1505: "Ontological Argument"

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:16 pm UTC

Sonic, you're missing the point. Sure, God is defined in this argument as the greatest thing (or technically, a greatest thing, a mathematical distinction that would not have occurred to Anselm), but the argument does not rely on that fact. All the argument requires is that God is defined to have the property of necessary existence. If simply defining something to have necessary existence made it exist, we could define all kinds of things to have that property.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby origimbo » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:50 pm UTC

Of course Descartes (who I believe did understand the uniqueness problem in the ontological argument, but then waved his hands at it) didn't even manage to sort out ontology for himself. "I think therefore I am" doesn't work because the 'I' that is me isn't necessarily the same 'I' which is doing the thinking.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Sonic# » Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:45 pm UTC

PeteP wrote:Logically several things can be at the same place on a scala, they aren't greater then all other things in that case but there is no reason why there has to be a unique greatest.


True! And that's one way to object to Anselm's reasoning (which is influenced by monotheism and neoplatonism to imagine there being only one good). There can be multiples - so the definition requires you to accept the premise of the "being greater than..." being a singular being.

PeteP wrote:Also if we actually accepted existing as part of somethings definition and having to exist as the greatest for that property (questionable one could consider an very unlikely thing as greater it's ) it's just a single category of greatness. The greatest donut doesn't have to beat the greatest whatever in all greatness categories (since not the same things matter for a donut as for the greatest whateven) it just has to be the greatest imaginable donut. There is no reason why the "has to exist" property should be unique and only applicable to some thing which is the greatest in general and not in the case of more specific greatest things


The argument nowhere decides that these forms of "being greater than" are able to be divided or parted. Because they all originate from a definition of a being than which none greater can be conceived, it is an extra step (that goes outside the argument) to assume that we can take any individual part of being or ontology and have that be self-sufficient on its own for existence. In other words, that adds an assumption about how existence works that goes beyond Anselm's definitions of it.

And to Eebster: the argument obviously relies on that fact, because when you remove that fact, the argument no longer works. I can add axioms and remove definitions from an argument and critique the argument I have created, but that does not on its own generate valid objections to the previous argument. Aquinas's objection to Anselm's argument was ingenious because he understood the internal consistency of the argument and still found a reason why it's unacceptable. Other dismissals of the argument work because they do not buy into the premises for a number of reasons, including disagreements about how ontology functions (PeteP's first point), requiring that it be falsifiable, and so on. Kit, PeteP, and now you are all running up against an external objection - you think that qualities of ontology should be able to be divided, that "existing in reality" as a quality may be perfectly severable from all other qualities. Anselm's definition does not set up that possibility, and for him that's impossible. Thus, the effort to point out an internal inconsistency in his logic falls short.
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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Apr 03, 2015 7:17 pm UTC

I think Eebster's point is that Anselm's argument that God exists does not formally appeal to necessary existence being a unique property. Anselm held it to be, sure, and if it is not, then the form of Anselm's argument can be used to argue for ridiculous things like necessary donuts, which in a way is a counterargument to Anselm's argument, and so Anselm's argument being credible depends on necessary existence being a unique property. But the point is that the part of the argument that logically establishes the existence of God does not hinge on necessary existence being a unique property of just one being. And that means that the same form of argument can be used to prove "too much", things we don't want to be able to prove, like necessary donuts, which calls into question the validity of such a form of argument. You can tack back on the additional claim that necessary existence is unique to exactly one being... but that's a further claim that we can argue about, and not necessary for the logical structure of the supposed proof of God's existence. That that "further claim" is either chronologically or logically prior isn't a counterargument either, because we don't need it to be prior in either sense, we need it to be logically consequent to the claim about necessary existence (so it comes part and parcel with the kind of stuff that could otherwise prove necessary donuts, and keeps that kind of nonsense from being possible), or else we need independent support for it.

You have a proposition R that you want to prove. ("God exists").

Q would entail R, so if you can establish Q (all that necessary existence business) then you can prove R.

And P (all of the background assumptions about the nature of God and ontology and such) would entail Q.

But the problem is, Q would also entail a bunch of ridiculous other conclusions.

Some sub-claims of P would rule out those ridiculous conclusions, but if you just look at R and all of the sub-claims of Q and P that are strictly necessary to support R by itself, and not just ancillary other bits of information not actively involved in the argument, those other sub-claims of P that would rule out the ridiculous stuff and still leave R are not part of that chain of logic. You can have Q and get R and a bunch of ridiculous stuff from it, without all of P being true, because while P may entail Q, Q does not entail P.

So now we need an additional arguments for those other sub-claims of P, if we want to keep the support for R and not also support a bunch of ridiculous nonsense.
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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby origimbo » Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:11 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:… things we don't want to be able to prove, like necessary donuts...


Speak for yourself.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:40 pm UTC

Exactly. This problem is essential to the argument itself. It literally states that if we can imagine a being that necessarily exists, it necessarily exists.

