Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

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Dr-Evil
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Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Dr-Evil » Mon May 12, 2014 6:22 pm UTC

I made this proof that God cannot be real.

I need someone to counter-check it whether I came to a wrong conclusion somewhere or made some mistake.
(I've tried another forum before, but less than 10% of the replies were helpful.)

(My ASCII-graphics don't work in this forum. Please imagine the tildes as being replaced with blanks.)





Assumption No. 1:
Man is defined with (among others) the following attributes:
- possessing a finite event-horizon of interactions
- possessing finite knowledge
- possessing finite abilities

Assumption No. 2:
- The consciousness of Man is incapable of directly interacting with the environment of Man.
- The consciousness of Man is only capable of interacting with the environment of Man by using sensory organs of the physical body.
- The consciousness of Man is individual.

Assumption No. 3:
God is defined as an entity which possesses certain attributes to an infinite degree. Examples are omnipotence and omniscience.
Those attributes will be, for the sake of brevity of this proof, summarily be described as "magic".



-------------------
Assume, that there is a universe which permits the existence of an infinite amount of magic.
Assume, God exists in this universe and is defined as possessing an infinite amount of magic.

Assume, God would reveal his existence to mankind by appearing as a levitating mountain, while writing his name in every language into the sky, and while making the image of Jesus Christ appear on every slice of toast, and while communicating telepathically with each human simultaneously on a private and personal level.
Would that be enough to prove his existence?
After all, God is only speaking to a few billion humans, and Jesus Christ's image appears only on a few million toasts, and mankind has no more than a few thousand languages, and he levitates only one measly mountain.

No matter what the depiction, we could never tell whether it was achieved with an infinite amount of magic. It could still be an elaborate hoax which was achieved with a finite amount of magic. A sorcerer, aliens, you name it.

Comparisons (e.g. measurements) only work among equals. Finities can be compared to finities and infinities can be compared to infinities, but it's not possible to compare a finity to an infinity.

Therefore, if God is an infinite being, his existence cannot be proven either wrong or false by finite means.

Lemma I: God does not possess the attribute "provability".



--------------------
Assume that the statement "Object A exists" is equal to "Object A is an element of reality".

What is an appropriate definition for reality? For you, the screen you are looking at is real. To a child, the monster under his bed is real. To a junkie, the bugs under his skin are real.
There is a famous quote: "Reality is that part of imagination we all agree on."
Thus, reality could be defined as those perceptions that lie in the intersection of the perceptions of various observers. (Translation: It is only real if others can see it, too.)

As a diagram, existence can be depicted like this:
A = object
o1 = observer 1
o2 = observer 2
The arrows depict interaction.

~~~A
~~^~~^
~/~~~~\
v~~~~~~v
o1 <-> o2

The verification by an independent, second observer is a core element of reality. Reality only happens when each observer interacts with the object A and when both observers interact with each other, confirming their observations with their counterpart.

This diagram allows to turn the attributes "real" and "unreal" into simple schematics.

"A is real"
~~~A
~~^~~^
~/~~~~\
v~~~~~~v
o1 <-> o2


"A is unreal"
There are two possible cases for this
~~~A
~~^
~/
v
o1 <-> o2

or
~~~A



o1 <-> o2

While it could be possible to define reality as the perception of a single observer, this would make it impossible to define phenomena like lie, deception, misperception and insanity. Therefore more than one observer is needed.

Lemma II: An object is only real if all mutually interacting observers interact with the object.



----------------------------
How could "provability" be defined? Is there an interaction-diagram similar to the ones above?

Assume there is a connection A<->B. A "proof" can be defined as establishing an indirect interaction o1<->B by establishing a direct interaction o1<->A.

"A is a proof for B"
~~~A
~~^~~^
~/~~~~\
v~~~~~~v
o1~~~~~B

Example: The observer o1 sees footprints A. Footprints A are a hint to person B. o1 now knows of person B.


"A is no proof for B"
There are two possible cases:
~~~A
~~^
~/
v
o1~~~~~B

