The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Discussions on the nature of being, existence, reality and knowledge. What is? How do we know?

Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 21st, 2017, 2:22 am 

Lomax » November 21st, 2017, 1:09 am wrote:I only ask because you engage with Neri as if you were grading a paper.

You mean.... this is how YOU would grade a paper???

Oh.... you mean that if someone were to tell you what you said, then you would avoid telling them that they are wrong. Sounds diplomatic... Perhaps that is why politicians and diplomats never seem to actually say anything.

Lomax » November 21st, 2017, 1:09 am wrote: One wonders whether you would have spoken to Bertrand Russell with the same self-assurance and contempt, and whether such contributions could have endured in the same way as those of Father Copleston.

No idea. I guess it would depend on whether I saw him employing the same kind of deceptive tactics which would earn my contempt. But I shall certainly leave the diplomacy and politics to you and speak to whoever they are according to what they say and not according to their reputation.


And by the way, you are coming in at the tail end of this discussion. Neri and I had no problem at all until I turned out to be one of the "bad guys" according to his way of thinking and then he decided to ignore everything we have agreed about and fabricate excuses for an all out assault -- just like a typical ideological crusader.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby BadgerJelly on November 21st, 2017, 3:37 am 

Lomax -

I'm stupid and ignorant about differences, I admit it. Are you stupid and ignorant about similarities? I am.

I can already imagine where such an exchange would lead, but if you want to skip the back and forth and get to the heart of a meaningful exchange imagine we're continuing the discussion after a five page exchange and then reply.

I find the "gist" as being the opening to something worthy of discussion rather than the confined definitions. I am sure pretty much everyone else does too because a meaningful exchange is one that reveals something not quite tangible rather than something already given (ie. in a dictionary or set formula).

I am well within my rights to comment on Neri's constant selective references to Kant. He is riling against religion and using a non-religious proposition through which to deride religion. He is in effect presenting an argument to people who have no consideration toward logical thought and emptily attacking those whose definition of God has little to nothing to do with what he is saying. He is doing al lof this from the imperial seat of physical sciences as if the physical sciences own ontological discourse. He is posing science as ontology and anything else as woowoo.

He is also now playing the victim by applying the duplicitous label of "ad hominin" (then again Mitch is also doing my nut in with the other pet hate of mine, "strawman" - I think I understand Orwell's words about using age old idioms)

I will no doubt bring up the whole metaphysical/epistemic/ontic nonsense, again, some other day. They are useful distinctions I am not saying otherwise. I am saying they are limited distinctions and that they are only "distinctions". Before you get scared I am not jumping into some post-modernist hole, but I guess a lot of what I say is easily mistaken for such.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 21st, 2017, 4:28 am 

BadgerJelly » November 21st, 2017, 2:37 am wrote:He is also now playing the victim by applying the duplicitous label of "ad hominin" (then again Mitch is also doing my nut in with the other pet hate of mine, "strawman" - I think I understand Orwell's words about using age old idioms)


When they are used properly according to the actual fallacy then they are a legitimate objection.

An ad hominem is a distraction tactic where it is basically being said that the argument is wrong because the person making it is a bad person or something like that. This is of course an invalid objection because what kind of person they are is irrelevant to whether the argument is correct or not. However, people now use this totally inappropriately to mean saying anything which causes them to be offended. This is not the fallacy in any way shape or form, and is quite often a "fallacy" fallacy as a result -- typically an ad-hominem distraction tactic itself.

A strawman fallacy is when you replace what is actually said with an argument which is easily shown to be wrong -- like burning an effigy. This is, of course, extremely dishonest. Of course, some care should be taken to not to confuse this with a case where they have simply misunderstood. However this is kind of hard to swallow as the reason, when the no argument for the attributed position was even being made. This often happens when someone is not only looking desperately for an argument to destroy but have all this canned rhetoric waiting and ready and so they will jump the gun to apply it even when it doesn't fit what was actually said.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby BadgerJelly on November 21st, 2017, 5:27 am 

Mitch -

It was a comment about the aesthetics more than how applicable the point is to the situation. Be more inventive in the future if you can eh?

:)

Maybe say something along the lines of giving a baby a sword and insisting it duel you?

Anyway, funny reply XD haha! You could've at least made a better attempt at humour by mixing them up and talking about swallowing cans and rhetorical jumping over guns? :P

Now I am thinking of jumping straw frogs with guns for some reason ... I wonder what that means?
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby Lomax on November 21st, 2017, 8:48 am 

BadgerJelly » November 21st, 2017, 8:37 am wrote:He is in effect presenting an argument to people who have no consideration toward logical thought

Ha. I remember reading a theologian who said "so great is God that He precludes the necessity of his own existence". Another who said of the resurrection of Lazarus: "As a Christian I believe it but as a historian I don't." Sometimes the opposition does the work on one's behalf. The Lord provides.

Still: if the point is that theists (or deists) have no interest in logical thought, we don't need to be here defending theism against the shortcomings of Anselm's argument, do we? We're conceding to Neri that Anselm's argument is of no use. So what exactly is all this opposition to the OP about?
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby Neri on November 21st, 2017, 11:12 am 

Mitch,

Methinks thou dost protest too much.

You call me a liar and a schizophrenic for misrepresenting your views, yet you give a prolix rant that largely confirms what I claimed you said. Although I hesitate to get involved in ad hominem contests, I am beginning to suspect that your schizophrenic insult may be a reflection of your own condition.

However, you did put forward a couple of points that are worthy of comment. You say that your position is that neither science nor the known universe is “equal to reality.” The only meaning one can attach to such a statement is that science and the known universe do not perfectly correspond to reality in every way.

Taking it from the epistemic perspective, it can only mean that we do not know everything about reality or that our conception of reality does not correspond to reality in every possible way.

