God is defined, not described.

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Ted Grant II, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Enough of your utter bullcrap, Jan! If someone believes Paris is the capital of Spain, it is a false belief: it is a belief they have that does not tally with fact. Thus it is false. It doesn't matter what the reasoning is for the belief; if the belief does not tally with fact then it is a false belief, no matter how innocently held that belief is. A mistakenly held belief is still a false belief.

    You can't be so stupid as to not realise that, therefore you must be deliberately being an obstinate and dishonest troll. And you wonder why you have that reputation. Go figure!

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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Taken together, this implies that people do not have reasons for believing that it's too late to start anything; that people do not have reasons for believing that Paris is in some other country; and that the lack of reasons classifies one as a mistake and the other as a false belief.

    That seems a dubious situation.

    And incomplete.
    It leaves unclassified the common situation we see among adventurers, the correct opinion based on incorrect "reasons":
    the world is spherical, reasoning from the evidence that one has reached India from Spain by sailing due west, say;
    and the likewise common situation we see in many early scientific investigations, of incorrect opinion based on correct "reasons":
    that the luminiferous ether exists because light is a wave and all observed waves travel through media, say.
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Jan Ardena:

    It's hard to know where to start with your latest posts. I think we'll have to leave the issue of God to one side until we sort out your other difficulties.

    On the matter of "false belief", Sarkus has it right: a false belief is simply one that does not correspond to the facts of the matter.

    Perhaps you are worried that it might be morally wrong to hold a false belief, i.e. that a person who holds a false belief is morally at fault in some way. However, there is no implication that merely holding a false belief makes somebody a bad person, or otherwise morally culpable. A person can hold a false belief because of a mistake, because they have received false information, or because they don't understand the true state of affairs, for example.

    Take the example of believing that Paris is the capital of Spain. In a trivia quiz, somebody might honestly reply "Spain" when asked of what country Paris is the capital. They might say "It's Spain, isn't it?" or "If I recall correctly, it's Spain", or "Oh, I think I know this one! Spain!"

    Now, we could distinguish between somebody tentatively guessing at the answer, and somebody who gives the answer confidently in the belief that he is right. In the former case, the person might say "I really don't know, but I'm going to say Spain", or "I'll take a stab at this. Is is Spain?" In the latter case, the person might say "I remember learning about Capital Cities, and I'm sure it's Spain!", or similar.

    In both cases, the person concerned does not know that Paris is the capital of Spain. But one person has a firm belief that it is Spain, while the other is expressing a weaker belief along the lines that "It might be Spain".

    But in both cases, the belief, to whatever extent it is held, is a false belief.

    It is a false belief because the belief "Paris is the capital of Spain" does not correspond to the fact of the matter, that Paris is the capital of France.

    Do you understand?

    In response to your post:

    Correct, and they are not necessarily to blame morally for holding the false belief.

    People have all kinds of false beliefs. It doesn't require a lot of effort to hold a false belief. In fact, a lot of false beliefs persist entirely because little or no effort has been made on the part of the believer to discover the truth. Maybe if the person paid more attention in geography class, they would know what country Paris is the capital of, but as it is they hold a false belief.

    Belief can happen slowly or quickly. It varies a lot depending on the circumstances and subject matter. I might believe that I left my car keys on the table when I'm about to go look for them, and that belief takes next to no time to form. Chances are that I haven't even thought of it as a belief until I need the keys. And the belief could turn out to be true or false, depending on the facts of the matter.

    Suppose that last night, France declared Lyon as its new capital, unbeknownst to you. Then you now hold a false belief that Paris is the capital of France. There's no fault attached to that; you're not in any way morally culpable. But nevertheless, you would hold a false belief, simply because your belief does not correspond to the facts of the matter.

    You might complain that, until this morning, your belief was true and justified, and that therefore for some reason it's fine to continue to maintain it as a "true" belief. But whether your belief is true or false doesn't just depend on you, it also depends on the facts that are our there in the world. That is, the truth of a belief has an objective as well as a subjective component.

    I might mention in passing that I see this as a big problem with your God belief - that you fail to acknowledge any objective element to it. You seem to think that as long as you honestly believe God Is, or whatever, then your belief can't be false. But in fact, your belief will be false regardless or how fervently you hold it, if there is no God. Whether you have a true God belief or a false God belief doesn't just depend on you, it also depends on the objective reality (or not) of God.

    If your belief does not correspond to the facts, it is a false belief, no matter how honestly you hold it.

    No. In reality, Paris is only the capital of France, and no matter how fervent your belief, it is currently not the capital of Spain. The belief that Paris is the capital of Spain is a false belief.

    Yes it does, as long as we hold the belief.

