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Author Topic:   Logically speaking: God is knowable
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16107
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 7.3


Message 31 of 187 (353240)
09-29-2006 7:24 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by iano
09-29-2006 3:24 PM


He cannot actually know God doesn't exist either. To know that he would have to know everything there is to be known (for if he didn't know everything then God could be in the place he doesn't know about).

This is rather a trivial fallacy. Since God is claimed to be omnipotent and omnipresent, the claim that there is a God is a universal, not a particular claim; and it can therefore be falsified by the observation of a single place where he is not or thing over which he has no power.

YOu speak of him as though he might have got lost under the sofa cushions or something. But when we talk of "God", that's not the sort of thing we mean. If he is anywhere, he is everywhere.


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mark24
Member (Idle past 3509 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 32 of 187 (353241)
09-29-2006 7:25 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by iano
09-29-2006 4:07 PM


Iano,

This is logic Mark. You don't need any supporting data

What's that got to do with anything? I could make an internally consistent argument stating that fairies exist at the bottom of my garden, which by definition would be logical. Or for that matter, that god doesn't exist. Or that unicorns, kraken, leprechauns, etc. ad infinitum do/don't exist. You can make a logical, evidence free argument for the existence of Tolkien's Dwarfs (or Dwarves), & so on.

Being "logical", which simply means "consistent", in & of itself is meaningless.

The point is that from an evidential point of view both 1 & 7 are both evidentially vacuous. That the arguments made for both are internally consistent is rendered pointless without evidence.

Mark

Edited by mark24, : No reason given.


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't

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Woodsy
Member (Idle past 1688 days)
Posts: 301
From: Burlington, Canada
Joined: 08-30-2006


Message 33 of 187 (353261)
09-30-2006 10:34 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by iano
09-29-2006 3:24 PM


On the other hand a person can know God exists. All that has to happen is a) for God to exist (possible) b) for God to reveal himself to a person (also possible)

I have read that it has been found possible to evoke religious experiences by electrical and chemical means (I don't have references available just now, but will look for them if required). Given that, I don't see how one could be confident that such experiences, which I suppose include God revealing himself, can be relied on without external confirmation.

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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 34 of 187 (353262)
09-30-2006 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by Woodsy
09-30-2006 10:34 AM


Anyone who claims to be at 1 or 7 has to be deluded because either position requires a certainty about the source of their absolute certanty that it is impossible to have.

The key difference is that those of faith are necessarily 1s whilst those that call themselves atheists would more likely describe themselves as 6.999999999Rs as they would generally accept that absolute certainty about anything requires the sort of faith that they oppose!!


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 35 of 187 (353263)
09-30-2006 11:03 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by Dr Adequate
09-29-2006 7:24 PM


Amazing post. You said in two sentences what I struggle to get across in paragraphs.

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Legend
Member (Idle past 3320 days)
Posts: 1226
From: Wales, UK
Joined: 05-07-2004


Message 36 of 187 (353295)
09-30-2006 3:37 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by Straggler
09-30-2006 10:46 AM


absolute certainty = faith
Straggler writes:

The key difference is that those of faith are necessarily 1s whilst those that call themselves atheists would more likely describe themselves as 6.999999999Rs as they would generally accept that absolute certainty about anything requires the sort of faith that they oppose!!

I was just going to write something along those lines and then I saw your post.

I concur that no atheist can ever be a perfect 7, I think the phrase would be 'convinced beyond reasonable doubt' rather than 'know'.

anyway, well said!


"In life, you have to face that some days you'll be the pigeon and some days you'll be the statue."

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Maxwell's Demon
Member (Idle past 4543 days)
Posts: 59
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 05-09-2004


Message 37 of 187 (353333)
09-30-2006 7:20 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by crashfrog
09-30-2006 11:03 AM


Indeed. I tried for at least half an hour to formulate this clearly... always coming up short.
Finally I thought to myself: "Wait a minute, maybe someone's already tried to say this", and indeed someone has... quite clearly.

Just for the record, I'd planned to say something like:


First of all... there's two ways that I can think that "I don't know that God exists", and mean it.
One: I don't know that God exists, because I know the opposite. That is, I know God doesn't exist.
Two: I don't know that God exists, because I don't know anything about God's existance, one way or the other.

The only way that God can "be in a place I don't know about" is if the second alternative is true.
That means the statement "God can be in a a place you don't know about" is directly dependant on me not knowing that God doesn't exist. This in turn means your argument turns into, "You can't know God doesn't exist, because you don't know God doesn't exist."
Pretty circular, no?


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ohnhai
Member (Idle past 3476 days)
Posts: 649
From: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 11-17-2004


Message 38 of 187 (353343)
09-30-2006 8:28 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by Straggler
09-30-2006 10:46 AM


Not, the case. You CAN be a 7 and yet still admit you could be wrong.

Sure it’s a inconsistency but that’s never stopped the 1s has it?

I am a 7.