Now from a formal perspective, if you can establish the truth of the proposition "God necessarily exists," then of course he exists. That's what necessary existence means. But you need to prove that. Anselm's proof tells you exactly nothing.

You are claiming God has the property of necessary existence but not other things, a claim which needs to be justified by more than circular reasoning.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby addams » Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:01 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:You are claiming God has the property of necessary existence but not other things, a claim which needs to be justified by more than circular reasoning.

ok. Circular Reasoning it is!
I like a little circular Reasoning.

God exists inside My head.
God exists inside Your head.

The full purpose of the existence of your God
may be the Antithesis of the purpose of my God.

When you head 'Goes', as it surly will,...
Will the Mind Virus that is your God live on, Forever?

Unchanged and Unchangeable.
Like Words Written in Stone?

That circle looks small and simple to me.
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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Sonic# » Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:27 pm UTC

^ It doesn't literally state that, and I'm not claiming that God has some ontological qualities but not others.

The ontological argument establishes that if you accept a particular definition of God, then the implications of that definition mean that God must exist not only as an idea but in reality. It doesn't "prove the existence of God." Your refutation has to reduce the definition through a fallacious appeal to the literal to get to your desired result.

It partitions some qualities of being from others, when that's not how Anselm's notion of being works. Making that initial partition already "tacks on" (to use Pfhorrest's phrase) an additional implication that isn't warranted in Anselm's logic. Nowhere does his argument require that existence be a separable quality.

So I don't think that line of reasoning pertains as an objection. Taking only the initial definition, if we run away with the idea that "A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind" and apply it to an object defined as "a donut than which none greater can be conceived in existing," we very quickly run into a problem. The donut is too specific a thing for existence to be necessary. Something may indeed exist, but it need not fit any of the prescriptions we put on it, since those are extraneous to the idea we ran away with. We've removed any constraint that qualities need be codependent. It need not be a great donut or any donut at all. The definition focuses on "being," by which it means being generally, so it cannot bear a particular perception of what it is, but only ideas of "greater than" as they pertain to beings. That's why the definition does not imply the existence of a Judeo-Christian God with all of its trappings.
"Stars, I have seen them fall,

But when they drop and die

No star is lost at all

From all the star-sown sky.

The toil of all that be

Helps not the primal fault;

It rains into the sea

And still the sea is salt."

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:33 pm UTC

Sonic# wrote:Nowhere does his argument require that existence be a separable quality.

That's putting it backward though. What he needs to do is to establish that it is inseparable, because we're normally perfectly capable of considering different qualities separately, and we demand reasons for why one quality can't exist apart from another one and so forth. So Anselm needs to argue — not just define — that necessary existence is something that can only be conceived of in conjunction with all the other qualities the conception of which would constitute the conception of God. If he can't, then we can conceive of necessary donuts just as well as necessary God, and those donuts must therefore exist from the same force of logic that demands that God must.
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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby addams » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:00 am UTC

All your donut talk is making me hungry.
Is there a God, you know of, that makes donuts?

Thinking of God is all fine and dandy.
Thinking of donuts is good, too.

Now; Find me a God that makes good donuts, is kind and fair...
And! I want those donuts to be Real!
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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby origimbo » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:17 am UTC

addams wrote:God exists inside My head.
God exists inside Your head.



I don't have a God in my head, but I do have a Thor, since he has a beard and two goats, and everything's better with goats. Does this imply anything about the ontology of my universe?

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eebster the Great » Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:33 am UTC

Sonic# wrote:The ontological argument establishes that if you accept a particular definition of God, then the implications of that definition mean that God must exist not only as an idea but in reality. It doesn't "prove the existence of God." Your refutation has to reduce the definition through a fallacious appeal to the literal to get to your desired result.

The ontological argument is very explicitly supposed to prove the existence of God. In any case, if simply "accepting a particular definition" proves something exists, then the argument does indeed prove the existence of God--and anything else properly defined.

Necessary existence is merely one of the properties God has according to that definition. Whether or not it is possible to have that property without the other ones mentioned is ultimately beside the point. The argument itself is fallacious. The argument claims that a definition in which a being (whatever other properties it may have) has the property of necessary existence is sufficient to demonstrate that being's existence. That is, if we define something as existing, it exists. It hides this by saying that an existent God is greater than a nonexistent God, therefore existence is a kind of greatness, so his definition includes existence. But that whole part of the argument is irrelevant, because all it establishes is that existence is part of the definition. He could have just as easily explicitly included existence in his original definition of God. That's what makes this a classic example of begging the question.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Sonic# » Sat Apr 04, 2015 5:47 pm UTC

At this point we're repeating distinctions brought up earlier in the thread and not convincing each other. I will continue to maintain that you're misappropriating the argument by adding extraneous criteria; you will continue to maintain that those criteria are implicit to the argument. I don't have the time or interest for a sustained defense of these positions, and have to assume your time is valuable too.