    Another person, when asked the question about Paris, might say "I don't know. I couldn't possible say what country it is the capital of." That person does not have a false belief as to what Paris is the capital of. They have no belief. They are open to it being the capital of France, or Spain, or Zimbabwe, in principle. Moreover, if you asked them "Do you think it could be the capital of Spain" and they answered "Yes", that would not necessarily show that they hold a false belief, because they are merely admitting it as a possibility, not a fact. Similarly, if you asked "Could it be the capital of France?", and they answered "Yes", they would not (yet) have a true belief, either. They hold no belief.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    This is wrong.

    Suppose when asked the pub-quiz question, the person says "I'm sure I remember seeing in my Atlas that Paris is in Spain, so Paris must be the capital of Spain!"

    That person holds a false belief, despite the fact that they have a reason for believing that Paris is the capital of Spain. The same would be true if they said "My best friend told me that Paris is the capital of Spain, and she's always right."

    Being able to give reasons for why you believe what you believe is a good start towards trying to justify your belief to other people, but it doesn't protect you from having false beliefs. Creationists and climate-change deniers can typically give lots of reasons for their beliefs, but they are false beliefs nonetheless, simply because they don't correspond to the facts of the matters.

    We don't have to worry about the reasoning, if we can show that the belief doesn't correspond to the facts. If it doesn't correspond to the facts, it is false regardless of whatever reasons the believer puts up.

    If a child assures you that six times seven is fifty-four, which they know because "I learnt it in maths class", they hold a false belief, not matter how earnestly they insist that they are right, that the teacher told them, etc. Again, it it not their fault that they have a false belief - maybe the teacher really did teach the wrong thing - but that doesn't save it from being false.

    The reasons might shed light on why the believer holds the belief, but they can't turn a false belief into a true one. Paris is not the capital of Spain; that's a fact. You can't spin it into a truth through any amount of evangelism about your belief.

    If you arrive at a false belief by mistake, that doesn't save it from being a false belief nonetheless. If I believe my car keys are on the table because that's where I "always" put them, and they turn out to be on the bed instead, then I hold a false belief. It doesn't matter that I made a mistake. Nor does it matter that there might be a good reason why I was mistaken - maybe somebody else borrowed the keys and didn't put them back in the usual place. It's still a false belief.

    Whether these are false beliefs or not will depend not only the subjective mental state of the believer, but also on the objective facts of the matter. These beliefs are no different, in principle, to believing that Paris is the capital of Spain.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Jan Ardena:

    For completeness, I will reply to your earlier post, but if you're replying to me please address my posts above before this one.

    Tell me why you think it is not logically possible that there is no God.

    The threshold of what they need to know is very low, though, isn't it? Obviously, they need to have been told, or have read about, the idea of gods/God. Once they are familiar with the concept of an all-powerful creator of the universe and so on and so forth, then they are free to believe in God, or not. Right?

    What do you mean by a "solid" reason? Can you give an example of a solid reason to believe in God?

    Also, compare: do you think a person would need a solid reason to believe that France is the capital of Spain? Or just a reason?

    Do they need to be able to articulate their reason?

    It's strange that up to now you have been saying that theism and atheism are just positions people find themselves in - almost like they are pre-determined - but now all of a sudden you're demanding that people give reasons for their theism or atheism.

    Is theism something that just happens when you're aware and accept God, or do you now think that you need a reason? Or is the awareness/acceptance reason enough for you?

    I don't understand what you're saying here.

    If I bring something into existence - like baking a cake, say - couldn't I reasonably believe there is a cake?

    Again, it's not clear what you're saying. Are you just saying people can learn about themselves by investigating their own reasons for believing in it, or are you saying something else?

    This is the exact opposite of what I have written on numerous occasions earlier in this thread. Of the two of us, you are the dogmatic one. You are locked into your belief to such an extent that you can't even see the logical possibility that you might be wrong.

    I recognised at my first introduction to it that Peter Pan is a fictional story, and I'm fairly sure it was introduced in that context. Nobody ever said to be that Peter Pan is a true story about a boy who can fly, for instance.

    In contrast, it took me a lot longer to find out that books like the bible and the Qur'an are, in part, also fictional stories. The difference, in part, is that people will generally readily admit that Peter Pan is fiction, whereas they will insist that the bible is the Word of God, that it's a true historical record, and so on. A lot of people just take that for granted.

    Does it matter? What would be a good reason for believing, as opposed to a bad one, according to you?

    Another one-word response from you.

    Could Wendy not be mistaken in her belief? Could she not have a false belief?

    Suppose you came across Wendy and she told you of her belief in Peter Pan. What would you tell her? "Peter Pan is real, because you believe in him"? Or would you say "You can't really believe in Peter Pan, because Peter is not real." Or what?

    Sure. Does the fact that Wendy can give a reason for her belief make Peter Pan real, then?

