Atheism. Now with added reverence!

sexed_up_atheism_dawkins

Pantheism is the belief that God and the Universe are identical.

The chief objection I have to pantheism is that it says nothing. To call the world God is not to explain it; it is only to enrich our language with a superfluous synonym for the word “world”.

— Arthur Schopenhauer, A Few Words On Pantheism

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40 Responses to Atheism. Now with added reverence!

  1. Tim Wikiriwhi says:

    Is that a real dawkins quote?

  2. Richard says:

    Pantheism is sexed up atheism. Deism is watered-down theism.

    — Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

  3. Terry says:

    The purpose of a rational philosophy is to explain what is in the world, not to explain the nature of the world itself as a whole. To attempt to explain the world in it’s totality – i.e. what it is and how it got there – is to sever one’s mental connection to the world one is *in* – i.e. to introduce a contradiction.

  4. Richard says:

    Here are two things that are NOT identical.
    – God
    – the Universe

    Here are three things that are NOT identical.
    – to attempt to explain the world in it’s totality
    – to sever one’s mental connection to the world one is *in*
    – to introduce a contradiction

  5. Terry says:

    And your point is, Richard?

    God and the universe are *metaphysical* concepts. The three I mentioned are *epistemological* in nature.

    Contradictions can’t exist metaphysically – i.e. in reality. Epistemologically – i.e. in one’s mind – they certainly can (but shouldn’t).

  6. Tim Wikiriwhi says:

    Einstein would disagree with Dawkins. He would say Pantheism is a form of Deism. Ie He said he believed in Spinoza’s ‘God’… yet in other places he says God has ‘intelligence’…. yet does not concern himself with the ‘petty’ Mankind.
    Einstein was a typical man in that he was very inconsistent… his views appear to have changed as time went by… this is normal.
    He did say ethical teachers like Christ were more important than physicists, and this is easily appreciated in the light of how his theories led to the development of Nuclear weapons. Obviously Mankind needs High ethics to keep him from Exterminating himself utterly!
    The very last thing he says in the early editions of his book ‘The world as I see it’ actually says that Christianity as Jesus Christ taught it is the highest ethics ever given to humanity, and that it is capable of solving all of humanities ills!
    Yet modern editions have edited that out!
    I know this because I used to have an early edition (thinking mans library) and as I lost it, I bought a new edition and was horrified to see that it had been erased!
    This is exactly the sort of shyster ‘Revisionism’ which Rabid Modern Atheist Academia is purpertrating en Masse.
    In so doing People like Dawkins will argue that Einstein was an atheist (because according to him pantheism is a form of atheism, and he never bothers himself to look into the many other positive things Einstein says about God and Christ)
    Personally I see Pantheism as a very naive religion common to Tribalism… mother earth, Papa Sky…etc
    This fits in perfectly with Greenism… Earth worshippers whom subordinate Mankind to Nature.
    This cosmology is incapible of producing a high order society. It took the Judeo-Christian cosmology to empower mankind to use his reason to ‘Subdue the Earth’ to his purposes. Ie God gave man Dominion over the Earth… whereas Nature worship subordinates mankind to the Earth.
    http://blog.eternalvigilance.me/?s=Pugilist+sage+

  7. There is a subtle but important distinction to be made here:

    Pantheism entails the worship of things within the universe. Speaking for myself, I don’t ascribe to that.

    Panentheism is a philosophy that holds that the universe, as a whole, is a personality. I do ascribe to that.

    Terry: Panentheists do not attempt to describe how the world got here (necessarily), although I don’t think that that is introducing a contradiction — so long as you don’t refer to anything which depends on the space-time sequence; they do attempt to explain what it is at present.

    Richard:

    “Here are two things that are NOT identical.
    – God
    – the Universe”

    I submit to you that if you hold God to be all knowing and all powerful, yet He is not the universe itself, then you must therefore ascribe to metaphysical dualism. I challenge you to find solid evidence of that metaphysical claim.

  8. reed says:

    Solid evidence for metaphysical dualism 🙂

    Are consciousness and free conscious will solid enough?

    Terry
    Do you believe that existence has a foundation?
    Do you believe that your God consciously acts?

  9. Terry says:

    Mark –

    “Panentheism is a philosophy that holds that the universe, as a whole, is a personality. I do ascribe to that.”

    Please define your concepts for ‘personality’ and ‘universe’.

  10. Terry says:

    Reed –

    >”Do you believe that existence has a foundation?”

    You have already asked and I have already answered your question (http://blog.eternalvigilance.me/2012/11/delusions-of-randeur-the-missing-link/)

    Existence *is* the foundation (of all knowledge).

    >”Do you believe that your God consciously acts?”

    *My* God? What do you mean? When I wrote above that God and the universe are metaphysical concepts, I meant that, metaphysically, one must choose one or the other (or else a dream-like state) as one’s metaphysical foundation. I choose the universe – i.e. existence, which is “everything that exists”.

  11. Reed:

    “Are consciousness and free conscious will solid enough?”

    Can you point to anything about these things which seem to transcend the laws of physics?

    Terry:

    “Please define your concepts for ‘personality’ and ‘universe’.”

    Personality — attributes pertaining to an individual self-hood.

    Universe — That which exists.

  12. Side point,

    “Personality,” in this context, also entails the self-hood which the attributes are attached to.

  13. Terry says:

    Mark –

    “Personality — attributes pertaining to an individual self-hood.”

    Looking at the dictionary, I submit that “selfhood” in this context would be defined as “the state of having a distinct identity”, and “individual” would be defined as “existing as a distinct entity”. Am I correct?