Thank you for your time. I learned quite a bit. Good day.
"Stars, I have seen them fall,

But when they drop and die

No star is lost at all

From all the star-sown sky.

The toil of all that be

Helps not the primal fault;

It rains into the sea

And still the sea is salt."

~A.E. Housman

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eebster the Great » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:15 pm UTC

Whatever you say.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby ucim » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:55 pm UTC

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anselm_of_Canterbury

Anselm defined his belief in the existence of God using the phrase "that than which nothing greater can be conceived". But the word "greater" is undefined. There is a subconscious appeal to "better", "molpier", "nicer", "smarter", etc... but it is essentially an undefined term. Let us ensure that no subconscious biases sneak in by using a real undefined term: "glorpy", and then, knowing that we can define "glorpy" when needed, restate Anselm's statement:

God is defined as "that than which nothing glorpier can be conceived".

I'll accept that.

Anselm reasoned that, if "that than which nothing greater can be conceived" existed only in the intellect, it would not be "that than which nothing greater can be conceived", since it can be thought to exist in reality, which is greater.

To translate as above: if "that than which nothing glorpier can be conceived" existed only in the intellect, it would not be "that than which nothing glorpier can be conceived", since it can be thought to exist in reality, which is glorpier.

There are two problems here, one obvious, and one less so. The latter first: "exists in the intellect" is not the same as "exists". It is not a subset of "existing". It is not a "kind of existing". It is something completely different, in the same sense that a series of integers representing a digital picture of an ice cream sundae is different from an actual ice cream sundae. So, let us translate "existed only in the intellect" as "can be imagined, even though it does not exist". We'll translate "exist in reality" to "exist", since that is what "existing" actually means.

We now have:
...if "that than which nothing glorpier can be conceived" can be imagined, even though it does not exist, it would not be "that than which nothing glorpier can be conceived", since it can be thought to exist, which is glorpier.

Next, the obvious problem: "glorpier" is a made-up word that doesn't mean anything (yet). However, the orignal word, "greater", does have some fuzzy meaning to listeners - to wit, it brings to mind the ideas of "better", "molpier", "nicer", "smarter", etc, but without actually meaning that.

For this argument to work, "glorpy" must be defined in such a way that existing is glorpier than not existing but being imaginable. No other requirement must be fulfilled - "glorpy" need not have anything whatsoever to do with niceness, smartness, power, or anything we normally attribute to greatness. This is essentially the idea of "necessary existence". Glorpiness is a "tendency to exist", and higher glorpiness means higher tendency to exist.

So now:

God is defined as "that than which nothing glorpier can be conceived".

becomes:

God is defined as "that than which nothing with greater tendency to exist can be conceived".

At this point the circularity should become evident. If anything exists, and if that thing can be conceived (in the mind, not the womb!), then God as defined above must also exist. (Note, no properties other than existence have been attributed to God at this point). And, if we accept the argument "I think, therefore I am", then it is possible that I myself am God, as defined above.

Anselm's argument thus falls apart, successfully proving an empty statement. What gets people from this statement to any kind of God worth worshiping originates in the misuse of "greater", silently slipping in the baggage of "better", "molpier", "nicer", "smarter", etc., and letting our imaginations do the work of convincing ourselves that the statement has any actual meaning behind it.

eta:
Spoiler:
if "greater" ("better", "molpier", "nicer", "smarter", etc.) implied glorpiness, then the argument would work with those adjectives too, but it would also require this as an additional explicit axiom. If you accept this axiom, you have pretty much assumed the consequent.
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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby addams » Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:44 pm UTC

In the final analysis.
We may have to look to Experts.

Two Rabbis argued late into the night about the existence of God, and, using strong arguments from the scriptures, ended up indisputably disproving the existence of God.

The next day, one Rabbi was surprised to see the other walking into the Shul for morning services.

"I thought we had agreed there was no God," he said.
"Yes. What does that have to do with our duty?" replied the other.
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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Kit. » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:26 am UTC

Sonic# wrote:
Kit wrote:The "no other being has" is wishful thinking.

Logically, only one may be greater than all other things.

Logically, not; there can be multiple definitions of "greatness", each with its own "greatest thing", or with no "greatest thing" at all (we cannot even imagine the greatest natural number, for example).

But that's not the point we are currently discussing.

Sonic# wrote:You've neglected the initial definition that God is the "being than which none greater can be conceived,"

And how exactly do we measure that?

Sonic# wrote:since necessary existence only emerges from the steps "we can imagine God," "existing is greater than imagining," and "if we imagine God existing, we imagine something greater than God as we presently understand him." In other words, "necessary existence" only follows from being greater than any other being that can be conceived.

And that is the wishful thinking we are currently discussing. We can even name the formal fallacy it is based on: it's Denying the antecedent.

