Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

The Problem With Most Theological Doctrines and the Theological Argument for Mental Reality

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In most theologies, it is said that God created the material world. It is also said that God is (1) omnipresent, (2) omnipotent, and (3) omniscient; that God knows the future and the past. It is also said that God is an unchanging, eternal, immaterial being and the root of all existence.

Unless God is itself subject to linear time, the idea that God “created” anything is absurd. The idea of “creating” something necessarily implies that there was a time before that thing was created. From the “perspective” (I’ll explain the scare quotes below) of being everywhere and everywhen in one’s “now,” nothing is ever created. It always exists, has always existence, and will always exist, from God’s perspective, because all those things would exist to God as “now.”

“Matter” cannot exist if God is an immaterial being because God “is” everything from a theological perspective. There is no place or state “outside of God” or “unlike God,” because there is nowhere else to exist, and nothing else to comprise anything that is said to exist. If God is fundamentally immaterial being, then everything is fundamentally immaterial. Matter cannot exist in that situation.

All spiritual or religious doctrines extend from the perspective of assigning “not-God” characteristics and perspective to God. IOW, they are characterizations of God and the assigning of attributes to God that inimical to the logical ramifications of the attributes assigned to God by those same metaphysical perspectives.

The idea that God “chose” to create this specific world and limit the experiential capacity of all sentient beings to, basically, a single architecture out of infinite possibilities is absurd because God cannot have a “perspective.” “Perspective” requires a point of view. God cannot have a point of view.

Furthermore, God cannot “make a decision.” A decision requires context, organized sequential experiences, and a perspective – none of which God can logically experience, at least not from the state of “being God”

Even if we ignore all that, let’s say God instantaneously examines all possible experiential architectures “before” he “chooses” one – let’s say the Christian architecture – to limit sentient beings to. The problem with this is that a Godly “examination” of all possible experiential pathways would necessarily mean instantly knowing all possible experiences in every possible architecture – IOW, experiencing every possible life of every possible person in every possible architecture. That’s what omnipresence and omniscience would necessarily entail.

But God exists in a complete state of omniscient, eternal “now-ness, always experiencing all of those other possibilities as those beings in those other possible reality architectures. That’s what eternal omniscience and omnipresence necessarily means. God cannot then decide to “unexist” those other individual experiences in other architectures – they eternally exist as beings experiencing other architectures. Other realities. In the only place and as the only thing any such reality can ever exist – in the mind of God.

If the “perspective” of God is “all possible perspectives at the same time all the time,” then God (from the “God perspective) doesn’t have a perspective. If the nature of your being is “always fully experiencing all possible experiences all the time from every possible perspective,” no experiential decisions can be made; they are all fully being made eternally. There are no “others” to make experiential parameters for; all possible decisions from every individual perspective always fully exist eternally AS those individual beings in the mind of God – the only way anything ever exists as “real.”

Every possible experience, every possible experiential pathway in every possible experiential architecture always and eternally exists as real as any other. As individual consciousnesses, we can only be observational aspects of God, “exploring” an ocean of fully real possibilities, only limited by what is possible in the mind of God.

IOW, no four-sided triangles or 1+1=3 experiences or the like. But that’s the only kind of limitation to what is available to experience. As observational aspects of God, everything is ultimately “within” us. All possibilities. All other aspects conscious aspects of God – other people with individual perspectives, are in this sense “within” us.

