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The Forum > Philosophy & Religion > Obligatory "Existence of God" Thread
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First off, I didn't avoid your argument by saying I am not arguing in favor of a first mover. I pointed out that your comment is attributing qualities to what I've said which don't exist. If what I'm saying does not presuppose a first mover, then you saying that it does is fallacious.

Secondly, I have not put forth a side to defend. I have pointed out flaws in your logic without taking a side. Do you want me to arbitrarily chose a stance so you can tear it down? Doing so would do nobody any good. You have chosen a stance and decided to play Cleanthes. You have no right to ask me to not be Philo because it would make you feel better. If you don't want your considerations to be examined, then don't offer them. If you only want to examine the ideas of others, then wait for others to offer theirs and examine them. Nobody asked you to do otherwise.

As for your argument, here is the breakdown:

a-d: Seems valid, but in order to validate this step you must specifically address that you have put faith in senses and logic which can by no means be validated. Once again, this train of thought is based on utility rather than verifiability, as you have stated yourself.

A person who takes God to exist on faith has a specific sense which reaffirms this belief. It appears to originate mostly from the right temporal lobe and is a sense and emotion in the same way that seeing something pretty and feeling happy are a sense and emotion.

Ergo, you argument is "In order to have a meaningful discussion, we must say that these things are true and move forward from there: our senses provide good information, particularly when checked against the senses of others. Therefore, in order to have a meaningful discussion, I see the world and so do billions of others, therefore the world must exist."

This is the same argument a person of faith could make: "In order to have a meaningful discussion, we must say that these things are true and move forward from there: our senses provide good information, particularly when checked against the senses of others. I sense God, as do billions of others. Therefore, in order to have a meaningful discussion, God must exist."

You are simply picking and choosing the senses you want to allow into the conversation to artificially reaffirm your stance with the psuedo-logic of utility. I am saying that this is a very similar tactic to what people with other, God-based faiths do as well, and therefore if you say their arguments are invalid you are claiming your own is invalid.

It may be a valid tactic. If it is, it is valid for both sides. It may be an invalid tactic, in which case it can't be used for either side. But you cannot allow it for one side and not the other.
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A person who takes God to exist on faith has a specific sense which reaffirms this belief. It appears to originate mostly from the right temporal lobe and is a sense and emotion in the same way that seeing something pretty and feeling happy are a sense and emotion.


Could you define what you mean by sense please. It seems to me that you mean has a specific feeling which reaffirms this belief, since the right temporal lobe isn't an input for itself(correct me if I'm wrong). If that is the case then I don't see how your argument stands. Everybody on the planet can sense the exact same thing but have different feelings regarding it. Furthermore, feelings regarding a sensed thing aren't necessary in evaluating the existence of an object in the method described by Diav.

If enough people say a painting is beautiful is beauty an intrinsic property of that painting?
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Sense is not simply what we get from the outside world. Proprioception, nociception, and kinesthesiosception are senses, but are largely internal processes separated in region and function from other "traditional" senses. Also, the temporal lobe is heavily invested in external senses as well--it is where we process hearing and higher-level visual cognition.

By sense I mean a specific indication of the nature of the world by intrinsic notion of truth. We believe what we see just because it seems right to us, always has, and probably always will. We rarely stop to consider if the world around us is how it appears, simply because we are wired to accept it. We have seen no reason to not accept it. In a great number of cases, people continue believing what they see even when it isn't from sensory inputs (see Schizophrenia). We believe in pain even when we can see there's no cause.

Faith is for many people a sense. It is something which resonates and simply seems right, always has and probably always will, due to physiological causes. To somebody with a strong "sense" of faith, all other senses simply reaffirm it. To somebody who can see, feeling, hearing, and proprioception work together to validate sight. To somebody with faith, the same is true. In a world where God can't be proven or disproven, we tend to interpret what we see to fit how our senses are already indicating the world works. Just like sight, faith is a sense which can be compared against billions of other people to a large degree of agreeance--that there is something greater than ourselves--which is more than can be said for nocioception, which cannot be compared for validation.
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Senses are inputs for the brain. Proprioception, nociception, and the other internal senses are the "outside world" as far as the brain is concerned.

By sense I mean a specific indication of the nature of the world by intrinsic notion of truth. We believe what we see just because it seems right to us, always has, and probably always will.


Our intrinsic notion of truth is developed by our senses. We believe what we see because it confirms what we have seen. This is also the reason we don't accept changes such as alien invasions and zombie brainfests.

As for schizophrenia, the beliefs and feelings that they have can't be corroborated with enough people (unless most schizophrenics hallucinate and feel the same thing) to constitute a reality.

