An argument for the existence of God: First formulation…


log in

Advanced search

Message boards : Politics : An argument for the existence of God: First formulation…

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 . . . 29 · Next
Author Message
Profile CMPO
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 26 Apr 12
Posts: 57
Credit: 344,990
RAC: 0
United States
Message 1232749 - Posted: 16 May 2012, 2:05:07 UTC

This is a CMPO original. Based on some of the other discussion boards I decided try to combine a few threads so as to not hijack them. I hope you will find this a formidable set of arguments with some original twists.

Something I have had on the back burner, churning around for months just put on paper today. It’s not rock solid but solid enough for peer review. Not expecting mass conversions here, would love to have a constructive debate to see where that would take the final formulation. Alright have at it…

P1) Natural selection is a driving process behind the success of a species

P2) Humanity is the most successful species in known history

P3) All human populations have fostered a sense of religious belief and have developed religious systems

C1) From P1, P2 and P3- Religious beliefs or the cognitive underpinnings that form into religious beliefs have had a positive effect on the selection of humans as the dominant species

P5) Religious structures tend to enforce and enhance hierarchies

P6) Populations with strict hierarchies tend to the execution of war better then less strict hierarchies

C2) From P5 and P6 - More religious populations, will fight war more effectively than less religious populations

P7) Human populations that are more religious breed at a higher rate than less religious populations

C3) From C2 and P7 – More religious human populations will have a selection advantage over less religious populations.

P6) A key element of a species in its ability to survive is to properly perceive the world. i.e. The species or individual that is aware of the tiger is less likely to get eaten by the tiger etc.

P7) Proper perceptions of the world are a key element in the formation of workable mental models.

P8) The more a mental model or construct represents the actual world, the more likely the individual or species who possess that model has a chance for selection.

C4) From P6, P7 and P8 - Those species or populations that have a better model of the world will be more likely to be selected

P9) From C1, C3 and C4 – Members of more religious populations seem to be selected more so than members of less religious populations

C5) From C4 and P9 - More religious populations must view the world more correctly then less religious populations

C6) Therefore, if religious constructs can effect a population negatively or positively as it relates to natural selection, those constructs must have an object to model from. Thus God must exist.

Sirius B
Volunteer tester
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 26 Dec 00
Posts: 10882
Credit: 1,582,872
RAC: 2,330
Israel
Message 1232755 - Posted: 16 May 2012, 2:12:32 UTC

I have a problem with c5 & c6.

C5: If they view the world more correctly, then why are they destroying the very planet they live on?

Hence C6: By doing the above, they're are going against God's wishes.

If both these are incorrect, then how can God exist?
____________

Profile CMPO
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 26 Apr 12
Posts: 57
Credit: 344,990
RAC: 0
United States
Message 1232837 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 16:56:35 UTC - in response to Message 1232755.

Sirius,

Thanks for the feedback. I am not happy with C5 and C6 as they are, generally arguments for the existence of God are not very convincing to me even though I am a theist. Many better minds have provided some classics, and I have to question their impact on non-believers. The core of this argument is to argue for the adaptive advantages religion may provide to human populations. I extended it to a proof of existence of God, based on a correspondence theory of truth angle, as I wanted the challenge. I am looking for others to critique so I can develop a much stronger version.

Let me clarify my language thus far towards this end.

C5 - Here I am implying only that the more religious population may view the world better in the area of using their environment to increase selection of their population over another population. Not that they have a perfect understanding of their environment.

C6 - I am not making any particular assumptions as to what the will of this God is here, at this point only implying that there is a creator, that has created a rational universe, and that those religions that are closer to this model, will provide their populations an advantage for selection over say populations that think their God created a chaotic irrational universe. And that any primary directive at it relates to the will of God is to understand the created universe… one cannot develop understanding if one does not get selected ;-)

When I say religion – I am talking about a literate society, with the religion/s being firmly established with codices, doctrine and dogma. I am not speaking about animistic or shamanistic leanings, or highly individualized personal spiritual experiences. I am speaking of a religion that can impose a publically available and consistent orthodoxy.