I believe that nothing of the divine, or supernatural exists. This encompasses God, The Morning Star, Demons, Angels and all the things that people convince themselves go bump in the night. None of it exists.

I believe this with all of my heart, I AM certain of it.

I do however realise that, although the evidence (or utter lack there of) does lean towards this conclusion it does not categorically prove it. It can’t. That leaves me in the position of KNOWING the statement above is true, while at the same time I know I don’t have the evidence to back that claim up.

In the light of this I do have to caveat my belief with “but I could be wrong”. I’m not though. It’s just intellectual honesty forces me to add that caveat. It doesn’t change the fact I am a solid 7.


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BMG
Member (Idle past 2477 days)
Posts: 356
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 39 of 187 (353350)
09-30-2006 8:48 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by ohnhai
09-30-2006 8:28 PM


Edited by Infixion, : Erased.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 418 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 40 of 187 (353396)
10-01-2006 3:17 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by iano
09-29-2006 3:24 PM


Logically speaking: anything
You can certainly think you know that God exists.

But you can also think you know that God doesn't exist.

In both cases you could be wrong.

How do we know when we actually know something? When it comes to God - we suddenly find ourselves in a philosophical labyrinth of madness. Let us bring to mind Descartes' evil genius construct. A suitably evil and powerful genius could convince us that we know God, when in fact we don't - and vice versa.

For example:

You wake up - you are sure you have just been in a terrible car crash. God stands over you (or however you conceive God in this circumstance), and introduces you to the residents of heaven, reveals some great secret allows you live in paradise for what seems like a thousand years. Then he sends you back to earth. Naturally - you know God exists, you met him personally!

Of course, whose to say that a wicked spirit didn't kidnap you, erase your memory, planted a memory of a car crash and then forced you to have a religious hallucination. I therefore call on the 'brain in a jar' thought experiment to demonstrate that we can never really be a 1 or a 7 since we can never know anything to a confidence level of 100%

If we accept the possibility that supernatural agents could exist - we have to accept the possibility that a supernatural agent exists who is not God, who could do the above. This entity could convince you that God has ceased to exist - thus you'd know that God does not exist (anymore).

You could be certain God exists, have utter faith that it is the case that He does. Still - you cannot philosophically have no doubt whatsoever. If you cannot admit to some level of doubt about something you are either not thinking on the right level, or you are suffering from a delusion.

I am not even a '1' on that scale when it comes to the existence of the keyboard I'm typing on. Is there any revelation that I can have that would mean I would know God better than I know this keyboard? How would someone differentiate that revelation from delusion? How would I know from my own frame of reference that I wasn't deluded when God revealed Himself? Indeed - an evil genius could simply remove the doubt from my mind using supernatural powers.

If somebody knows that they are Napolean, they know that Napolean is alive. Of course, they don't know they are Napolean - they are deluded into thinking with 100% certainty that they are Napolean and their delusion allows no room for doubt.

That's the philosophy side of things, as for the logic? Logically speaking: anything

P1: I say that I know God does not exist
P2: What I say I know, I know
C: I know God does not exist

Assuming no evil geniuses or delusions1, you can know that God exists by meeting Him. However, you can know that God does not exist by meeting Him and then Him telling you that he is going to cease to exist, followed by Him ceasing to exist.


1Gigantic and unwarranted assumption


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Thugpreacha
Member
Posts: 13162
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 41 of 187 (353398)
10-01-2006 5:26 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by iano
09-29-2006 3:24 PM


As certain as can be expected
Hello, Iano. :) So as a theist, what you are saying is that the spectrum presupposes two very real realities over and above itself:
God Exists.
or
God does not exist.

It can be said that we as humans may never actually know either of these absolutes for certain,right?

In rebuttal, it can be said that we can know God.

We can know Him as well as we can know our Mothers.

We can know Him as well as we can trust our instincts and reflexes when driving a car. Surely one could theorize that the road ahead is but an illusion of the senses, but as anyone who has ever experienced an acid trip knows, anyone in that state of mind simply pulls over and quits driving until they are certain enough of the perceptions within their mind so as to continue driving----right?

Mark24 writes:

Positions 1 & 7 have equal veracity, ie. Zero.

Neither is supported by data that can be examined, & as such, are as bad as each other.

Data in regards to supernatural experiences ranges from UFO survivor stories to Charismatic conversion experiences
from otherwise reasonably sane individuals.

It is true that an encounter with an alien (or a Heavenly presence and angelic/demonic spirit) cannot be proven to the satisfaction of any instrument yet devised by humans. The only tool that we have is our own subjective conclusions---based on our professional and personal observations of an individual.

gasby writes:

I thought faith and belief don't need data.


mark24 writes:

They don't, which is why 1 & 7 are as bad as each other.


1. God exists, despite anyones data.
7. God does not exist, despite anyones belief.

So you are saying that we humans are either strong 2's or strong 6's based on our sanity, experiences, intuitions, confirmations, and relationship with the reality that we perceive, right?

erhaps Iano is asserting that 1 and 7 cannot both be true.