But to take it a step further and suggest that all of our knowledge is somehow tainted by our lack of perfect knowledge is in essence to say that because we do not know everything, we are not justified in claiming we know anything.

As to the existence or non-existence of God, you say that there is “ultimately no objective evidence either way.” This implies that if one denies the existence of God, he has the burden to prove that God does not exist. This is like saying, “I am right to believe in fairies because you cannot prove that fairies do not exist.”

No one is obliged to prove a negative. He who makes a positive assertion of the existence of a supernatural being has the burden of proof. Nothing can be clearer than this.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby BadgerJelly on November 21st, 2017, 11:18 am 

Lomax -

Well, I really don't think EVERY religious person who says they believe in "God" mean God in the sense that is often open to attack. My defense is put forward for those people, because I myself understand that the term "God" is broad and has multiple applications being something very subjective and personal.

The constant diatribe against religions and the suffering and pain caused by religion is often laid on too thick.

I certainly wasn't pointing out that religious people have no interest in logic. I was trying to point out if you're trying to place a logical argument at the feet of those who take the Bible literally it's a waste of time. If we begin to assume that some religious people are logical, and even academically trained in logic, then we may begin to present a more useful problem and more useful arguments to work with.

If we look at the scope of Buddhism we can see a whole spectrum of approaches. Some Buddhists believe in a deity and others don't. It seems typical of many to dismiss religion and regard one branch of the religious animal as representative of all religious thought.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby BadgerJelly on November 21st, 2017, 11:22 am 

Neri -

If you're changing your definition of "God" to "supernatural being" then explain what you by "supernatural being" please. Your previous definition was "perfect being", wasn't it??
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 21st, 2017, 1:41 pm 

Neri » November 21st, 2017, 10:12 am wrote:As to the existence or non-existence of God, you say that there is “ultimately no objective evidence either way.” This implies that if one denies the existence of God, he has the burden to prove that God does not exist. This is like saying, “I am right to believe in fairies because you cannot prove that fairies do not exist.”

No one is obliged to prove a negative. He who makes a positive assertion of the existence of a supernatural being has the burden of proof. Nothing can be clearer than this.


Ah yes, the old "I am right by default" argument and "only you have a burden of proof for what you believe because my belief is special." I am not buying this special pleading garbage and this tactic of demanding that only others bear all the burden of proof is the very essence of an argument from ignorance.

Your belief is not special and describing a belief as "negative" is purely relative. Any belief can be stated as either positive or negative relative to something else.

The burden of proof is indicated by the very meaning of the word "proof." It is what justifies an expectation that other people agree with you. Thus the burden of proof naturally belongs to ANYONE who expects other people to agree with them. Sorry but you do not get a pass on intolerance for the belief of others just because you think your beliefs are special.

No one is obliged to prove what they choose to accept as a personal belief, whether it is religious, dietary, medical, animal rights, or something else, as long as they harm nobody and do not trespass on same liberties and rights of other people. It is only those who insist that others accept their assertions who have the burden of proof. Nothing can be clearer than this.

I routinely defend the rationality of both theism and atheism, and show the logical inadequacy of proofs either way. Belief with regards to things where there is no objective evidence is a matter of choice. And your choice with regards to the question of God's existence is no different than anybody else. It is not "special" and does not come with any free licence to be intolerant of the choices of others.

The most you can do is distinguish between objective and subjective beliefs as I do all the time. Beliefs in God are in the same category as beliefs in fairies, aliens, the healing power of crystals, OR the belief that such things do not exist. There is no objective evidence to support any of this. It is simply a choice. Life forces choices of preference on us all the time because for most things there is no proof or evidence and we simply have to decide how we are going to live our lives without it. This calls upon the rational and reasonable person to accept this diversity of thought as a fact of life.

But then there are always those who want to set themselves above everyone else and make a pretense that they are special and everyone else is stupid, ignorant, deluded, deceived, or in some other way out of touch with reality (as they decided themselves to be the authoritative judge of what that is). But insisting that theirs is the only right way to think is arrogant, intolerant and unreasonable. I suppose that is their prerogative too but if they do not keep it to themselves then the fact is that no matter what their excuses and special pleading they are not being reasonable, when the fact is they have no more proof of their beliefs than those they decide to look down on. Anybody can choose to be ill mannered, intolerant, unreasonable, arrogant, willfully ignorant, etc.. if that is what they want. I choose to be intolerant of intolerance and disapproving of the illogical, arrogant and willfully ignorant and I have as much a right to choose this as they have to be those other things.

I choose to stand in brotherhood with all the varieties of pygmies, aboriginal Australians, native Americans, Buddhists, atheists, Hindus, Wiccans, Jews, Muslims, agnostics, pagans, Sikhs, Mormons, Shamanists, Christians, Deists, Taoists, Shintoists, Moonies, Bahai, etc... and to respect their beliefs rather than laugh at them or otherwise treat them with any air of superiority just because my choice of belief happens to be different. I rejoice in the diversity of human belief as just as much an asset to human civilization as the diversity of our gene pool is an asset to the human species. Of course I think I am right in my beliefs just as they all do. In that I am not special, but just like them. But I will not indulge in special pleading and other dishonest excuses to set myself apart. I think that is both rude and unreasonable.

As to the existence or non-existence of God, you say that there is “ultimately no objective evidence either way.” This implies that if one denies the existence of God, he has the burden to prove that God does not exist.

Incorrect. There is no such implication except in your fantasies and dialogues with yourself. Those who deny the existence of gods, faries, aliens, ghosts, magical crystials, or whatever have no more burden of proof than those who choose to believe such things. All that is required is the acceptance of this diversity of belief and not indulging in the unreasonable expectation that other people follow along with your beliefs when you have no more objective evidence than they do.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 21st, 2017, 2:09 pm 

BadgerJelly » November 21st, 2017, 4:27 am wrote:Mitch -

It was a comment about the aesthetics more than how applicable the point is to the situation. Be more inventive in the future if you can eh?

