Who Is God?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Fooloso4
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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Fooloso4 » April 3rd, 2018, 8:40 am

Belindi:
I think you have to take eternal values more seriously. Eternal values depend upon eternity which is that those values(and everything else, the fall of the sparrow, each terrible conflict, every kind word, the nucleated plasma, and so on) were always going to happen; God had all these events up his sleeve so to speak.
Egads! OMG!! By the (mad old) dog (lady)!!!

Belindi, I think values are man made, and I am sure we will have a civil discussion of our differences, just as we have in the past. How is that possible?

Are values given to us or do we play a role in what is of value to us? Do you think of God as the giver of the moral law?

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Belindi » April 3rd, 2018, 1:39 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
Are values given to us or do we play a role in what is of value to us? Do you think of God as the giver of the moral law?
You and | and Greta, Foolosof, agree, I do believe ,that values are man-made. It would be very nice of anthropologists could discover just one value that is common to every culture of belief, but I don't think it has ever been done.
Gods are symbols of the moral law including the god confusingly named God.

I do believe in eternity although of course I have no evidence of it. My belief in eternity doesn't imply that there is life after death or any other sort of immortality.

My notion of what eternity is all about are mostly from Spinoza's Ethics. And a few works of art as analogies for eternity.

When I wrote "God had all these events up his sleeve so to speak" I said "so to speak" meaning that a lot of people conflate God- the-particular-being with eternity hence their notion of eternal values. The moral law is man made and there are no such things as eternal values.
I may owe you an apology for inadvertently clicking on the moderators' button. I really should be defrocked!

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Greta
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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Greta » April 3rd, 2018, 6:18 pm

Belindi wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 5:42 am
Greta wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 2:38 am
What doesn't make sense to me is the idea of intelligence amongst all that nucleated plasma. Maybe there was? I don't know, no one does, However, it does not appear to be the case. Rather, the universe has grown and developed in a way not miles from the way its inhabitants grow and develop. Nature extends far beyond our atmosphere.

Then again, I'm a bit of a m̶a̶d̶ ̶o̶l̶d̶ ̶d̶o̶g̶ ̶l̶a̶d̶y̶ panvitalist so the idea of a cold and dead cosmos may just be our perspective within emerging living systems. At this stage those systems have not shown any signs of intelligence or consciousness (away from the Earth) but that too may be a perspective effect due to the relatively tiny scale of our explorations so far, along with our situation on the inside.
I think you have to take eternal values more seriously. Eternal values depend upon eternity which is that those values(and everything else, the fall of the sparrow, each terrible conflict, every kind word, the nucleated plasma, and so on) were always going to happen; God had all these events up his sleeve so to speak.

The weakness in most people's eternal values arguments is that they arrogantly specify the values exactly as if from an engineering blueprint that mentions every rivet.
Belinda, I think people should take panvitalism more seriously - but they don't. I'd take eternal values more seriously if:

1) someone could coherently explain how eternal values could exist amongst non sentient matter before the emergence of intelligent creatures, and;

2) if those who claim such values to be true did not respond more aggressively than is usual on forums. You would expect the opposite. If so-called eternal values have no positive effect on character - no increase in patience, understanding and goodwill - then what is the point?

Still, I don't discount the possibility of eternal values either for the same reason - no evidence one way or another. I have mentioned a few scenarios where entities that might be thought of as God may somewhat realistically be inserted into scientific gaps. Thus, I don't discount eternal values or many other claims, but I certainly won't take the idea seriously without at least one convincing explanation.

The irony of all this is that I would have no quibble at all with the people I have the most vigorous debates with online if they just qualified their views with "probably", "seemingly", "perhaps", "maybe", "possibly", and so on. My beef has always been with misplaced certainty, not the propositions themselves.

That people would rather fight and sweat than qualify their pet ideas and admit to uncertainty is telling in itself.

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Fooloso4 » April 3rd, 2018, 8:32 pm

Greta:
I think people should take panvitalism more seriously
I think we are in the process of reconceptualizing terms such as life, consciousness, intelligence, thinking, and matter.

I like the idea of self-organizing or self-structuring matter. Admittedly there are problems with this but it seems to me that starting with the very things you are trying to explain via natural processes is cheating. There is no need to explain how matter creates life of consciousness if life and/or consciousness are fundamental. If life and consciousness are emergent properties of self-organization, then it seems right to say that it is an intelligent process, but not, of course, if we start with what humans do as the standard of intelligence. The intelligence of matter, which is the ability of matter to structure itself into higher and higher levels of order or intelligence, which is to say, the ability to do more and more, could be wholly mechanistic process, requiring neither consciousness or life.

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Greta » April 3rd, 2018, 11:27 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
April 3rd, 2018, 8:32 pm
Greta:
I think people should take panvitalism more seriously
I think we are in the process of reconceptualizing terms such as life, consciousness, intelligence, thinking, and matter.

