Rational Arguments for God?

#1
This is a blog post by Steve Novella in regards to an article posted on The Conversation.

Thought I would post it here to see what you guys thought. A lot of assumptions on both sides. Me personally I am agnostic when it comes to God, I am also not part of any religious sect.

Novellas piece on dualism should probably be a good conversation starter.

Dualism

He writes:

How can physical atoms and molecules, for example, create something that exists in a separate domain that has no physical existence, human consciousness?

It is a mystery that lies beyond science.

This is utter nonsense that I have already dealt with extensively. Nelson is just playing a word game, and relying on philosophers like Plato who struggled to understand the universe prior to any knowledge of science, and specifically neuroscience.

Consciousness is not itself a thing, it is a process of the brain.

He then doubles down on dualism, not sure if he is counting this as a separate argument:

Recognizing that he could not reconcile his own scientific materialism with the existence of a nonphysical world of human consciousness, a leading atheist, Daniel Dennett, in 1991 took the radical step of denying that consciousness even exists.

This is a straw man. Dennett is not simplistically saying that consciousness does not exist, but only that it is not a separate phenomenon of the universe that requires new physics or new dualist phenomena. Consciousness, rather, is simply what the brain does.

Looked at another way, Dennett is saying there is no hard problem of consciousness, it is made of all the easy problems. If you just keep following the activity of the brain it just keeps going, talking to itself, taking in information, etc. That ongoing process is consciousness. There is no separate thing required.

I think that Dennett is probably right, or at least he is close to the truth. Neuroscientists may discover some network in the brain that has some function essentially to consciousness that we are not currently taking into account. But that is the how, not the what. It is clear that consciousness is what the brain does.
 
#3
He writes:

"How can physical atoms and molecules, for example, create something that exists in a separate domain that has no physical existence, human consciousness?

It is a mystery that lies beyond science."


This is utter nonsense that I have already dealt with extensively. Nelson is just playing a word game, and relying on philosophers like Plato who struggled to understand the universe prior to any knowledge of science, and specifically neuroscience.

Consciousness is not itself a thing, it is a process of the brain.

[ Consciousness] is not a separate phenomenon of the universe that requires new physics or new dualist phenomena. Consciousness, rather, is simply what the brain does.
That arrogant prick. What about dark matter/dark energy? - we can observe its effects but none of our understandings and measurements of the physical world can detect or/and tell its origin, and what it contains of. The day someone figure out how to detect, measure, and understand this matter & energy, we might very well have to re-write - or rather/maybe just make an addendum - in our physics book, that opens up a whole new field.

Mr Nutella shouldn't be so sure of himself. Pride before fall, and all that..
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#4
How about rational arguments for water?
I believe it exists because I have experienced it. The same argument that rationalizes both God and every scientific discovery. The person who experiences it has the real evidence and passes it on as anecdote to everybody else who then weigh it up for themselves. The only difference with water is I believe you have experienced it as well so it is consensual truth, whereas I don't have a clue as to whether you have experienced either God or any scientific observation.
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#5
That arrogant prick. What about dark matter/dark energy? - we can observe its effects but none of our understandings and measurements of the physical world can detect or/and tell its origin, and what it contains of. The day someone figure out how to detect, measure, and understand this matter & energy, we might very well have to re-write - or rather/maybe just make an addendum - in our physics book, that opens up a whole new field.

Mr Nutella shouldn't be so sure of himself. Pride before fall, and all that..
Totally agree! It's unbelievable how many people are so sure of their own understanding that they feel they have a right to call everything else utter nonsense. It can't possibly be me who is wrong!
 

The King in the North

The Lone Wolf
Member
#6
Totally agree! It's unbelievable how many people are so sure of their own understanding that they feel they have a right to call everything else utter nonsense. It can't possibly be me who is wrong!
It's always been baffling to me how anyone can take a hard stance on anything, really, well, when it comes to certain topics, that might sound crazy.
Skeptics said no human could ever fly, skeptics said no human could walk on the moon, skeptics said there no such thing as tectonic plates, etc, etc, ad nauseum.
And this isn't even a superseded scientific theory issue, this is people saying one thing is impossible and being proven wrong.
Skeptics always say, this is impossible, we have all/most of physics figured out and this is impossible according to what we know. Well, maybe, what we know isn't complete, maybe it's not even close yet, who knows? I guess Novella knows, lol
 
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#7
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articles-and-links-arranged-by-subject.html#articles_by_subject_god

Nobel Prize winning physicist Eugene Wigner believed that, according to quantum mechanics, an observer such as God or a cosmic consciousness is needed to explain how the physical universe could come into existence from a quantum probability wave.
http://dailygrail.com/features/michio-kaku-impossible-science