:)

Maybe say something along the lines of giving a baby a sword and insisting it duel you?

Anyway, funny reply XD haha! You could've at least made a better attempt at humour by mixing them up and talking about swallowing cans and rhetorical jumping over guns? :P

Now I am thinking of jumping straw frogs with guns for some reason ... I wonder what that means?


I shall find my own balance between rationality, humor and creativity, thank you. I will leave those who will put higher priority on originality than upon clarity and applicability with the poets and leave humor to the comedians. I do my best to put up with flights of flowery language by those with a poetic bent and try not to think of them as putting on airs any more than myself with my own inclinations. I don't feel any lack of creativity in myself (and have abundant justification for this) but humor is another matter. In the case of humor I have very little ability and sophistication. I laugh easily most of the time but perhaps I am usually too habitually cerebral to make good humor.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby Lomax on November 21st, 2017, 2:16 pm 

Well it certainly doesn't seem like anybody's debating the Ontological Argument anymore. I don't know whether that means we have general agreement on the point.

As for Occamism: as long as godliness infringes empirical findings (which theism always does, but deism need not) I think it is good enough. Otherwise we have to remember that it is only a pragmatic principle, and that there are others to account for. If it makes people feel better to believe that It's All Part Of A Plan, then that counts for something, implicitly serflike as it may be. As long as they don't start telling me that abortion and contraception are the greatest threat to world peace, and gay rights are an abomination, and Salman Rushdie must die, and all the other nonsense we hear daily.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 21st, 2017, 2:38 pm 

Lomax » November 21st, 2017, 7:48 am wrote:Still: if the point is that theists (or deists) have no interest in logical thought,

On the contrary, I think not only can a good case for opposite be made for theists, but logical thought is practically the essence of the deists (so much so that Deism has often meant no more than rational theism). It can be said that there has been a persistent need for rational justification for theism throughout history and this has done more for the development of rational discourse than anything else.

What about atheism then? Hasn't greater rationality been the principle motivation for this? I don't think so. Frankly, I see morality as the greater motivation for atheism than rationality. The problem with rationality is that it is just too flexible. Most of the time it just takes you from whatever premises you choose to accept to conclusions in simple equivalence. Much more suitable for theism frankly. No, it is the abuses of religion which most often inspires atheism in a sense of moral outrage. If rationality is your main concern then this usually leads to agnosticism instead.

Lomax » November 21st, 2017, 7:48 am wrote:We're conceding to Neri that Anselm's argument is of no use. So what exactly is all this opposition to the OP about?

The devil is usually in the details, as they say. For those of us addicted to argumentation, we have to find something on which to wrangle with contention. In this philosophers are little different than the theologians who fight over such things as angels on the head of a pin.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby Braininvat on November 21st, 2017, 3:03 pm 

No, it is the abuses of religion which most often inspires atheism in a sense of moral outrage. If rationality is your main concern then this usually leads to agnosticism instead.
-- MM

I'm not sure all atheists are inspired by the same thing. I've encountered more than one type. Some are driven by emotion, usually by a harsh assessment of the effects of religious belief, some are just empiricists who feel science has delved sufficiently into the physical universe to rule a deity out.

For me, agnosticism is the only logically sound position possible. Basically, when you have no testable hypotheses, then you can only assert that no solid conclusion can be drawn. It's much the same case with dualism. There is no way to prove or disprove a nonphysical realm that does not interact with matter -- our instruments are composed of matter and can only register the physical.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 21st, 2017, 4:23 pm 

Braininvat » November 21st, 2017, 2:03 pm wrote:
No, it is the abuses of religion which most often inspires atheism in a sense of moral outrage. If rationality is your main concern then this usually leads to agnosticism instead.
-- MM

I'm not sure all atheists are inspired by the same thing. I've encountered more than one type. Some are driven by emotion, usually by a harsh assessment of the effects of religious belief, some are just empiricists who feel science has delved sufficiently into the physical universe to rule a deity out.

For me, agnosticism is the only logically sound position possible. Basically, when you have no testable hypotheses, then you can only assert that no solid conclusion can be drawn. It's much the same case with dualism. There is no way to prove or disprove a nonphysical realm that does not interact with matter -- our instruments are composed of matter and can only register the physical.


Of course, all conclusions like this are gross generalizations and mine are of course based on my own personal experience and observations. The strongest predominant motivation I have seen among atheists is that of moral outrage. Often rationality does prevail upon them to declare themselves as agnostics to some degree but the hostility they feel towards religion (again because of reasons of morality) still gives them the same "flavor" and usually expresses it as leaning towards atheism in some way so that they wouldn't be described as neutral agnostics, if you know what I mean.

There are of course just as many varieties of agnostics (if not more so) and meanings given to agnosticism. I think I have mentioned my father who first declared himself to me as agnostic for most of his life, or at least what he said was "I don't know if God exists, and I don't see how it makes any difference to the living of our lives." I suppose you could call this indifferent agnosticism and based on a Deist conception of God. Indeed this is one of the more hidden factors of diversity in agnostics and atheists, their decisions are often based what conception of God or gods they are making their decision about.