    If correct, then I would ask “distinct from what”?

    If I am wrong, then what is your definitions for these concepts.

  14. Tim Wikiriwhi says:

    If the term Universe is defined as ‘all that exists’ then God is a part of the Universe because he exists. Yet this definition is preloaded with atheistic bullshit and is supposed to exclude God. The Universe is better defined as All Matter, space, and Energy. Or as all things within the space time continuum… and this is a strictly limited temporal domain which Naturalists believe started at the so called big bang.
    Now because something cannot come from Nothing and to eliminate infinite regression it is necessary to postulate the existence of the Uncreated God.
    Thus Science indicates that that biblical theism is the most rational position.
    the Eternal non-physical God is separate from and the Cause of the Universe.

    This is a fact of reality Atheists hide from themselves when they attempt to call the universe ‘everything that exists’. They are deluded.
    They cling to the ‘Eternal/ steady state theory of the universe’ which was the atheist position before science actually proved the Bible was correct and the universe did have a beginning.
    Terry as an atheist is clinging to an untenable position scientifically speaking, and is divorced from reality and is therefore committing the Cardinal Sin for an Objectivist perspective.
    God is Intelligent because as Einstein said the Universe Reveals his intelligence via the Laws which govern the Universe and A Flew abandoned atheism once he realized how ‘fine tuned’ the universe really is.
    What is also interesting to me is just how close to the truth Objectivism comes.
    It is True that the ‘moral existence’ is the most rational, Yet this proves Christian Ethics to be Rational, not atheism! For Eg Terry says that ‘Murder is irrational’… and this validates the Theistic doctrine of God given right to life… yet there is no way you can reach this moral via atheism except as *a subjective* opinion. Ie A King may Reason that inequality and oppressive powers are just dandy, and terry may argue that they are not, yet Terry cannot make his rationale into a binding and objective moral Law! He is stuck with his subjective opinion. There is no higher Arbiter to vindicate his position as objectively true… reality is cold and indifferent to such debates.
    Thus Terry leaps from his subjective idea that The only moral Law is that a person is faithful to reality… claiming this is rational… yet he can claim Murder is objectively irrational… or immoral. He may deep down believe that murder is immoral yet he cant get that from his foundational beliefs… as an objective truth. In Reality terry is doing what Rand did. Ie Plagiarizing the values of Protestant Christianity which gave birth to such things as the rights of the individual and the ethics of self reliance and self responsibility.
    Thus in summary Terry is trapped in subjectivism, yet his argument that the moral life ‘is rational’ vindicates Christianity.
    And Terry commits the Cardinal sin by denying that Rational necessity of God, both as a scientific fact, and the font of Objective binding morality.

  15. reed says:

    Terry
    Oops those questions were intended for Mark.

    Mark’s self defeating question made me think he was the Objectivist. LOL.

    Mark
    Do you believe that existence has a foundation?
    Do you believe that your God consciously acts?

  16. Terry:

    ‘If correct, then I would ask “distinct from what”?’

    When referring to concretes of this magnitude, the lexicon used to describe much smaller concretes often falls short. This is why, when it comes to Epistemology, you have to add a little Wittgenstein into your Rand.

    In a sense, God is “distinct” in that He is not merely the sum of His parts — in the sense that human identity is not merely a collection of cells and organs.

    In another sense, God is not “distinct” from anything — in the sense that any one part of an individual’s body can be referred to as being part of his person.

    God is an emergent property of existence, in the same way that a tree is the emergent result of DNA coding within a seed.

    Tim:

    I don’t claim to know how the universe exists. I have to believe that it has always existed, which would seem to be a truism, as it is absurd to refer to something being prior to the existence of the space-time fabric (the concept of “prior” being dependent on the space-time sequence).

    Presumably, it began at some point, but to say that something existed prior to space time is an idea which is absurd on its face.

    As an aside, I find it interesting that atheists regard me as a dressed up theist, while theists regard me as an atheist in pantheist clothing.

    Reed:

    “Do you believe that existence has a foundation?”

    In what sense?

    “Do you believe that your God consciously acts?”

    That is a complex question.

    Yes, I do.

    However.

    Actions which are conscious on his level must certainly be borderline inconceivable to us, in the same way that our conscious actions are inconceivable to the innate capacities of our individual cells. He also makes conscious actions on our level, however, on His level of consciousness, they are almost certainly sub-sub-subconscious subroutines. Thus it is possible to have an individual relationship with God, but for it to be as rewarding for Him as it is for us, it takes the collective participation of entire masses of humanity, and this is a relationship that we, as individuals, are not likely to ever fully grasp.

  17. Terry says:

    Tim –

    “The Universe is better defined as All Matter, space, and Energy.”

    Are you claiming that our consciousnesses are not part of the universe?

    “Or as all things within the space time continuum…”

    Space-time is in the universe, not the other way around. The universe exists neither anywhere or at anytime; the existence of space and time depend on the universe’s existence.

    >>”and this is a strictly limited temporal domain which Naturalists believe started at the so called big bang.”

    The big bang merely explains the birth of the known universe, not that which is not known about the universe or is unknowable.

    >>”Now because something cannot come from Nothing and to eliminate infinite regression it is necessary to postulate the existence of the Uncreated God.”

    It is not necessary if you simply have a rational definition for universe: everything that exists – *it* is your logical conceptual starting point for the “uncreated” and eternal. You have gone about solving a problem that didn’t exist.

    >>”Terry is clinging to an untenable position scientifically speaking. God is Intelligent because as Einstein said the Universe Reveals his intelligence via the Laws which govern the Universe and A Flew abandoned atheism once he realized who ‘finer tuned’ it really is.”