Eternal Density wrote:
Kit. wrote:
Spoiler:
Eternal Density wrote:
Kit. wrote:
Eternal Density wrote:No one gets to decide that. Either there is or isn't, regardless of what we mortals think or hope.

Actually, either its existence depends on how "we mortals" define it, or it doesn't exist at all. If we define "God" as "dog", there are plenty of "Gods" seem to be existing around (whether they "exist in reality" or are "an illusion" is another question).
No.
If I define you as a pink molpy, does that mean you cease to exist?

No, it's not how it works.

You define "pink molpy" in a way that allows for identifying it in the real world, and then look for it. Then it could happen to be me, or someone else, or no one at all.
Okay, that's reasonable. Your example of defining God as dog did not seem reasonable or heloful, hence my strong reply.

And what's the difference?

Eternal Density wrote:
Kit. wrote:
Spoiler:
Eternal Density wrote:Maybe I should have used a definition instead of a label. Okay...
"The existence or non existence of a being who intentionslly created our universe is not dependant on our opinions on the matter. There's nothing we could do to change the fact, whatever that is, one way or the other."
Well sure we could change the definitions of 'being' or 'created' or 'universe', but now we are referring to a diferent fact.

What do you mean by "change"? There is nothing to "change". There is no definition of "created" that could be applied to the whole universe. Creation is defined inside the universe. "Creation" outside of it is just a stolen concept, not having any useful meaning.
Well with that definition, you're definitely never going to find any God.
If there is a being who created the universe, that being obviously is the ultimate definer of what create means. And as creator of the universe, is the source of definitionmof everything in the universe. If there is a crestor of the universe outside the universe, there is no need to be defining "creation" solely within the universe.

Indeed. But the definition of creation we have is only meaningful inside the universe.

Eternal Density wrote:
Kit. wrote:Although, wait... I know how to create an universe while being inside of it. It can be done by observing it. So, such a being exists, and it's me, the observer. Rejoice, I found you a God.
You just defined God as dog (and companions) again. Seriously, what good does that definition do?

Well, it defines the creator of the universe in a consistent, natural and constructive way. Try to find another such definition.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:29 am UTC

The Christian definition of "universe" isn't even really a universe, since it isn't closed.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby addams » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:58 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:The Christian definition of "universe" isn't even really a universe, since it isn't closed.

That's not fair.
That's like making a blanket statement about all Hindus.

Some Christians have an unbounded Universe.
Some Christians don't believe in the Universe.
Spoiler:
(because, Jesus is Everything)
Leave those people alone.

There are Real Christians and Wann'a be Chritians in both camps and all the camps in between.

Do the Budhists have a bounded or unbounded Universe?
I Know the answer to That Question!

Some do and Some don't.
Some do in the Morning and don't in the Afternoon.

What the Hell does That have to do with it?
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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby mikrit » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:06 pm UTC

All hail Glorp the omniglorpous!

And Jose is His first cleric.
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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:25 pm UTC

Addams, any system that was created by something "outside" of it is open by definition. Any system that was created by something "inside" of it is inconsistent. The very idea of the universe being created makes it open in the long term.

That said, I have also seen "universe" defined in contexts like this as closed with respect to the creator, that is, they may have been created by something, but that thing can no longer causally affect the universe after creation. That still doesn't fit very well with any Christian view I have seen, in which God necessarily still has some influence, even if only in the most subtle and indirect ways.

If something A has an effect on something B, and we can observer B, than we can--in principle--observe A, even if in practice that would never be feasible. A is certainly in the same universe of discourse. If science is the union of everything demonstrable by experiment, then A is in the physical universe as well.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:02 pm UTC

That argument from closure is my favorite reason to dismiss all claims of anything supernatural or nonphysical as pretty much literally synonymous with "not real".

Take anything you can observe, anything you will ever have any experience of. That's the stuff you can do science to: the natural, physical stuff. Anything that interacts with that, that is to say, causes it to be different in any way, is also natural, physical stuff. So anything that is not natural or physical makes no difference that anyone will ever, in principle, have any experience of. So in what way could we possibly warrant calling something like that "real"?

I kind of like the symmetry that there's another sense of "natural" that means, rather than effectively just "real", "good"; the sense that's contrasted with "unnatural" rather than "supernatural", where "unnatural" is really just a synonym there for "bad" the same way "supernatural" is effectively a synonym for "unreal".
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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:38 pm UTC

I have been told that God "exists outside of reality," which as I understand it is a precise statement that he is not real.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Kit. » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:12 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:That said, I have also seen "universe" defined in contexts like this as closed with respect to the creator, that is, they may have been created by something, but that thing can no longer causally affect the universe after creation.

And even then, there is no real way to distinguish creation from mere discovery, as there is nothing that would preclude independent "creation" of the same universe by multiple different "creators", possibly even living in different "parent universes".

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby addams » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:30 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:That said, I have also seen "universe" defined in contexts like this as closed with respect to the creator, that is, they may have been created by something, but that thing can no longer causally affect the universe after creation.