And this brings us to the rather relative nature of atheism (and possibly agnosticism also in some ways and cases). For theists are in effect atheists with regards to all the gods and types of gods they do not believe in. It is possible, however, (if far less likely) for theist to be agnostic with respect to other gods. And this brings us to another question and observation about agnosticism in general: does the fact that you are undecided about the existence of a particular concept of god, necessarily mean you are neutral about it. If such a god really did exist would this mean that you would worship and serve the thing? This sort of agnosticism is often the way I approach the sort of god pushed by many fundamentalist Xtians, saying that if such a creature did exist I would be more likely to call it a devil than a god, and would oppose it rather than worship or serve the thing.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby hyksos on November 22nd, 2017, 8:59 am 

Our humanly brains need nouns and verbs and so we package all our ideas in the confines and weaknesses of our silly cultural language. We can make up nouns all day here to refer to ideas, because we "need" nouns due the limiting powers of English.

Let there be a God. Let this God have the ability to design the laws of physics. Fine. Hell, even point at Him as the cause of the Big Bang. I'm okay with all these claims. We have mysteries and we put those mysteries in bottles and place labels on those bottles.

So in this little bottle over here is the mystery : "What is the origin of the laws of physics?". Wow.. so mysterious. We better put a big Capital G on that bottle. Now we have bottles and labeled things allowing us sweaty hairless apes to communicate about our "ideas". Good for us.

So the G Entity (lets call him) is the source and cause of the Big Bang, and the source of the laws of physics as we currently measure them. Fine.

So let the P Entity (lets call him) be the "Perfect Existing thing for which nothing more perfect can be thought."

Question. Is the G Entity equivalent to the P Entity? In other words, are we necessarily talking about the same entity with a different label?

On logical grounds, the answer is obviously no. G Entity could be a petty smaller player in the grand scheme, and there could exist lots of P entities "more perfect than G". G Entity becomes a provincial minor god who only deals in local universe pockets that obey QFT and GR. There could exist several other G Entities, labelled G1, G2,... GN respectfully. And they have their own little universes that they "Design" and "Bang".

Are these above scenarios true on account of the fact that I can deductively show them as possible and logically plausible? Of course not. It is equally logical to claim that G=P. I don't see how deductive logic in isolation could resolve either scenario.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 22nd, 2017, 7:30 pm 

I certainly agree with all of this. Another problem I see is that the P entity is also poorly defined because while we can imagine perfection like an infinite limit on some one dimensional measure, there are far more than one aspect to any being. And if we are striving to describe something good we do not want to go to extremes in all attributes because for some things being good is a matter of having opposing tendencies in balance. Thus I would suggest there is not only a multiplicity of G but also a multiplicity of P, and not everyone is going to choose the same attributes which should be optimized (by some infinite limit) in a being they would respect and admire.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 22nd, 2017, 10:09 pm 

mitchellmckain » November 22nd, 2017, 6:30 pm wrote:I certainly agree with all of this. Another problem I see is that the P entity is also poorly defined because while we can imagine perfection like an infinite limit on some one dimensional measure, there are far more than one aspect to any being. And if we are striving to describe something good we do not want to go to extremes in all attributes because for some things being good is a matter of having opposing tendencies in balance. Thus I would suggest there is not only a multiplicity of G but also a multiplicity of P, and not everyone is going to choose the same attributes which should be optimized (by some infinite limit) in a being they would respect and admire.


I'd like to rephrase that last sentence to make it more clear...

Thus I would suggest there is not only a multiplicity of G but also a multiplicity of P, and not everyone is going to choose the same attributes which should be maximized in a being they would respect and admire.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 23rd, 2017, 1:01 am 

Neri » November 21st, 2017, 10:12 am wrote:Taking it from the epistemic perspective, it can only mean that we do not know everything about reality or that our conception of reality does not correspond to reality in every possible way.

AND... since we do not know everything we cannot quantify what we do know relative to everything.

Neri » November 21st, 2017, 10:12 am wrote:But to take it a step further and suggest that all of our knowledge is somehow tainted by our lack of perfect knowledge is in essence to say that because we do not know everything, we are not justified in claiming we know anything.

Yes, when it seemed that BJ was taking such a step further that is when we disagreed and I opposed what he was saying.

This is also why I have opposed the ideas of Thomas Kuhn in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." While his analysis may apply somewhat to the softer science, they have no applicability to the harder sciences where there has be a significant accumulation of evidence, which never goes away no matter what else we may discover. Thus I oppose those who choose to believe in fantasies like Star Trek rather than the finding of science, that faster than light travel under our control by some future technology is not just impossible but not even logically consistent with the whole structure of the physical universe.

Just because we do not know everything doesn't mean the things we do know are wrong or can somehow be circumvented in some way in the future.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby BadgerJelly on November 23rd, 2017, 1:25 am 

Hyksos -

A splendid post. You've simplified a part of the problem very well here.

The complexity of the issue, and the general confliction, seems to revolve around how these ideas are consolidated with physicalism.

As Lomax puts in his own humourous remark here something is revealed:

Oh good. I hereby define "godless universe" as a universe which contains no god, was made by no god, and has no interaction with any god. Badgerjelly tells me the godless universe has some existence by this fiat alone.


Note the terms "contains" and "interaction". The biggest problem still being that "god" has not been defined.

Also, with what you rightly pose as problematic, is the way we can frame the terms "perfection". With Entity G we are necessarily grounding the definition of "Entity G" in relation to physics, whilst in the definition of Entity P we're grounding the definition of "Entity P" in something we intuitively understand, but cannot objectively frame.

Neri -

Understand that I do agree with you in a simplistic way. A scientific proof of God, of some supreme omnipotent being Lording over humanity, is quite far flung and doubtlessly illogical if we're posing the existence of something "outside" existence (as we tend to physically frame the term "existence" more often than not) is quite ridiculous.

I would agree quite strongly, and I think I have, that such people who say God has a physical existence, and the proof is all around them, have rather narrower views of reality than we do and we should learn to appreciate that they possess a broader and more undefined view of reality in other ways.

The idea of perfection seems to me to be a necessary danger of the human condition and likely one of the most important facets of the human character in general. Every single human being alive has to find the strength to suffer as best they can.

