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  1. #61
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    Re: List of Suggested Key Terms on the Great Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I'm a little confused, and granted haven't read the whole thread.

    but you can't complain that "theism" doesn't included "Pantheism" as a defintion, because you need to know what "theism" is.. before you can add the prefix "pan" that modifies the meaning.

    I thought pantheists argued for multiple gods.

    Hence why it appears to me that you are arguing that a singular term is insufficient because it doesn't include it's plural form.

    Help me out here.
    Here you go, bro.

  2. #62
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    Re: List of Suggested Key Terms on the Great Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I'm not sure what point you seem to have withdrawn. From the context of your last response I had assumed you withdrew your claim that my use of a philosophic dictionary was "an appeal to authority." Is that correct? If not, what comment are you withdrawing specifically, and what of the claim mentioned?
    Yes, that is correct. But I wasn't withdrawing it because it was fallacious - it was being withdrawn because it was no longer relevant.


    First, you realize I offered two articles, not one right?
    Yes but dealing them one at a time is best.

    Second, it isn't out of context at all. That section of the article is referring to the non-minimal definition. IE what definition would specific theists accept over other theists. Matt is referring to the minimal definition, the definition that would cover the concept in the context of the Great Debate.
    OK, if you agree that the definition is a theist one then that is what I've been saying all along, so why did you bring it up.

    You seem in your response to not understand that concept so I'll endeavor to clarify a bit. A minimal definition is the definition that all parties relevant to a discussion would agree upon within the context for that discussion. Aquinas and Hartshorne are discussing the problem of suffering, so their definition is going to be necessarily more complex than the definition required for a debate about God's existence.
    OK. So this minimal definition doesn't include atheism or the pantheism that Clive wants included?

    Think of it this way. The term Evolution, if used in a debate between you and me, would probably be sufficiently defined as the change in species resulting from mutations and controlled via natural selection. However, that same term, if used between two evolutionary biologists would be insufficient. Their discussion would need to appeal to whether it is a gradual change in species from a random walk of genes a la modern darwinism, or whether it was a dramatic change resulting from externalities as in punctuated equilibrium.

    Certainly their use of the term evolution would need to be refined. But that doesn't mean that we then have to start adding belief modifiers to every single definition. We don't need to have 50 definitions of physics because there are multiple different competing models. We simply define the term in the context of the debate.
    Right, but there we all the Evolution exists. Here, we don't all agree God exists and therefore a MINIMAL definition must reference that.

    Here the context of the debate concerns a very broad concept of the term God.
    Which only SOME people believe exists.


    Bare assertion fallacy. Why would this be the case. We don't do this for any of the modern physical theories that lack sufficient evidence to be taken as fact, or for the ones that might not be provable even. We don't hedge the definition of strings just because string theory is unproven, and potentially might not be provable. I would contend you are committing a special pleading fallacy here, only using this type of additional criteria for potential concepts you disagree with. See your point number 2:
    Oh, well if you qualify that God is an theory about how the universe came about then I'd accept that too.


    Then we would need to do so for any definition of physics, chemistry, biology, law, sociology, anthropology, and medicine, right? All of those have foundational concepts that are agreed to by some researchers and disagreed to by others. We can take a simple example. The universe: "all existing matter and space considered as a whole; the cosmos." http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us...glish/universe

    We don't see any highlighted context as you would imply, but this is definitely a controversial concept within physics. Some physicists deny there is a universe, preferring an information hologram. Some definitely disagree about that the universe contains all existing matter, instead pointing to a multi-verse. Etc, etc.

    The simple fact is that we don't hedge definitions in the manner you describe. We especially don't offer that kind of hedge when the concept under discussion is being used in the context of a debate or specific argument as here.
    It all depends on how wide the disbelieve and controversy is. It's why modern dictionaries are careful in accurately relating it to specific kinds of religion.


    Your ignorance of a term is not a reason for its dismissal. If you don't understand it, go read up about it. Or ask the original proposer of the definition. I'm supposing he means something like a standard definition of the word, related to be a person. In which case he is saying that the definition requires what we are calling God to be rational, self-conscious, and capable of volition.

