, all evidence indicates it's the consequence of random variability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
Pretending our limited perceptual platform enables us to know what is going on throughout reality is just human vanity and hubris gone wild!
Absolutely, that's why good, intellectually-honest scientists tend to parse their conclusions and ideas in ambiguous, qualified terms. Ultimately, the whole of the natural world is more complex than humans are probably capable of understanding in it's entirety.

The best we can do is to observe the natural world, form representative models, and test our ideas using these models as paradigms for experiments. But you're absolutely correct, these models are representations of how some aspects of the nature seem to work. Even the most well-design models and experiments aren't capable of encompassing the entire complexity of nature.

But we can only work with the minds we have, not the minds we want. Currently, the human mind seems incapable of knowing the ultimate cause of existence. 'God' or whatever word you want to use, to me seems like an unnecessarily circumspect way of saying, 'We don't know'.
 
Old 05-31-2014, 07:25 AM
 
39,211 posts, read 10,895,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
... It is beyond a questionable premise that a random or chaotic source could produce unrandom and unchaotic processes. Again with the appearance nonsense based on our limited perceptual platform. When God IS reality everything is purposed to support that reality and is therefore not random or purposeless . . . just because we cannot see it.
Mystic, you know better than this. Not only are you making unwarranted assumptions simply because they provide a starting point for a circular argument on the subject of 'God exists, so there', but you are again slipping into the pernicious apologetics of ID, which is, of course, the creationism you affect to despise.

The insistence that the non -god position must assume an emergence of order from Chaos is just such an example of the ID argument. Even if that was an assumption that we made, there is no reason why order is not potentially present in the innate properties of matter and physics from the start (1), just as the potential for life and consciousness was present in matter before the planets were even created.

This is not hard to understand, but it seems hard for you to bring yourself to accept as a perfectly rational, logical, evidentially -based and scientifically -based position at least as valid as a goddunit -position (though I think it is actually a better one - but then, I would ) and you insist in claiming that it has no validity.

And we know why - because you have had some kind of experience that has convinced you that 'God' is real and thus you KNOW that all the arguments you make are true, no matter how poor they are and all ours are false, no matter how sound they are.

We know exactly where you are coming from, and we also know that you really have no case.

Just sayin' as they say. Just so you don't get the idea that you are winning any kind of argument here.

(1) we have long before done your denial of the possibility of 'emergence' - which of course relates to the 'Information cannot be added' false argument of Creationism. 'Emergence' is not only possible, but feasible, probable and in fact I believe evidentially and scientifically demonstrable. Arguing that what appears to be 'emergence' is an invisible god making happen what cannot happen otherwise is simply ID-Creationism again, and the 53rd invisible card mentioned before.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 05-31-2014 at 07:34 AM..
 
Old 05-31-2014, 08:18 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
3,534 posts, read 2,452,753 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post

You may be surprised to know that atheism is, in large part, an admission of what is unknown and probably unknowable. It is a far more "know it all" stance to make specific god claims than to default to unbelief.
Yep, this right here. Thanks Mordant, very well put.
 
Old 05-31-2014, 02:43 PM
 
Location: "Arlen" Texas
2,384 posts, read 1,560,398 times
Reputation: 9255
One of the things religions have done is to make people distrust their own intelligence and intuition. Religous leaders would much rather have the sheeple running to them for answers. Keeps them dependent. And what a charge the more psychopathic of the shepherds must get from seeing sheeple reluctantly do what their instincts tell them is wrong in order to be obedient to their masters. It's really sad, if you think about it.
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