Take this, Transcendental Argument for God’s Existence…

October 11, 2009 at 2:49 pm 11 comments

So, I know I’ve said recently I wanted to get away from all of this, but I just couldn’t help but post this because I find it amusing…

It occurred to me today that probably the core loophole in all of theism is found in the inherent impossibility for God /gods to be described without assuming the universe already exists. Try it! (Friendly reminder, you can’t use any words that assume space and time exist. You know, core words like “in”, “outside of”, “before”, “beginning”, “pre-existing”, “incarnate”, “only”, etc.)

Consider one example: the phrase “God is three in one” or even “God is one”.

Apologist Dr. James White said in a recent debate: “numbers are a part of Creation itself”.

However, if God created numbers then it is idolatrous and irrational to use any numbers to describe God. If God did not create numbers yet has properties defined numerically, then a believer admits there is something more fundamental to reality than God.

Now, to help see how silly all this is, imagine how many people have been killed for not accepting the correct numerical description of God…

However, saying God is zero makes perfect sense. Why? Because numbers are natural. Numbers are natural because it is impossible to describe the supernatural without assuming numbers already exist. Saying “God is” gets close, but only begs the question “God is what?” And saying “God is what He is” is like saying “yep.” Now we simply have to replace God with “supernatural”…

I think I am going to call this argument N.A.S.I., the Natural Argument for Supernatural Impossibility. It’s a lot shorter and, in my arrogantly humble opinion, more elegant than T.A.G. The title is longer though, but I do so hope that is not a strike against it.

Now, don’t you go all Egyptian on me and claim numbers are supernatural because then everything might as well be supernatural. Although… that’s actually a really freakin’ cool thought.

Lunch, anyone?

- Josh

Entry filed under: Josh. Tags: , , , .

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Roy  |  October 11, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Lunch, anyone?

    Where are you? If you are anywhere close to Georgia, give me a time and place.

  • 2. Joshua  |  October 11, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    I’m in Chicago, sadly…

  • 3. Roy  |  October 11, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Yeah, well Atlanta and Chicago are only a couple of hours apart. What is the standard way of exchanging emails around here?

  • 4. Quester  |  October 12, 2009 at 1:55 am

    Josh,

    Have you ever read Zero: the biography of a dangerous idea? I’m finding it very interesting.

    As for the anti-transcendence argument, I’m not sure what your arguments support other than:

    1) Language does not exist to describe anything independent of the universe’s existence.

    2) No human is capable of describing something without language.

    These arguments can help show how certain understandings of gods leave those gods irrelevant to human life, but that’s about it, theistically.

  • 5. Joshua  |  October 12, 2009 at 3:27 am

    Quester,

    The book sounds fascinating. I did not realize 0 was such a hot topic.

    As for the argument, it is slightly tongue in cheek and at the same time a little more thought out than I think you give me credit for.

    If you take (1) to its next logical conclusion, then language cannot describe anything supernatural. And if language is useless to describe the supernatural, well… language might as well be completely natural. And if we are not capable of speaking of the supernatural, I think it’s safe to conclude that we are anything but. Hell, then language is useless to talk about it.

    These arguments can help show how certain understandings of gods leave those gods irrelevant to human life, but that’s about it, theistically.

    With all respect, I don’t think you understood the point of my post. My point was that nothing can be said about God or gods, even if one exists, except to produce discord among men. And those who do produce discord by their claims about deities are premature, for only with a little thought one can simply – and indeed elegantly – show the foolishness of the notion.

    We are trapped in time and space, and yet wonderfully equipped for it. Let’s enjoy it while we have breath and be thankful for the beautiful surprise of life.

  • 6. Kenny  |  October 12, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    This argument isn’t exactly new.

    The arguments from presuppositionalists and other TAG-users parallels the argument concerning “Theistic Activism”: the position that abstract objects (nonspatiotemporal, nonmental objects [e.g. mathematical objects like numbers]) are dependant on God and that mathematics is evidence of (or identical to) God itself.

    Bill Craig rejects Theistic Activism for the reason given above; if God “is” mathematics, then it means that God’s nature (“threeness”) is prior to the Trinity, which is absurd.

