Monday, October 24, 2011

Where the fun begins

Continuing to read on in the "Core Questions In Philosophy (Elliott Sober)" and at the beginning of Part II;chapter 4 I found my self stuck on a disagreement with the text. Part II is also where the fun begins, part I is a description of the mechanics of classic western philosophy, which is not to say it isn't useful or interesting, which it is.

Back to the point where I got stuck. It's in the definition of God (God-A), used by Saint Thomas Aquinas "God is a person or being who is all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient) and  entirely good (omnibenevolent) [all-PKG], that the author seems to take somewhat as a given, although the author does comment on that this is not the only definition. But even in the referred to chapter 11, it's not questioned that God be a being of gender, only that 'he' might not be all-PKG. I do understand the need to limit the scope in order to more easily be able to illustrate the process of philosophical testing of arguments.

But why not test the basics of the premises to see if they are true. If you set out to prove a being with big ears and a long trunk exists, you'll probably come up with an argument for the existence of an elephant. What if the object of proof doesn't have big ear or a trunk, if the object to be proven is the effect of the long trunk, the sound coming out of it.

In my definition of God (God-E) [see my previous post] I dismissed part of the all-PKG God-A definition and the fact that God-E is is a physical being, furthermore my view is the God-E is not the cause but the effect.

It's like the sound when you whistle, just because you have a mouth doesn't mean that there is the sound of you whistling, but if you had no mouth it would be impossible to hear you whistle. God is like the sound, not like the mouth.

Then there's the problem that humans have a need to be able to explain everything, and when faced with something that they  have not been able to explain, they've taken the short cut of assigning it to the doings of the Gods. These God-X's are something totally different to the God-E and can in part be dismissed by modern science.

Still the fact that our capability to understand is limited and renders us inherently unable to understand everything hold open the possibility for God-X's to exist.But God-X's doesn't have to be all-PKG.

From the point of view of a dog. A dog probably doesn't understand the inner workings of an internal combustion engine, but still the engine exist as some thing the dog doesn't understand. Even if the dog would consider the maker of the engine a God-X, this God-X or engineer, as we call them, doesn't have to be all-PKG, just PKG-enough to produce the engine.

So far the argument (that I feel I'll need to revise at some point) includes:
God-A, is a composite of a wrongfully interpreted God-E, as the cause not the effect, and the God-X's.
There are things we are unable to understand because of their complexity, that could be the workings of God-X, but could also be random events.
God-E, is the effect of love (in the form of compassion, caring, etc..) between beings

Only where and when there are beings capable of love between each other, can God-E exist

That would make for, God-A not be one necessary all-PKG entity, God-E a contingent effect and God-X would be the non-all-PKG maker of Paley's watch.

But Paley's watch need not have a maker, it could just be the product of a long string of random events, some of which we are incapable to understand. If the theory of mass-energy conservation is correct the string of events doesn't have to have a beginning or an end, it might as well be a circular chain of events.

Now what would be really interesting to know is, have I fallen for some rookie fallacy or is there some solidity to my argument?

The why.

Why blog about God?

Even thou, "one revelation is not Buddha", it all comes down to this text I wrote for my father's funeral (here translated from Swedish and slightly revised):
My father, God and eternal life.

What is God?

God is omnipresent. The love between us is always there and everywhere.
God is all-conquering. The love between us conquers all obstacles.
God is forgiving. The love between us, forgives our mistakes.

The love between us is God.
How can we live forever?

As we influence someone's life, we become part of the collective experience.
When we teach what we have learned, we will become part of humanity's collective knowledge, that future generations can rely on.

The collective experience and knowledge is the eternal life.

Dad lives on as part of God in eternity through the love, the experiences and lessons he gave us. Together with all who loved him,
taught him and shared his experiences with him.
This is essentially the conclusion of a thought process that started some time in my teens around the time a toke part in the Confirmation Training at our parish. Been brought up in an active parish, I have a active knowledge of the stories in the Bible. But at some point I started to question what I heard in church, "do I
really believe, that what the pastor is saying in his sermon to be true?". I didn't.

After that insight I stopped going to church. But my interest for philosophy was still dormant, waiting for it to come to life years later.
For a few years now, my passion for science has been getting stronger and at present turning more to philosophy.

The "Core Questions In Philosophy (Elliott Sober)", that I'm reading at the moment, is my first take at classical western philosophy. Earlier I've read about Taoist and Buddhist philosophy. I like the Buddhist take, to questions things.
Do not believe in anything(simply) because you have heard it.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumoured by many.
Do not believe in anything(simply) because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and
is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all then accept it and live up to it.

Buddha (Anguttara Nikaya Vol I, 188-193 R.T.S. ED)
This blog is me thinking out loud about what I read in the aforementioned "Core Questions..." 

Note added July 26th, 2013

To clarify, I don't consider there being an entity called “God”, but that the abstract feeling of love and compassion constitutes that what religious scripts have simplified as “God”. “Act's of God” are altogether different, as being events in of the natural world that previous generations have lacked the knowledge to explain and thous taking the easy way by accrediting them to “(the) God(s)”.