The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

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

Postby hyksos on December 8th, 2017, 6:49 pm 

(errata. Maupertuis was actually the atheist. He argued that the random inclinations of orbits showed that the solar system was not created.)
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby Lomax on December 8th, 2017, 8:42 pm 

Hyksos, I don't think BiV was contending that the Western tradition is devoid of a belief in God, but rather that such a God cannot be real. There's certainly no evidence that Einstein believed in the type of God which BiV was deconstructing - he was a deist at best.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby Lomax on December 8th, 2017, 8:43 pm 

At worst, I should have said.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby hyksos on December 8th, 2017, 11:10 pm 

Lomax,

As a person who happens to be a close friend of God, I can tell you right now that...
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on December 9th, 2017, 5:37 am 

hyksos » December 8th, 2017, 5:48 pm wrote:
"I know God, and God does not allow physical events to happen that have no cause."
(Einstein)

And here we see ample evidence of the enormous distortion you are making of both the words and the facts in order to cram it all into an absurd ideology. The evidence does not even support the claim that Einstein was a theist at all. The god Einstein believed in was science, frankly. And it is principles of scientific inquiry that Einstein and many other scientists have felt are violated by quantum mechanics.

Nor do I see any evidence that Maupertuis was an atheist. Where did you get that from? I see him appealing to physics for a proof of God's existence. Of course... perhaps he changed his mind at some point and that is why we have opposite impressions of him... people can and do change their mind about this.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on December 9th, 2017, 2:54 pm 

mitchellmckain » December 9th, 2017, 4:37 am wrote:
hyksos » December 8th, 2017, 5:48 pm wrote:
"I know God, and God does not allow physical events to happen that have no cause."
(Einstein)

And here we see ample evidence of the enormous distortion you are making of both the words and the facts in order to cram it all into an absurd ideology. The evidence does not even support the claim that Einstein was a theist at all. The god Einstein believed in was science, frankly. And it is principles of scientific inquiry that Einstein and many other scientists have felt are violated by quantum mechanics.

If you think the words "absurd ideology" is over the top.... I agree. It is enough to say that your example of Einstein doesn't support your idea so well. Nor should I say that the idea itself is unsound. For I would agree that many people in history presumed to know the mind of "God," and this is dubious reasoning to say the least. In fact... doesn't it represent willful ignorance in a conceptual form? Is it not saying essentially... "I have decided what reality should be and I refuse to fully accept evidence to the contrary"?

On the other hand... You cannot say that thinking like this is always wrong. One way of looking at the early development of science was a stubborn insistence that there is a logical/mathematical order beneath the vagarities of what was presumed to be experimental/observational flukes and inaccuracies.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby BadgerJelly on December 9th, 2017, 10:42 pm 

Guys, religion is not the issue here.

The issue is the concept of god and how it is represented.

First off we've had the idea of "That which nothing more perfect can be thought of", which leads to the obvious truth of we can never know of such a thing and it may well be an entirely subjective matter even if we did. We can always, so it seems, imagine a slightly "better" picture and therefore constantly readjust what we call perfect because like many things in life what we assume to be good for us may actually turn out to do us over all harm (the grass is greener attitude fighting the natural inclination to venture into the unknown). "Perfection" is a strange concept yet we blindly assume we understand it. In essence if we take on this definition then we're looking at some possible better future and ways to achieve movement toward this future. It is not crazy to believe in a better world in the future and therefore it is good to have faith in such: and we frame this as "perfection". I think that covers briefly enough what we can consider to be "perfect".

Next is the "first cause", the "agent". Now I would say this "agent" need not be conscious and to talk about how time was initiated is beyond my ken any how! (As far as I can abstract!) This would tie into human ideas of "purpose" and "causation". By far more of a tricky concept to grapple with than "perfection".

Note: Religion is not the question.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby Lomax on December 10th, 2017, 7:15 am 

BadgerJelly » December 10th, 2017, 3:42 am wrote:We can always, so it seems, imagine a slightly "better" picture and therefore constantly readjust what we call perfect

Ross Noble has a joke about being approached by a street preacher with a Bible, who told him "this is the greatest story ever told". Noble took the book from the proselytiser and wrote in the margins "AND JESUS COULD FLY". "There", he said, handing it back. "Now it's the greatest story ever told."
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby BadgerJelly on December 10th, 2017, 7:37 am 

Lomax » December 10th, 2017, 7:15 pm wrote:
BadgerJelly » December 10th, 2017, 3:42 am wrote:We can always, so it seems, imagine a slightly "better" picture and therefore constantly readjust what we call perfect

Ross Noble has a joke about being approached by a street preacher with a Bible, who told him "this is the greatest story ever told". Noble took the book from the proselytiser and wrote in the margins "AND JESUS COULD FLY". "There", he said, handing it back. "Now it's the greatest story ever told."


