Tuesday, March 10, 2015

570: The Ontological Argument evaluated

This whole debate on the Ontological Argument is a bit peculiar. iIt is not the question “Where does this god - idea come from among the many ideas in my mind?”
Like Thomas Aquinas said. God is self-evident. The only problem is to prove his existence.
For that we have a well tested scientific method. Take, for instance, Higgs particles. Scientists logically deduced from known data, that these particles should exist.
That means, they described these particles by defining its properties. If they would discover a particle with those properties they would say : “The Higgs particle really exists”
That doesn’t mean, that in their tests they had discovered existence, but they discovered that something instantiated the predicted properties.
which means that the expression “The Higgs particle exists” does say nothing else but “The Higgs particle properties are instantiated”;
that means that every scientist on this earth who performs the same experiments will observe the same result: instantiation of the Higgs-particle properties.
A strong ontological argument, I would say. What tests do we have to reveal the god particle? So far, only language.
Language is our tool to describe our reality and language has a certain structure. In some way it must reflect the structure of our reality. At least it works…
This structure is mainly that of attributing properties to objects and based on that observation we act on the object.
The  traffic light is red, so we stop. It is an example of red and being a traffic light, an instantiation of red. In “the traffic light is red and it exists” nothing more is said than that it is red.
Aristotle already realized, that existence can not be regarded as a property, but the scholastics needed to assume the opposite to be able to deduce the existence of god.
However, they forgot to come up with a proper test, to confirm this deduction. The reason is, that this “proof” is not a scientific conclusion, but just a way of using language.
Our question is whether existence is instantiated and, if so, whether it is instantiated by individuals like Obama, my car, and the tree in my backyard. 
Do individuals, in addition to ordinary properties like being human, being comfortable to sit in, and needing more water, instantiate a property expressed by the English verb ‘exists’? 
Hume  (1711 - 1776) argued, that there is no impression of existence distinct from the impression of an object, which is ultimately on Hume's view a bundle of qualities. 
As all of our contentful ideas derive from impressions, Hume concluded that existence is not a separate property of an object. 
Two philosophers of our time, who had strong arguments to show that “existence” is not a property like red or green were Gottliob Frege (1848 - 1925) and especially Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970).
Both Frege and Russell maintained that existence is not a property of individuals but instead a second-order property—a property of concepts, for Frege, and of propositional functions, for Russell. 
What is the difference between a red tomato and a red existing tomato? To be red it must already exist, as only existing things instantiate properties.
Saying it is red and a tomato and furthermore exists is to say one thing too many. The thought seems to be that instantiating any property whatsoever 
presupposes existence and so existence is not a further property over and above a thing's genuine properties. 
Here we are talking about first-order properties, the thing we observe and its properties. Does the tomato exist?.
We can point at the red round object and say, due to its defining properties. So the statement is true.
Now we say “god exists”. What should we point at? Yet people attribute a lot of properties to this god. The answer is, that we are not talking about properties we observe in reality,
but to say that the statement is true, refers only to the fact that the concept is present in someone’s mind.  So it seems that the existence of god doesn’t get much further than
that the statement “god exists” just means something like “There is some thought in my mind which contains a concept, which I call god”.
Thank you again….the floor is yours