or
~~~A
~~^
~/
v
o1 <-> B


As we can see, proof-positive and proof-negative both rely on the connection between observer o1 and hint A.

Lemma III: An interaction A<->B can only be regarded as either right or wrong ("provable") if an interaction o1<->A with an observer exists.



-------------------
Combine Lemma II and Lemma III

"C is real"

o1
^~^
|~~\
|~~~v
|~~~~C
|~~~^
|~~/
v~v
o2


"A is proof for B, but it is unprovable"

o1~~~A<->B


Inserting the schematic for the attribute "unprovable" into the schematic for "real", yields (with C = A<->B) the two possible cases:

o1
^
|
|
|~~~~A <-> B
|~~~^
|~~/
v~v
o2

or

o1
^
|
|
|~~~~A <-> B
|
|
v
o2

Both cases depict that the interaction A<->B is not real.

That which cannot be proven to exist (with respect to a finite object) cannot exist (with respect to multiple finite observers at once).
That which cannot be proven to exist not (with respect to a finite object) cannot exist (with respect to multiple finite observers at once).

Lemma IV: Unprovable things are not real.


-------------------
Combine Lemma I and Lemma IV

God is unprovable. Unprovable things are not real. => God is not real.


In hindsight I realized that Lemma IV tackles one particular complaint about God: That his existence as an infinite being can be used as a catch-all explanation for anything, be it real or imaginary, without revealing any useful insight. Example:
Your good luck? Because God.
Your bad luck? Because God.
Those invisible monkies roaming your room in perfect silence while leaving no trace? Because God.
God cannot be proven to exist not, which means (according to the above proof) that he cannot exist.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 13, 2014 2:23 am UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:God cannot be proven to exist not, which means (according to the above proof) that he cannot exist.
I didn't take the time to go through every part of your "proof", so I don't know if you have some clarification on what you mean by this which is different from what mathematicians normally mean when they talk about proof and existence.

But if you are using words the same way the rest of us do, No, your proof that God is unprovable is not a proof that God does not exist. If something is unprovable within mathematics (which is after all the forum you chose for this post), that just means it can exist or not without contradicting any of the previously accepted axioms.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby z4lis » Tue May 13, 2014 5:44 am UTC

Yes, this looks correct. Congratulations.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Dopefish » Tue May 13, 2014 6:23 am UTC

I sortof skimmed it, but I imagine the biggest point of contention would be with how you're choosing to define 'real'. It's a reasonable enough one to use perhaps since you can at least reason with it, but it's probably not completely in line with how everyone might want to use it. (Many people would consider their feelings 'real' for example, even though there is only one observer of those feelings directly.)

Besides that, it's all based on a bunch of assumptions that not everyone would necessarily agree with, so while (if x&y&z then ..., then "god" doesn't "exist") might be valid reasoning, it doesn't mean your conclusion has been proven true, as you'd first need to prove x, y, z true, and I suspect that for at least some of the relevant x, y, z that their truth would be unprovable.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Dr-Evil » Tue May 13, 2014 8:41 am UTC

Dopefish wrote:I sortof skimmed it, but I imagine the biggest point of contention would be with how you're choosing to define 'real'. It's a reasonable enough one to use perhaps since you can at least reason with it, but it's probably not completely in line with how everyone might want to use it. (Many people would consider their feelings 'real' for example, even though there is only one observer of those feelings directly.)


As I wrote: If we define reality via only one observer, then it is not possible to define fact as something different from fiction (which they for practical reasons are).

Besides that, it's all based on a bunch of assumptions that not everyone would necessarily agree with, so while (if x&y&z then ..., then "god" doesn't "exist") might be valid reasoning, it doesn't mean your conclusion has been proven true, as you'd first need to prove x, y, z true, and I suspect that for at least some of the relevant x, y, z that their truth would be unprovable.


The definition of God as infinite is not mine, it's the one the dominating religions use.

My definition of human implies that he is finite (e.g. no immortal soul) and limited in his perception (e.g. no out-of-body-experience). And I'm not sure whether this can be proven experimentally or theoretically. Additionally, this might lead to circular reasoning: no souls => no God; no God => no souls

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby brenok » Tue May 13, 2014 10:41 am UTC

Theorem: Your argument is invalid

Proof:
God is defined as something that is better than anything conceivable
God exists in the mind
Something that also exists in reality would be better than one that only exists in the mind
If God existed only in the mind, there would be something better than it
Therefore God exists
Therefore your conclusion is invalid. QED

Where is my Fields Medal/Nobel Prize/Canonization?

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Whizbang » Tue May 13, 2014 11:29 am UTC

I can't add anything to the discussion other than to say using the CODE tags allow you to make your ascii drawings without too much fuss.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby arbiteroftruth » Tue May 13, 2014 3:11 pm UTC

Your notion of reality is problematic. If reality is based on the consensus of multiple observers, then in order to prove that anything is real I must first prove the existence of multiple observers. But this itself would require the consensus of multiple observers in the first place, and therefore cannot be proven. Ultimately the options are to either go with solipsism (I am the only thing I know for sure exists) or to take some aspects of reality on faith as useful assumptions.

