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Being agnostic could be illogical

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Being agnostic could be illogical

Postby Ibn Taymiyyah » Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:31 pm

The existence of anything is either:

1) Obligatory.
2) Possible.
3) Impossible.

Before we existed, our existence was “possible”. There had to be an outside force to divert the odds of our existence to the "existence" side.

Therefore, one who says: “It is possible for there to be a God” is in fact saying that there is an outside force that is capable of making God exist.

This goes against the concept of God.

So we are down to two options: 1) Obligatory 2) Impossible.
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Re: Being agnostic could be illogical

Postby annis » Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:41 pm

Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:Before we existed, our existence was “possible”. There had to be an outside force to divert the odds of our existence to the "existence" side.


Why? This is a very strange assertion. What is the background for it?

Therefore, one who says: “It is possible for there to be a God” is in fact saying that there is an outside force that is capable of making God exist.

This goes against the concept of God.


This also doesn't follow. There are competing concepts of God. The gnostics in particular would accept the idea that an outside force could make a deity, and would reject the second statement.

So we are down to two options: 1) Obligatory 2) Impossible.


Agnosticism is a statement of epistemology. They do not say "it is possible for there to be a God" but rather "it is possible that there is a God." The "possibility" is due to incomplete information, and is not an assertion about physics.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sat Jul 09, 2005 2:18 pm

When you say that before we existed our existence was possible, I suppose you are right in the sense that we do exist, so our existence was not impossible, therefor it was possible. But then you change track and talk of probabilities... lets say you are talking about a point in time five million years ago, when humans did not exist - what was the probability of us coming into existence and what was the probability that we would not? I don't know, maybe the probability was very slim, maybe it was very great, but even if the probability of an event is small, that does not mean it is impossible or any less possible. It simply means that an event with less probability than another event occurred. Take a die and shake it 10 times. Say your result was: 1, 5, 6, 3, 4, 4, 5, 2, 3, 1. What was the probability of you getting the result 1563445231? Pretty small eh? But yet it happened! And no outside influence of a God was needed to make that event of incredibly small possibility happen...
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Postby Geoff » Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:23 pm

Arguments for the existance of God must rely upon a 0 probability of existance to have any validity. In other words NONE of this could exist without God. All of the probabilities may sound good and be perpetuated with good intentions, but honestly, if there is a chance all this could exist without God then you are faced with that possiblity not the atheist and agnostic.

Atheism and Agnosticism must be faced with the 0 probablity arguments to even dignify it with discussion. See Warren VS. Flew

Anthony Flew Debated Dr. Thomas B. Warren beginning with a strong atheist position moved to a agnostic position mid debate and last year shocked the academic community with a loose deist position.
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Postby Cédric » Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:14 pm

Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:The existence of anything is either:

This goes against the concept of God.

So we are down to two options: 1) Obligatory 2) Impossible.


You must really get Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas out of ur mind!
I'll make a move to your side without any cynism nor irony (yes i'm sometimes able of this :P - you just have to trust my words when i say this).

OK, let's assume God exists, He's almighty, has no limit whatsoever and is 'obligatory'.
Do you really think that such a powerful Being (i cant think of any better word) has such a short mind to always think in "yes/no" terms?
I mean, this kind of reasoning comes from Aristotle but where Thomas Aquinas was wrong is that he applied Aristotle's principle of third excluded (one thing cannot at the same time be and be not) to metaphysical objects (God's existence mainly). Aquinas was a very good theologist, a very good philosopher, a very good helenist no doubt about it and very good at rhetoric, so whether he misunderstood Aristotle (which i really doubt), or tradition misunderstood Aquinas. Aristotle's principle was used for physical objects, for sensible objects... he used it in his natural science works, not in the metaphysical ones. The weakness of Aquinas is that he tried to combine both Aristotle's method to with Plato's metaphysical thoughts... of course those couldnt match. When Aristotle says "what we cant see is, by nature, black (because no light is reflected from those objects), or no light coming from those objects can reach our eyes" he speaks out of experience, on material and physical subjects (those lines are from Pseudo-Aristotle's De Coloribus 791a15). Now when Plato tells us about the Supreme Good, the bright Sun of Republic VII, he speaks of metaphysical objects which dont have any physical existence, u can whether be a believer or not. Aquinas, after Plotinus and Augustinus mixed both giving Christianity a "scientific" background trying to prove the umprovable.

