Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

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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Jonathan A Bain
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Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by Jonathan A Bain » September 29th, 2019, 4:10 pm

The idea I am about to express is a combination of Descartes proof of God as well as the proof from Aquinas. (Both those are worth exploring in themselves).

It goes like this:

Which is greater: A slug or nothing?
Obviously a slug is infinitely greater than nothing.

Would you believe somebody if they said a slug caused the universe?
Not likely!

So why do you believe those who say nothing caused the universe? It is infinitely more likely that the slug did it because we already know that a slug is infinitely greater than nothing.

Think a bit, before continuing, please.

Ok well that is just likelihoods. Something such as the universe is much greater than the slug, so that which is greater cannot come from that which is lesser.

But the universe is still infinitely greater than nothing!
So on that basis you cannot say the universe comes from nothing.

Ok so maybe it was not God but just super-aliens that caused the universe. Perhaps this entire universe is just a theme-park or the set of an elaborate alien movie, and we are just the decorations and extras.

Well in that sense, the super-aliens are pretty much God, not so? At least from our perspective, there is precious little difference...

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by LuckyR » September 29th, 2019, 10:16 pm

Jonathan A Bain wrote:
September 29th, 2019, 4:10 pm
The idea I am about to express is a combination of Descartes proof of God as well as the proof from Aquinas. (Both those are worth exploring in themselves).

It goes like this:

Which is greater: A slug or nothing?
Obviously a slug is infinitely greater than nothing.

Would you believe somebody if they said a slug caused the universe?
Not likely!

So why do you believe those who say nothing caused the universe? It is infinitely more likely that the slug did it because we already know that a slug is infinitely greater than nothing.

Think a bit, before continuing, please.

Ok well that is just likelihoods. Something such as the universe is much greater than the slug, so that which is greater cannot come from that which is lesser.

But the universe is still infinitely greater than nothing!
So on that basis you cannot say the universe comes from nothing.

Ok so maybe it was not God but just super-aliens that caused the universe. Perhaps this entire universe is just a theme-park or the set of an elaborate alien movie, and we are just the decorations and extras.

Well in that sense, the super-aliens are pretty much God, not so? At least from our perspective, there is precious little difference...
To my mind, your best, most logical sentence is the second to last. If you believe that there are numerous alien civilizations in the universe, and that many of them are significantly more advanced than we are, they likely would be indistinguishable from gods from our perspective.

The beginning of your post is trying to use schoolyard turns of rhetoric to prove the unprovable.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by h_k_s » September 30th, 2019, 2:22 pm

Jonathan A Bain wrote:
September 29th, 2019, 4:10 pm
The idea I am about to express is a combination of Descartes proof of God as well as the proof from Aquinas. (Both those are worth exploring in themselves).

It goes like this:

Which is greater: A slug or nothing?
Obviously a slug is infinitely greater than nothing.

Would you believe somebody if they said a slug caused the universe?
Not likely!

So why do you believe those who say nothing caused the universe? It is infinitely more likely that the slug did it because we already know that a slug is infinitely greater than nothing.

Think a bit, before continuing, please.

Ok well that is just likelihoods. Something such as the universe is much greater than the slug, so that which is greater cannot come from that which is lesser.

But the universe is still infinitely greater than nothing!
So on that basis you cannot say the universe comes from nothing.

Ok so maybe it was not God but just super-aliens that caused the universe. Perhaps this entire universe is just a theme-park or the set of an elaborate alien movie, and we are just the decorations and extras.

Well in that sense, the super-aliens are pretty much God, not so? At least from our perspective, there is precious little difference...
You @Jonathan A Bain are using a play on words and the double meaning of "nothing" to define your metaphysics of God.

Start over.

Try again.

Consider this:

1 - Nothing is better than having all the money in the world.

2 - A jelly sandwich is better than nothing.

3 - Ergo a jelly sandwich is better than all the money in the world.

Note the conflict in the contradiction.

Ergo your proof contains its own contradiction and is therefore INVALID.

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by h_k_s » September 30th, 2019, 2:23 pm

LuckyR wrote:
September 29th, 2019, 10:16 pm
Jonathan A Bain wrote:
September 29th, 2019, 4:10 pm
The idea I am about to express is a combination of Descartes proof of God as well as the proof from Aquinas. (Both those are worth exploring in themselves).

It goes like this:

Which is greater: A slug or nothing?
Obviously a slug is infinitely greater than nothing.

Would you believe somebody if they said a slug caused the universe?
Not likely!

So why do you believe those who say nothing caused the universe? It is infinitely more likely that the slug did it because we already know that a slug is infinitely greater than nothing.

Think a bit, before continuing, please.

Ok well that is just likelihoods. Something such as the universe is much greater than the slug, so that which is greater cannot come from that which is lesser.

