Tuesday, March 3, 2015

569: Does god exist?

Harvard neuroscientist Peter Ulric Tse in  his new book “The Neural Basis of Free Will” (2013) :Why has philosophy been unable to make substantial progress in solving the mind–body problem? 
The root of philosophy’s impasse is that its main tools—logical argumentation, “thought experiments,” “intuition pumps,” and persuasion—are inadequate to the task.
By themselves, these tools are incapable of settling basic debates between scholars with conflicting views rooted in incompatible starting assumptions.”
He is right there. As Bertand Russell already remarked in  “The Problems of Philosophy” (2012), if you ask a scientist about truths ascertained by his science, he’ll give you a long list.
“But if you put the same question to a philosopher, he will, if he is candid, have to confess that his study has not achieved positive results such as have been achieved by other sciences.”
However, “…to a great extent, the uncertainty of philosophy is more apparent than real: those questions which are already capable of definite answers are placed in the sciences, 
while those only to which, at present, no definite answer can be given, remain to form the residue which is called philosophy.”
As Tse continues:”Science, in contrast, has nature to falsify theories and models, and the scientific method of experimentation and model-correction/
abandonment that forces scientists to stand on the shoulders of giants. Whether or not scientists concede that they were wrong does not matter in the long run. 
Nature forces their concessions. Scientists who dogmatically maintain a position despite concrete evidence to the contrary are left behind. (…)
Science makes astonishing progress year after year, whereas philosophy makes slow progress over centuries (…)
because debates can be objectively settled in science but cannot be objectively settled in philosophy.”
This is an interesting attitude regarding the meaning of science and philosophy, but it didn’t help him to solve the mind - body question.
Consciousness seems to be as elusive as god in the philosophical discourse. Just imagine, that we had scientific proof of the existence of god.
Since the very beginning a number of philosophers have tried to proof the existence of god. There is one drawback.
They spent all their philosophical power on attempts to proof only one type of god, the god of christianity. That is, that is the god our atheists fight against in particular.
So, arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others for thousands of years. 
In philosophical terms, such arguments involve primarily the disciplines of epistemology (the nature and scope of knowledge) 
and ontology (study of the nature of being, existence, or reality) and also the theory of value, since concepts of perfection are connected to notions of God. 
The hottest item here is of course the concept of existence. Let’s start with taking the epistemological route.
Our way of describing reality is by referring to some object, e.g. my car and attribute to it all kinds of properties: blue, old fashioned model, seriously dented, and so on.
Thus our language structures our reality as a set of objects or state of affairs, which have properties. Because of properties we can tell the difference between a car and a bike.
And here the philosophical problems begin. Is ‘existence’ just like ‘old fashioned’ or ‘dented’ a property of my car?
Or think about this….can there BE a car, say, my car, which lacks this property of “existence”?? 
Now, look at my car. When I say to you “Yes, my car exists!” you might be puzzled. “What are you telling me…there it is,  old fashioned and dented…I see it?!”
I frown. The sentence “The car is old fashioned” and “The car exists” have the same form: they both attribute an property to an individual object.
But indeed, the statement “The car exists” doesn’t add a thing to my car. But suppose you say, while looking at my car “That car does not exist”.
Does that mean that some property is absent? We really need another lecture to figure this out….^_^
Thank you….. the floor is yours…:-)

The Discussion

Corona Anatine: is this not an aspect of language
Max Chatnoir: So if everybody sees your car but you, which of you doesn't exist?
Bejiita Imako: hmmm now it gets complicated!
Bejiita Imako: hehe
herman Bergson: That is not what I really meant Max....
Corona Anatine: also there are several aspects to the concept 'exists'
Max Chatnoir: Sorry, I was being frivolous.
Corona Anatine: exsits at waht level of conceptual thought
Max Chatnoir: Existence seems to need some aspect of interobserver reliability.
herman Bergson: What I menat was the idea...can there be objects which you can describe by their attributes but lack the atttribute "existence":-)
Ciska Riverstone: your car on the tv screen?
Max Chatnoir: It seems that you have to have existence to HAVE attributes.
Corona Anatine: it is safe to say that there is an indepentent reality of some form which encapsulates 'existence '  regradless of what that true reality actually is 
herman Bergson: or..in other words...does the attribute "existence" really says something about an object
Bejiita Imako: well thats one thing, if you describe the picture of the car as properties of the colors in the screen
Bejiita Imako: then i guess it could work
Max Chatnoir: On the other hand, unicorns have attributes, but don't exist.
Max Chatnoir: at least I don't think they do.
