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Author Topic:   I know God exists & the court of highest appeal is me.
iano
Member
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 1 of 94 (458995)
03-03-2008 8:49 AM


I frequently have cause to make a statement along the lines of "I know God exists" or "I am as sure of God's existance as I am of the existance of this computer screen sat in front of me".

Such statements are usually issued in response to folk who tell me that I "can only believe that God exists" or I "can only think that God exists but cannot be sure he does exist". They sometimes pose "how do you know it's God and not Shiva?" type questions too.

How do I know it's God and not Shiva indeed! The simple answer is that everything I know to be the case relies in the first instance on my trusting my perception of reality to equate to actual reality. If my perception happens to line up with reality then what I know to be the case is actually the case. If my perception does not correspond to reality then what I know to be the case is not actually the case. It should be clear that there is no way for me to verify that any of my root perceptions correspond to any reality that might exist. It seems to be an automatic thing to simply assume they do correspond.

Everyone (assuming my perception as to their existance is correct) is in the same boat as me, yet many here seem to suppose they are not. Ask some folk the question: "how do you know you are a walking, talking, embodied person - and not a brain in a jar?" and they immediately begin to reason in a circle. They point to aspects of the world outside (which they assume is real) to verify the reality of the world outside (which they assume is real). Or they dismiss the question as useless and in doing so, tacitly dismiss the question "how do you know it's God and not Shiva?" as useless.

A number of such discussions are cluttering up threads so I figure to bring them under one roof here. If promoted I'll copy some posts I need to respond to here and reply.

NB: I am not saying that my knowing God exists is offered as evidence for Gods existance (other than by weight of testimony alone). Nor am I saying that my knowing God exists says anything about God existing in any absolute sense. God exists for me just like everything else exists for me: I perceive him to exist and assume that this perception, like all other root perceptions regarding reality, actually reflects reality.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by bluegenes, posted 03-03-2008 10:33 AM iano has responded
 Message 6 by Larni, posted 03-03-2008 10:42 AM iano has responded
 Message 12 by Straggler, posted 03-03-2008 11:42 AM iano has responded
 Message 16 by PaulK, posted 03-03-2008 1:19 PM iano has not yet responded
 Message 18 by Stile, posted 03-03-2008 2:48 PM iano has responded
 Message 35 by Modulous, posted 03-04-2008 11:51 AM iano has responded
 Message 41 by Cold Foreign Object, posted 03-04-2008 2:05 PM iano has responded

  
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Message 2 of 94 (459004)
03-03-2008 10:08 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 460 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 3 of 94 (459009)
03-03-2008 10:33 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by iano
03-03-2008 8:49 AM


iano writes:

The simple answer is that everything I know to be the case relies in the first instance on my trusting my perception of reality to equate to actual reality. If my perception happens to line up with reality then what I know to be the case is actually the case. If my perception does not correspond to reality then what I know to be the case is not actually the case.

And how do you distinguish your "perception of reality" and "actual reality" in order to compare them?

Would you examine your last sentence closely, and think about circular reasoning? Are you really saying that what you know to be the case is not the case. If you know it is, how do you know it's not?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by iano, posted 03-03-2008 8:49 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by iano, posted 03-03-2008 10:39 AM bluegenes has responded

  
iano
Member
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 4 of 94 (459010)
03-03-2008 10:34 AM


Straggler writes:

I assume nothing. I merely consider the logical consequences of the two possibilities. IF there IS an objective reality inhabited by multiple consciousnesses then independently corroborated physical evidence is evidently superior to personal belief in establishing what is true and what is not. As previously detailed.

Do you disagree with that? If so on what grounds?

Assuming I can reword your biased phrasing I would tend to disagree. Your phrasing compares apples with pears. "Independently corroborated evidence" vs. "personal belief" engages in the kind of assumption you say you are logically avoiding. It would be better to say "perception of many" vs. "perception of the one"

Assuming objective reality exists then it might not be perceived in the same way and to the same degree by all people. That 10,000 people perceive in fashion x and only 1 person in fashion y, means that different people perceive reality in different ways / to different extents. Truth - as in absolute truth - requires some way of stepping outside the reality in order to observe the reality in its totality. Truth is not arrived at by majority rule.

IF no objective reality exists and I am a figment of your imagination then your God and the all the rest of your reality is also a figment of your imagination and you will never be able to establish otherwise.

Do you disagree with that? If so on what grounds?

I would disagree. That you don't exist doesn't mean that God doesn't exist. It could be that part of his interaction with me takes place in a virtual reality.