I like the idea of self-organizing or self-structuring matter. Admittedly there are problems with this but it seems to me that starting with the very things you are trying to explain via natural processes is cheating. There is no need to explain how matter creates life of consciousness if life and/or consciousness are fundamental. If life and consciousness are emergent properties of self-organization, then it seems right to say that it is an intelligent process, but not, of course, if we start with what humans do as the standard of intelligence. The intelligence of matter, which is the ability of matter to structure itself into higher and higher levels of order or intelligence, which is to say, the ability to do more and more, could be wholly mechanistic process, requiring neither consciousness or life.
If life is fundamental, I would still see reason to explain abiogenesis. If, as I've suggested, that the Earth and the cosmos are replete with living systems, that is not to deny biology's emergence. I also don't see any conflict between "life" and "mechanistic processes" - we are full of them.

So sure how "intelligent" self organisation is, noting that most life doesn't need to be intelligent, and is not. Thus, a panvitalist view carries no opinion about intelligence. Many things manifest over time but most do not persist. Thus we effectively have survival of the persistent rather than the intelligent, just that intelligence helps some species to persist.

It would not seem that intelligence is needed for increasingly persistent systematised entities to emerge from relative chaos, only probabilities and time. The emergences of reality seem "intelligent" but it's just been trial and error with subsequent natural selection (or probabilistic selection as regards non biological systems). The emergences would only be "intelligent" if they happened quickly, without endless prior "wrong" iterations. By the same token, it's not so intelligent to solve a Rublik's cube if it takes fifty years :)

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Belindi » April 4th, 2018, 5:55 am

Fooloso4 wrote regarding panvitalism:
I like the idea of self-organizing or self-structuring matter.
Now I know what panvitalism is.I like it too. Greta wrote:
If life is fundamental, I would still see reason to explain abiogenesis. If, as I've suggested, that the Earth and the cosmos are replete with living systems, that is not to deny biology's emergence. I also don't see any conflict between "life" and "mechanistic processes" - we are full of them.
That makes sense to me too.


Greta, I repeat, I believe in eternity i.e. the eternal now. But I don't believe that values are a special category of eternity such that values have special everlasting ontic status. Values ,like political parties, are man- made ; some values are good in my opinion and other values are, in my opinion, not so good or downright bad.

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Fooloso4 » April 4th, 2018, 10:47 am

Greta:
So sure how "intelligent" self organisation is, noting that most life doesn't need to be intelligent, and is not.

It would not seem that intelligence is needed for increasingly persistent systematised entities to emerge from relative chaos, only probabilities and time.
I am suggesting that the ability to systematize might be thought of as the minimal definition of intelligence. The structuring is active, and so, depending on what you define as “life” we may not be too far apart on this. If matter is self-structuring then probability enters not with structuring but with what structures are formed. Without the ability to structure itself, matter would be analogous to a pile of sand. Given an eternity I do not think the probability is greater than zero that it would form a universe.

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Greta » April 4th, 2018, 5:47 pm

Belindi wrote:
April 4th, 2018, 5:55 am
Greta, I repeat, I believe in eternity i.e. the eternal now. But I don't believe that values are a special category of eternity such that values have special everlasting ontic status. Values ,like political parties, are man- made ; some values are good in my opinion and other values are, in my opinion, not so good or downright bad.
Yes, eternal values is an odd notion.

Re: the eternal now. I take it that includes when it's not perceived?

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Greta » April 4th, 2018, 7:08 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
April 4th, 2018, 10:47 am
Greta:
So sure how "intelligent" self organisation is, noting that most life doesn't need to be intelligent, and is not.

It would not seem that intelligence is needed for increasingly persistent systematised entities to emerge from relative chaos, only probabilities and time.
I am suggesting that the ability to systematize might be thought of as the minimal definition of intelligence. The structuring is active, and so, depending on what you define as “life” we may not be too far apart on this. If matter is self-structuring then probability enters not with structuring but with what structures are formed. Without the ability to structure itself, matter would be analogous to a pile of sand. Given an eternity I do not think the probability is greater than zero that it would form a universe.
I was going to babble on about how a pile of sand will eventually either structure itself into rocks and then other things (or be destroyed) over long enough time scales. I'd then pontificate about how the laws of physics prescribe limitations to what matter can do in a similar way as DNA does for biology, and how these limitations allow for emergence when thresholds are broken by repeated pressure. Etc etc. Maybe.

However, I'm thinking it might be more interesting to run with your idea. So let's consider systematisation as a possible form of proto-intelligence. I have long figured that chemicals display proto-personalities, which isn't wildly different conceptually. What might be the nature and qualities of this "fundamental intelligence" and how might it compare to ours? My first thought was the comparison between a bit and an operating system.