Faith is the result of contemplating things sensed. All senses "reaffirm" it because that is the only means with which faith can exist. All things that can be communicated can be compared to billions of other people, that doesn't make all of these things senses.

Do you think that beauty, happiness, hope, anger, and envy are senses? These are all agreed upon by billions as well, which seems to be your only criteria for judging what a sense is.
If enough people say a painting is beautiful is beauty an intrinsic property of that painting?

Hmm, I guess I'm saying that feeling God exists and corroborating that feeling with others is not the same as sensing that a tree exists and corroborating that sense with others.
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Happiness, anger, envy, and possibly hope would be more accurately described as emotions. I think that beauty is, in a way, a sense. Semantically, you hear people talk of the "sense of beauty" all the time. I think that just because a thought or perception can't be directly correlated with a simple or primitive external stimulus, such as light, sound, or touch, doesn't mean that the thought or perception doesn't correlate with an external reality and thus constitute a sense.

You asked whether if enough people agreed that a painting is beautiful, the painting would be intrinsically beautiful. I could just as easily ask, if enough people agreed that an apple is red, is the apple then intrinsically red?
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Provided the reference point for what is considered red is agreed upon as red then yes, I would say red is an intrinsic property of the apple. There are no reference points for faith, hope, or beauty because they are synthesized from the various senses, which is a personal process.

If you don't believe this to be true please explain the discrepancy of why people will say a painting exists but not agree on it's level of beauty.
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Okay, so I know I'm late to like all of this discussion, but it just seems to me, that people are for both sides here. Look, if you do your research, most of it will point towards there being, at least to some extent a supernatural being. "For every design, there has to be a designer." It makes sense, and to say that there isn't any sort of specific design to the universe would be a lie.

In a sense, you cannot prove the existence of God, it does take faith. If you could prove the existence of God, then what would faith even mean?

To all the atheists on here, look you are all entitled to your opinion. My opinion is that there is a God, and that he's the only God. Many people will disagree with me, but I'm pretty set, and haven't found the argument yet to sway me.

Thank you. -for more of insights from me... visit - -baconninja42.blogspot.com-
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It makes sense, and to say that there isn't any sort of specific design to the universe would be a lie.
While I do believe in a God who designed the universe, I don't think we can claim for certain that the universe must be designed. We can know, within the scope of our basic scientific and logical assumptions (which may or may not be correct), that the universe is orderly, but I don't see how we can extrapolate designedness from that orderliness.
Atrophy said:
Provided the reference point for what is considered red is agreed upon as red then yes, I would say red is an intrinsic property of the apple.
And what exactly is the reference point for redness? I argue that there is none. We can only point to objects which we already sense are red.

What if I think the apple is actually not red, but a slightly different color? We all may mostly (though not completely) agree that there is a property called "redness" and even mostly agree which items are more or less red, but that is also the case with beauty. Almost everyone acknowledges that some things give them a sense of beauty, and other's don't, although we may disagree about which things actually are beautiful.

I think there is merit to Gorgon's idea that some humans have a "sense" of God. It may be more subjective and less concrete than the senses of vision and hearing, but it seems to fit the criteria nonetheless.
Atrophy said:
If you don't believe this to be true please explain the discrepancy of why people will say a painting exists but not agree on it's level of beauty.
Not everyone will agree that a painting exists. But regardless, there are discrepancies in people's descriptions and perceptions of color as well.
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Atrophy said:
Senses are inputs for the brain. Proprioception, nociception, and the other internal senses are the "outside world" as far as the brain is concerned.

They regard the outside world, but they cannot be corroborated, which seems important to your idea of "senses." I say this is important based on when you say, "As for schizophrenia, the beliefs and feelings that they have can't be corroborated with enough people."

Also, they are controlled completely internally. Nocioception is a signal from the nerves inside the body to the brain. It doesn't require any outside stimulus whatsoever. Proprioception even more so (although it is cross-referenced with vision in most humans, making it somewhat reliant on vision). Sense of oneness (faith in something greater) also is internally controlled but regards the outside world.

It is literally the thing in your brain that keeps you from feeling as though you are the only human alive. The left side of your brain has sense of self, the idea that you are a unique entity, and the right side has sense of faith, that you are part of something greater than yourself.

As you pointed out, hallucinations of a schizophrenic cannot be corroborated. Sense of faith can be corroborated. Why are we accepting "vision" as a sense into the discussion but not faith?

Atrophy said:
Our intrinsic notion of truth is developed by our senses. We believe what we see because it confirms what we have seen. This is also the reason we don't accept changes such as alien invasions and zombie brainfests.