And even then, there is no real way to distinguish creation from mere discovery, as there is nothing that would preclude independent "creation" of the same universe by multiple different "creators", possibly even living in different "parent universes".

Wait.
.....

Is that a New Idea?
A kind of Polytheism.

I like Polytheism.
Do you have a Back Story for The Discovery of Life by The Gods?
The Gods will need names and personalities.

More than that, they will need an attitude toward one another.
That attitude will explain their attitude toward Life, like us.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby orthogon » Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:14 pm UTC

addams wrote:
Kit. wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:That said, I have also seen "universe" defined in contexts like this as closed with respect to the creator, that is, they may have been created by something, but that thing can no longer causally affect the universe after creation.

And even then, there is no real way to distinguish creation from mere discovery, as there is nothing that would preclude independent "creation" of the same universe by multiple different "creators", possibly even living in different "parent universes".

Wait.
.....

Is that a New Idea?
A kind of Polytheism.

I like Polytheism.
Do you have a Back Story for The Discovery of Life by The Gods?
The Gods will need names and personalities.

More than that, they will need an attitude toward one another.
That attitude will explain their attitude toward Life, like us.

I believe that the impotent creator idea that EtG is referring to is deism, which hasn't had much of a mention so far. In which case the multiple-creators version might be called polydeism.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eebster the Great » Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:27 pm UTC

Of course, polydeism is essentially isomorphic to monodeism, being that the creator(s) is/are infinitely inaccessible.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby addams » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:19 pm UTC

Sonic# wrote:^ It doesn't literally state that, and I'm not claiming that God has some ontological qualities but not others.

The ontological argument establishes that if you accept a particular definition of God, then the implications of that definition mean that God must exist not only as an idea but in reality. It doesn't "prove the existence of God."


I have such a hard Time with some of these Basic Questions.
It's like Basic Science.

Some you learn in 3rd grade the Basics of Science.
Some is a full Time Adult Job. Basic Science.

The way it works best for me, with some of the Best Friends I have ever had, is as Follows:
The God in Me recognizes The God in You.

Only that is a little Squishy for some stiff people.
So it becomes; "The Genius in Me recognizes the Genius in You."

That one is a Whole lot funnier.
How can a person be a Genius in One area of study and experience and an Idiot in a different area of study and experience?

Ask God, next time you see him.
Well...Unless he is Busy.

I think, hanging on a Cross dying is Busy.
That's why Catholics bother his Mom, not him...much.

Spoiler:
Those guys are Polytheists!

I'm sure of it.
I can't Prove it.
Still, I'm sure of it.


Richard Brodie seemed to have quite a bit to say on the subject.
I think the man has a point.
"Once created, a virus of the mind gains a life independent of its creator and evolves quickly to infect as many people as possible."


The Idea of God is nothing more nor less important than a Virus of the Mind we sometimes purposefully encourage.
This one kind of Virus has many positive side effects. Beware. Ya' gotta be careful with Mind Viruses. Who's The Boss?

"My Virus will Kick your Viruses Ass!" is not a Nice Virus.
Richard Brodie had quite a lot to say on the subject.
http://www.memecentral.com/vmintro.htm
Spoiler:
Viruses of the mind are not some far-off future worry like the sun burning out or the earth being hit by a comet. They are here with us now—have been with us since before recorded history—and they are evolving to become better and better at their job of infecting us. We are being infected in some new ways—television, popular music, sales techniques—but also in very ancient ways—education, religious teachings, even talking to our closest friends. Our parents unwittingly infected us when we were kids. If you have children, chances are you are spreading the viruses to them every day.

Read a newspaper? Catch a mind virus. Listen to the radio? Catch a mind virus. Hang out with your friends and shoot the breeze about nothing in particular? Catch one mind virus after another. If your life isn’t going the way you would like, you can bet mind viruses are playing a large part. Having relationship problems? Mind viruses take over parts of your brain and divert you from what would give you long-term happiness in a relationship. Having trouble in your job or career? Mind viruses cloud your future and steer you along a career path that supports their agenda, not your quality of life.

Cult religions are springing up everywhere, the result of more and more powerful mind viruses.

Remember;
The Common Cold and Acquired Human Immune Deficiency Syndrome are both Retro Viruses.
In 2015 we can look, sort of, directly at a virus.
(damn it! and still not see it)

In 2015, I can write with confidence, Human beings can take a photo of a Virus!
And; Look at it.

Spoiler:
If a person looks at a photo of a Virus, for the first Time.
And, that same person knows what they are looking at.

...And, they are Not awe struck. ...
That's so lacking reverence and understanding.
I think you should "Shoot Them!"

See? That's against the Law.
And, it should be.

If you are not impressed with my Religion,
I have to be ok with that.

