1. Joined
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    05 May '12 06:31
    A comment by GF on the primates thread triggers a question that I have for those theists or possibly others who think about such things. The comment concerned deism versus a magic God.

    Sometimes people like to say that God set up the laws of nature, and things pretty much run themselves according to them, except when God overrides or suspends one or more of the laws, to directly cause something that would not occur if those laws were in effect.

    But I am thinking that it is a more appropriate theistic acknowledgement of God's power and role, to say that those actions that seem to follow regular "laws" are just as much personally made to happen by God, by His act of will at the very time they happen, as actions that do not "follow the laws." They may seem to be happening on "automatic pilot", like the deist view of God in general, but actually God is consciously at the controls, making each thing happen, all the time (except for the things He lets us decide, within the scope of any free will we have). It is just that for our benefit God makes most things happen in such a way that we can develop "laws" to describe, so we can then can use the laws to predict what will happen in a future, similar situation. Otherwise without the world being regular, it would be chaos, and we would nave no sound basis to get out of bed in the morning, ever. So it is God acting all the time -- some of the time regularly, other times irregularly.

    My science education included some sound reasons to reject the scientific utility of the idea of so-called "laws" of nature, in favor of "regularities" that when observed and rationally analyzed, can support predictive models whose validity and reliability can be tested. I am curious if there is room for this attitude in theism, or if there is some general issue here. The overall goal here is this: Regardless of whether I now or will ever believe there is a deity, why not have a deity-concept in mind that would be worthy of consideration?
  2. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
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    05 May '12 09:29
    Originally posted by JS357
    A comment by GF on the primates thread triggers a question that I have for those theists or possibly others who think about such things. The comment concerned deism versus a magic God.

    Sometimes people like to say that God set up the laws of nature, and things pretty much run themselves according to them, except when God overrides or suspends one or more of ...[text shortened]... deity, why not have a deity-concept in mind that would be worthy of consideration?
    I will quote the Kath Upanishad ( pronounced as Kathopanishad i.e. as one word ) here, an important part of Hindu Spiritual thought and quite ancient, too.
    Kathopanishad II.3.2 and II.3.3 :-
    The whole world, whatever here exists, springs from and moves in life.( It is ) the great Fear ( like ) the upraised thunderbolt. They that know that become immortal.
    Through fear of Him, Fire burns;through Fear ( of Him ) the Sun gives heat; through Fear both Indra ( the lord of the gods )and Wind and Death the fifth speed on their way.
    ( as translated by Dr.S.Radhakrishnan our late president )
    Comment of Adya Shankaracharya :- The whole world trembles in Brahman. The source and sustaining power of the universe is Brahman.
  3. Joined
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    05 May '12 15:24
    Originally posted by JS357
    A comment by GF on the primates thread triggers a question that I have for those theists or possibly others who think about such things. The comment concerned deism versus a magic God.

    Sometimes people like to say that God set up the laws of nature, and things pretty much run themselves according to them, except when God overrides or suspends one or more of ...[text shortened]... deity, why not have a deity-concept in mind that would be worthy of consideration?
    Upon reading your post I looked over to my version of Christian Apologetics by Normon Giesler. I noticed how much of a chapter was devoted to one single concept - How do we define what is "supernatural".

    No quicky on this one. Apparently philosoophers have bantored back and forth on what a miracle really is and how should supernatural should be thought of.

    As smart as you are, I'm sure you can clear it all up in a post and a half here.
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    05 May '12 16:05
    Originally posted by jaywill
    Upon reading your post I looked over to my version of [b]Christian Apologetics by Normon Giesler. I noticed how much of a chapter was devoted to one single concept - How do we define what is "supernatural".

    No quicky on this one. Apparently philosoophers have bantored back and forth on what a miracle really is and how should supernatural should be ...[text shortened]... ht of.

    As smart as you are, I'm sure you can clear it all up in a post and a half here.[/b]
    Good replies. Maybe it's all supernatural; it's just that some of it is regular and allows for predictive model building and all that.

    But if it's all supernatural, what is it "super" to? (etymology: "above, over, on the top (of), beyond, besides, in addition to," from PIE *uper "over".)

    Maybe a so-called miracle just seems "super" to the "natural" because the occurrence is beyond our model-building capabilities due to its (seeming or actual) rarity. So, what is "natural" may be defined as that which is amenable to predictive modeling on the basis of rational analysis of observations.