    But because you don't necessarily know what he is talking about is not a good reason to say that the term must be only used within a theological context. That seems a bit presumptuous.

    We certainly wouldn't conclude that because you don't know what he means by personal that the definition assumes the existence of the defined term. That is a non-sequitor.
    I'm not dismissing the term, I accept that this is the definition forwarded. I am saying that in using religious jargon, it is clearly a religious definition from a religious point of view. Therefore, demonstrating this is a loaded definition.


    Who cares if it is universally believed? Evolution isn't universally believed, must we tack on an addendum to it concerning what kind of people believe in it? What about rights? Not universally believed? A round Earth? Not universally believed. Hell, the moon landing isn't universally believed, must we qualify that event with the concept that only some groups believe in it?

    And more importantly, why? Why would the fact that some people disbelieve affect, in the slightest, the concept under discussion? This is first question I asked you which hasn't been answered.

    How does the the fact that some people don't believe in the Earth being round affect the definition of that concept?
    To your point look at how Flat Earth is defined:

    1. The Flat Earth model is an archaic belief that the Earth's shape is a plane or disk.


    Note here that it is common to point out context here.

  3. #63
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    Re: List of Suggested Key Terms on the Great Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I'm a little confused, and granted haven't read the whole thread.

    but you can't complain that "theism" doesn't included "Pantheism" as a defintion, because you need to know what "theism" is.. before you can add the prefix "pan" that modifies the meaning.


    I thought pantheists argued for multiple gods.

    Hence why it appears to me that you are arguing that a singular term is insufficient because it doesn't include it's plural form.

    Help me out here.
    Pantheism: Pantheism (from the Greek pan, “everything,” and theos, “god”, i.e. "everything is God") is the belief that everything that exists is identical with divinity. Divinity, whether one or many gods, is an immanent being that lives within and is part of the creation. Since divinity is part of the creation, it is constantly, actively involved in that creation. Since pantheists do not believe in a personal god, pantheism is a polar opposite to theism.

    Panentheism (from the Greek pan, theos, and en, "in", i.e. "everything is in God") is a reaction to pantheism. It states that yes, the entire creation is God, but it is not the totality of divine being. God also transcends and exists beyond the creation.

    Pandeism: According to Pandeism, God is a conscious, sentient being or power who created the universe. Included in this creation were the laws and mechanisms that operate the universe. Since these laws and mechanisms operate impartially and mechanically, God of necessity became indifferent to the creation and has no vested interest in it.

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  4. #64
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    Re: List of Suggested Key Terms on the Great Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    Here you go, bro.
    Thanks bro.



    Umm.. I'm going to show myself out, thanks . .I know the way.


    carry on.
    To serve man.

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  6. #65
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    Re: List of Suggested Key Terms on the Great Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    God: noun 1. (in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being. 2. (in certain other religions) a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.
    SQ: an aphysical, atemporal, intentional creator of the universe LC: God is an intelligent agent that created the cosmos SM: The personal or sentient creator of the universe and life within it
    Thanks for getting back to me - I hope your mother is doing well.
    Here, enjoy some music if you'd like, while we contemplate this. Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen – O Lamm Gottes unschuldig!



    There's a key element in common with these definitions, and that's what I was trying to get after, grounding us in a long standing context from metaphysics both eastern and western: Monism/The-Dao, or a Prime-Mover/First-Cause. In eastern philosophy it was strictly impersonal, and in western philosophy thinking was not so strict.

    That was in answer to Dio actually, in #19, where you said "God is an intelligent agent that created the cosmos". Very well, but this isn't the definition that SM suggested and that's what I'm going off since he is really the arbiter of what the definition is. Nevertheless, I will accept your definition moving forward with our discussions. I reject SM's still on that basis.

