Why I am not an Atheist

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
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Kenny
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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#91

Post by Kenny » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:18 pm

RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote: Nice try Ken. You actually said:
Fair enough; allow me to rephrase.
Science has not found any evidence that the spiritual realm exists; if they did they would study it.

Ken
Kenny,

Only an idiot would try to hammer a nail with a plastic spoon.
I agree! But what does that have to do with the conversation at hand?

K
Kenny,

I was trying to make the point that using the wrong tool to do the job, doesn't work. Using a plastic spoon to hammer a nail, is like using science to find evidence of something that science doesn't deal with.
Okay I see where you’re at now; and that’s a point that can be debated. But the point I was addressing was the claim that science chooses not to look into the spiritual realm. That is what I disagreed with.

K
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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#92

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:23 pm

Justhuman wrote:If one believes that mind/soul and matter are basically the same substance, but the mind/soul can also exist without a physical instantiation, that should be physically proveable, or at least physically verifiable. Furthermore it should be explained how it is possible that the mind/soul detaches itself from the physical part and how it can endure in it's non-physical state.
To be clear, I don't believe they are of the same "substance" (at least not without much qualifying, but such goes beyond the discussion here into a deeper ontology of reality). The word "substance" itself has a whole range of different meaning people attach to it, but if we're talking of mind-body, questions about the soul and the like, then I think talking more in Thomistic terms is best.

So then, I really do highly recommend reading the article I mentioned in my last post to you which compares Cartesian Dualism to a Thomistic understanding. I expect the "Aquinas and Thomistic Dualism" section in that article will open up your thoughts to thinking about what the "soul" is in a very different way to the Cartesian form.

Let me try reconcile the two for you in a Thomistic understanding. First, we have "matter" which all of us are composed from, yet the "form" this matter takes on is arranged differently. On a very reductionist level, all "matter" at its foundation share a common link (a quantum subatomic particle perhaps??) -- thus all "matter" have in common a fundamental nature. Yet, the substantial "form" of things that "matter" is arranged into (actualising how we look, our shape, function and the like) can be very different.

If we extend this understanding to the soul-body, the soul provides the structure, the blueprint if you will, the "substantial form" of what we are. "Matter" collesces around this form in a certain arrangement and actualise these potentialities within our human form. Potentialities found in "human forms" would include our ability to see like we do, to hear, to taste, touch, smell -- yet without "matter" being structured in a certain way (e.g., a physical or perhaps even ethereal body), these potentialities would remain an untapped potentiality of our "human form". Nonetheless, they would remain a potentiality that might some day be expressed. Consider a person who is blind from birth, I'd reason they still possess the potentiality for sight in their substantial human form -- perhaps medicine or robotics will allow such potentiality to be realised.

You see "matter" without "form" is ultimately nothing in/of itself. Even the most basic subatomic particle must possess some form to be what it is. This "form" is understood to be a prerequisite to "matter". This leads us to the Thomistic understanding where "form gives existence to matter."

We can perhaps draw a parrallel to buildings. We see buildings and often think of their form as the finished product we now see before us. Yet, the reality is that the "form" existed conceptually prior, perhaps on blueprints or in someone's head. What the builder did, was to procure and arrange materials to actualise the building's preexistant form.

Whatever you get from above, hopefully you can more easily see that the relationship between "matter" and "form" in a Thomistic sense is very much related, in particular when it comes to actualising what may have only previously existed in some non-actualised substantial form. I'd highly recommend again to you again reading that article I linked to above.
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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#93

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:53 pm

Justhuman wrote:how it is possible that the mind/soul detaches itself from the physical part and how it can endure in it's non-physical state.
Given my previous post, some answers to this question should now be apparent, or show the question to be complex and so require some unpacking. If "matter" is contingent upon "form", then the mind/soul doesn't detach (at say physical death). Rather, "we" simply lose certain extensions or "actualisations".

For example, consider losing your eyesight. Your potential for regaining eyesight still remains with the right medical advances, but how does your eyesight endure once lost? Because this potentiality is retained in your human form. If we now extend this to all our human function being lost (i.e., we are physically dead), then we've lost our physical existence yet who is to say our human form still isn't possible to be re-actualised? It was expressed once, so then why logically can't it be again?

As for how "form" can endure... if our "form" doesn't simply subsist in/of itself, well I'd reason human form, this/that animal form, building blueprints or the like have a rather conceptual flavour to them. So it seems to me everything is ultimately at a foundational level of the mind. This mind, whatever it is, must be highly intelligent and highly powerful to give rise to all we see and us. Everything that endures, whether physical or non-physical, it endures because of this highly powerful mind that I myself call "God".
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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#94

Post by Justhuman » Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:18 am

Kurieuo wrote:
Justhuman wrote:how it is possible that the mind/soul detaches itself from the physical part and how it can endure in it's non-physical state.
Given my previous post, some answers to this question should now be apparent, or show the question to be complex and so require some unpacking. If "matter" is contingent upon "form", then the mind/soul doesn't detach (at say physical death). Rather, "we" simply lose certain extensions or "actualisations".