In this respect I could just as well say that it is illogical to look for an ontological proof of humanity's existence - I find this statement to be equivalent to your OP. Yet I imagine you wouldn't really consider humanity as non-existent even though you don't really, when it comes down to it, know exactly what this means, it is a condition of being you simply except within your given cultural circumstances.

Both "God" and "Humanity" are symbolic representations of something we all, as Hyksos says, "bottle" and label in various ways and these multiple labels correlate well enough for certain cultural groups.

Lomax -

I am well aware of the circularity of philosophical fields. The epistemic, ontic and metaphysic all play by the same bound rules of language and "phenomenal experience". I am very much opposed to the all to common atomization of knowledge because it encourages polarization of the common understanding.

You can wage war about the difference between various fields of metaphysics and epistemology, you can even historicise the meaning and resort to etymological research, but it doesn't matter because you simply cannot disentangle the meaning of "difference" from "similarity". If I was to say that a frog and a horse have four legs and eyes am I saying they are the same? I will assume you were caught up in the moment and your belly got the better of your judgement :D

If you really cannot take on board any kind of attachment between the epistemic and metaphysics then I guess you're a mono-pole apart or simply you happen to possess some kind of bizarre dualistic notion of "being" and "understanding" as two irreconcilable propositions (which I would not deny is a useful way to frame things simply as a means to open up further investigation.)
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby BadgerJelly on November 23rd, 2017, 1:35 am 

TO ALL -

Would just like to add that I've found this to be a very engaging discussion.

Thanks! :)

Mitch -

Yes, when it seemed that BJ was taking such a step further that is when we disagreed and I opposed what he was saying.


Well, I don't agree. Your reply seemed to be mostly in agreement, but it was a very difficult area we were in. The finer points of the matter I'd like to take up with you elsewhere (and I am sure we will.) If one of us thinks we agree and the other doesn't I am happy to let things settle there and take a breather.

I am constantly trying to improve how to articulate myself and learning different ways of doing so. It seems reasonable to me to assume that every one is correct and that it's just a matter of understanding where the similarities and differences in thinking are so we can better fix the disjunction by framing the issue in a particular way that corresponds to both parties.

In short what I hope will happen at a future date is you'll either bind two of my ideas into one or slice one of them into two, or I'll do so for you.

note: I honestly felt like I made a breakthrough :) meaning I think I found a path that will help me explain things better.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 23rd, 2017, 4:05 am 

BadgerJelly » November 23rd, 2017, 12:35 am wrote:TO ALL -

Would just like to add that I've found this to be a very engaging discussion.

Thanks! :)

Mitch -

Yes, when it seemed that BJ was taking such a step further that is when we disagreed and I opposed what he was saying.


Well, I don't agree. Your reply seemed to be mostly in agreement, but it was a very difficult area we were in. The finer points of the matter I'd like to take up with you elsewhere (and I am sure we will.) If one of us thinks we agree and the other doesn't I am happy to let things settle there and take a breather.

Like I said before, I think I am in a median position between you two on some issues. There are things I agreed with Neri on and things I disagreed with him on. That is why you could find some common ground with me even though we disagreed on the points where I agreed with Neri. I seem to be mostly a realist if not 100% the same as Neri despite our agreement on his definition of realism. But, in any case, I am a physicalist ONLY when it comes to the things of the mind and that is where I really part company with Neri. Because of his narrow categories that makes me look like an idealist to him. But in reality this is only because most of the people who believe in spiritual stuff are idealists, equating the spiritual with the mental stuff like ideas, as I do not.

It makes things hard for a lot of people when you strike out on your own with an original way of thinking. You don't fit into the categories people are used to. And many do not want to make the effort to comprehend new ideas and different ways of thinking when they are not in directions of thought which interest them. The same could be probably be said for me regarding new ways of thinking about Islam or eschatology, since those things don't interest me very much.

BadgerJelly » November 23rd, 2017, 12:35 am wrote:It seems reasonable to me to assume that every one is correct and that it's just a matter of understanding where the similarities and differences in thinking are so we can better fix the disjunction by framing the issue in a particular way that corresponds to both parties.

There are degrees of commonality and difference between us here as well.

1. Because I believe there is an irreducibly subjective aspect to reality, I think that people can be right in their subjective beliefs about reality even when the beliefs of different people contradict with one another.

2. On the other hand, I also believe there is an objective aspect to reality as well, which means that people can also be quite wrong when their beliefs do not agree with the findings of science.

To put in another way, it is like people exist in different but overlapping realities. Where they overlap, that is the objective aspect to reality. Where they do not overlap, that is the subjective aspect of reality. Thus both theist and atheist can be correct to some degree, except where they confuse the subjective with the objective, of course.

That right there is my median position between you and Neri in a nutshell, I think.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby Neri on November 24th, 2017, 8:28 pm 

To All,

Because I was otherwise occupied, I did not have an opportunity to read some of the latest posts. Having now read them with some interest, I will add my own comments.

In some cases, questions are unavoidably complex. However, the existence of God is not one of them. The practice of spinning complexity into this question inevitably leads to obfuscation.

For example, we have heard the claim that we cannot know whether or not God exists because we do not know everything.

When such a claim was reduced to absurdity, we heard instead that we cannot know whether or not God exists because we cannot quantify what we know relative to reality.

Yet, if we can know some things about reality even if we cannot know everything, this would be no less the case if we cannot quantify what we know relative to reality. In either case, we remain justified in believing whatever does correspond to reality however limited its scope.

Still, the question remains: What are we justified in believing and disbelieving? This is the crux of the matter in the instant inquiry.

Before we reach this question, we need to consider two subsidiary claims.