    @Squatch: I suspect that you probably had your own definition you were going off too. Perhaps we should all head our posts with the definition that we think it should be!?
    Hahahaha, we're trying to establish one definition, not one million

    If that is the case then I must insist on my definition unless you are insisting the universe of discourse is Christianity. If we are trying to establish a universe of discourse where God may or may not exist, and may or may not be 'personal or impersonal', and may or may not have created the universe, and could be one or many entities, then I believe that your definition is insufficient.
    I would presume that the universe of discourse is metaphysics. Theological discussion is epistemologically grounded in metaphysics, so I believe that any considerations of a theological bent, e.g. deism, pantheism, theism, etc. are merely tangential to the "great debate". That is, if the "great debate" is only concerned with whether or not a deity/deities/creational-force(s) exist.

    There are several smuggled premises when we discuss God:
    1. That the supernatural exists. There was been much discussion regarding what people mean by 'supernatural' earlier this year that literally lead to nowhere - so before we can even begin we need to define what this word even means since that is a necessary and important part of the definition of God: he has to be external to our physical universe to have created it (so it is said).
    2. It is insufficient to describe God as merely an engineer to created our physical universe. He also said to define our morality - every deity is said to have establish how we humans behave and the insistence of believers is that we need to follow those rules. Without recognizing that aspect of God, and most explicitly, our role in the definition of God, we completely lose the vital part of what God is to us.
    And did you see us smuggling either of those in, with our definitions? Does my proposed synthesis of the three, paring it down to the Prime-Mover/First-Cause proposition, smuggle in any such premise?

    If you like that definition then my point is made, that the best minimal definition (even ignoring my points above) need to refer to religion. And therefore believers - since not all people are religious nor belong to the same religion: i.e. the definition is qualified. Note, I am not saying that the definition should specify whether God should exist or not, but that it should be qualified that not all people believe he exists or not. Without the "some believe that ..." qualification it is not a good minimal definition.
    How is it that this qualification functionally helps us here at ODN when it is something that we already know? Also it is not a relevant qualification to the definition I was tryig to to forward in my last post, that I believe can satisfy all parties, as it is grounded in philosophy instead of theology.

    Well, defining words is hard! It's why we're having this discussion in the first place! Theists here are insisting on a definition that refers to their favorite concepts (SM: personal vs impersonal, LC: intelligent agent, SQ: an aphysical, atemporal, intentional). I'm only forwarding that the definition isn't consistent (clearly) and should be qualified. It doesn't count as a definition if you only insist your own ideas get included! "Minimal" means compact not exclusionary.
    We all agreed on an essential element, and the definitions weren't set in stone. They were merely proposed. I think I've come up with a proposition agreeable to Squatch or the OP.

    Then it is nearly always including some religious context then isn't it? Even if it's purely philosophical, it would at least cover all the different concepts of God, from the different religions. You cannot have a discussion about God without recognizing that there are many ideas about what God is (as we can already see from everyone's different definitions).
    Note again, I am not saying that you need to believe in God in order to discuss it. I am saying that this belief needs to be part of the definition in order for it to be complete.
    Sure you can, if you are trying to answer general questions like "does God exist". A more specific universe of discourse is only necessary when discussing those different ideas, like "personal vs impersonal", "maximal excellence", "the problem of evil", and so on.

    Right, and Squatch's definition explicitly refers to theists - i.e. it qualifies that the definition is believed only by certain people. Russell, too, begins his works with this qualification "The question whether there is a God is one which is decided on very different grounds by different communities and different individuals. ". Therefore, whatever definition you come up with must also recognize that. I know every theist here believes God exists, they just have different specific ideas about the details but if we are supposed to come up with a definition amenable to all then the definition, like every single "definition" (I qualify this because neither you nor Squatch have come up with anything near a definition), it needs to include some reference to believers otherwise it is incomplete.

    Your definitions are only minimal if you reject that there are people that believe differently from you. Your definitions must include a qualifier that only some people believe in this.
    If you will, let's notice something together: "The question whether there is a God is one which is decided on very different grounds by different communities and different individuals. " Did you see the word theist anywhere in that sentence? Refer back to my response to the sixth quoted portion here.