Second, although "God" as defined could not be proven since you cannot empirically verify the infinitude of "magic" with only finite sources of "magic" for comparison, this is not unprovability in the sense that people generally care about. Sure, "God" is usually assumed to be infinite in the ways described, but practically speaking, it is not necessary that he be infinite in those aspects, merely that he exceed everything else in existence. He does not need to be "omnipotent", just capable of overpowering the entirety of the rest of the universe. Such power would not be proof of infinite power, but it would be pragmatically indistinguishable from infinite power. So while the being would not be literally proven to be "God" in that scenario, he would be proven to be pragmatically indistinguishable from God.
Last edited by arbiteroftruth on Tue May 13, 2014 4:00 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Dr-Evil » Tue May 13, 2014 3:21 pm UTC

brenok wrote:Theorem: Your argument is invalid

Proof:
God is defined as something that is better than anything conceivable
God exists in the mind
Something that also exists in reality would be better than one that only exists in the mind
If God existed only in the mind, there would be something better than it
Therefore God exists
Therefore your conclusion is invalid. QED

Where is my Fields Medal/Nobel Prize/Canonization?


Saint Anselm's proof of God? You are trolling me, right?

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Dr-Evil » Tue May 13, 2014 3:34 pm UTC

arbiteroftruth wrote:You're notion of reality is problematic. If reality is based on the consensus of multiple observers, then in order to prove that anything is real I must first prove the existence of multiple observers. But this itself would require the consensus of multiple observers in the first place, and therefore cannot be proven. Ultimately the options are to either go with solipsism (I am the only thing I know for sure exists) or to take some aspects of reality on faith as useful assumptions.


Thanks for the feedback. Who knew it would be so hard to define "reality" in a universe where "lie" and "delusion" exist...

Back to the drawing-board.

Sure, "God" is usually assumed to be infinite in the ways described, but practically speaking, it is not necessary that he be infinite in those aspects, merely that he exceed everything else in existence.


That depends on the definition of God: Jehova is defined as being infinite, while the greek gods are more powerful than humans but still finite. And you are right, in practical terms it's the difference in power that defines a god.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 13, 2014 4:29 pm UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:
brenok wrote:Theorem: Your argument is invalid

Proof:
God is defined as something that is better than anything conceivable
God exists in the mind
Something that also exists in reality would be better than one that only exists in the mind
If God existed only in the mind, there would be something better than it
Therefore God exists
Therefore your conclusion is invalid. QED

Where is my Fields Medal/Nobel Prize/Canonization?

Saint Anselm's proof of God? You are trolling me, right?

That 'proof' is no more trollish than your own, because all 'proofs' and 'disproofs' of God's existence are pretty shoddy and full of holes, and it's a bit delusional to think any one of them accomplisfes what it claims.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby KrytenKoro » Tue May 13, 2014 5:12 pm UTC

Assume, God exists in this universe...

Pretty much all omni- versions of Gods assume this to be false, actually.

I mean, you get a few like Hinduism or Greek where they're basically indistinguishable from ancient aliens and worshipped only because that's how you stay alive, not because it is "right and good to do so", but yeah.

Therefore, if God is an infinite being, his existence cannot be proven either wrong or false by finite means.

Lemma I: God does not possess the attribute "provability".

If you're going off the Abrahamic God, you are neither required nor expected to "know 100% for sure" that God exists before you die -- you're just supposed to act as if it's true, meaning that you lead an altruistic and moral life. Mother Theresa, for example, professed doubt and she was still canonized.

The going belief is that, once you die, the blinders of mortality are wiped away, and your Assumption 1 and 2 become invalid.


...


Basically, your proof relies on making assumptions about what the various sects of the Abrahamic religions preach that are badly distorted or shallow interpretations of what is actually taught, meaning that, for at least your version of the argument, it's been addressed millenia ago. That's not saying there isn't a working proof out there (that doubt thing, again), but this isn't it.

http://xkcd.com/675/ seems somewhat ironically appropriate.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby z4lis » Tue May 13, 2014 5:28 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:... it's a bit delusional to think any one of them accomplisfes what it claims.


Or that it has anything to do with mathematics. Using a proof and calling it math is like using words and calling it poetry. That said, there's not really a board on this forum for a post like this, except maybe SB? I'm actually not familiar with the other boards enough to know where this should be.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 13, 2014 8:04 pm UTC

Yes, it would probably be more on-topic in SB, but if folks want to stick to mathematical rigor in the discussion it can stay here.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby speising » Tue May 13, 2014 8:31 pm UTC

regardless of content, i vote this thread title of the year.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby cphite » Tue May 13, 2014 9:42 pm UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:God cannot be proven to exist not, which means (according to the above proof) that he cannot exist.


Showing that something cannot be proven is not the same thing as disproving it.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Dr-Evil » Wed May 14, 2014 11:01 am UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:
Assume, God exists in this universe...

Pretty much all omni- versions of Gods assume this to be false, actually.


Replace "universe" with "multiverse" and it works.

If you're going off the Abrahamic God, you are neither required nor expected to "know 100% for sure" that God exists before you die -- you're just supposed to act as if it's true...