    My thinking on this was first triggered by an inorganic chem professor saying that science is an attempt to rationalize what we see going on.

    Thanks.
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    05 May '12 17:21
    I think we are left with choosing one of two necessarily supernatural events.

    1.) The bringing into existence of the universe by nothing.

    2.) The bringing into existence of the universe by Someone.

    I think the latter makes more sense to me. I think a person has to decide which "miracle" was more likely to have happened.

    And I think a person has to put aside which he or she prefers, or wants to have been the case.
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    05 May '12 18:09
    Originally posted by JS357
    So it is God acting all the time -- some of the time regularly, other times irregularly.
    Of course he is very very careful to make sure that the irregular times never ever happen where a scientific experiment can conclusively detect it.
  7. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
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    06 May '12 04:23
    Originally posted by JS357
    Good replies. Maybe it's all supernatural; it's just that some of it is regular and allows for predictive model building and all that.

    But if it's all supernatural, what is it "super" to? (etymology: "above, over, on the top (of), beyond, besides, in addition to," from PIE *uper "over".)

    Maybe a so-called miracle just seems "super" to the "natural" becau ...[text shortened]... saying that science is an attempt to rationalize what we see going on.

    Thanks.
    As they say, Science is a collection of successful recipes.
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    06 May '12 05:00
    Originally posted by rvsakhadeo
    As they say, Science is a collection of successful recipes.
    quotes:

    Science is a collection of successful recipes. - Paul Valery
    Nonsense. _Engineering_ is a collection of successful recipes.
    Science is a bunch of kids playing in the kitchen and making a mess.
    --Stephen Crane

    http://www.math.tamu.edu/~manshel/sig.html
  9. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
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    06 May '12 11:10
    Originally posted by JS357
    quotes:

    Science is a collection of successful recipes. - Paul Valery
    Nonsense. _Engineering_ is a collection of successful recipes.
    Science is a bunch of kids playing in the kitchen and making a mess.
    --Stephen Crane

    http://www.math.tamu.edu/~manshel/sig.html
    Seriously , there is no explanation from any quarter in the scientific community to this simple point viz. Why are the rules the way they are ? Why two positively ( as well as two negatively ) electrically charged particles repel each other-- or why two positively electrically charged particles do not attract each other ? Why is there gravitational attraction and why not gravitational repulsion ? Indeed, what is Gravitation exactly ? What is mass exactly ?
    I am aware that there are some hypotheses describing multiverses where there could be the mirror images of our rules i.e. with inversion of sides etc. or there are theories stating that the curved nature of space causes gravitational attraction.
    But these hypotheses and theories are just what they are-- theories.
    My submission is that the laws of the physical universe are not explainable.
  10. Donationrwingett
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    06 May '12 13:41
    Originally posted by JS357
    A comment by GF on the primates thread triggers a question that I have for those theists or possibly others who think about such things. The comment concerned deism versus a magic God.

    Sometimes people like to say that God set up the laws of nature, and things pretty much run themselves according to them, except when God overrides or suspends one or more of ...[text shortened]... deity, why not have a deity-concept in mind that would be worthy of consideration?
    The only way, I think, that theists can salvage the concept of 'god' is to depersonalize it. God is not an intentional agent who causes the laws of the universe to happen, but, rather, god IS the sum total of the laws of the universe in action. In this scenario everything that happens in the universe would be a manifestation of 'god.' To gain a greater understanding of laws of the universe is to gain a greater understanding of god itself.
  11. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
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    06 May '12 14:09
    Originally posted by rwingett
    The only way, I think, that theists can salvage the concept of 'god' is to depersonalize it. God is not an intentional agent who causes the laws of the universe to happen, but, rather, god IS the sum total of the laws of the universe in action. In this scenario everything that happens in the universe would be a manifestation of 'god.' To gain a greater understanding of laws of the universe is to gain a greater understanding of god itself.
    Hearty welcome back ! You had not contributed for quite some time, after you had declared yourself to be bored with the discussions here. I certainly missed your pointed agnostic atheistic comments.
    Anyway, what makes you think that the concept of 'god' is required to be salvaged by theists ? In the centennial year of the 'Titanic sinking ', do you think 'god' is down in the icy water in hundreds of meters, although proudly declared by saints and sages all over the world as unsinkable ?
    " God " is a live concept in the mind of theists and atheists alike,but God is much more than a mere concept. As you rightly point out yourself God is also the sum total of laws in this universe, pl.vide the upanishadic quote I have cited in my post above. But God is that and much more. Not describable.
  12. Joined
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    06 May '12 16:16
    Originally posted by rvsakhadeo
    Seriously , there is no explanation from any quarter in the scientific community to this simple point viz. Why are the rules the way they are ? Why two positively ( as well as two negatively ) electrically charged particles repel each other-- or why two positively electrically charged particles do not attract each other ? Why is there gravitational attrac ...[text shortened]... ey are-- theories.
    My submission is that the laws of the physical universe are not explainable.
    I think such questions are elaborations on the question "Why is there something, rather than nothing?"