Comments
In fairness to WJM, any particular religious system could be true and not yet derived directly from (what I call) The Root. The Kabbalists called The Root (Ein Sof) and said that Yahweh was an anthropomorphic god, and not The Root. (It's Quite obvious that Yahweh was an anthropomorphic god. With all kinds of man-like foible and faults.) I make no judgement (I mean, who really cares?) where this view is true or not, but the Kabbalists had this idea. Yahweh is god, even the creator of earth and life on earth, but he ain't The Root. What is fascinating is that people believe the Torah stories as if true, like they learned in Sunday school. Beyond stupid.mike1962
November 8, 2020
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It seems to me that the argument/position centers on whether we can trust our senses and our logic. While there's no definitive or deductive proof of either--we rely on them pragmatically. For example, when was the last time before you sat down, you had to first make sure it wasn't actually a hologram? How do you know that you're not a hologram, too? When was the last time you decided your happiness or unhappiness was a delusion or that 1+1 temporarily does equal 3? We intuitively trust in Newtonian physics because of trial and error (pain), and we likewise are uncomfortable with quantum mechanics for the same reason. But, we're pretty much blind to our spiritual condition. That anything exists at all, especially mind, is a powerful argument for God. Those who don't believe in God will of necessity believe in the gods of Space-Time, Random Chance, and Spontaneous Generation. Or as the ancient Greeks believed:
KHRONOS (Chronos) was the primordial god of time. In the Orphic cosmogony he emerged self-formed at the dawn of creation. Khronos was envisaged as an incorporeal god, serpentine in form. His consort was the serpentine goddess of inevitability, Ananke. together they enveloped the primordial world--egg in their coils and split it apart to form the ordered universe of earth, sea and sky. After this act of creation the couple circled the cosmos driving the rotation of heaven and the eternal passage of time.
The ancient Greeks weren't so stupid after all. Random chance as the author of the universe has been demonstrated to be infinitessimally small, which is why inevitability requires an infinite amount of time (or a multiverse). I believe the reason to believe such things is to avoid the sense of moral accountability--in other words, guilt. What Judaism and Christianity are based on is a book of verifiable (although disputed) history, law, wisdom, and prophecy: - The historicity of Biblical events have been repeatedly disputed and, over time, have repeatedly been vindicated with new discoveries. Over 50 historical personages from the Bible have been verified from archaeology. Various towns and empires have been discovered: The Hittites were considered a Biblical myth before they were verified by archaeology. - The need for law for the lawless is fundamental to civilization as is wisdom. - Prophecy in the Bible lays out the timeline for several important events, including the appearance and atoning death of the Messiah before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (in 70 AD); a future invasion of Israel from the North by nations and tribes constituting modern Turkey, Iran, Russia, and several small Islamic nations (Saudi Arabia and nearby states will disapprove of this invasion. Syria and Iraq are not mentioned except that Damascus will be destroyed as a city). There are other future prophecies including a "burning mountain" that hits the sea, destroying a third of all sea life and ships; and a star named "Wormwood" that poisons a third of all rivers and lakes. Incidentally, there's a town in the Ukraine named "Wormwood"--Chernobyl. Look it up. This is how God reveals himself to those who don't shut their eyes or deny their senses to the evidence. -QQuerius
November 4, 2020
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Sandy@460 said:
That’s news for me. Provide one evidence against christian God that don’t contain an unprovable assumption.
I didn't say anything about the Christian God in that reply to KF..William J Murray
November 4, 2020
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KF, you're using straw man, category error, irrational appeal to consequences and circular reasoning in your argument against MRT. I'll show you where and how. STRAW MAN: KF said:
WJM, nope. On the contrary, any frame of thought that leads to the conclusion that the broad common sense view on the reality of our common world is delusional, is an appeal to grand, pervasive delusion.
No, it isn't, as I've already pointed out. It's not delusional to think that there is an external world; it's an error of categorization based on a faulty assumption. Nothing more. MORE STRAW MAN:
You cannot have your cake and eat it, if you imply grand delusion like that,
Only I'm not implying any such thing, so I'm not trying to have my cake and eat it too. APPEAL TO CONSEQUENCES:
you imply the equally pervasive discredit of rationality, knowledge claims etc leading to collapse in self-referential absurdity.
You can repeat this all you want, but again, I've implied no such thing. I've stated directly that it's a categorization misidentification based on an an erroneous assumption. Nothing more. It doesn't lead to self-referential absurdity or solipsism, as I've repeated demonstrated, so that is an irrational appeal to consequences. CIRCULAR REASONING:
We may safely set such aside.