You are right in saying that I have no means whereby I can absolutely demonstrate (to myself or others) that anything exists. Which only goes to demonstrate that knowing a thing - whilst the very highest we can attain to - doesn't mean it absolutely is the case.

Either way what is definitely not possible is a reality experienced by multiple independent consciousnesses in which personal belief and independently corroborated physical evidence are equally valid.

True. The perception of the one could be truer than the perception of the many - in absolute terms.


  
iano
Member
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 5 of 94 (459012)
03-03-2008 10:39 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by bluegenes
03-03-2008 10:33 AM


Bluegenes writes:

And how do you distinguish your "perception of reality" and "actual reality" in order to compare them?

I don't. And I say that no one can. We just assume our perception of reality is what reality is.

The point I am trying to make has less to do with engaging in existentialism. It has more to do with neutralising the existentialist objections some raise to my statement "I know God exists".

They ask me "how do you know that what you perceive is real is real". I say "I don't know - and neither do you. So why raise such a dead-end objection?"

Would you examine your last sentence closely, and think about circular reasoning? Are you really saying that what you know to be the case is not the case. If you know it is, how do you know it's not?

I don't know if anything I know is the case (in absolute terms). I just assume that what I perceive as reality is real. Just like you do.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by bluegenes, posted 03-03-2008 10:33 AM bluegenes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by bluegenes, posted 03-03-2008 11:09 AM iano has responded
 Message 13 by bluegenes, posted 03-03-2008 11:54 AM iano has responded

  
Larni
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Posts: 3967
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 6 of 94 (459013)
03-03-2008 10:42 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by iano
03-03-2008 8:49 AM


iano writes:

God exists for me just like everything else exists for me:

Is that not the real issue here? You appear to be saying that you believe in your god because the evidence you have been exposed to satisfies your criteria of acceptance of your god.

Who could argue with that?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by iano, posted 03-03-2008 8:49 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by iano, posted 03-03-2008 10:56 AM Larni has responded

    
iano
Member
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 7 of 94 (459016)
03-03-2008 10:56 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Larni
03-03-2008 10:42 AM


Not that your being inaccurate but it all sounds little artificial, Larni.

You wouldn't apply such clunky language when it comes to believing that the reality you perceive to be objective is objective. You just say you know there is a pc screen on front of you. Nor would you use such clunky language to believe the thought you had 5 seconds ago actually occurred 5.87 (and counting) seconds ago. You would say you know you thought what you thought 9.6 seconds ago.

Knowing might be considered 100% certain belief. At least as certain as the belief that the objective reality is indeed objective. You can't be more certain than that.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Larni, posted 03-03-2008 10:42 AM Larni has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Larni, posted 03-03-2008 11:12 AM iano has responded

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 460 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 8 of 94 (459019)
03-03-2008 11:09 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by iano
03-03-2008 10:39 AM


I don't know if anything I know is the case (in absolute terms). I just assume that what I perceive as reality is real. Just like you do.

Yes, I agree that we're obliged to do that, almost by definition. But if you look at what you said in the O.P., don't you agree that you've phrased things badly? You seem to be talking about comparing the reality you percieve to something else, which you call reality.

Where does the second reality come from?

{ABE}I've just reread the O.P., and perhaps what's really the problem is your use of the word "know".

Edited by bluegenes, : addition


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by iano, posted 03-03-2008 10:39 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by iano, posted 03-03-2008 11:16 AM bluegenes has responded

  
Larni
Member
Posts: 3967
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 9 of 94 (459020)
03-03-2008 11:12 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by iano
03-03-2008 10:56 AM


All you seem to be saying is that you are really sure that your god exists. This surety you lable 'knowing'. All well and good.

The problem I and maybe a few others have is that you cannot demonstrate what leads you to accept the evidence of reality as an indication that your god is real.

As the title of this thread indicates; the buck stops with your appraisal of evidence and your appraisal is that your god is real.

Now, for you this appraisal is appropriate (we could go into why but lets not do that). This differs with my own appraisal of evidence (again suffice it to say we apprais differently) for your god so we must conclude that we interpret the meaning of the evidence of reality differently.

I guess the only real difference is that my appraisals of reality are more likely to conform to a materialistic reality because I cannot conclude otherwise (based on me being me) and you conclude the opposite because you cannot conclude other wise (based on you being you.

As I said. Who would argue with that?

If you want to duke out whos appraisal is more accurate surley that's a different issue?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by iano, posted 03-03-2008 10:56 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
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iano
Member
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 10 of 94 (459022)
03-03-2008 11:16 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by bluegenes
03-03-2008 11:09 AM


If you follow the section down I arrive at this conclusion.