But the universe is still infinitely greater than nothing!
So on that basis you cannot say the universe comes from nothing.

Ok so maybe it was not God but just super-aliens that caused the universe. Perhaps this entire universe is just a theme-park or the set of an elaborate alien movie, and we are just the decorations and extras.

Well in that sense, the super-aliens are pretty much God, not so? At least from our perspective, there is precious little difference...
To my mind, your best, most logical sentence is the second to last. If you believe that there are numerous alien civilizations in the universe, and that many of them are significantly more advanced than we are, they likely would be indistinguishable from gods from our perspective.

The beginning of your post is trying to use schoolyard turns of rhetoric to prove the unprovable.
I agree with you @LuckyR .

The other thing that @Jonathan A Bain is doing is assuming from ignorance.

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by detail » October 1st, 2019, 11:28 am

I think this is according to the great philosopher douglas adams the following existential fact about whales:
(See further more https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/198068 ... at-against)

“Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet.

And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more.

This is a complete record of its thoughts from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it.

Ah … ! What’s happening? it thought.

Er, excuse me, who am I?

Hello?

Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life?

What do I mean by who am I?

Calm down, get a grip now … oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It’s a sort of … yawning, tingling sensation in my … my … well I suppose I’d better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let’s call it my stomach.

Good. Ooooh, it’s getting quite strong. And hey, what’s about this whistling roaring sound going past what I’m suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that … wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do … perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I’ve found out what it’s for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What’s this thing? This … let’s call it a tail – yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can’t I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn’t seem to achieve very much but I’ll probably find out what it’s for later on. Now – have I built up any coherent picture of things yet?

No.

Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I’m quite dizzy with anticipation …

Or is it the wind?

There really is a lot of that now isn’t it?

And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like … ow … ound … round … ground! That’s it! That’s a good name – ground!

I wonder if it will be friends with me?

And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by Mark1955 » October 4th, 2019, 9:08 am

Jonathan A Bain wrote:
September 29th, 2019, 4:10 pm
So why do you believe those who say nothing caused the universe? It is infinitely more likely that the slug did it because we already know that a slug is infinitely greater than nothing.
I don't say nothing caused the universe, I cite the laws of physics, which I can observed. I conclude they are possibly a more effective explanation than a god, whichever one or more you're giving the credit to, for which I have no evidence.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by h_k_s » October 5th, 2019, 4:41 pm

For those who would like a more philosophical and less fallacious discussion, here is a list of all the classic, romantic proofs of God that I can think of from the top of my head:

1 - prime mover (Aristotle)

2 - first cause (Aquinas & Descartes)

3 - ontological proof (Descartes)

4 - artistic artificer (forgot who first came up with this one, which is mostly about biological symmetry)

5 - the greatest good (Aquinas & Descartes)

6 - the unchanging within a universe of change (Aquinas)

Feel free to correct any mistakes I have written. Add to this list as you see fit.

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by LuckyR » October 5th, 2019, 8:34 pm

h_k_s wrote:
October 5th, 2019, 4:41 pm
For those who would like a more philosophical and less fallacious discussion, here is a list of all the classic, romantic proofs of God that I can think of from the top of my head:

1 - prime mover (Aristotle)

2 - first cause (Aquinas & Descartes)

3 - ontological proof (Descartes)

4 - artistic artificer (forgot who first came up with this one, which is mostly about biological symmetry)

5 - the greatest good (Aquinas & Descartes)

6 - the unchanging within a universe of change (Aquinas)

Feel free to correct any mistakes I have written. Add to this list as you see fit.
I'll just comment on the concept of the "proofs". Since by definition (of most Modern theists), the relative intellect of the humans proposing the proofs to that of which they are attempting to prove is less than that of a slug to a human, how much stead should we give to a slug's "proof" that humans exist? Logically we should give even less credence to the above proofs.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by h_k_s » October 7th, 2019, 5:36 pm

LuckyR wrote:
October 5th, 2019, 8:34 pm
h_k_s wrote:
October 5th, 2019, 4:41 pm
For those who would like a more philosophical and less fallacious discussion, here is a list of all the classic, romantic proofs of God that I can think of from the top of my head:

1 - prime mover (Aristotle)

2 - first cause (Aquinas & Descartes)

3 - ontological proof (Descartes)

4 - artistic artificer (forgot who first came up with this one, which is mostly about biological symmetry)

5 - the greatest good (Aquinas & Descartes)

6 - the unchanging within a universe of change (Aquinas)

Feel free to correct any mistakes I have written. Add to this list as you see fit.
I'll just comment on the concept of the "proofs". Since by definition (of most Modern theists), the relative intellect of the humans proposing the proofs to that of which they are attempting to prove is less than that of a slug to a human, how much stead should we give to a slug's "proof" that humans exist? Logically we should give even less credence to the above proofs.
Actually I hold philosophical proofs in higher regard than theist notions.