The Discussion

Max Chatnoir: The inter-observer reliability on the properties of God is also not very high.
herman Bergson: Is there any Max?
Max Chatnoir: Like, how do you measure omniscience?
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): so we still do not have a clear definition of existance
herman Bergson: IN soem way we have Gemma...
herman Bergson: it is a precondition to be able to talk about properties of things
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): true
Max Chatnoir: So you can only attribute properties to things that exist.
herman Bergson: no....
herman Bergson: No...
Max Chatnoir: Oh, right, unicorns.
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
Bejiita Imako: hehehe
herman Bergson: Yo can also attribute properties to dragons and ghosts
CB Axel: So all things that exist have properties, but not everything with properties exist.
herman Bergson: the only problem is...these properties will never be instantiated...
Max Chatnoir: So having properties is necessary but not sufficient?
herman Bergson: that is right CB
Bejiita Imako: aaa yes thats true
herman Bergson: To put it in a simple way...
herman Bergson: you define an object by its properties....
herman Bergson: so...
herman Bergson: go look for it...
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): that i know
Bejiita Imako: we can imagine certain properties on a ghost for ex but these properties will also be just fantasy since the ghost is non exixtent and thus also just fantasy
herman Bergson: But here is the catch!!!!
herman Bergson: the method of looking for it...!!!!!
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): right
Bejiita Imako: yes
Bejiita Imako: exactly
herman Bergson: The empiricist says...uses your senses....
Bejiita Imako: thats how you look for higgs for ex because you know it have certain properties
Bejiita Imako: looking for these confirms the particle
Bejiita Imako: sort of
herman Bergson: But some others say that we have more ways to acquire knowledge...
Bejiita Imako: if you find the properties you find the object
herman Bergson: hold on Bejiita....
herman Bergson: !!
herman Bergson: That is a serious issue....
Max Chatnoir: Yes, that's the hole in the scientific argument.
Bejiita Imako: ah
herman Bergson: We never have seen higgs particles like we have seen tomatos....
herman Bergson: we have only seen readings of instrumetns....
Max Chatnoir: Two different objects might have similar properties.
herman Bergson: but you could say that these readings WERE predicted...
herman Bergson: Careful Max........similar properties..not the SAME properties
Bejiita Imako: higgs are more complex indeed, you can directly observe a tomato and taste / see its properties but you can never observe a higgs boson directly
Max Chatnoir: same measurements, then?
herman Bergson: if the measurements are the same we are talking about the SAME objects
herman Bergson: not different objects
Bejiita Imako: yes
Max Chatnoir: I'm not sure about that.
Max Chatnoir: For example two different things might be the same size, color, weight, but not be the same thing.
Bejiita Imako: can there be 2 objects with 100 % identical properties
herman Bergson: yes...like two tomatoes...
Max Chatnoir: Probably not if you consider all properties, but have we measured all properties of the Higgs?
Bejiita Imako: 2 tomatoes never for ex have exactly same shape
herman Bergson: but they are totally different in their space coordinates
Max Chatnoir: Yes, there is that also.
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): wants a fresh tomato
Bejiita Imako: aaa yes coordinates can never be same for 2 different things
Bejiita Imako: then they are 1 and the same
herman Bergson: in SL two prims might occupy the same XYZ values....tell that to two tomatoes :-))
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ;-)
herman Bergson: mee to gemma :-)
Bejiita Imako: hehe
herman Bergson: It is impossible that two objects have 100% the same properies...
Max Chatnoir: So we have to decide which ones matter.
herman Bergson: What do you mean Max?
Max Chatnoir: An interesting feature of the God argument.
Max Chatnoir: What is the essence of tomatoness.
Max Chatnoir: For organisms, you can always appeal to DNA markers.
herman Bergson: for tomatoes too..isn’t it?
Max Chatnoir: But before DNA..  type of fruit, edibility, etc.
Max Chatnoir: Yes, so you can make that a criterion for defining a tomato.
Bejiita Imako: shape taste
herman Bergson: an individual tomato?
Max Chatnoir: But what is the equivalent of a DNA marker for something that isn't an organism?
Bejiita Imako: the important thing is there is a range you need to have for the properties since they are never 100 % identical
Bejiita Imako: the tomato range for shape taste color etc
herman Bergson: even when it has the dna similar to the other 10.0000....it has its ow spacial coordinates
Max Chatnoir: Yes, that's the "essence of tomatoeness"  :-)
CB Axel: Max, chemical makeup?
Max Chatnoir: Yes, you could do some kind of chemical profile.
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): now wants a tomato more
herman Bergson: But what is your point Max?
Bejiita Imako: hehe
herman Bergson: To prove that god is a tomato?
Bejiita Imako: hahahahaa
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh dear
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what about electricity?...we can't see it but we use it every day, does it exist?
herman Bergson grins
Max Chatnoir: Oh, I was wondering how you would apply that principle to God, where even the properties are at issue.
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i think to prove a tomato is a tomato
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes me too max
Bejiita Imako: it exist cause if u touch it you get a lethal shock
herman Bergson: Well...as such ...the idea of properties is rather irrelavant....
Bejiita Imako: and lighthing as well is visible electricity
herman Bergson: Already fro the scholastics it was important to regard existence as a property...
Bejiita Imako: and most important if it didn’t exist, what the power computers motors ect
herman Bergson: But it didn’t work out...