Sure, if you assume external physical world speculation is true and ignore the self-evidently true nature of our experiential existence. When you have a an argument against MRT that isn't circular (a priori assumption of your external-world conclusion that insists MRT implies "grand delusion," which it does not) to make the case against MRT, let me know. I haven't called anything a delusion nor have I implied anything is a "grand delusion" (other than identifying it as a "deviation from the norm that renders social participation problematic," or something to that effect in a discussion on how MRT would treat mental illness.) YET MORE STRAW MAN ARGUMENT:
Yes, we are prone to error and are limited, but we are not victims of grand delusion about our common world.
Please stop insisting I'm implying things, or saying things that I am clearly not and which I have repeatedly said and shown I am not.
As to evidence, once we accept that our senses, acting in an environment they were made for and were made to give us a generally sound access to that world, will on the whole give us a reasonably accurate view; including our rational common sense that allows us to think straight.
This can be equally said by recategorizing that "world" as "shared consistent, measurable and mutually verifiable experiences" without invoking the pure speculation that it is caused by an external physical world. CATEGORY ERROR:
The consistent testimony is that we live in a physical, spatially extended world [of perhaps 90+ B LY across], with matter based on quantised micro particles interacting in accordance with significantly intelligible laws and giving rise to phenomena at various stages.
This is a blatant and obvious categorization error. There is simply no possible way anyone can give testimony about an external physical world; the only thing they can possibly be giving testimony about is their mental experiences. We can speculate that those mental experiences are caused by an external physical world, but that can only ever be speculation.
There is no reason to deny such,
Other than it's blatantly impossible to ever experience "an external physical world." All we can possibly experience are mental states and phenomena.
and say the Smith Cybernetic model allows us to see how a two-tier controller can be part of a cybernetic entity, with room for quantum influences so that there is ground to see how mind-body interaction can bridge gaps suggested.
Only that model is 100% unnecessary under MRT.
Yes, arguably, in Him we live and move and have our being, but that does not make physical reality evaporate;
I didn't say physical reality "evaporated" under MRT, it only recategorizes what "physical reality" is, and where and how it occurs.
it simply means, source and sustainer actively present every-where, every-when. Such points to precisely the framework of Divine attributes already highlighted. KF
MRT just makes most of that Rube Goldberg, domain-transfer gulch, pure speculation and denial of our self-evidently true existential state unnecessary.William J Murray
November 4, 2020
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Kairosfocus, The problem that I've often noticed here--as demonstrated four times in 459--is people making unsupported assertions and treating them as incontrovertible fact simply by their existence. Then to refute them, one marshals several examples in support of our statements. These are again simply denied, discounted, or ridiculed, again without any support. To be viewed as clever, people sometimes resort to challenging the definition of a commonly used term. For example, "But what do you actually mean by "rationality"? This allows them to create a smoke screen of controversy around the common definition. Or sometimes, they ask you to do their homework for them. For example, "But no academic has ever held your view on rationality." This will make you respond with three famous academics in history with that view, to which they wave off as inconsequential and make new unsupported assertions. Rinse and repeat as many times as necessary. My first experiences with AI was trying to trap ELIZA (DOCTOR). It makes me think it would be easy to employ a chatbot in a synthetic argument against any post. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELIZA Or conversely, perhaps one could write a program that assigns a "chatbot" score to such replies. -QQuerius
November 3, 2020
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WJM, nope. On the contrary, any frame of thought that leads to the conclusion that the broad common sense view on the reality of our common world is delusional, is an appeal to grand, pervasive delusion. You cannot have your cake and eat it, if you imply grand delusion like that, you imply the equally pervasive discredit of rationality, knowledge claims etc leading to collapse in self-referential absurdity. We may safely set such aside. Yes, we are prone to error and are limited, but we are not victims of grand delusion about our common world. As to evidence, once we accept that our senses, acting in an environment they were made for and were made to give us a generally sound access to that world, will on the whole give us a reasonably accurate view; including our rational common sense that allows us to think straight. The consistent testimony is that we live in a physical, spatially extended world [of perhaps 90+ B LY across], with matter based on quantised micro particles interacting in accordance with significantly intelligible laws and giving rise to phenomena at various stages. There is no reason to deny such, and say the Smith Cybernetic model allows us to see how a two-tier controller can be part of a cybernetic entity, with room for quantum influences so that there is ground to see how mind-body interaction can bridge gaps suggested. Yes, arguably, in Him we live and move and have our being, but that does not make physical reality evaporate; it simply means, source and sustainer actively present every-where, every-when. Such points to precisely the framework of Divine attributes already highlighted. KFkairosfocus
