Harvey

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« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2008, 08:41:22 pm »

jbejon wrote: So, on your view, the laws of logic could be completely different from the way they are -- and the same is true of God's character, e.g. his being loving and just and the like?

If reality is a tree, we see that the trunk of that tree is rooted in what lies in the Absolute. God, logic, possibility, truth, causality, definition, meaning, extension, wholeness, being, becoming, etc. extend from the Absolute and is the tree. It is without cause and without necessity. How the tree of logic (Mind, truth, possibility, etc.) extend from the Absolute is due to the fact that it exists as it does, and due to the fact that its own extension is only reducible to the Whole of the tree.

James wrote: So, on your view, the laws of logic could be completely different from the way they are.


I believe there are different logics as the tree branches. We live in a branch of the tree which is more akin to classical-quantum logic. There might be other branches of the tree which deviant logics exist--depending on if God wanted to have branches of his existence into those realms.

James wrote: . . .and the same is true of God's character, e.g. his being loving and just and the like?


Its God's choice if he wants to have branches of his existence having a nature different than an All Good nature. Some of God's nature is determined by the lack of other natures being possible, but God alone chooses much of his character. My belief is that in the worlds where morality applies, then God is good in those worlds by choice.

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jbejon

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« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2008, 08:47:17 pm »
If reality is a tree, we see that the trunk of that tree is rooted in what lies in the Absolute. God, logic, possibility, truth, causality, definition, meaning, extension, wholeness, being, becoming, etc. extend from the Absolute and is the tree. It is without cause and without necessity.

   

   I don't quite get this.  What is "without cause and without necessity"?  And what is "the Absolute" exactly -- i.e. what kinds of things does it consist of?

   

   (P.S.  Is it me, or do you change your metaphysical views on a fairly regular basis?  I feel like I've talked to you about a fair bit of stuff, but I never seem to get much of a handle on what you actually believe about anything.  You'd make a great politician you know )

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Jelly Donut

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« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2008, 11:46:37 pm »
harvey1,

 

[I think most cosmologists believe that the laws of physics (or rules) are responsible for the universe being here.]

 

 

I do not think so. I think most scientists correctly understand that laws of physics only describe the universe.   The laws of physics outside of the universe would be meaningless as they are only a description of our known universe.  

 

 

It sounds nonsensical for me to hear someone to say that the laws of physics caused the universe because that is like saying the universe caused the universe.

   

 

 

[The hope is that with very minimal assumptions and very plausible assumptions, that we can explain the universe.]

 

 

I agree.  Occam's razor will certainly shave off the improbable and leave only the most succinct intact.  In fact, I believe this is exactly Dawkins' intentions with this argument.  Notice he is not trying to build up an atheistic theory, but rather trying to show that God is less likely than a multi-verse or steady state universe. The question is which one best explains the beginning of the universe in the simplest terms.  The problem is that current atheistic theories are more improbable and require more faith than the belief in God.

   


[Which is simpler, basic mathematical symmetries existing or an advanced intelligent designer who first acts in time creating a universe with all kinds of pain and suffering?]

 

 

The prevailing scientific view is that nothing existed prior to the big bang.  Nothing encompasses a whole lot of stuff such as time, matter, space and even mathematical symmetries.  Since mathematical symmetries could not have existed prior to the universe that leaves me with only one option left to choose.

 

   

Btw, Do you think that humans can or will in the future be able to design something that is more complex (complex by Dawkins' definition) than themselves? If no, why not?


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Jelly Donut

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« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2008, 11:58:43 pm »
jbejon,

[Hi JD.  Sorry.  We seem to have lost your question in all this.  I think it would be interesting if it could be shown that humans could do such a thing.  However, I'm skeptical of there ever being a precise enough definition of complexity as to warrant such a conclusion.]  

I am not so much trying to make an argument myself, but rather trying to show that Dawkins' argument is seriously flawed.  Dawkins' provided the definition of complexity for his own argument and if we follow along logically we find that his argument false.

[Personally, I think the fact that we routinely infer the hand of human activity on the basis of their much simpler effects is a bigger problem for Dawkins.]

I do believe that is a problem for Dawkins' but I am unsure that it precisely counterattacks his assertion that a designer must be more complex than its design.

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Harvey

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« Reply #34 on: August 01, 2008, 07:23:17 am »
jbejon wrote:
If reality is a tree, we see that the trunk of that tree is rooted in what lies in the Absolute. God, logic, possibility, truth, causality, definition, meaning, extension, wholeness, being, becoming, etc. extend from the Absolute and is the tree. It is without cause and without necessity.


I don't quite get this. What is "without cause and without necessity"? And what is "the Absolute" exactly -- i.e. what kinds of things does it consist of?


Without cause just means that it exists solely because it has existent properties, but nothing causes its existence. Without necessity means that it does not derive its existence from any axioms.