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Belindi » April 4th, 2018, 8:25 pm

Greta wrote:
Re: the eternal now. I take it that includes when it's not perceived?
That is very interesting. It was not perceived for most of the time that the universe has existed. I'd say that the time when there was no perception in the universe is also part of the eternal now , because times and change itself are not parts of eternity but pertain to the relative aspect of reality, although conceptualisations of times and change are part of eternity.

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Greta » April 5th, 2018, 12:48 am

Belindi wrote:
April 4th, 2018, 8:25 pm
Greta wrote:
Re: the eternal now. I take it that includes when it's not perceived?
That is very interesting. It was not perceived for most of the time that the universe has existed. I'd say that the time when there was no perception in the universe is also part of the eternal now , because times and change itself are not parts of eternity but pertain to the relative aspect of reality, although conceptualisations of times and change are part of eternity.
It makes sense to me. "Now" is also particular in that we can observe a star 100 light years' away now and observe its now 100 years ago.

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Belindi » April 5th, 2018, 6:00 am

Greta wrote regarding my endorsing eternity:
"Now" is also particular in that we can observe a star 100 light years' away now and observe its now 100 years ago.
Thanks for that Greta I had not thought of that aspect of the relativity of this perspective which we know and inhabit. That grand example of cosmic relativity is not evidence for eternity, it's an enormous analogy of it. Such analogies feed the imagining of eternity. The only possibility for us to actually live and inhabit eternity is by way of mystical experiences and you know how these are not replicable for public scrutiny, I don't know why not. Maybe the focusing of attention that empirical experiments demand is incompatible with the sort of awareness that mystical experience is compatible with.

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Greta » April 5th, 2018, 7:01 am

Belindi wrote:
April 5th, 2018, 6:00 am
Greta wrote regarding my endorsing eternity:
"Now" is also particular in that we can observe a star 100 light years' away now and observe its now 100 years ago.
Thanks for that Greta I had not thought of that aspect of the relativity of this perspective which we know and inhabit. That grand example of cosmic relativity is not evidence for eternity, it's an enormous analogy of it. Such analogies feed the imagining of eternity. The only possibility for us to actually live and inhabit eternity is by way of mystical experiences and you know how these are not replicable for public scrutiny, I don't know why not. Maybe the focusing of attention that empirical experiments demand is incompatible with the sort of awareness that mystical experience is compatible with.
Another thought that might undermine my last one :) ... because the time it takes for light to travel one way or another does not impact on the actual "now" that the aliens experience, only when we see it. So we might be sharing the same now but only able to perceive their nows a long way after the fact. Similarly, although less dramatically, as you know we cannot perceive the actual present, being always milliseconds behind due to the time it takes to process what's happening. If the purported God is the now, then that might account for Its elusiveness.

I think that strong experiences generally, not just peak ones, rely on being strongly absorbed in the present moment. Not so easy to be spontaneous and inspired when in a sterile laboratory being watched behind one-way glass. I expect that if an artist was to produce a painting in such an environment, it would seem unlikely to be her best work. I personally find it mentally tiring to try to focus on the present - it's much easier to keep drifting in a semi-dream state lost in pretty abstractions :) However, when we are in a flow state the (near-)present comes to us naturally.

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Fooloso4 » April 5th, 2018, 12:24 pm

Greta:
However, I'm thinking it might be more interesting to run with your idea.
That is the spirit in which I am proposing it. It may run aground or lead nowhere.
What might be the nature and qualities of this "fundamental intelligence" and how might it compare to ours?
It is the ability to self-organize, to form systems. Atoms are systems. The interaction of sub-atomic particles means that they are capable of forming atoms but I do not know if they are themselves systems. There are many orders of magnitude between the simplest intelligence and ours. At each level - atom, molecule, macromolecules, on up the system is capable of doing things the lower levels are not .
My first thought was the comparison between a bit and an operating system.
An operating system is a top down order. It uses bits as interchangeable “building blocks” that on their own cannot self-organize to form systems. Perhaps it is more like simple robots that combine to create more sophisticated robots that in turn combine ...

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Re: Who Is God?

Post by Belindi » April 5th, 2018, 1:50 pm

Greta wrote:
I think that strong experiences generally, not just peak ones, rely on being strongly absorbed in the present moment.
Ah yes, being strongly absorbed in the present moment is the frame of mind that they call 'mindfulness meditation'. As I reply to you I'm strongly absorbed in replying clearly and thoughtfully as I can. I wonder what is the difference between my awareness when I write something philosophical, and when for instance what I did earlier today for instance when I looked closely at a horse chestnut bud to see how it was progressing, or for that matter when I was attending closely to a new recipe. Is it that being strongly absorbed in the present moment is attending to something that is actually and substantially present, whereas thinking something philosophical is jugggling ideas?

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