This is a split board - You can return to the Split List for other boards.

On the limitations of philosophy

#81JonWood007(Topic Creator)Posted 4/18/2013 3:47:41 PM(edited)
Also why say you aren't concerned with that which doesn't intersect with our universe? If that was the case, why are you here at all? God is outside of our universe. This debate wouldn't be happening if you weren't concerned with it.


In short, because I deconverted. The god I used to believe in did intersect with this universe though. I'm interested in knowing about God if he does exist, but I have standards. And they must be kept high. So I want to know about God, but it has to be on my terms so to speak. Because if it aint on my terms, there's no real way of knowing it's God at all, heck, it makes a weak case that it is.

How do you suggest I show you god exists? Through empirical data? Despite the fact god has no empirical data and never will?

Do you suggest I show you philosophically? How can I do that when you've already decided that you require empirical data to believe?


Either through facts, or inferences based on the facts. Philosophy can be okay, if and only if you have an airtight argument. The problem is, most theological arguments are not airtight. Going back to kalaam, for example, it fails to take into consideration quantum and relativistic models of the universe, and as a result, any inference drawn from "conventional" logic is often wrong.

However, what we can know is we have no evidence pointing to God. And therefore, i take option #3 that you mentioned above. i don't discount the possibility, but I will say that I have standards in pursuing such claims.

The thing is, going back to my mathematical equation example, if you want me to come to your conclusion on Z, you must present enough information about X and Y in order for me to solve for Z.
---
Desktop: Phenom II X4 965 | 8 GB DDR3 | GTX 580 | 1 TB HDD | W7 | 650W Antec | 1600x900
Laptop: A6 3400m | 4 GB DDR3 | HD 6520g | 500 GB HDD | W7 | 1366x768
#82Moorish_IdolPosted 4/18/2013 4:48:41 PM
2) I think you are mixing up inferences with fact. Not every inference is factual, nor can every inference become a fact. An inference about god, in any shape or form, is philosophy.

And if it doesn't even resemble a fact, it's basically an opinion unsupported by facts. I take the third option you mentioned above, but the whole thing is, I reject your methods to reaching a conclusion. I don't rule out the possibility, but I rule out conclusions derived from unreliable methods.

Much of philosophy is opinion or subjective, yes. That's the limitation we as physical entities have when trying to understand things we can't test. You are free to reject any opinion if you aren't convinced by it. But when it comes to untestable claims, you should at least dedicate an equal amount of time to considering why you weren't convinced by it.

For example, before I became a deist I was an atheist for a few years. Borderline strong atheist. I would dismiss arguments on the grounds that "science doesn't confirm that." And then, one day, I was talking to a biology professor (this was during high school, but I did some work at a local university) about god and he told me I was basically foolish for judging god's existence based on science and that I need to reconsider my process. This was coming from a man who was an atheist himself.

At that point I began studying about god while actively restraining any "empiricism first" assumptions. It was a drastically different experience. Ninety-nine percent of the arguments were still unconvincing, but for reasons outside of science or assumptions. My understanding increased a billionfold because I was able to understand why and how people came to their conclusions even if I disagreed.

The point of my boring story is this: until I understood why arguments weren't convincing me, I wasn't actually learning anything. Everything I did was a confirmation of my assumption even when it had no relation to it. That's an unproductive way to do things.

Also, you seem to be forgetting I'm not 100% against philosophy, I think philosophy needs to work through science. This topic is about the limitations of philosophy, and how philosophy not based on science is abstract and unreliable.

I'll address this later, in the part where I asked how I could demonstrate god to you.

If you make a positive claims based on the fact that it's not disputed by science, that sounds like an argument from ignorance to me.

I am not basing my belief on the lack of scientific dispute. I think there are different degrees of positive claims. There's the "I believe for a fact..." claim, and the "I have reason to believe..." claim.

I am saying I have reason to believe that a creator exists. I am not saying I believe for a fact that a creator exists. I'm also not saying I have a reason for you to believe a creator exists.
#83Moorish_IdolPosted 4/18/2013 4:48:44 PM
So I want to know about God, but it has to be on my terms so to speak. Because if it aint on my terms, there's no real way of knowing it's God at all, heck, it makes a weak case that it is.

This is what my story was referring to. Having a standard which prevents understanding.

