When Rebutting Arguments For the Existence of God

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  • #26
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sneez said:
Does not free will (if we have one) necessitates God not to be perceived by our senses? For if we could see, or touch or detect God and we would find Him all powerfull , etc would we have free will to decide to believe in HIM or not? (i.e we would not have a free will anymore?)
Why would not exists a planet somewher with full of jumbo jets ? :) it does not violate any physical law...
Not sure I follow you, but there are well know problems with self consistence of free will and the set of attributes often asscribed to God by Christians (If He knows everything - how can you make a choice to sin? - He has already fixed the future. How can this "loving God" then send you to hell, for his fixation/determination of the future? etc.)

Personnally I bet there is a planet somewhere (or at least will be or was) that is full of jumbo jets. if Airbus and/or Boeing have their way it is called Earth. :eek:
 
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  • #27
Icebreaker
sneez said:
Does not free will (if we have one) necessitates God not to be perceived by our senses? For if we could see, or touch or detect God and we would find Him all powerfull , etc would we have free will to decide to believe in HIM or not? (i.e we would not have a free will anymore?)
Who said we have free will?
 
  • #28
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Who said we dont have a free will ?
 
  • #29
Icebreaker
Based on observational evidence and assuming that metaphysical things like "souls" don't exist, we can safely say that we don't have "free will".
 
  • #30
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I dont know about you but i do have a soul. (and so claim 10,000 ppl a year only in US who experience near death .., but we would have to probably open a new thread for that one. [i am really interested in your observational evidence])

Anyway, this issue has been around for so long with basically two opposite opinions. To get back on topic. My pre-previous post was trying to point that IF we have a free will than God cannot be detected by default and must be detected only on higher than physical plane which many materialist deny exists.
 
  • #31
Icebreaker
Not really. What is this "higher than physical plane"? Some kind of debug mode that only God can access? Having free will and God have nothing to do with each other.
 
  • #32
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Icebreaker said:
Based on observational evidence and assuming that metaphysical things like "souls" don't exist, we can safely say that we don't have "free will".
Sneez and his soul are on reasonable secure ground, but as an agnostic, I can not join him (or it). You ,however, are making an "unsafe, not safe" claim. It certainly is true that free will is impossible if the future is determined (either by pre quantumn physics or an "all knowing" God).

IMHO, the type of "chance free will" permitied by fact parts of the unverse are in "mixed states" until some observtion forces the state function into a single state is not worth having. It is only an illusion of free will. I would rather be a complex biological machine that has been prefected by evolution to cope reasonallly well with my environment, most of the time.

There is a logical option that permits genuine free will to exist and be consistent wth physics and does not postulate souls etc (or other miracles). This should make you happy, but Sneez is right- this is off subject. See the thread I started "What price Free Will?"

As implied in this title, the genuine free will I suggest is not free - you must pay the price of being non material. Perhaps it is too expensive for your tastes, but read the attachment to the first post of that thread before deciding. The concept advanced there has power to explain a lot of different things that do not even seem to be related and has three proofs that the accepted view of perception is simply wrong.
 
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  • #33
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in another thread i offered that a very workable definition of god would be a consciousness gestalt. it is extremely difficult to believe that our consciousness only exists for a nano-second when measured against eternity. so if we are a consiousness belonging to a gestalt wherein the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts, we have a god consciousness.

coupled with freewill we see that we are our own 'god'. whatever we choose to do/experience adds to the awareness of the whole. this universal consciousness expands as does the universe.

only such a definition would allow for the higher power being all just and all loving and etc etc - since these all everythings cause conterdictions. but, if you are responsible for your all actions and rewards or consequences there is only an expansion of self and 'god' without conflict.

love&peace,
olde drunk
 
  • #34
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Well, i am sorry becasue this post does not belong here. However, do you believe in ppll able to move things with their minds? Do you think ppl are able to "float" in the air by their will. Do you believe in ppl able with their will rule the physical world?

I have not believed until i was sick and no doctor could help me. Than my friend introduced my to this so called "healer" who healed me (lets say with his will) to a degree than no "normal" doctor could believe. How do you call that? There is undeniably more than matter/untimatter in this universe. But that is just my opinion :)

But i would really want to konw more about your opinions of free will. Maybe if you know some good thread .....im on.
 
