Rational Arguments for God?

#61
Because we don't seem to have any evidence of mental fundamentals and the mechanisms by which they would give rise to the external world. And I'm not yet willing to blow off neuroscience, even with everyone complaining that they haven't solved consciousness in the 100 or so years they've been working on it.

But I'm not as adamant about this as I was 10 years ago. So I'll keep discussing it and see where we go. It's quite the ride, no?

~~ Paul
Understandable.

The weakness I see with materialists is the dismissal of consciousness. Neuroscience or neurology is highly beneficial in regards to understanding things like how vision works and cognitive diseases like Alzheimer's. The glaring problem I see is the way they talk about consciousness. Novella sees it not as a hard problem but a misunderstanding of a bunch of easy problems (he loves quoting Dennett). He also always pulls out that old standby "we just don't know the mechanism yet".

I watched this video recently with Sean Carroll about consciousness and I was a little baffled I will link it here. I don't know if it was a synchronistic event;),but the first comment by arbenboba stole the words out of my mouth. Sean thinks all this talk about consciousness is a huge misunderstanding, it's just the way we talk about our experiences. If that is not a hand wave, I don't know what is.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#62
Is mind a thing? Isn't there a tendency to assume the material? That mind must be made of something? Perhaps, being non-material, mind doesn't require creation - it just is. Perhaps what we think of as material is just mind given form? Perhaps mind can assign a subset of its awareness to some forms which then become aware?

I'm at the edge of my philosophical reach there but a monist idealism seems to make sense to me.
I did like Idealism for a time, as it makes a certain kind of sense - namely if one can have lucid dreams, or even just highly detailed dreams, how is the "matter" of this life more than "dream-stuff"? I mean I've woken up in dreams, others have died in dreams and then woken up in the next dream, etc.

I think the challenge for me is that Consciousness has three components I think we can consider problems for materialism - The 1st Person Subjective, Thoughts About Things, and Apprehension of Reason. There's also a boundary to my experience beyond which the world is more external than that of my body (I don't have an internal experience of, say, a stone I pick up).

Each of these has a "for-ness" to them:

- If I were to draw arrows you would see feelings about the external world beyond the boundary of my experience causing sensations.

- I would have thoughts, and they would be particular to me.

- When I utilize Reason, grasping the Logical Universals, it's my mind doing this.

So how can Reality be made of something like Consciousness that has a seemingly fundamental 1st person quality? The one way this seems to work is if there are Many Minds, and they have a collective dream. But that also leaves many questions to be answered.

I guess we could be alters of a Great Dreamer aka "Mind @ Large" aka "God", but even there it feels difficult to see how Consciousness makes up the world external to me without losing the mental aspects while gaining physical aspects. I guess it would have to be a dream world with everything in Mind, but only agents as alters of the Great Dreamer?

Anyway it's a personal objection, as per the Idealism Resources Thread lot of great thinkers accept Idealism...
 
#63
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And I'm not yet willing to blow off neuroscience, even with everyone complaining that they haven't solved consciousness in the 100 or so years they've been working on it.


~~ Paul

Here - I fixed it for you: ;)

.
And I'm not yet willing to blow off PSI & Parapsychology, even with everyone complaining that they haven't solved the case of paranormal phenomenon in the 100 or so years they've been working on it.

~~ Paul
 
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#64
And I'm not yet willing to blow off neuroscience, even with everyone complaining that they haven't solved consciousness in the 100 or so years they've been working on it.
I agree, Neuroscience is extremely useful, especially when it comes to the study and treatment of various brain injuries. Hopefully they're able to one day take steps to prevent Alzheimer's and maybe even reverse it if they catch it early enough.
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#65
Not really, since other people can verify that Helen is wearing green and, more importantly, because wearing green is well defined and not a particularly amazing claim.

I think you can claim that you had an amazing experience that is difficult to describe. But personally, I would not go out on the limb to claim it is god.

~~ Paul
Are you confusing "a rational argument" with "proof" "I have witnessed - therefore---" is a rational argument whether it is good evidence on its own or not. An argument doesn't have to be close to proof. The reason you would not claim it is God is because you haven't experienced it and have no understanding of what was involved. If you had, you would know! I get the feeling that, with you, God could appear in front of you and say "boo!" and you would still argue your way around it!

A rational argument is not the same thing as proof!
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#66
This looks worth looking through

http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/theistic-proofs/

"Richard Swinburne has appealed to what he calls the “principle of credulity” in support of the argument from religious experience.


The Principle of Credulity

The principle of credulity states that if it seems to a subject that x is present, then probably x is present. Generally, says Swinburne, it is reasonable to believe that the world is probably as we experience it to be. Unless we have some specific reason to question a religious experience, therefore, then we ought to accept that it is at least prima facie evidence for the existence of God.


