The Experience of God

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Physics Guy
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Re: The Experience of God

Post by Physics Guy »

True, for a long time it seemed as though the precise number of planets, and their orbital periods, must have been important basic principles. Conceivably we will someday learn that the particular set of gauge symmetries we see in what we think of as "the universe" are only the combination we happened to get in our little corner of circumstances. Or perhaps there really is some basic logical reason why U(1)xSU(2)xSU(3) is how it was bound to come out, because it's 1-2-3 ta-da, or something. Perhaps even the fine structure constant has some logically necessary value, like pi or e.

If we're going to be optimistic enough to think that science might some day understand consciousness, then I think we can be optimistic enough to think that we have already at least figured out what kind of problem it is. The difference between being conscious and not being conscious is not like the difference between having eight planets or nine in your solar system. It's like the difference between being on fire and not being on fire.

What very well could be, on the other hand, is that what we think of as consciousness is really just one of many very different yet roughly comparable phenomena that can and do all happen in different kinds of complicated biological structures, and that our particular flavour of these phenomena was simply the particular flavour that happened to occur on our planet. We got our form of consciousness, rather than any of the other flavours of this kind of phenomenon, for reasons of detailed circumstance like those that determined our number of planets.

Back on the first hand, however: "simply happened ... because of circumstance" is still going to refer to an interesting story of how things turned out in this part of the universe. There are zillions of other solar systems, and the coalescence of gently rotating clouds of dust and gas into different patterns of large orbiting lumps will have been a deterministic process in each one of them, governed by the same basic laws but also working out differently. Saying that "it just happened" that we have four outer gas giants and four inner terrestrial planets is like saying that it just happened that George shot Lennie. Yeah, there are lots of other stories out there, but that's how this story went, and it went that way for reasons.
What if fire is only the first of a million such things?
dastardly stem
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Re: The Experience of God

Post by dastardly stem »

Gadianton wrote:
Sat Jun 18, 2022 6:44 pm


Perfectly valid thoughts. You answered your own question, though. Is allowing evil morally wrong? If so, and if god allows evil, then he can't be the best being that you can imagine. You referred to such a hypothetical being as "god" in lowercase for a reason. Would the best being that you can imagine allow suffering? Would such a being be less powerful than superman or less admirable than "the lady who saves everyone"?
But what's the point? We can't even conceive of how a god of the OT exists--you know this terrible war monger whose filled with all sorts of jealousies and lusts. And he's not great apparently. We're not really conceiving of these magical entities, we're imagining them. If we could conceive of them, then we'd know how someone could fly, or raise people from the dead. That'd be my response, we can't conceive of a greatest character ever, because once we start trying, we create a character we can't really conceive of existing in our reality, if you will. He'd have to have a whole new reality--one we can't verify either. "well, it's possible". Sure...in some sense anything seems possible. But possible doesn't become probable simply because we imagine it.

And we're talking about a god who people are proclaiming was also the god imagined in the OT as the greatest being ever. So we pretend he never was because obviously he's not really that great and but then pretend it was really him and he was being un-great so we could be tricked? That sounds great too, huh?

Also, we can imagine a world without the greatest being ever. That must mean there's no god?
“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”
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Re: The Experience of God

Post by huckelberry »

Stem, I am unsure how Gadianton meant his Anselm comment. He may be blowing both hot and cold toward it.
I think it is reasonable to say Anselm presents God as ground of being, the power of existence behind any hero or possibly imagined superpeople. The unworkableness of comparing various superheros Is part of his proposal.

This of course is well before Heidegger or Tillich who use this general idea but use it with some individual difference with each other as well as with Anselm. I suspect this general idea is what Hart is using , likely in some ways his own. I have not read Hart so must limit my thought. I did listen to a short you tube interview where he stated he though the best atheist argument was the one from evil. It is good enough that he sometimes finds it persuasive. He thinks the worst sort is the proposal evolution disproves god. It does not.