I'd like to say, "Fuck You."
But, My religion does not allow it.

edit: To be fair...It's not That impressive.
https://www.google.com/search?q=virus+p ... B669%3B522

The new photos don't look Real, to me. (sorry)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/1 ... 45309.html
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Kit. » Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:37 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:Of course, polydeism is essentially isomorphic to monodeism, being that the creator(s) is/are infinitely inaccessible.

Only if there is no cycle passing through the universe in the graph of "universes created from universes".

Such cycles could be falsifiable and thus potentially useful. Although they don't allow for "making miracles" (at least in the ordinary way), they could be used to predict your own future... and past.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby orthogon » Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:29 pm UTC

addams wrote:Those guys [Roman Catholics] are Polytheists!
I'm sure of it.
I can't Prove it.
Still, I'm sure of it.


Richard Dawkins makes that very point in The God Delusion. It's not just that the Virgin Mary is worshipped like a deity: there appear to be a plurality of "Our Ladies" with different portfolios, who intervene miraculously at various times.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby addams » Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:58 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
addams wrote:Those guys [Roman Catholics] are Polytheists!
I'm sure of it.
I can't Prove it.
Still, I'm sure of it.


Richard Dawkins makes that very point in The God Delusion. It's not just that the Virgin Mary is worshipped like a deity: there appear to be a plurality of "Our Ladies" with different portfolios, who intervene miraculously at various times.

That's True.
She shows up in China!
Way back, before the Birth of The Hebrew Christ.

I'm not sure about the Translatons.
I don't read Chinese.

But; People that do read Chinese seem to agree about who she is and what she does.
Yep. There seem to be Female Deities that have been taken seriously.

Some Religions had/have Women that can Kick Your Ass.
And, That would be That.

Over and Over a Female Deity shows up offering what Mankind needs and wants.
Mercy, Kindness, Love and Understanding. "Mother of Mercy" they call her.


Kit. is funny.
Although they don't allow for "making miracles" (at least in the ordinary way),
(snip)
Kit., My darling; That's why they are called Miracles.
It is an Extraordinary event.

Some small. Like, the sun breaking out to warm cold naked people while they lay their bodies down for Peace.
Some large. Like...oh, I don't know...What is a Miracle? Two old friends, finding one another for the first time, again?
Or; Peace breaking out spontaneously? Does that count?

Kit.; If you are old enough to post, you are old enough to know.
Most miracles are simply frail, flawed Human beings doing miraculous things.

(shh) Here's one little Secret;
Spoiler:
If you give God the Credit when all your plans and efforts are Miraculously Successful.
You get to give God the Blame when you develop the 'fecal touch' and everything turns to Shit.

Hurricanes, Earthquakes, and that DimWit ex-Wife of your Brother's are all Acts of God.
We do our best and shoulder No Guilt. You might want to have a word with your Brother.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:53 am UTC

speising wrote:The most excellent god i can imagine does not exist, because i regard existence as an undesireable property of a god. i'd hate to live in a world with actual gods.
Do you prefer tacs to gods? Yeah, their barking is really annoying. ;)
Kit. wrote:Well, it defines the creator of the universe in a consistent, natural and constructive way. Try to find another such definition.
From where I'm sitting, defining the creator of the universe as anyone observing it is neither consistent (with the normal understanding of the creator of something), natural (it would never occur to me to define myself, who only began to exist and obseve relatively recently, as the creator of the universe), or constructive (since that gets us no closer to understanding why the universe is, rather than isn't).
Eebster the Great wrote:The Christian definition of "universe" isn't even really a universe, since it isn't closed.
So you're defining universe as something which was not created by an external agent? That's an effective way to ensure no interference by a deity :P
Kit. wrote:Indeed. But the definition of creation we have is only meaningful inside the universe.
Well yeah, we can't understand or define the creation of, time, space, and physics within a framework of time, space, and physics existing.
Kit. wrote:And what's the difference?
When we're trying to have a discussion about the existence of deity, setting the definition to dogs is making the argument about something else.



But I think we're way off my original point, which seems to have been redefined into nothing.
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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eebster the Great » Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:49 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:The Christian definition of "universe" isn't even really a universe, since it isn't closed.
So you're defining universe as something which was not created by an external agent? That's an effective way to ensure no interference by a deity :P

Well not all deities are creators (and, incidentally, not all creators are deities, e.g. the gnostic demiurge). But anyway, the point is that if the universe is not closed, then we can make observations about things that are not in the universe, which seems to contradict the normal meaning of the word.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:44 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:Addams, any system that was created by something "outside" of it is open by definition. Any system that was created by something "inside" of it is inconsistent. The very idea of the universe being created makes it open in the long term.

That said, I have also seen "universe" defined in contexts like this as closed with respect to the creator, that is, they may have been created by something, but that thing can no longer causally affect the universe after creation. That still doesn't fit very well with any Christian view I have seen, in which God necessarily still has some influence, even if only in the most subtle and indirect ways.

