Bayes' Theorem

Discuss arguments for existence of God and faith in general. Any aspect of any orientation toward religion/spirituality, as long as it is based upon a positive open to other people attitude.

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Re: Bayes' Theorem

Post by Metacrock » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:38 am

fleetmouse wrote:
met wrote:Exactly. Not enough information. How, then, do you approximate the odds of he/she/its existence?
One last time: this STRENGTHENS my argument, because the more possible ways that a supposed God could be, the lower the probability that a particular set of evidences will obtain given God.
that doesn't follow. most believers find everything is a proof. there are thousands of reasons to believe. That's becuase we life in a different world than you do. We live in a world where truth and are Synonymous. You can't put a probability on it for the same reason I've been saying, what's the probability that we exist? There is no probability it's a certainty.
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Re: Bayes' Theorem

Post by Metacrock » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:40 am

fleetmouse wrote:
Metacrock wrote:
fleetmouse wrote:Where specifically does my Bayesian argument go wrong? If you follow the math you'll see that the seemingly inscrutable prior probability P(G) can vary anywhere between 0 and 1 and the argument still holds.

Bear in mind it doesn't "prove there's no God" - it merely demonstrates rational warrant for disbelief in a particular conception of God, that advanced by E.

Also bear in mind that my position is not that being doesn't exist but that being does not have Godlike qualities.
I get what you are saying. In fact I am confused. I have a problem. I need run this by both you and QT.

HRG argues no one ever rises form the dead. So that in his mind means low probably that it could happen. The Lourdes article that Throwup brought up (pun intended) says the miracles they were considering can't be a miracle becuase it's happened.

so makes me ask do they (skeptics) argue the absence of other cases makes it improbable or the presence of other cases does? If a miracle is something that doesn't happen when nature is left to its own devices then the latter would be the case and other such miracle would make it improbable to be a miracle. But then it's also improbable to happen if there no other cases.
Can you link me to the post where HRG says this? I need to see his exact wording and how he put it in formal terms (IF he put it in formal terms).
No. I'm not thinknig of a particular thread. I can probably get him to say it if I go plant a resurrection argument thread. Its' something he has said for years, and he says it every time the subject comes up.

so in your mind which is it as you make the argument?
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Re: Bayes' Theorem

Post by QuantumTroll » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:44 am

If there's one recurring problem that keeps confusing things, it's that "God" is so very ill-defined. For example, I don't think the things that Metacrock thinks is God should be called "God". Fleet has (rightly, in my opinion) pointed out that God can be so many very different things, and still produce the observable universe, making it a poor explanation (by ordinary, non-theological metrics).

Met said something interesting, though:
But it's still a problem of the definition of God. Like arguing "what are the odds of any given one infinite long string of integers being the root of n (for some prime n)?" But in Maths you can simply define Root(n) to be that unknown string and then go about approximating it. Most (sophisticated) theistic thinkers basically do that with "God," don't you think? Avoid well-defining it enough to avoid this issue, then approximate - by inference from nature, tradition and/or experience - later ....
Isn't this begging the question? In mathematics, one makes an assumption and accepts that it's just an assumption. Here, the "sophisticated" theistic thinkers are making an assumption and then sticking to it like it's the absolute truth. Or am I missing something?

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Re: Bayes' Theorem

Post by met » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:15 pm

fleetmouse wrote:In one post above you want to emphasize the unknowability of God, then in the next you want to swerve and start emphasizing how God is knowable after all, in some way that actually parallels the precision of mathematics.

Oh what a fabulous beast is God, whose fuzziness-to-focus can be tuned according to the requirements of the theist's rhetoric! I picture you frantically twiddling a knob on your superhero utility belt. :mrgreen:
QuantumTroll wrote:Isn't this begging the question? In mathematics, one makes an assumption and accepts that it's just an assumption. Here, the "sophisticated" theistic thinkers are making an assumption and then sticking to it like it's the absolute truth. Or am I missing something?
QT, fleet....

It's like the imprecision of mathematics. No-one can write out Root(2) as a number & demonstrate it's existence precisely by executing a multiplication with itself that results in "2." But we can infer such a thing exists and define it into being - and then just call it "Root(2)" (whatever that is). Sim'ly with Pi or whatever & in this sense irrational numbers really are irrational & unknowable. Because we can never use their exact quality to do any precise calculations. We just have to approximate and work with our approximations as best we can.

