# God exists ?

cronxeh
Gold Member
Your argument on the contrary misses my point entirely:

Everything we taught is correlated, and belongs to a set, lets call it "B"
B = { reality }

Scientific method is when your postulates are based on data and have mathematical meaning.

god, devil, hell, heaven, etcetera - Lets say they all belong to set A - aka "life after death" - according to religion. I think you got definition of word 'god' completely wrong - you assigning everything that is unknown to that word, im saying god is that specific thing religion refers to that claims that god created set B.

The fact is that there is no such (f: B -> A) so card(B) = card(A)

I ask this: If religion requires faith, that is believing in parts of it without physical proof, then why are people trying to justify it logically?

If it was completely provable, that would be using knowledge, not faith. So to those of us who are religious/spiritual/anything else that falls on faith, do you try to rationalize it to explain your view to others or to tell yourself you're right?

I am very aware, that we all take many things on faith, like we don't know if we really exist in this reality; we could all be a some kind of "Matrix" world. Even so, many things in this world are "provable" to the highest extent we can prove them. Physics, math, and other rational subjects do not call on faith as a proof.

I have nothing against faith, I just wonder why people try to mix the categories of faith and logical/rational justification. To put these things together seems quite like a paradox.

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I also agree with cronxeh. We are technically all born as atheists. I don't see how you could argue we are born with a belief in God.

DaveC426913
Gold Member
Your argument on the contrary misses my point entirely:

Everything we taught is correlated, and belongs to a set, lets call it "B"
B = { reality }
And what I'm saying is that most of what one "knows" is taken on faith, at someone else's word, because we don't have an infinite amount of time to do first-hand experiments ourselves. We have no problem taking a vast amount of our world on faith.

The fact is that there is no such (f: B -> A) so card(B) = card(A)
Sorry, I am not familiar with formal logical notation, so you've lost me here.

god, devil, hell, heaven, etcetera - Lets say they all belong to set A - aka "life after death" - according to religion.)
Why take such an antiquated view of God? Why not merely take a more general view of the creator that create the universe? Heaven, hell, and the Devil are antiquated notions; you won't find leaders of the church talking about them literally.

If, for the purpose of this discussion, you are calling forth a view of God that includes Heaven, Hell and the Devil, then I - as well as most educated religious followers - will agree with you that it has slipped into legend.

Point of order:
The temptation to use "you" as opposed to "one" is getting stronger as the syntax becomes more awkard! (i.e. "You take a lot on faith")

But I wish us to remain in advocate positions - meaning that I target the arguments and never target you as a person. IOW, this is not personal, and I don't intend to let it become so.

I just don't know how long I can keep saying 'one'!

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AKG
Homework Helper
In all fairness, a lot of the discussion that goes in the general discussion forum, or elsewhere in "casual" parts of this website are pointless crap as far as I'm concerned, but if the discussion interests you, then go ahead and discuss it. However, if it doesn't interest you, or it seems pointless to you, what in the world is the point of going into a thread and saying it? I wouldn't bother going into those threads in GD and complaining, "Oh god! This topic is so pointless, why are you guys posting here?!" Evo, I couldn't care less how cute your dog is, but that's the reason why I haven't looked at your thread and not gone into it and posted how pointless the topic was.

On topic, indeed the argument is valid for any P, but the premise G -> []G (or some variant) is not true for all G. God, being defined as the greatest conceivable/possible being, is said to thus have the greatest possible existence, namely necessary existence. Because God is said to have necessary existence, then if he exists, he exists necessarily, hence G -> []G. Invisible hats aren't greatest possible beings, nor do they have necessary existence for other reasons, so the premise is not true for invisible hats. Although the argument is valid for any G, it is not sound for all G, one reason being that G -> []G is not true for all G. For that reason, the MOA has more credibility as a proof for god than it does for an invisible hat.

