[FoRK] Open Question: Earth vs. ______?

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Mon Jun 25 15:21:56 PDT 2007

Lion Kimbro wrote:
> On 6/25/07, Russell Turpin <deafbox at hotmail.com> wrote:
> ....
>> I can't disprove any and every
>> god. But I can disprove the god that is oft suggested by the kind
>> of question you raise.  To be clear, consider a god that is knowably
>> the ultimate ground of all being. "Knowably," even if only by that
>> god itself. The problem is that any god stands in exactly the same
>> relationship to the "what all is there?" question as do we ourselves.
>> It is impossible for that god to know that there isn't some other
>> ur-god or substrate that is responsible for the first god's existence,
>> in a way the first god cannot detect or know.
>  That's a good, and respectable, argument.
>  It's not a scientific argument, (sdw, pay attention- you're watching
>  philosophy at work,) but it's, never-the-less, a good one.
It is a scientifically logical way to approach it.  It is philosophical 
in that the only test you can apply to it is more logic.
"The God Delusion" is full of these arguments, among many other kinds.  
In particular, there is a version of this argument that answers the 
"simplicity" issue.  Some people consider evolution to be complex and to 
have required many leaps of unlikely change.  They consider God to be a 
simpler solution.  The problem is that God would have to be of higher 
complexity, and be more unlikely, than all of the capabilities that are 
ascribed to him/her/it.

I already referred to all of this of course.
>> Or to put it another way, not only can we not bound the web of all
>> that exists, neither can anyone or anything else. And that means a
>> certain category of god cannot exist.
>  Excellent work!
>  I like it!
>  If we lower ourselves from our pure scientific research, to pour through
>  buddhist sutras, fantasy novels, taoist meanderings, philisophical 
> ramblings,
>  volumes of theology, pulp comic books, and conversations in dimly lit
>  rooms, we can find arguments like this, and many other arguments.
To the extent that these are without fallacious error, it's good to 
examine these.  Science fiction, for instance, has explored many 
interesting concepts and often pushed ideas and knowledge forward.  
There has, however, been a whole lot of crap that is only 
infinitesimally interesting.  You can't read, ponder, discuss, and 
rehash everything ever written, or even everything written last month.  
Anyone who's seen my house can attest that it appears that I'm 
trying...  I used to actually keep up.
>  That whole "realm" has a utility to it, despite consisting mainly in
>  thought experiments, and so on.  (All of mathematics is a thought 
> experiment,
>  as well, and sdw has no problem with that.)
No, all or almost all of mathematics has a very solid basis in reality 
and science.  That you then can think through consequences and 
techniques as deep thought experiments doesn't mean that it is pure 
thought: the point of mathematics is to understand and employ 
mathematical concepts to understand and manipulate the real world.  
(Certainly you can invent new spaces and use the same mathematical 
techniques that have already been proven to explore them.  The cool 
thing is when you find that some imagined space becomes a useful 
construct in unexpected ways.  Still, it's only useful as A) and 
exercise and B) to the extent that it informs or provides, eventually, a 
solution to something.)

How can you not see science in that?


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