    How can you be sure of that? Maybe Wendy is a dyed-in-the-wool Peter Panist, who believes that Peter just Is.

    I don't know how you can claim that they (I) had no belief. If you had asked me when I was younger whether I believed in God, I would have told you "Yes". And you would have said ... what? "Oh, no, you don't really believe in God, little boy. You just think you do. Really, you're just believing what you read in the bible and what people told you. That's not a real belief in God. My belief in God is what is the Real Deal!" But if I had asked you how your belief in God was any different, you'd have had no answer to give.

    There's always a "reason" for a belief, even if that reason is a mistake, or a misjudgment, or misinformation, a personal predisposition, or whatever. And people can and do change their minds. We agree.

    I agree. Knowledge is justified true belief. You can start with the belief if you like, but justification and truth can't just be about you. Those things are about what's actually out there in the world outside your head. The rational person tries to make sure that the stuff inside his head matches the stuff outside, and if it turns out that it doesn't then he changes his mind.

    You mean awareness of God? What makes you think all living things are aware of God? How would you test that? What would it mean for a tree to be aware or not aware of God - or anything else, for that matter?

    It's simple: theism and atheism are about what people believe. Namely, theists have a belief that God Is/exists, and atheists do not have that belief.

    If you're interested in exploring the reasons why there are those differences in belief, well, so am I. But up to now you haven't shown much interest in reasons. You've been claiming theism is an Original Position in which you find yourself. Remember?

    That remains to be seen. At present, you don't recognise that it is logically possible to believe in God when there is no God. I am wondering: if we can get you to the point where you recognise that this is logically possible, would this fall into your "God Is" or "without God" category? But, first things first.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  9. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    ''Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty.''

    If one believes that Paris is the capital of Spain, despite evidence to the contrary. Then one is deluded.
    A delusion is a mistaken belief, not a false one.

    ''A delusion is a mistaken belief that is held with strong conviction even when presented with superior evidence to the contrary. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulation, dogma, illusion, or some other misleading effects of perception.''

  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    "Smell that? You smell that?"
    "Semantic bullcrap, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of semantic bullcrap in the morning."

    You really think a delusion is a "mistaken belief" but not a "false one"??

    Let's take the example of the statement "Paris is the capital of Spain". Is this statement true or false?
    If I believe that Paris is the capital of Spain then do I believe something that is true or false?
    If it is true then i would hold a true belief.
    If it is false then I would hold a false belief.
    This is irrespective of justification for holding the belief.

    Hopefully you'll agree that "Paris is the capital of Spain" is a false statement.
    Hopefully you'll also agree that if I hold the belief that Paris is the capital of Spain then I believe something that is false.

    If I hold a belief that is false, this is a "false belief".

    Yes, I would be mistaken in holding that belief, and you might refer to it as a "mistaken belief", but they are synonymous.

    Note also, although this might be too much of a stretch for you at this stage, that one's justification may also be mistaken, fallacious, false, but this has no bearing on whether the belief held is itself false or true.

    For example, I could believe it is raining outside because I spilt my coffee this morning, which meant my hand was wet, and I know that if it is raining then my hand will be wet. Therefore it must be raining.

    Hopefully you'll agree that the justification for me believing that it is raining outside is fallacious, false, mistaken... but whether or not the belief that it is raining outside is true or false depends only on whether it actually is raining outside.
    I.e. The belief is either true or false depending on, and only on, whether it corresponds with fact.

    The issue of what justification is required to turn a true belief into knowledge has been debated at length by many philosophers (Gettier et al). You would do well to read up on some of their thinking.

    Now, well done on nose-diving the thread into another ball of your semantic detritus. Your dishonesty knows no bounds, it seems.
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    This is all you've got in response to what I wrote above?

    Take some time to digest what I wrote, and get back to me when you have something more useful to say.

    One point: if you think Paris is the capital of Spain and you don't know there is evidence to the contrary, then you're not deluded, you're just mistaken. But you still have a belief, and it's still a false belief, because it doesn't correspond to the facts of the matter.

    To summarise the only new point you have raised: not all false beliefs are delusional.
  12. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Hi to all,

    Jan's view of the world turns on there being a God and for him any alternative is beyond his comprehension and God will figure in all his responses ... I can understand that and can see how it causes him to avoid considering even the remote possibility that there could be a situation where there is no God.
    I wonder how folk who believe the BB is reality would respond if asked to consider that they could have it wrong even as a remote possibility ...
    I feel if they were honest they could not admit their response to that belief being questioned would not be similar to Jan's.

    One can not counter belief with opposing facts and expect the person to roll over and admit they are or could be wrong. Belief will guide them always.

  13. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I agree with your assessment of Jan but I disagree regarding your Big Bang statements. People believe in the Big Bang only to the degree that it's the best explanation so far. If/when an even more accurate explanation comes along most people will accept that.