But if G is so defined such that G -> []G is true, then the remaining premise, <>G, is the only possible point of contention. I see no justification for <>G, so although the MOA does have some credibility as a proof for God, it doesn't have enough to be convincing.

Evo
Mentor
AKG said:
In all fairness, a lot of the discussion that goes in the general discussion forum, or elsewhere in "casual" parts of this website are pointless crap as far as I'm concerned, but if the discussion interests you, then go ahead and discuss it.
GD is just for fun, the philosophy forum isn't.

AKG said:
However, if it doesn't interest you, or it seems pointless to you, what in the world is the point of going into a thread and saying it?
Because Owen Holden asked what people think about the example he posted about trying to justify the existence of "god". I told him I think it's pointless, and it is. No one is going to prove or disprove it.

AKG
Homework Helper
Evo said:
GD is just for fun, the philosophy forum isn't.

Because Owen Holden asked what people think about the example he posted about trying to justify the existence of "god". I told him I think it's pointless, and it is. No one is going to prove or disprove it.
If you're not posting in this thread "just for fun" or for no good reason, i.e. if you think your posts are really relevant, then why don't you bother to provide some sort of argument for your position? You might notice that "No one is going to prove or disprove it," is a rather strong epistemic claim, care to substantiate it? You also claimed that what Owen posted did not have enough substance to be discussed. Assuming you understand the argument he presented, why does it lack substance? You made some flippant comment suggesting that fairies, unicorns, and God are all the same. Care to justify that? As I suggested, God (in the context of this argument) refers to the greatest possible being, therefore, it is a necessary being. Unicorns aren't necessary beings, so clearly, they aren't the same.

As you observantly pointed out, this is the philosophy forum, not GD. But philosophy doesn't consist of throwing out random comments about fairies, exclamations of how pointless the topic is, and strong claims with no justification, it consists of making claims (strong or otherwise) and justifying them. If this is a pointless activity for you, don't do it, and don't waste space in the thread. Otherwise, please justify the claims you do make, and refrain from making other irrelevant comments.

Integral
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
My proof that god does not exist:

God is perfect,
Nothing that exists is perfect. (This could be seen as a result of HUP)
Therefore God Does not exist.

It certainly is up to the believers to prove the existence of their concept of god. First of all there are as many different concepts of god as there are religions. Which one are you talking about? The first step is to define what you mean by god. With out definitions all that follows is nonsense.

I have my concept of god, I am happy with that concept, it may well be meaningless to anyone else, so I keep my concepts to myself, unless specifically asked to share them. I only wish that others would have this same respect of personal believes.

The OP assumed his result the instant he writes $\exists p$

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Evo
Mentor
AKG said:
As I suggested, God (in the context of this argument) refers to the greatest possible being, therefore, it is a necessary being. Unicorns aren't necessary beings, so clearly, they aren't the same.
You say "Unicorns aren't necessary beings, so clearly, they aren't the same" Ok, prove it. Prove Unicorns aren't the most necessary beings. You can't and it's silly of me to ask you to do so.

Since you disagree so vehemently with me that discussing that formula as a proof of a god will end up being pointless, than why haven't you said what new proof or conclusions - what "point" there would be to discussing it? All you have done is attack me for admitting I see no merit in it. I already said why I think it's pointless in a previous post, if you disagree, then you need to say why. I do not see the formula as a basis for a meaningful philosophical discussion.

I will go further and say that I think any discussion of if there is one god or one hundred or none or whose god is better is pointless. Hey, if you think there is a point, you're free to post your opinion.

That's not to say a discussion of how religion affects an individual, or society, or is a belief in a diety good or bad or even necessary fall into that category, those discussions have merit and can bring about understanding.

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cronxeh
Gold Member
There are 2 definitions for 'god' - one is based in real world and another in imaginary world.

god that created the universe is not the same god that lives in heaven. if you adopt _this_ idea - then I'm agnostic, but if your definition of god is the one of 'god' that lives in heaven and in life after death, that created heaven and the earth and hell and evil and all that stuff - then im definately an atheist.