Experiences of the Absence of God

Atheist
Michael Martin has criticised Swinburne’s use of the principle of credulity. If, as Swinburne suggests, experiences are generally to be treated as veridical, i.e. as accurately representing the world, then this allows an argument from the absence of religious experience to be constructed. An atheist who experiences the absence of God can argue, using the principle of credulity, that the world is probably as this experience represents it as being: godless. Arguments from religious experiences to the existence of God can thus be met with arguments from atheist experiences to the non-existence of God; what will result will, presumably, be a tie, other things being equal.


Against the Negative Principle of Credulity

Swinburne responds to this objection by arguing that this negative principle of credulity is false. Swinburne carefully states his positive principle of credulity—if it seems to a subject that x is present, then probably x is present—so that it does not apply to experiences of absences. The negative principle—if it seems to a subject that x is not present, then probably x is not present—he rejects.


This negative principle, he suggests, would only be a good one in cases where it is reasonable to believe that if x were present then the subject would experience x. There is no reason, however, to suppose that if God existed then the atheist would experience him, and so the negative principle of credulity does not apply to atheists‘ experiences of the absence of God."

 
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#67
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.
Wow he believes in hidden variables? Do you have a link? That just confirms my suspicion he's a hardcore determinist materialist. If I studied QFT properly I'd be in a better position to comment, but from casual reading I dont think most physicist take hidden variables seriously anymore, although most still prefer MWI, which i find to be complete nonsense it's a way more crazy claim than NDEs/afterlife, which one of the 10^43 worlds every second are our particular consciousness in?

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

~~ Paul
I hate to admit, but there's no direct empirical evidence for god. There's empirical evidence that consciousness can exist independently from the body, and since many OBErs see a tunnel of light and deceased relatives by extension there's empirical evidence for afterlife. But god, there's nothing other than futile philosophical arguments, you win here materialist.
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#69
I hate to admit, but there's no direct empirical evidence for god. There's empirical evidence that consciousness can exist independently from the body, and since many OBErs see a tunnel of light and deceased relatives by extension there's empirical evidence for afterlife. But god, there's nothing other than futile philosophical arguments, you win here materialist.
How do you define empirical? It seems by your definition, my experiences of God are empirical.
Why are philosophical arguments futile? Scientific understanding requires philosophical arguments.
 
#70
So how can Reality be made of something like Consciousness that has a seemingly fundamental 1st person quality? The one way this seems to work is if there are Many Minds, and they have a collective dream. But that also leaves many questions to be answered.
The way I think about it is that - at least for our reality - there is one mind. This mind is self-ware but has no point of reference: nothing to compare its experience with. What it does have is the ability to create, in infinite detail, any form it can imagine. It can organise those forms with "laws" which seem, to our minds, so natural and inevitable. It can also endow those forms with self-awareness by limiting their awareness of the whole and their place as part of the whole. Feedback is mostly uni-directional. The greater mind can experience from the POV of the created awareness but that, in turn, can not experience that which is the total awareness of the greater mind. That would be pointless anyway, of course.

So, for the created awareness, there is a first person quality. There is an experience of "otherness" with respect to what it perceives to be external - because, relative to itself, it is external. A whirling eddy in the ocean, were it given awareness, would believe itself to be something other than the ocean and would perceive other whirling eddies as external. They are not separate from the stuff they are a part of yet they have individual forms.
 
#72
I hate to admit, but there's no direct empirical evidence for god. There's empirical evidence that consciousness can exist independently from the body, and since many OBErs see a tunnel of light and deceased relatives by extension there's empirical evidence for afterlife. But god, there's nothing other than futile philosophical arguments, you win here materialist.
If you by empirical evidence mean; observational/experiential, then there are lots of accounts of God. If we disregard all those religious persons who have had revelations, we then have lots of NDE'ers account of meeting Jesus, and also have experienced a radiant light-source from which they felt; `love & tranquillity´, I remember Pam Reynolds account when she asked one of her relatives she met in her NDE if the light there is God, and he said; "No, no, no,...The light is not God - the light is what happens when God breathes".
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#74
Are you confusing "a rational argument" with "proof" "I have witnessed - therefore---" is a rational argument whether it is good evidence on its own or not. An argument doesn't have to be close to proof. The reason you would not claim it is God is because you haven't experienced it and have no understanding of what was involved. If you had, you would know! I get the feeling that, with you, God could appear in front of you and say "boo!" and you would still argue your way around it!

A rational argument is not the same thing as proof!
I don't think I said it was. I just don't think comparing seeing god to seeing Helen is reasonable.

