Is God Rational?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Bowser, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    No reason to assume they are deterministic, and it's certain they are not functions - all that function stuff is carefully defined abstraction by people.

    Humans perceive via mathematics, but perception is of something - not the thing itself. Likewise modeling. Even perceptions of perceptions are not the perceptions they are perceptions of.
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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    You're right, but how do we define anything? By it's value, no? Those values we have been able to symbolize with a language, mathematics.
    Probabilities are also mathematical in essence. There is a whole range from 100% probability (mathematical certainty) all the way down to 0% probability (mathematical impossibility).

    From a human perspective, again you're right.
    But the thing itself is a mathematical constuct, that's why we can perceive it in the first place and from these perceptions we can make abstract deductions.

    There is not a thing in the universe that has no value or pattern of some kind. Every sentient (brained) organisms perceive via mathematics (values). Even non-brained organisms act via a form of mathematics. The slime-mold has no brain, yet it can solve a maze and find the shortest way to food. A frog catches the bug through triangulation, even as these may be a purely sub-conscious calculations. Even a Lemur knows (subconsciously calculates) the difference between "more" and "less".

    Evolution and natural selection are mathematical in essence. It's impossible to get away from the mathematically specific way the universe itself "functions" (behaves).

    Humans and several other species have the great good fortune that their brain allows them to understand the mathematical nature of nature and are able to utilize that knowledge to gain a survival advantage.

    Humans, have been able to symbolize the values and patterns into a language (mathematics) and learned to abstractly or practically utilize these values and patterns to create most of the things we perceive via our mathematically/chemically functioning brains.

    Even our emotions are expressions of the mathematics contained in the chemical processes activated by our brains.
    We can be disappointed, a little sad, very sad, depressed, or even psychotic if the brain maths go wrong and produces the wrong experiential chemistry (result).

    Find me one thing (except a spiritual god) that cannot be translated into a symbolic value or pattern or allows us to make a "best guess".

    When I say "mathematical functions", I mean the precise way certain values interact to produce a result. This happens trough a natural function which we have named "mathematical functions" and is based on the language (mathematics) we invented to give specific meaning to the values and patterns we observe and analyze.

    Science would have no meaning if this was not true. At certain levels we can only approximate the natural values and patterns. But our understanding of mathematical physics is constantly advancing. It's a big world out there......

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    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    I was thinking more of a Star Trek transporter that would create an exact copy. (I've never understood why they destroyed the original. You'd think it would make more sense to keep it as a backup.)

    I think your already in the land of woo

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    with the suggestion that something transcends the physical makeup of a bowl of Froot Loops or Mr. Spock.
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  7. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    It appears science + science fiction = special rules (link)

    Actually I never said something transcends the physical make up of a bowl of froot loops. I said if you insist on using our language of mathematics as an ultimate category to limit discussions on what is and is not in the universe, you are left with a necessarily dumbed down version of it, and are waltzing in the wonderful, wide world of woo (this in itself may not be an obvious problem if the woo is employed in movie franchises).
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    That seems backwards to me. I'd say that we are limited to "our" language, as dumbed-down as it may be - and that suggesting that we can go "beyond" it is woo.
  9. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    We may be limited to our language. It just becomes dumbed down when one insists the one and only language is mathematics.
  10. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    No, what we call "mathematics" is the symbolic translation of natural values and patterns. Anyone can describe a natural phenomenon, but without giving it a rational value or function, we end up like Lemurs who can tell big from small and more from less. Now that is a dumbed down version of quanties.

    Narratives can only provide basic fundamentals (qualities). That was the dumbed down mathematical language of a few million years ago. Today we can quantify the qualities through our symbolic language of mathematics, i.e. we can precisely state "how big or how small", and how much "more or less" there is of something, which itself can only be symbolized in a lexical or syntactical language (which also is a form of alphabetical mathematics). You cannot usefully describe an apple or an orange with mathematics, but you can mathematically determine their quantities and food values.

    Today, human mathematics are able to probe things we can not even observe, much less describe.

    Let me qualify that not being a scientist, I like narratives because I can't read the language of scientific mathematical symbols.
    So, in that respect I agree that just scribbling numbers on a chalkboard have very little meaning, unless you are a scientist.
  11. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    I don't think anybody has said that. But mathematics is our most general and precise language.
  12. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    On the contrary, it (or some version of it) gets called up repeatedly
    For a start, it can only answer (some) how/what questions. Never a why question.
    As such, it is never in the running to answer the important questions.
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Why mathematics? How about mathematics giving us the ability to land a rover on Mars? You think scientists sat down over a cup of coffee and say "lets just build something that can let us know the conditions of Mars."

