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Profile: rmberwin
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User Name: rmberwin
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
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Joined: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Last Visit: Friday, October 23, 2020 8:50:40 AM
Number of Posts: 113
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: Argument for the existence of God
Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2020 12:15:55 PM
FounDit wrote:
rmberwin wrote:


You believe in God. I have no problem with that. But if your argument for God here is supposed to convince me that God exists, it fails to do so for several reasons.

This is a variation of the "Watchmaker's" argument for the existence of God. In it's simplest form, it says that because the Universe is complicated and complex, there must be a creator. It's similar to saying because we can create a watch, someone must have created the Universe.

In your argument, you posit that God exists because you have conscious awareness, or to reverse that argument, because you have conscious awareness, God exists. That is not logical.

Basing God's existence on your characteristics is a mistake, since the fact that you also can die means God can die, too. You can also choose to be evil. That would also mean that God can be evil. But that violates the idea of a God who is perfect and does no wrong. But if God says killing is wrong, then He kills, how can killing be wrong when we do it, if we are acting as God does?

You ask, "So how is it that the universe should be constituted such that it allows for this apparent "add on" feature of humans, one that seems superfluous in terms of mere survival?"

I would ask what would prevent the Universe from having a creature with this ability? To do so would have to be by design. A Universe of random spontaneity and development would be unlimited in its creations. That no creature ever exists with consciousness, that such a creature is prevented from existing, that would indicate a Creator.


I didn't claim to believe in God. I was simply offering an argument. You wrote, "In your argument, you posit that God exists because you have conscious awareness, or to reverse that argument, because you have conscious awareness, God exists. That is not logical. Basing God's existence on your characteristics is a mistake". But I said that the personhood of God must be accepted a priori (theism vs. deism). This is a delicate point, but all of our knowledge depends on a priori considerations. My argument as originally stated was perhaps muddled. Whether there is a survival value to consciousness or not (whether it is an "add-on" feature) is irrelevant to the point of our ultimately contingent existence as persons. It is the dichotomy between the necessary personhood of God and ourselves as contingent conscious creatures that is astonishing.

I would like to offer an argument for God that I call "proof from the existence of persons". First, let us accept that natural selection is tantamount to a physical law, one which would obtain in any number of hypothetical universes. Second, let us accept that God would only truly be God if he is a person. Now consider the types of life forms that have evolved on earth. Clearly consciousness is not a feature of all of them. Furthermore, organisms can act in intelligent ways without being conscious, for example how honeybees communicate to each other the exact location of a food source. And, I would suggest that something like awareness can occur without consciousness per se, as with the phenomenon of blindsight. But what is the sine qua non of consciousness. It is the "first person perspective". So how is it that the universe should be constituted such that it allows for this apparent "add on" feature of humans, one that seems superfluous in terms of mere survival? (Again, there are various modes of existence and intelligent behavior does not require consciousness.) And most astoundingly, it is precisely this feature that we invest in any relevant conception of God. Therefore, it is the very existence of ourselves as persons that points toward the universe being, as Fred Hoyle remarked, a "put-up job". However, in order for the argument to avoid circularity it needs to be accepted that the personhood of God is an a priori consideration.
Topic: Argument for the existence of God
Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2020 3:30:20 PM
I would like to offer an argument for God that I call "proof from the existence of persons". First, let us accept that natural selection is tantamount to a physical law, one which would obtain in any number of hypothetical universes. Second, let us accept that God would only truly be God if he is a person. Now consider the types of life forms that have evolved on earth. Clearly consciousness is not a feature of all of them. Furthermore, organisms can act in intelligent ways without being conscious, for example how honeybees communicate to each other the exact location of a food source. And, I would suggest that something like awareness can occur without consciousness per se, as with the phenomenon of blindsight. But what is the sine qua non of consciousness. It is the "first person perspective". So how is it that the universe should be constituted such that it allows for this apparent "add on" feature of humans, one that seems superfluous in terms of mere survival? (Again, there are various modes of existence and intelligent behavior does not require consciousness.) And most astoundingly, it is precisely this feature that we invest in any relevant conception of God. Therefore, it is the very existence of ourselves as persons that points toward the universe being, as Fred Hoyle remarked, a "put-up job". However, in order for the argument to avoid circularity it needs to be accepted that the personhood of God is an a priori consideration.
Topic: Reality Exists and Quantum Physics Does Not Disprove That.
Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2020 3:21:47 PM
What you are referring to is known as the "measurement problem". The two main views about it are the classical Copenhagen interpretation, which bothered Einstein, and Hugh Everett's "many worlds" hypothesis.
Topic: Do You Know the History of Earth?#64
Posted: Thursday, May 28, 2020 6:53:26 PM
The earth is resting on the back of a giant tortoise. And if you ask what the tortoise is standing on, as the wise man said, "It's tortoises all the way down".
Topic: Is Black Lives Matter a racist organization?
Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 11:07:07 AM
There is legitimate concern if a white police officer kills a black suspect without apparent justification. But I have to wonder why Black Lives Matter protests questionable police shootings, but there seems to be no acknowledgement on the part of the organization that the vast majority of black men killed in the US are the victims of other black men. If black lives matter, then why does the race of the perpetrator make a difference? I'm using "racist" in a very general sense, because I believe the term is often confused with bigotry and simple prejudice (Archie Bunker was a bigot, not a racist).
Topic: Two recently established important facts about the pandemic
Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 7:51:39 PM
Hope123 wrote: A couple more things rmberwin - if it were your child who died because someone thought learning was more important than life, would you still want to open schools?