    Right, "turtles all the way down". However he then goes on to say "They carefully abstain from attempts to show that this hypothesis makes matters more intelligible." that is - this is a nonsensical definition. He didn't say it held any water - he actually said "There is, I think, only one of them which still has weight with philosophers, that is the argument of the First Cause.". So let's make sure we quote people properly and in context. He isn't defining God here for us, he is saying that philosophers have defined it this way and that this is a terrible definition.

    He then follows with "The scholastic arguments for the existence of a Supreme Being are now rejected by most Protestant theologians in favor of new arguments which to my mind are by no means an improvement." thus rejecting this "definition" you're insisting he made AND placing the argument back into religion - Protestant Christianity.

    So there is no escape here from the fact that the definitions you forward are unsatisfactory to Russell. His actual definition of God is akin to an invisible Teapot that skeptics have to disprove rather than theists having to prove. And this is most apropos because theists here are insisting on their definition without recognizing others - that it is the atheists job to disprove their definition rather than properly including a qualifier to their own definition. Indeed his entire essay highlights that it is impossible to define God without referring to some context: the definition requires some believers to be referenced.
    Yes, this is unsatisfactory to him when discussing God in a religious context. But in the context of philosophy the definition would have been perfectly acceptable, which is what I set out to establish. I was specifically taking religion out of the issue, with this reference.

    I'm not saying that there are no other definitions. I am saying that in the world of dictionaries only - I am correct that we need to refer to believers within our definition of God. Do you agree?
    I agree that a dictionary says what a dictionary says. At the same time I have already made some reasonable arguments why dictionaries are not always the most useful for debate in a philosophical environment. You still have not responded directly to my reasoning behind not accepting dictionary definitions. This has been laid out in posts 56 and 38.

    Not at all, every single discussion about God refers to theists or some religion or some context or some qualifier - there is no bare definition, only one that is relative to the group that we're discussing. Hence, your definition is only minimal if you ignore all other contexts other than your own personal beliefs. Is that what you are doing?

    And we have to note that there is an explicit capitalization of the word that we are using "God" and by that token, we aren't referring to deities in general -- we are talking about a specific entity that isn't the general concept that you are insisting you are doing. There shouldn't even be the need to capitalize the concept we should be talking about a "god" then, right?
    Depends on the discussion. If we want a satisfying general definition then we must be much more minimalistic, hence my Prime-Mover/First-Cause definition.
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  8. #66
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    Re: List of Suggested Key Terms on the Great Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    Here, enjoy some music if you'd like, while we contemplate this. Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen – O Lamm Gottes unschuldig!

    There's a key element in common with these definitions, and that's what I was trying to get after, grounding us in a long standing context from metaphysics both eastern and western: Monism/The-Dao, or a Prime-Mover/First-Cause. In eastern philosophy it was strictly impersonal, and in western philosophy thinking was not so strict.
    Yet you still want to lump it under the term "God"?


    Hahahaha, we're trying to establish one definition, not one million
    Well, the theists don't seem to be much in agreement so far. Like the story of the stone soup, everyone wants to add their favorite ingredient, each one justified according to preconceptions as to what God is supposed to be. So why is it that an atheist cannot similarly add their own qualification?


    I would presume that the universe of discourse is metaphysics. Theological discussion is epistemologically grounded in metaphysics, so I believe that any considerations of a theological bent, e.g. deism, pantheism, theism, etc. are merely tangential to the "great debate". That is, if the "great debate" is only concerned with whether or not a deity/deities/creational-force(s) exist.
    And therefore, we should also include the possibility that the 'first cause' is entirely physical and we live in a physical universe without all the 'supernatural' and magic and whatnot. Without recognizing that "God" is a common anthropomorphism among humans from all societies, it presupposes a physical universe that we have no proof of existing.