~~ Paul
 
#75
Wow he believes in hidden variables? Do you have a link? That just confirms my suspicion he's a hardcore determinist materialist. If I studied QFT properly I'd be in a better position to comment, but from casual reading I dont think most physicist take hidden variables seriously anymore, although most still prefer MWI, which i find to be complete nonsense it's a way more crazy claim than NDEs/afterlife, which one of the 10^43 worlds every second are our particular consciousness in?
He defended their validity, which was odd since they are falling appart at the seams, but his advocacy of MWI frequently places him at odds with them and that supersedes any defense. He has no problem admitting that MWI is fundamentally deterministic, and his views on free will are on the web (they are pretty close to what you already expect).
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#76
I agree, Neuroscience is extremely useful, especially when it comes to the study and treatment of various brain injuries. Hopefully they're able to one day take steps to prevent Alzheimer's and maybe even reverse it if they catch it early enough.
I think one doesn't need to give up on the applied possibilities of neuroscience while still recognizing its limits in explaining the mental characteristics we use to go about our daily lives.

Consider the following from the atheist neuroscientist-philosopher Raymond Tallis:

What Neuroscience Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves


Smile at Waterloo Station (Regarding Memory and Materialism's Limitations)

 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#77
Why is "Existence in reality is greater than existence in the understanding alone"?

Admittedly in a modern context the proof seems absurd, as if conceiving something make it real even though ideas like "greatest" are abstractions similar to how "Nothing" is an abstraction, a term referring to something that need not (or even cannot exist).

Apparently the argument depends on the context it is made, requiring the idea of essences. Which is fine, I'm not familiar enough with this context to say anything or way or the other about the argument though. From the essay:

Now you can’t get more existence-like than existence itself, and Aquinas would, of course, later characterize God as He whose essence just is existence, Being Itself rather than a being among other beings. But something like this doctrine existed already in the Platonic tradition that preceded and influenced Anselm, and it is surely lurking in the background of his conception of God as that which cannot even be thought not to exist. Throw in the Scholastic doctrine of the convertibility of the transcendentals (which entails that being, goodness, and unity are all the same thing considered from different points of view) and it is easy to see why someone would judge that that than which nothing greater can be conceived and that which cannot be thought not to exist must be one and the same thing, and something utterly unique. Throw in also a broadly Platonic metaphysics of essences, and the conclusion that God so conceived of must exist in reality seems to follow straightaway. For how could that which is Existence Itself fail to exist? And if God just is Existence Itself, how could He fail to exist?

It is also easy to see, in light of all this, why Anselm would be unmoved by Gaunilo’s objection (i.e. “Why couldn’t such reasoning be used to prove that, say, a greatest conceivable island must exist (which would be absurd)?”). Islands and other examples of the sort appealed to in Gaunilo-style “parody objections” to the ontological argument are simply not the sort of thing to which its reasoning could in principle apply, given what has been said. For not only islands and other material things, but also anything less than Being Itself, anything in which essence and existence are distinct, could in principle be thought not to exist.

To be sure, I am not claiming that Anselm reasoned in exactly the way I have suggested here, or that all of the concepts involved, much less the terminology, are explicit in his writings. I am saying instead that something like this line of thought is surely implicit in what he did say, given the intellectual milieu within which he thought.
The other issue I have with attempts to reconcile the Metaphysical Linchpin God with the being that shows up in stories in the world's mythologies is the former seems far removed from our concerns and the latter really does seem like one more being among other beings.

I think Whitehead does a better job at reconciling the idea of a Ground of Being with a God that acts in the world, but Whitehead's conception of God (a brief look here) is also far different from the Man in the Sky making what, to me, often seem like arbitrary demands mixed up with some basic moral advice that you'd probably find Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins in agreement with.
 
#78
Understandable.

The weakness I see with materialists is the dismissal of consciousness. Neuroscience or neurology is highly beneficial in regards to understanding things like how vision works and cognitive diseases like Alzheimer's. The glaring problem I see is the way they talk about consciousness. Novella sees it not as a hard problem but a misunderstanding of a bunch of easy problems (he loves quoting Dennett). He also always pulls out that old standby "we just don't know the mechanism yet".

I watched this video recently with Sean Carroll about consciousness and I was a little baffled I will link it here. I don't know if it was a synchronistic event;),but the first comment by arbenboba stole the words out of my mouth. Sean thinks all this talk about consciousness is a huge misunderstanding, it's just the way we talk about our experiences. If that is not a hand wave, I don't know what is.
I've linked this before. Even if you don't agree with Massimo, it may help explain why folk who are coming from different perspectives end up talking past each other :)

 
#79
The Principle of Credulity

The principle of credulity states that if it seems to a subject that x is present, then probably x is present. Generally, says Swinburne, it is reasonable to believe that the world is probably as we experience it to be. Unless we have some specific reason to question a religious experience, therefore, then we ought to accept that it is at least prima facie evidence for the existence of God.
Spot on! I have been using this principle (at least in my head) for some time; now I have a name for it. Thanks, bard.
 
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