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Old 11-03-2018, 11:37 PM   #126
John21
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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It depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Claiming a conclusion by definition doesn't claim anything about reality. You can read about this by reading about the distinction between analytic and synthetic truths.



That you don't write sentences that can be parsed easily anyway if you do your point is what exactly?
How can you raise the probability of the impossible?
How can you lower the probability of the necessary?
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Old 11-03-2018, 11:55 PM   #127
Aaron W.
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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How can you raise the probability of the impossible?
How can you lower the probability of the necessary?
Do you understand the analytic/synthetic distinction with regards to what is true in reality vs. what is true by virtue of definitions? You have seemed to struggle mightily with this as you keep trying to come back to this point.

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I'm not sure that you do. I think that structuring your understanding around a purely deductive result on the basis of definitions is causing you confusion.

Let's say have two coins. One has heads on both sides and the other is a fair coin. We take one of them at random, flip it once, and get a head. From an omniscient perspective, it is either true that we have the two-headed coin or it's true that we have the fair coin. But we don't have that knowledge. We only have that we flipped one head in one flip. It turns out that from the non-omniscient perspective there is a 2/3 chance that we have the two-headed coin.

So in this sense, it is completely logical and possible for there to be a difference in our ability to discern reality based on the information available and that there can be a probabilistic sense of our understanding of knowledge.
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:48 AM   #128
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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How can you raise the probability of the impossible?
How can you lower the probability of the necessary?
you first need to show that god is necessary. You are assuming that that is the case, and therefore you think that what you are saying is valid and meaningful.

As aaron points out, you are claiming a conclusion from a definition. You are defining god as "necessary, must exist", and using that definition as proof that he exists. Thats not a valid argument.
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Old 11-04-2018, 12:14 PM   #129
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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Do you understand the analytic/synthetic distinction with regards to what is true in reality vs. what is true by virtue of definitions? You have seemed to struggle mightily with this as you keep trying to come back to this point.
Iím doing so because my point is about logical necessity and logical impossibility. If something is logically impossible, itís physically impossible. So thereís no point in looking for empirical evidence for something like a plane figure that is both round and square to raise or lower the probability it exists.
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Old 11-04-2018, 12:18 PM   #130
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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you first need to show that god is necessary. You are assuming that that is the case, and therefore you think that what you are saying is valid and meaningful.

As aaron points out, you are claiming a conclusion from a definition. You are defining god as "necessary, must exist", and using that definition as proof that he exists. Thats not a valid argument.
Iím not using the definition of God as a necessary being to prove he exists. Iím using the definition to show that either Godís existence is necessary or Godís existence is impossible.
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Old 11-04-2018, 12:29 PM   #131
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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Iím not using the definition of God as a necessary being to prove he exists. Iím using the definition to show that either Godís existence is necessary or Godís existence is impossible.
then you are incorrect. If god is not necessary, he could still exist. Unless, of course, you are defining god as being necessary.
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Old 11-04-2018, 01:06 PM   #132
Aaron W.
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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I’m doing so because my point is about logical necessity and logical impossibility.
You realize that this is an incomplete schema, right? The set of things that are "not logically necessary" is not equivalent to the set of things that are "logically impossible."

There are plenty of things that not logically necessary that are still logically possible. Your false dichotomy seems to be rendering your point useless.

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If something is logically impossible, it’s physically impossible.
Okay. So by the contrapositive, if something is physically possible, then it's logically possible. How does any of this tie in with God being logically necessary?
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Old 11-04-2018, 01:07 PM   #133
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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I’m not using the definition of God as a necessary being to prove he exists.
What definition of God are you using? Please be explicit here.

