What does God do?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by James R, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. Capracus Valued Senior Member

    I don’t think that any action can be considered nondeterministic. A distinction only matters when you assume an action to be independent of a causal relationship, which doesn’t appear to be the case when observing behavior above the quantum level. And while causal detection diminishes at the quantum level, the undetermined action exhibited is not suited to be defined as a product of intent when associated with neural activity, at best it qualifies as a product of unknown cause.
    All neurological processes appear to operate functionally above quantum resolution. So with sufficient imaging detail of neurological structures, and accurate computational modeling of their function, a definite processes of causation will eventually be demonstrated. It just may not happen in my lifetime.
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  3. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 71 years old Valued Senior Member

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  5. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    You do understand that quantum mechanics is indeterministic, right?
    Again, if indeterministic action doesn't allow free will, why does the distinction matter?
    So you're denying the indeterminacy of synaptic action potentials in favor of scientism?
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  7. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 71 years old Valued Senior Member

    The below is where - as it was also below in my post #212

    The above is where and is contained in your post #211

    determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences - does not happen as per I noted my post #212

    This ball of wool is becoming to tangled

    Think I will give it a miss for awhile

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  8. Capracus Valued Senior Member

    Some interpretations of quantum mechanics assume degrees of indeterminacy, while others

    The distinction matters to distinguish different interpretations of action.
    I don’t assume indeterminacy in any action. But for arguments sake, if it did exist at the quantum level, how would you expect it to influence the electrochemistry in your brain any differently than it does in the semiconductors in your computer? Does quantum indeterminacy grant free will to your computer as well? Why stop at computers, electrochemistry is universal, everything must have free will. God I hope we don’t piss off the Sun.
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    How should I be framing it, in your opinion? What politics should I be considering?

    Yes, but there is something detectably going on when my consciousness is produced. It correlates with detectable patterns of activity in my brain, for example. But when a tree keeps existing there's no observation that can be made that points towards an underlying God, as far as I can tell.

    Looking at it from the other side, his lack of direct appearance in general seems to me to provide little in the way of a conclusive basis for theism.

    What additional step do theists such as yourself make to go that extra step beyond the evidence?

    If I have this right, you're saying that you believe that God is in the botany somewhere, but our collective ignorance of botany means that we can't detect God there right now. In other words, its just a faith you have that God is in there somewhere. How do you know that's not just wishful thinking on your part?

    Note: I'm not asserting that God isn't in there. It's just that I see no reason now to assume that he is in there, based on what we know for sure. But you must have a reason for making that assumption. Can you tell me what your reason is?

    As a general principle, we tend not to assume that a thing or effect is present unless there is some positive indication of its presence (Occam's razor). There's no need to explain the absence of something that does not appear to be required in light of all the available evidence. I would say that the onus is on those who assert presence to justify their assertion.

    What do you regard as the last word in epistemology?

    Are you saying God intevenes to make the payroll harmonious? Where is God to be found in the payroll process? I know this is making light of your argument, but the point is that, as far as I can tell, your assumption that God is necessary to explain order of any kind is just that - an assumption - and unevidenced. On the other hand, you also seem to be arguing that evidence is not required, because empiricism is overrated. I think you might need to expand on that point.

    It throws grave doubt about God's necessary relationship to trees, I think. I take it that, lacking a direct connection between the tree and God, you somehow perceive an indirect connection. How do you come by that knowledge?

    I agree. It does discredit various alternative theories, though, such as the theory of special creation of lifeforms by God in the Garden of Eden, as I'm sure you'll agree.

    Thanks for explaining that.

    It makes sense to me - especially if, as you claim, God is constantly active in the phenomenal world.

    In that case, I wonder why God would want to hide his activity - indeed his very presence - from us. Do you have any thoughts on that?

    It's one thing to say that we can't trace the relationship between cause and effect; it's another to say that something it not governed by relationships of cause and effect.

    I'm confident that there are causes of what you think of as your free will. If not, then free will must be quite unlike just about everything else in the universe, which is either caused or random (or a combination of the two).

    Perhaps not, but at least I can be fairly confident, based on the existence of the cake, that there was a baker.

    That sounds convenient for God.

    If it flies under the radar of atheists, then it also flies under the radar of theists, since atheists and theists have access to the same information. If there is no information available to atheists about what God is doing now, then theists must also lack that information. It makes me wonder why theists like yourself believe God is doing something now.

    I see that distinction as a temporary state of affairs that has more to do with our lack of knowledge than with the lack of the necessary requirement.
    Xelasnave.1947 likes this.
  10. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    So you think some occurrences no longer affecting future events means that some future events somehow don't have an unbroken chain of causes?
    I see why you'd be confused. One has nothing to do with the other.
    That's like saying that since someone died (and can no longer affect the future) their child no longer has an unbroken chain of causes. Silly.
    Again, if neither allows free will, why doesn't matter?
    Who said indeterminacy grants free will?
  11. Capracus Valued Senior Member

    Already answered it.
    This guy.
    Why make a point of neurochemistry being influenced by indeterminate action?
  12. scifes In withdrawal. Valued Senior Member

    I don't know. And it doesn't annoy me one single bit that I don't. Which you may find confusing.
  13. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Lack of curiosity is more sad than confusing.
  14. scifes In withdrawal. Valued Senior Member

    I rather feel the OP wuestion is loaded and it's premise so flimsy.

    It's not so different from asking; when God's head itches, does "he" scratch it with his left or right hand? And with which sets of fingers?

    It simply shows that the asked doesnt get the simple idea of what a god is supposed to be.

    ... No, more like it shows the asker's REFUSAL to accept what God is supposed to be.