First, it is necessary to disabuse ourselves of the notion that there is no difference between what we imagine and what actually exists (that ontology equals epistemology).

Only if we make the rather far-fetched claim that all of reality consists of our thoughts, would such a notion hold water.

Of course, if nothing existed outside of our thoughts, there would be no planets, stars or galaxies, no human body and hence no senses, no disease and no death. There would be no matter, no energy, no time or space, not even “space-time,” and no laws of nature. All that we conceive would refer to nothing real, for the only reality would be the thoughts themselves.

This means that if one were, let us say, run over by a train and killed, it would have no relation to reality, for there can be no train and no human body unless matter is real. Furthermore, it could not be the case that one thing can strike another thing unless time and space were real.

There are some who profess to believe that this is the actual state of affairs. However, no sane person would conform his actions to such a belief. For example, people like Berkeley would be the last ones to step in front of a speeding train to demonstrate their belief in idealism. There is a reason for this: Idealism is completely incredible.

The history of modern continental thought originated with Kant. However, even Kant made a bright-line distinction between reality and what we think we know. Thus, he maintained that real things do exist outside of us but that we are utterly incapable of knowing what they really are. Thus, his anti-realism was strictly epistemic and not ontological. Nonetheless, Kantianism and it progeny are subject to the same reduction to absurdity described above.

The next supposed problem has to do with the nature of a so-called supernatural being.

Supernatural means transcending nature or not being subject to the laws of nature, which is reduced to transcending time and space. It includes such things as omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence.

A being is that which exists. A supernatural being is one who possesses supernatural qualities such as omniscience. Having such a quality renders a supernatural being conscious. This is the commonly accepted understanding and may be used for purposes of discussing God.

Now we are ready, to return to the question: What are we justified in believing and disbelieving. For this we must consider the basis of all human knowledge, but to do so we need a definition of knowledge.

Knowledge is whatever corresponds to fact. A fact refers to actual states of affairs whose reality does not depend on whether or not anyone happens to believe them. Facts do not care whether or not they are believed, because they have the status of a reality independent of any opinion to the contrary.

Thus, all of us will die, even those who believe that the body is only a concoction of the mind. Death is a fact. A person does not know he is dead, for the dead know nothing. But, the living do know his death to be a fact. How do they know this? By means of the senses. If a person is unconscious and motionless, has no respiration or heartbeat, and a flat EEG, he is dead. These things one can know because the living have senses.

It is said by some that no one can prove that the senses ever give us an accurate account of facts. To put it another way, they claim that no one can prove that sensory experiences correspond to reality.

Yet, there is every reason to believe that if we see a man struck by a train and pronounced dead by a physician, that the man is actually dead. Yet the idealist asks us to prove it.

This is what is known as an improper shifting of the burden of proof.

If it is natural and reasonable by abduction to accept the efficacy of the senses; for, at the very least, there is what we call in law prima-facie proof in favor of the proposition that the senses have the capacity to reveal the truth. This does not mean that the senses are infallible, but it does mean that it is more likely than not that the senses have the capacity to detect what is real.

That being the case, the burden falls upon those who oppose this proposition to demonstrate that it is false. It is they who must prove that the senses have no capacity to tell us anything about external reality. This they cannot do, for such a thing is impossible.

Now, as I have previously demonstrated, all human knowledge is based upon both:

(1) Direct sensory experiences and those credibly communicated to us by others, and

(2) Reasonable inferences derived from such experience.

Therefore, any claimed knowledge not obtained by (1) or (2) is no knowledge at all.

Reasonably inferred knowledge embraces much of the findings of science. Although we are fully justified in taking such things as true based upon the current state of the evidence, they always remains subject to falsification. Where the limits of human understanding are concerned, this is the only productive kind of skepticism.

The most fundamental fault in Anselm’s so-called proof lies in his failure to distinguish an empirical from an analytic proposition. The existence of God can no more be established by analytic logic than the existence of Napoleon.

If no one ever reported credible sensory experience of Napoleon, there would be no basis for believing that he ever existed. Similarly, no one is justified in believing in God absent empirical proof of his existence, for such a thing cannot be established pure reason.

One may say, “anyone may believe in God because the law allows it.” Indeed, in a free society, everyone is entitled to believe whatever they wish no matter how foolish. This is just as it should be.

On the other hand, one is not justified in believing in supernatural beings unless there is empirical evidence to support that belief. It is for this reason that belief in God, though permissible, is not justified.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 24th, 2017, 9:57 pm 

The worldview of Neri may be simple. But the problem I have with it is that by this way of thinking, most of the people in the world (all but Neri and those who agree with him) are stupid and/or deluded. In this he is very similar to the Jehovah Witness and every other group who insists that not only are they right and everyone else is wrong but do so on the basis of practically no objective evidence. They dodge the glaringly unreasonable character of this by simply putting all the burden of proof on others. It is a way of thinking which most people have become rather tired of hearing. I certainly have no interest in following this well worn path which frankly goes nowhere but to conflict and strife. Neri and the JWs can fight with each other over their rightness till the world is cold ball of ice.

I choose a different path -- one where I can look at a Wiccan or a Hindu and instead of seeing a nutjob will see someone who is as good as me with much that is unique and valuable to contribute to the world. Ok, maybe I cannot see what they see. Maybe I cannot entrust many of my health complaints to prayers or healing crystals. But I can respect their own choices not because they have a right to be stupid and contemptible according to Neri, but because I don't equate my experiences with reality itself. At the SAME TIME, where objective evidence DOES exist, I can insist on compliance to a secular government whose job it is to protect people from excesses whether criminal or negligent. This may mean that there is a time when we have to ask people to put their healing crystals away and go to a hospital. This is because even though I do not discount the beliefs of others simply because they are not my beliefs, objective evidence IS a reasonable basis for expecting other people to agree with what it shows.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby Neri on November 24th, 2017, 11:03 pm 

Mitch,

There is a real duty, under both law and decency, to respect a person’s right to express his views whatever they may be. As a member of the bar I have fought for the right of free speech, even when I strongly disagreed with the views of my client.