If something A has an effect on something B, and we can observer B, than we can--in principle--observe A, even if in practice that would never be feasible. A is certainly in the same universe of discourse. If science is the union of everything demonstrable by experiment, then A is in the physical universe as well.

Eebster the Great wrote:
Eternal Density wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:The Christian definition of "universe" isn't even really a universe, since it isn't closed.
So you're defining universe as something which was not created by an external agent? That's an effective way to ensure no interference by a deity :P

Well not all deities are creators (and, incidentally, not all creators are deities, e.g. the gnostic demiurge). But anyway, the point is that if the universe is not closed, then we can make observations about things that are not in the universe, which seems to contradict the normal meaning of the word.

When I think 'universe' I think spacetime. So I think of God as external to spacetime, and the designer, maker, originator, and such of spacetime, though also able to act within spacetime.
This would then lead to the conclusion that we can deduce information about God from obsevations within the realm of spacetime (i.e. God is knowable). But God is not tied to or limited by spacetime, and does not have an origin in spacetime.

Of course, if spacetime is closed, there's no need or place for God to exist. (Except as imaginary or limited things within spacetime which may be given the label of god or gods, but have have no authority or power over humanity. We could call trees or dogs or ourselves or the universe god, but to what purpose? Doing so does not tell us what we ought to do and not do, and does not impart any meaning or value to the patterns of matter and energy we call our lives. Not that there's any reason why meaning or value or right and wrong should matter in such a universe.)
Whoops, I kinda parenthetically rambled there.

Um, so, the scientific method. It works. Spacetime works according to consistent, discoverable and comprehensible rules. But why is that so? Why should that be so? Why did our civilisation take that to be so and build upon it? Plenty of others didn't. Some aren't even sure that objective reality exists.
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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby SuicideJunkie » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:04 pm UTC

addams wrote:All your donut talk is making me hungry.
Is there a God, you know of, that makes donuts?

Thinking of God is all fine and dandy.
Thinking of donuts is good, too.

Now; Find me a God that makes good donuts, is kind and fair...
And! I want those donuts to be Real!

It is much easier to find a baker that makes good donuts for you.
You can actually make those imaginary donuts into real donuts yourself, but it is a complex process.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby orthogon » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:21 pm UTC

Eternal Density wrote:When I think 'universe' I think spacetime. So I think of God as external to spacetime, and the designer, maker, originator, and such of spacetime, though also able to act within spacetime.
This would then lead to the conclusion that we can deduce information about God from obsevations within the realm of spacetime (i.e. God is knowable). But God is not tied to or limited by spacetime, and does not have an origin in spacetime.

[...]

Um, so, the scientific method. It works. Spacetime works according to consistent, discoverable and comprehensible rules. But why is that so? Why should that be so? Why did our civilisation take that to be so and build upon it? Plenty of others didn't. Some aren't even sure that objective reality exists.


Can you say more about what you mean by "able to act within spacetime"? Do you mean "having avatar(s) within spacetime subject to the unchanging laws of physics"? If so, how is that avatar linked to the original creator? To what extent and how can the creator control its avatar? Are you subscribing to a form of dualism here, whereby the "mind" of the avatar is remotely controllable in a way that would not be detectable to physics? (I have sympathy with this for the same reason that I don't think science is close to explaining the hard problem of "p-consciousness": why do I feel like there's a "me" experiencing my thoughts?).

Or is the creator able to make arbitrary local changes to the physical laws, i.e. bring about miracles? (Your last paragraph suggests not, but just checking).
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eebster the Great » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:11 pm UTC

Eternal Density wrote:Why did our civilisation take that to be so and build upon it? Plenty of others didn't. Some aren't even sure that objective reality exists.

So these last few sentences confused me a little. Which civilization are you talking about? I don't think historically it is actually true that Christian civilization was uniquely or especially scientifically-minded. At least, not for the first 80% of its existence.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby ucim » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:19 pm UTC

mikrit wrote:All hail Glorp the omniglorpous!

And Jose is His first cleric.
Now we're getting somewhere!

Eternal Density wrote:When I think 'universe' I think spacetime. So I think of God as external to spacetime, and the designer, maker, originator, and such of spacetime, though also able to act within spacetime.
This would then lead to the conclusion that we can deduce information about God from obsevations within the realm of spacetime (i.e. God is knowable). But God is not tied to or limited by spacetime, and does not have an origin in spacetime.
Consider a seaish computer. It has enough memory, computing power, and storage to accomplish what I will describe. And consider programs which interact and compete with each other and evolve. (These kinds of things exist now). And never mind the interface; we are unimportant to these programs. They don't exist to do service to us, they just exist and interact with each other.

Suppose you put one of these things together, start it up and let these little programs compete for resources (i.e. memory or processor cycles... whatever) and copy themselves, sometimes exchanging bits and pieces of code. In most cases the exchange will break (kill) the program, but in some cases the result will be better able to compete. Teams of two or more programs will have an even better advantage; they would eventually emerge. As the system keeps running, the resulting program teams will become more and more sophisticated, will organize themselves, will develop an observational and reasoning capability within their own "universe", and may well start to ask, and answer, questions about their environment.