  • #35
Alkatran
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sneez said:
Well, i am sorry becasue this post does not belong here. However, do you believe in ppll able to move things with their minds? Do you think ppl are able to "float" in the air by their will. Do you believe in ppl able with their will rule the physical world?

I have not believed until i was sick and no doctor could help me. Than my friend introduced my to this so called "healer" who healed me (lets say with his will) to a degree than no "normal" doctor could believe. How do you call that? There is undeniably more than matter/untimatter in this universe. But that is just my opinion :)

But i would really want to konw more about your opinions of free will. Maybe if you know some good thread .....im on.
Don't be so vague. And don't make me quote the "unclaimed Randi Million" line.
 
  • #36
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"A Ukrainian, Albert Ignatenko, demonstrated on the TV show, The Paranormal World of Paul McKenna, that he could rapidly raise or lower the pulse rate of people who were at a remote location. This was a dramatic demonstration of remote-influencing (RI), which is the basis of hypnosis.

My research would seem to indicate that the psi-able operator is capable of affecting the neuronal calcium efflux of another person through remote-viewing, rather like the US National Security Agency's electronic microwave mind-control machines.
"
A psychic energy ??????

Im sorry for my vagueness which could not help anybody but i dont feel that my story belongs to this forum....

Anyway guys, lets leave it like you want it. Im not here to persuade you into some belief. So do reasearch if you want or belief what you want. I was rather interested in the free will counter argument if some one knows a thread open to that topic...
 
  • #37
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saltydog said:
Yea, I know what you mean, "found it in their hearts".
I've heard that one, too. The question I always ask, and not surprisingly I never get an adequate response to, is:

Which ventricle did you find Him in?

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
 
  • #38
Tom Mattson
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Royce said:
And you must have tried very hard to convince yourself of that. Either that or you didn't look deep enough into your discovery to ascertain its full meaning.
LOL

Royce, you're a mature, experienced man. So how is it that you could come up with such a blatant false dilemma? Is it really that inconceivable to you that someone could just come to the realization that the existence of some god is pure bunk?

Let me ask you something: Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy? Well, if you don't then you must either have tried very hard to convince yourself of Her non-existence or you didn't look deep enough into your discovery to ascertain its full meaning.

Hallelujah. :rofl:
 
  • #39
hypnagogue
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Tom Mattson said:
Let me ask you something: Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy? Well, if you don't then you must either have tried very hard to convince yourself of Her non-existence or you didn't look deep enough into your discovery to ascertain its full meaning.
Well, to be fair, Royce's argument is based on what is called spiritual or religious experience. Spiritual experience is a naturally occurring part of human psychology / consciousness, albeit not ubiquitous. It has received serious treatment from dedicated and well-respected scientists, for instance in William James' The Varities of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature and in Andrew Newberg's and Eugene D'Aquili's Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief. This analogy's use of the Tooth Fairy is something of an unfair caricature, as it seems to deny the very existence or validity of spiritual experience itself (certainly there is no analogous 'Tooth Fairy experience' built into human psychology).

Having recognized and respected spiritual experience per se, I cannot share the conclusions Royce draws from it. Spiritual experience is a wonderful and potentially life changing thing to expericne, but we have to reason carefully about what can be confidently concluded from it. Certainly, we cannot deduce from the experience itself the actual existence of a God, anymore than we could conclude from an Escher drawing that it is possible to have an idefinitely ascending staircase, or from a movie projection that the motion picture is a continuous progression rather than a series of still images. The spiritual experience should be treated as just that-- an experience. It should not be denigrated, but nor should it be taken to be a reliable source for insight about some of the grander mysteries of the universe.
 
  • #40
Icebreaker
Spiritual enlightenment should be taken as an inspiration, a challenge to seek out the true nature of the universe; one should not sit on it for too long.
 
  • #41
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hypnagogue said:
Well, to be fair, Royce's argument is based on what is called spiritual or religious experience ...Spiritual experience is a naturally occurring part of human psychology / consciousness, albeit not ubiquitous....This analogy's use of the Tooth Fairy is something of an unfair caricature, as it seems to deny the very existence or validity of spiritual experience itself (certainly there is no analogous 'Tooth Fairy experience' built into human psychology).
I agree, but would like to know where on the "God - Tooth Fairy" axis you would place "free will"?
Please respond here or in the thread "what price free will." I have my own views, stated there, but want to know yours. You part company with Royce, I think, because you are inclinded towards physical explainations. Does your understanding of physics conflict with (I am presuming here) your feeling that you do chose / have free will? That "feeling" is an almost universal human "experience."
 
