Arguments for God

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Fluminator
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Arguments for God

#1 Post by Fluminator » Tue Jul 27, 2021 6:32 pm

To people who know me I usually troll around with things like this, but this is actually going to be a serious thread.

I've always believed in a God for personal reasons, but I've always thought that scientific arguments for God by definition could never be compelling since God is supernatural and falls outside the realm of the natural.

But lately I've been reading stuff like philosophers arguing for God and some are more compelling than I initially thought. At the very least, it feels like that it's more intellectually costly to be an atheist than I initially thought.

But I've heard a lot of rebuttals saying most of these arguments have been debunked or are not convincing when you dig deep. It's become hard to read articles on either side of it when I want to directly respond to them and get a reply instead of searching for where someone else has made that criticism or comment before.

That's why I kind of want to post some of these arguments here where they can be picked apart by people who have a bit of a head start in reading about this stuff and more thoroughly familiar with the arguments.

Will post more soon when not at work lol.
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Re: Arguments for God

#2 Post by Fluminator » Tue Jul 27, 2021 6:37 pm

LIke the Kalam-Cosmological argument is the easiest.

Either we had something come from nothing at a point in time, or there's an eternal existence outside of time.

The first one makes very little sense to me. The closest argument for it was Lawrence Krauss's book "A universe from nothing" but the "nothing" in this book was very clearly something! It was a mix of quantum particles antimatter/matter separating which is a pretty far cry from nothing. But if we assume he's correct, we still essentially end up with the second conclusion, where this eternal existence (in this case a quantum soup of matter/antimatter) caused existence as we know it.

So what compelling arguments against the Kalam Cosmological are there? It's clear this alone isn't enough to get us a specific Christian/Muslim/Hindu God quite yet, bet it still gets us some form of eternal existence with caused everything, be it planned or accidental.

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Re: Arguments for God

#3 Post by Jamiet99uk » Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:37 pm

Fluminator wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 6:37 pm
LIke the Kalam-Cosmological argument is the easiest.

Either we had something come from nothing at a point in time, or there's an eternal existence outside of time.

The first one makes very little sense to me. The closest argument for it was Lawrence Krauss's book "A universe from nothing" but the "nothing" in this book was very clearly something! It was a mix of quantum particles antimatter/matter separating which is a pretty far cry from nothing. But if we assume he's correct, we still essentially end up with the second conclusion, where this eternal existence (in this case a quantum soup of matter/antimatter) caused existence as we know it.

So what compelling arguments against the Kalam Cosmological are there? It's clear this alone isn't enough to get us a specific Christian/Muslim/Hindu God quite yet, bet it still gets us some form of eternal existence with caused everything, be it planned or accidental.
If the 'existence out of time' claim is true, what caused that thing/entity/God to exist?

If the answer is "nothing did", then how is the first premise any worse?

This is nothing more than special pleading. The cosmological argument is weak.
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Re: Arguments for God

#4 Post by Jamiet99uk » Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:55 pm

The existence of God makes very little sense to me.

I do not understand the concept of God. It is a nonsense concept.

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Re: Arguments for God

#5 Post by Fluminator » Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:24 pm

Jamiet99uk wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:37 pm
If the 'existence out of time' claim is true, what caused that thing/entity/God to exist?
If you remove time, then there is no cause for anything. There's only existence and non-existence.

But what we do know right now is that there is currently existence which means our two options are

Non-existence -> Existence

or

∞ Existence ∞
Jamiet99uk wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:37 pm
If the answer is "nothing did", then how is the first premise any worse?

This is nothing more than special pleading. The cosmological argument is weak.
That logically cannot be the answer because something can not make an eternal thing begin to exist or it wouldn't be eternal.

But that is why out of the two options Non-Existence to Existence makes less sense because for Existence to come from Non-Existence something has to happen which means time has to be a component of this "nothing", which makes it not nothing making it impossible.

I don't see any logical contradictions with assuming an eternal existence.
Last edited by Fluminator on Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Arguments for God

#6 Post by Fluminator » Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:25 pm

Jamiet99uk wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:55 pm
The existence of God makes very little sense to me.

I do not understand the concept of God. It is a nonsense concept.
Both concepts of
Non-existence -> Existence

and

∞ Existence ∞

are absurd. Yet one has to be true. Unless there's another possibility I'm missing?

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Re: Arguments for God

#7 Post by Jamiet99uk » Tue Jul 27, 2021 11:06 pm

Fluminator wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:24 pm
Jamiet99uk wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:37 pm
If the 'existence out of time' claim is true, what caused that thing/entity/God to exist?
If you remove time, then there is no cause for anything. There's only existence and non-existence.