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I’m using the definition to show that either God’s existence is necessary or God’s existence is impossible.
See above. You have erected a false dichotomy.
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Old 11-04-2018, 01:48 PM   #134
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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I’m doing so because my point is about logical necessity and logical impossibility. If something is logically impossible, it’s physically impossible. So there’s no point in looking for empirical evidence for something like a plane figure that is both round and square to raise or lower the probability it exists.
Your mistake here is that you are conflating an a priori claim with a metaphysically necessary claim. These are conceptually separate ideas - one refers to an epistemic characteristic while the other is a claim about the nature of reality. For instance, an identity claim like:

Mark Twain (if he exists) is Samuel Clemens.

is plausibly a metaphysically necessary claim (true in all possible worlds) since it is an identity statement with two proper names, but this is not an a priori truth of the world, but rather something we discover empirically.

The claim that p is evidence for a necessarily true (if true) claim d should be understood as an epistemic claim, as updating our Bayesian prior of the probability that a necessarily true (if true) claim d is actually true. For instance, if someone announces a new math proof, we often initially do not believe it is true until it has been checked by experts, while still acknowledging that if true it is necessarily true. A second announcement that it is sound after being checked by independent experts would still function as evidence for it being true.

Last edited by Original Position; 11-04-2018 at 03:52 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:20 PM   #135
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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For instance, if someone announces a new math proof, we often initially do not believe it is true until it has been checked by experts, while still acknowledging that if true it is necessarily true.
Prior to checking it, what probability would an expert ascribe to a new math proof being true?

Thatís the crux of my problem: I donít understand how or why an expert would say anything other than 0 or 1.
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:22 PM   #136
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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You realize that this is an incomplete schema, right? The set of things that are "not logically necessary" is not equivalent to the set of things that are "logically impossible."

There are plenty of things that not logically necessary that are still logically possible. Your false dichotomy seems to be rendering your point useless.
Sure. There are plenty of things that donít violate LNC so theyíre logically possible. But I donít think ďa thing that must exist but doesnít existĒ is one of them. And thatís one of the evidentiary trails we need to follow to establish probability.
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:26 PM   #137
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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then you are incorrect. If god is not necessary, he could still exist. Unless, of course, you are defining god as being necessary.
That "God is a necessary being" seems to be the most common definition, so that's what I'm running with.
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:30 PM   #138
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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Prior to checking it, what probability would an expert ascribe to a new math proof being true?

Thatís the crux of my problem: I donít understand how or why an expert would say anything other than 0 or 1.
Most experts start with a prior probability based on the reputation and credentials of the person putting forward the proof, the difficulty of the problem, the mode in which it is put forward, etc. Also, I explained exactly how an expert says something other than 0 or 1: they distinguish between metaphysical and epistemic necessity. A claim can be metaphysically necessary while not being epistemically necessary.
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:48 PM   #139
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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That "God is a necessary being" seems to be the most common definition, so that's what I'm running with.
This conceptualization of God is merely understood as a characteristic of God, and not the definition. And in particular, one need not accept that this characterization is valid. I can reject the claim/definition that God is a necessary being untrue or invalid.

Then what do you have?
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:49 PM   #140
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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Sure. There are plenty of things that donít violate LNC so theyíre logically possible. But I donít think ďa thing that must exist but doesnít existĒ is one of them. And thatís one of the evidentiary trails we need to follow to establish probability.
Interestingly, in mathematics we run into situations where we claim a thing must exist and end up with contradictions all the time. In fact, that's one of the most common techniques for proving something doesn't actually exist.
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:59 PM   #141
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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That "God is a necessary being" seems to be the most common definition, so that's what I'm running with.
ok, but that doesnt get you anywhere.
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:05 PM   #142
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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This conceptualization of God is merely understood as a characteristic of God, and not the definition.

And in particular, one need not accept that this characterization is valid. I can reject the claim/definition that God is a necessary being untrue or invalid.

Then what do you have?
I guess a being thatís dependent on something else for its existence.
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:08 PM   #143
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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ok, but that doesnt get you anywhere.
It saves time. Ultimately God exists or he doesnít. If he does the reasoning that led one to raise the probability he doesnít was faulty, and vice versa.
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:24 PM   #144
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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I guess a being thatís dependent on something else for its existence.
Okay. And... ?

