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Old 25th May 2020, 08:57 AM   #3281
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Originally Posted by Thorkil2 View Post
God must exist, but please note that I am not talking about God as a creator of the Universe or a being of make-it-so magic, only as a definable phenomenon.
Since the discussion so far has been about "God as a creator of the Universe or a being of make-it-so magic" you have redefined "exist" to make your point.

There are plenty of example of things that don't really exist (eg money or corporations) but have a great impact on our lives because we treat them as real. What people might believe about gods has no bearing on whether there is actually a god or not.
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Old 25th May 2020, 09:13 AM   #3282
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Are gods like "invisible dragons in the garage"?

Originally Posted by Thorkil2 View Post
But that is irrelevant. If only one person in the world were impacted by a belief in God, that also would be irrelevant. It's a matter of scale. Tolkien has not influenced the broader course of history for thousands of years.


Since this is nominally a skeptical forum, I’ll note that “scale” is an appeal to popularity, and “thousands of years” is an appeal to tradition. These are logical fallacies, not arguments.
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Old 25th May 2020, 09:26 AM   #3283
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Since the discussion so far has been about "God as a creator of the Universe or a being of make-it-so magic" you have redefined "exist" to make your point.

There are plenty of example of things that don't really exist (eg money or corporations) but have a great impact on our lives because we treat them as real. What people might believe about gods has no bearing on whether there is actually a god or not.
On this point, I agree with you completely.
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Old 25th May 2020, 10:06 AM   #3284
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
Since this is nominally a skeptical forum, I’ll note that “scale” is an appeal to popularity, and “thousands of years” is an appeal to tradition. These are logical fallacies, not arguments.
It also falls apart because it's being argued from a random and arbitrary POV.

Has the logical possibility of God being ebbing and flowing throughout history? Is one God more possible in this hemisphere or this point in history?
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Old 25th May 2020, 11:02 AM   #3285
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Originally Posted by Thorkil2 View Post
Nor do I, but it comes down to a matter of degree. The influence of God, Buddha, Ganesh, Yahweh, Jehovah, etc., is ubiquitous. It impacts the course of nations, art, personal relationships, even in some cases the food we eat; virtually every aspect of living throughout human history.
False. All of those deities have only been around for a tiny part of human history.
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Old 25th May 2020, 07:14 PM   #3286
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
False. All of those deities have only been around for a tiny part of human history.
What, did you think that was a complete list? Deities have been around in one form or another practically since the beginning of human kind. I didn't think it should be necessary to name them all, nor could I, probably.
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Old 25th May 2020, 08:50 PM   #3287
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
False. All of those deities have only been around for a tiny part of human history.
Wouldn't that depend on what part of the evolutionary time line you consider that human history began?

If you are talking about written history then these deities have been around in one form or another for a significant part of some tribes' history.
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Old 25th May 2020, 10:28 PM   #3288
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Originally Posted by Thorkil2 View Post
To reduce it to simplest terms: to exist, a thing must affect; effect can only derive from cause. God is definable as cause of real effects, therefore God exists.
Sorry, but that's rubbish. Every one of those effects is caused by a human being.
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Old 26th May 2020, 09:29 AM   #3289
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Wouldn't that depend on what part of the evolutionary time line you consider that human history began?

If you are talking about written history then these deities have been around in one form or another for a significant part of some tribes' history.
If the post had said "written history" of "some tribes" you'd have a point. When I say "human history" I definitely don't mean written history of some tribes.

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Old 26th May 2020, 10:05 AM   #3290
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Wouldn't that depend on what part of the evolutionary time line you consider that human history began?