    And did you see us smuggling either of those in, with our definitions? Does my proposed synthesis of the three, paring it down to the Prime-Mover/First-Cause proposition, smuggle in any such premise?
    Certainly Squatch's "intentional creator" makes the supernatural explicit. If you pare it down, "Mover" implies that there is an agent doing the moving - right? So somewhere there is some consciousness being implied.

    How is it that this qualification functionally helps us here at ODN when it is something that we already know? Also it is not a relevant qualification to the definition I was tryig to to forward in my last post, that I believe can satisfy all parties, as it is grounded in philosophy instead of theology.
    Because it is the most accurate definition that includes all views; one that is recognized by all dictionaries and many of the philosophical sources, including your own.

    We all agreed on an essential element, and the definitions weren't set in stone. They were merely proposed. I think I've come up with a proposition agreeable to Squatch or the OP.
    Not that we've seen yet!

    Sure you can, if you are trying to answer general questions like "does God exist". A more specific universe of discourse is only necessary when discussing those different ideas, like "personal vs impersonal", "maximal excellence", "the problem of evil", and so on.
    Then what do you believe the Great Debate to be? The different kinds of ways God can manifest himself? Is this a question only for theists and deists?

    If you will, let's notice something together: "The question whether there is a God is one which is decided on very different grounds by different communities and different individuals. " Did you see the word theist anywhere in that sentence? Refer back to my response to the sixth quoted portion here.
    No, but the idea that there are different believers in different ideas is what I'm getting at. I'm not looking for an explicit reference to theists or theism but that there is an honest assessment that there is no definitive answer and that the answer can change between societies.

    Yes, this is unsatisfactory to him when discussing God in a religious context. But in the context of philosophy the definition would have been perfectly acceptable, which is what I set out to establish. I was specifically taking religion out of the issue, with this reference.
    Yet you claim that "Russell felt that the only concept of God that held any water in philosophical arguments was that of a First Cause. ". This is explicitly not true and it is explicitly true that he rejects all definitions as very unsatisfactory including the one that you are putting forward. In addition his entire essay rests on the religion - where else is the term God being really used?


    I agree that a dictionary says what a dictionary says. At the same time I have already made some reasonable arguments why dictionaries are not always the most useful for debate in a philosophical environment. You still have not responded directly to my reasoning behind not accepting dictionary definitions. This has been laid out in posts 56 and 38.
    "in a philosophical environment" wasn't exactly made clear at the time but nevertheless, the dictionary's acceptance of multiple points of view on the issue is mirrored by the pholosophical definitions that I found. It is inescapable that a complete definition includes a qualification that not all people share the same beliefs.

    Depends on the discussion. If we want a satisfying general definition then we must be much more minimalistic, hence my Prime-Mover/First-Cause definition.
    The definition, as Russel points out, makes no sense: who made the first cause?

  9. #67
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    Re: List of Suggested Key Terms on the Great Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    Adopting this term would lead us to absurd conclusions, like that pantheism isn't a theistic position, since it doesn't argue for the existence of God. This conclusion is absurd from a purely dialectical standpoint, since it completely fails to understand the notions at stake in pantheism, and by extension the notions at stake in the theism vs. atheism debate generally.
    I would argue they aren’t absurd because the pantheistic concept is incoherent. It either involves the universe creating itself or it involves simply redefining an existent term (the universe) as God, a kind of sophistry fallacy, depending on which version of pantheism you are talking about.

    I don’t necessarily see any good reason to include incoherent concepts into the definition if the purpose of the definition is to facilitate a debate.

    For example, I wouldn’t feel inclined to change my definition of the term bachelor because a cheater’s definition of bachelor (my wife is in another zip code) wouldn’t necessarily be included in the normal variant.


    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    Yes, that is correct. But I wasn't withdrawing it because it was fallacious - it was being withdrawn because it was no longer relevant.
    I didn’t challenge your claim because it was fallacious, I challenged it because it was wrong. You can rationalize however you wish, but the fact stands that you’ve withdrawn the claim that my support was “an appeal to authority” because you didn’t support your claim.


