God wants Non-believers to exist.

Well, thank you! :slight_smile: I invite you to join the boards and share your own insights with us. The best way to learn, as they say, is to teach.

No worries, I wasn’t ‘calling’ you on it; just wanted to make sure I had my grammar right too :slight_smile:

I was actually responding to a post by

so I am a little confused by your response. What I was trying to say is if there is a being who is powerful enought to have created the universe, I cannot imagine that face to face encounter would not be a persuasive of his existence. The second part of my post referred to unbelievers who are seeking God, rather than believers.

Well shoot. I meant to embolden Liberal and I went and enclosed him. Sorry.

Of course it is. There are always a few contrarians who will refuse to admit the obvious. But why is that a rationale for not being obvious, preffering instead, obscurity? Should I never make a phone call just because someone, somwhere, might hang up?

Just to pop in as one of those “belligerent” atheists (which incidentally means aggressive - is this word really more appropriate than, say, stubborn?), to clarify a point: Any phenomenon which currently cannot be explained by modern science (including neuropsychology and simple legerdemain) is not necessarily evidence for God’s existence. It could just as easily be evidence for a whole new field of physics, or simply advanced aliens pretending to be a god (and, for all intents and purposes, being one). I do not consider pointing this out to be “unreasonable behaviour” in any sense, and rather resent the implication that doing so makes one an obstinate dogmatist.

No reason at all, in fact it knocks the stuffings out of the “no evidence because god wants free will” argument.

Thanks for the link, and apologies for taking so long to reply. I see you are using necessary being to mean something whose non-existence would result in a contradiction, rather than something without which something else wouldn’t function. My mistake.

But Im still not sure what that means. Believe it or not I’ve read Anselm, and it makes as little sense to me now as it did then. How can the non-existence of any being be a contradiction? The only way that begins to make sense to me is if it implies that something that clearly does exist couldn’t exist without the being in question. But this is the humble sense of “neccessary” I was using, as in “You need a heart to live.” The existence of any being is a matter of empirical fact, not logical formulas.




since I don’t buy (2) I don’t see how this follows, but I suppose I’d believe it as a stand alone, if I could understand how any being’s non-existence could be necessary.


only if you buy the “S5 principle” which I dont. Even your article admits it is controversial, which I would say is putting it mildly

sure, if anything could be necessary.

if everything up to now was true, sure. But it isn’t so, no.

NOTE: I’m not saying I’ve just disproved God. I’m just saying I don’t think this proof proves his (her? Its?) existence.

Proofs like this seem to make logic into magic, summonning things up by the force of mental effort alone. The Universe, or reality, is under no obligation to obey our dictates, no matter how clever they are.

strike “non” :smack:

I don’t think that was my implication at all. What I am responding to is the implication that if God started speaking aloud to people on Earth and telling us things no person could know at the time, that this wouldn’t be any qualitatively different of a situation, and all the unbelievers would still bitch about there being no evidence for God’s existence at all, and so on. It is THAT implication that you should resent: the assertion that God must not reveal himself openly to the detection of modern people because they are all so renouncedly contrarian that it would be a pointless exercise anyway.

I don’t think it’s controversial at all to point out that the claimed instances of God’s interaction or miracles all seem to happen either in obscure locations, during eras where no means of collective verification was possible, require very determined interpretations to see as events motivated by God’s will, require poetic re-interpretations of common language, and so on. And this is so not because skeptics are evil, but because such claimed miraculous events really do seem to be clustered in such obscure areas. But there is no NEED for them to be, and if they are, it’s plainly God’s fault or choice, not the choice of the skeptics that are being portrayed as dogmatically rejectionist.

While it’s true that there really is no ultimately legitimate basis of trust for the word of any being beyond the predictability, power, and understanding of the trustee (i.e. works of God could just as easily be the works of a sufficiently advanced alien civilization that’s toying with us), I think it’s quite true that this would be a radically different sort of argument, and we should acknowledge it as such. Right now, we have no solid empirical evidence to argue about, and we argue over the existence of said evidence. But if God sent glowing angels down to from heaven and started to chat with world leaders, we’d at least have some pretty darn compelling stuff to discuss.

This leaves the question of free will, a question I think I’ve dealt at great length with both by pointing out that a different set of empirical facts shouldn’t wholly decide whether we want to be good or bad people (and it’s highly misleading to let people have a so grossly misjudged understanding of the universe anyway), and the concept of free will is so much nonsense anyway: neither right nor wrong but unintelligible. Seen from the pespective of an external observer seeing us as a black box, we are free to choose within the confines of any external constraints on our potential choices, but any discussion of what’s within that black box must ultimately show our choices to either be determined by some base identity that can be judged or blamed, or undetermined in which case there is no “we” to hold responsible.

No problem. It is easy in the hubbub of debates like these to lose track of the fact that an ontological reference is an existential one.

Because the being IS that which exists. That’s what “being” means: Something, such as an object, an idea, or a symbol, that exists, is thought to exist, or is represented as existing — American Heritage. A being that doesn’t exist is a contradiction, just like a pitcher that doesn’t pitch or a cobbler that doesn’t cobble.

Well, logic has “facts” too. They’re called “truths”. Empirical observations are not necessarily facts. They might be optical illusions. A color-blind man declaring that there is no numerical symbol amidst the dots is not declaring a “fact”. He is declaring an observation. Forgive me, but I have no patience for those who praise logic when it suits their needs, but condemn it when it contradicts their preconceptions.

Uh-oh. That was the one you were supposed to disagree with. Once you’ve accepted it, disagreement with the ensuing inferences is problematic.

Denial of the definition is mere belligerence. Quite obviously, if God is that which exists necessarily, then if He exists at all, he exists necessarily.

Whew! That was a close call. Had you rejected that, the whole of first-order logic would have fallen on its face.

You cannot both reject (2) and accept this. This is a consequence of (2) by modus ponens through (3). In any case, if you accept this as “stand alone”, then it makes no difference whether you reject (2). We could just start with this as a premise since you do not require proof of it.

Because it provides a Euclidean accessibility relation. See this map of relations. It’s merely saying that if u has some relation with w in world W and v has some relation with w in world W, then u has some relation with v in world W.

What do you mean you don’t buy it? You mean, you rejected it when you were still asking why? The controversy mentioned in the lecture is in reference to actualists, and not to philosophers at large. In fact, the lecture states “most philosophers accept that it is a sound principle for reasoning about possibility and necessity”. Which, after all, is what S5 logic is all about.

Remarkably, you are yourself making a modal statement — “if anything could be necessary”, i.e., if it is possible that anything is necessary. One example of something that is necessary is a tautology, like A is A. If you believe that it might be possible that sometimes A is Not A, then I don’t understand why you’re debating at all. If you reject even the necessity of the Law of Identity, then there is no point in logical argument.

Disappointing. I mean, you really didn’t ask any follow-up questions, and even ignored some of what you read (e.g., on the S5 Axiom). You’re willing to accept some rules of logic and reject others, not on any discernable basis of integrity of validity, but apparently on the basis that the conclusion doesn’t gibe with your preconceptions.

How much weight do you think I should give to your opinion?

And yet you attempt to use logic all the same when it serves your own purposes. Sorry, but Homey don’t play dat game.