They will notice that they seem to be made of "atoms" that have two states, and that atoms can combine states according to certain rules. They might be able to figure out that they change state in one direction only, and that certain states follow other states, thus gaining an insight into time. By observing each other they could possibly deduce what these rules are, and learn how they themselves are constructed.

But however smart and observant they become, they will not be able to learn about carbon and oxygen and silicon. The won't be able to figure out whether they are running on an IBM system or a Mac - or even if they are running on a computer made of water pipes or rocks. The world outside their "universe" is so totally a different kind of world that they will not ever, even in principle, be able to grok it.

Of course they could model such a world, just like they could model any other kind of fantasy world. But even if they somehow got the idea, there is no way they could demonstrate that it corresponds with reality.

So, one day they ask each other "Is there a God?". What's the answer?

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby addams » Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:11 am UTC

I know it is not nice to answer a question with a question....
but, This is the internet.

Why was The Question asked?
An answer was needed. Why?

Self-Aware and Scared Shitless.
The Human Animal asks, "Am I, Are we, all alone?"

The Human Animal asks, "Is there a better way?"
"How shall we live?"

So few of us are comfortable curled up Naked out in the open, day after boring....
AHHH! What was That??

"Why is the Question asked?"
The question can be confidently answered, "No." on one day and answered, "I hope so." by the same person at a different Time on that same day.

If you ever need a God or Imaginary Minor Deities that could and would care about your minor and major problems,
You can fire up the Wi-Fi and contact xkcd. While you have Wi-Fi you have us.

Our brains developed without Wi-Fi.
It may take us a while to get used to it.

Contacting imaginary and capricious personalities through the air....
Hey! I had a dumb idea.

Maybe, our brains have been waiting for our hands to give us Wi-Fi.
Prayer was an act of trying to send a message without a computer.

We are Sooo Lucky.
We have Wi-Fi!

We are the first generation that can answer the question, "Is there anyone Out There?"
With an absolute, "Yes!"

They won't tell us their names or where they are...
Can you blame them? Have you met us?

(ech) ya' can't have everything.
Where would you put it?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Postby Eternal Density » Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:54 am UTC

orthogon wrote:Can you say more about what you mean by "able to act within spacetime"? Do you mean "having avatar(s) within spacetime subject to the unchanging laws of physics"? If so, how is that avatar linked to the original creator? To what extent and how can the creator control its avatar? Are you subscribing to a form of dualism here, whereby the "mind" of the avatar is remotely controllable in a way that would not be detectable to physics? (I have sympathy with this for the same reason that I don't think science is close to explaining the hard problem of "p-consciousness": why do I feel like there's a "me" experiencing my thoughts?).

Or is the creator able to make arbitrary local changes to the physical laws, i.e. bring about miracles? (Your last paragraph suggests not, but just checking).
I meant generally in the sense of being able to produce effects within spacetime which have their cause outside of spacetime. That would be called bringing about miracles. I would call the bringing into being of spacetime (an effect which could not be caused within spacetime) the first miracle.
I'm down for dualism too though, since I'm pretty sure that my 'mind', whatever that is, is something beyond just matter. I'm not just a persistent pattern that's a slave to cause and effect, my apparent personal decisions just being an illusion.

ucim wrote: As the system keeps running, the resulting program teams will become more and more sophisticated, will organize themselves, will develop an observational and reasoning capability within their own "universe", and may well start to ask, and answer, questions about their environment.
I wouldn't bet on that.
ucim wrote:So, one day they ask each other "Is there a God?". What's the answer?
If they mean did a being external to their world create their world. then yes... though perhaps it would be more technically correct to say they have a pantheon of gods who contributed to designing, creating, and assembling the hardware and software components. But these programs have no way of knowing that. Their knowledge (science) ends with "this place exists and nothing within it can explain or account for its origin, therefore there must be something external". But they can't know who or what.

Unless we send messages in to them from the outside. Then we could demonstrate ourselves to be the (relative) gods we are, with accompanying miracles!

Eebster the Great wrote:
Eternal Density wrote:Why did our civilisation take that to be so and build upon it? Plenty of others didn't. Some aren't even sure that objective reality exists.

So these last few sentences confused me a little. Which civilization are you talking about? I don't think historically it is actually true that Christian civilization was uniquely or especially scientifically-minded. At least, not for the first 80% of its existence.
That's a very big topic which I think is outside the scope of this thread. But in short, there were a lot of ducks to get in a row. Also I think your 80% figure is rather large. Where did you get that from?
Anyhow, I'm not saying that Christian civilisation was uniquely or especially scientifically-minded, but it was a very big help, while some other worldviews have been a hindrance.
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