    Einstein was a physicist, not a philosopher, and a self-confessed agnostic one at that. It is ridiculous for you to quote him in support of your theistic views. Here is what he wrote the year before he died:

    “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

    Letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind, January 3, 1954

    and

    “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

    – Albert Einstein, letter to an atheist (1954), quoted in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffman

  18. Terry says:

    Mark –

    >>”In a sense, God is “distinct” in that He is not merely the sum of His parts — in the sense that human identity is not merely a collection of cells and organs”

    But human identity *is* a sum of our characteristics, as is the universe’s identity, so in that respect God, however you wish to define him, must also logically be a sum of his characteristics. The question is, what characteristics are distinct to God as apart from the universe? And, how do you know it?

    I submit that the first sense you use is misapplied, and that you are correct only in the second sense in that “God is not “distinct” from anything”. Which means, he doesn’t exist.

    >>”God is an emergent property of existence, in the same way that a tree is the emergent result of DNA coding within a seed.”

    So God, for you, is subordinate to (i.e. requires) the existence of existence in order for Him to exist, correct?

    I submit that you have just kicked a home goal.

    And, FYI, a tree’s emergence is dependent on much more than just it’s DNA coding.

  19. “But human identity *is* a sum of our characteristics, as is the universe’s identity, so in that respect God, however you wish to define him, must also logically be a sum of his characteristics. The question is, what characteristics are distinct to God as apart from the universe? And, how do you know it?”

    I consider the analogy between the human body versus identity and the universe versus the God consciousness to be fully applicable, insofar as the God consciousness may be understood by us. Thus, God’s consciousness is distinct from any particular object in the universe, yet is not distinct from the universe as a whole.

    If you cut off my finger, I would still be me. Yet, if you came at me with a butcher knife, I would hasten to assert that that finger is a part of me.

    “So God, for you, is subordinate to (i.e. requires) the existence of existence in order for Him to exist, correct?”

    Yes.

    I am a Metaphysical Monist.

    “I submit that you have just kicked a home goal.”

    You assume I’m a Theist.

    “And, FYI, a tree’s emergence is dependent on much more than just it’s DNA coding.”

    Analogies sometimes fall short.

    But I think you understand my point.

  20. BTW: subordinate is not really an applicable concept.

    Except to the extent that you would say that you are subordinate to your body.

    Wasn’t it Rand that said “Existence, to be mastered must be obeyed?”

    God is the ultimate master of existence.

  21. Terry says:

    Mark –

    >>”I consider the analogy between the human body versus identity and the universe versus the God consciousness to be fully applicable”

    I don’t, because for analogies to be valid they need to refer to something experiential, otherwise they are just floating abstractions unrelated to anything real. You have provided no evidence for God’s self-awareness, and confessed you don’t know how you can know it (which means you don’t know it).

    >>”“So God, for you, is subordinate to (i.e. requires) the existence of existence in order for Him to exist, correct?” Yes.”

    Panentheism asserts that God is greater than the universe.

    I submit that you have again contradicted yourself again. You have defined the universe as “That which exists”, making it synonymous with ‘existence’, since existence is also that which exists, and proceeded to claim that God is lesser than existence but greater than the universe. How do you reconcile this?

    >>”You assume I’m a Theist.”

    How is Panentheism not a type of “theism”?

    >>”BTW: subordinate is not really an applicable concept.”

    OK, dependent upon then. My point stands.

    >>”God is the ultimate master of existence.”

    If God is dependent on existence, how can He be master of it? Using your mind-body analogy, I am certainly dependent on my body existing, but how am I master of it, other than to say that I may employ it to act upon that which is in existence (other than my body) in order to achieve my goals. What would God be using existence (His body) to act upon other than existence itself? If nothing (which would be the logical conclusion), then you are positing a God who by definition can have no purpose. How is that not a vacuous existence?

  22. Tim says:

    Terry
    Our conscience is a non-physical reality.
    It is not bound by the Natural Laws of the Universe, nor can it be derived from a complex assembly of atoms… as a computer can be (an attunement).
    A computer, though it owes it’s existence to super-natural powers (intelligent design as opposed to Natural unguided forces) is not conscious even though it can perform complex operations.
    It can mimic many things humans do, which may deceive the simple minded into thinking Humans are merely computers, yet there are fundamental differences.
    We love and hate, etc. We are morally culpable. Etc etc. We are free to choose answers/ to behave in certain ways we know are wrong *at will*. Computers cant do that.
    They are automations.

    And space and time are not *inside* the universe, the universe is confined within Space and time. It is within the limits of space and time that the Laws of physics hold their dominion, yet it is not an absolute dominion.
    Outside the this temporal universe is a greater timeless ‘spiritual’ dominion.
    It existed before the universe ever was, and it is from this greater eternal reality that the universe and the Laws of physics sprang into being.
    Simply because you cannot touch, or weigh this greater reality does not render it ‘un real’ or ‘unknowable’. Both those Ideas are the circular reasoning’s of the Slaves of Naturalistic Materialism… those whom you say are like you accuse Einstein… mere ‘physicists’… not real philosophers! (your Dichotomy! Thanks.)
    To say the Universe is outside space and time is to say the universe in not the Dominion of physics but includes the super-natural eternal realities which existed before the space time thingy came into being and this Your idea of the universe is just another name for God.

  23. Terry says:

    Tim –

    >”And space and time are not *inside* the universe, the universe is confined within Space and time. ”

    You commit the logical fallacies of Reification and Wrong Direction in respect to space and time. Space and time are relational concepts that are dependent on something existing to relate to something else; if nothing physically exists, there can be neither space nor time.