However, there is no requirement to respect the actual views expressed. Clearly, you have considerable disrespect for my views. This is your right and I would fight to protect that right.

As for myself, I cannot say that I respect or disrespect what you say on the issues, because your explication of your position has been both unclear and contradictory.

Because I am confident that I have expressed myself clearly, you, in all likelihood, disrespect what I actually believe--as is your right.

On the other hand, you have departed from the issues to argue against the person you imagine that I am, even though you do not know me. This is not acceptable behavior for an adult. Indeed, an ad hominem argument is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby BadgerJelly on November 25th, 2017, 12:19 am 

Neri -

It is not a complex question if you rigidly define the terms in play. Sadly by doing so you are arguing, for the most part, against nothing at all.

The stars don't exist for ants because they simply don't conceptualise them, just like they don't think about how lovelyyour coffee table is when wandering over it. That is not to say the physical thingness of the table is not there, but it certainly means that the existence of the "table" is absent for the ants.

So "God" exists, and we could even suggest that physical evidence of "god" exists too, but then we'd be talking about a kind of concept of "god" you wouldn't be happy to call a "god".

I doubt reasonably well educated religious people would frame the term "god" in the same manner as it was framed 500 or even 250 years ago.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 25th, 2017, 12:22 am 

Neri » November 24th, 2017, 10:03 pm wrote:There is a real duty, under both law and decency, to respect a person’s right to express his views whatever they may be. As a member of the bar I have fought for the right of free speech, even when I strongly disagreed with the views of my client.

However, there is no requirement to respect the actual views expressed. Clearly, you have considerable disrespect for my views. This is your right and I would fight to protect that right.

To be sure there are different degrees of disrespect and incompatibility with the ideals of a free society. It is one thing to say that those who believe differently than you are going to hell and quite another to refuse service in a public business to them in order to make the see the errors of their ways. It is one thing to say that those who believe differently than you are stupid and deluded and quite another to refuse them the right to express their views. It is one thing to say all other religions than yours are from the devil and quite another do violence against all these servants of the devil you see all around you. In each of these case, the first may seem a little intolerant but not enough to warrant any action but personal disapproval, unlike the second where those who believe in the ideals of a free society feel compelled to make a more active opposition.

There is a lot I don't like about the Jehovah Witnesses, at least when I am judging whether such a religion is of any value for me personally. I don't like their attitude towards other religions which are not founded on any believable reasons. I don't like the very narrow boundaries they put on human life, failing to value so much that is beautiful in the creativity of people. But I admire their pacifism. And this pacifism goes a long way toward making them compatible with the ideals of a free society.

My above consideration of your worldview was likewise very much about what I judge as good for my life. No I do not like your implicit attitude about people just because they will not go along with your methodology for deciding what to believe. I don't like the extremely narrow boundaries you also put on reality and consequently on human life, again failing to value so much of what is beautiful in people. I do not want to look at people the way you do when there is frankly no objective reason for doing so. But that does not mean I cannot admire your dedication to the ideals of a free society. Naturally, as long as you remain dedicated in this way, we are not likely to fault you for being incompatible with those ideals.

Neri » November 24th, 2017, 10:03 pm wrote:As for myself, I cannot say that I respect or disrespect what you say on the issues, because your explication of your position has been both unclear and contradictory.

The only contradictions are with the premises of your own worldview and your inability to see past them simply measures just how much you push this in the judgement of others.

Neri » November 24th, 2017, 10:03 pm wrote:Because I am confident that I have expressed myself clearly, you, in all likelihood, disrespect what I actually believe--as is your right.

Quite correct!

Neri » November 24th, 2017, 10:03 pm wrote:On the other hand, you have departed from the issues to argue against the person you imagine that I am, even though you do not know me. This is not acceptable behavior for an adult. Indeed, an ad hominem argument is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Nonsense, what you describe is yourself. You constantly replace what I write with the words of a person in your imagination. And your false accusation and indirect name calling here is the real ad hominem.

That you see an insult in comparing you to the Jehovah Witnesses simply reveals you own contempt for others. Ok, I don't see you quite the way you would prefer to see yourself. That people will not see you as you prefer to see yourself is a fact of life you need to accept without resorting to accusations like this.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby Neri on November 25th, 2017, 12:47 pm 

Mitch,

You are hallucinating if you believe that I said, or even implied, that you are going to hell for disagreeing with me or that you are stupid and deluded or that I believe all religions except mine are from the devil.

This is unmitigated rubbish for the obvious reason that I believe in neither God nor the devil.

The plain facts disclose your own intolerance of my atheism and, more to the point, your frustration with the force of logic. Your emotional disquiet has caused you continually to resort to ad hominem blathering.

Further, I do not believe that you are lacking in intelligence. Instead, I believe you lack character. The evidence of your own words reveals that you have deliberately violated the rules of civilized discourse.

It it was you who declared that I was schizophrenic and a liar for disagreeing with you. Apart from very likely being a transference to me of your own condition, these were, by any measure, fighting words. Yet, for reasons unknown, the moderator has been derelict in putting a stop to it.

Upon my return from holiday, I endeavored again to put forward my arguments without rancor and in a measured and logical way. Apparently, I was casting pearls at swine. However, I happily confess to being very strict in my logic and just as careful in crafting my language.

You have endeavored to drag me into the gutter with you, and I have, until now, resisted the temptation—but one can take only so much.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby Braininvat on November 25th, 2017, 2:40 pm 

I doubt reasonably well educated religious people would frame the term "god" in the same manner as it was framed 500 or even 250 years ago.
- BJ

I'm still a big fan of the Demiurgos.