For example, consider losing your eyesight. Your potential for regaining eyesight still remains with the right medical advances, but how does your eyesight endure once lost? Because this potentiality is retained in your human form. If we now extend this to all our human function being lost (i.e., we are physically dead), then we've lost our physical existence yet who is to say our human form still isn't possible to be re-actualised? It was expressed once, so then why logically can't it be again?

As for how "form" can endure... if our "form" doesn't simply subsist in/of itself, well I'd reason human form, this/that animal form, building blueprints or the like have a rather conceptual flavour to them. So it seems to me everything is ultimately at a foundational level of the mind. This mind, whatever it is, must be highly intelligent and highly powerful to give rise to all we see and us. Everything that endures, whether physical or non-physical, it endures because of this highly powerful mind that I myself call "God".
I've pondered about it for some time, but still don't get it.
How can the substantial form be the base of physical matter? If it is compared to a blueprint, a blueprint is not directly related to the structure it represents, it is a mere representation of that structure. The structure is build somewhere else than the blueprint. But this might be a very literally 'human' interpretation of 'blueprint'. Or is that form-blueprint like a substance on which the physical can cling to? Like bricks on mortar (where mortar is the form, and bricks the physical).

You conclude that the form can only be the product of the mind of a very powerfull being we call God, but is that the only possibility? Could this form be also a natural occurance? Given billions of years, that form might very well develop itself into some complex structure, forming the base for matter to congregate around.

The conclusion that it's all in a mind, and that this mind can only be from a very powerfull 'being', is a presumption. If one believes in God one tries to explain things according to that believe. Aren't you (and others) with that form-theory (unwillingly?) working towards a God-only solution?
1. God exist, and He created all there is.
2. Thus, the only conclusion can be that anyway we look at it, the solution must be an can only be God.
3. Thus, any theory that might indicate otherwise, is and must be false.

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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#95

Post by Kurieuo » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:10 pm

Do you have any programming experience JH?
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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#96

Post by Kurieuo » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:58 pm

Justhuman wrote:The conclusion that it's all in a mind, and that this mind can only be from a very powerfull 'being', is a presumption. If one believes in God one tries to explain things according to that believe. Aren't you (and others) with that form-theory (unwillingly?) working towards a God-only solution?
1. God exist, and He created all there is.
2. Thus, the only conclusion can be that anyway we look at it, the solution must be an can only be God.
3. Thus, any theory that might indicate otherwise, is and must be false.
There is certainly a repulsion towards metaphysics, understanding underpinnings to reality, that more empirically-minded positivist persons (which would describe many secular scientists) wish to deny, don't wish entertain or even discuss.

Aristotle and Plato did not appear to start with belief in God (certainly not the God I identify), such neither preclude God or even gods. Rather, their guide is reasoning ability, their own mind, and what logic and reason alone seem to define. Aristotle perhaps somewhat more than Plato moved things closer to God with his unmoved mover and like. Certainly, his bare minimum "god" isn't the God I believe. Yet, such philosophical thinking perhaps merely lays the framework of logical possibilities rather than what is the case of the reality we find ourselves within (which is better identified by science).

In light of all this, I think it naive to be dismissive of where such reasoning appears to lead. Although I will say unlike myself, Plato and Aristotle were firstly philosphers. I make no apology myself about firstly being theologian, even Christian as was Thomas Aquinas. My life and personal experiences have set me firmly in such, so you could say ALL of my own arguments are reasoning to a conclusion I had, that my whole arguments amount to confirmation bias of sorts. Yet, I think my own starting position is logically irrelevent to any said arguments made or reasoning put forward. Just as much as your being taken by Atheism means I should reject out-of-hand any arguments you might make against Theism or Christianity.

Now certainly, there might be a bias. Some might start with God existing and so then proceed to reason to such, perhaps even I do this unknowingly. Which I think means we must be careful to identify our biases, and to deal with the substance of actual arguments themselves rather than focus on the people making them. I'm upfront with mine. You yourself have your own bias and positions you'd be more receptive of. So then, for any argument you might make, would it be logical for me to identify you as an Atheist and so just reject any arguments you present against God's existence as mere bias?? No, such isn't fair, I should deal with the substance of your arguments. In fact, if I reject your arguments because of who you are, what I believe your bias and motivations to be, then such is entirely irrelevant to the actual substance of any argument made -- I'd here be committing a genetic fallacy of sorts.