The going belief is that, once you die, the blinders of mortality are wiped away, and your Assumption 1 and 2 become invalid.

Basically, your proof relies on making assumptions about what the various sects of the Abrahamic religions preach that are badly distorted or shallow interpretations of what is actually taught, meaning that, for at least your version of the argument, it's been addressed millenia ago. That's not saying there isn't a working proof out there (that doubt thing, again), but this isn't it.


It was not my intent to tackle the concepts of religion or faith or a particular version of religion.

My initial question was: Is it possible for limited beings to coexist and interact with an infinite being? Interaction is not possible. And if we define reality via observation, then coexistence is not possible.

Ironically, if we modify the initial assumptions a little bit to allow non-scientific concepts (immortal souls, belief as a source of information and so forth), then this proof shows that faith makes God real.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby gmalivuk » Wed May 14, 2014 11:34 am UTC

That isn't irony, that's a sure sign that your "proof" is flawed. "If nothing happens when we die then there's no god, but if we have immortal souls then there is," isn't a proof or disproof of anything, it's just the claim that God's existence is logically equivalent to the existence of immortal souls. Which
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby KrytenKoro » Wed May 14, 2014 1:57 pm UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:Replace "universe" with "multiverse" and it works.

No, it very much doesn't, as they don't believe God simply exists in another universe, either, they believe he exists independent of (i.e. outside) Creation.

Also what gmalivuk said.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby z4lis » Wed May 14, 2014 3:11 pm UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:Assumption No. 1:
Man is defined with (among others) the following attributes:
- possessing a finite event-horizon of interactions
- possessing finite knowledge
- possessing finite abilities


This isn't a good definition of "Man" as it stands.
- You've used the term "event horizon", and so should I be expecting stuff about relativity in this? That word has a very specific scientific meaning, as far as I'm aware. But do we have a finite event horizon? What if we perform an experiment on quantum entanglement?
- What, exactly, do you mean by finite knowledge? I know that 1 + 1 = 2, 1 + 2 = 3, 1 + 3 = 4, etc. I know that my name is z4lis. I know that I know my name is z4lis. I know that I know that I know that my name is z4lis. I can produce an infinite number of facts that I know using this method.
- Something similar applies here.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Dr-Evil » Wed May 14, 2014 3:50 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:
Dr-Evil wrote:Replace "universe" with "multiverse" and it works.

No, it very much doesn't, as they don't believe God simply exists in another universe, either, they believe he exists independent of (i.e. outside) Creation.


That's just playing with words.


z4lis wrote:This isn't a good definition of "Man" as it stands.
- You've used the term "event horizon", and so should I be expecting stuff about relativity in this? That word has a very specific scientific meaning, as far as I'm aware. But do we have a finite event horizon? What if we perform an experiment on quantum entanglement?


I don't mean a relativistic event-horizon, I mean a causal one: Does the way your neighbour arranges his shoes influence your life? Does the way I arrange my shoes influence your life? Does the color of your socks influence whether you have a good day or a bad day?

- What, exactly, do you mean by finite knowledge? I know that 1 + 1 = 2, 1 + 2 = 3, 1 + 3 = 4, etc. I know that my name is z4lis. I know that I know my name is z4lis. I know that I know that I know that my name is z4lis. I can produce an infinite number of facts that I know using this method.
- Something similar applies here.


No matter how much recursion you add, the amount of Bits it takes to quantify that information stays the same.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby KrytenKoro » Wed May 14, 2014 4:12 pm UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:That's just playing with words.

It really isn't, as as far as your proof is concerned, you're assuming an infinite being exists within some finite space. A multiverse is still at some level finite, whereas most Christian theology posits that God exists without bounds -- even those of time and space. He's not simply able to travel anywhere, he exists in a way where those descriptors don't even make sense -- which is basically saying he exists "outside".


I don't mean a relativistic event-horizon, I mean a causal one: Does the way your neighbour arranges his shoes influence your life? Does the way I arrange my shoes influence your life? Does the color of your socks influence whether you have a good day or a bad day?

So, a light cone then?
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Qaanol » Wed May 14, 2014 4:13 pm UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:
- What, exactly, do you mean by finite knowledge? I know that 1 + 1 = 2, 1 + 2 = 3, 1 + 3 = 4, etc. I know that my name is z4lis. I know that I know my name is z4lis. I know that I know that I know that my name is z4lis. I can produce an infinite number of facts that I know using this method.
- Something similar applies here.


No matter how much recursion you add, the amount of Bits it takes to quantify that information stays the same.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby gmalivuk » Wed May 14, 2014 5:01 pm UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:
KrytenKoro wrote:
Dr-Evil wrote:Replace "universe" with "multiverse" and it works.

No, it very much doesn't, as they don't believe God simply exists in another universe, either, they believe he exists independent of (i.e. outside) Creation.
That's just playing with words.

No, a clear distinction between 'inside' and 'outside' is not just "playing" when your argument hinges on showing God can't exist inside this *verse.


z4lis wrote:This isn't a good definition of "Man" as it stands.
- You've used the term "event horizon", and so should I be expecting stuff about relativity in this? That word has a very specific scientific meaning, as far as I'm aware. But do we have a finite event horizon? What if we perform an experiment on quantum entanglement?