"Atheists: 'Science shows there is no good reason to believe in God'. Nobel Prize Winning Scientists: 'The scientific evidence is best explained by the existence of God'".
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/04/atheists-science-shows-there-is-no-good.html

Nobel Prize winners Erwin Schrödinger, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Guglielmo Marconi, Brian Josephson, William Phillips, Richard Smalley, Arno Penzias, Charles Townes, Arthur Compton, Antony Hewish, Christian Anfinsen, Walter Kohn, Arthur Schawlow and scientists, Charles Darwin, Sir Fred Hoyle, John von Neumann, Wernher von Braun, and Louis Pasteur, believed the scientific evidence demonstrates the existence of God or that the universe was designed:
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/eminent_researchers

The beginning of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe to support life, and the failure of multiverse theories to explain this, demonstrates the existence of a transcendent designer and creator of the universe.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-...-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_cosmology

The Effectiveness of Prayer:
http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/Leibovici2001.pdf

"Nonlocal Mind, Distant Healing, And Prayer" by Larry Dossey, M.D.
http://www.stephanaschwartz.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/distant_healing_biblio.pdf

"John Lennox Explains why Atheism is a Delusion Incompatible with Science"
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html

"John Lennox Explains Some of the Scientific Evidence for God"
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains_23.html

"Primer: Summary of Problems with Biological and Chemical Evolution"
http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1510
More on Intelligent Design:
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-contents-evidence-for-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_id

"Evidence That God Exists: People Who Have Near Death Experiences Meet God."
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/09/evidence-that-god-exists-people-who.html

"The physical universe is like a simulation running in the mind of God."
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/occasionally-i-post-something-to.html#misc_universe_sim_god
 
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#8
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/eminent_researchers

Max Planck (Nobel Prize for Physics): I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.

Erwin Schrödinger (Nobel Prize for Physics): Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.

Werner Heisenberg (Nobel Prize for Physics): Heisenberg thought that belief in God is a natural result of studying science. He said:
The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.

Albert Einstein (Nobel Prize for Physics): On the other hand, however, every one who is seriously engaged in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that the laws of nature manifest the existence of a spirit vastly superior to that of men, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble
...
I believe in Spinoza's God, Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.

Sir John Eccles (Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine): I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity. This belief must be classed as a superstition ... we have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world.

Brian D. Josephson (Nobel Prize for Physics): What are the implications for science of the fact that psychic functioning appears to be a real effect? These phenomena seem mysterious, but no more mysterious perhaps than strange phenomena of the past which science has now happily incorporated within its scope.

Charles Robert Richet (Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine): 1. There is in us a faculty of cognition that differs radically from the usual sensorial faculties (Cryptesthesia). 2. There are, even in full light, movements of objects without contact (Telekinesis). 3. Hands, bodies, and objects seem to take shape in their entirety from a cloud and take all the semblance of life (Ectoplasms). 4. There occur premonitions that can be explained neither by chance nor perspicacity, and are sometimes verified in minute detail. Such are my firm and explicit conclusions.

Pierre Curie (Nobel Prize for Physics): It was very interesting, and really the phenomena that we saw appeared inexplicable as trickery—tables raised from all four legs, movement of objects from a distance, hands that pinch or caress you, luminous apparitions. All in a [setting] prepared by us with a small number of spectators all known to us and without a possible accomplice. The only trick possible is that which could result from an extraordinary facility of the medium as a magician. But how do you explain the phenomena when one is holding her hands and feet and when the light is sufficient so that one can see everything that happens?

Charles Darwin: ... I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe, and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance.

Kurt Gödel: Materialism is false. ... The world in which we live is not the only one in which we shall live or have lived. ... The brain is a computing machine connected with a spirit. ... I don’t think the brain came in the Darwinian manner. In fact, it is disprovable. ... Mind is separate from matter. ... There are other worlds and rational beings of a different and higher kind.

Alan Turing: I assume that the reader is familiar with the idea of extrasensory perception, and the meaning of the four items of it, viz., telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psychokinesis. These disturbing phenomena seem to deny all our usual scientific ideas. How we should like to discredit them! Unfortunately the statistical evidence, at least for telepathy, is overwhelming. It is very difficult to rearrange one's ideas so as to fit these new facts in. Once one has accepted them it does not seem a very big step to believe in ghosts and bogies. The idea that our bodies move simply according to the known laws of physics, together with some others not yet discovered but somewhat similar, would be one of the first to go.​
 
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#10
I wouldn't say that our skeptic colleagues are actually certain of anything besides their disdain for religion and "superstition", that is just the posture that they must assume if they are going to do as much gaslighting as they try to do here.
Sean Carroll said some thing science already knows for certain and won't be changed any time in the future, like ur screen/computer is made of atoms not continuous matter (as assumed by many classical physicists). He then compares NDEs/afterlife/dualism to this, because as he says any sub atomic particles responsible for the soul would be detected by the LHC already. This is just like the "who created god" argument. I find arguments like this just hilarious, clearly shows their prejudice against spiritual things.
 