  • #42
hypnagogue
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Billy T said:
I agree, but would like to know where on the "God - Tooth Fairy" axis you would place "free will"?
Well, this is off-topic for this thread, and I already gave some input to the 'What price free will?' thread... so I'll just make a brief tangential statement here, while noting that we shouldn't carry on this point here and hijack this thread.

I regard free will in much the same way I regard the 'God' experience, as I explained above. I recognize that believing in free will, and acting/feeling as if we have it, is a natural, inbuilt part of human psychology and consciousness (and unlike spiritual experience, the natural predisposition to the free will belief/feeling is ubiquitous). However, as with spiritual experience, I do not believe that this experience as of having free will gives us license to conclude that we do, in fact, have free will.
 
  • #43
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hypnagogue said:
I recognize that believing in free will, and acting/feeling as if we have it, is a natural, inbuilt part of human psychology and consciousness (and unlike spiritual experience, the natural predisposition to the free will belief/feeling is ubiquitous).
Are you certain of that? It seems to be ubiquitous in contemporary western society, but given the nature of ancient Greek drama and epic poetry, they didn't seem to have much concept of free will before the pre-Socratics at least. They seemed to believe that all of their actions were fated.
 
  • #44
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loseyourname said:
Are you certain of that? It seems to be ubiquitous in contemporary western society, but given the nature of ancient Greek drama and epic poetry, they didn't seem to have much concept of free will before the pre-Socratics at least. They seemed to believe that all of their actions were fated.
True, that is something to consider. An interesting point in response to that observation is that the characters in Greek tragedies do tend to typically act as if they have free will-- if they are forewarned of their inevitable fate, they nonetheless take action to try to avert it.

In any case, I'm not staking anything important on this 'ubiquitous' claim. I do recognize that it might not be as inherent to human nature as it might seem. Still, I would say the experience of free will is far more widespread and common than spiritual experience. The latter tends to be relatively rare in occurrence and short in duration, across most cultures AFAIK.
 
  • #45
I'm going to repost what I posted in the other thread about the existence of God.


Can You Prove the Existence of God?
(Why philosophers and atheists love this question)
By Gregory E. Ganssle, Ph.D.
Ever since Immanuel Kant wrote his Critique of Pure Reason, it has been common for thinking people to insist that it is impossible to prove the existence of God. In fact this claim has been elevated to the level of dogma in American intellectual culture. The reason I know this is considered unquestionable dogma is the reaction I get when I call it into question. When someone says "You cannot prove the existence of God," I want to ask, "How do you know? You just met me! How do you know what I can do?"
What do most people mean when they recite this claim? Most people mean that I cannot provide a philosophical argument for the existence of God which will convince all thinking people. It is impossible, so the story goes, to provide an argument which will compel assent. If my argument will not convince the most ardent atheist, they say, I have not proven God's existence. Since I cannot convince such an atheist to believe, my arguments do not count as proof in their eyes. If they do not count as proof, what good are they?
I agree that I cannot provide an argument that will convince all thinking people. But what does this tell me? Does this tell me anything about God? No. This tells me more about the nature of proof than it does about whether God exists. I cannot provide an argument which will convince everyone, without a possibility of doubt, that God exists. That is no problem. You see, I cannot provide an argument for any interesting philosophical conclusion which will be accepted by everyone without possibility of doubt.
I cannot prove beyond the possibility of doubt -- in a way that will convince all philosophers -- that the Rocky Mountains are really here as a mind-independent object. I cannot prove that the entire universe did not pop into existence five minutes ago and that all of our apparent memories are not illusions. I cannot prove that the other people you see on campus have minds. Perhaps they are very clever robots.
There is no interesting philosophical conclusion that can be proven beyond the possibility of doubt. So the fact that arguments for the existence of God do not produce mathematical certainty does not by itself weaken the case for God's existence. It simply places the question of God's existence in the same category as other questions such as that of the existence of the external, mind-independent world and the question of how we know other people have minds.
Does this mean that arguments for the existence of God are useless? Not at all. Sure, I cannot provide an argument which will convince all thinking people but this does not mean I don't have good reason to believe in God. In fact some of my reasons for believing in God may be persuasive to you. Even if you aren't persuaded to believe that God exists, my arguments may not be useless. It is reasonable to believe that the mountains are real and our memories are generally reliable and that other minds exist. It is reasonable to believe these things even though they cannot be proven. Maybe some argument for God's existence will persuade you that belief in God is reasonable.
So how can we know that God exists? Instead of looking for undoubtable conclusions, we weigh evidence and consider alternatives. Which alternative best fits the evidence?
 