But what we do know right now is that there is currently existence which means our two options are

Non-existence -> Existence

or

∞ Existence ∞
Jamiet99uk wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:37 pm
If the answer is "nothing did", then how is the first premise any worse?

This is nothing more than special pleading. The cosmological argument is weak.
That logically cannot be the answer because something can not make an eternal thing begin to exist or it wouldn't be eternal.

But that is why out of the two options Non-Existence to Existence makes less sense because for Existence to come from Non-Existence something has to happen which means time has to be a component of this "nothing", which makes it not nothing making it impossible.

I don't see any logical contradictions with assuming an eternal existence.
Then what if the universe has always existed?

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Re: Arguments for God

#8 Post by Jamiet99uk » Tue Jul 27, 2021 11:10 pm

To read my argument in reverse, as it were:

If you assert that God exists, and:
If you assert that God was not created, then:
You accept that something can exist without being created.

This does not demonstrate that "God" (whatever the fuck that is) is that something.
This does not demonstrate that "God" (whatever the fuck that is) exists.
It is not an argument for God.
The Universe may simply have no start point.
What if a Universe existed before the "big bang" in a form we can no longer perceive due to that event?
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Re: Arguments for God

#9 Post by Jamiet99uk » Tue Jul 27, 2021 11:12 pm

Fluminator wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:25 pm
Jamiet99uk wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:55 pm
The existence of God makes very little sense to me.

I do not understand the concept of God. It is a nonsense concept.
Both concepts of
Non-existence -> Existence

and

∞ Existence ∞

are absurd. Yet one has to be true. Unless there's another possibility I'm missing?
My point is that I cannot conceive of God.

When you say "God" I have absolutely no idea what you mean.

God has never been described to me using terms which make any sense to me.

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Re: Arguments for God

#10 Post by flash2015 » Tue Jul 27, 2021 11:14 pm

Isn't this all just a mental masturbation exercise?

Even if this higher being exists, if I can't provably interact with it or use the assumption of its existence to predict the future then it is irrelevant.

Even if such an entity exists, I argue it is the height of hubris to believe that said entity cares about the actions of individual beings on a tiny planet in a vast universe where those individual beings have only been sentient for an incredibly small fraction of the universe's existence.

Of course there are plenty of reasons why humans invented the concept of God. If believing in this loving God that cares about your individual actions gives your life meaning and makes you happy, then that is wonderful. Just don't force this belief on anyone else.
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Re: Arguments for God

#11 Post by orathaic » Wed Jul 28, 2021 12:53 am

@Jamie, my very clear and understandable concept of God is God = Universe.

I believe the Universe exists, and that there is this actual realoobeyond my perception. I believe we can make logical sense of aspects of this Universe. That(as Spinoza put it) instead of prayer, it makes more sense to study the Universe and by increasing our understanding make our prayers come true (instead of expecting the Universe to simply grant our wishes because we asked nicely).

This is not a supernatural understanding of God, and I make no claims that the Universe cares about us or what we're doing. Except that we are part of it, and it is us.

This merely makes the claim that when you change your perspective to consider the whole Universe (in all its dimensions and quantum weirdness) that it is a greater entity. Not a personal God, but also not an impersonal lifeless mechanical collection of fields and symmetries. Reconceptualise it as God. Then attempt understand what that means for you. It neatly sidesteps the problem of evil and the absurdity of the above discussion.

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Re: Arguments for God

#12 Post by Octavious » Wed Jul 28, 2021 7:49 am

Fluminator wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:25 pm
Jamiet99uk wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:55 pm
The existence of God makes very little sense to me.

I do not understand the concept of God. It is a nonsense concept.
Both concepts of
Non-existence -> Existence

and

∞ Existence ∞

are absurd. Yet one has to be true. Unless there's another possibility I'm missing?
Well, yes. An alternative possibility is that there are multiple universes that can, to some degree, interact. Our universe may well have been brought into existence by external events.

The trouble with such debates is that we are quickly bogged down with the limitations of language. Words such as "universe", which are perfectly useful in the day to day sense, are quickly discovered to have definitions that are rather fluffy round the edges and hard to pin down when applied to debates like this.

There are a lot of scientists out there who use the term as shorthand for the observable universe, which is essentially everything as far as the eye can see with the edge being light from 14 billion years ago. As the universe seems to expand faster than light this leaves an awful lot of normal stuff out there that isn't in the universe. There are others who use it to mean everything from the Big Bang onwards, and who are quite happy to imagine stuff from before the big bang (we'll ignore the awkward time not existing issues here because, again, language lets us down somewhat) but consider them to be other universes. There are others, and I think this is probably the most commonly held view by the public (or at least those who have a concept of the universe), who use the word to simply mean everything that exists. Other definitions are very much available.