My point now, is quite simple, God is almighty, we are very limited (both physically and intellectually). This we all agree (if we agree on the existence of God, but that's the first assumtion of this post). How, then are we to explain something so far beyond our reach? What would be the use of explaining it? I understand why ppl try to understand Nature and natural objects (physics, biology, genetics, etc.) because we're part of it and it all belongs to the same level of understanding and it can help us understand why we live (not the esoteric reasons for life, karma, divine purpose etc.), how to live better etc. I just cant see the point of trying to understand a Supreme Being however u wish to call Him/Her. What would it change to our life? An new area of slavery (slavery can assume many a face, worship, terror, sacrifices...). No. If there's someone/something above me and He/She wants me to know He/She's here, He/She just has to give me firm proofs (i know i've read the answer to the proof thing on the other thread but didnt answer this yet, i shall when i have some more time), and tell me clearly what He/She wishes me to do. If not, i have no reason to "bother" with Him/Her since He/She cant affect my life and i cant affect His/Hers.

So to get back to ur first "question", i dont think it's our job to try to find out whether God is "obligatory, Possible or Impossible". U can believe He/She is as such or not, but He/She's so much more complex than what we will ever be able to understand, it would be very arrogant to try to label Him/Her in such a simplistic way, so no, being agnostic is just not illogical at all, it's being able to consider other levels of logic which we cannot even dream to grab.
Of course it's not you i call "arrogant" it's the centuries of theology (would they be Jewish, Christian, Islamic or whatever else).
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Re: Being agnostic could be illogical

Postby Democritus » Sun Jul 10, 2005 6:58 pm

Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:Before we existed, our existence was “possible”. There had to be an outside force to divert the odds of our existence to the "existence" side.

Therefore, one who says: “It is possible for there to be a God” is in fact saying that there is an outside force that is capable of making God exist


You are mixing two definitions of the word "possible":

1. possible - it can happen in the future
2. possible - it might be true right now, or it might not, but I don't know which it is

Someone who says “It is possible for there to be a God” is in fact saying that God might exist or might not, but doesn't know for sure.

I'm no philosopher, but it seems to me that agnosticism is an assertion more about the speaker than about the universe. It's always possible not to know something, isn't it. Sometimes I can't find my wristwatch. That doesn't mean the wristwatch has no location, it just means I am agnostic as to its location.

The fact that the wristwatch must have a location does not compel me to know the location. Even if it's right in my pocket! :)
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Re:

Postby Alan Aversa » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:32 am

Cédric wrote:where Thomas Aquinas was wrong is that he applied Aristotle's principle of third excluded (one thing cannot at the same time be and be not) to metaphysical objects (God's existence mainly). [...] Aristotle's principle was used for physical objects, for sensible objects... he used it in his natural science works, not in the metaphysical ones.
His natural works culminate in the last book of his Physics where he proves the existence of at least one immaterial being that metaphysics can study. The goal of the natural sciences is to prove the existence of the object of the science of metaphysics, since there can be no science if one does not have any object(s) for it to study.
Cédric wrote:Aquinas, after Plotinus and Augustinus mixed both giving Christianity a "scientific" background trying to prove the umprovable.
How do you know God's existence is unprovable? St. Thomas gives proof to that God's existence is provable.
Cédric wrote:How, then are we to explain something so far beyond our reach?
By its effects on things that are in our reach
Cédric wrote:What would be the use of explaining it?
If you do not believe immaterial things exist, much less have effects on what we can directly sense, there is no use.
Cédric wrote:So to get back to ur first "question", i dont think it's our job to try to find out whether God is "obligatory, Possible or Impossible".
I think what you mean is that God's existence is not self-evident, right? St. Thomas certainly agrees with that.
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Re:

Postby Alan Aversa » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:37 am

Cédric wrote:where Thomas Aquinas was wrong is that he applied Aristotle's principle of third excluded (one thing cannot at the same time be and be not) to metaphysical objects (God's existence mainly). [...] Aristotle's principle was used for physical objects, for sensible objects... he used it in his natural science works, not in the metaphysical ones.
Aristotle's natural science works culminate in the last book of his Physics, where he proves the existence of at least one immaterial thing that metaphysics can study.
Cédric wrote:Aquinas, after Plotinus and Augustinus mixed both giving Christianity a "scientific" background trying to prove the umprovable.
How do you know God's existence is unprovable? St. Thomas gives proves that God's existence is provable.
Cédric wrote:How, then are we to explain something so far beyond our reach?
By the effects it has on things within our reach
Cédric wrote:What would be the use of explaining it?
If you do not believe immaterial things exist, much less have an effect on material things, there is no use.
Cédric wrote:So to get back to ur first "question", i dont think it's our job to try to find out whether God is "obligatory, Possible or Impossible".
I think what you mean is that God's existence is not self-evident, right? St. Thomas certainly agrees with that.
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Re: Being agnostic could be illogical

