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God Proofs Discussion(give em up if you got em criticize em if you don't)

 
 
Zetetic11235
 
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Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 02:04 pm
@Aedes,
I believe that I have this in the collection of cabridge texts I downloaded. Ill check it out. Another god proof that is more recent and more extensively dissected by many great minds is descartes' god proof.

Edit: Unfortunatly I do not have to full text, however do have the Cambridge Companion to Jesus which may prove to be an interesting read.
Aedes
 
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Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 02:12 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Descartes' is problematic, though. It's the same type of God proof as Anselm's, i.e. the ontological argument (i.e. God must exist because I can conceive of an infinitely great being and existence is greater than nonexistence). Unfortunately, however, his proof is not as well done as Anselm's. While it explains the philosophical system he created, it's far weaker than his more famous argument about consciousness (summarized in the cogito quote). He didn't realize that he was already refuting his own God proof by declaring that his own consciousness was the one thing he couldn't doubt.
Zetetic11235
 
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Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 03:52 pm
@Aedes,
Can you by any chance send a link to the full version of anselm's proof? I will look around a little harder, but its not on project gutenberg or stanford's page. All of the searches I have done just turn up critiques of summaries of his proof.

Edit:Nevermind http://oll.libertyfund.org/files/1033/Anselm_0578.pdf
Zetetic11235
 
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Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2008 10:13 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Some notes I've made while considereing the proof of St anselm's god:
Consideration of the proof of St. Anselm which is contingent upon a god which is defined as the greatest conceivable thing has yielded a paradox of the same nature as the Russell paradox, namely, that supposing one considers the greatest considerable thing, then that he is considering it makes it a part of the universe which can be considered as something greater, essentially it boils down to the idea that something contained within the universe cannot be the greatest thing as the set of all things would contain it and would thus be the greatest thing, however, as it is contained in human consciousness, human consciousness being say the set of all things considerable, would be contained within the physical set of all things, however, since the chemical changes in the brain are presumptively the cause of thought, they are simply contained within the physical universe and thus any concept of god must be contained within the physical universe. This assumes that consciousness is contained within physical reality, which implies that it can be physically reconstructed, which implies potential immortality, I suppose.

Edit: The latter part is just my mind wandering, I am willing to discuss the latter part however I do think that such discussion will yeild much of anything of value.
Aedes
 
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Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2008 04:35 am
@Zetetic11235,
My only fundamental criticism of his proof (as well as Descartes) is that it's a wholly unfounded presupposition that existence is greater than nonexistence. Yet that is essentially the core of the proof -- that is what adds existence to their God idea.
Zetetic11235
 
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Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2008 03:04 pm
@Aedes,
Apparently the Russell Paradox decomposition of the proof has already been published SpringerLink - Journal Article. Unfortunately it costs 32 USD to get the .pdf file. It seems that applying modern predicate logic to these proofs is not somthing new by any means, however, it does still appeal to me as an interesting project to compile and refute various proofs and disproofs of supernatural beings and phenomena. I suggest that perhapse this thread should be reconfigured and moved to the logic forum.

There is one interesting insight that I came upon in considering this: That god exists in the mind there can be no doubt if it is to be assumed that god is omnipotent and omnipresent. If we take the mind to be of soley a physical nature, which is what modern science would insist, then we can consider the brain a machine which can process sense data through electrochemical mechanisms which are, if you believe anything in particle physics, of the same components as that which they process in all but organization. Because the thought process is physically manifest,the thought of god is also physically manifest and thus if one can actually consider god completely, then god is physically manifest. The problem comes in when you assume that god is that which of nothing greater can be concieved, asserting god to be concievable and thus extant as somthing physical which implies that this god can only be of a physical and thus scientifically penetrable nature. It seems that if you reject cartesian mind matter dualism, taking the mind to be wholly physical, then god cannot be somthing absolutely concievable lest he be of physical nature. The problem is that there are many opponents to the idea that the mind is a physical macrostructure. Just a thought..
Aedes
 
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Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2008 08:39 pm
@Zetetic11235,
I can get the article for free (I haven't taken the time to search for it, but I have full access to Harvard's and Duke's library systems including their full text journals). But there are a LOT of articles in JSTOR and other academic search engines about refutations of the ontological argument -- starting from Kant, who lived 200 years before Russell.

If I can't get it online I can probably get it in print at the university library.
Zetetic11235
 
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Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2008 10:07 pm
@Aedes,
It says you are an academic physician, just out of curiosity, which university are you affiliated with in N.C.? UNC?