I don't mean a relativistic event-horizon, I mean a causal one: Does the way your neighbour arranges his shoes influence your life? Does the way I arrange my shoes influence your life? Does the color of your socks influence whether you have a good day or a bad day?

That is what a relativistic event horizon is, though: things on one side cannot causally affect things on the other.

And all of those things do influence my life, even if it's to so small an extent that I don't consciously notice it. When we say something is "inconsequential" we don't literally mean that it has no consequences whatsoever, we just mean it has no consequences we particularly care about right now.

- What, exactly, do you mean by finite knowledge? I know that 1 + 1 = 2, 1 + 2 = 3, 1 + 3 = 4, etc. I know that my name is z4lis. I know that I know my name is z4lis. I know that I know that I know that my name is z4lis. I can produce an infinite number of facts that I know using this method.
- Something similar applies here.

No matter how much recursion you add, the amount of Bits it takes to quantify that information stays the same.
Sure, if we're allowed to explicitly include finetely describable notions of infinity in our encoding scheme.

But even then, if your argument relies on the assumption that all humans are finite in time and space, then it logically gets us nowhere because folks who believe in God typically won't grant you that premise.

Heck, even granting post-mortal oblivion on an individual basis, why should we restrict ourselves to that? Why not talk about minds in general? There's nothing physically impossible about an infinite number of thoughts occurring in a universe that expands forever, which it seems ours probably will.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby LaserGuy » Wed May 14, 2014 6:07 pm UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:I don't mean a relativistic event-horizon, I mean a causal one: Does the way your neighbour arranges his shoes influence your life? Does the way I arrange my shoes influence your life? Does the color of your socks influence whether you have a good day or a bad day?


Maybe? Pretty much everyone on Earth is causally connected for all practical purposes. The fact that some guys flew a plane into some buildings thirteen years ago in a different country five thousand km from where I live still directly influenced (and continues to influence, in various ways) my life. Supernova from distant stars can influence people's lives. In terms of strict causality, the only things that you can say for sure that can't have influenced you are things whose signals haven't had the chance to reach you yet. In the case of the Earth, that's pretty much anything that's happened more than a tenth of a second or so ago, at most.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby z4lis » Wed May 14, 2014 6:33 pm UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:No matter how much recursion you add, the amount of Bits it takes to quantify that information stays the same.


That's fine, but your definition of "finite knowledge", "information", and how you want to encode things needs to be carefully written up for your proof, and then used to convince the reader that you've got the easiest possible counterexamples taken care of. Otherwise, you're not taking our criticism to improve your proof.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Forest Goose » Thu May 15, 2014 8:57 am UTC

This looks like a philosophical argument directed at a very specific narrow notion of "God" - moreover, this all seems light on definitions and reasoning. So, I guess, this argument appears to work if all the content to your terms supports what it is supposed to and the "God" being discussed is the "God" of your argument. What you have presented is by no means a mathematical proof that God does not exist, nor is it even a mathematical anything.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Dr-Evil » Thu May 15, 2014 11:36 am UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:
Dr-Evil wrote:That's just playing with words.

It really isn't, as as far as your proof is concerned, you're assuming an infinite being exists within some finite space. A multiverse is still at some level finite, whereas most Christian theology posits that God exists without bounds -- even those of time and space. He's not simply able to travel anywhere, he exists in a way where those descriptors don't even make sense -- which is basically saying he exists "outside".


I did not define the infinite being "God" as existing within a finite "verse". I defined it to exist in a 'verse that permits its existence.


LaserGuy wrote:Maybe? Pretty much everyone on Earth is causally connected for all practical purposes. The fact that some guys flew a plane into some buildings thirteen years ago in a different country five thousand km from where I live still directly influenced (and continues to influence, in various ways) my life. Supernova from distant stars can influence people's lives. In terms of strict causality, the only things that you can say for sure that can't have influenced you are things whose signals haven't had the chance to reach you yet. In the case of the Earth, that's pretty much anything that's happened more than a tenth of a second or so ago, at most.


You are talking about deterministic chaos. You forget the indeterministic chaos of stuff that happens on a quantum-level. If the chain of events is long enough, the deterministic random color of my socks will be drowned out by the indeterministic ways in which the atoms in the chain of events react to external stimuli and the color won't influence the smear on your keyboard.


z4lis wrote:That's fine, but your definition of "finite knowledge", "information", and how you want to encode things needs to be carefully written up for your proof, and then used to convince the reader that you've got the easiest possible counterexamples taken care of. Otherwise, you're not taking our criticism to improve your proof.


I know that my proof sucks on the formal side. That's why I was asking for criticism.