How do you suggest I show you god exists?

Either through facts, or inferences based on the facts. Philosophy can be okay, if and only if you have an airtight argument.

Facts aren't possible when dealing with god's existence, so that's ruled out.

Inferences from the facts are possible... and that's exactly what my point has been all along. Have we been horribly confused for the past several posts?

My entire point all along is that we have to make inferences regarding god. That science itself isn't enough. In this way, we aren't 100% against philosophy, as you said earlier.

I am confused because on one hand you agree with me that inferences about god can be made... but on the other hand you say "if science can't know it, it's unknowable since other methods are highly unreliable." So if science can't confirm inferences about god, are you even open to inferences about god in the first place?
#84JonWood007(Topic Creator)Posted 4/18/2013 6:35:30 PM

The point of my boring story is this: until I understood why arguments weren't convincing me, I wasn't actually learning anything. Everything I did was a confirmation of my assumption even when it had no relation to it. That's an unproductive way to do things.


And I do understand why I reject such things. I've given detailed explanations above.

I am saying I have reason to believe that a creator exists. I am not saying I believe for a fact that a creator exists. I'm also not saying I have a reason for you to believe a creator exists.


And as far as I'm concerned, I put the approximate subjective odds of that model of the universe being true at about 20%. In order for me to consider myself a deist, i would need to given a decent amount of precedence over other theories. If I can't even be 50% sure, I have no business calling myself a deist IMO. Too many possible theories that could fit the same shoes.

This is what my story was referring to. Having a standard which prevents understanding.


You're inferring I'm lacking an understanding which I am not.

Inferences from the facts are possible... and that's exactly what my point has been all along. Have we been horribly confused for the past several posts?


Possibly. Correct me if I'm wrong but you seem to imply I'm 100% against philosophy, which I'm not. My topic isn't meant to call philosophy useless, it's meant to address the fact that philosophy has limits and how many theists misuse it in order to "prove" God. I pointed out two misuses of philosophy including becoming overly abstract (see my X + Y = Z example), and twisting logic in order to try to push people to your conclusion.

I am confused because on one hand you agree with me that inferences about god can be made... but on the other hand you say "if science can't know it, it's unknowable since other methods are highly unreliable." So if science can't confirm inferences about god, are you even open to inferences about god in the first place?


If they're based on facts that deal with this universe. As I said, we can't know about Z if we don't know about X and Y. You need to infer based on facts in this universe, which are most reliably obtained through science. My issue here is about using philosophy in a vacuum. The one thing that annoys me about philosophy is a lot of it is playing with words and definitions and constructing models of the universe that are flat out inaccurate. What I'm arguing is philosophy needs to work hand in hand with science. It's meaningless on its own. Because if you don't use science, there's no way of knowing the premises of your argument are right and wrong, and therefore, don't know about your conclusion either. In order to solve for Z, you need to know X and Y first. And you need to know X and Y are what you say they are. otherwise the whole argument falls apart.

Once again, see my ripping of WLC's Kalaam argument on this for an example. It's a lot of playing with words, makes sense using conventional logic, but looking at science on the matter, are his premises even legit? I'd argue no. And therefore, the entire argument falls apart.
---
Desktop: Phenom II X4 965 | 8 GB DDR3 | GTX 580 | 1 TB HDD | W7 | 650W Antec | 1600x900
Laptop: A6 3400m | 4 GB DDR3 | HD 6520g | 500 GB HDD | W7 | 1366x768
#85DarkContractorPosted 4/18/2013 6:48:07 PM
personally, I use philosophy as nothing but a logical tool. Really, in order to have the most honest philosophy imo, it should be limited to saying x will follow if y is true, and similar statements. It should only be used to derive information in which you can eliminate the other plausibilities. First Cause argumentation basically operates on the contingency that pre-bang the universe still could not exist eternally. Can we validate that contingency though? As far as the best epistemelogy, the scientific method is the most verifiable; empirical evidence trumps all other conclusions. However, as Moorish pointed out, we unfortunately cannot always obtain empirical evidence; thus enter philosophy and simply running the course of logic. It gets dangerous the further you build up on logic alone though; one slip up that gets by and you could make several further logical connections all flawed. It's like when you have a set of equations that all share a common variable that you must plug in to solve other variables (what's the name of that again? been a while since I took college algebra), if you mess up getting that first value, your arithmetic could be perfect for the rest of your calculating but because you have a flawed value, your answers will come out wrong without you realizing it.