I find those two observations easy to agree with. I gather from this discussion that he attempts something with the puzzle of consciousness. I do not know what he argues there so probably should let others speak.

I think the ground of being is an idea of some value even if it does not help much in deciding how to relate to old folk tales about war conquering Midianites and Canaanites.
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Re: The Experience of God

Post by dastardly stem »

huckelberry wrote:
Mon Jun 20, 2022 7:10 pm
Stem, I am unsure how Gadianton meant his Anselm comment. He may be blowing both hot and cold toward it.
I think it is reasonable to say Anselm presents God as ground of being, the power of existence behind any hero or possibly imagined superpeople. The unworkableness of comparing various superheros Is part of his proposal.
The question we might raise, if that's the type of idea we think is necessary, is why are we calling God the ground of being and not a superhero, seemingly as made up as God? Can not an imagined superman who seems greater than God in every way, be the ground of being ? If not why not? Why must it be the imagined God and not the imagined superhero? Of course we have to first assume there must be something as the ground. It could simply be there is nothing as the ground. We just hope there must be.
This of course is well before Heidegger or Tillich who use this general idea but use it with some individual difference with each other as well as with Anselm. I suspect this general idea is what Hart is using , likely in some ways his own. I have not read Hart so must limit my thought. I did listen to a short you tube interview where he stated he though the best atheist argument was the one from evil. It is good enough that he sometimes finds it persuasive. He thinks the worst sort is the proposal evolution disproves god. It does not.

I find those two observations easy to agree with. I gather from this discussion that he attempts something with the puzzle of consciousness. I do not know what he argues there so probably should let others speak.

I think the ground of being is an idea of some value even if it does not help much in deciding how to relate to old folk tales about war conquering Midianites and Canaanites.
I think there's more to answer to for a God idea than the notion that there must be a ground of being and we must think of that as God. We can't really conceive of how a being could do magical things, like, we'll just go with, raise people from the dead. We simply assume it happens and can happen because we define god as being able to do what he wants. But at this point that's just an imagined idea. How do we account for someone being able to raise someone from the dead? If we can't conceive of how such an act is done, how do we turn that imagined idea into something a real character does? Or how do we show a shapeless timeless one, as Hart says God must be, really exists? It feels like such an action defines God into non-existence then claims he exists but we simply can't see him, hear him, show him, or really conceive of him.
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Re: The Experience of God

Post by Rivendale »

dastardly stem wrote:
Wed Jun 08, 2022 1:47 pm
sock puppet wrote:
Tue Jun 07, 2022 7:31 pm
Thanks, Stem. Some people can't get their head around the likelihood that matter/energy has always existed. by the way, how about treating us to your review of Don Bradley's book on that 116 lost pages?
with the degree of guesswork it took, but I also think that was part of the intention
Ahh....esotericism. The fuel of imaginative personalities that can't let go of "what if".........
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Re: The Experience of God

Post by Gadianton »

Stem wrote:But what's the point? We can't even conceive of how a god of the OT exists--you know this terrible war monger whose filled with all sorts of jealousies and lusts. And he's not great apparently. We're not really conceiving of these magical entities, we're imagining them. If we could conceive of them, then we'd know how someone could fly, or raise people from the dead. That'd be my response, we can't conceive of a greatest character ever, because once we start trying, we create a character we can't really conceive of existing in our reality, if you will. He'd have to have a whole new reality--one we can't verify either. "well, it's possible". Sure...in some sense anything seems possible. But possible doesn't become probable simply because we imagine it.
I can conceive of absolute zero and know what it means in theory, even though it's not possible to ever reach it in reality. I think you have a vaguely similar idea of God since you recognize various iterations fail to achieve that ideal you have in mind, and so you put those iterations in lowercase.
Stem wrote:And we're talking about a god who people are proclaiming was also the god imagined in the OT as the greatest being ever. So we pretend he never was because obviously he's not really that great and but then pretend it was really him and he was being un-great so we could be tricked? That sounds great too, huh?
Yeah but for theology, you have to be willing to ignore the particulars of your beliefs at times and just think in abstract. Whatever the amount of work required to establish there is a God, the work to demonstrate that God is the God of the Old Testament would be far, far greater, in my opinion, an impossible standard. There's a slim chance somebody might convince me of God. There is a zero chance someone will convince me the OT is true, or even based loosely on something true.
Stem wrote:Also, we can imagine a world without the greatest being ever. That must mean there's no god?
Maybe. later, though.