With so many of us meaning different things when we say "universe", talking about how it may or may not have started (or indeed what started even means if there was no time at the time, to use terminology that makes it even more incomprehensible) is problematic. Which may well partly explain why I don't have the foggiest idea why Fluminator finding the potential origins of the universe absurd has any impact at all on the existence or non existence of God.

A small observation on religion, which may or may not have any relevance, is how much it has changed over the years. A couple of thousand years ago and it was very common for people to both believe in gods but not to love them. Zeus could be worshipped or feared or considered to be a complete twat by his human believers, and the same can be said of various pagan religions. In the modern age pretty much all of the faithful have a positive view of God, with the rest of humanity simply not believing. The segment of the population who believes in a higher power who is also a complete arse seems to have vanished.
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Re: Arguments for God

#13 Post by Jamiet99uk » Wed Jul 28, 2021 10:35 am

orathaic wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 12:53 am
@Jamie, my very clear and understandable concept of God is God = Universe.

I believe the Universe exists, and that there is this actual realoobeyond my perception. I believe we can make logical sense of aspects of this Universe. That(as Spinoza put it) instead of prayer, it makes more sense to study the Universe and by increasing our understanding make our prayers come true (instead of expecting the Universe to simply grant our wishes because we asked nicely).

This is not a supernatural understanding of God, and I make no claims that the Universe cares about us or what we're doing. Except that we are part of it, and it is us.

This merely makes the claim that when you change your perspective to consider the whole Universe (in all its dimensions and quantum weirdness) that it is a greater entity. Not a personal God, but also not an impersonal lifeless mechanical collection of fields and symmetries. Reconceptualise it as God. Then attempt understand what that means for you. It neatly sidesteps the problem of evil and the absurdity of the above discussion.
I like this. I am in awe of it as the Universe.

But, I don't need to call it other names. I don't need to "conceptualise it as God". It is already a marvel as it is.

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Re: Arguments for God

#14 Post by Jamiet99uk » Wed Jul 28, 2021 10:38 am

flash2015 wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 11:14 pm
Even if such an entity exists, I argue it is the height of hubris to believe that said entity cares about the actions of individual beings on a tiny planet in a vast universe where those individual beings have only been sentient for an incredibly small fraction of the universe's existence.
I also agree with this.

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Re: Arguments for God

#15 Post by Fluminator » Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:21 pm

Jamiet99uk wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 11:06 pm
Fluminator wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:24 pm
Jamiet99uk wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:37 pm
If the 'existence out of time' claim is true, what caused that thing/entity/God to exist?
If you remove time, then there is no cause for anything. There's only existence and non-existence.

But what we do know right now is that there is currently existence which means our two options are

Non-existence -> Existence

or

∞ Existence ∞
Jamiet99uk wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:37 pm
If the answer is "nothing did", then how is the first premise any worse?

This is nothing more than special pleading. The cosmological argument is weak.
That logically cannot be the answer because something can not make an eternal thing begin to exist or it wouldn't be eternal.

But that is why out of the two options Non-Existence to Existence makes less sense because for Existence to come from Non-Existence something has to happen which means time has to be a component of this "nothing", which makes it not nothing making it impossible.

I don't see any logical contradictions with assuming an eternal existence.
Then what if the universe has always existed?
If we define the universe as existence then yes, that would be logically consistent.
But only if it doesn't infinitely regress back in time which means a part had to be outside of time

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Re: Arguments for God

#16 Post by Fluminator » Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:23 pm

Jamiet99uk wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 11:10 pm
To read my argument in reverse, as it were:

If you assert that God exists, and:
If you assert that God was not created, then:
You accept that something can exist without being created.

This does not demonstrate that "God" (whatever the fuck that is) is that something.
This does not demonstrate that "God" (whatever the fuck that is) exists.
It is not an argument for God.
The Universe may simply have no start point.
What if a Universe existed before the "big bang" in a form we can no longer perceive due to that event?
I'm not saying god yet. At the moment it's just eternal existence.
Baby steps.

And I do believe something can exist without being created. I don't believe nothing can create something though.

I fully believe the big bang was not the beginning of existence already. If it was then nothing made something which is literally what I'm arguing against.

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Re: Arguments for God

#17 Post by Fluminator » Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:26 pm

flash2015 wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 11:14 pm
Isn't this all just a mental masturbation exercise?

Even if this higher being exists, if I can't provably interact with it or use the assumption of its existence to predict the future then it is irrelevant.