Max Chatnoir: So I guess what I said was wrong.
herman Bergson: Yes MAx....
herman Bergson: Let me put it this way...
Bejiita Imako: aaa yes, fantasy objects is one thing
Corona Anatine: the modern of unicorns,  that we cant easily identify which one doe snot matter]
herman Bergson: Corona came in as an ignosticist...:-)
Corona Anatine: oh the bible has nothing to do with 'god'
herman Bergson: one of the points of ignosticism is that it demands clear definitions of concepts...
Max Chatnoir: But fantasy objects have attributes that allow identification of the object.
Corona Anatine: yes indeed
Bejiita Imako: same goes for me, Im a saiyan, saiyans exist only as a property of different colors in manga books,
Max Chatnoir: So existence must be something other than an attribute.
herman Bergson: and one of the defining attributes of unicorn is that it has no physical existence
Bejiita Imako: but they are no physical real beings
Corona Anatine: not now perhaps but when the word was originally used it likely referred to a real species
herman Bergson: speculation Corona...
Max Chatnoir: I guess a negative attribute is an attribute.
Corona Anatine: that the meaning has shifted to = fantasy animal is not the original users fault
Bejiita Imako: so yes i guess you can have existence only by property in that way
herman Bergson: Max says existence must be something other than an attribute
herman Bergson: You also could say...
Ciska Riverstone: is existence in that context temporal?
Bejiita Imako: depend on how it is defined
herman Bergson: We should have a closer look at the statements which use the verb "exist"
Bejiita Imako: i guss
Bejiita Imako: guess
Barby Seda: physical attributes can be modified to form other attributes
Corona Anatine: non temporal existence would be a very strange state
herman Bergson: Are they really of the subject - predicate structure?
Max Chatnoir: So is God like a unicorn, which has more or less defined attributes, but maybe not existence?
herman Bergson: Will be the subject of our next lecture as I promised :-))
Bejiita Imako: now this can be interesting
Corona Anatine: did you mean the IPU just then max?
Bejiita Imako: existence only by property
herman Bergson: Max...it is green...small with big ears....and comes from Mars....:-)
Max Chatnoir: IPU?
Bejiita Imako: haha
Corona Anatine: invisible pink unicorn
Ciska Riverstone: in the moment i watch a film with herman’s car it might already been burried and no longer have the attribute of existence - does it still because its on film?
Bejiita Imako: or a way to old and therefore green of mold mars bar
herman Bergson: I can describe an individual in its properties....as you see
Bejiita Imako: lol
Bejiita Imako: ok
herman Bergson: you see a film Ciska, not a car...
Ciska Riverstone: yes - so the car has no existence any longer and the car in the film has the existence of pictures in a row
herman Bergson: I guess you all notice that this "attribute" existence behaves rather weird
Bejiita Imako: eeeh indeed
herman Bergson: indeed Ciska...
Bejiita Imako: never thought about it in this way
Corona Anatine: [ are we heading towards the concept of the 'holographic' universe?]
herman Bergson: It is rahter confusing indeed :-)
Ciska Riverstone: so there is no relation between the two in terms of existance?
Bejiita Imako: yes you can say
Bejiita Imako:
Max Chatnoir: What if you had a hard deist position that could prove that god exists but that nobody can communicate with him/her?
herman Bergson: No Ciska...a movie doesn’t prove that something exists ....
Corona Anatine: then just a word would have little value or point for humanity surely
herman Bergson: We habve tons of UFO movies for instance :-)
Corona Anatine: word=god
Ciska Riverstone: but are the car in the movie and the real car which no longer exists related or not?
Bejiita Imako: the thing is that you can also say fantasy creatures like unicorns are just myths and therefore not exist
Corona Anatine: if you include time in the concept then yes the car exists
herman Bergson: Related....I guess so yes....
Bejiita Imako: and then existence with only property become impossible
herman Bergson: one day it was in front of the camera
Ciska Riverstone: so the relation does not say anything about the existence.
Bejiita Imako: because then something need to actually exist for real to hold the properties
herman Bergson: It says everything about the properties of the car....color, shape and so on....
Corona Anatine: aslo cna we say with certainty that unicorns dont exist somewhere within a radius of 15 billion light years
herman Bergson: but you don’t record a property that you can point out to be existence
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no need to have it in front of the camera it could be created in a 3d program
herman Bergson: It could indeed Beertje
Ciska Riverstone: so maybe existence is no property after all?
herman Bergson: PIXAR is a master in "creating" worlds
Max Chatnoir: It seems different somehow from other kinds of properties.
herman Bergson: Indeed Ciska.....