Forest Goose wrote:This looks like a philosophical argument directed at a very specific narrow notion of "God" - moreover, this all seems light on definitions and reasoning. So, I guess, this argument appears to work if all the content to your terms supports what it is supposed to and the "God" being discussed is the "God" of your argument. What you have presented is by no means a mathematical proof that God does not exist, nor is it even a mathematical anything.


Au contraire. My definition of God is not too special, it's too general. The definition is so general that neither of the hundreds of religions would admit that this hypothetical God is identical to their special God. For example: The biblical god is depicted as a bearded old man and a wrathful, jealous God of War. My definition doesn't mention that so of course that can be used as an excuse why my argument doesn't count for the biblical god. Any religion postulates that their god is special.

I read your criticism as suggesting that I should come up with tailor-made arguments why each unique "God" of each unique religion is/isn't real. I think, I will sit that one out until all the religions in the world have agreed on a general definition of God.

Would you please be so kind to give me some examples what is missing from my argument to turn it into a formal proof?

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby speising » Thu May 15, 2014 11:41 am UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:You are talking about deterministic chaos. You forget the indeterministic chaos of stuff that happens on a quantum-level. If the chain of events is long enough, the deterministic random color of my socks will be drowned out by the indeterministic ways in which the atoms in the chain of events react to external stimuli and the color won't influence the smear on your keyboard.

that's not how chaos theory works. on the contrary, random fluctuations escalate to unpredictable effects.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby gmalivuk » Thu May 15, 2014 12:26 pm UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:I know that my proof sucks on the formal side. That's why I was asking for criticism.
You say that, but then you reject or dismiss all the criticism that has been made so far.

You're looking for criticism that would make your disproof of the existence of God airtight, but unfortunately for you the only criticism you're likely to keep getting amounts to saying you can't have an airtight disproof of the existence of God. No amount of formal fiddling will ever change that.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby LaserGuy » Thu May 15, 2014 12:54 pm UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Maybe? Pretty much everyone on Earth is causally connected for all practical purposes. The fact that some guys flew a plane into some buildings thirteen years ago in a different country five thousand km from where I live still directly influenced (and continues to influence, in various ways) my life. Supernova from distant stars can influence people's lives. In terms of strict causality, the only things that you can say for sure that can't have influenced you are things whose signals haven't had the chance to reach you yet. In the case of the Earth, that's pretty much anything that's happened more than a tenth of a second or so ago, at most.


You are talking about deterministic chaos. You forget the indeterministic chaos of stuff that happens on a quantum-level. If the chain of events is long enough, the deterministic random color of my socks will be drowned out by the indeterministic ways in which the atoms in the chain of events react to external stimuli and the color won't influence the smear on your keyboard.


I'm not sure how that's relevant. The colour of your socks probably won't have an effect on my life, no, but that doesn't mean it can't. If it were beyond my event horizon, there would be no possible way for that colour to affect me. The colour of your socks tomorrow cannot affect me today. But the colour of your socks yesterday or today could. That is what causally connected means.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby KrytenKoro » Thu May 15, 2014 1:41 pm UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:I did not define the infinite being "God" as existing within a finite "verse". I defined it to exist in a 'verse that permits its existence.

Which, again, Abrahamic theology is pretty clear it doesn't.

Perhaps you're looking for Mormonism?


Au contraire. My definition of God is not too special, it's too general.

Actually, it's too specific because it makes claims about "God" that most sects and religions who posit one don't make, like God existing within a (or a set of) universe(s).

The definition is so general that neither of the hundreds of religions would admit that this hypothetical God is identical to their special God.

That is a complete strawman of the criticisms you've been getting, to the point that it's the opposite of the truth.

For example: The biblical god is depicted as a bearded old man

No he isn't. In fact, when he appears as a human at all, he's much closer to an Apollo.

and a wrathful, jealous God of War.

No, he isn't. Wrathful and jealous I'll give you, though in the overly prescriptive, antiquated meaning ("I jealously protect my charges", etc.), not the emotive modern meanings.

My definition doesn't mention that so of course that can be used as an excuse why my argument doesn't count for the biblical god.

No. People aren't saying "You don't mention the Garden of Gethsamane, so this doesn't count", they're saying "You're claiming he always smells of lilacs, when the Bible says that instead he has a citrusy flavor, so this doesn't count". It's not that you're being "too vague", it's that you're making specific claims, integral to your proof, that are in direct contradiction to how God is traditionally, for lack of a better word, defined.

I think, I will sit that one out until all the religions in the world have agreed on a general definition of God.

Or, make sure that your proof applies to at least one version of them (which I think it is at best applicable to Mormon God, as to my understanding he exists within Creation as an advanced but still finite being.)

We're not saying that you can't make a proof about prime numbers unless it relies specifically on the number 3, we're saying that the proof is inapplicable if it relies on the number 4, 'cause 4 ain't prime.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby arbiteroftruth » Thu May 15, 2014 6:50 pm UTC

Okay, let's go through this in more detail.