It is all well and good to be chomping at the bit to get back to work, making an abstract argument as arm chair critics. But ask how the families of those 90,000 Americans felt losing parents and grandparents, even children, or the parents who lost adult children or who young adults who will have heart conditions for the rest of their lives. Ask them which is more important. Ask yourself if someone you love is dispensable for the economy.

Countries that actually got substantial money to small businesses (not large corporations) and $2000 a month to the unemployed because of Covid had far more compliance by the people with requests and mandates. They felt they were helping and did not consider it as government control. And it worked. They are now opening up again.

Also, I resent being told that because I am old, my life is dispensable so someone can get a haircut.
I'm not suggesting a devil take the hindmost approach to older people. If resources had been better deployed, then the most vulnerable could have been better protected.

(I desperately need a haircut but I'd rather wait than have the mortician do it. Whistle )

The economy can be opened if people do it sensibly while taking precautions.

What I see in news around the world are crowds of people in bars and restaurants really just wanting their social life back.[/quote
I'm only skeptical of current US policies because there are qualified medical professionals who question the whole approach. It will be interesting to see what happens with Sweden.

Topic: YouTube is censoring videos that contradict the advice of the World Health Organization
Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 12:18:21 PM
Hope123 wrote:

“There should not be gate keepers for the truth.”

What does this mean?

What management is doing is trying to protect the truth. The gate keeping is to keep out the lies and misinformation. This virus is definitely airborne and very communicable.


But scientific knowledge is always evolving. Gate-keeping is untenable and a slippery slope toward censorship for nefarious reasons.
Topic: Two recently established important facts about the pandemic
Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 11:43:14 AM
Hope123 wrote:

1) is incorrect. Children get it, have died, and some have a very nasty associated syndrome.

2) The flu rate is 0.1. The Covid-19 rate is 1.4% as of May 2020. That is actually more than the ten times Fauci mentioned. And it is much more communicable. At the time Fauci had the data to date - he was not quoting off the top of his head. He's a scientist - and one with a respectable reputation for many years.

The article you refer to quotes the WHO saying on Feb 29, "When you look at how many people have died, you need to look at how many people were infected, and right now we don't know that number." Dr. Fauci made his statement on March 11. Furthermore, on March 27 the New York Times reported, "Because of the lack of testing capacity in the United States, the true case count and number of deaths are not known for sure." So, what was Dr. Fauci's statement based on?

Yes, children are sometimes affected, but the question is whether the actual danger outweighs the impact of shutting down normal schooling.

The article also mentions that the death rate is heavily skewed toward older people. But older people have limited time in any case. If someone in a nursing home dies after contracting the virus, a different cause, the seasonal flu for example, might have resulted in the same. This is why there are no 150 year-old people around.
Topic: YouTube is censoring videos that contradict the advice of the World Health Organization
Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 5:35:00 PM
YouTube has removed videos, including an interview with the Irish immunologist Dr. Dolores Cahill, for violating their terms of service: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52388586

However, at least one interview with her is still up: https://youtu.be/czjAebDKsEw She claims that wearing a mask is useless, because the coronavirus is not airborne.

Granted that her position is controversial, I find YouTube's policy paternalistic and troubling. There should not be gatekeepers for the truth.

Topic: Soothing French Baroque lute music
Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 5:24:25 PM
https://youtu.be/T095D4klAoY