It should be clear that there is no way for me to verify that any of my root perceptions correspond to any reality that might exist.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by bluegenes, posted 03-03-2008 11:09 AM bluegenes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by bluegenes, posted 03-03-2008 11:24 AM iano has not yet responded

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 460 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 11 of 94 (459024)
03-03-2008 11:24 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by iano
03-03-2008 11:16 AM


iano writes:

It should be clear that there is no way for me to verify that any of my root perceptions correspond to any reality that might exist.

I agree. So, in correct English, you don't know whether your God exists, but you want to describe the likelihood as being essentially the same as the likelihood of your computer existing.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by iano, posted 03-03-2008 11:16 AM iano has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10276
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 12 of 94 (459029)
03-03-2008 11:42 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by iano
03-03-2008 8:49 AM


Jars and Brains
1) You could be a brain in a jar and all of this could be the product of your imagination.

OR

2) You could cohabit an external reality in which other conscious perceiving beings also exist and in which you can interract with them.

In the case of the first you can never meaningfully know that this is the case.

In the case of the second the nature of the reality in which you coexist with your fellow perceiving consciousnesses (lets call them people) can be empirically investigated and objectively verified through consistent independent corroboration.

In the case of the second those conclusions that are formed by this process of corroboration and communication are more reliable indicators of the workings and nature of the reality in which you exist than conclusions which cannot be tested by this process (e.g. that the reality in question was created by a physically undetectable being).

Iano - You are continually trying to have your cake and eat it.
Either you are a brain in a jar (or whatever other metaphorical equivalent) and your God is as much a figment of your imagination as everything else.
Or you live in an objective reality in which empirical investigation is a superior means of determining the nature of that reality than the wholly persoanl subjective and untestable.

Which is it?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by iano, posted 03-03-2008 8:49 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by iano, posted 03-03-2008 3:13 PM Straggler has responded

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 460 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 13 of 94 (459031)
03-03-2008 11:54 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by iano
03-03-2008 10:39 AM


iano writes:

The point I am trying to make has less to do with engaging in existentialism. It has more to do with neutralising the existentialist objections some raise to my statement "I know God exists".

They ask me "how do you know that what you perceive is real is real". I say "I don't know - and neither do you. So why raise such a dead-end objection?"

All this amounts to is saying that you know God exists, and then using an argument that illustrates that you cannot know that he exists. So why make the claim in the first place?

As most of us would agree that no-one can conclusively know whether or not such things as Gods exist, it's your use of the "know" word that's causing the problem in the first place.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by iano, posted 03-03-2008 10:39 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by iano, posted 03-03-2008 12:24 PM bluegenes has responded

  
iano
Member
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 14 of 94 (459033)
03-03-2008 12:16 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Larni
03-03-2008 11:12 AM


Larni writes:

If you want to duke out whos appraisal is more accurate surely that's a different issue?

A key point being made is that "appraisal of evidence" has nothing to do with our deciding that the reality we perceive is objective.

We have no means to appraise whether we are brains in jars or walking talking beings - the evidence will appear the same to both.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Larni, posted 03-03-2008 11:12 AM Larni has not yet responded

  
iano
Member
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 15 of 94 (459034)
03-03-2008 12:24 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by bluegenes
03-03-2008 11:54 AM


All this amounts to is saying that you know God exists, and then using an argument that illustrates that you cannot know that he exists. So why make the claim in the first place?

My argument amounts to me saying I know God exists but cannot know whether my knowledge is objective knowledge or not.

The preliminary point of my arguing so is to point out to everyone else that they sail in the same boat as me regarding anything they say they know.

The concluding point of my arguing so is to stalemate the objection "how do you know it is God and not Shiva". The question is as useless as the question "how do you know you are not a brain in a jar"

As most of us would agree that no-one can conclusively know whether or not such things as Gods exist it's your use of the "know" word that's causing the problem in the first place.

I know there is a pc screen on front of me just as much as I know that God exists and just as much as I know what I thought 5 seconds ago. I don't add "non-conclusively" to pc screens or thoughts. Nor do I to God.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by bluegenes, posted 03-03-2008 11:54 AM bluegenes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Straggler, posted 03-03-2008 2:05 PM iano has not yet responded
 Message 19 by New Cat's Eye, posted 03-03-2008 3:05 PM iano has responded
 Message 24 by bluegenes, posted 03-03-2008 3:30 PM iano has not yet responded
 Message 31 by RickJB, posted 03-04-2008 5:08 AM iano has not yet responded

  
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