Also, I'm sure that there are quite a few different methods by which the proof has been refuted over the hundreds of years since its insception, however, these may not turn out to be tautological and thus not valid by modern standards of logical analysis. It might be an interesting excersise to put them up to the test. Are there any writings from other religions that might qualify as philosophic proofs of the supernatural? Im sure that there are some early arabic texts that might be of interest.
Aedes
 
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Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2008 04:30 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235 wrote:
It says you are an academic physician, just out of curiosity, which university are you affiliated with in N.C.? UNC?
I'm on the faculty at Duke's medical school and at Duke University Hospital in the departments of internal medicine (hospital medicine program) and pediatrics (infectious diseases); I was a fellow at Harvard Med from 2004-2007, and they seem to have forgotten to cancel my ID card since I left, so I still have online access to all of their libraries. Very Happy

Quote:
Also, I'm sure that there are quite a few different methods by which the proof has been refuted over the hundreds of years since its insception, however, these may not turn out to be tautological and thus not valid by modern standards of logical analysis.
There are many modern refutations. I'm not a logic expert, but I'd think that a tautological refutation would be inherently flawed. After all, isn't that the main criticism of logic in general? A logical tautology, including in the form of a God proof, doesn't need to bear any resemblance to reality, because by definition a tautology is self-contained. Videcorspoon is the local logic expert, though.

Quote:
Are there any writings from other religions that might qualify as philosophic proofs of the supernatural?
That's a great question. I know that there are proofs in both Judaism and Islam, with the most famous of all being Avicenna's proof. He was Muslim and very strongly influenced by Aristotle. His writings were probably the strongest influence on the philosophy of Aquinas. I'm trying to recall if Maimonides, who was the most famous Jewish philosopher in the middle ages, had a god proof in Guide for the Perplexed, but I'm not sure.

As for other traditions, I doubt it -- I don't think logic and rationality ever became important areas of philosophy, so I don't know that supernatural beliefs were ever put to that kind of test -- simply because the whole idea of "supernatural" presupposes a certain kind of rationally discernible natural order, right?
Didymos Thomas
 
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Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2008 05:41 pm
@Aedes,
Quote:
As for other traditions, I doubt it -- I don't think logic and rationality ever became important areas of philosophy, so I don't know that supernatural beliefs were ever put to that kind of test -- simply because the whole idea of "supernatural" presupposes a certain kind of rationally discernible natural order, right?
I can't think of any other tradition that attempted to logically prove God's existence. There might be something akin to this buried in a Hindu library, but I've never caught wind of it.

Oh, and for a laugh, check this out:
Hundreds of Proofs of God's Existence
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Jul, 2008 01:52 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Pretty cool:cool:. Just out of curiosity, what kind of work do you do? Is it primariy research?

Back to the topic however, you are right, the proof would only be tautological and the primary argument against god proofs would be that belief and logic at no point intersect. As such, I am not seeking any real truth in this investigation, but rather I wish to pursue it more as an interesting excersise. I realize the absurdity in trying to prove or disprove a supernatural being.

A secondary interest might be more in the relms of psychology and mythology, an attempt to shed a light on some less common ideas of god and conceptions of god's nature. I welcome any ideas of god and god's nature in this thread provided that there will be no objection to a bit of logic-play of the afformentioned nature,i.e. that we consider the logical implications and attempt to refute the ideas through logical analysis.
Aedes
 
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Reply Fri 4 Jul, 2008 10:51 am
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235 wrote:
Pretty cool:cool:. Just out of curiosity, what kind of work do you do? Is it primariy research?
Thanks -- most of my work is patient care and teaching fellows / residents / interns / medical students. My research program will get going over the next few months, but it's slow because I'm switching my research focus from what I did when I was in Boston.

Quote:
Back to the topic however, you are right, the proof would only be tautological and the primary argument against god proofs would be that belief and logic at no point intersect.
Reality and logic don't intersect either, necessarily. Plato gives a little syllogism in Gorgias (I think) in which he logically proves that your dog is your father.

Quote:
A secondary interest might be more in the realms of psychology and mythology... I welcome any ideas of god and god's nature in this thread provided that there will be no objection to a bit of logic-play of the afformentioned nature,i.e. that we consider the logical implications and attempt to refute the ideas through logical analysis.
This has to do with our tendency to rationalize and moralize about things that were psychological judgements to start. I'm not aware of literature about this with respect to belief in God, but I'm sure it's out there.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 01:08 am
@Aedes,
Reality and logic don't intersect either, necessarily. Plato gives a little syllogism in Gorgias (I think) in which he logically proves that your dog is your father.-aedes

Don't they though? We can achieve certain feats of physical mastery by following simple laws which have logical flow to them. Less pragmatically, all which is in our minds constitutes our reality. Logic is real as it is extant in our minds and our minds form reality as we know it. I would contest that the mind is of the same nature as that which is input as sense data just as a computer is of fundamentally the same nature as that which constitutes it. The computer can interact to certain stimuli just as the mind does. All nuerons are the same and can organize to adapt to circumstance as is obviated by the experiment in which rat neurons are used to control a flight simulator and learn to avoid crashing. A very interesting result. Also, the problem with using logic generally lies in the presumptions that must be made in the statement.
Aedes
 