I think people in general need the two definitions to be in one 'god' - but this is impossible. There is no way to have created both the Universe and life after death 'world' - I can prove this to you with the most basic math

arildno
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
AKG:
You are indulging yourself in the fantasy:
Suppose there exists a being which necessarily exists. Hence it exists.
As Evo said, this is just pointless.

honestrosewater
Gold Member
arildno said:
AKG:
You are indulging yourself in the fantasy:
Suppose there exists a being which necessarily exists. Hence it exists.
As Evo said, this is just pointless.
I don't think that's what they're saying, and I don't think (p -> []p, .: p) is valid. Is it?
What does ".->" stand for- logical implication?

DaveC426913
Gold Member
Integral said:
My proof that god does not exist:
God is perfect,
Nothing that exists is perfect. (This could be seen as a result of HUP)
Therefore God Does not exist.
You jest, of course.

Neither of your premises can be taken as given.

DaveC426913
Gold Member
Jameson said:
I ask this: If religion requires faith, that is believing in parts of it without physical proof, then why are people trying to justify it logically?

If it was completely provable, that would be using knowledge, not faith. So to those of us who are religious/spiritual/anything else that falls on faith, do you try to rationalize it to explain your view to others or to tell yourself you're right?

...

I have nothing against faith, I just wonder why people try to mix the categories of faith and logical/rational justification. To put these things together seems quite like a paradox.
This is the most sound argument I've heard so far, and very close to my owns beliefs. By definition, faith occurs without proof.

Jameson said:
I also agree with cronxeh. We are technically all born as atheists. I don't see how you could argue we are born with a belief in God.
We are technically born not being able to conceive of oxygen, but it sure turns out to be an important thing to have in existence.

Eventually, we all come to realize we need air, whether told or not. Even of we are raised by wolves, and don't understand what oxygen is, we still need it.

Integral
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
We are all born ignorant. Does this imply a belief in god?

hypnagogue
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Jameson said:
I also agree with cronxeh. We are technically all born as atheists. I don't see how you could argue we are born with a belief in God.
We are not born with a belief in God, but evidence suggests that we are born with neural hardwire that is wired to create spiritual experiences, which are arguably the foundation of all religious frameworks. See for example the book Why God Won't Go Away.

There is the question of whether religious ideology is a high level human construct or whether its basis is, at some basic level, 'hard wired' into our brains. I think the evidence points to the latter. For instance, some epileptic seizures induce intense spiritual experiences. To me, this is rather strongly suggestive that the spiritual experience is not something we cogitate, but rather a fundamental kind of experience built into our brains, somewhat like vision. Of course, it is not as ubiquitously or as obviously active as vision. And, of course, religious ideologies and frameworks are largely the result of higher-order mental faculties. But the seeds of such frameworks seem to be found in something the brain is naturally built to do.

I found an interesting link relating to this subject, a transcript of a BBC program interviewing the authors of the book mentioned above. I haven't read over the whole thing, but it should come to bear directly on this topic. Here's the link.

Evo
Mentor
hypnagogue said:
We are not born with a belief in God, but evidence suggests that we are born with neural hardwire that is wired to create spiritual experiences, which are arguably the foundation of all religious frameworks. See for example the book Why God Won't Go Away.
The need in a belief system is so prevalent throughout human history I would tend to agree.

There is the question of whether religious ideology is a high level human construct or whether its basis is, at some basic level, 'hard wired' into our brains. I think the evidence points to the latter. For instance, some epileptic seizures induce intense spiritual experiences. To me, this is rather strongly suggestive that the spiritual experience is not something we cogitate, but rather a fundamental kind of experience built into our brains, somewhat like vision. Of course, it is not as ubiquitously or as obviously active as vision. And, of course, religious ideologies and frameworks are largely the result of higher-order mental faculties. But the seeds of such frameworks seem to be found in something the brain is naturally built to do.