As to destroying the planet (which I am not necessarily saying is happening today, but allowing that perspective), that is not inconsistent with this. Overly successful populations outgrow their environments all the time, due to the impact of that groups selection. I would argue that this success as a species primarily lies with agriculture and medicine... both having their roots in religious traditions. We actually have the ability to improve and expand our environment; due to our impulse to understand the heavens... what we now call space.

We also have the ability to be better stewards of our environment. However, I would submit that a population that did exclusively that may soon be at a disadvantage to a population that was not. This appears to be consistent.

WinterKnight
Volunteer tester
Send message
Joined: 18 May 99
Posts: 8629
Credit: 23,687,269
RAC: 18,559
United Kingdom
Message 1232885 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 18:01:05 UTC

I would argue that this success as a species primarily lies with agriculture and medicine... both having their roots in religious traditions.

Not sure I would agree with that. I would take the view that agriculture allowed communities to grow and for some members of that community to become thinkers. And that religion grew from the thoughts of those thinkers, probably as a way of explaining things beyond their knowledge.

And because we now know a lot more and the advances in knowledge escalate the more we understand, then there becomes a time when we do not need to rely on religion. Is that time here now?

Profile Es99Project donor
Volunteer moderator
Volunteer tester
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 23 Aug 05
Posts: 8841
Credit: 250,274
RAC: 132
Canada
Message 1232889 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 18:09:41 UTC - in response to Message 1232749.

This is a CMPO original. Based on some of the other discussion boards I decided try to combine a few threads so as to not hijack them. I hope you will find this a formidable set of arguments with some original twists.

Something I have had on the back burner, churning around for months just put on paper today. It’s not rock solid but solid enough for peer review. Not expecting mass conversions here, would love to have a constructive debate to see where that would take the final formulation. Alright have at it…

P1) Natural selection is a driving process behind the success of a species

P2) Humanity is the most successful species in known history

P3) All human populations have fostered a sense of religious belief and have developed religious systems

C1) From P1, P2 and P3- Religious beliefs or the cognitive underpinnings that form into religious beliefs have had a positive effect on the selection of humans as the dominant species

P5) Religious structures tend to enforce and enhance hierarchies

P6) Populations with strict hierarchies tend to the execution of war better then less strict hierarchies

C2) From P5 and P6 - More religious populations, will fight war more effectively than less religious populations

P7) Human populations that are more religious breed at a higher rate than less religious populations

C3) From C2 and P7 – More religious human populations will have a selection advantage over less religious populations.

P6) A key element of a species in its ability to survive is to properly perceive the world. i.e. The species or individual that is aware of the tiger is less likely to get eaten by the tiger etc.

P7) Proper perceptions of the world are a key element in the formation of workable mental models.

P8) The more a mental model or construct represents the actual world, the more likely the individual or species who possess that model has a chance for selection.

C4) From P6, P7 and P8 - Those species or populations that have a better model of the world will be more likely to be selected

P9) From C1, C3 and C4 – Members of more religious populations seem to be selected more so than members of less religious populations

C5) From C4 and P9 - More religious populations must view the world more correctly then less religious populations

C6) Therefore, if religious constructs can effect a population negatively or positively as it relates to natural selection, those constructs must have an object to model from. Thus God must exist.

This whole thing is an argument for why the concept of god has survived. It is not an argument proving his/her existence.

____________
Are you a feminist? Take the test

Profile Ex
Volunteer moderator
Volunteer tester
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 12 Mar 12
Posts: 2895
Credit: 1,728,602
RAC: 1,137
United States
Message 1232894 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 18:16:00 UTC - in response to Message 1232885.
Last modified: 18 May 2012, 18:21:07 UTC

For many people yes it is. Some people will decide to believe in a greater power, and that's cool too. Religion has value in teaching morals, and some religions also drive their members to excel in learning, another good thing. I only see issues when these morals conflict with the common opinion of what's right and wrong, or when these morals drive one to interfere with someone else's freedoms.