Yes, that is another way of saying what I said. Faith in something greater is perceived as a truth because it is developed by the sense of faith in such. The difference between zombies and God is that the concept of a God is not contrary to any of the other information we get from any of our other senses, whereas the concept of zombies is.

As I said, there is specific neurological evidence that faith in a large portion of the human population has a physiological cause and is not simply an intellectual exercise of weighing options that atheists like you or I would be inclined to expect. People choose what specific God or community to have "faith" in, but denying faith itself would be like denying what you see despite it being reaffirmed by the majority of those around you.

Emotions originate in deeper parts of the brain and are different physiologically than the sense of faith. They don't lead us to believe in a specific idea of truth; they are reactions to such belief. They are empirically different than the sense of faith, which:

a) originates primarily in a section of the brain which deals with higher functions and senses
b) behaves physiologically like a sense
c) leads people to a corroborative sense of truth (and leads all people with it to the same conclusion--that there is something greater than ourselves)
d) can be reaffirmed by the other senses

Emotions

a) originate primarily in the lower levels of the brain
b) behave physiologically different than senses
c) do not lead people to universal conclusions, but simply react to the conclusions which are made
d) can not be reaffirmed
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Also, they are controlled completely internally. Nocioception is a signal from the nerves inside the body to the brain. It doesn't require any outside stimulus whatsoever. Proprioception even more so . . . Sense of oneness (faith in something greater) also is internally controlled but regards the outside world.
That's not entirely accurate because while proprioception doesn't directly get sense data from the world external to our bodies, it does get sense data from the world external to our brains.
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That's a valid point. But, if there is a God as the sense of faith leads many to believe, then the sense of faith also originates outside of our brains. If there isn't, then I suppose the sense of faith might be functioning more like memory, which is not a sense but also implies truth which can be corroborated by senses and interaction with others.

However, we don't have the tools necessary to determine if there is a God or not, so we don't have the tools to determine if faith is linked to something external to the brain or not, which means that we don't have the tools to readily discount it as a sense in a conversation about senses. It certainly seems to behave just like a sense.
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Unfortunately my lack of knowledge concerning the brain disqualifies me from this discussion for now. Sense of Self
Are the physiological constructs in the brain for the "sense"(misnomer) of self there to detect intrinsic external values of self, or are they there because being an individual defined by aspects that are apparent to others helps to optimize productivity in a group (division of labor)? Same for faith, the feeling that you are greater than yourself can be boiled down to the fact that a group of people working together and assuming good will among it's members is more productive than a group of people afraid of the other's intentions(greatest common good....God).
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That is not "sense of self" as it is being defined her in a physiologically caused way. That is "sense of self" in common usage, meaning how people intellectually define themselves.

Sense of self in the way it is caused by the parietal lobe is literally the awareness or concept of distinction between yourself in time and space and all other things in time and space. It is not a list of ways you define yourself. It is the implicit, typically assumed, indescribably "basic" concept that you are distinct as an entity and that other entities exist around you which are not you, and that you have a continuous existence from one moment to the next.

"There is a region in the parietal lobe toward the top and back of the brain called the “orientation association area” that seems to go completely dark when subjects experience their deepest sense of unity with the universe. This part of the brain seems to govern the sense of self in time and space. Specifically, the left orientation area governs the notion of a physically delimited body, and the right association area creates a sense of physical space where the body exists. One neurotheological researcher, Andrew Newberg, in his book “Why God Won’t Go Away,” describes the effect as follows: If you block this region, as you do during the intense concentration of meditation, you prevent the brain from distinguishing between self and not-self.” This could lead, then, to the impression of being ONE with the universe." Excerpt I got from here.
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While I do believe in a God who designed the universe, I don't think we can claim for certain that the universe must be designed. We can know, within the scope of our basic scientific and logical assumptions (which may or may not be correct), that the universe is orderly, but I don't see how we can extrapolate designedness from that orderliness.


This thread has gone through just how designed things are. For instance, I don't know if I would classify the human body, and brain under orderliness. I would probably classify it under design, being that all parts of the brain have such specific functions. It also seems that due to the placement of the earth and planetary movement, you could not contribute that to orderliness either. Also, even if just orderly I've never seen organization without an organizing factor, such as bees who have signals, and ants. Files have people to keep them, but I'm sure there might be examples of orderliness outside of an organizing factor, I just can't think of any.

If I may though, on the whole apple being red thing, color is subjective, and so is beauty and almost anything you can sense is subjective. From an early age you've been told that red is, red, but what if your red, is my green? <-- That may or may not have anything to do with what you're talking about, but it seemed relevant at the time.

Like I said before though, God cannot be proven, nor unproven, in fact merely proving that you exist is hard in and of itself, let alone proving God. This is why it takes faith.