Postby JamesEubank » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:17 am

I think this statement is made on two assumptions,
Firstly, the author says there are only two possibilities. That is,
1.) There exist a God (Obligatory)
2.) There is no existence of God. (Obligatory)
Then the author assumed these two one by one.
Let's suppose, that a God exist.
When we suppose this then we came to the ultimate reality that our existence became possible (because there should be a someone ,God that we assumed, who may have willingness in his intention to make us exist, so there is a possibility not certainty or obligatory for our existence at first), but this possibility is before our existence. That is, when we were existed, the possibility becomes obligatory. So this resulted to obligatory that a God exist.
Then the author assumed, now let's suppose, that there is no existence of God, then there is a question arise that make a serious assertion on the assumption that how we exist? that is how our existence became first possible then who convert that possibility to obligatory...
Finally, the result is again that it is obligatory that a God exist.
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Re: Being agnostic could be illogical

Postby JamesEubank » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:21 am

annis wrote:
Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:Before we existed, our existence was “possible”. There had to be an outside force to divert the odds of our existence to the "existence" side.


Why? This is a very strange assertion. What is the background for it?

Therefore, one who says: “It is possible for there to be a God” is in fact saying that there is an outside force that is capable of making God exist.

This goes against the concept of God.


This also doesn't follow. There are competing concepts of God. The gnostics in particular would accept the idea that an outside force could make a deity, and would reject the second statement.

So we are down to two options: 1) Obligatory 2) Impossible.


Agnosticism is a statement of epistemology. They do not say "it is possible for there to be a God" but rather "it is possible that there is a God." The "possibility" is due to incomplete information, and is not an assertion about physics.



I think this statement is made on two assumptions,
Firstly, the author says there are only two possibilities. That is,
1.) There exist a God (Obligatory)
2.) There is no existence of God. (Obligatory)
Then the author assumed these two one by one.
Let's suppose, that a God exist.
When we suppose this then we came to the ultimate reality that our existence became possible (because there should be a someone ,God that we assumed, who may have willingness in his intention to make us exist, so there is a possibility not certainty or obligatory for our existence at first), but this possibility is before our existence. That is, when we were existed, the possibility becomes obligatory. So this resulted to obligatory that a God exist.
Then the author assumed, now let's suppose, that there is no existence of God, then there is a question arise that make a serious assertion on the assumption that how we exist? that is how our existence became first possible then who convert that possibility to obligatory...
Finally, the result is again that it is obligatory that a God exist.
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Re:

Postby JamesEubank » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:26 am

Emma_85 wrote:When you say that before we existed our existence was possible, I suppose you are right in the sense that we do exist, so our existence was not impossible, therefor it was possible. But then you change track and talk of probabilities... lets say you are talking about a point in time five million years ago, when humans did not exist - what was the probability of us coming into existence and what was the probability that we would not? I don't know, maybe the probability was very slim, maybe it was very great, but even if the probability of an event is small, that does not mean it is impossible or any less possible. It simply means that an event with less probability than another event occurred. Take a die and shake it 10 times. Say your result was: 1, 5, 6, 3, 4, 4, 5, 2, 3, 1. What was the probability of you getting the result 1563445231? Pretty small eh? But yet it happened! And no outside influence of a God was needed to make that event of incredibly small possibility happen...


I think this statement is made on two assumptions,
Firstly, the author says there are only two possibilities. That is,
1.) There exist a God (Obligatory)
2.) There is no existence of God. (Obligatory)
Then the author assumed these two one by one.
Let's suppose, that a God exist.
When we suppose this then we came to the ultimate reality that our existence became possible (because there should be a someone ,God that we assumed, who may have willingness in his intention to make us exist, so there is a possibility not certainty or obligatory for our existence at first), but this possibility is before our existence. That is, when we were existed, the possibility becomes obligatory. So this resulted to obligatory that a God exist.
Then the author assumed, now let's suppose, that there is no existence of God, then there is a question arise that make a serious assertion on the assumption that how we exist? that is how our existence became first possible then who convert that possibility to obligatory...
Finally, the result is again that it is obligatory that a God exist.
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Re:

Postby JamesEubank » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:31 am

Cédric wrote:
Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:The existence of anything is either:

This goes against the concept of God.

So we are down to two options: 1) Obligatory 2) Impossible.


You must really get Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas out of ur mind!
I'll make a move to your side without any cynism nor irony (yes i'm sometimes able of this :P - you just have to trust my words when i say this).