    What do you think got us there? Talking about it or hard mathematics?

    I used to be a bookkeeper and dealt only with simple mathematics. The bottom line of those maths, told us the entire story of the financial dealings of the company for that year.

    Mathematics is the symbolic short hand language of translating values instead of endless narration and speculation.
    You can even choreograph tap dancing into a mathematical symbolic language that represents the foot movements for each dancer.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    I'm curious about the word "however"; what does it mean, in this case?

    I wouldn't necessarily disagree with the proposition, but at some point we encounter a threshold of applicability versus a range of potentials evading actualization; as Sideshowbob↑ reminds, there is a question of faculty. Much like whether or not we have the technology to accomplish certain feats otherwise likely permissible according to physics, it is difficult to conceive of the scale at which sentient compatibility with infinitude is possible without invoking unknown physics. In terms more philosophical, something about Augustine and a rock goes here. (The really fun part is observing that, at some point, the only religionistic, theological, or artistic resolutions of the omnipotence paradox are fallacious and, in some cases, evasive unto themselves.)

    The question of whether or not God is irrational depends entirely on irrational definitions of both God and what is irrational, e.g., "because life has always been such". Life, actually, is perfectly rational; human beings, however, are irrational; if God is irrational "because life has always been such", then the argument presumes we might assert definitions regardless of how the rest of reality behaves, which, in turn, is the sort of proposition that does not so much wither and fail under the slightest of scrutiny, but was already dead on the table when we walked in.

    It seems worth noting that the question is answered differently according to the terms by which "understanding" is assessed.

    A painting is actually a good example. There are, for sake of simplicity, "two" aspects to consider, here, the actual physical science of the painting, to the one, and the artistic context, or meaning, of the painting, to the other.

    There is also a range at which the physical science affects context and meaning, such as what the paint is made of and what that represents in an anthropological context.

    And there is also a version by which the answer is the art historian because the "painting" as a whole is nearly irrelevant to science, and that part is important to note because sometimes the devil in the detail is a matter of definitions. And, generally, what science can tell us about the painting finds its significance when interpreted through the art historian, as such.

    • • •​

    I actually think the answer is rather quite evident: We perceive [Object A], which appears to include [Function B], except what we know of A does not explain B. The potential range of explanations includes that B is unrelated in any essential way apparent to us, but there also exists the possibility that our understanding of A is incomplete.

    And at that point, I think we might be onto something. Oh, right. That's something else, but still.

    Anyway, such as it is: How precisely must one describe to you the shape of the breach and physical processes by which it occurred before you believe the water rising to your knees is some manner of flood? And it's true, there are a couple of obvious retorts. My point being that, within such a simplistic range, we're probably missing a few elements if we can afford to muck around in it like this.

    Well, okay, that something else kind of is important here: It does seem to me part of the context here involves a Proposition that is, by its very scale, ineffable and defiant of observation.

    This is not, in philosophical frameworks, so uncommon. The question of "God" compared to, say, "Justice", or "right" or "good", is by its particular scale very possibly a unique question.

    You know that saying about how learning something only tells us how much more we don't know?

    I'm hardly the biggest fan of chatter about "highest truths", which vagary insists on evading quantification, but still: "How do you know there are missing details if you can't represent them?" Quite simply, because we can observe their effects. We could observe a dead canary long before humanity ever learned how to identify carbon monoxide according to the math.

    Part of it is that these discussions take place under influence of some perceived or asserted stake. I am sitting here, staring at an excerpt I have set aside↱ for other purposes, but we might in the moment moment consider discussion about how "Western Protestantism", in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was transforming in ways that deferred less to "inherited confessions" and relied "more on self-evident propositions organized by scientific method" (Noll, 4). How many people do you know who will scoff at that use of the term "scientific method"? No, really, that's the whole point in raising the excerpt.

    Because the next thing is to simply observe that Musika is actually working in that range; the most hazardous footing in such endeavors, of course, involves how anyone defines scientific method, or establishes what is self-evident.