November 3, 2020
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WJM "Unfortunately, KF, your argument for that kind of God stems from a premise that has been shown to be false by current evidence;"
That's news for me. Provide one evidence against christian God that don't contain an unprovable assumption.
Nothing wrong with faith, but when you ignore a self-evident existential truth by employing faith, you have abandoned reason for fidelity to ideology
:) This apply to every human being, all spectrum from atheism to teism have faith, only different type of faiths . Yep, you are included.Sandy
November 3, 2020
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Unfortunately, KF, your argument for that kind of God stems from a premise that has been shown to be false by current evidence; we don't actually live in the kind of "world" your perspective requires as its postulate. Your worldview depends on something that can never be evidenced, even in principle, but that's not really a problem in your worldview; it's really the bedrock of it: faith. Nothing wrong with faith, but when you ignore a self-evident existential truth by employing faith, you have abandoned reason for fidelity to ideology.William J Murray
November 2, 2020
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I agree with those comments about the nature of the physical world.Viola Lee
November 2, 2020
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Viola Lee, Disagreements of the kind you're talking about are often due to the lack of observable data such as in the case with string theory, pilot wave theory, and unified field theory for a few examples. By "better," I meant that they more precisely predict future measurements or they expand the boundary condition of their application. But whether they are any closer ontologically is actually unlikely. They're just better mathematical models . . . for now. -QQuerius
November 2, 2020
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Q, my guess is that there would be wide disagreement about what those "successively better inductive models" of ultimate reality might be. There may be widespread agreement about "better" models of some aspects of reality, such as they physical world, but even there our models are only better in a practical sense: I'm not sure any of them could possibly be shown to be better in an ontological sense. But I agree that all our theories are models that we have made, using abstract concepts, to try to have a framework for understanding the actual world around us.Viola Lee
November 2, 2020
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Kairosfocus, Well stated. Our presence as intellectual and moral personages considering good and bad is a strong argument for our creator. Dr. Egnor's neurological experiments also indicate that this activity is not physically located in a brain structure. Sandy, I think the omni- words are even more easily misunderstood than infinities. For example, Jesus, speaking of Judas, told his disciples as recorded in Matthew 2624 (NASB):
"The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born."
Notice that Jesus did not say that Judas was predestined to betray him from an omniscient perspective. We do have an amount of free will (or "free won't"). Viola Lee, Yes, I also agree. But we seem capable of creating successively better inductive models of that ultimate reality. But they're still models and we cannot prove that any model is the ultimate reality. -QQuerius
November 2, 2020
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I agree with Mike62. The nature of ultimate reality is beyond our comprehension.Viola Lee
November 2, 2020
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omnipresence is really semi-omnipresence, which IMO is self-contradictory.
What is omipresence ? What is semi-omnipresence? How would be self-contradictory?Sandy
November 2, 2020
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M62, Sandy, WJM, that brings to the fore the issue of logic of being, with the factor that a causal-temporal, successive finite stage world is inherently contingent, credibly finite in the past and requires a necessary being root world. Where, already, necessary being of great power and causal capability shows attributes and distinction from non-being. Also, eternal nature (not merely endlessness or beginninglessness in time). Further, that this world has significantly free, so rational & responsible, conscience guided creatures implies further attributes in what is now a translucent grey box with a window. That is, to ground reality including our world, we need the inherently good so also utterly wise thence maximally powerful as creator compossible with goodness and wisdom. We are already seeing the holographic-microcosm principle at work, where one slice of the cake has all the ingredients and where each facet interacts with all and contributes to all. So, we can draw up a reasonable albeit only partial bill of requisites for such a reality root, and already see the outlines of the God of ethical theism as first and frankly only serious candidate. For, flying spaghetti monsters fail the giggle test, evolutionary materialist scientism fails the rational responsible thinker test so is self-falsifying and more. Yes, we can debate onward on schools of thought and traditions but we have here necessary being, universally relevant framework elements that are so strongly mutually entangled that serious reflection on one facet points to the others. No, we may have a dim grey box with window -- "through a glass, darkly" -- view, but that is not the same as an unbridgeable ugly gulch. And, there is plenty of room for the God who is not only there but who is not silent, and is not passive. The Judaeo-Christian, prophetic, ethical, theological and redemptive tradition beckons. KFkairosfocus