#11
Sean Carroll said some thing science already knows for certain and won't be changed any time in the future, like ur screen/computer is made of atoms not continuous matter (as assumed by many classical physicists). He then compares NDEs/afterlife/dualism to this, because as he says any sub atomic particles responsible for the soul would be detected by the LHC already. This is just like the "who created god" argument. I find arguments like this just hilarious, clearly shows their prejudice against spiritual things.
Sean also believes in something called "poetic naturalism" (basically materialism + armchair philosophy) and yet he is bold enough to say that physicists should "stop saying silly things about philosophy". So it's not particularly surprising that he is conflating those things as well.

Even within his field I'm not sure that he lives up to the hype, he defended the increasingly shaky hidden variable theories not so long ago and is an advocate of the unfalsifiable scapegoat that is MWI.
 
#13
I believe it exists because I have experienced it. The same argument that rationalizes both God and every scientific discovery. The person who experiences it has the real evidence and passes it on as anecdote to everybody else who then weigh it up for themselves. The only difference with water is I believe you have experienced it as well so it is consensual truth, whereas I don't have a clue as to whether you have experienced either God or any scientific observation.
Thank you for the thorough reply.

My comment was somewhat rhetorical, I wasn't necessarily expecting a serious answer.
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#14
Thank you for the thorough reply.

My comment was somewhat rhetorical, I wasn't necessarily expecting a serious answer.
I understood it was rhetorical, I just wanted to use it as a springboard to make a point of my own. My apologies.

And yet, so far, no one has posted a rational argument for god.

~~ Paul
I posted one but you don't like the answer!
 
#15
I understood it was rhetorical, I just wanted to use it as a springboard to make a point of my own. My apologies.


I posted one but you don't like the answer!
By the way, the main reason it was rhetorical, and pretty much unrelated to the original thread topic, is that personally I would not use rational argument in this context. In my opinion it isn't an appropriate tool for the task. (Not intending to diminish the efforts of those who don't share my opinion).
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#16
Aquinas' Five Ways.

The Argument for Mind@Large, Brahman, whatever you want to call the Being that is the Ground of Being in Idealism.

The arguments that converted atheist Anthony Flew made in There is a God.

Bach's God of Movement that isn't a God of Meaning

The necessity of Pantheism or Classical Theism if one assumes - as science often does - that the universe is intelligible. I think you could extrapolate to include Panentheism but I've not given this much thought. It seems kinda obvious?
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#17
A quick glance at the article on the Conversation does seem to stretch the chain of logic from particular questions we have about reality to assuming there has to be a God.

edit: And the kind of questions asked in, say, Why Won't God Heal Amputees, would remain unanswered just because there is a metaphysical lynchpin we refer to as "God".

Novellas piece on dualism should probably be a good conversation starter.
There's a resource thread on Dualism & the Filter/Transmitter Theory.

Also note skeptics oftentimes misrepresent, or are just ignorant of, the philosophical arguments for dualism.
 
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#18
A quick glance at the article on the Conversation does seem to stretch the chain of logic from particular questions we have about reality to assuming there has to be a God.
That is exactly how I felt about the article too.

I still find Novella stating "consciousness is what the brain does" odd though. I already knew that was his position, but it is still a highly debated topic. His answer is we haven't figured out the specific mechanism responsible for consciousness yet, but we will, just wait.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#19
That is exactly how I felt about the article too.

I still find Novella stating "consciousness is what the brain does" odd though. I already knew that was his position, but it is still a highly debated topic. His answer is we haven't figured out the specific mechanism responsible for consciousness yet, but we will, just wait.
Novella doesn't have a real argument AFAICTell.

Even Sam Harris has admitted materialism is nonsensical and requires a Something From Nothing illogical miracle.

(I just think he doesn't go far enough in his thinking, for example if consciousness is the carrier of causation it opens up a lot of possibilities of how parapsychology works.)

Lycan, another materialist, admits Dualism is as justifiable as materialism.

"My position may be rational, broadly speaking, but not because the arguments favor it:Though the arguments for dualism do (indeed) fail, so do the arguments for materialism.And the standard objections to dualism are not very convincing; if one really manages to be a dualist in the first place, one should not be much impressed by them."
 
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