Religious people would tend to disagree with the premise that man is finite. If man has an immortal soul, he will continue to accumulate knowledge and interactions forever. However, under the assumption that man experiences things in linear time, his knowledge and interactions up to a particular moment in time would be finite. But still some might take the stance that man becomes a-temporal in the afterlife, and the finitude of knowledge and interaction becomes simply false. But let's grant that premise for now.

Others have complained about the notion of God existing in the universe, but I assume you mean "universe" to be something like "all that exists", in which case God would necessarily be in the universe if he exists, since the fact of existing would be the definition of being in the universe.

Although a finite display of power would never verify that a given entity was truly infinite, and thus would never verify that an entity was God, relying on this fact brings the argument into somewhat pedantic territory. In the face of a sufficiently powerful display, you would essentially be saying "it's not *God*, it's just some other being with enough power to reshape reality at will, who created mankind, enforces some moral code and creates an afterlife. But that's totally not *God*." Although you would be correct that his infinitude would not have been verified, it wouldn't make any difference to anyone. Because for all practical purposes, what matters is "powerful enough to do whatever he wants". So even if your argument were completely correct from this point on, it would no longer be particularly relevent to what people really care about in their beliefs about God.

Your argument is also based on a notion of reality that is problematic, since it relies on the consensus of multiple observers to make something real, but those observers themselves cannot be proven to be real without the concensus of multiple observers. So your attempt to objectively define when it is justified to consider something real is a non-starter.

But supposing I accept that other people are generally real and go from there, using your notion of reality. You still fail to demonstrate that what is unprovable is not real. You made some schematics on the basis that a proof for something unprovable can't be real, but that was kinda obvious. "Unprovable" by definition means no proof exists. But there's no reason the thing itself can't nevertheless be real. In your schematics, you have A as a proof of B, and the observers do not have mutual observation of A. But they could still have mutual observation of B, for which A would be a proof if A existed, but A doesn't exist. For example, if God speaks to every living person, then every living person has interaction with God. By mutual observation, they agree that the entity they interacted with exists. They do not have proof that said entity meets the definition of God, but it definitely exists.

You might say that under your notion of reality, the properties of a thing are things themselves, so the property of the entity being God would need to be mutually observed in order for the entity to actually be God, even though the entity itself certainly exists. But if that's the case, wouldn't the same apply to the property of not being God? Wouldn't it be invalid to say that the entity isn't God unless multiple observers agree that he isn't God? And if that's the case, then for a sufficiently powerful entity, the proposition that the entity is or is not God becomes fundamentally undecidable, which is not the same thing as saying it's not God.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby KrytenKoro » Thu May 15, 2014 9:15 pm UTC

arbiteroftruth wrote:Others have complained about the notion of God existing in the universe, but I assume you mean "universe" to be something like "all that exists", in which case God would necessarily be in the universe if he exists, since the fact of existing would be the definition of being in the universe.

Basically, the quibble is that of the definition of "exists". If you mean "as something measurable or physical", then most religious adherents would say, no, God doesn't necessarily exist in that way. God is supposed to "be true" independent of whether the universe (Creation) exists or not -- if somehow the universe stopped existing, the claim is that God would still "be real", and that while God can interact with the material universe, he is not part of it, or any other universe.

Whether something can reasonably be said to exist without being part of the material universe is a wholly separate question (with many theologians saying, "No, it can't be reasonably said, but what're you gonna do? Life be crazy.").
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Forest Goose » Fri May 16, 2014 4:06 am UTC

Rather than give a giant reply, point by point -

I know that my proof sucks on the formal side.


Yep, it lacks all of those pesky detailed definitions of terms and precise arguments justifying them. In short, you're using words without clarity, which is horrible horrible mathematics (this is the math forum), and bad philosophy too - ultimately, your argument is a fancy version of "Here's some words, I intend them to cover the case where anyone objects, therefore they do - as we argue I will seek to define." If you had a clear and well formed argument, you wouldn't need help formalizing it...whatever exactly that is supposed to mean (since, again, it is in the math forum and, yet, is undergraduate philosophy over coffee).

**Also, your Assumption No. 2 really needs work: I'm not sure the first two points are compatible, depending on how you mean "interact" and "environment", the third point is questionable too - there's a lot of assumptions about identity through time and the nature of consciousness going on in there.

Au contraire. My definition of God is not too special, it's too general.


Really? Because I'm religious, but not any of the standard ones - nothing you've said covers anything like my views. My views are rooted in what could be called "radical Platonism" and branch out to all sorts of crazy stuff. Am I probably wrong? Absolutely. Does your "proof" cover it? No.*

This is my problem with strong and broad atheism, in general - it's not that they're probably wrong, it's that things like "God" can mean so many many things that it's hard to swallow they've really ruled them all out without a doubt. -- I have no objection to "I don't think there's any compelling proof, I don't believe", that's more than respectable even if it's not my position.