And? I said that we can always imagine something "more" perfect, yet we still have a premise of perfect. If the premise is off then the way the term "god" is being referred to needs to be framed in a manner that makes sense.

I am referring to the Entities expressed by Hyksos. I have shown the problem and I will wait for a sensible reply from Hyksos.

At the moment the issue, for me at least, is not being able to put together a viable definition of "god" and neither "perfect" nor the "agent" premise have been fully explained in Hyksos' "entity presentation (also note the plea to physicality as a principle of the "source"/"agent" definition.)

I can of course attempt to shift positions on this matter, but I'll likely fall into the territory of the deconstructionist!
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby Lomax on December 10th, 2017, 8:30 am 

You don't have to be defensive. I just thought it was a good joke, which you brought to mind.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby BadgerJelly on December 10th, 2017, 8:33 am 

Lomax » December 10th, 2017, 8:30 pm wrote:You don't have to be defensive. I just thought it was a good joke, which you brought to mind.


Soz! Had my "all serious and stern" hat on :P

Mitch -

And here we see ample evidence of the enormous distortion you are making of both the words and the facts in order to cram it all into an absurd ideology. The evidence does not even support the claim that Einstein was a theist at all. The god Einstein believed in was science, frankly.


And another example of the term "god" being used differently. One which I think Hyksos referred to earlier in the post you assumed I had not bothered to read ;)
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on December 11th, 2017, 2:39 am 

BadgerJelly » December 10th, 2017, 7:33 am wrote:Mitch -

And here we see ample evidence of the enormous distortion you are making of both the words and the facts in order to cram it all into an absurd ideology. The evidence does not even support the claim that Einstein was a theist at all. The god Einstein believed in was science, frankly.


And another example of the term "god" being used differently. One which I think Hyksos referred to earlier in the post you assumed I had not bothered to read ;)


I'm afraid that hyskos hit on a pet peeve of mine and that is why I over-reacted in the beginning. Having read a bit Einstein's writings, I knew that attempts by theists to paint him as a theist were totally bogus. The Wikipedia article on this topic is interesting. There you can read that he specifically opposed the theistic idea of a personal God and says his idea of God was more like that of Spinoza. But the more I read of him to understand his specific beliefs, the more I came to the conclusion that, for Einstein, the meaning of the word "God" had more to do with the rational (i.e. scientific) order of the observable universe than anything else. The article also has him claiming to be an agnostic.

I would suggest that we are all atheist, agnostic, and theist with respect to different ideas of God. There are some we reject as simply nonsensical, others where might acknowledge the possibility, and there is probably even one which we can actually believe in. This doesn't mean we should not also acknowledge the traditional categories (which I distinguish with capital letters) of Theists who believe in a personal (or trans-personal) God, Agnostics who do not believe such a thing is knowable, and Atheists who reject the traditional idea of God as without merit and possibly even harmful.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby hyksos on December 28th, 2017, 7:10 pm 

Despite the several accusations to this effect, at no point was I trying to "depict Einstein as a theist" or "paint Einstein as a theist".

My point was that throughout the history and development of physics, even the most successful among them would reject , accept, or argue about certain aspect of the world around us, solely on the basis of whether that configuration was consistent with their concept of God. This was certainly true for scientists of the 1700s. The argument that Maupertuis got into with his fellow astronomers went something along the theme of :

"If our perfect creator, God, had created the solar system, he would have placed the planets in perfect alignment with the flat plane of rotation around the sun. This is not how the planets appear , as we can now see with our fancy 18th century telescopes. The orbits are tilted haphazardly , clocking at what apparently looks like arbitrary and random small angles. So either God is imperfect with his creations, or perhaps the solar system was not created at all."

One might presume that as the 1800s wore on, that scientists somehow stopped making statements like this, as if to prescribe how the universe must work, deriving their assumptions from attitudes they already had about God, and what God would have created.

Not true. Albert Einstein was no exception to this historical trend. His multiple letters to Max Born span from the 1920s to the 1940s. He very clearly mentioned God in the letters, sometimes facetiously referring to God as "The Old One", in other times referring to the "Secret of the Old One". The same Mauptertuis-flavored argument was being hoisted yet again, but now by a different person in a different context. If God had created the universe, he would not have used a non-deterministic dice-rolling game to determine the outcome of physical events. That would be "beneath Him".