If you are talking about written history then these deities have been around in one form or another for a significant part of some tribes' history.
Human history began some 200,000-300,000 years ago when the first humans appeared.
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Old 26th May 2020, 11:07 AM   #3291
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
There are plenty of example of things that don't really exist (eg money or corporations) but have a great impact on our lives because we treat them as real. What people might believe about gods has no bearing on whether there is actually a god or not.
But then you offer examples in nonsense. The $20 bill in your pocket is every bit as useful a tool and as corporeal as a lug wrench, and there is an intended cross pun in previous as it relates to corporations. I can make a much more solid case for their reality of existence in the world than I can for God. I'm disappointed. I don't require that anyone agree with me, but I would have expected a better quality of argument from at least some of this group, instead knee-jerk contrariness for its own sake. That's all I'm seeing so far.
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Old 26th May 2020, 11:38 AM   #3292
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Originally Posted by Thorkil2 View Post
But then you offer examples in nonsense. The $20 bill in your pocket is every bit as useful a tool and as corporeal as a lug wrench, and there is an intended cross pun in previous as it relates to corporations. I can make a much more solid case for their reality of existence in the world than I can for God. I'm disappointed. I don't require that anyone agree with me, but I would have expected a better quality of argument from at least some of this group, instead knee-jerk contrariness for its own sake. That's all I'm seeing so far.
The $20 bill is a piece of paper, the value it holds to anyone not desperate for toilet paper, and it's greater value than a similar piece of paper labelled $10 is purely due to people agreeing it has that value. And most of people's wealth isn't even in anything as concrete as paper, it's held as a pattern of data in digital storage.

But Tolkien's work has lead to enough physical copies of books, dvds, bluerays, video games and collectable figurines that if you gathered them up into a pile it would probably rival the Great Pyramid, the creation of a real Hobbiton for filming in New Zealand among many, many other things. How can you suggest Sauron doesn't exist?
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Old 26th May 2020, 02:06 PM   #3293
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Originally Posted by Thorkil2 View Post
... To reduce it to simplest terms: to exist, a thing must affect; effect can only derive from cause. God is definable as cause of real effects, therefore God exists.

Heh, nice! A novel take on this that I haven't seen used before.

I realize you're (probably).playing around with logic here, rather than arguing in earnest for the existance of G/god/s, bu your riddle has an easy answer: What exists, and has these effects, is not G/god/s but belief in G/god/s. What you've shown exists is that belief.
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Old 26th May 2020, 04:27 PM   #3294
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Heh, nice! A novel take on this that I haven't seen used before.

I realize you're (probably).playing around with logic here, rather than arguing in earnest for the existance of G/god/s, bu your riddle has an easy answer: What exists, and has these effects, is not G/god/s but belief in G/god/s. What you've shown exists is that belief.
How likely is it that he realises the he has merely demonstrated that some believe in god, not that a god exists?

We may have to wait a while.
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Old 26th May 2020, 05:47 PM   #3295
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Heh, nice! A novel take on this that I haven't seen used before.
I have. Heck, I've used it before myself, so I know how vacuous it is.
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Old 27th May 2020, 12:52 AM   #3296
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Heh, nice! A novel take on this that I haven't seen used before.

I realize you're (probably).playing around with logic here, rather than arguing in earnest for the existance of G/god/s, bu your riddle has an easy answer: What exists, and has these effects, is not G/god/s but belief in G/god/s. What you've shown exists is that belief.
It’s pretty much the oldest “logical” argument for proving god existed so I’m surprised you haven’t come across it before.
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Old 27th May 2020, 07:18 AM   #3297
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
How likely is it that he realises the he has merely demonstrated that some believe in god, not that a god exists?

We may have to wait a while.

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I have. Heck, I've used it before myself, so I know how vacuous it is.

I may be wrong, but my impression was that Thorkil2 was simply fooling around, having fun playing around with that line of reasoning, rather than actually trying to make a case for God. Even if I were right about that, whether he realizes that all the effects he speaks of come directly and trivially from the belief itself, leaving entirely unaddressed the truth value these beliefs and of the existence of G/god/s, that only he can tell us.
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Old 27th May 2020, 07:26 AM   #3298
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
It’s pretty much the oldest “logical” argument for proving god existed so I’m surprised you haven’t come across it before.

Oh, the things I don't know far far far outnumber the few things I do know!