Think of it this way. The further we go back into time, the less complex things become. This is because simplicity diverges into complexity. If we go all the way to the beginning of the first complexification, we arrive at the Absolute. It is exceedingly simple so much so that it is undefined as a whole.

Now, if we consider this Absolute to be like the planet Jupiter, then think of the giant red spot as an eternal defect in the Absolute seen from earth. It is a point of complexification where God exists. The giant red spot and the planet itself are uncaused. The planet exists because it is undefined as a whole, and that is so because no definition exists at that point. The defect of this planet, the giant red spot, exists because part of the nature of being undefined is that it has a spot of meaning, purpose, possibility, becoming, logic, cause, etc. That's just the way it is. Reality must be something, and this it.

If we were to take a telescope and zoom in on this "giant red spot," then immediately we would see that because it is a "red spot," it has logical structure and meaning. That is, it is a language-based structure where mind exists (i.e., language can only exist if mind exists). This is why the spot is red. Blue spots, purple spots, Dawkins' spots, etc. do not exist on the planet because they lack the properties of self-existence. Hence, only God exists.

The "red spot" has its internal structure by being self-existent and by the eternal decisions that exist from God. This is the points of complexification. They define the red spot in terms of the divine nature.

James wrote: (P.S. Is it me, or do you change your metaphysical views on a fairly regular basis? I feel like I've talked to you about a fair bit of stuff, but I never seem to get much of a handle on what you actually believe about anything. You'd make a great politician you know )


No. As a matter of fact I stumbled upon a debate site where atheists were debating my text (without my name mentioned) back in 2005. I thought it was pretty funny. They couldn't come to any agreement on what was wrong with my arguments.

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Jelly Donut

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« Reply #35 on: August 02, 2008, 12:09:40 am »
harvey1,

I found this quotation and thought that was a good addition to my answer to your question.  

"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"  - Sherlock Holmes

The Sign of the Four, ch. 6 (1890)
Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of the Four (Doubleday p. 111)



Btw, I ordered Stenger's book through the public library and will probably get it in a couple of weeks.  There also was a really good book that I thumbed through while at Barnes & Nobles called Goldilocks Enigma by Paul Davies
.  It seemed to deal with what we have been discussing and what I have been currently pondering.


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Harvey

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« Reply #36 on: August 02, 2008, 05:55:11 am »

Jelly_Donut wrote: "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"  - Sherlock Holmes

Careful elimination is the key to this whole thing, JD. The problem I have with so many theist conceptions of God is that it is based on a human being-like God that exists for no reason, and this is somehow taken to be the best eliminative approach to the matter. Neoplatonism is just one example of a better approach. As far as I know, neoplatonism is the only cosmological philosophy invented by Christians. Yet, the conservative evangelical community seems to consider this viable philosophy to be a heresy.


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Jelly Donut

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« Reply #37 on: August 02, 2008, 04:15:55 pm »
harvey1,

[The problem I have with so many theist conceptions of God is that it is based on a human being-like God that exists for no reason, and this is somehow taken to be the best eliminative approach to the matter.]

Sounds to me like your problem is not so much whether God exist, but rather the nature of God?  The nature of God has nothing to do with whether he exists or not. Could God be an evil being and still exist? Sure. Could God be an uncaring watch winder and still be exist? Sure. Could God be the God as recorded in the bible and still exist? Sure.  God's existence is not dependent upon his nature.

In my opinion, atheists once on the cusp of believing the possibility of God's existence almost always bring up God's nature as a red herring/defense.  For example, lets say that there were no competing religions and everyone believed in the same God who was never judgmental and favored good for all.  Do you think that atheists or agnostics would believe in God then? No way!  The problem is that they do not believe that God exists to begin with so his nature is irrelevant.

[Neoplatonism is just one example of a better approach. As far as I know, neoplatonism is the only cosmological philosophy invented by Christians.]

I am sure that all Christians including the conservative evangelical community would agree with Neoplatonism, in that there is a primeval Being who is the one and the infinite and the source of all life.  Even though they would disagree on the nature of God, they both agree on his existence.

[Yet, the conservative evangelical community seems to consider this viable philosophy to be a heresy.]

The belief that God exists? No The exact nature of God? Yes

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jbejon

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« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2008, 05:01:35 pm »
Harvey, I'm afraid I don't really get this giant-red-spot-tree-thing you're describing (though it does sound kind of intriguing).  However, you mention an "absolute".  And it seems to me that the very concept of an absolute involves the concept of something that is uncaused yet necessary the way it is, wouldn't you say?

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Harvey

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« Reply #39 on: August 02, 2008, 11:03:43 pm »

jbejon wrote: Harvey, I'm afraid I don't really get this giant-red-spot-tree-thing you're describing (though it does sound kind of intriguing). However, you mention an "absolute". And it seems to me that the very concept of an absolute involves the concept of something that is uncaused yet necessary the way it is, wouldn't you say?