    >>”To say the Universe is outside space and time is to say the universe in not the Dominion of physics but includes the super-natural eternal realities which existed before the space time thingy came into being and this Your idea of the universe is just another name for God.”

    My point exactly. My Universe *is* your God, the only difference, metaphorically speaking, is that I am looking directly at a tiny wee part of Him/it, able to comprehend Him/it, whereas you have your eyes pointed backwards facing towards your skull, the whites of your eyes showing, telling me, as only a blind man could, what you can see of Him/it. You are explaining to me what you can hear. I am standing next to you telling you to look outward, you are telling me to shut my eyes and listen. Hence our dilemma that we cannot see eye-to-eye about Him/it. Are you hearing what I am saying?

  24. Terry says:

    Thought I had better clarify that I wasn’t agreeing with the literal wording or formulation of your statement, only with your concluding point (although from my perspective I word it in reverse), and that I arrive at that conclusion on the basis that what you call God and what I call the universe both share the same defining characteristic, namely: that “everything that exist” is under the dominion of Him/it, including space and time.

  25. Terry:

    As it turns out, the universe tends toward order:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21447162

    http://www.signallake.com/innovation/SelfOrganizingQuantumJul08.pdf

    This does imply some sort of universal intelligence.

    “I submit that you have again contradicted yourself again. You have defined the universe as “That which exists”, making it synonymous with ‘existence’, since existence is also that which exists, and proceeded to claim that God is lesser than existence but greater than the universe. How do you reconcile this?”

    I have not said God is less than existence.

    I have said God is identical to existence.

    I know that your interior dialogue requires you to believe that my argument contradicts itself. However, it does not.

    ‘How is Panentheism not a type of “theism”?’

    It is distinct from what is commonly thought of as theism. I.e., the “Theism” which Rand addressed.

    “If God is dependent on existence, how can He be master of it? Using your mind-body analogy, I am certainly dependent on my body existing, but how am I master of it, other than to say that I may employ it to act upon that which is in existence (other than my body) in order to achieve my goals. What would God be using existence (His body) to act upon other than existence itself? If nothing (which would be the logical conclusion), then you are positing a God who by definition can have no purpose. How is that not a vacuous existence?”

    Your consciousness does depend on your body.

    Yet your body is at the disposal of your consciousness.

    The two are not separate.

    They are both necessary components of the object referred to as “Terry.”

  26. Tim:

    “Our conscience is a non-physical reality.”

    That’s debatable.

    “And space and time are not *inside* the universe, the universe is confined within Space and time.”

    You understand, of course, that this flies in the face of the Standard Model of Physics.

    Terry:

    “My Universe *is* your God”

    Why, that’s almost enlightened.

    Listen, I’ve read almost everything Ayn Rand ever wrote. I consumed it and incorporated it into my soul.

    The thing is, Ayn never gave a satisfactory answer as to the origins of life and the universe. To me, these things strongly imply the existence of a powerful universal intelligence.

    You could say, “There is no God; merely self-organizing aspects to existence.”

    I submit that the distinction between a self-organizing universal trend and a universal intelligence is razor thin at best.

  27. Terry says:

    Mark –

    I can see that you have given this much thought.

    You did not address my main point, which alluded to Panantheism necessarily involving a variation of the infinite regression dilemma (i.e. a contradiction), namely, that if the universe is God’s body (so to speak) and the ‘essence’ of Him is his consciousness, toward what then is he directing Himself? I submit that this is where your analogy, which I admit is somewhat alluring, comes unstuck, because in reality a body and consciousness cannot exist *alone* – without phenomena to act upon the consciousness divorced from the body, the consciousness would be conscious of nothing, hence the contradiction.

    “The thing is, Ayn never gave a satisfactory answer as to the origins of life and the universe.”

    How can you have absorbed Objectivism in it’s totality, but then proceed to ask yourself an invalid question? By definition, the universe is everything that exists. To suppose that there is more to it is to proceed down the path of infinite regression, one way or the other, as, I submit, you have.

    One of Miss Rand’s quotes comes to mind over your asking yourself the invalid question:

    “People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don’t sit looking at it – WALK.”

  28. “You did not address my main point, which alluded to Panantheism necessarily involving a variation of the infinite regression dilemma (i.e. a contradiction), namely, that if the universe is God’s body (so to speak) and the ‘essence’ of Him is his consciousness, toward what then is he directing Himself? I submit that this is where your analogy, which I admit is somewhat alluring, comes unstuck, because in reality a body and consciousness cannot exist *alone* – without phenomena to act upon the consciousness divorced from the body, the consciousness would be conscious of nothing, hence the contradiction.”

    What does your nervous system interact with?

    What does your vascular system interact with?

    What does your digestive system interact with?

    As to whether God interacts with something external to himself, I would have to say, no, He does not.

    He describes Himself to Moses as “I Am.”

    Succinct and sufficient.

    Think of it another way:

    An germinated egg. What does it interact with?

    What happens when God is born?

    That is beyond me.

    “How can you have absorbed Objectivism in it’s totality, but then proceed to ask yourself an invalid question? By definition, the universe is everything that exists. To suppose that there is more to it is to proceed down the path of infinite regression, one way or the other, as, I submit, you have.”

    I have. See above.

    ““People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don’t sit looking at it – WALK.””

    I do walk. And I see a magnificent object in the distance that is far enough away that I cannot quite make it out. But I’m walking toward it.

  29. Terry says:

    Mark –

    “What happens when God is born?

    That is beyond me.”