That being said, this poster personally feels that science offers sufficient reliable facts and data at this time to explain most things, and I still have yet to see rock solid proof of a "god", therefore I am comfortable in accepting that everything is what it is, and there is no man behind the curtain.


@CMPO, your first post seems more like an argument for the existence of religion than an argument for the existence of god. I see nothing in there that says "God" exists, I only see reasons why religion exists.
____________
-Dave #2

3.2.0-33

Profile Ex
Volunteer moderator
Volunteer tester
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 12 Mar 12
Posts: 2895
Credit: 1,728,602
RAC: 1,137
United States
Message 1232895 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 18:16:50 UTC - in response to Message 1232889.

This whole thing is an argument for why the concept of god has survived. It is not an argument proving his/her existence.


+1, I just said that as well. :-)
____________
-Dave #2

3.2.0-33

Profile CMPO
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 26 Apr 12
Posts: 57
Credit: 344,990
RAC: 0
United States
Message 1232911 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 18:41:47 UTC - in response to Message 1232885.

Just to be clear are you in disagreement with the entire statement? Or just that agriculture and medicine do not have their roots in religious traditions?

Per the latter question... what is the definition of religion that you are using, that you seem to believe would be better to do without? As I have defined it, scientific orthodoxy can be a member of the set of religions, although deficient in the areas beyond physics. All scientists, that I know, believe the universe to be rational, and have a drive to understand it. Some are theist many are not. What I am stating, is that a population that has consistent orthodoxy within both physics and metaphysics will have an advantage over one that only believes orthodoxy in physics is sufficient, and the opposite would also hold.

Would you disagree with that?


Profile soft^spirit
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 18 May 99
Posts: 6374
Credit: 28,631,059
RAC: 94
United States
Message 1232920 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 18:52:25 UTC - in response to Message 1232911.

that herbs and ointments can heal could be seen as "miraculous" or natural, depending on perspective. What can not be understood (at the time) can seem super natural, and stories are made to explain things. Religions can be built on these stories. But herbs do not require religion to heal.

To say these stories and religions are required takes a "leap of faith" and a certain arrogance.
____________

Janice

Profile CMPO
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 26 Apr 12
Posts: 57
Credit: 344,990
RAC: 0
United States
Message 1232924 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 18:54:39 UTC - in response to Message 1232895.

Admittedly it is a stretch. But are you both denying that part of the argument that religion provides populations with selective advantage? That I will argue more firmly… and I think it is completely demonstrable.
But the believer in science only, then has a problem, and the problem is something like this.

1) Scientific knowledge should lead to an accurate models of the world
2) Religious people, are inaccurate in their model of the world
3) Yet, religious populations may have advantage in being selected
4) Therefor an inaccurate view of the world provides selective advantage
5) Therefore a strictly scientific view of the world may put a population at a selective disadvantage.

This conclusion would seem to be anathema for most believers in science no?

Profile soft^spirit
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 18 May 99
Posts: 6374
Credit: 28,631,059
RAC: 94
United States
Message 1232925 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 18:55:45 UTC - in response to Message 1232924.

with differing religions populations are much more likely to attempt to exterminate others that believe differently. I see no advantage.
____________

Janice

Profile CMPO
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 26 Apr 12
Posts: 57
Credit: 344,990
RAC: 0
United States
Message 1232937 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 19:16:57 UTC - in response to Message 1232920.

I apologize if I appear arrogant. My thinking is not of the type you seem to be insulating.

Medicine as we understand it today as practiced in science and in hospitals comes a long religious line in the Western tradition.
From the Greeks, Hypocrites, to the Romans to the RCC, the development of medicine and hospitals grew primarily out of the religions orders.

I am merely stating that these traditions are preceded by rigorous religious doctrine and beliefs. Here is the original preamble to the Hippocratic oath:

"I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement:"

And here again... Apollo represents the Greek aspirations towards reason...

bobby
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 22 Mar 02
Posts: 1962
Credit: 14,743,481
RAC: 2,962
United States
Message 1232939 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 19:18:37 UTC - in response to Message 1232749.