I will also note that the further down this path you go, the closer you get to some generic form of deism. (Which is fine, but I just want to be clear that this is where we're headed.)
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Old 11-04-2018, 11:09 PM   #145
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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Okay. And... ?

I will also note that the further down this path you go, the closer you get to some generic form of deism. (Which is fine, but I just want to be clear that this is where we're headed.)
My conception of a necessary being is a being whose existence isnít dependent on anything outside itself. So when you asked if God is not such a being then what do you have?óIím thinking it would mean a conception of God whose existence is dependent on something outside itself.
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Old 11-04-2018, 11:26 PM   #146
Aaron W.
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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My conception of a necessary being is a being whose existence isn’t dependent on anything outside itself.
Okay. Now tell me why such a thing exists in reality and not just as a conception in your mind.

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So when you asked if God is not such a being then what do you have?—I’m thinking it would mean a conception of God whose existence is dependent on something outside itself.
Or perhaps we have no conception of God. There is no specific reason for me to even grant this idea.

Or if we grant that God (as such) exists, so what? You now have an object whose only property is its own existence. What exactly does this give you? What do you do with this?

You will find that these sorts of strictly formal arguments about God go through rather difficult constructions and tend not to reveal much of anything about anything. It's more an exercise of logic than it is an exercise of learning about the physical universe.

Specifically, you still have not provided a reason that this existence is necessary. You've only posited the rather circular idea that if such a thing must exist then it exists.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:14 AM   #147
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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Okay. Now tell me why such a thing exists in reality and not just as a conception in your mind.
Iím not conflating its mode of existence (necessary) with its existence (being). What Iím saying is if a necessary being exists in reality then it exists necessarily (impossible that it couldnít exist). Conversely, if a necessary being doesnít exist in reality then its existence is impossible (couldnít possibly exist).


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Or perhaps we have no conception of God. There is no specific reason for me to even grant this idea.

Or if we grant that God (as such) exists, so what? You now have an object whose only property is its own existence. What exactly does this give you? What do you do with this?

You will find that these sorts of strictly formal arguments about God go through rather difficult constructions and tend not to reveal much of anything about anything. It's more an exercise of logic than it is an exercise of learning about the physical universe.

Specifically, you still have not provided a reason that this existence is necessary. You've only posited the rather circular idea that if such a thing must exist then it exists.
No. I haven't claimed a necessary being pops into existence out of the laws of thought.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:32 AM   #148
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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It saves time. Ultimately God exists or he doesnít. If he does the reasoning that led one to raise the probability he doesnít was faulty, and vice versa.
It seems that you are making an assertion about a particular type of probability statement of which statements about God's existence is just one example. For example it seems that you are saying that it makes no sense to say "the probability that the Riemann Conjecture is true is such and such", even though we presently do not know whether it is true.

Am I correct about that? If so I believe that you are not alone in thinking that even among the well educated. But I also believe that almost all the experts disagree with you and them.
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:38 AM   #149
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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It seems that you are making an assertion about a particular type of probability statement of which statements about God's existence is just one example. For example it seems that you are saying that it makes no sense to say "the probability that the Riemann Conjecture is true is such and such", even though we presently do not know whether it is true.

Am I correct about that? If so I believe that you are not alone in thinking that even among the well educated. But I also believe that almost all the experts disagree with you and them.
I wouldnít go as far as saying it makes no sense. I just donít understand how we can apply probability to necessary truths. And I donít see how the analytic/synthetic distinction or epistemic/metaphysical necessity factors in. I donít know what to call it, but it looks something like using inductive reasoning to justify a belief in a categorical proposition.
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:08 AM   #150
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Re: Is there any proof of God?

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No. I haven't claimed a necessary being pops into existence out of the laws of thought.
Then what exactly have you accomplished?
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