the real question is if the philosophical ex nihilio actually exists. Going straight from ex nihilio to first cause shows a break in logic right there; the moment we decide something spawned from ex nihilio we are no longer talking about ex nihilio because by definition it has zero properties, zero anything. So the logic then must say there must be something that exists eternally. Now we must ask ourselves, does this reside in our universe, outside of it? is it outside the discoverable cosmos entirely?
---
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. PSN: MrPillow92 Steam: MrPillowtheGreat
#86JonWood007(Topic Creator)Posted 4/18/2013 6:56:10 PM
^^Yeah, that's basically what I'm trying to get at. Philosophical logic is only valid if all of the variables used in the deductive argument are true and applicable to the situation at hand. The thing is, a lot of theists run wild with it, they build up these arguments that quickly lose touch with reality because the premises or conclusion are flawed somehow and they just keep building up from there. And at worst, I feel a lot of apologists use logic in a manipulative fashion.
---
Desktop: Phenom II X4 965 | 8 GB DDR3 | GTX 580 | 1 TB HDD | W7 | 650W Antec | 1600x900
Laptop: A6 3400m | 4 GB DDR3 | HD 6520g | 500 GB HDD | W7 | 1366x768
#87Moorish_IdolPosted 4/18/2013 7:07:18 PM
JonWood007 posted...
You're inferring I'm lacking an understanding which I am not.

I didn't mean to imply that you lack an understanding in whole. I believe you do understand most if not all of the arguments you've read.

Many of us have inferred god from the same observations by which you have not inferred god. I think you may not completely understand our why's and how's, because they were determined using a thought process which you don't entirely agree with using and/or don't use yourself.

I'm not saying your thought process is wrong, but rather that neither of us are demonstrably right because we would demonstrate our point differently. The way you'd demonstrate your point I may consider poor application, just as you may consider my demonstration to be poor application. Basically, you have a standard for evidence which prevents me from demonstrating.

Possibly. Correct me if I'm wrong but you seem to imply I'm 100% against philosophy, which I'm not. My topic isn't meant to call philosophy useless, it's meant to address the fact that philosophy has limits and how many theists misuse it in order to "prove" God. I pointed out two misuses of philosophy including becoming overly abstract (see my X + Y = Z example), and twisting logic in order to try to push people to your conclusion.

I don't think you are 100% against philosophy. But I think you are relying on empiricism in an area where philosophy works better, that's all.

I agree that philosophy is misused a lot. Hell, I support the cosmological argument but I hate Craig's version of it because he misuses it. I've called it "bastardized" many times on this board because it makes several unfounded extrapolations. He designs the premises in such a way that his conclusion is true.

If they're based on facts that deal with this universe. As I said, we can't know about Z if we don't know about X and Y. You need to infer based on facts in this universe, which are most reliably obtained through science. [...] What I'm arguing is philosophy needs to work hand in hand with science. It's meaningless on its own.

I agree too that they must work hand-in-hand.

But just for the sake of clarification, when you say "facts in this universe," do you mean "everything observable" or are you also including things that are not within this universe which are not empirically observable?

I know your standard for god is that it would be observable (perhaps indirectly if not directly). But what about gods, such as mine, which would be unobservable? Ignoring the fact that its unfalsifiable for a moment, how would you suggest I demonstrate such a god?

It seems your position is built around testing the claims of interpersonal gods. So, perhaps, I'm not the one who should be arguing with you; maybe J_C should pick it up from here.
#88JonWood007(Topic Creator)Posted 4/18/2013 7:46:35 PM(edited)

Many of us have inferred god from the same observations by which you have not inferred god. I think you may not completely understand our why's and how's, because they were determined using a thought process which you don't entirely agree with using and/or don't use yourself.


Keep in mind I used to be a theist. I changed my mind because the facts did not support my conclusion.

I'm not saying your thought process is wrong, but rather that neither of us are demonstrably right because we would demonstrate our point differently. The way you'd demonstrate your point I may consider poor application, just as you may consider my demonstration to be poor application. Basically, you have a standard for evidence which prevents me from demonstrating.