    An omnipotent perfect being would not need to do anything in the first place. And if it decided to do something, it would face no friction when attempting to do anything meaning it would get it done in zero time.

    So then why did god do anything then, including creating us and heaven and hell and all that? Also what does time even mean to a being that can instantiate any new state of being and existence?

    The answer to both questions is that were basically incapable of simulating what God is like, even theoretically.

    It's almost as if James is asking, hey theists, how do you think god likes his coffee? Or do you think he prefers tea?

    And again, I don't know. And it doesn't bother me that I don't. I have better more realistic things to be curious about.
  15. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    I think the OP is actually about the significance of God today. Maybe God did create the universe and everything in it. Maybe He did do some miracles back in the olden days. But what has He done lately?

    Is He doing something in the world today that we need Him to do? Like protecting us from hurricanes?
  16. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 71 years old Valued Senior Member

    Having been through cyclone Tracy in 74 but missed cyclone Marcus last month I would say god didn't do anything in either of them

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  17. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    Thank god not everyone is saddled with your lack of curiosity.
  18. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    If it isn't a God that wants anything from us, what's the point of worshipping it?
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    No it does not.

    Asking questions is the way to change one's preconceptions. That's what open-minded people do.

    No rational person can fault the OP for wishing to understand something better that he does not currently understand.

    (It's also not reasonable to expect that the OP will have an epiphany and be a changed man, based on your response, but he is reaching out.)

    This is not helping those of us who do not understand god. It's sort of corroborating how we see it.

    This is a new one for me.

    You believe in God, but you don't have any interest in what he's up to. I'm not being facetious here; that is really a stance I had not considered might exist.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
  20. scifes In withdrawal. Valued Senior Member


    The significance of god today is his significance centuries ago and I believe centuries to come. He gives us purpose, and a promise of an after life, the concept of retribution, that not everything we do in this life does not matter.

    Whether god shoots lightening at sea monsters or creates a new strand of flue every year or let's us die and get sick (or doesn't prevent hurricanes), is sorta besides the point.

    And I kinda disagree with you; I don't think God's significance is what's the OP's about.
  21. scifes In withdrawal. Valued Senior Member

    No I don't think James thinks he really has anything left to learn from any kind of theist on the internet. He's seen them all, and he just has a lot to teach them. The OP was more of a condescending, challenging, "thought provoking" question, that feigns genuine curiosity, and overlays a sense of intellectual superiority. As if his question is gonna get us thinking in a new direction and make us realize oh God doesn't exist. It just pissed me off.

    On the other hand. I have no proof for my guess on OP's intentions, so I think I should join you and give him the benefit of the doubt, as hard as that is.

    The nature of the concept of god is mostly defined by being the antithesis to the concept of man.

    It's like taking everything that defines the human experience, from strife, imperfection, degradation, etc... lumping them all together, then defining god as the lack of all that.

    To waltz in and ask a question of how does a humanly matter applies to "god" illustrates either lack of a basic understanding of what God is supposed to be, or an announced -and lazily masked- rejection of the concept of god.

    God doesn't need a daily routine. God doesnt have days. Maybe our existence is so insignificant to god we don't even exist. How do you even begin to wonder about the inner workings of a being who created a universe we don't even understand or know how much we don't know about?
    You don't have to believe in a god to extrapolate that if existence was somehow planned or designed, then whatever behind it would be infinite magnitudes of complexity higher than us, rendering trying to relate to him not even worth attempting.

    When I examine god I black box him. My interface with gis is that generic. Kinda like a level 0 black diagram. James has a question about some relations in the level 200 block diagram of god.

    Is this putting god beyond scientific examination? Hell yes. If you need to sample it under a microscope to believe it exists then atheism is good for you.

    Does it mean that we can't rationally think about and validate the concept of god, and examine the nonscientific evidence for and against the different versions of god out there? No, that is needed and required and extremely beneficial for humanity.

    I consider it practicality. You can spend your day fascinated by the many species around you in a rain forest, or you can scuttle around to get some food and water and shelter before sunset. Skepticism and philosophy is means to an end for me, not a practice virtuous in of itself.
  22. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    He must have forgot, God is magic, so he's whatever you want him to be at the moment.
  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    But it should not be surprising that a skeptic has come to his conclusions such as much as anyone else - say, for example - you. Take that as a given of human nature. He gets no more 'hits' for having his own viewpoint than anyone else (including you).

    But that doesn't mean it's not worth answering. I mean, inasmuch as you're here, engaged in the discussion at all.

    The question should be answerable.

    But that's little more than a tautology.
    Taking that statement at face value, it could be construed that god suffices as a philosophy, without needing to have an objective existence. Which makes it ... unsatisfactory.

    OK, but that does not mean "the lack of all that" is not still an empty set - i.e. that there is nothing else. That's the question at-hand.

    Surely, it goes without saying that 'a lack of a basic understanding of what god is supposed to be' is the very premise of the question being asked. I can't give you points for stating the obvious.

    Sorry, is it possible that you are misunderstanding the nature of the question?

    This thread is not about what god does with his free time; it is about what god's current role in the machinations of the world are, and how they might manifest.

    eg: Does god make trees grow? Does he give the soul / spark of life to newborns? Does he guide evolution? Does he create stars or make electrons stay in atoms? How is god manifesting in the physical, natural world now, today?

    Well, that's what I think James is asking. Are there things that god is apparently doing to our world that are within our ability to observe? (Note: I am not suggesting we should be able to see him doing them, simply that they are defined as things he is apparently doing, see above list.) Is there anything one can point to and say 'god is responsible for that'?

    The question is: do we need to factor god into that? Because, while you may not, by-and-large, most theists do. If we don't need to factor it in, that does sort of lend credence to the skeptic's point of view.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018

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