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Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 12:55 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235 wrote:
all which is in our minds constitutes our reality
Ok, but that has nothing to do with objective reality or objective nature; and we can change our minds without changing the world.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 11:08 pm
@Aedes,
Our minds are electrochemical receptors and based in the material, thus so is logic. I argue that nothing in our minds does not exist objectively, to assume it does not is just as flawed as assuming it is, it seems that by our experience it is more likely that our minds are only material, and I can live with that. There is not enough evidence to the contrary and the only argument which can fairly conclusively refute mine is that we are limited in our perception by our minds and cannot know anything. I stick to the idea that the mind is a material thing and works as some kind of receptor that translates physical reality into a mental immage. Still, logic exists in reality either way unless our minds do not exist in reality, an assertion which is at best nonsense. If anything all that exists is in the mind, nothing that we experience is not within the senses and our interpretation of them. because that is the case, logic is just as much a part of reality as the couch I am sitting on.

Also, I say this, you can change your tire without changing the world but it doesn't mean that the tire doesn't apply to physical reality.
Aedes
 
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Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 08:55 am
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235 wrote:
Our minds are electrochemical receptors and based in the material, thus so is logic.
Fine, but it is what it is inside our brains, and that does not necessarily correspond in any accurate way to the objective things it references outside your mind.

Quote:
I argue that nothing in our minds does not exist objectively
But the neurobiological signature of a "thought" or an "idea", while a thing unto itself, is different than our conscious interpretation of what that idea contains. If I think that Jesus is sitting on my shoulder, just because there is a corresponding neurobiological process in my brain that creates this thought, doesn't mean that Jesus is actually sitting on my shoulder.

Quote:
you can change your tire without changing the world but it doesn't mean that the tire doesn't apply to physical reality.
You are changing the world by doing so. You're making an objectively verifiable change in the world that is DIFFERENT than the mere thought of changing a tire that may exist in your mind.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 04:17 pm
@Aedes,
You admit that the chemical trace can represent a thought and indeed is a thought, thus a thought changes the world in the same way moving somthing does. How about this? The world is your perception of it, the validation of your world is that part of your perception which the majority of those whom you percieve as sentient validate. That doesn't make the part that is not valid any less real, only that the particular arrangment of sense data is not a valid one by the above definition. It is real as an electrochemical process which affects you due to its location, in a particular part of your brian. A thought is simply an arrangment of stored sense data which is physically manifest as a chemical trace in your brain. Nothing that you think is outside of reality, only a part of it which may be valid due to the prevalence of similar manifestation in other brains.

You are a part of the world, a thought is chemically manifest in you and changes you, changes which manifest in intent and action. You are a part of the world, you change due to a thought, thus so does the world. Logic is present, logic changes the world through organization of your sense data in a specific way for specific purpose which changes your mind and thus you.
de Silentio
 
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Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 07:08 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Faith takes place of any absence of proof. And faith is completely a personal decision that cannot possibly be understood by any other.
Aedes
 
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Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 10:34 pm
@de Silentio,
Zetetic, in order to even have this conversation we need to have a vocabulary that distinguishes thoughts from not-thoughts. We all know what a thought is. If you're willing to regard a thought as conceptually equivalent to its own reference out there in the world, then you're making a case for pure relativism in which there is no possibility of truth. And if so, then that legitimizes ALL god-proofs, because the validity of the proof need rest only in each individual mind.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jul, 2008 12:22 am
@Aedes,
And indeed it does, Im sure that I could forever refute the refutations of the refutations of anything proposition through logic unless the assertion is purely logical in nature and within a closed system with certain universally accepted rules because of the fluid nature of experience. Somthing can't really be proven wrong or right universally, only within the context of certain rules made with certain presumptions. If the presumptions are sufficient in that they can be universally agreed to for a specific purpose then we have a system that can be used as a tool to answer certain problems, but not others. No system is totally comprehensive but it doesn't really need to be. Why would we need somthing capable of answering questions which we haven't thought to ask yet? We wouldn't, but rather only a system to answer what we know needs to be answered. Logic is just a way by which we can formulate tools for specific purpose, it is a tool by virtue and that is how it intersects objective reality, as a tool to interpret it and measure it and manipulate it to our advantage. Proving things so lofty it seems is not really in the arena of men, thus I do not take the attempts to prove things very seriously unless it is a real problem that it is not proven. No scientific theory is absolutely provable, much less a metaphysical theory.
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