    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    Yes but dealing them one at a time is best.
    Given your history of ignoring additional support then later claiming that “nothing has been offered” I thought it wise to clarify. Your response here also seems nonsensical given that the two different articles dealt with two different subjects. Why that would need to be approached singly doesn’t seem coherent.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    OK, if you agree that the definition is a theist one then that is what I've been saying all along, so why did you bring it up.
    It is like you didn’t actually read my response:

    Second, it isn't out of context at all. That section of the article is referring to the non-minimal definition. IE what definition would specific theists accept over other theists. Matt is referring to the minimal definition, the definition that would cover the concept in the context of the Great Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    OK. So this minimal definition doesn't include atheism or the pantheism that Clive wants included?
    As I pointed out to Clive, I don’t think it would necessarily apply to Pantheists because we are discussing a rationale for God’s existence, and the concept they are forwarding is incoherent in that sense. It would most certainly involve atheists since they are the ones taking the negation position, that God doesn’t exist. Can’t have a statement like that if you don’t have a definition of the term.

    What’s more if we define God in the odd way you would, atheism is self-evidently wrong. Afterall, God exists in the theist construct, which is how you are defining him, so the idea that he doesn’t exist there is internally contradictory.


    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    Right, but there we all the Evolution exists. Here, we don't all agree God exists and therefore a MINIMAL definition must reference that.
    So if I said, I don’t believe evolution exits, voila we would need to add belief modifiers to the definition? If I said that nothing exists, would we need to add belief modifiers to all nouns?

    You don’t see how it is internally incoherent to say a definition relates to the actual item being defined, and yet to also argue that the actual item defined only relates to our voting on it?


    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    Oh, well if you qualify that God is an theory about how the universe came about then I'd accept that too.
    Again, it is as if you didn’t even read the last response. We don’t add that kind of qualifier to the term “String” in relation to string theory do we? So why is God different? Some people don’t believe strings exist after all.


    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    It all depends on how wide the disbelieve and controversy is. It's why modern dictionaries are careful in accurately relating it to specific kinds of religion.
    So what you are saying is that your definitional criteria are essentially an appeal to popularity fallacy?
    What is the minimum criteria for how widespread it must be? 10%? 15%? 20%? What is the number? Who are the relevant people? Of those actually discussing the subject? Of the population? What?

    Do you see why basing your definition on some kind of poll is a bad idea?


    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    I'm not dismissing the term, I accept that this is the definition forwarded. I am saying that in using religious jargon, it is clearly a religious definition from a religious point of view. Therefore, demonstrating this is a loaded definition.
    Two major points here. It isn’t “religious jargon” it is a term in common usage. If you are going to continue to claim that the term “personal” is somehow exclusively religious you’ll need to support that claim.

    Second major point. Even if it were jargon, that doesn’t make it a “loaded” definition, and more to your point, it doesn’t mean that the definition assumes the existence of what is being defined.

    For example, String: “a mathematical entity used to represent elementary particles, as gravitons, quarks, or leptons, in terms of a small but finite stringlike object existing in the four dimensions of spacetime and in additional, hypothetical, spacelike dimensions.” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/string

    Lot’s of jargon there. Lots of physics related jargon. So your claim would be that this definition is “loaded” and assumes the existence of strings then?


    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    To your point look at how Flat Earth is defined:
    You completely, massively, wildly missed that point. I didn’t say there wasn’t a definition for flat earth. I asked you a specific question.

    Given that not everyone believes the Earth is round, why is the definition of earth given as if it were round? (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/earth)

    Or, more generally, why would the fact that some people disbelieve affect, in the slightest, the concept under discussion? How does a person’s disbelief affect the material characteristics of the moon landing, for example?