Now deeper logical thinking about the world, the foundational nature of reality -- in my experience the discussion of such appears scary to those who like to feel certain of things, have textbook answers, have all nails in their life nailed down, who wish to cling to something stable, predictable and known. Such might identify as pragmatists, working from where they are to what they see is practical for them in their immediate life. Questions that fall outside are meaningless to pursue, why bother about things we can't be certain of like I can my own physical existence, family, friends... so then, many seem disinterested in more foundational questions about reality, like what does it matter anyway? Such perhaps feel we should just deal with more certain things in life that a more directly felt and experienced, that which is repeatable and predictable in the world provides stablity that we can plant our feet upon and move forward to increase our own happiness in life.

Yet understand, what is pragmatic or practical isn't necessarily true or correct. SImilarly, ignoring such questions, thinking them irrelevent, doesn't mean they're unimportant. Such people I see have a rather shallow and surface-level construction of reality, they ignore their own philosophical underpinnings, the ontology that undergirds their faith in their own experiences and/or empiricism. And contrary to the belief that deeper questions of reality are silly mind games philosophers play, I'd say the answers we have to such foundational questions will also often shape the way we live our life, how we will treat others and what we cling to as really important in life when push comes to shove.
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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#97

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:33 pm

Justhuman wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:As for how "form" can endure... if our "form" doesn't simply subsist in/of itself, well I'd reason human form, this/that animal form, building blueprints or the like have a rather conceptual flavour to them. So it seems to me everything is ultimately at a foundational level of the mind. This mind, whatever it is, must be highly intelligent and highly powerful to give rise to all we see and us. Everything that endures, whether physical or non-physical, it endures because of this highly powerful mind that I myself call "God".
I've pondered about it for some time, but still don't get it.
How can the substantial form be the base of physical matter? If it is compared to a blueprint, a blueprint is not directly related to the structure it represents, it is a mere representation of that structure. The structure is build somewhere else than the blueprint. But this might be a very literally 'human' interpretation of 'blueprint'. Or is that form-blueprint like a substance on which the physical can cling to? Like bricks on mortar (where mortar is the form, and bricks the physical).

You conclude that the form can only be the product of the mind of a very powerfull being we call God, but is that the only possibility? Could this form be also a natural occurance? Given billions of years, that form might very well develop itself into some complex structure, forming the base for matter to congregate around.
I think what is interesting about Aristotle's "matter" (hyle) and "form" (morphe), hence hylomorphism, is that it provokes us to think more deeply about the composition of things in existence.

"Hyle" is a word adapted from from the Greek word for "wood" -- there was no word at the time for matter in general. It should be understood as the "raw stuff" everything is composed of, the basic substance everything shares.

As for "morphe", it is that which makes one composition of matter (hyle) different from another. What makes "wood" different from "rock"? A "tree" different from a "flower"? A "human" different from a "fish"? This is where Aristotle provides a kind of catch-all word for that which informs some basic substance/matter (hyle) creating a unque single object -- "form" (morphe).

Here we have a framework laid for a basic ontology of things, physical objects, that exist. It seems rather easy to grasp, yet as different examples of things in existence are explored it can become far more complicated (e.g., De Anima explores "soul" and "body" as a special case of form and matter).

It is rather interesting I think, that where Aristotle presents a framework for understanding the ontology of something in existence (1000s of years ago), that modern science today lends support this basic substance ("hyle") in terms of some quantum matter/energy.

So, remove my additional reflections and thoughts, of where I see such leads to i.e., God. You accept the "material" as something real in and of itself, yet then, if "form" is what shapes and gives unique identifity, then surely such is equally real if not even more-so? We're merely trying to be intellectually honest here with the ontological breakdown of some object or thing that exists, NOT how it came to be (whether God did it, or some natural processes).

Evidently, "form" isn't materially real, because it informs the "hyle" to be this-way or that-way, so then "form" is immaterial yet nonetheless as real as matter. We see it, in physical objects, in their properties that make them distinct entities. It can be said, what makes us both different from each other, isn't the stuff we're made of but rather our "form" which informs our differing bodies ("hyle") -- the "form" of our personalities just as much as our physical attributes and appearance.
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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#98

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:39 am

We need to remember that we don't invent things like math or gravity, we discover them.
2+2=4 and has always equaled 4 before humans ever came up with the concept of math and it will always =4 ( probably? lol).
Triangularity will always exist even if there are no triangles in the universe or no humans to "think" about it.

These things are immaterial things because, again, they would be so even if there were no material universe to speak of.

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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#99

Post by Kenny » Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:43 am

PaulSacramento wrote:We need to remember that we don't invent things like math or gravity, we discover them.
2+2=4 and has always equaled 4 before humans ever came up with the concept of math and it will always =4 ( probably? lol).
Triangularity will always exist even if there are no triangles in the universe or no humans to "think" about it.