November 2, 2020
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I find it ironic in a world where God is trivialized or mocked that the most common expression of amazement in America today is
Oh My God!
Especially by young people.jerry
November 2, 2020
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Jerry, the old connect the dots Sunday Comics drawings come into play: what is there BETWEEN the dots? That's the real continuum. KFkairosfocus
November 2, 2020
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Mike1962, I agree with you. My point wasn't so much to make claims about the nature of God, but rather to just show some problems that exist between how god is characterized and what those characterizations would actually mean and how it would conflict with most theological doctrines that purported those characterizations. From looking over what few responses were actually on the subject, it seems to me those characterizations are finely tuned to fit their doctrinal requirements. They are not what I would call the "pure form" of those characterizations. IOW, omnipresence is really semi-omnipresence, which IMO is self-contradictory.William J Murray
November 2, 2020
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Mike1962
1.Root, transcends time, and therefore all ideas about cause/effect, before/after, prior to the first moment of universal time, is meaningless to Reason.
If 1 is true then 2 is meaningless. We must not confound the being of God with the work of God .
2.Unless God is itself subject to linear time, the idea that God “created” anything is absurd.
Sandy
November 2, 2020
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Unless God is itself subject to linear time, the idea that God “created” anything is absurd. The idea of “creating” something necessarily implies that there was a time before that thing was created. From the “perspective” (I’ll explain the scare quotes below) of being everywhere and everywhen in one’s “now,” nothing is ever created. It always exists, has always existence, and will always exist, from God’s perspective, because all those things would exist to God as “now.” This is about as good has human Reason can do. But one must remember that The Root, transcends time, and therefore all ideas about cause/effect, before/after, prior to the first moment of universal time, is meaningless to Reason. "Timeless eternity" is meaningless to Reason. It's not that the Root is "in time" or "outside of time", it's that the very question of time whatsoever, as a positive or negative attribute, doesn't apply. Whatever The Root is, it is a Black Box, radically different than any concepts .You're not going to figure it out with Reason. Reason is based on relation and dependence, neither which is a property of the Root. One of the hints about some of It's nature is our own consciousness. For example, the experiential difference between red and blue is not rational. Like The Root, it cannot be describe with words. It's quality is a-temporal. I'm not a fan of Kabbalism writ large, but the medieval Kabbalists did a pretty decent job of demonstrating the uselessness of human Reason to answer any questions about The Root ("Ein Sof" they called It). Same for the Vedic Hindu philosophers.mike1962
November 1, 2020
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JVL No one suggests it’s an actual representation of the real world. But since we tend to think that mathematics is strangely able to describe the real world so well then why do we get these anomalies? That is the real question: do you think that mathematics being able to model the real world is an indication of intelligent design? If your answer is yes then why do these paradoxes arise?
Zeno paradoxes are not maths. Are just tricks. Why do you think "the half rule" in Achilles and tortoise is not applied from the start ? :)Sandy
November 1, 2020
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Yes, reading my comment again, I see what you mean.
All I am trying to say is that discussions of infinity have no correlation with reality especially when it comes to numbers. This is from someone who wrote thousands of integral signs with 0 at the bottom and ∞ at the top. They can make interesting discussions though. (I tried to type the infinity sign and it appeared on my Mac but not when posted. But I then pasted the HTML equivalent and it worked at least on my computer screen.)jerry
November 1, 2020
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JVL, Sandy was talking about real objects and distances. Likewise, Jerry wrote:
Only in your head. Not in the real world. In the real world there will be a maximum. It will be a very big number but after that there will be no more entities that represent something in the real world. Consequently no larger number.
In reply, you asked him the following question:
And what would that maximum be then?