For me, the theists are the slugs.

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by Prof Bulani » December 9th, 2019, 9:07 pm

Which is greater: a debilitating flesh-eating disease or nothing?

The argument that the universe was created by something "greater" than nothing implies that the universe was created. This needs to be established before anything is rested upon it.

The problem that the universe must have been created by something greater than itself isn't solved with God or super aliens. Wouldn't God or super aliens need to have been created by something greater than them?

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by Terrapin Station » February 12th, 2020, 8:15 pm

"Greater" in that non-numerical, value sense is subjective. There are no correct answers about what is greater in that sense of the term.

Likelihood only makes sense in the wake of frequency data, and even then there's plenty of room for skepticism about how probability hooks up with ontological facts.

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by Newme » February 16th, 2020, 11:03 pm

h_k_s wrote:
October 5th, 2019, 4:41 pm
For those who would like a more philosophical and less fallacious discussion, here is a list of all the classic, romantic proofs of God that I can think of from the top of my head:

1 - prime mover (Aristotle)

2 - first cause (Aquinas & Descartes)

3 - ontological proof (Descartes)

4 - artistic artificer (forgot who first came up with this one, which is mostly about biological symmetry)

5 - the greatest good (Aquinas & Descartes)

6 - the unchanging within a universe of change (Aquinas)

Feel free to correct any mistakes I have written. Add to this list as you see fit.
7. God is your consciousness aware of itself. Moses said God is “I AM that I AM.”
Similar to Buddha, Christ said, “The kingdom of god is within you.” Where else would it be? I think Gottfried Leibniz suggested similarly that the essence of all matter is perception-based “monads” & that God is the most complex perception.
“Empty is the argument of the philosopher which does not relieve any human suffering.” - Epicurus

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by MAYA EL » February 17th, 2020, 6:00 am

Newme wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 11:03 pm
h_k_s wrote:
October 5th, 2019, 4:41 pm
For those who would like a more philosophical and less fallacious discussion, here is a list of all the classic, romantic proofs of God that I can think of from the top of my head:

1 - prime mover (Aristotle)

2 - first cause (Aquinas & Descartes)

3 - ontological proof (Descartes)

4 - artistic artificer (forgot who first came up with this one, which is mostly about biological symmetry)

5 - the greatest good (Aquinas & Descartes)

6 - the unchanging within a universe of change (Aquinas)

Feel free to correct any mistakes I have written. Add to this list as you see fit.
7. God is your consciousness aware of itself. Moses said God is “I AM that I AM.”
Similar to Buddha, Christ said, “The kingdom of god is within you.” Where else would it be? I think Gottfried Leibniz suggested similarly that the essence of all matter is perception-based “monads” & that God is the most complex perception.
Actually the more accurate translation is not "I am that I am" (which isn't a name fyi) instead it actually says (according to the closest thing we have to the original writings which isn't very close at all but I digress) should be read as "I will be what I will be"

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by Steve3007 » February 17th, 2020, 11:11 am

Actually the more accurate translation is not "I am that I am" (which isn't a name fyi) instead it actually says (according to the closest thing we have to the original writings which isn't very close at all but I digress) should be read as "I will be what I will be"
So God was either Gloria Gaynor or Doris Day, depending on the version of that quote. And, interestingly, given the initial letters of their names, God backwards is Dog.

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Re: Logical Proof of God (Descartes + Aquinas)

Post by woodbine » February 17th, 2020, 2:33 pm

Jonathan A Bain wrote:
September 29th, 2019, 4:10 pm
The idea I am about to express is a combination of Descartes proof of God as well as the proof from Aquinas. (Both those are worth exploring in themselves).

It goes like this:

Which is greater: A slug or nothing?
Obviously a slug is infinitely greater than nothing.

Would you believe somebody if they said a slug caused the universe?
Not likely!

So why do you believe those who say nothing caused the universe? It is infinitely more likely that the slug did it because we already know that a slug is infinitely greater than nothing.
A slug is a well studied organism defined by its characteristics. Universe making is not a characteristic of that which we accept to be a slug. A universe making slug would be more accurately defined as a God rather than a slug.

And I don't think many scientists would claim the universe came from nothing and whether nothing is a logically possible or sufficiently stable state is itself disputed. (The more I think about it the less "nothing" makes sense)

My view is that the right answer may well be the simplest. Matter/Energy is eternal.

No, omnipotent Gods, No something from nothing and it fits with observations as far as I know. (Note. I am not a professional astrophysicist). We observe that energy/matter changes rather than it being destroyed, which gives it, what might be called, a forward infinity so it's not too bold a step to suggest a reverse infinity and therefore eternity.... Is it?

Surely it's the best model we have to date?

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