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and magnetism?
herman Bergson: so the idea of a god with all its properties...is ..whatever you like...
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we can't see that either
Max Chatnoir: Is is there any good argument for God?
herman Bergson: except that it lacks real existence except in a mind
Bejiita Imako: ah
Max Chatnoir: If you decide you want to call a tomato an apple.
Max Chatnoir: Well, bad example, because I think maybe they used to be apples?
herman Bergson: then your thesis is immediately falsified Max
Bejiita Imako: hmm interesting idea
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): relatives anyway
Max Chatnoir: If you can apply any properties you like to God then how can you tell an apple from a tomato?
herman Bergson: go to the supermarket....
herman Bergson: buy some apples...
Bejiita Imako: but we know what a tomato is but we don’t know what god really is
Bejiita Imako: and those don’t know the properties a god would have
Bejiita Imako: so could be anything
herman Bergson: and check the bill ...and be surprised it says you bought tomatos...
Max Chatnoir: Well, that's THEIR opinion, isn't it?
Max Chatnoir: But we don't have much trouble agreeing about tomatos.
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): no
Bejiita Imako: no
herman Bergson: you would say that the cash register malfunctioned...
Bejiita Imako: i know what a tomato is and what it taste like and also what u can make of them, ketchup for ex
Max Chatnoir: Because a lot of people have been around tomatoes, and they have some experience of it.
herman Bergson: there are apple s in your basket...not tomatoes
Bejiita Imako: yes everyone have seen and tasted tomatoes i guess
Max Chatnoir: Then the cash register is miscoded or something.  :-)
Bejiita Imako: not same about god
herman Bergson: guess so :-)
Max Chatnoir: no interobserver reliability.
herman Bergson: so far the "property" existence" doesn’t add anything to the concept of god except that you can have this concept in your mind...
Bejiita Imako: no
Bejiita Imako: exactly
Max Chatnoir: Now, if tomatoes became extinct, and we just had old books describing tomatoes, then there might be disagreement about what a tomato was.
Max Chatnoir: Tomatoes are Dead.
herman Bergson: Not if the books describe them accurately, I would say
Bejiita Imako: and u can not use a particle accelerator or similar to find god either plus for that to even be possible we need to have properties to look for before we smash out god with LHC
Max Chatnoir: True, if all the books gave the same description, there might be agreement.
Bejiita Imako: otherwise we have no known things to look for
Max Chatnoir: But what if you didn't have pictures?
Max Chatnoir: Nobody has pictures of God, and indeed in some cases such pictures are forbidden.
herman Bergson: The Dodo is extinct....and we have descriptions of it...but they differ in degrees
Bejiita Imako: dinosaurs we know existed because we found skeletons
Max Chatnoir: Well, there is that stuffed Dodo in the British Museum.
herman Bergson: Oh my, Max....you are running ten miles ahead of the herd!
herman Bergson: :-))
herman Bergson: Pictures of god....:-)
Bejiita Imako: hehe
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i'm already lost in this discussion.....
herman Bergson: Is there. MAx...never knew...lol
Max Chatnoir: Well, we were discussing properties...
herman Bergson: Anyway...existence can not be a property, is my conclusion...
Max Chatnoir: I would agree.
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): got that
CB Axel: This reminds me of the child who told her mother that she was going to draw a picture of God. When the mother said, "But no one knows what God looks like" the child answered, "They will when I'm finished."
herman Bergson: The scholastics used the Subject - Predicate relation to come up with the ontological argument...
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
herman Bergson: but is doesnt hold...
Bejiita Imako:
herman Bergson: One interesting observation....
Bejiita Imako: classic image of god, old man with a beard sitting on a cloud
Bejiita Imako:
herman Bergson: Bertrand Russell, who showed that existence is not a property said, that it also is impossible to prove that god does NOT exist...
Max Chatnoir: patriarch
CB Axel: Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Bejiita Imako: hehe
Max Chatnoir: Well, I guess it might also be impossible to disprove unicorns.
herman Bergson: I have to think about that remark :-)
Bejiita Imako: Pastafarians
Bejiita Imako:
Bejiita Imako: hehe
herman Bergson: yes Max...that is what crossed my mind too! when I read it
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): actually i think they found bones of a creature similar to a unicorn
herman Bergson: Well I guess we did our best again today to deserve a pleasant weekend....:-)
Max Chatnoir: But if I can raise this again, unicorns might have been a conclusion based on some observation.
Bejiita Imako: might be
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): or might have been very skinny rhinos
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): once upon a time
Max Chatnoir: So on what observations is the conclusion of God based?
herman Bergson: As I said ..^_^ I guess we did our best again today to deserve a pleasant weekend....:-)
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes
herman Bergson: So..thank you all again ..:-)
Max Chatnoir: The odd goat gets born with a single horn.
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
herman Bergson: Class dismissed ^_^
CB Axel: Thank you, herman.
Bejiita Imako: nice again
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): bye for now
Bejiita Imako: and my head is into overload again
Bejiita Imako: hehe
Bejiita Imako: but that s good
CB Axel: I think I'll go make a nice tomato salad.
Max Chatnoir: Thank you, Herman.  Do you know what is the next topic?
Bejiita Imako: hehe
Bejiita Imako: sounds tasty
herman Bergson: Do so CB..will taste godly...
Max Chatnoir: I had caprese for lunch today!  The tomatoes are just getting edible.
Bejiita Imako:

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