    I suggest you become familiar with the literature on Theistic Activism to become more understanding of the nature of the issues at hand:

    I recommend:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/god-necessary-being/#2

    http://exapologist.blogspot.com/2007/06/why-abstract-objects-are-nasty-problem.html

    and Matthew Davidson’s
    “A Demonstration Against Theistic Activism”
    (http://philosophy.csusb.edu/~mld/Demo%20Against%20Th.%20Act.pdf)

  • 7. cag  |  October 12, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    As a retired computer programmer, one of the conventions was to represent false as zero and true as one (bit on or off). Opening a bible, and reading the first ten words (“in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”) the result is false (0). Only a person who believes that the earth is the center of the universe would accept those words as true (1). In order for it to be true (1) then the sun and stars would have to revolve around the earth. Of course reading down the page results in further incredulity as the god of the bible spends 5 days on creating and populating a minor planet, and 1 day to create the trillions of stars, planets and other artifacts in the universe. This is beyond belief unless you are a bronze age goat herder who believes that the stars (visible to the eye) are no brighter than a firefly.

    So by reading the first ten words of the bible, the only conclusion is that bible inerrancy = 0, and the bible = 0, so anyone quoting the bible is quoting historical fiction and can safely be ignored.

    So I agree fully that god = 0.

  • 8. Quester  |  October 12, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Josh,

    Hmm. I’ll admit that My point was that nothing can be said about God or gods, even if one exists, is the exact reason that I left the preisthood. It’s an imprtant point to make. But I think that you need to go one point further in order to make it. You need to also argue that there is no evidence that any god(s) interact with the universe. You have successfully argued that a transcendent god is not only irrelevant, but can and does cause unnecessary strife and conflict, and maybe that’s all you are trying to do here. But if you are using this for an argument against the existence of gods (as your title implies), I find the argument lacking.

    Admittedly, I’m beginning to thing that the lack is not in your argument, but that there was an excess in my expectations.

  • 9. Joshua  |  October 12, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    You need to also argue that there is no evidence that any god(s) interact with the universe.

    I don’t know how you could possibly do this. In fact I think it is impossible. Because all a person has to do is define a being that does X, point out X, and then say it is proof that the being exists. The only way to disprove the being is to demonstrate a different causal chain leading to X, thus showing that the deity was not the source.

    So all people do is find things that we don’t know the cause for, invent a deity behind it, and voila!

    For example, I believe in the gravity God. You don’t know what causes gravity? Well, guess what? I do! It’s the gravity God, so until you can demonstrate where gravity comes from, I am justified in believing in the gravity God.

    You have successfully argued that a transcendent god is not only irrelevant, but can and does cause unnecessary strife and conflict, and maybe that’s all you are trying to do here.

    That’s all I was trying to do.

    But if you are using this for an argument against the existence of gods (as your title implies), I find the argument lacking.

    I’m simply trying to point out that if a supernatural realm exists, we cannot comment on it, except to speak of it in terms related to the natural realm – which is basically admitting ignorance on the subject, so nobody has a right to say their definition or description of anything related to this realm is accurate. Ergo: nobody should ever get hurt because some fucking idiot claims knowledge about a supernatural subject.

    And Kenny, thanks for the links and info. I generally run under the assumption that somebody has already thought of the things I write about these days. It’s good to put a name to the concept :)

  • 10. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi  |  November 21, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Thank you Joshua for your excellent comments so far. It’s fine that you believe and support gravity God. I have also written two papers which seem to be very close to your views:

    1. Gravitation Force is the Ultimate Creator. I have presented this paper at the !st Internation Conference on Revival of Traditional Yoga, organised at the Institute of Yoga, Lonavla, Pune, India in January 2006.

    2. In Scientific Terminology Source of Gravitational Wave is God. I have presented this paper at 2nd World Conference on Vedic Science organised in Banaras Hindu University, Varansi, India in February 2007.

  • 11. DSimon  |  November 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Poe’s Laaaaaaaw!

    Khaaaaaaaaan!

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