    Is that your conceding your theory necessitates an infinite regression?

  30. “Is that your conceding your theory necessitates an infinite regression?”

    No. It’s my admission that there are things beyond my mental grasp at present.

  31. Terry says:

    I will rephrase my question since you seem to have missed what it inferred:

    Is that your conceding that using your analogy God must be born, i.e. your acceptance that He cannot exist without something other than His own body to be conscious of?

    The logical implication of a positive response *is* that an infinite regression is being entered into.

  32. “Is that your conceding that using your analogy God must be born, i.e. your acceptance that He cannot exist without something other than His own body to be conscious of?”

    I know you’re trying to pin me down.

    You might as well give it up.

    I don’t assert that this is the case.

    I mention it as a tantalizing possibility.

    Logic is merely a program which collates models against information and input.

    It is not, in and of itself, a source of knowledge. The pursuit of possibility is what enables knowledge. The sole purpose of logic is to ensure the viability of a model. And models must be imagined.

  33. Terry says:

    Mark –

    >>”I don’t assert that this is the case. I mention it as a tantalizing possibility.”

    Then I am (still) unsure what it is you are asserting is the case then. If God is the consciousness component of an integrated whole that comprises the universe as it’s bodily component (is this right?), then the obvious question is to ask towards what does God direct His bodily component? To be conscious of nothing but oneself and act only towards oneself is, I submit, a contradiction. How would God know that He is Himself? To identify oneself as Oneself, One would need to have something that is not Oneself to compare Oneself to. Panantheism (as I understand it) proposes no such something else, nor would logic permit it, as it would involve an infinite regression. So, I’ll leave it to you to choose your contradiction if you wish to claim yourself to be rational. Only if you admit that you are not rational will you be able to remove all contradictions from your argument.

    >>”Logic is merely a program which collates models against information and input. It is not, in and of itself, a source of knowledge”

    Let me remind you that your claim was that you are rational, not that you are logical (which is a precondition of but not a defining quality of being rational).

    And you are wrong that logic merely “collates models against information and input”. It is the mental process of identification and integration of information and input. There are essentially only two types of logic: inductive and deductive. You have described the function of deductive logic while ignoring the function inductive logic which is the most fundamental of the two, since the validity of deductive reasoning rests on the validity of the inductive reasoning that precedes it. All forms of unreason rest on one’s severing the dependency of deductive logic on inductive reasoning.

    >>”And models must be imagined.”

    I submit that since you (wrongly) posit that the use of logic necessitates the use of models, and all models are imagined, you are effectively asserting that reality must be imagined. What say you?

    ““It’s logical, but logic has nothing to do with reality.” Logic is the art or skill of non-contradictory identification. Logic has a single law, the Law of Identity, and its various corollaries. If logic has nothing to do with reality, it means that the Law of Identity is inapplicable to reality. If so, then: a. things are not what they are; b. things can be and not be at the same time, in the same respect, i.e., reality is made up of contradictions. If so, by what means did anyone discover it? By illogical means. (This last is for sure.) The purpose of that notion is crudely obvious. Its actual meaning is not: “Logic has nothing to do with reality,” but: “I, the speaker, have nothing to do with logic (or with reality).” When people use that catch phrase, they mean either: “It’s logical, but I don’t choose to be logical” or: “It’s logical, but people are not logical, they don’t think—and I intend to pander to their irrationality.” ~ AR

  34. “If God is the consciousness component of an integrated whole that comprises the universe as it’s bodily component (is this right?), then the obvious question is to ask towards what does God direct His bodily component?”

    Why would it be necessary for God to have to interact outward?

    “All forms of unreason rest on one’s severing the dependency of deductive logic on inductive reasoning.”

    There is a place for making a syllogistic argument, and there is a place for wild speculation. Where you know some reality must exist (e.g., the beginning of existence, if any), yet no sensible premises may be confidently asserted, speculation is all there is. When this is the case, you have to accept what seems most likely to you and keep an open mind. And that’s an elusive state of being which requires a good deal of introspection.

    “I submit that since you (wrongly) posit that the use of logic necessitates the use of models, and all models are imagined, you are effectively asserting that reality must be imagined. What say you?”

    Certainly not.

    Models are not reality. Models are ideas about reality. Models are hypotheses and theories.

    Models are advanced concepts.

    “““It’s logical, but logic has nothing to do with reality.” ”

    That is entirely not what I said and is a strawman.

    What I said was:

    Logic collates models against what is known about reality.

  35. Terry says:

    Mark –

    >>”Why would it be necessary for God to have to interact outward?”

    Because to be conscious is to be conscious of something external *via* something intermediary. See below.

    (from earlier:)
    >>”I consider the analogy between the human body versus identity and the universe versus the God consciousness to be fully applicable, insofar as the God consciousness may be understood by us. ”

    Based on your statement, if the analogy is refuted ipso facto you should renounce your Panentheism.

    The flaw in the analogy, I submit, is that the physical manifestation of our consciousness is not in fact our organs and limbs as it suggests – it is our *brain*. Our brain interacts with our organs and limbs via our sensory and nervous system which themselves interact with phenomena that are external to them. The process of interaction undeniably emanates outwards – i.e. from our brain, the physical manifestation, and our consciousness, the emergent property, to that which which is external to us and that we become conscious of. We are not “self–aware” of any of the inner neural activity that goes on inside our brain which houses our consciousness, only that which is external to both.