It could well be the primordial assembler nanorobot - our universe is a science fair project.

Sorry. This is what happens when your Thanksgiving dinner is dominated by curried yellow lentil dal. The spices melted the inside of my face and I think they took out some of the frontal lobes.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 25th, 2017, 3:40 pm 

Neri » November 25th, 2017, 11:47 am wrote:You are hallucinating if you believe that I said, or even implied, that you are going to hell for disagreeing with me or that you are stupid and deluded or that I believe all religions except mine are from the devil.

I don't believe any such thing. Pay attention. The point was "there are different degrees of disrespect and incompatibility with the ideals of a free society." What followed were three different examples of groups who could be considered intolerant to some degree but not to a degree where more active intervention is required. The second example is the one that most likely applied to you. The first example is typical of many Christians and the third example is taken from things said to me by Jehovah Witnesses.

Neri » November 25th, 2017, 11:47 am wrote:This is unmitigated rubbish for the obvious reason that I believe in neither God nor the devil.

Yes I know. You just get so uptight at the mention of any beliefs by any people other than yourself that you cannot see straight enough to follow the logic of what someone is saying.

Neri » November 25th, 2017, 11:47 am wrote:The plain facts disclose your own intolerance of my atheism and, more to the point, your frustration with the force of logic. Your emotional disquiet has caused you continually to resort to ad hominem blathering.

I have no such intolerance of atheism. On contrary I am constantly defending it as a perfectly rational point of view to the point of dismantling and ridiculing all proofs for the existence of God as lacking in objectivity. I even take offense at the moral argument because I know for a fact that atheists are largely motivated by a concern for morality with regards to the abuses of religion. For you to say such a thing is only evidence that you don't pay enough attention to what other people are saying and thus paint people in ways that serve your agenda rather than the truth.

My only intolerance is for intolerance itself. And perhaps my intolerance in this regard is a little on the high side, making me sensitive to even the mildest forms of intolerance.

Neri » November 25th, 2017, 11:47 am wrote:Further, I do not believe that you are lacking in intelligence. Instead, I believe you lack character.

Yes, you judge the character of other people by whether they agree with your subjective beliefs. I do not.

Neri » November 25th, 2017, 11:47 am wrote:The evidence of your own words reveals that you have deliberately violated the rules of civilized discourse.

This is the case only when you alter the evidence by making things up and claiming I said them.

Neri » November 25th, 2017, 11:47 am wrote:It it was you who declared that I was schizophrenic and a liar for disagreeing with you.

Incorrect. I only explained that schizophrenia was one explanation for carrying on a conversation with an imaginary person, and it was lying to say that I said something when I did no such thing. You made up words and claimed that I said those things when I did not. It was a lie. AND you are doing it again. I never said you were schizophrenic. I never said you are a liar. These are not my words. I said no such thing. To say you lied is not the same as saying you are a liar. The first refers to something which you said which does not agree with the facts. The second refers to character and habit. I said you lied but I did not say you are a liar. And you have done it again -- said things which do not agree with the facts. So while I have not said you are a liar, I do say is that you are is a little free with your rhetoric to a dishonest degree, willing to twist the truth to serve your agenda of making people into bad guys when they do not agree with you.

I suppose rhetoric is the stock and trade of a lawyer. Tell me, in a courtroom, do they let you get away with twisting and distorting the truth as much as you do here in this forum. Do they allow you to just make up things and claim that people said them when they did not?

Neri » November 25th, 2017, 11:47 am wrote: Apart from very likely being a transference to me of your own condition, these were, by any measure, fighting words. Yet, for reasons unknown, the moderator has been derelict in putting a stop to it.

I tend to respond with disapproval to both dishonest tactics of rhetoric as well as to even the milder types of intolerance explained above. I am sorry if you are accustomed to getting away with those things without comment from anyone, but don't usually give these things a pass.

Neri » November 25th, 2017, 11:47 am wrote:Apparently, I was casting pearls at swine.

This is a frequent comment by the intolerant religious. They do not seem to comprehend that what seems like pearls to them are actually viewed as poison by others.

Neri » November 25th, 2017, 11:47 am wrote:However, I happily confess to being very strict in my logic and just as careful in crafting my language.

If that is true, then maybe the problem is you need to be just as careful when you read what is written by other people. But I don't think it is true. I think you are sometimes careful and at other times (perhaps when emotional) you are little careless. I have already acknowledged on this forum that I also get careless at times and post things which I should not. For this I apologize.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on November 26th, 2017, 3:38 am 

mitchellmckain » November 18th, 2017, 6:18 pm wrote:Google (refreshed from Google itself and with things removed as inapplicable):
Agential realism (Barad)
Entity realism
Hermeneutic realism (Heidegger)
Internal realism (Putnam)
Logical realism, the conviction the rules of logic are mind-independent
Model-dependent realism
Referential realism
Scientific realism
Scotistic realism
Semantic realism (Psillos)
Speculative realism
Structuralism (philosophy of science)
Transcendental realism


Perhaps I will work on this...

DONE!

I am opposed to Entity realism, Scotistic realism, and Structural realism.
I see some partial truth in Agential realism, Internal realism, Model-dependent realism, scientific realism, semantic realism, and speculative realism. And perhaps I can even see truth in hermeneutic realism and referential realism, assuming I understand them correctly.
But the one above that sounds most like my point of view is Transcendental realism with its two domains which it refers to as "transitive" and "intransitive" sounding a little like the subjective and objective aspects of reality which I describe. It is not quite the same thing but perhaps it can at least be considered a branch of some sort.

To me, Neri sounds a lot like a structural realist, but he might prefer to call himself a scientific realist only.
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