Even if such an entity exists, I argue it is the height of hubris to believe that said entity cares about the actions of individual beings on a tiny planet in a vast universe where those individual beings have only been sentient for an incredibly small fraction of the universe's existence.

Of course there are plenty of reasons why humans invented the concept of God. If believing in this loving God that cares about your individual actions gives your life meaning and makes you happy, then that is wonderful. Just don't force this belief on anyone else.
Philosophy in general is mental masturbation.
None of this has anything to do with the Kalam Cosmological argument though.

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Re: Arguments for God

#18 Post by Fluminator » Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:33 pm

Octavious wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 7:49 am
Fluminator wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:25 pm
Jamiet99uk wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:55 pm
The existence of God makes very little sense to me.

I do not understand the concept of God. It is a nonsense concept.
Both concepts of
Non-existence -> Existence

and

∞ Existence ∞

are absurd. Yet one has to be true. Unless there's another possibility I'm missing?
Well, yes. An alternative possibility is that there are multiple universes that can, to some degree, interact. Our universe may well have been brought into existence by external events.

The trouble with such debates is that we are quickly bogged down with the limitations of language. Words such as "universe", which are perfectly useful in the day to day sense, are quickly discovered to have definitions that are rather fluffy round the edges and hard to pin down when applied to debates like this.

There are a lot of scientists out there who use the term as shorthand for the observable universe, which is essentially everything as far as the eye can see with the edge being light from 14 billion years ago. As the universe seems to expand faster than light this leaves an awful lot of normal stuff out there that isn't in the universe. There are others who use it to mean everything from the Big Bang onwards, and who are quite happy to imagine stuff from before the big bang (we'll ignore the awkward time not existing issues here because, again, language lets us down somewhat) but consider them to be other universes. There are others, and I think this is probably the most commonly held view by the public (or at least those who have a concept of the universe), who use the word to simply mean everything that exists. Other definitions are very much available.

With so many of us meaning different things when we say "universe", talking about how it may or may not have started (or indeed what started even means if there was no time at the time, to use terminology that makes it even more incomprehensible) is problematic. Which may well partly explain why I don't have the foggiest idea why Fluminator finding the potential origins of the universe absurd has any impact at all on the existence or non existence of God.

A small observation on religion, which may or may not have any relevance, is how much it has changed over the years. A couple of thousand years ago and it was very common for people to both believe in gods but not to love them. Zeus could be worshipped or feared or considered to be a complete twat by his human believers, and the same can be said of various pagan religions. In the modern age pretty much all of the faithful have a positive view of God, with the rest of humanity simply not believing. The segment of the population who believes in a higher power who is also a complete arse seems to have vanished.
It might help if I clarify my terms.
Existence is everything. That includes the potential multiverse. This includes a potential god. This includes potential quantum soup.

I agree the word universe usually means our observable universe which is likely not all of existence. Thats why I use the word existence for stuff like this.

Religion changing over the years isn't super compelling to me as a reason to doubt the idea behind it when things such as philosophy/morality/politics have changed and developed over the years too.

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Re: Arguments for God

#19 Post by flash2015 » Wed Jul 28, 2021 4:30 pm

Fluminator wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:26 pm
flash2015 wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 11:14 pm
Isn't this all just a mental masturbation exercise?

Even if this higher being exists, if I can't provably interact with it or use the assumption of its existence to predict the future then it is irrelevant.

Even if such an entity exists, I argue it is the height of hubris to believe that said entity cares about the actions of individual beings on a tiny planet in a vast universe where those individual beings have only been sentient for an incredibly small fraction of the universe's existence.

Of course there are plenty of reasons why humans invented the concept of God. If believing in this loving God that cares about your individual actions gives your life meaning and makes you happy, then that is wonderful. Just don't force this belief on anyone else.
Philosophy in general is mental masturbation.
None of this has anything to do with the Kalam Cosmological argument though.
I wouldn't say philosophy in general is mental masturbation. Science was once defined as natural philosophy. Philosophy is a much better way of defining morality than religion.

What is there to say about the Kalam Cosmological argument though? There isn't anything there. Essentially it just makes a list of assertions (e.g. the universe began to exist at some point - there is no evidence that it didn't always exist, the big bang could be a cycle)...and if you accept these assertions, therefore God.

The only reason why this argument "began to exist" is because if someone can get you to accept these assertions, it isn't that big a leap to asserting this God is the Christian one or the Muslim one.

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Re: Arguments for God

#20 Post by flash2015 » Wed Jul 28, 2021 4:52 pm

CosmicSkeptic does a decent takedown of it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P28hy8JRYUk

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