For me, the fact that thinking it through is the most generic way to define God that I'm aware of is a plus.

The meat of the argument you're trying to get to: We don't have to imagine all the predicates of God. A God without moral faults is a Good God. A God without moral faults plus immortal is better. You would put a mortal god in lowercase I'm sure, because that doesn't meet the standard you have in mind. You would also put a god in lowercase that doesn't actually exist. Therefore, since you can imagine a God that exists is greater than one that doesn't, then God must exist. :lol:

The most common rebuttal is Kant's "existence is not a predicate".

Just to finish off my statement about it. Kurt Godel thought it interesting or important enough to formalize:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6de ... ical_proof

And that has generated a stream of interest by logicians. That alone might put it above any of the other arguments. As I said, I think it's the best of the theology arguments for God. The tallest anthill is still an anthill.

Finally, where I began thinking it was actually an interesting argument, was in reading some essay by WLC on the cosmological argument. This was many years ago, and I honestly can't remember the point. I do remember coming to believe that Craig's argument ended up boiling down to the ontological argument. And so, the cosmological argument would be this intermediary thing not of primary importance. I don't even have the faintest recollection to even give you a summary. But this is what I had most in mind when I said I thought it would be interesting enough to return to. And I might return to it, remember what I was thinking, and come to believe I was wrong. Either way, this was the main thing that might interest me in the future. Not enough to have done anything about it so far though.
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Re: The Experience of God

Post by dastardly stem »

Gadianton wrote:
Tue Jun 21, 2022 4:15 am

I can conceive of absolute zero and know what it means in theory, even though it's not possible to ever reach it in reality. I think you have a vaguely similar idea of God since you recognize various iterations fail to achieve that ideal you have in mind, and so you put those iterations in lowercase.
That's just laziness on my part--not capitalizing...particularly when I'm typing on my phone. I've picked up too many bad habits that way. Anyway, yes, I've read Kant's objections and I find them convincing too. I'm just trying to go at it a different way. I still think we need a distinction between what we imagine as possible and what we can conceive of as possibly understandable or comprehensible. As it is I think we can imagine someone flying without consulting our current understanding of physics. But it's not possible at this point. We don't know how one would fly without aid. So while we imagine a superman flying around able to save people in disaster, we can't really conceive of someone being able to do that. We can imagine a God with magic powers, but we can't really conceive of what that would mean or how that would be. People start using the word unfathomable when we get down to it, and if that's the case then we're arguing for something we can't even understand. That's how I get hung up on Ontological arguments. We're stuck before we even start.

We try hard with this make believe stuff all the time. Superman's a good example. He can do things we know no one can do because he's not from here. He's not human, I think. He's something else. (Isn't this the same set up for God?) But we have no examples in the world of someone from another place, made of different material than we are. We're imagining a someone. We're not really conceiving of that imagined character. We have no place from whence we know someone comes, so that's not a plausible scenario and if we did find someone out there whose to say they'd be anything more than us, in terms of abilities, as they say, or physical make up? "well, that's not what I believe?"