So, how old? Not that I'm doubting you -- there's only so many of these arguments that can be made, after all -- but since you bring it up, can you cite some 'old' source for this specific argument? (This isn't the world-as-evidence-of-God argument, nor the ultimate-cause/prime-mover thing, it's simply pointing to the clearly widespread effects of religion and faith as some kind of -- warped -- argument for God as the cause of these 'effects' (when, in fact, the cause is clearly and obviously the faith itself, the belief itself.)
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Old 27th May 2020, 07:53 AM   #3299
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Originally Posted by Thorkil2 View Post
But then you offer examples in nonsense. The $20 bill in your pocket is every bit as useful a tool and as corporeal as a lug wrench, and there is an intended cross pun in previous as it relates to corporations. I can make a much more solid case for their reality of existence in the world than I can for God. I'm disappointed. I don't require that anyone agree with me, but I would have expected a better quality of argument from at least some of this group, instead knee-jerk contrariness for its own sake. That's all I'm seeing so far.
Considering that you were toying around with the idea of the correlation between (widespread) belief and existence, I am surprised that you consider my examples to be "nonsense" or that I am just indulging in "knee-jerk contrariness for its own sake".

P.J. Denyer has already explained how "real" money is.

As for corporations, what do you think they are if they are not a purely legal construct? There is literally nothing there! But do wrong by this non-existent entity and the legal system will come down on you as hard as it would if you wronged an actual human being.
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Old 27th May 2020, 10:10 AM   #3300
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Oh, the things I don't know far far far outnumber the few things I do know!


So, how old? Not that I'm doubting you -- there's only so many of these arguments that can be made, after all -- but since you bring it up, can you cite some 'old' source for this specific argument? (This isn't the world-as-evidence-of-God argument, nor the ultimate-cause/prime-mover thing, it's simply pointing to the clearly widespread effects of religion and faith as some kind of -- warped -- argument for God as the cause of these 'effects' (when, in fact, the cause is clearly and obviously the faith itself, the belief itself.)

11th Century, Anselm.
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Old 27th May 2020, 10:24 AM   #3301
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
11th Century, Anselm.

Thanks!

(Note to self: Must look that up sometime.)

-- Perhaps you could, very briefly, spell out what argument he'd made? Is it the same thing our colleague here's been saying?


You'll think me very ignorant, given your apparently easy familiarity with this Anselm hombre, but me, I'm wholly unfamiliar with him and his work. (Yeah, easily fixed via Wiki, I know.)


eta: If this infantile reasoning was actually an argument he'd put forward in earnest, then neither he nor his audience must've been very, well, all there. I'd been sure this argument was presented here in this thread as a kind of joke, but now I'm no longer sure!

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Old 27th May 2020, 11:13 PM   #3302
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
It’s pretty much the oldest “logical” argument for proving god existed so I’m surprised you haven’t come across it before.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
11th Century, Anselm.

Just read up on this worthy's "ontological argument". Sure, I'm familiar with that "argument", although I wasn't aware of who it was who'd laid that particular egg.

I'm afraid the only thing that's common between Thorkil2's argument, and Anselm's, is that, first, both are wrong, and second, that both are trivially and wholly spectacularly wrong, and third that they're both so easily shown to be wrong that it beggars belief that these people forwarded them in all seriousness, or that there lived people stupid enough to believe this argument. (No disrespect intended to our colleague Thorkil2; like I'd said before, my impression was that he's simply kidding, having fun with logical constructs that go nowhere.)

So well, long story short, sorry Darat, but I don't see that Thorkil2's argument is at all old. Unless you can point to some other turds that friend Anselm had laid, beyond his "ontological argument", that more closely resembles what we'd been discussing here in those quotes?
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Old 1st June 2020, 10:53 PM   #3303
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
The $20 bill is a piece of paper, the value it holds to anyone not desperate for toilet paper, and it's greater value than a similar piece of paper labelled $10 is purely due to people agreeing it has that value. And most of people's wealth isn't even in anything as concrete as paper, it's held as a pattern of data in digital storage.