A believer may feel so in communion with the Spirit that they are able to confidantly assert 1 as a reality. They do not have to be God to assert this...they merely have to be in communion with God.

A strong atheist may feel so grounded in logic and in the fallicies thereof that they are able to confidantly assert 7 as a reality. They are strongly in communion with human wisdom.

This goes well in line with a couple of Bible scriptures which I have interpreted to explain the difference between God and the Devil.

To Wit:

NIV writes:

Rev 1:8- "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

is=1. (for the purposes of our discussion) :)

NIV writes:

Rev 17:7-8-- The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come.

is not=7, (for the purpose of our discussion.)

The point of my scriptural example, and my interpretation thereof, is to show that two spiritual realities cannot exist at the same time.

Thus 1 and 7 cannot both be true. One is true and the other one is not true.

PaulK writes:

To show that it is the positions that are asymmetrical you would need to use equivalent criteria to assess each.

Websters writes:

symmetry \si-me-tre\ n, pl -tries 1 : an arrangement marked by regularity and balanced proportions 2 : correspondence in size, shape, and position of parts that are on opposite sides of a dividing line or center ...

So can we assert that Dualism is not a logical spiritual reality?

We can agree that for the purposes of this discussion, the two positions cannot both be true. There is no gray area. God either exists or He doesnt. At least Iano and I agree on that premise.

Iano writes:

1 and 7 are claimed to be symmetrical. I gave a rebuttal to that.

The two positions cannot coexist in absolute reality.


“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way” --C.S.Lewis

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Legend
Member (Idle past 3320 days)
Posts: 1226
From: Wales, UK
Joined: 05-07-2004


Message 42 of 187 (353404)
10-01-2006 7:26 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by ohnhai
09-30-2006 8:28 PM


inverted theism
ohnhai writes:

Sure it’s a inconsistency but that’s never stopped the 1s has it?

isn't that a good reason to differentiate yourself from the theists ? otherwise, your atheism is just as much a religious belief as their theism.

ohnhai writes:

I believe that nothing of the divine, or supernatural exists. This encompasses God, The Morning Star, Demons, Angels and all the things that people convince themselves go bump in the night. None of it exists.

Now, to me, belief in something without any basis is nothing but wishful thinking. The way I read that is that you wish that nothing supernatural exists.

ohnhai writes:

I believe this with all of my heart, I AM certain of it


now we're definitely getting into the realm of religion.

ohnhai writes:

...I do have to caveat my belief with “but I could be wrong”. I’m not though. It’s just intellectual honesty forces me to add that caveat. It doesn’t change the fact I am a solid 7.

see, the problem I have with that is that it's self-contradictory. How can you be absolutely be convinced that god doesn't exist, while at the same time admit to the fact that you could be wrong ?

I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the Christian God doesn't exist. At the same time, just like you, I admit that there is no absolute and conclusive evidence towards this conclusion and I just might be wrong. Hence, I class myself as a 6.999 on the aforementioned scale.

IMO, classing myself as a 7 would make me just an inverted theist instead of an atheist.


"In life, you have to face that some days you'll be the pigeon and some days you'll be the statue."

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iano
Member (Idle past 255 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 43 of 187 (353406)
10-01-2006 8:43 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by New Cat's Eye
09-29-2006 5:12 PM


iano writes:

In short: I am saying that I (let me be the 'person' for short from now on) know God exists. That is not to say he does exist. I could be deluded. My being deluded doesn't mean I do not know God exists. It has nothing to do with it.

Catholic Scientist writes:

Couldn't that work the same the other way though?

No it can't. Logic is logic and the person who is deluded and says he knows God doesn't exist could not make the case logically. He would still need to know everything there is to know in order to state that - meaning he is God

This thing about delusion is a bit of a red herring. To know something means it is the case without any possibility that it is not - with a provision: namely, one assumes that the reality one exists in is objectively the reality. And what we condsider to be a deluded person is us stating that their reality is not the objective one - but that ours is. But ours may not be. We can be deluded too and we have no way of saying otherwise.

So, if a person knows something it means that that is the case - assuming that their objective reality is actually the objective reality

We can't really know anything.

Once a person decides their reality is objective then they can know lots of things. That is all that knowing can mean. So when I say that logically a person can know God exists then they can. This does not mean he does actually exist though.


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iano
Member (Idle past 255 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 44 of 187 (353407)
10-01-2006 8:45 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by PaulK
09-29-2006 5:13 PM


See the message above to Catholic Scientist and see does that clarify things

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iano
Member (Idle past 255 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 45 of 187 (353408)
10-01-2006 8:52 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by PaulK
09-29-2006 5:42 PM


What do you mean "not at all" ? You can say all that but it's hardly plausible that it is literally true. All sorts of things are logically possible but incredibly unlikely. That sort of logical possibility doesn't help your case because it equally applies to the other side.

You have no method by which to attach degrees of plausibility so you must refrain from doing so. This is solely about logical possibilities. It does not apply to the other side because the other side much deal with logic, deluded or no.


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