Also, a question, to... anyone who can answer really, are emotions a sense?
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There is a very long and detailed discussion of the (in)compatibility of Science and Religion at http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2009/06/23/science-and-religion-are-not-compatible/ which I think might be of interest to those who have followed this thread.
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I find that interesting, it matches some observations I've made, where, while "Atheism and Theism" in themselves are not really scientific claims (neither is verifiable, they're more philosophical positions and opinions at best), religious claims are largely unscientific, I'd disagree that a Deist or Spinozist or Monist could be told their views are incompatible with science, but I would agree that anyone making affirmative, religious claims can be argued against with science alone and their position be called incompatible with science.
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Religion and science are incompatible in the same way that maths and literature are incompatible.
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Math and literature are not incompatible, each phrase or word can have a numerical meaning or be a variable. We relate to the two very differently because of language and it's usage. Common school math however, usually has only one meaning or answer making it more difficult to understand than common language because language is learned as a form of communication. Man! this would make a good discussion topic. "The mathematics of literature, or some such thing."
Science and religion are not incompatible, one can use observable data to further religious study. A scientific advance in religion is still an advance.

There are differences between science, religion, math, and literature, but they all can relate to each other to some degree.
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E7, I would like to point out that math != numerology.

I just wanted to put that out there. I will likely respond to the science/religion compatibility issue soon. Of course, for any who know me, as a Christian and a scientifically minded person, I think religion and science are highly compatible. Historically religion has been a motivating force behind many of the world's great scientists. More after I read the article...
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Firstly, E7, that's total crap, maths and literature are incompatible, they are not even remotely related, one is structuring language in order to tell stories, the other is about numerical sequence and rules, numerology is not mathematics.

Secondly, I agree one can be a theist and scientifically minded, my point was, as I'll reiterate, a god claim can't be verified or disproven, it's a philosophical question, however, science can refute religious claims, especially religious claims made without evidentiary support or made dogmatically in the face of evidentiary support.
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I didn't say they were incompatible. I just said they were incompatible "in the same way".

When I say science maths and religion literature are "incompatible", I don't mean that you can't enjoy both. I don't mean that there can't be any overlap. There's no rule that mathmeticians can't enjoy literature, or vice versa. The point is that they are different subjects, each valid in their own way, but they aren't looking for the same things.

When scientists look for science in religion, they might as well be driving a jeep into the ocean to hunt buffalo with a rifle. They're not going to get what they're looking for. That's not where buffalo are. But that doesn't mean there's nothing in the ocean. If someone else takes a boat and a fishing rod into the ocean, they'll get what they're looking for.
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That would depend on the religious claim. "There is a God who loves us" cannot be disproved... "The Earth is 6,000 years old and was made by magic." very falsifiable.
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No part of the [Bible] even says the Earth is 6,000 years old.

The point is that just because something isn't literally, objectively, scientifically, externally, historically correct, doesn't mean there's no value in it. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings aren't literally, objectively, scientifically, externally, historically correct, but that doesn't mean people can't find value, truth and meaning in them. It's just that it's encoded in allegory and metaphor. Some truths are best expressed in symbolism. We don't run around saying "Harry Potter isn't true! Lord of the Rings isn't real! Stop watching Star Trek because it's not real!". As if it's never occurred to them that a work of fiction can still be valuable. That it can still express truths in subtext. That it can still inspire and educate.

I think too many people assume that "belief" is the most important aspect of religion. For most religions, "belief" isn't necessarily the most important thing. Scientists seem to think that if they can shut down the "belief" part, suddenly all the religions will go away. I think that deep down, even if some members of some religions don't admit it, religion is more about function than belief.
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I thought the same, but I've heard some terrifying shit about religion in America, I watched a documentary about an Evangelical camp, you know some twenty-something per cent of that country are Evangelical Christians? A church that preaches the Genesis and Noah's Ark accounts as literal truths?

For those of us in countries where bringing faith into the public forum, into schools and so on is an odd concept, and believing evolution is false makes you part of a lunatic fringe group, this seems absolutely mind boggling, but it happens in America, they're still arguing in some states as to whether or not Intelligent Design should be taught as an alternative to evolution in science classes. This is an ongoing debate.

Sure, I have no problem with a benign faith in a higher power, but making truth claims about the observable universe based on religion and denying evidence, and, to be more terrifying, bringing that into the political forum is crazy, and incompatible with reasonable, rational and "normal" society.
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I was talking about religion in the world, not Christianity in America. Someone else can do the maths on that.
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The Forum > Philosophy & Religion > Obligatory "Existence of God" Thread
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