    I’ll even give you a whole other angle to approach this from. Which characteristic, please be specific, in Matt’s definition is affected by an individual’s belief and how?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
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    Re: List of Suggested Key Terms on the Great Debate

    Well, it's taken me a while to get back. Just some CPU problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Yet you still want to lump it under the term "God"?
    When it comes to the literary material available, "God" is the primary term. That is not to say that everyone or even a majority of people have used the term over the ages. The great debates on the "Great Debate", however, have used this term and I'm sure philosophers and theologians of most any age would agree that the most basic element of "God" is that it is either an ex nihilo creator or at least the ultimate source, so while they may have discussed other ideas about "God" I'm sure Anselm, Aquinas, Sartre, Leibniz, etc. would have found this most basic element agreeable. All of the other ideas about "God" were grounded in separate, not necessarily related debates.

    Well, the theists don't seem to be much in agreement so far. Like the story of the stone soup, everyone wants to add their favorite ingredient, each one justified according to preconceptions as to what God is supposed to be. So why is it that an atheist cannot similarly add their own qualification?
    Your proposed qualification has nothing to do with the concept itself. It has to do with how people regard the concept. A concept and it's reception are distinct from one another, because a concept doesn't exactly depend on it's reception to determine what it is. Simply noting that people either believe or don't believe in a concept doesn't add one iota of information to discussions regarding it, and if we were to unduly focus on belief as opposed to the substance of the concept itself we would merely descend into ad hominem arguments. That is: I don't mean "ad hominem" in the sense of insulting people, but in the traditional sense of arguing against a person rather than an argument.

    And therefore, we should also include the possibility that the 'first cause' is entirely physical and we live in a physical universe without all the 'supernatural' and magic and whatnot. Without recognizing that "God" is a common anthropomorphism among humans from all societies, it presupposes a physical universe that we have no proof of existing.
    Of course such possibilities should be included. We should also entertain the possibility that "God" in it's more ordered, theological and religious sense isn't just reducible to anthropomorphism. None of the possibilities here should be casually dismissed, and I believe you've egregiously oversimplified religious thinking a number of times. We can't engage each other honestly and openly without at least first granting the benefit of the doubt, that every party in this debate is rational. That notion ought to be disproved before wetake the attitude that the other parties are simply irrational.

    Certainly Squatch's "intentional creator" makes the supernatural explicit. If you pare it down, "Mover" implies that there is an agent doing the moving - right? So somewhere there is some consciousness being implied.
    That's not a necessary conclusion. Is "consciousness" supernatural? Is there such a thing? Is it necessary for intelligence? Do we know whether or not it is physical? By the same token we can criticize your implicated grounds here that naturalism is absolutely necessary as a predicate to such discussion.

    Because it is the most accurate definition that includes all views; one that is recognized by all dictionaries and many of the philosophical sources, including your own.
    Somehow we're still stuck on this dictionary thing. Not sure why.

    Then what do you believe the Great Debate to be? The different kinds of ways God can manifest himself? Is this a question only for theists and deists?
    What is "God"? Does such an entity exist? What is it like? How can we know?

    No, but the idea that there are different believers in different ideas is what I'm getting at. I'm not looking for an explicit reference to theists or theism but that there is an honest assessment that there is no definitive answer and that the answer can change between societies.
    Which does us no good in the context of debate. There is no functional help in this consideration. It doesn't function to further the grounds of the debate, or function as a basic predicate that all parties find agreeable.

    Yet you claim that "Russell felt that the only concept of God that held any water in philosophical arguments was that of a First Cause. ". This is explicitly not true and it is explicitly true that he rejects all definitions as very unsatisfactory including the one that you are putting forward. In addition his entire essay rests on the religion - where else is the term God being really used?
    Then why does he say that verbatim? "Holding water" and "being convincing to Bertrand Russell" aren't the same difference. He mentions it's use in a philosophical and a religious context. What I appealed to was his reference to the philosophical context.

    "in a philosophical environment" wasn't exactly made clear at the time but nevertheless, the dictionary's acceptance of multiple points of view on the issue is mirrored by the pholosophical definitions that I found. It is inescapable that a complete definition includes a qualification that not all people share the same beliefs.
    What is it that is necessary and functional about predicating discussion upon people rather than arguments?

    The definition, as Russel points out, makes no sense: who made the first cause?
    Your own question is a contradiction in terms.
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

 

 
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