I found an interesting link relating to this subject, a transcript of a BBC program interviewing the authors of the book mentioned above. I haven't read over the whole thing, but it should come to bear directly on this topic. Here's the link.
I saw a different show on tv about temporal lobe epilepsy, and all of the people thought they had spoken to God, or had some unique deeply religious episodes brought on by the epilepsy. It was very interesting.

learningphysics
Homework Helper
AKG said:
As I suggested, God (in the context of this argument) refers to the greatest possible being, therefore, it is a necessary being. Unicorns aren't necessary beings, so clearly, they aren't the same.
How about a "necessarily existing unicorn"?

saltydog
Homework Helper
hypnagogue said:
There is the question of whether religious ideology is a high level human construct or whether its basis is, at some basic level, 'hard wired' into our brains. I think the evidence points to the latter.
Can it not be hard-wired because of selective favor through Darwinian evolution? I've read where some think, as do I, that religion is an advantage to survival and reproduction (See, "The Biology of Religion" by V. Reynolds). Thus those who entertained such would be favored and in so doing, would contribute to "general neural architecture" that would exhibit the symptoms you speak of.

hypnagogue
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
saltydog said:
Can it not be hard-wired because of selective favor through Darwinian evolution? I've read where some think, as do I, that religion is an advantage to survival and reproduction (See, "The Biology of Religion" by V. Reynolds). Thus those who entertained such would be favored and in so doing, would contribute to "general neural architecture" that would exhibit the symptoms you speak of.
I don't see how that's very different from what I suggested.

As far as evolutionary concerns go, there's something interesting to consider here. I would generally agree that the kinds of social institutions enforced by religious frameworks are evolutionarily advantageous; however, I also think it's highly likely that the vast majority of religious believers throughout history and across the globe have never had a true 'spiritual experience' as described variously by e.g. epileptics, users of psychedelics, and dedicated practioners of meditative techniques. If that's the case, it would seem to undermine a straightforward evolutionary explanation, or at least complicate things.

One way to compensate for this might be to note that spiritual experiences seem to be triggered by rather extreme physiological conditions-- starvation, very high or low levels of CNS/brain stimulation, and in the case of out of body experiences, trauma and near death. Perhaps the experience arose directly as an evolutionary coping mechanism to comfort people in times of extreme biological stress, where it might otherwise be easy to just give up and die, and the establishment of religious institutions and the like was just an indirect (and also beneficial) side effect that this experience had when it happened to certain charismatic individuals (Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, etc).

It's also possible that something like spiritual experience is at work in most religious believers, but just at a much less intense level than in the extreme cases. However, I tend to think that most religious believers turn out that way primarily because of high level social factors. It's the extreme and surprising experiences of the people who are variously viewed as blessed, prophetic, or insane that I think find a strong basis in 'hard wired' neural architecture.

AKG
Homework Helper
Evo said:
You say "Unicorns aren't necessary beings, so clearly, they aren't the same" Ok, prove it. Prove Unicorns aren't the most necessary beings. You can't and it's silly of me to ask you to do so.
What does the term "God" mean? Many people will say that, "by definition," it would refer to some being that would be the greatest possible or conceivable being, and it can be argued that this entails that if it exists, it exists necessarily, i.e. it is not contingent on any other being or thing. It's not a matter of proving that unicorns aren't necessary, it is, at this stage, just a matter of definition. That God is a necessary (non-contingent) being is something that follows from definition in the context of this argument. What does the term "unicorn" mean? Does any part of its definition suggest that it is non-contingent? I don't think so.
All you have done is attack me for admitting I see no merit in it. I already said why I think it's pointless in a previous post, if you disagree, then you need to say why. I do not see the formula as a basis for a meaningful philosophical discussion.
No, I have attacked you for wasting space in a philosophical thread with pointless little comments, and some comments that had points but no justification.