P2 is a tough one, as you have not defined criteria for success. Our biology has undergone changes (reduced brain size, shrinking appendix) in recent time, while other species appear to be relatively stable over the same period (e.g. sharks).

If P3 is true, the positive effect noted in C1 cannot be measured, as we have no control group.

Where is P4?

P5, could there be other structures that exhibit similar tendencies (totalitarian states ...)

P7 & C5 "must" may be misplaced. This is a variant on the cephalopod vs vertebrate camera eye dialog. With the eye we can see that there are alternates that may have advantages that are denied to us. Also, there may be other factors that have compensated for an inferior model of the world (hierarchies?)

Seems to me that there's a leap from "object to model from" to "God" in C6, what's to stop a person becoming such a model (Siddhartha?).

____________
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that ...

WinterKnight
Volunteer tester
Send message
Joined: 18 May 99
Posts: 8629
Credit: 23,687,269
RAC: 18,559
United Kingdom
Message 1232942 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 19:22:19 UTC - in response to Message 1232911.

Just to be clear are you in disagreement with the entire statement? Or just that agriculture and medicine do not have their roots in religious traditions?

Per the latter question... what is the definition of religion that you are using, that you seem to believe would be better to do without? As I have defined it, scientific orthodoxy can be a member of the set of religions, although deficient in the areas beyond physics. All scientists, that I know, believe the universe to be rational, and have a drive to understand it. Some are theist many are not. What I am stating, is that a population that has consistent orthodoxy within both physics and metaphysics will have an advantage over one that only believes orthodoxy in physics is sufficient, and the opposite would also hold.

Would you disagree with that?



What I am saying is that, before agriculture, mankind did not have time to think and develope ideas. Because too much time was taken up surviving. Observations of primative tribes show that over 10 hours a day has to be devoted to the collection of food. That is before preparing and eating the food or doing anything else. Also in winter in many parts there is less than 10 hours sunlight/day.
Agricuture allowed people to settle down, and it also meant that less than 100% of the population was involved in the production of food. This enabled other "trades" to start including "thinkers" who probably would be described as magicians or priests, which is probably the start of religions. Everthing else probably starts after this.

I would also say that those early peoples with a knowledge of physics and maths. Probably initially gained by observing the night sky and being able to predict the seasons would have an advantage.

And yes now that we know so much more that even 100 years ago, as there is no proof of any God(s), I do believe it would be better to let go of religions, and start believing the scientists.

Profile ignorance is no excuse
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 4 Oct 00
Posts: 9529
Credit: 44,433,274
RAC: 0
Korea, North
Message 1232948 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 19:28:35 UTC

P6) Only when the leaders fanatisize their wards. See the crusades and Islamic Imams that preach hatred and violence against anyone that isn't them. Also note that the wards must be under educated or ecomically downtrodden or displaced for this to work.

C2) only emotionally. Effective combat is done through practice practice pracrice muich like a sport

P7) The Chinese weren't particularly devout anything. They just avoided many of the worlds major wars or were just isolated enough to not be involved. I see poverty and low education to be a much more significant factor in population explosions.

C3) see my responses to C2 and P7
second P7) No not at all. The Roman empire existed beecause they had a fighting technique that was without equal. They knew little of the world yet the built massive buildings and aquaducts that stand to this day. The Christians that eventually took over that realm were poor, uneducated, and completely dismantled the roman empire leading to 500 years of the dark ages.
500 years where very religious people were very ill equiped to rule or adapt to anything.

I'll stop answering here because many of the things you've built on were based on these few things that just don't add up.

Lets also not forget that Muslims were the smartest people around 1000 years ago. they knew math and geometry among other things that they captured from the greeks in Egypt. What happened to that religious zealotry in the last 1000 years. Why are Muslim countries now some of the poorest in the world. Greed arrogance, ignorance, self absorbed poor leadership, the list goes on. V+Every great empire eventually falls. The nature of Empires is that it grows to big and starts being eaten alive from within.