OK, let's assume God exists, He's almighty, has no limit whatsoever and is 'obligatory'.
Do you really think that such a powerful Being (i cant think of any better word) has such a short mind to always think in "yes/no" terms?
I mean, this kind of reasoning comes from Aristotle but where Thomas Aquinas was wrong is that he applied Aristotle's principle of third excluded (one thing cannot at the same time be and be not) to metaphysical objects (God's existence mainly). Aquinas was a very good theologist, a very good philosopher, a very good helenist no doubt about it and very good at rhetoric, so whether he misunderstood Aristotle (which i really doubt), or tradition misunderstood Aquinas. Aristotle's principle was used for physical objects, for sensible objects... he used it in his natural science works, not in the metaphysical ones. The weakness of Aquinas is that he tried to combine both Aristotle's method to with Plato's metaphysical thoughts... of course those couldnt match. When Aristotle says "what we cant see is, by nature, black (because no light is reflected from those objects), or no light coming from those objects can reach our eyes" he speaks out of experience, on material and physical subjects (those lines are from Pseudo-Aristotle's De Coloribus 791a15). Now when Plato tells us about the Supreme Good, the bright Sun of Republic VII, he speaks of metaphysical objects which dont have any physical existence, u can whether be a believer or not. Aquinas, after Plotinus and Augustinus mixed both giving Christianity a "scientific" background trying to prove the umprovable.

My point now, is quite simple, God is almighty, we are very limited (both physically and intellectually). This we all agree (if we agree on the existence of God, but that's the first assumtion of this post). How, then are we to explain something so far beyond our reach? What would be the use of explaining it? I understand why ppl try to understand Nature and natural objects (physics, biology, genetics, etc.) because we're part of it and it all belongs to the same level of understanding and it can help us understand why we live (not the esoteric reasons for life, karma, divine purpose etc.), how to live better etc. I just cant see the point of trying to understand a Supreme Being however u wish to call Him/Her. What would it change to our life? An new area of slavery (slavery can assume many a face, worship, terror, sacrifices...). No. If there's someone/something above me and He/She wants me to know He/She's here, He/She just has to give me firm proofs (i know i've read the answer to the proof thing on the other thread but didnt answer this yet, i shall when i have some more time), and tell me clearly what He/She wishes me to do. If not, i have no reason to "bother" with Him/Her since He/She cant affect my life and i cant affect His/Hers.

So to get back to ur first "question", i dont think it's our job to try to find out whether God is "obligatory, Possible or Impossible". U can believe He/She is as such or not, but He/She's so much more complex than what we will ever be able to understand, it would be very arrogant to try to label Him/Her in such a simplistic way, so no, being agnostic is just not illogical at all, it's being able to consider other levels of logic which we cannot even dream to grab.
Of course it's not you i call "arrogant" it's the centuries of theology (would they be Jewish, Christian, Islamic or whatever else).


I think this statement is made on two assumptions,
Firstly, the author says there are only two possibilities. That is,
1.) There exist a God (Obligatory)
2.) There is no existence of God. (Obligatory)
Then the author assumed these two one by one.
Let's suppose, that a God exist.
When we suppose this then we came to the ultimate reality that our existence became possible (because there should be a someone ,God that we assumed, who may have willingness in his intention to make us exist, so there is a possibility not certainty or obligatory for our existence at first), but this possibility is before our existence. That is, when we were existed, the possibility becomes obligatory. So this resulted to obligatory that a God exist.
Then the author assumed, now let's suppose, that there is no existence of God, then there is a question arise that make a serious assertion on the assumption that how we exist? that is how our existence became first possible then who convert that possibility to obligatory...
Finally, the result is again that it is obligatory that a God exist.
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Re: Being agnostic could be illogical

Postby JamesEubank » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:32 am

Democritus wrote:
Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:Before we existed, our existence was “possible”. There had to be an outside force to divert the odds of our existence to the "existence" side.

Therefore, one who says: “It is possible for there to be a God” is in fact saying that there is an outside force that is capable of making God exist


You are mixing two definitions of the word "possible":

1. possible - it can happen in the future
2. possible - it might be true right now, or it might not, but I don't know which it is

Someone who says “It is possible for there to be a God” is in fact saying that God might exist or might not, but doesn't know for sure.

I'm no philosopher, but it seems to me that agnosticism is an assertion more about the speaker than about the universe. It's always possible not to know something, isn't it. Sometimes I can't find my wristwatch. That doesn't mean the wristwatch has no location, it just means I am agnostic as to its location.

The fact that the wristwatch must have a location does not compel me to know the location. Even if it's right in my pocket! :)


I think this statement is made on two assumptions,
Firstly, the author says there are only two possibilities. That is,
1.) There exist a God (Obligatory)
2.) There is no existence of God. (Obligatory)
Then the author assumed these two one by one.
Let's suppose, that a God exist.
When we suppose this then we came to the ultimate reality that our existence became possible (because there should be a someone ,God that we assumed, who may have willingness in his intention to make us exist, so there is a possibility not certainty or obligatory for our existence at first), but this possibility is before our existence. That is, when we were existed, the possibility becomes obligatory. So this resulted to obligatory that a God exist.
Then the author assumed, now let's suppose, that there is no existence of God, then there is a question arise that make a serious assertion on the assumption that how we exist? that is how our existence became first possible then who convert that possibility to obligatory...
Finally, the result is again that it is obligatory that a God exist.
JamesEubank
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