Surely, you see natural language as the basis of a meaningful philosophical discussion. If someone explained the argument to you in plain English, would it suddenly become more meaningful? When the argument is simple enough that it can be clearly expressed symbollically in modal logic, then the fact that one does so doesn't make the argument less meaningful. Indeed, logic is just a way to clearly express the reasoning that would go in natural language if it had to. So all though you have something against these symbols, your claim that a symbolic argument for God is meaningless, is wrong.
I will go further and say that I think any discussion of if there is one god or one hundred or none or whose god is better is pointless. Hey, if you think there is a point, you're free to post your opinion.
Yes, you've claimed that no one can either prove or disprove. Nobody cares to read just your claims. Back that assertion.
arlidno said:
AKG:
You are indulging yourself in the fantasy:
Suppose there exists a being which necessarily exists. Hence it exists.
As Evo said, this is just pointless.
I think you missed the entire point. There is no premise in the argument which states the being exists. It only says that if it exists, then it exists necessarily, that is, this being called "God" is defined as one that is not contingent on anything else. Any being that you find which exists contingently is not God. But, is there some being which is not contingent on any other thing? Well, the proof asserts as a premise that God possibly exists. It follows from these two premises that God does exist. It is not a circular, tautologous argument as you seem to think it is. It defines God such that if G = "God exists" then G -> []G (which is just a definition, so it can't really be disagreed with), and it assumes <>G, or that God possible exists, and concludes G, that God exists. The deduction is valid, and no more meaningless than an argument in natural language. The main point of contention is whether God, as it is defined, is in fact possible.

There is also the point that this argument shows (assuming <>G) only that a being with the property that it would have to exist non-contingently if it were to exist at all, does exist, but this "being" is not necessarily the Christian God, or any other God, but simply a being with the property that it has necessary existence, and that's all. It is in fact a largely vacuous proof, and I do indeed believe it has serious problems, but that it is tautologous (simply stating that an existing being exists), or meaningless just because it is symbolic, or that it applies to unicorns (nothing about our definition of unicorns says anything about them being necessary), or that it is pointless just because it talks about God, are all not problems with the argument.

AKG
Homework Helper
learningphysics said:
How about a "necessarily existing unicorn"?
This unicorn would have to have a totally non-contingent existence. It must not be contingent, on, for example, space, so this being must exist even if there were no space. Since that doesn't make sense, any unicorn would be contingent, and thus a necessarily existing unicorn is not possible, and the argument fails, since the premise <>"necessarily existing unicorn exists" is false.

In some senses, it is not that simple. What exactly does it mean for a being to be contingent or necessary? If determinism is true, is everything necessary, or can we still speak of contingency, but just in a more relative sense? If contingency is just a relative thing, is it a meaningful term to use in relation to this argument?

AKG
Homework Helper
Some theists have responded to the discovery of the "God module" in our brain as a "sign" of God's design. Whereas atheists use this to write off religious belief as something we just evolved to do, not something we reasonably choose to do, theists suggest that this is evidence that God designed us to believe in him. I wouldn't bet a penny on either hypothesis, at least not until there is scientific evidence presented.

Evo
Mentor
AKG said:
What does the term "God" mean?
That's not the topic of the thread and it wasn't even brought up by the thread owner.

Many people will say that, "by definition," it would refer to some being that would be the greatest possible or conceivable being, and it can be argued that this entails that if it exists, it exists necessarily, i.e. it is not contingent on any other being or thing.
YOU are defining god and placing YOUR definition into the formula. There truly is no single definition of "god".

It's not a matter of proving that unicorns aren't necessary, it is, at this stage, just a matter of definition. That God is a necessary (non-contingent) being is something that follows from definition in the context of this argument.
You mean that this formula requires a "christian god" type in order to work? Yes, that's a major flaw. Gods throughout history do not necessarily fall into this definition. There are gods that are weak, that have very limited powers, have human vices, are killed by other gods, killed and wounded by humans.