Bejiita Imako: i would say existence is a placeholder of different properties but properties alone im unsure of
herman Bergson: But yet we talk about thing, that they exist....so what do we mean then?
Bejiita Imako: in case of the 3d program you have existence in the form of the file that then holds properties
Bejiita Imako: without the file you have no properties
Corona Anatine: also are we referring to our own existence or just to external things
herman Bergson: You come close to modern ideas about the issue Bejiita!!!!
Bejiita Imako: this can get complicated for sure
Bejiita Imako: it depend on how you define existence
herman Bergson: You make me think of Descartes Corona....
Bejiita Imako: i d say
Corona Anatine: for sure
herman Bergson: He said...I think so I am....
herman Bergson: but this I am didn’t add anything to his I think....
herman Bergson: it was not en EXTRA ....
Bejiita Imako: however properties also exists by themselves, if it don’t exist there is nothing there whatever it is
Corona Anatine: and can thought be said to exist in any clear way - all that exists there is a flow of electric current
herman Bergson: He just could have said...I think...period...:-)
Bejiita Imako: red have to exist for it to be red at all
Bejiita Imako: or green
herman Bergson: Very good Bejiita.....you are almost close to Plato now :-))
Max Chatnoir: but you need a perceiver of redness.
Bejiita Imako: also we know that there only exist a small number of base colors and when they mix we get all other
Corona Anatine: thing is tho can attributes exist indepenent of the thing they are attributes of?
Corona Anatine: they are after all just descriptive labels
Bejiita Imako: yes thats also true, we se red cause our brain tell us that, in reality everything is pitch black, its only when the brain get the signals we see it as light
herman Bergson: That has been a philosophical issue indeed Corona...
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): if you mix all colors together you get white
Barby Seda: people suffering from Daltonism can't see the red color
herman Bergson: as I said...Plato discussed it
herman Bergson: As Aristotle did
Bejiita Imako: same with sound, its just vibration, its all insidethe brain
Bejiita Imako: without a listener all is quiet even at 120 db
herman Bergson: The main issue here is DOEs GOD EXIST.....
Corona Anatine: but colour has a definitive basis in the reflectivity of wavelength - the concept could be broadacst to aleins and be understood by them
herman Bergson: and as you now notice....
Max Chatnoir: I think you could have gods with different attributes.
herman Bergson: this "attribute" of existence behaves quite problematic in our way of describing reality
Max Chatnoir: without any of them existing.
Max Chatnoir: Like unicorns.
Bejiita Imako: the only way id know for god to exist would be as dark matter or energy since these 2 things are invisible and unmeasurable even they seem to exist
herman Bergson: We have tons of such gods Max....
Corona Anatine: yes the mental equivalent of sculpting water
herman Bergson: From Allah to Vishu....
herman Bergson: and Amon R to Zeus
Max Chatnoir: I wonder if monotheism is just increasing generalization of attributes?
Max Chatnoir: one size fits all.
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i think God is someone like an unseen friend is for a child
Bejiita Imako: ah
herman Bergson: Well...it makes it easier, Max :-))
Corona Anatine: do we have monotheism ?
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): just to feel safe
herman Bergson: I am not sure, Corona :-))
Bejiita Imako: yes, cristans muslims ext have one god while hinduism have many
Corona Anatine: a lot of these modern monotheism include 'satan' which makes them at least partly dualist
Bejiita Imako: so hinduism is not a monotheism
herman Bergson: ok...add Satan to the story...
Bejiita Imako:
Corona Anatine: and then there are angels and saints and mary and lots of other stuff
herman Bergson: Well, I think ..you have enough to think about before the next lecture now :-))
Bejiita Imako: hehehe
Max Chatnoir: I don't think that Satan counts as a god -- wasn't he supposed to be an angel?  Or is that just Milton?
Bejiita Imako: (head spinning faster then a particle beam in the LHC at moment)
Corona Anatine: maybe all religions are polytheist and just have differing steepness to the angle of the hierarchical pyramid
Bejiita Imako:
herman Bergson: he is a fallen angel as far as I know :-)
Ciska Riverstone: heheheh bejiita
Max Chatnoir: @Corona:  There's a thought!
Bejiita Imako:
Max Chatnoir: Normal curve approaching a line.
herman Bergson: I'd better thank you all again for your participation.....to save bejiita from overload...:-)
Corona Anatine: indeed because all religions include a variety of levels of power between humans and the single 'god' or ruler of gods
Bejiita Imako: hehe i need to think this through a bit
Bejiita Imako: but this is interesting concept indeed
herman Bergson: See you next Tuesday.....class dismissed :-))
Max Chatnoir: Herman, you always raise more and more questions.