THe US is doing this now as we speak. We worry about the damned greed buggers that insist on hording cash while our roads deteriorate and the poor can't find work and we have more immigration that a population can sustain without losing its own identity. There is the problem in a nutshell. When we lose our identity as a nation we are lost.
____________
In a rich man's house there is no place to spit but his face.
Diogenes Of Sinope

End terrorism by building a school

Profile soft^spirit
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 18 May 99
Posts: 6374
Credit: 28,631,059
RAC: 94
United States
Message 1232953 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 19:32:52 UTC - in response to Message 1232937.

religions have a way of "swallowing" up traditions and beliefs as they spread.
Rites of Spring/Fertility give way to "Easter(Festival of Esther)" with symbols such as rabbits, eggs, and so on.

White willow bark tea gave way to aspirin, yes it was derived from earth based religions, but the religions did not create the bark, nor declare it sacred. I believe the Bayer corporation did that..(no fact checking on actual corporate name at the time the "medicine" was patented). People learned what worked, and what did not. They wove it into their beliefs.

We have the eggs that grew to religion, the albatross around our necks.
____________

Janice

OzzFan
Volunteer tester
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 9 Apr 02
Posts: 13580
Credit: 29,917,281
RAC: 16,186
United States
Message 1232971 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 19:57:08 UTC - in response to Message 1232924.

Admittedly it is a stretch. But are you both denying that part of the argument that religion provides populations with selective advantage? That I will argue more firmly… and I think it is completely demonstrable.


I'm sure in every example you can provide, you will have to assume casuality as causality. I will argue more firmly that religious populations have a selective advantage.

But the believer in science only, then has a problem, and the problem is something like this.

1) Scientific knowledge should lead to an accurate models of the world
2) Religious people, are inaccurate in their model of the world
3) Yet, religious populations may have advantage in being selected
4) Therefor an inaccurate view of the world provides selective advantage
5) Therefore a strictly scientific view of the world may put a population at a selective disadvantage.


What is your frame of logic when you assert number 3? I would argue that a religious population has a less accurate, if not inaccurate world view due to their beliefs in the supernatural, or their willingness to believe utilizing faith as a tool.

This conclusion would seem to be anathema for most believers in science no?


Because number 3 is flawed, so is number 5's conclusion. Your assertions are without merit and your conclusions are quite inaccurate.

Profile CMPO
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 26 Apr 12
Posts: 57
Credit: 344,990
RAC: 0
United States
Message 1232973 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 20:02:23 UTC - in response to Message 1232939.

Bobby I had a hunch I could count on you. Exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for to better formulate.

On P 2 & 3 - would you go for

P2) Humanity is one of the the most successful species in known history.
P3) All dominant human civilizations (populations) have fostered a sense of religious belief and have developed religious systems

I think P4 morphed into C1 and I did not renumber… doh!

P5) Yes that would be true. But, I would say that Totalitarian states, are filling a void. This is one of my key points I am trying to develop in the eventual argument. Those religions, regardless of their ultimate truth value, serve a valid need. When a healthy religion is not adopted by the population, an unhealthy one or ersatz form of it will take root and may take hold of the population. This was the case with both Nazi Germany and Communist Russia.
Can you please elaborate on comments P7 and C5?

C6) admittedly a leap… not sure I can bridge the gap but giving it a shot. Thanks for the input.

Profile CMPO
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 26 Apr 12
Posts: 57
Credit: 344,990
RAC: 0
United States
Message 1232979 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 20:06:48 UTC - in response to Message 1232971.

Do you recognize that higher breeding rates of a population provide selective advantage over a population that breeds at a decreased rate?

Profile ignorance is no excuse
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 4 Oct 00
Posts: 9529
Credit: 44,433,274
RAC: 0
Korea, North
Message 1232997 - Posted: 18 May 2012, 20:27:31 UTC - in response to Message 1232979.

over population unless heavily monitored can be a very destabilizing factor.
____________
In a rich man's house there is no place to spit but his face.
Diogenes Of Sinope

End terrorism by building a school

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 . . . 29 · Next

Message boards : Politics : An argument for the existence of God: First formulation…

Copyright © 2014 University of California