I have attacked you for wasting space in a philosophical thread with pointless little comments, and some comments that had points but no justification.
Then you are wrong, but perhaps you are truly the Grand Poobah of philosophy and therefore you can decide what is or is not pointless, correct? Just because you can discuss something doesn't mean it has merit or is even worthy of being discussed.

There is also the point that this argument shows (assuming <>G) only that a being with the property that it would have to exist non-contingently if it were to exist at all, does exist, but this "being" is not necessarily the Christian God, or any other God, but simply a being with the property that it has necessary existence, and that's all. It is in fact a largely vacuous proof, and I do indeed believe it has serious problems, but that it is tautologous (simply stating that an existing being exists), or meaningless just because it is symbolic, or that it applies to unicorns (nothing about our definition of unicorns says anything about them being necessary), or that it is pointless just because it talks about God, are all not problems with the argument.
Ah, so you do admit the formula is seriously flawed and therefore it would be pointless to use it in a discussion of if there is a "god" or whatever.

I never said that it was "pointless just because it talks about a god", your mistake.

I asked you to show what merit using this formula would have in a discussion, not the formula itself, and you failed to do so. You have simply regurgitated the formula, inserted your personal opinions of what "god" is, and pointed out the formula is flawed anyway.

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Evo
Mentor
Hypnagogue, here is the transcript of the program I mentioned. The part that you'd want to read is about John Sharon. If you bring up the edit box, type in "John Sharon has temporal lobe epilepsy." and it will take you right to it.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2812mind.html

John Sharon has temporal lobe epilepsy.

John's epileptic seizures are essentially an electrical storm in his temporal lobes when a group of neurons starts firing at random, out of sync with the rest of his brain.

NARRATOR: John had never been religious, yet the onset of his seizures brought on overwhelming spiritual feelings.

V.S. RAMACHANDRAN: It has been known for a long time that some patients with seizures originating in the temporal lobes have intense religious auras, intense experience of God visiting them. Sometimes it's a personal god, sometimes it's a more diffuse feeling of being one with the cosmos. Everything seems suffused with meaning. The patient will say, "Finally I see what it's really about, Doctor. I really understand God. I understand my place in the universe, in the cosmic scheme." Why does this happen and why does it happen so often in patients with temporal lobe seizures?

V.S. RAMACHANDRAN: Now, why do these patients have intense religious experiences when they have these seizures? And why do they become preoccupied with theological and religious matters even in between seizures?

One possibility is that the seizure activity in the temporal lobes somehow creates all kinds of odd, strange emotions in the person's mind...in the person's brain. And this welling up of bizarre emotions may be interpreted by the patient as visits from another world, or as, "God is visiting me." Maybe that's the only way he can make sense of this welter of strange emotions going on in his brain. Another possibility is that this is something to do with the way in which the temporal lobes are wired up to deal with the world emotionally. As we walk around and interact with the world, you need some way of determining what's important, what's emotionally salient and what's relevant to you versus something trivial and unimportant.

How does this come about? We think what's critical is the connection between the sensory areas in the temporal lobes and the amygdala, which is the gateway to the emotional centers in the brain. The strength of these connections is what determines how emotionally salient something is. And therefore, you could speak of a sort of emotional salience landscape, with hills and valleys corresponding to what's important and what's not important. And each of us has a slightly different emotional salience landscape. Now, consider what happens in temporal lobe epilepsy when you have repeated seizures. What might be going on is an indiscriminate strengthening of all these pathways. It's a bit like water flowing down rivulets along the cliff surface. When it rains repeatedly there's an increasing tendency for the water to make furrows along one pathway and this progressive deepening of the furrows artificially raises the emotional significance of some categories of inputs. So instead of just finding lions and tigers and mothers emotionally salient, he finds everything deeply salient. For example, a grain of sand, a piece of driftwood, seaweed, all of this becomes imbued with deep significance. Now, this tendency to ascribe cosmic significance to everything around you might be akin to what we call a mystical experience or a religious experience.

Chronos