We've had this conversation before on this very forum in different threads. We ourselves here on this forum still abide and debate and argue from this position. The natural assumption is that if a law of physics is "small and beautiful" that is must be true. But if the equation is gnarly and has lots of ugly parts taped and glued onto it, it must be false, and we must be "missing something crucial". Even the PH.d research scientists at CERN, sipping coffee mugs in their offices, fall into this trap.

So the universe must be beautiful. It must be harmonious. The universe must be simple and beautiful and be enjoyable and give a sense of wonderment and awe. Anything less than perfect balanced symmetry is rejected as ugly... and ugly things must be false. Right?

Why does our psychology and emotions latch so strongly along these prejudices? At the end of the day it is same argument that Maupertuis, Leibniz, Newton, Max Born, et al were all having. The universe must be symmetric, balanced, simple, concise, and ultimately beautiful -- why? Because God would not have made it any other way!

Now some of you will deny that you think like this or that your mind is always brought back into this circle of reasoning. But you're a liar. We are all humans here and we are more alike than we are un-alike.
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Re: The illogic of the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

Postby mitchellmckain on December 28th, 2017, 8:05 pm 

hyksos » December 28th, 2017, 6:10 pm wrote:Despite the several accusations to this effect, at no point was I trying to "depict Einstein as a theist" or "paint Einstein as a theist".

My point was that throughout the history and development of physics, even the most successful among them would reject , accept, or argue about certain aspect of the world around us, solely on the basis of whether that configuration was consistent with their concept of God. This was certainly true for scientists of the 1700s. The argument that Maupertuis got into with his fellow astronomers went something along the theme of :

"If our perfect creator, God, had created the solar system, he would have placed the planets in perfect alignment with the flat plane of rotation around the sun. This is not how the planets appear , as we can now see with our fancy 18th century telescopes. The orbits are tilted haphazardly , clocking at what apparently looks like arbitrary and random small angles. So either God is imperfect with his creations, or perhaps the solar system was not created at all."

One might presume that as the 1800s wore on, that scientists somehow stopped making statements like this, as if to prescribe how the universe must work, deriving their assumptions from attitudes they already had about God, and what God would have created.

Not true. Albert Einstein was no exception to this historical trend. His multiple letters to Max Born span from the 1920s to the 1940s. He very clearly mentioned God in the letters, sometimes facetiously referring to God as "The Old One", in other times referring to the "Secret of the Old One". The same Mauptertuis-flavored argument was being hoisted yet again, but now by a different person in a different context. If God had created the universe, he would not have used a non-deterministic dice-rolling game to determine the outcome of physical events. That would be "beneath Him".

Well... I certainly would have no problem whatsoever with the idea of non-theists being subject to the same habits of thought. That would only tickle my hilarity and have me nodding in agreement.

So my objection has more to do with casting particular scientists as being theistic in their thinking and I think your choice of words does go a bit too far in this direction. People can have ideas about the way the universe "should be" without having anything like the thought you express regarding something being "beneath Him."

hyksos » December 28th, 2017, 6:10 pm wrote:We've had this conversation before on this very forum in different threads. We ourselves here on this forum still abide and debate and argue from this position. The natural assumption is that if a law of physics is "small and beautiful" that is must be true. But if the equation is gnarly and has lots of ugly parts taped and glued onto it, it must be false, and we must be "missing something crucial". Even the PH.d research scientists at CERN, sipping coffee mugs in their offices, fall into this trap.

So the universe must be beautiful. It must be harmonious. The universe must be simple and beautiful and be enjoyable and give a sense of wonderment and awe. Anything less than perfect balanced symmetry is rejected as ugly... and ugly things must be false. Right?

Why does our psychology and emotions latch so strongly along these prejudices? At the end of the day it is same argument that Maupertuis, Leibniz, Newton, Max Born, et al were all having. The universe must be symmetric, balanced, simple, concise, and ultimately beautiful -- why? Because God would not have made it any other way!

Now some of you will deny that you think like this or that your mind is always brought back into this circle of reasoning. But you're a liar. We are all humans here and we are more alike than we are un-alike.


As for me, I am a theist, and so I would have no reason at all to deny that I think in such a way. BUT I do not do so when I am doing science because that type of thinking is alien to the methodology which defines science. But then the sort of comments (at least from the more modern scientists) we are talking about have more to do with subjective beliefs quite apart from the conclusions of science itself.
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