*You'll need to take that on faith (lol), though, I'm not (nor do I believe in the idea of) publicly going into details - take it or leave it, I don't really care.

arbiteroftruth wrote:Others have complained about the notion of God existing in the universe, but I assume you mean "universe" to be something like "all that exists", in which case God would necessarily be in the universe if he exists, since the fact of existing would be the definition of being in the universe.


Yes, but then "universe" does not, by default, mean "natural universe" and "exists" does not mean "naturally exists" unless you justify that it must so - you're passing the burden off to the word "universe". For example: "The number 3 doesn't exist in the natural universe" is true (some people do dispute this, but let's pretend not), but that doesn't mean that the number 3 doesn't exist in some larger Platonic sense - if I say that "universe" should mean all that exists, then "The number 3 doesn't exist in the universe" is not obvious; all I've done is make "universe" a much more difficult concept, it doesn't illuminate anything.

Not really a criticism - I'm merely pointing it out.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Xanthir » Fri May 16, 2014 7:19 am UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:
Dr-Evil wrote:That's just playing with words.

It really isn't, as as far as your proof is concerned, you're assuming an infinite being exists within some finite space. A multiverse is still at some level finite, whereas most Christian theology posits that God exists without bounds -- even those of time and space. He's not simply able to travel anywhere, he exists in a way where those descriptors don't even make sense -- which is basically saying he exists "outside".

Precisely. The common conception of God's location among theologians can be explained somewhat elegantly (as can anything) by reference to a video game:

It's not too far off to assume that we, the humans playing the game, are the equivalent of God to the people in The Sims. But where are we located, relative to one of them? We're nowhere in their universe. We're not even in some different universe related to them. Even with the most abstract sense of physical "direction", they can't point to where we are. We exist metaphysically outside their universe, in a way that prevents them from ever traveling to where we are no matter how advanced their physics gets, because their entire universe is a pattern of electrical impulses in ours, not an artifact with a location.

God is typically conceived of in a similar way.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Dr-Evil » Fri May 16, 2014 11:00 am UTC

Okay, I'll try to sum this up:

- My argument doesn't present clear initial definitions to the reader. (Agreed.)
- My definition of Man being a limited entity is debatable, on a physical and on a theological basis. (Agreed.)
- Religions get to decide what a valid definition of God is, not me. (Not agreed.)
- Defining reality via (mutual) observation has too many loopholes. (Agreed.)
- I made this argument up on the fly to show a predetermined outcome. (Not agreed.)

My argument wasn't put together with a predetermined outcome in mind.
My argument wasn't about a particular god or a particular religion. And if religious people are allowed to keep coming up with new religions and new defintions of God, day by day, year by year, then I am allowed to use a generic god as an example.
My argument wasn't about disproving some religious/theological point. It was purely an intellectual exercise on the fundamentals of reality: Is it possible for a thing that is neither existent nor non-existent to exist? (The antagonism finite-vs-infinite was a convenient way to produce something that is neither true nor false.)

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby Forest Goose » Fri May 16, 2014 11:15 am UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:- My argument doesn't present clear initial definitions to the reader. (Agreed.)


Which is a major problem - without clear terms, and justifications for those terms, this is a neat discussion to have over coffee, not a serious argument that anyone should care about.

Religions get to decide what a valid definition of God is, not me. (Not agreed.)


That's just absurd. You can decide for the purpose of your "argument" and, then, claim that you ruled that out; you cannot fix the word once and for all time. And you do seem to be claiming that you have ruled out all "God"s.

My argument wasn't about a particular god or a particular religion. And if religious people are allowed to keep coming up with new religions and new defintions of God, day by day, year by year, then I am allowed to use a generic god as an example.


Your argument either pertains to "God" as you define or generically - it does not apply generically. Thus, it must apply to your definition. You can say you don't recognize other's definitions, but you can't pretend that you cover them.
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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby kubit » Fri May 16, 2014 11:25 am UTC

Dr-Evil wrote:My argument wasn't about a particular god or a particular religion. And if religious people are allowed to keep coming up with new religions and new defintions of God, day by day, year by year, then I am allowed to use a generic god as an example.


Doesn't it seem bit silly that you'd define your own 'generic god' just so you could disprove its existence? After all, it's not likely anyone would actually believe in a god like that in the first place.

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Re: Need second opinion. I think I disproved God.

Postby gmalivuk » Fri May 16, 2014 12:25 pm UTC

Forest Goose wrote:This is my problem with strong and broad atheism, in general - it's not that they're probably wrong, it's that things like "God" can mean so many many things that it's hard to swallow they've really ruled them all out without a doubt.

But most atheists don't argue that they've difinitively ruled out every possible version of god, any more than you claim to have difinitively ruled out every version of god except the one very specific version you happen to believe in.
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