    In addition, and much more fundamentally in terms of your errors, I submit that Occam’s Razor is not being applied when it should be, since you have as yet to establish why there is a need to explain the existence of existence. You have thus far provided two reasons, both of which fall dismally short of justifying why Occam’s Razor should not be employed, namely:

    You have written that you need(ed) an answer to the question of how existence came to be. This is, as I have pointed out, an invalid question – it is invalid because while physical phenomena necessarily have physical causes, that fact does not translate to physics and physicality itself requiring cause, which means you commit (in additional to the other logical errors I have listed and which you have not even attempted to refute), the logical error of Post hoc ergo propter hoc, and;
    you have pointed to what you claim to be evidence of a self-organizing universe and use this as the basis for there being intelligent design, and thus God. Emergence and spontaneous order however are themselves caused by the synergistic effects that are produced by wholes. In other words it requires a whole – i.e an *entity* – to produce any type of synergistic effect, including what to us seems like self-organizing behavior. The reality is that the whole is not merely more, but also very different from the sum of its parts. The greatest ‘whole’ there is is the universe (both known and unknown combined). It is entirely unnecessary therefore to invent a whole new ‘whole’ to subsume what has already been identified as being the ultimate whole.
    Lastly –

    “What I said was: Logic collates models against what is known about reality.I look forward to your reply.”

    Do you hold that applying a model of some kind is required to know any and all facts about reality? If not, what facts can one know without the use of a model, according to you?

    I look forward to reading your reply.

  36. Terry says:

    Correction: ” … you have as yet to establish why there is a need to explain the *origin* of existence.”

  37. Terry:

    Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. Work and running my side projects have been keeping me very busy this week.

    “Because to be conscious is to be conscious of something external *via* something intermediary. See below.”

    God is self-conscious. This ties into my theory as to why evil exists. Evil exists as a temporal catalyst in the face of eternity. It gives God the opportunity to develop awareness.

    In the face of the infinite, the finite has no genuine existence. (any value)/(infinity) = 0. Yet the “0” of this equation is critical as a deo-epistemological catalyst.

    “Based on your statement, if the analogy is refuted ipso facto you should renounce your Panentheism.”

    “insofar as the God consciousness may be understood by us”

    I do think that gives me enough of an out here.

    “The flaw in the analogy, I submit, is that the physical manifestation of our consciousness is not in fact our organs and limbs as it suggests – it is our *brain*. Our brain interacts with our organs and limbs via our sensory and nervous system which themselves interact with phenomena that are external to them. The process of interaction undeniably emanates outwards – i.e. from our brain, the physical manifestation, and our consciousness, the emergent property, to that which which is external to us and that we become conscious of. We are not “self–aware” of any of the inner neural activity that goes on inside our brain which houses our consciousness, only that which is external to both.”

    Are you, by any chance, a neuroscientist? I am not. I think that the mind-body connection is a little deeper than that. If you can speak to that with any kind of scientific background, however, I am all ears.

    “you have as yet to establish why there is a need to explain the existence of existence.”

    We need to establish why (or, at least, how) it exists because it exists.

    “it is invalid because while physical phenomena necessarily have physical causes, that fact does not translate to physics and physicality itself requiring cause”

    I submit that this is a form of mysticism.

    Energy sources decay, even in the face of self-organizing forces. It therefore stands to reason that our universe (or, at least, the part of the universe which we can observe) must have had a point of origin which was a point of maximal energy concentration. This indicates that space time had a beginning. It is not unreasonable to speculate why or how physical existence came to be. Why should physical existence…exist?

    ‘(in additional to the other logical errors I have listed and which you have not even attempted to refute)”

    Remind me, if you would be so kind, as to what these logical errors are.

    “Emergence and spontaneous order however are themselves caused by the synergistic effects that are produced by wholes. In other words it requires a whole – i.e an *entity* – to produce any type of synergistic effect, including what to us seems like self-organizing behavior. The reality is that the whole is not merely more, but also very different from the sum of its parts. The greatest ‘whole’ there is is the universe (both known and unknown combined). It is entirely unnecessary therefore to invent a whole new ‘whole’ to subsume what has already been identified as being the ultimate whole.”

    I fail to see how any of this discredits my idea. In fact, if anything, it seems to support it. Your statement basically seems to boil down to: the Universe creates a synergistic, self-organizing effect…I’m simply extrapolating it one step beyond that. I don’t feel that that is all that much of a leap.

    “Do you hold that applying a model of some kind is required to know any and all facts about reality?”

    Any? No.

    All? Yes.

    “If not, what facts can one know without the use of a model, according to you?”

    The range of direct observation of concretes. Abstraction requires models.

  38. Terry says:

    Mark –

    Thanks for your patience waiting for my reply.

    >>”I do think that gives me enough of an out here.”

    To be frank, I gave it my best shot, but nothing written above that line made any sense to me.

    “Are you, by any chance, a neuroscientist? I am not. I think that the mind-body connection is a little deeper than that. If you can speak to that with any kind of scientific background, however, I am all ears.”

    Either one needs to be a neuroscientist or one does not in order to understand (and refute) your analogy. You are the one who posited the analogy as being one’s means of understanding your theory, so if you claim that being a neuroscientist is necessary to refute it, you are creating a contradiction for yourself by way of a insisting on a double standard. Either the analogy is accurate based on what is the case in reality, or it is not, and if it is, then since neither of us are required to be neuroscientists, we should be able to discuss it without it falling apart.

    As to my claim that one is not aware of brain activity at the physical level, lobotomies are often performed with only local anesthetic (which anesthetizes the scalp, not the brain) without the patient feeling anything (a google search will confirm this fact for you). Thus, everything external to the brain (including the nervous and sensory system) feeding it information is analogous to something external to God feeding Him information. The question is: what is external to God in your analogy?