Yeah but for theology, you have to be willing to ignore the particulars of your beliefs at times and just think in abstract. Whatever the amount of work required to establish there is a God, the work to demonstrate that God is the God of the Old Testament would be far, far greater, in my opinion, an impossible standard. There's a slim chance somebody might convince me of God. There is a zero chance someone will convince me the OT is true, or even based loosely on something true.
But the only God we can consider, when we're talking to the Christian west, is that God who you say there is zero chance of being. You can say, "you might convince me there's a God, but not the OT God" to any old Christian out there, but what God are you thinking might exist? Something other than the only God we have under consideration? That seems to be saying something like, you can convince me there's a bigfoot, but it's not the bigfoot everyone tells me exists. What the hell we talking about then? A bear or a moose? Well, sure they're there. On God, what we talking about? The ground of being God who seems to be nothing? Alright. Nothing is there. I agree. A zeus-like character? I mean...come on. I too am convinced there's a God when he's defined as basically nothing, or in argument can be replaced with nothing. Yes, if you're defining bigfoot as a bear, then I agree, a bigfoot exists. That feels like the kind of space we're trying to make for our dear friends. Sure, a make believe sounding something we don't know anything about might exist. I get it as a thought experiment of sorts, but how that's supposed to be convincing is beyond me. "sure, the weirdo God who killed a bunch of kids for making fun of a bald guy really exists because you are arguing it's possible something greater than us might exist somewhere, out there." I mean, how silly do we have to get?

Maybe. later, though.

For me, the fact that thinking it through is the most generic way to define God that I'm aware of is a plus.

The meat of the argument you're trying to get to: We don't have to imagine all the predicates of God. A God without moral faults is a Good God. A God without moral faults plus immortal is better. You would put a mortal god in lowercase I'm sure, because that doesn't meet the standard you have in mind. You would also put a god in lowercase that doesn't actually exist. Therefore, since you can imagine a God that exists is greater than one that doesn't, then God must exist. :lol:

The most common rebuttal is Kant's "existence is not a predicate".
Yes. I'm trying to be more difficult than that for some reason. I'm stuck at the spot of the undefined god concept from the start. If we use something to define him, like the OT, then at least we have something to go off of. If we just say he's a something, an everything which essentially means nothing, as I see it, then what we even talking about? God or the universe? Energy? a mystic unseeable force? It feels silly all for the sake of giving room to a treacherous old God character that people defined millennia ago trying to imaging the greatest thing ever. And that dude sucks, it seems to me. With your tolerance level set at zero on that God--sounds like we agree.
Just to finish off my statement about it. Kurt Godel thought it interesting or important enough to formalize:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6de ... ical_proof

And that has generated a stream of interest by logicians. That alone might put it above any of the other arguments. As I said, I think it's the best of the theology arguments for God. The tallest anthill is still an anthill.

Finally, where I began thinking it was actually an interesting argument, was in reading some essay by WLC on the cosmological argument. This was many years ago, and I honestly can't remember the point. I do remember coming to believe that Craig's argument ended up boiling down to the ontological argument. And so, the cosmological argument would be this intermediary thing not of primary importance. I don't even have the faintest recollection to even give you a summary. But this is what I had most in mind when I said I thought it would be interesting enough to return to. And I might return to it, remember what I was thinking, and come to believe I was wrong. Either way, this was the main thing that might interest me in the future. Not enough to have done anything about it so far though.
Thanks. I see where you're coming from. And obviously I'm not devoid of interest myself. It becomes quite a pull when nearly everyone you know is so convinced there's a God and they tend to speak as if they know it and any one dare to question the proposition causes everyone in the conversation to stop, awkwardly, and get all uncomfortable. "No God? That's the worst thought I could ever imagine anyone holding. Are you ok? Are you sad? Do you want to murder everyone? What's stopping you?"
“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”
― Carl Sagan, Cosmos
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Re: The Experience of God

Post by Gadianton »

Stem wrote:That's just laziness on my part--not capitalizing...particularly when I'm typing on my phone.
Hmm, well, you did capitalize OT...
Stem wrote:As it is I think we can imagine someone flying without consulting our current understanding of physics. But it's not possible at this point.
This is a good example. Can you imagine a triangle with 4 sides? Philosophers almost always mean "logically possible" not "physically possible" when they say "possible". But unlike a zombie, in the ontological argument, it's more about definitions. If you want to drain the theology talk, look at Godel's definitions and stipulations (look up SEP Godel ontological argument), which require minimal investment to "imagine". Whether you accept the axioms or not is another thing, the argument isn't driven by being able to imagine the axioms.