But Tolkien's work has lead to enough physical copies of books, dvds, bluerays, video games and collectable figurines that if you gathered them up into a pile it would probably rival the Great Pyramid, the creation of a real Hobbiton for filming in New Zealand among many, many other things. How can you suggest Sauron doesn't exist?
Perhaps he does, though not Sauron, but Tolkien (but then we already knew he existed). He has had an effect, though certainly not as all-encompassing as that of religion. However, your argument against money is irrelevant. Sea shells have served as a medium of exchange as well, with agreement between people as to their value. Money requires agreement between people who exchange it in various kinds of transactions, but that hardly negates its reality. Money requires an agreement on increments of value, not on the reality of its existence.
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Old 1st June 2020, 11:04 PM   #3304
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Heh, nice! A novel take on this that I haven't seen used before.

I realize you're (probably).playing around with logic here, rather than arguing in earnest for the existance of G/god/s, bu your riddle has an easy answer: What exists, and has these effects, is not G/god/s but belief in G/god/s. What you've shown exists is that belief.
I'm not so sure it's that simple. At some point people have to buy into the idea or there can be no effect, but let's just say for the sake of argument that God does exist. In that case, is it the reality of God who drives so many aspects of human behavior or merely belief in same? Is there a difference? (I know, I'm offering a circular argument, but there is something here worth pondering).
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Old 1st June 2020, 11:09 PM   #3305
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Originally Posted by Thorkil2 View Post
I'm not so sure it's that simple. At some point people have to buy into the idea or there can be no effect, but let's just say for the sake of argument that God does exist. In that case, is it the reality of God who drives so many aspects of human behavior or merely belief in same? Is there a difference? (I know, I'm offering a circular argument, but there is something here worth pondering).
Not really. As I said before, once you start along this line of reasoning you're on a slippery slope to a place where every fictional character ever invented can be said to exist to some extent. Otherwise you have to draw a hard line in the sand this side of which they don't exist but that side of which they do. And I don't think you can do that.

Fictional characters don't exist. I don't see why God should get a special dispensation.
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Old 1st June 2020, 11:12 PM   #3306
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
As for corporations, what do you think they are if they are not a purely legal construct? There is literally nothing there! But do wrong by this non-existent entity and the legal system will come down on you as hard as it would if you wronged an actual human being.
I should think that would be even more obvious than money. A corporation consists of a person or persons who establish a covenant to serve a very specific set of common purposes or goals, which covenant is laid out in stated and binding conditions and rules. What could be more corporeal? It is most certainly no whimsical abstraction.
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Old 1st June 2020, 11:19 PM   #3307
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I may be wrong, but my impression was that Thorkil2 was simply fooling around, having fun playing around with that line of reasoning, rather than actually trying to make a case for God. Even if I were right about that, whether he realizes that all the effects he speaks of come directly and trivially from the belief itself, leaving entirely unaddressed the truth value these beliefs and of the existence of G/god/s, that only he can tell us.
I did say up front that I was playing the Devil's advocate. I suppose I could make the same argument for Old Scratch, who may require no belief to be effective, but that's a whole other stroll in the park. However, the main purpose of this exercise was to make a real distinction between God and the dragon, who are not at all synonymous.

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Old Yesterday, 03:55 AM   #3308
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Originally Posted by Thorkil2 View Post
I should think that would be even more obvious than money. A corporation consists of a person or persons who establish a covenant to serve a very specific set of common purposes or goals, which covenant is laid out in stated and binding conditions and rules. What could be more corporeal? It is most certainly no whimsical abstraction.
Wrong. A corporation - by law - exists as a separate entity in its own right. It is the corporation that owns assets, has liabilities, can enter into contracts in its own right and can sue or be sued. None of that has any effect on its owners.

What you have described is a "partnership" which is a different beast altogether. Although the partnership might be treated as a financial entity in bookkeeping records, it is not a legal entity. The partners jointly own the assets, share in the profits or losses and each partner is jointly responsible for all debts accumulated in the name of the partnership.
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