"Necessary" means that something is not possibly false. How is the Absolute not possibly false when it has properties of contingency? I would accept that the Absolute is contingently necessary. Meaning that it is necessary that it is possibly true and possibly false. But this is not what is traditionally meant by a necessary thing--which means that it necessarily exists or necessarily does not exist.


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Harvey

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« Reply #40 on: August 02, 2008, 11:10:06 pm »
Jelly_Donut wrote:
Yet, the conservative evangelical community seems to consider this viable philosophy to be a heresy.
The belief that God exists? No The exact nature of God? Yes


I'm not so sure that we can break it down based on existence and nature, JD. Existence is based on what is justifiable. To me there are many gods that are not justifiable because of their nature, so I don't say put the existence of a god or gods as primary, and then discuss the nature of such a being or beings. To me, to discuss the existence of something is also to discuss the nature of something. If the nature that is being proposed looks improbable given a simple beginning, then the existence of such a being is also improbable.

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jbejon

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« Reply #41 on: August 03, 2008, 08:44:40 am »
"Necessary" means that something is not possibly false.  How is the Absolute not possibly false when it has properties of contingency?

   

   Oh.  I didn't realise your "Absolute" was contingent.  In that case, it doesn't sound very absolute to me.  Either way, since I can't get much of a handle on your world-view, let me try to get at the issue a different way.  Your premise (2) reads:

   

   
(2) If [something is] uncaused, then [it's] a contingent being (that is, it exists for no causal or logical reason)

   

   Why do you think something can't be uncaused yet necessarily the way it is? -- i.e. why can't it be the way it is because of its own nature?

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Harvey

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« Reply #42 on: August 03, 2008, 11:50:07 am »
jbejon wrote: I didn't realise your "Absolute" was contingent. In that case, it doesn't sound very absolute to me.


Not contingent. Contingently necessary.

jbejon wrote: Your premise (2) reads:

(2) If [something is] uncaused, then [it's] a contingent being (that is, it exists for no causal or logical reason)


Why do you think something can't be uncaused yet necessarily the way it is? -- i.e. why can't it be the way it is because of its own nature?


If the property of reality is not possibly other than what it is (i.e., necessary), but nothing caused it to exist, then how can reality not possibly be other than what it is if there is nothing causing it to be that?

If the property of reality is P, and P is all that reality can be, then it figures that something makes it that way instead of not-P (i.e., causes it). If there are no other choices for reality other than P, then logic causes it to be P.

This is different from my conception of the Absolute since it is both P and not-P. It is possibly P and possibly not-P. It is therefore not necessitated. Since it is not necessitated, there is no requirement for something to make it that way--hence being uncaused is a valid description of it. Logic does not cause it to have a particular property.

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jbejon

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« Reply #43 on: August 03, 2008, 06:11:53 pm »
Hey Harvey.  Before I reply, can you tell me what you mean by "the property of reality"?

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Jelly Donut

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« Reply #44 on: August 03, 2008, 10:03:51 pm »
harvey1,

 

[I'm not so sure that we can break it down based on existence and nature, JD.]

 

   

I think that we can and let me try to give an illustration. You would agree that for all intents and purposes, I exist, that is, I hold a place in space, time, and matter within our universe.  That is a demonstrable fact, I exist.  Now does my nature determine whether I exist or not? My nature can be good, evil, or any other flavor in between yet I still exist.  My existence is not dependent on my nature rather my nature is dependent upon my existence.  Do you see my point?  When an atheist argues that God does not exist because they find his nature objectionable; that in itself does not prove that God does not exist.

   


[To me there are many gods that are not justifiable because of their nature, so I don't say put the existence of a god or gods as primary, and then discuss the nature of such a being or beings.]

   

Yes, but for one to actually look at different gods as a possible live options for the creation of the universe is significant. To do so one must believe that there is at least a possibility that a god or gods could have created the universe.

 

 

[To me, to discuss the existence of something is also to discuss the nature of something.]

Is it possible for someone to determine that I exist, yet not know my nature (i.e. values, morals, origin)?

 

 

[If the nature that is being proposed looks improbable given a simple beginning, then the existence of such a being is also improbable.]

 

 

To ask the question whether a being’s nature is probable or improbable indicates that one at least acknowledges that there is a probability that a being exists in the first place.

 


For example let’s say that while walking down the beach we see a toy truck laying in the sand.  Wondering where it came from we look up and see a family consisting of a man, a woman, and a small boy. Out of the three people, who’s toy does it most probably belong to?  Wait one moment! Before we can even ask that question we must first believe that the family exists before we can correctly guess who is the toy’s owner.

 
I noticed that you said that you have texts?  Are you an author or writing a dissertation?  I am currently mulling over whether I should go get a master's and I have no idea what field to get in.