These things are immaterial things because, again, they would be so even if there were no material universe to speak of.
Gravity is a physical force that exist on the surface of Earth and other planets. But where does math exist?

Ken
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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#100

Post by RickD » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:02 am

Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:We need to remember that we don't invent things like math or gravity, we discover them.
2+2=4 and has always equaled 4 before humans ever came up with the concept of math and it will always =4 ( probably? lol).
Triangularity will always exist even if there are no triangles in the universe or no humans to "think" about it.

These things are immaterial things because, again, they would be so even if there were no material universe to speak of.
Gravity is a physical force that exist on the surface of Earth and other planets. But where does math exist?

Ken
Everywhere in the universe! Duh! :lol:
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24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#101

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:33 am

Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:We need to remember that we don't invent things like math or gravity, we discover them.
2+2=4 and has always equaled 4 before humans ever came up with the concept of math and it will always =4 ( probably? lol).
Triangularity will always exist even if there are no triangles in the universe or no humans to "think" about it.

These things are immaterial things because, again, they would be so even if there were no material universe to speak of.
Gravity is a physical force that exist on the surface of Earth and other planets. But where does math exist?

Ken
Concepts dude, concepts.

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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#102

Post by Kenny » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:15 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:We need to remember that we don't invent things like math or gravity, we discover them.
2+2=4 and has always equaled 4 before humans ever came up with the concept of math and it will always =4 ( probably? lol).
Triangularity will always exist even if there are no triangles in the universe or no humans to "think" about it.

These things are immaterial things because, again, they would be so even if there were no material universe to speak of.
Gravity is a physical force that exist on the surface of Earth and other planets. But where does math exist?

Ken
Concepts dude, concepts.
Concepts don't exist like gravity, they only exist within human thought. Are you suggesting math only exist in the context of human thought?
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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#103

Post by Kurieuo » Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:07 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:We need to remember that we don't invent things like math or gravity, we discover them.
2+2=4 and has always equaled 4 before humans ever came up with the concept of math and it will always =4 ( probably? lol).
Triangularity will always exist even if there are no triangles in the universe or no humans to "think" about it.

These things are immaterial things because, again, they would be so even if there were no material universe to speak of.
Indeed. While qualitatively different to physical objects, math would be akin to form ("morphe"), for example, a circle formula of PR2). The materialisation ("hyle") of circles would be say planets, the Sun, circle drawings or wherever something circular can be found.

Similar questions then arise i.e., is math itself ("morphe") as real as the materialisations we see? Realists answer "yes". Nominalists answer "no". Conceptualists embrace a type of realism seeing such as fundamentally conceptual in nature, the logical conclusion being an eternal mind is necessary which allow such concepts to be grounded.
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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#104

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:46 am

Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:We need to remember that we don't invent things like math or gravity, we discover them.
2+2=4 and has always equaled 4 before humans ever came up with the concept of math and it will always =4 ( probably? lol).
Triangularity will always exist even if there are no triangles in the universe or no humans to "think" about it.

These things are immaterial things because, again, they would be so even if there were no material universe to speak of.
Gravity is a physical force that exist on the surface of Earth and other planets. But where does math exist?

Ken
Concepts dude, concepts.
Concepts don't exist like gravity, they only exist within human thought. Are you suggesting math only exist in the context of human thought?
Hardly.
Math would exist regardless of there being ANY humans at all.
That is the point.

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Re: Why I am not an Atheist

#105

Post by Kenny » Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:44 am

Kurieuo wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:We need to remember that we don't invent things like math or gravity, we discover them.
2+2=4 and has always equaled 4 before humans ever came up with the concept of math and it will always =4 ( probably? lol).
Triangularity will always exist even if there are no triangles in the universe or no humans to "think" about it.

These things are immaterial things because, again, they would be so even if there were no material universe to speak of.
Indeed. While qualitatively different to physical objects, math would be akin to form ("morphe"), for example, a circle formula of PR2). The materialisation ("hyle") of circles would be say planets, the Sun, circle drawings or wherever something circular can be found.

Similar questions then arise i.e., is math itself ("morphe") as real as the materialisations we see? Realists answer "yes". Nominalists answer "no". Conceptualists embrace a type of realism seeing such as fundamentally conceptual in nature, the logical conclusion being an eternal mind is necessary which allow such concepts to be grounded.
So shapes exist as well? Shapes are descriptions. If the description of an object has an actual existence by itself apart from the object being described, does fast, funny, stupid, tall, etc. exist as well? Because these are descriptions also; so if I say “the Hell cat is a fast car” does fast actually exist? If so, where? Is it somehow attached to the car being described?

Ken
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