So don't theists do the same with "God?" Define it into being as Root(All) or whatever, then try to make successive approximations to get closer to the actual thing? The only question is how to discern whose approximations are more accurate. That's hard because most people sense God in basically ineffable & non-quantifiable ways so it's like trying to quantify "love" or "justice" or some quality like that. Who loves their spouse the most? We can't measure people's insides so how would you ever tell with any certainty?
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
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Re: Bayes' Theorem

Post by QuantumTroll » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:05 am

met wrote:
fleetmouse wrote:In one post above you want to emphasize the unknowability of God, then in the next you want to swerve and start emphasizing how God is knowable after all, in some way that actually parallels the precision of mathematics.

Oh what a fabulous beast is God, whose fuzziness-to-focus can be tuned according to the requirements of the theist's rhetoric! I picture you frantically twiddling a knob on your superhero utility belt. :mrgreen:
QuantumTroll wrote:Isn't this begging the question? In mathematics, one makes an assumption and accepts that it's just an assumption. Here, the "sophisticated" theistic thinkers are making an assumption and then sticking to it like it's the absolute truth. Or am I missing something?
QT, fleet....

It's like the imprecision of mathematics. No-one can write out Root(2) as a number & demonstrate it's existence precisely by executing a multiplication with itself that results in "2." But we can infer such a thing exists and define it into being - and then just call it "Root(2)" (whatever that is). Sim'ly with Pi or whatever & in this sense irrational numbers really are irrational & unknowable. Because we can never use their exact quality to do any precise calculations. We just have to approximate and work with our approximations as best we can.

So don't theists do the same with "God?" Define it into being as Root(All) or whatever, then try to make successive approximations to get closer to the actual thing? The only question is how to discern whose approximations are more accurate. That's hard because most people sense God in basically ineffable & non-quantifiable ways so it's like trying to quantify "love" or "justice" or some quality like that. Who loves their spouse the most? We can't measure people's insides so how would you ever tell with any certainty?
I don't think it's an appropriate analogy. An irrational number isn't unknowable or imprecise just because we can't represent it as the ratio of two finite sequences of digits. Pi is exactly the ratio of the circumference of a circle and its diameter. There is no imprecision, and no need to "demonstrate its existence", it's a definition. And the number you designate "Root(2)" is defined as the number which can be multiplied by itself to produce two.

With "God", we have multiple, often conflicting, definitions. A lot of people have a dialogue (verbal or otherwise) with God and feel a personal relationship. This God must have at least some of the properties of a thinking being. Bringing up the concept of a "thinking being"-like God on this forum calls down the fury of someone who says this is a strawman "Big man in the sky" idea that stopped being relevant centuries ago. Fine, I say, because there's precious little reason to suppose that an entity that carries on conversations with you in your head had anything to do with the origin of the universe. If the originator of the universe were interested in conversation, it's strange that he chose to fill the universe with more black holes than sentient beings... maybe He was actually more into black holes? Tillich's definition of God as "Being-Itself", on the other hand, contains a fine idea about the origins of everything, but is far removed from the sort of thing one prays to. The third leg on this theological furniture is "God is Love", which tenuously attempts to fulfill both the origins and feel-good functions, but doesn't really match up to the other two.

(As an aside: The floor underneath this theological furniture consists of the declaration that God is unknowable, non-empirical, and ineffable, implying that any attempt to make sense of things is doomed to fail. If one takes this declaration seriously and explores what it actually means for God to be unknowable, non-empirical, and ineffable, one finds that it means that God is squeezed into a very tight little corner as to what He is allowed to do today, and what sort of God is that? )

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Re: Bayes' Theorem

Post by Metacrock » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:42 am

Bringing up the concept of a "thinking being"-like God on this forum calls down the fury of someone who says this is a strawman "Big man in the sky" idea that stopped being relevant centuries ago. Fine, I say, because there's precious little reason to suppose that an entity that carries on conversations with you in your head had anything to do with the origin of the universe.
no becuase I'm always saying God is mind and that even Tillich doesn't Say God is impersonal. The idea is that God is he original or source of consciousness but it's on a higher level. Big man in the sky is when stick God with human limitations or try to assume that he has to behave like man.
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Re: Bayes' Theorem

Post by QuantumTroll » Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:07 am

Metacrock wrote:
Bringing up the concept of a "thinking being"-like God on this forum calls down the fury of someone who says this is a strawman "Big man in the sky" idea that stopped being relevant centuries ago. Fine, I say, because there's precious little reason to suppose that an entity that carries on conversations with you in your head had anything to do with the origin of the universe.
no becuase I'm always saying God is mind and that even Tillich doesn't Say God is impersonal. The idea is that God is he original or source of consciousness but it's on a higher level. Big man in the sky is when stick God with human limitations or try to assume that he has to behave like man.
Yes, you are always saying that God is mind, and the source of consciousness,but you usually complain when I try to point out that God must also have a conscious mind in some sense, or else there would be no talking to Him (assuming that people do talk to Him).