    Before the Big Bang was widely accepted there was also the Steady State theory which was in competition with the Big Bang theory. Once we learned of the cosmic microwave background the Steady State theory was pretty much put to rest.
  14. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    I would like to believe that as that is the way it should be but perhaps you can understand why I could think along those lines for even on this forum some give these impression that the BB is the final absolute truth. And of course science is not about truth as most seem to think..it is about presenting a predictive model...having the Earth at the center of the solar system provided a very good predictive model which we know is not the " truth" but you can still work out where Saturn will be next Monday by using that model.

    I still prefer the steady state model as it leaves no room for a creation event and although the BB deals only with the evolution of the Universe it certainly leaves the door open for a point of creation.
    I think the early opponents of the BB felt similar.
    I expect a theist would prefer BB if they had to choose.
    However I doubt if steady state offers any predictions at all so it will fail on that count.

  15. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    However, it was though "science" that we later learned that the Earth wasn't the center of the Solar System. It was the Church that wanted that to be the case.

    I don't think one should "prefer" one over the other because one leaves no room for a creation event. All the evidence just seems to point to one vs the other. That evidence won't change even with a new, more accurate theory. The new theory will have to incorporate all the evidence that we now have.

    Religious beliefs are what don't change. Scientific "beliefs" aren't "beliefs" in the same sense. That's not really using the concept of "belief" correctly. It's using it in the way we use that word in everyday speech but as you have pointed out we also use "theory" to mean something entirely different in our everyday speech.

    A "belief" is really something not based on evidence. It takes "faith". Believing the sun will appear to rise tomorrow is trusting the evidence.
  16. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Yes which is the truth but as a predictive model the Earth at the center worked and as such it is a good scientific model.
    I do astronomy and one tends to think of things going around you which of course is not reality.
    The church was not looking for a predictive model , their goal is to fit everything in line with the bible which I believe meant the Earth was central..I don't think they liked the observations of craters on the Moon because it did not fit their view...
    Of course you are right but such is my determination not to give them (theists) any room to move...
    There are Christians who say BB is their proof you know and I don't have to be rational ...but I know what you mean and you are right of course.
    Yes of course.
    But what if we find that our observation of expansion is flawed and that iron wiskas are everywhere or the light really did get tired... If you say that is impossible your mind has closed a little like Jan's.
    It unlikely true but my point is if one does not entertain the possibility you are not doing any better than Jan who will not and can not think there could be a world with no God.
    Well consider this...you hold your belief that the science is correct as opposed to making your personal observations so could you not say you believe based on you faith that the science is correct...
    Personally I try not to believe anything to the point where I would defend it without reserve.
    Nice talking with you I hope all has been going well for you.
  17. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Yes, I would change my view on anything if new evidence should support it. I like astronomy as well (and have a telescope). Science is largely about being predictive but not to the point that when we know it's wrong we still stick with it.

    Newtonian physics is predictive to a degree that is acceptable for most calculations. At the extremes it isn't the most accurate so "we" change as you point out with Relativity and gravity or time dilation, etc.

    It's not that Newtonian physics is "wrong" in most regards. There are just more accurate ways to look at things. Of course it is "wrong" where the explanation for gravity is concerned but no one has really fully explained gravity anyway so predictive models are the best we have. as is the case for the Big Bang and abiogenesis.

    I agree with much of what you are saying. I'm just pointing out that "Science", which being about being predictive, also is based on constantly being open to change as new evidence becomes available.

    That is how it has been able to advance (unlike religion).
  18. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Off topic but may I ask what kind?
    I have just bought a f5 8 inch Newtonian, a finder guider and camera to auto guide the mount ( which I have rebuilt) a 24 meg DSLR (maybe will get astro can and filter wheel) all to do some astro photos but its been cloudy for months...
    Well I think that is all they use for space travel so it is not bad. You won't need GR unless you fly close to a black hole.
    Yes of course.
  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I have a small refractor 90mm I think. I also have an 8" reflector but the secondary isn't property collimated anymore and the mirror is spotting as well. I don't use it anymore and it's too heavy to move around easily (and I live where it is usually cloudy).

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    I do pull the refractor out in the summer just to catch the planets and in the past I have done some (I forget the correct term) splitting of binary stars. When the reflector was working I checked out the Ring Nebula. That's about it. I find reading about astronomy, astro-physics, and cosmology to be more interesting now.

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  20. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    What if you were looking in the wrong direction, missing the apparent all together?
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    But the "apparent" has been explained. The problem lies in the "unapparent" part of nature which is given mystical qualities.
  22. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    All you need do is look within. That love you have for your self comes from God. This sounds corny and stereotypical of a religious zealot, but God really does love you.
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Yes, God loves everybody........

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    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017

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