    >”We need to establish why (or, at least, how) it exists because it exists.”

    When “it” is the “totality of existence”, such a question creates a contradiction. The whole is the whole and so can have no cause or “source”. Why? Because by virtue of being the ‘whole’ it *is* the cause and the source of all existents comprising it as a result of it’s “being”. To try to establish the nature (i.e. sum) of the ‘whole’ in any way is a self-defeating exercise since one only ever has access to some of things that comprise the whole and only in a limited respect. I shall now propose an analogy by way of a simple math equation:

    If 1+2+3 = 6, then I submit that the sum of 6 does not exist because 1 has been added to 2 and 3, rather, it should be looked at from the opposite perspective to be accurate, namely: 1 and 2 and 3 each exist because 6 is the total sum or ‘whole’. Why? Because the whole is the only thing that never changes. The identity of 6 thus necessitates the existence of 1, 2 and 3. Each of these sub-numbers possess their own identities and so as they proceed to interact with each other they must necessarily express those identities through actions: so, for example, instantaneously 3 becomes 1.5, 2 becomes 4 and 1 becomes 0.5 as a result of the interaction, yet, at the same time, the sum of the ‘whole’ still remains 6. So, in an instant the process plays out again (and again and again), 1.5 becoming 1.789, 4 becoming 2.2222 and 0.5 becoming 1.989. And so on. Ad infinitum. The “whole” remains 6 but never changes from being 6. It is only those entities which comprise it that change their identities. Such, I submit, is that nature of cause and effect, and the nature of change. Now, because the interactions are happening instantaneously and change is eternal, for one to try and calculate what the sum of all of the parts “is” is an impossibility. By asking why or how existence came to would require you to capture the whole of existence in one instant and perform your impossible calculation. You would need to be omnipresent and omniscient to do so.

    >> Me: “‘it is invalid because while physical phenomena necessarily have physical causes, that fact does not translate to physics and physicality itself requiring cause’

    You: “I submit that this is a form of mysticism.”

    I submit that to divide one into zero produces an error, and that to claim you have an answer to the equation OR that there is an answer to the equation that is not an error is a form of mysticism.

    >>”Energy sources decay, even in the face of self-organizing forces. It therefore stands to reason that our universe (or, at least, the part of the universe which we can observe) must have had a point of origin which was a point of maximal energy concentration”

    Existence = the observable/known universe + the unobservable/unknown universe. Despite your acknowledgment that the known and unknown *universe* (not universes!) are not one an the same, you nevertheless proceed to conflate the two in coming to your conclusion which is that the whole entire universe is behaving in a particular way. That is a contradiction.

    >>” This indicates that space time had a beginning. It is not unreasonable to speculate why or how physical existence came to be.”

    Ipso facto from the above, this conclusion of yours is based on a faulty premise and so cannot be posited except as an arbitrary assertion.

    >>”Why should physical existence…exist?”

    Another invalid question, because by what standard does one ‘measure’ the non-physical? To measure something one must first identify it by certain means.

    >>”I’m simply extrapolating it one step beyond that. I don’t feel that that is all that much of a leap.”

    It’s not the size of the leap that matters here, but the type of leap. And I submit that your “leap” is an entirely illogical one, which means that even though the gap may be small, it is infinitely deep, and you have fallen down it.

  39. “To be frank, I gave it my best shot, but nothing written above that line made any sense to me.”

    Basically, the “exterior reality” (not to be confused with “objective reality,” which far broader) for God is evil. Evil is the inability to cope with reality; i.e., weakness, and all of the derivative manifestations thereof (weakness, in this sense is an extremely broad concept). God exists in a holistic-light plane, which transcends the space-time sequence via the unique infinity-eternity (i.e., maximal-time-dilatory) properties of light. Evil, on the other hand, is strictly a temporal phenomenon, in that it resists the properties of objective reality, and is thus unsustainable. In the face of the infinite, the finite has no real existence.

    Evil exists within the sequence in order to spur the development of the God-mind within temporal space.

    “Either one needs to be a neuroscientist or one does not in order to understand (and refute) your analogy. You are the one who posited the analogy as being one’s means of understanding your theory, so if you claim that being a neuroscientist is necessary to refute it, you are creating a contradiction for yourself by way of a insisting on a double standard. Either the analogy is accurate based on what is the case in reality, or it is not, and if it is, then since neither of us are required to be neuroscientists, we should be able to discuss it without it falling apart.”

    Do you know Prinz’s proxytype theory of concepts? I’m dealing with a concept so big, that I have to deal in proxytypes. You’re demanding prototypical information.

    “As to my claim that one is not aware of brain activity at the physical level, lobotomies are often performed with only local anesthetic (which anesthetizes the scalp, not the brain) without the patient feeling anything (a google search will confirm this fact for you). Thus, everything external to the brain (including the nervous and sensory system) feeding it information is analogous to something external to God feeding Him information. The question is: what is external to God in your analogy?”

    See the first part of my response. And again, understand that I’m dealing with a proxytypical concept. I am not even going to attempt to answer something as specific as the details of divine sensory perception. I am a solitary brain cell trying to make sense of the greater reality its connected to.

    As to your number analogy. Now, I’m not a mathematician, but it seems to me that numbers mean nothing except that they represent concretes. So it’s not that in the equation 2 + 2 = 4, that “4” is the totality of its two components (2 & 2), but that “2 + 2” expresses an abstract idea which is identical to “4.” Otherwise, it would seem you are violating the law of identity.