    Your last statement opens up a potential new thread about "explanations." What is an explanation, and what is a satisfactory explanation? This seems, at the start, to require some initial thought on the nature of the explanandum, the phenomenon that needs to be explained, as at

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explanandum

    and especially, how the specific question is framed so we understand what the asker is concerned about.

    This would be a good topic for this forum but I doubt most people here will care very much about it.
  13. Joined
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    06 May '12 16:19
    Originally posted by rwingett
    The only way, I think, that theists can salvage the concept of 'god' is to depersonalize it. God is not an intentional agent who causes the laws of the universe to happen, but, rather, god IS the sum total of the laws of the universe in action. In this scenario everything that happens in the universe would be a manifestation of 'god.' To gain a greater understanding of laws of the universe is to gain a greater understanding of god itself.
    It sounds like they'd have to destroy the deity to save it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Tre
  14. Donationrwingett
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    06 May '12 19:55
    Originally posted by JS357
    It sounds like they'd have to destroy the deity to save it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Tre
    The history of human relationship with 'the deity' has been one of trying to figure out exactly what it is, with our interpretation always being confined by our level of understanding. It's not that 'the diety' is changing, but, rather, that our understanding of it has become more nuanced with each new discovery. The model that we formerly put together of 'the deity' as an intentional being is no longer feasible. An updated understanding of 'the deity' as being the sum total of the laws of nature in action may not be the final say on the matter, but it would be closer to the mark than our previous, antiquated interpretations.
  15. Hmmm . . .
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    06 May '12 22:544 edits
    Originally posted by JS357
    I think such questions are elaborations on the question "Why is there something, rather than nothing?"

    Your last statement opens up a potential new thread about "explanations." What is an explanation, and what is a satisfactory explanation? This seems, at the start, to require some initial thought on the nature of the explanandum, the phenomenon that needs ...[text shortened]... ld be a good topic for this forum but I doubt most people here will care very much about it.
    "Why is there something, rather than nothing?"

    To work from our old friend W, and taking “nothing” here to mean some kind of “absolute nihil” (as opposed to a relative nihil—e.g. a room empty of objects, since the room is itself “something” )—I submit that this question is technically sense-less:

    Of “nothing” nothing can be predicated. This is the root, I think, of the statement by W’s elder colleague G.E. Moore that we always end up treating “nothing” as if it were “a queer kind of ‘something’.” [Note: like the term “absolute nihil”. 😉]

    Since nothing can be predicated of “nothing”, it is neither a proper predicate in a statement (or question, or coherent thought-construct)—since a predicate is always a predicate of something (a substance or an action)—nor a proper subject, since what kind of subject (substance or action/process) can be conceived of if no attributes can be predicated of it?

    Such a “nothing”, I suggest, is not just a sign absent any referents at all (unlike, e.g., the sign “unicorn” ), but also absent any coherent signified. Because the sign can be grammatically fitted into a sentence means no more (has no more actual sense) than if we were to fit “x” into the same sentence, and then say that the sign “x” stands for—well, not for some queer kind of “nothing”, but does not really “stand for” at all.

    We end up bewitching ourselves by our own language again, and can run off on all sorts of empty metaphysical speculations…

    _________________________________________

    EDIT: After I wrote the above, I took a look at your wiki reference: since “nothing” (nihil) is not a “phenomenon”, I think that you are making the same point. No surprise there! 🙂
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