Yeah, and I think that when you're unsure, it's better to lean toward NOT believing something. Makes more sense since not doing it that way and being consistent means you accept a lot of bad ideas for poor reasons.


I don't think you are 100% against philosophy. But I think you are relying on empiricism in an area where philosophy works better, that's all.


And once again, I think that philosophy can't work without premises based in empiricism.

But just for the sake of clarification, when you say "facts in this universe," do you mean "everything observable" or are you also including things that are not within this universe which are not empirically observable?


Depends on what you mean by empirically observable. Dark matter isn't necessarily observable but we know it's there through math. I do think that we can know things indirectly, given enough variables that are empirically observable point to such a truth.

I know your standard for god is that it would be observable (perhaps indirectly if not directly). But what about gods, such as mine, which would be unobservable? Ignoring the fact that its unfalsifiable for a moment, how would you suggest I demonstrate such a god?


You probably can't, but at the same time, I have no reason to believe you. This is why I say that things that fall in the X + Y = Z category aren't really on my radar. If we can't know X and Y, we can't solve for Z. Doesn't mean Z doesn't exist, but we also have no good reason to believe it does. Because, let's face it, Z can be anything, it might not even be there. I think to argue for a decent value of Z, you need to know about the other variables (say, X and Y) to get there. If you can't, then you really don't have an argument in my opinion. I don't think this makes me closed minded either. If I'm wrong, it's simply a type II error, and one I will stand behind until I'm shown I am in error. I don't think my methods of knowing things are 100% accurate, but I still stand by them because they're the best I got.
---
Desktop: Phenom II X4 965 | 8 GB DDR3 | GTX 580 | 1 TB HDD | W7 | 650W Antec | 1600x900
Laptop: A6 3400m | 4 GB DDR3 | HD 6520g | 500 GB HDD | W7 | 1366x768
#89Moorish_IdolPosted 4/18/2013 8:55:05 PM
JonWood007 posted...
And once again, I think that philosophy can't work without premises based in empiricism.

So we agree to disagree. I am okay with this.

Depends on what you mean by empirically observable. Dark matter isn't necessarily observable but we know it's there through math. I do think that we can know things indirectly, given enough variables that are empirically observable point to such a truth.

Dark matter is or can be empirically observed, though, since it exists within the realm of science -- that is, it is natural, physical. If we can't now, we should be able to someday.

I meant things which we can't observe even with millions of years of advancement in science. Do you think inferences can be made about those things, or are inferences impossible because no fact is there to act as a basis.

You probably can't, but at the same time, I have no reason to believe you. This is why I say that things that fall in the X + Y = Z category aren't really on my radar. If we can't know X and Y, we can't solve for Z. Doesn't mean Z doesn't exist, but we also have no good reason to believe it does. Because, let's face it, Z can be anything, it might not even be there. I think to argue for a decent value of Z, you need to know about the other variables (say, X and Y) to get there. If you can't, then you really don't have an argument in my opinion. I don't think this makes me closed minded either. If I'm wrong, it's simply a type II error, and one I will stand behind until I'm shown I am in error. I don't think my methods of knowing things are 100% accurate, but I still stand by them because they're the best I got.

Okay, this clears things up for me. I don't entirely agree, but I don't entirely disagree either. I understand why and how you came to your position.
#90JonWood007(Topic Creator)Posted 4/18/2013 9:02:23 PM

Dark matter is or can be empirically observed, though, since it exists within the realm of science -- that is, it is natural, physical. If we can't now, we should be able to someday.

I meant things which we can't observe even with millions of years of advancement in science. Do you think inferences can be made about those things, or are inferences impossible because no fact is there to act as a basis.


I think it would be very difficult to, if it's possible at all. And the conclusions, I don't trust. Again, if I'm wrong, it's a type II error, but it's one I'll stand by because IMO the methods you use to reach a conclusion are more important than the conclusion itself. You would need significant information to reach such a conclusion reliably.
---
Desktop: Phenom II X4 965 | 8 GB DDR3 | GTX 580 | 1 TB HDD | W7 | 650W Antec | 1600x900
Laptop: A6 3400m | 4 GB DDR3 | HD 6520g | 500 GB HDD | W7 | 1366x768