  • #46
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IntellectIsStrength said:
{concluded with}....So how can we know that God exists? Instead of looking for undoubtable conclusions, we weigh evidence and consider alternatives. ..
Pascal, a very firm believer in a very minor sect, had an interesting POV on how one should act on the alternatives: If God does not exist it won't matter if I believe in him. If he does, then I had better. The "best alternative" is clear.
 
  • #47
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I would like to suggest that many issues once philosophical in nature are increasingly becoming scientific ones. To wit: read Why God Won't Go Away, Newberg, D'Aquili and Rause -- Ballentine 2001. The first two are MDs, and their hypothesis is, "The religious impulse is rooted in the biology of the brain", and they deal with the issue with scientific data, and, of course, verbal arguments. While you may not agree fully, the book will undoubtedly have a subsantial impact upon your thinking.

For much of the last 100 years, physics has had an enormous impact upon our thinking about very fundamental issues. It is my opinion that over the next 100 years, neuroscience will have an even more profound impact, and will totally transform much of philosophy -- think of what we already know about perception and learning -- all that stuff about a "tabla rosa", Kantian eyglasses, as one of my profs used to say, and so forth, are simply brilliant attempts to deduce by reason what we can now understand through observation and experiment.

Regards,
Reilly Atkinson
 
  • #48
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hypnagogue said:
...An interesting point in response to that observation is that the characters in Greek tragedies do tend to typically act as if they have free will-- if they are forewarned of their inevitable fate, they nonetheless take action to try to avert it.
Two observations:
(1)It has been seriously suggested, by very competent linguist if memory serves me, that humans only became conscious in the later part of the Greek era. I think the book is called "The birth of consciousness in the bicameral mind" or something like that - I read it years ago and no longer have copy. Thus they may indeed have thought quite differently about free will, gods, fate. etc. Even when warned of their fate (killing the father sleeping with their mother etc.) their struggles to avoid it only made it happen.

(2)One of my favorite greek stories on this point, in condensed form, is that of the Rich man's servant who was startled by the angel of death coming close to him, and even asking his name, while he shopped in the market of Athens. Very scared, he returned to his master who agreed to to help his most favored servant. He gave him three of his best horses, one to ride and one to trail on each side of it. "Ride as fast as you can on the first till it drops, then switch to another" the servant was told. "You can reach Sparta before night fall and hide there." Quite angry that the angel of death would single out his faithful servant, who was young, strong and healthy, the merchant went to the market and sought out that angel - "How dare you frighten my servant?" to which the angel of death replied: "I did not mean to startle him. - I was just so surprized to see him here in Athens when I knew that this very eve, just outside of Sparta, I must claim him when his neck breaks as he falls from a galloping horse!"
 
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  • #49
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Billy T said:
Pascal, a very firm believer in a very minor sect, had an interesting POV on how one should act on the alternatives: If God does not exist it won't matter if I believe in him. If he does, then I had better. The "best alternative" is clear.
Pascal's Wager! I wrote a paper on it. He did take an interesting and original approach. :cool:

I have only one problem with his logic...I cant force myself to believe something even for a possible reward/avoidance of punishment. Thats not how one forms a belief. Maybe there are those out there who can do this, I cannot. :frown:
 
  • #50
loseyourname
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Barbie said:
Pascal's Wager! I wrote a paper on it. He did take an interesting and original approach. :cool:

I have only one problem with his logic...I cant force myself to believe something even for a possible reward/avoidance of punishment. Thats not how one forms a belief. Maybe there are those out there who can do this, I cannot. :frown:
The other problem with Pascal's wager is that it only holds if you believe in a God that cares whether or not you believe in him and will reward you for such belief. Even in that case, there are no guarantees. Both the God of Islam and the God of Christianity supposedly care and will reward believers, but you will not receive the reward unless you accept the specific doctrines of one faith. Even Pascal, as a good Christian, can be in hell right now if Islam is correct.
 

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