Bejiita Imako:
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): he loves to do that Max:)
Bejiita Imako: thats the point
Bejiita Imako: hehe
herman Bergson: Yes Max...that is my intention...:-)
Corona Anatine: maybe bejita should expand her mind so it has more capacity and less risk of overflow
herman Bergson: you would fall asleep when I just came up with all answers :-)
Corona Anatine: are you able to do that Herman ?
Bejiita Imako: hehe, well this is what makes it fun, find new ways to think about stuff
Max Chatnoir: Yes.
herman Bergson: silly remark, Corona...you know better....^_^
Corona Anatine: do you have all the answers to everything ?
Corona Anatine: yeh i do
herman Bergson smiles
Bejiita Imako: hehe
herman Bergson: The main goal of my class is to make you THINK....:-)
Corona Anatine: I aslo can give an answer to everything -just cant guarantee to give a true/right answer
herman Bergson: if you need answers...go to Wikipedia ^_^
Bejiita Imako: hehe
Corona Anatine: maybe - but first we need to get the questions right
herman Bergson: oh...I got lots of such answers too, Corona ^_^
Corona Anatine: : )
herman Bergson: That is a good point Corona....
herman Bergson: We first have to get the question right!
herman Bergson: That is why we have to understand the use of "exist"....
herman Bergson: How it works in our language...what it denotes....
Max Chatnoir: I got ONE answer in Wikipedia.  the two central figures in the picture are Plato and Aristotle.
herman Bergson: Very nice, Max :-))
herman Bergson: I'll put a little URL script in the wall....
Max Chatnoir: Oh, that would be good.
herman Bergson: when you click it it refers to the Wikipedia page then
Max Chatnoir: I looked to see if there was one.
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i am tired now..nobody can see that or feel that..does that mean tired does not exist?
Corona Anatine: ar e they ?
herman Bergson: this was the URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_School_of_Athens
Max Chatnoir: That's the one!
Corona Anatine: plato and aristole existed - are pictures of them actaully those men
herman Bergson: no...:-)
Corona Anatine: at best they are accurate images - butr even that is uncertain
Bejiita Imako:
herman Bergson: Yor condition exists for you Beertje....undeniable :-)
Corona Anatine: probably about as accutrate as images of jesus or the sistine chapel
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but does it for other people?
herman Bergson: in the sense that you go to bed, yes :-))
Ciska Riverstone: for me too beertje - but i do not know it it is the same ;)
Corona Anatine: [ tanya departed because the topic was too deep for her - so overalod is infective it would appear
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ok..goodnight then :))
Bejiita Imako:
Bejiita Imako: cu next time
Ciska Riverstone: welterusten beertje
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): welterusten allemaal
herman Bergson: sweet dreams Beertje :-))
Bejiita Imako: bye beertje
herman Bergson: one down ...six to go....^_^
Max Chatnoir: Donatello and Raphael and Leonardo are in there too.
Bejiita Imako: the entire TMNT
Bejiita Imako: lol
Bejiita Imako:
herman Bergson: TMNT?
Max Chatnoir: representations anyway.
Corona Anatine: teenage mutant nija turtles
Bejiita Imako: yep
Bejiita Imako:
herman Bergson: lol
Bejiita Imako: hehe
Max Chatnoir: Teenage mutant ninja...
herman Bergson: I never liked those cartoons
Bejiita Imako: the new movie was really good btw
Bejiita Imako: recommend it
Bejiita Imako:
herman Bergson: I find those turtles such silly characters
Bejiita Imako: hehe its a bit special but hey it works
Bejiita Imako: then i grew up with them so
Max Chatnoir: Well, thank you as always, Herman.
Ciska Riverstone: thanx herman thanx everyone
Max Chatnoir: Hope to see you Tuesday!
Bejiita Imako: cu all then
bergfrau Apfelbaum: ***** APPPPPPPLLLLAAAUUUSSSSEEEEEEE***********
bergfrau Apfelbaum: ***** *********** APPPPPPPLLLLAAAUUUSSSSEEEEEEE
Bejiita Imako:
bergfrau Apfelbaum: thx herman & class!
Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
Corona Anatine: oh btw a quick plug - my book 'idunns orcahrd the musician of the heliopause ' is out now on e book - ISBN 978-4969-9705-9 [e]
Barby Seda: good night Herman and everybody
herman Bergson: Bye BArby
Corona Anatine: by barby
Max Chatnoir: Thanks, Corona.
Corona Anatine: yw max
herman Bergson: Illegal advertising in my class Corona !!!!!! lol

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