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Re: Bayes' Theorem

Post by met » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:31 pm

If God is the "ground of being" as Meta would have it, then God's supra-existence is not limited to being any one "thing,' or having any singular identity. God's more like ... every thing (or God's In every thing). If there's mind, then God is mind. But that doesn't delimit God, God's more than that too.

So, for Meta, in a sense, there is no clear difference with between talking to God and talking to yourself. :) (It has some things in common with Eastern concepts of God.)

(Just to mess things up some more. You're right. The concept of "God" around here is so weird and tenuous that it makes a person's head spin. But isn't that what you would expect? To make it solider and more easily grasped might be dealing with a more convenient God, but it would one that couldn't possibly be the "ground of being" ;) )
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
Dr Ward Blanton

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Re: Bayes' Theorem

Post by Metacrock » Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:58 am

QuantumTroll wrote:
Metacrock wrote:
Bringing up the concept of a "thinking being"-like God on this forum calls down the fury of someone who says this is a strawman "Big man in the sky" idea that stopped being relevant centuries ago. Fine, I say, because there's precious little reason to suppose that an entity that carries on conversations with you in your head had anything to do with the origin of the universe.
no becuase I'm always saying God is mind and that even Tillich doesn't Say God is impersonal. The idea is that God is he original or source of consciousness but it's on a higher level. Big man in the sky is when stick God with human limitations or try to assume that he has to behave like man.
Yes, you are always saying that God is mind, and the source of consciousness,but you usually complain when I try to point out that God must also have a conscious mind in some sense, or else there would be no talking to Him (assuming that people do talk to Him).
No I don't. I agree. I just think it would be on a higher plane than our own. that doesn't' mean that "he" can't reach down and "talk" to us. Of course I don't mean that I think he actually talks to us. He doesn't say "Hi Joe, how's it going?" you know there could be a sense of "feelings" that are rooted in communion with the divine.
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Re: Bayes' Theorem

Post by QuantumTroll » Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:13 am

met wrote:If God is the "ground of being" as Meta would have it, then God's supra-existence is not limited to being any one "thing,' or having any singular identity. God's more like ... every thing (or God's In every thing). If there's mind, then God is mind. But that doesn't delimit God, God's more than that too.
I get the "ground of being" idea, and I absolutely get that God can be a few different things (the Holy Trinity being a prime example). My reservations lie in how different things are attributed to God. I haven't seen any explanation as to how the "ground of being" can be a voice in someone's head. The lumping together of these concepts seems to be emotionally motivated (which would be fine, actually, as long as we can be honest about it).
met wrote:So, for Meta, in a sense, there is no clear difference with between talking to God and talking to yourself. :) (It has some things in common with Eastern concepts of God.)
Is it ironic that I believe that there is no difference at all between talking to God and talking to yourself? We have so much in common! :D
(Just to mess things up some more. You're right. The concept of "God" around here is so weird and tenuous that it makes a person's head spin. But isn't that what you would expect? To make it solider and more easily grasped might be dealing with a more convenient God, but it would one that couldn't possibly be the "ground of being" ;) )
I try to accept the liberal theology of this forum, but I want it to connect to the experience of the average, mainstream believer one meets in church. I feel that spirituality, religion, and faith should always be discussed in relation to the way they affect regular people's lives, otherwise one might end up talking about philosophical concepts that have no bearing on what's important. People don't pray to the Ground of Being, they pray to their friend Jesus. And if they instead pray to the spirits of their ancestors or whatever, those prayers work just as well as those to Jesus, which is to say as well as a well-prepared trip on magic mushrooms. I won't be satisfied that I understand you theists until I understand how you manage to make all these connections and arrive at your personal beliefs.

Oh, now Meta has posted:
No I don't. I agree. I just think it would be on a higher plane than our own. that doesn't' mean that "he" can't reach down and "talk" to us. Of course I don't mean that I think he actually talks to us. He doesn't say "Hi Joe, how's it going?" you know there could be a sense of "feelings" that are rooted in communion with the divine.
Okay, if you say so then great! I don't know how I got that impression, unless we misread each other's posts a few times in the past.

What about people who do believe he actually talks to them? I once met a Californian man on a bus, who woke up in the middle of the night a few years ago and saw a shining angel in his bedroom who told him in clear English to go to Sweden and become a priest. The next morning, he told his wife what happened, and she said "but you're not even religious, and you don't speak Swedish, don't be ridiculous!" But he did as he was told and when I met him here in Sweden he had his dog collar on and everything. What happened here, do you think?

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