The maximum number is determined by the increments of Planck distances. You cannot fit in any numbers smaller than that. -QQuerius
November 1, 2020
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And what would that maximum be then?
It is probably possible to estimate a rough number of the total number of particles in the universe or at least an estimate of it. That would be a finite number. Call it omega. There would be no other entity to point to after that. So while you could imagine a bigger number in your head, such as omega + 1 or any integer you want to add, it would not enumerate anything in the real world. So there would be no exemplar of it in reality. It would just be in your head. Interestingly you could not get to infinity in your head because no matter how many times you add a number to something, the result would still be finite even if you could live a trillion years and this is all you did. Of course you could imagine you could live for infinity and do nothing but add numbers. But that is just another absurdity of believing in infinity. But remember I said using it in mathematics is very useful. But so is weightless elephants useful in physics.
So, can you buy a quart of ice cream? A quart being a quarter of a gallon? How about a pint of milk? Again, a pint being a fraction of a gallon. Do the only fractions that count the ones that have names?
You are missing the point. I never said fractions were not useful. They are extremely useful for normal day life. A quart of ice cream or milk is a collection of millions of small particles. Say for example it is 10 million small parts in each quart. So if you divide either into two equal parts you just get this number divided by two or 5 million. But each is still a positive integer of these small particles. In reality there are no milk molecules and milk is according to wikipedia
The principal constituents of milk are water, fat, proteins, lactose (milk sugar) and minerals (salts). Milk also contains trace amounts of other substances such as pigments, enzymes, vitamins, phospholipids (substances with fatlike properties), and gases.
Each sub section of milk would contain individual molecules of this. In our example it would be 5 million each. Now no one would do this because communication wise it is easier to call it something else but in fact whatever you call it is an accumulation of individual parts or a positive integer. You are confusing what is in reality with how best to communicate something or calculate something or deal with something.jerry
November 1, 2020
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Jerry, Yes, reading my comment again, I see what you mean. I was trying to say that denying that 1/2 has meaning in the real world seems like an extreme position. It nicely captures the notion of 1 out of 2 things, 2 out of 4 things, 3 out of 6 things, etc., all at once.daveS
November 1, 2020
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I guess if you don’t mind a great deal of inconvenience, you can get by using only math that is reducible to positive integers and perhaps zero.
I never said anything like this so why make this comment. It is so specious given all that I have written on this subject that it becomes a 100% endorsement of everything I said. Thank you!!!jerry
November 1, 2020
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JVL,
Querius: JVL will always be able to find points on a number line that are less than a Planck length apart. This falsifies his position. And what position is that exactly? I don’t think my mathematical stance is controversial so . . . . .
Yeah, that's a head-scratcher there.daveS
November 1, 2020
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I have heard the argument many times: the fact that mathematics is capable of describing reality so well is an indication of intelligent design. IF that is true then all the mathematical paradoxes must be worthy of consideration and worth spending time wondering if they too point to some aspect of reality. Yes or No? Is reality composed along lines which lead to strange paradoxes or not?JVL
November 1, 2020
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Jerry, I guess if you don't mind a great deal of inconvenience, you can get by using only math that is reducible to positive integers and perhaps zero.daveS
November 1, 2020
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Sandy: A line is like a necklace of pearls. Please tell me what pearl I’ve missed. ? Take the segment between 0 and 10. Tell me what pearls you have and I'll tell you which ones you've missed. Now you have the opportunity to tell us if exist one thing from this universe that have no thickness. I'm talking about mathematics NOT applied mathematics. This it’s a masquerade because motion of Achilles is the same / not influenced ( let’s say 10 m /s )no matter into how many halves is cut that distance on a paper. ? There is no logical connection between a runner and bystander mathematician who have a paper and a pen and cut halves of halves of halves and for that reason (of cutting distances in halves) runner will never finish that race. ? No one suggests it's an actual representation of the real world. But since we tend to think that mathematics is strangely able to describe the real world so well then why do we get these anomalies? That is the real question: do you think that mathematics being able to model the real world is an indication of intelligent design? If your answer is yes then why do these paradoxes arise?JVL
November 1, 2020
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2020
12:43 PM
12
12
43
PM
PST
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