    On a more ontological level (in an informal sense), if something exists, then it can be observed by us, whether directly (through sensory input) or indirectly (by measuring effects on things which can be observed directly), given the right instruments. It would seem to follow, therefore, that, in an absolute sense, there is nothing which exists that cannot, in theory, be observed. In terms of over-riding universal attributes, these things take substantial study, in the same way that understanding human biology requires extensive study of the human body.

    “I submit that to divide one into zero produces an error, and that to claim you have an answer to the equation OR that there is an answer to the equation that is not an error is a form of mysticism.”

    “infinity is not actually a number; it is a concept, like happiness or perfection, only one which stands in for idea of the endless set, but not an endless set of any particular number. Consider the simple expediency of the infinite line starting from a set point. The line begins at that point and proceeds infinitely along the direction of the line. If we mark the line once every centimeter, we’ve got an infinite number of notches, so dividing a finite number by the number of notches on the line will get you that “approaching zero” answer.”

    http://everything2.com/title/Dividing+by+infinity

    “Existence = the observable/known universe + the unobservable/unknown universe. Despite your acknowledgment that the known and unknown *universe* (not universes!) are not one an the same, you nevertheless proceed to conflate the two in coming to your conclusion which is that the whole entire universe is behaving in a particular way. That is a contradiction.”

    No. Energy decay is an observable universal phenomenon. Unless you posit that the law of the conservation of mass and energy is false, it follows that the body of energy in the universe is becoming less concentrated. As the universe is in the midst of this process, it therefore follows that, at some point, the universe was in a state of more concentrated energy, which had to have begun at a certain point — as all temporal processes do.

    “It’s not the size of the leap that matters here, but the type of leap. And I submit that your “leap” is an entirely illogical one, which means that even though the gap may be small, it is infinitely deep, and you have fallen down it.”

    I don’t think it’s an illogical one at all. I think it’s a perfectly valid explanation for observable phenomena. I submit that the above reaction is visceral; that you find the very idea of God’s existence to be offensive, which is why you attack a proxytypical concept on prototypical grounds.

  40. Terry says:

    Mark –

    >>”Evil exists within the sequence in order to spur the development of the God-mind within temporal space.”

    Reading this statement and everything that you wrote above it, I am still none the wiser. It is all gobbledy-gook to me. I submit that you have created one giant floating abstraction which you need to rationalize to maintain, but since it is not based in reality, it makes no sense to someone who refuses to attempt to integrate the contradictory.

    >>”Do you know Prinz’s proxytype theory of concepts? I’m dealing with a concept so big, that I have to deal in proxytypes. You’re demanding prototypical information.”

    I know that Prinz’s proxytype theory of concepts tries to defend ‘concept empiricism’, and holds that all thoughts correspond to mental images. I can find no Wikipedia page on the theory, but I did find a peer review on it here: http://psych.stanford.edu/~michael/papers/y&r-metascience.pdf

    Miss Rand’s ground-breaking discovery that the process of concept-formation is, in large part, a mathematical process, whereby concepts are an open-end classification which includes the yet-to-be-discovered characteristics of a given group of existents, is not compatible with Printz’s theory. Prinz’s theory permits no such open-endedness because it holds that concepts are held as mental images, not mathematical constructs.

    Printz wrote in the peer review document “My defense of proxytype theory is incomplete. Some of the core claims require further evidence, and some of the theoretical constructs require further elaboration. Until both deficits are remedied, the safest attitude is one of caution.”

    You, Mark, have been so “cautious” that you have gone ahead and ignored (or perhaps not been aware of) Printz’s warning and based your whole ontology on his theory. I submit that your Panentheism is an arbitrary construct which cannot be defended on the grounds of your consciousness-body analogy or on the grounds of proxytype theory. You have claimed you are rational. To maintain your floating abstraction now flies in the face of that claim.

    >>”Now, I’m not a mathematician, but it seems to me that numbers mean nothing except that they represent concretes.”

    And there I submit is another error (one inherent in Prinz’ theory) – that of reifying numbers. Numbers do not ‘represent’ concretes, they *refer* to concretes. The number ‘5’ means nothing without first specifying what type of concrete it is referring to, thus…

    >>”So it’s not that in the equation 2 + 2 = 4, that “4″ is the totality of its two components (2 & 2), but that “2 + 2″ expresses an abstract idea which is identical to “4.” Otherwise, it would seem you are violating the law of identity.”

    Not at all. 2+2 of a specific kind of concrete *is* 4 of that specific kind of concrete. Numbers do not exist metaphysically, all that exists metaphysically are ‘wholes’, whether severally (i.e. in specific respects) or in totality (i.e. in all respects), wherein the latter (being the universe) is by it’s very identity the total sum of the former. It is only by virtue of the existence of a volitional consciousness that numbers can exist – they exist epistemologically, not as real ‘wholes’.

    >>”there is nothing which exists that cannot, in theory, be observed”

    Things can only be observed in certain respects, never in all respects.

    >>”infinity is not actually a number; it is a concept…”

    A number is a concept. Infinity does not exist in reality, except as a concept (i.e. epistemologically).

    >>”Unless you posit that the law of the conservation of mass and energy is false, it follows that the body of energy in the universe is becoming less concentrated.”

    And whatever is posited must not drop the context of the difference between the observed and the unobserved universe. You statement makes that very mistake.

    >>”I submit that the above reaction is visceral; that you find the very idea of God’s existence to be offensive, which is why you attack a proxytypical concept on prototypical grounds.”

    I have demonstrated above that there is nothing visceral about my response. Your logic and assumptions are flawed, that is all, and you are now rationalizing your position instead of correcting the contradiction(s) inherent in it.

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