If defining God as perfectly moral and all powerful and all knowing is too much, if we have to stop as soon as we try to think about one of this big "omni" words, then will you be consistent and also admit that atheists can't advance the argument from evil anymore? To argue from evil, you have to "conceive of God as infinitely good" etc. I would say for both the argument from evil and the ontological argument, it's more about stipulating the predicates of God than it is conceiving them.
It becomes quite a pull when nearly everyone you know is so convinced there's a God and they tend to speak as if they know it
That is true, and they haven't even heard of the ontological argument anyway. I just had to learn that if I wanted to keep relations with my family and certain friends, then accept that they get to talk and I don't. Just listen to them and move on.
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Re: The Experience of God

Post by dastardly stem »

Gadianton wrote:
Wed Jun 22, 2022 2:29 am
This is a good example. Can you imagine a triangle with 4 sides? Philosophers almost always mean "logically possible" not "physically possible" when they say "possible". But unlike a zombie, in the ontological argument, it's more about definitions. If you want to drain the theology talk, look at Godel's definitions and stipulations (look up SEP Godel ontological argument), which require minimal investment to "imagine". Whether you accept the axioms or not is another thing, the argument isn't driven by being able to imagine the axioms.
I don't really see too much there to find convincing. Positiive properties and defining things as godlike, seems to beg questions rather than derive a god. I will add, there is something interesting in all of it. Interesting to consider probably because so many people believe in God. And if anyone can sound reasonable in explaining God, then that alone becomes interesting. But I can't see how there's much to be convinced by, reasonably. And I'm not really feeling up to it, if we're talking digging into the argument. I suppose I found myself curious on what you meant...and I think you've satisfied by curiosity enough.
If defining God as perfectly moral and all powerful and all knowing is too much, if we have to stop as soon as we try to think about one of this big "omni" words, then will you be consistent and also admit that atheists can't advance the argument from evil anymore? To argue from evil, you have to "conceive of God as infinitely good" etc. I would say for both the argument from evil and the ontological argument, it's more about stipulating the predicates of God than it is conceiving them.
Sure. I think that's largely agreeable, provided I'm following what you're saying. Evil, as I see it, needs some reference points. Atheists can't really get to arguing god is not because evil exists, if we aren't able to convince anyone god has done evil. Anything God does is not evil, as the argument would have to go. It sounds like a bunch more begging the question type thinking to me, but I agree, we can't really defeat the argument. And I don't think that's an atheists job anyway.
That is true, and they haven't even heard of the ontological argument anyway. I just had to learn that if I wanted to keep relations with my family and certain friends, then accept that they get to talk and I don't. Just listen to them and move on.
Hear ya. I love engaging family and friends, but I realize there are some things they simply can't hear, and I can't say. We typically sit around enjoying each other knowing there's a big ol' elephant in the room. But what can we do? There are times and with certain believers interesting conversations can be had. And, in order to get there, I realize I have to be cautiously respectful.
“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”
― Carl Sagan, Cosmos
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Re: The Experience of God

Post by Gadianton »

Stem wrote:Evil, as I see it, needs some reference points. Atheists can't really get to arguing god is not because evil exists, if we aren't able to convince anyone god has done evil.
It's good to be consistent. All I really have to say from here is we can trivially equate "good" and "evil" as placeholders to "positive" and "negative" -- we don't actually have to know anything about what's really evil in the real world to begin the exercise. However, I will admit, if we're really, really stumped about what's good and bad, then "existence" is doubly speculative as a positive attribute.
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