    Nor is it strange that your question about representation and apparent details should evoke memories of Donald Rumsfeld; I have always presupposed, even before the idea of neocon poetry ever occurred to me, that something akin to the difference between known unknowns and unknown unknowns had its place in scientific consideration. Then again, neither is it hard to accept that there are, in fact, unknown knowns; these are related to the present considerations in part because a known fact can remain obscure because we hide it from ourselves, and most apparently, as you might expect according to thematics, by our definitions. But they are also kind of beside the point for the moment. Meanwhile, consider the basic sketch of the scientific method; many philosophical postures would presume themselves much more developed than they are, pretending to analyze test data, for instance, when in fact they are somewhere between ranging amid information on the way to asking a general question and organizing some more formalized research.


    Noll, Mark. America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    IMO, sentience is a product of increasing awareness in living organisms.

    The brain is contained in a small area, totally in the dark, and completely devoid of sound, a web of neurons which respond to a very specific excitation. This excitation is by the frequency of EM impulses as translated by our senses and distributed throughout the neural system contained within the brain mass.

    Only after processing the information is our brain able to make a best guess of what's being perceived and produces a chemical reaction which create our emotions of "experiencing". But that range of perception is limited to those within the "human" range of perception.

    All species have a different experience of reality, each which is related to their evolutionary state in a certain environment.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  16. birch Valued Senior Member

    or it could easily be the other way around or symbiotic. for instance, aspects of consciousness could already exist and living organisms grow or come into certain consciousness for it to ignite and play out. the meeting of the minds where it fits/congruent.
  17. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    It means that one can call upon your same general principles to contradict your statement (namely it can be said, the needs for the comfort of the shoebox lends itself to humans creating a godless universe)

    The very presence of sentience already establishes unknown physics. No need to invoke infinity.
    Infact you could even say the presence of physics already establishes unknown physics.

    If the agency of omnipotence is necessarily singular (is it rational to talk about several independant omnipotent agencies?), you can automatically exclude any "greater than ..." clauses at the onset. Rejecting omnipotence because it does not have the power to destroy itself as a category is just as valid as a conversation about a square with three sides.

    Meaning (the way the understanding is assessed) of an art object (distinct from a historical artifact) based on an examination of its physical qualities (aka, the science) only takes the forefront when the cultural//historical information of the era is not available. If there is sufficient information of the historical context of a piece of art, that remains the dominant tool of understanding information.

    If there is sufficient information of the historical context of a piece of art (and particularly, that of the artist), that remains the dominant tool of understanding because it provides the most valuable information.

    The science only becomes relevant when this approach is untenable, and furthermore, it is incapable of providing the same value of infirmation. If you don't believe me, go to a museum to examine several paintings by an artist of whom you know nothing about and try writing their biography.

  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Learn to follow yourself from post to post.
  19. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    If you think that bit of sly editing supports your position, I would suggest you have the greater need.
  20. river

    Musika , define god
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Except that sentience is organic, i.e. bio-chemical and alive.
    Is the Universe a bio-chemical organism? This is why I refer to Universal function as non-sentient pseudo intelligence. No motive, no purpose, no feelings whatever. Just implacable mathematical values and functions. The Universe is not a living thing, it's functions are mathematical, not organic.
  22. river

    Then where does DNA originate from ?
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Self-assembly and natural selection.

    Remember that DNA is not typically human, almost all living organisms procreate through DNA . Its a common polymer in the bio-chemical natural worlds. RNA based life forms may also exist. Humans use RNA also in their DNA.

    In any case, there may be several possible ways of other coding systems which may well exist somewhere else in the universe where planets similar to ours would could potentially perform a mathematical chemical code system of self-assembly and replication.

    Our DNA has 4 chemical codings, some RNA (values) and some other stuff. But the universe had a long time and a lot of mathematical real time trials of the possible chemical interactions on other similar planets to earth. Considering only that we consider our planet as a "cinderella planet" , how many other earthlike planets exist in the universe? Countless......

    Did you watch the Robert Hazen clip? Earth, a common planet, had sufficient time and space to support certain chemical reactions which almost inevitably produced a self replicating form of life.

    He estimated that earth itself has been conductinge chemical test on itself during most of its existence. He estimates that earth itself has conducted (host to) 2 trillion, quadrillion quadrillion, quadrillion. chemical reactions during the past 4 billion years of all chemical interactions, including the formation of bio_chemicals, and organics begins.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018

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