Tom,

The question I am interested in is not whether it would be a *good thing* for a 
personal God to exist, but whether it is *the case* that a personal God exists. 
There are all sorts of things that people would like to be true, but that does 
not 
make them true. 

Stathis Papaioannou


----------------------------------------
> From: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
> Subject: Re: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)
> Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2006 15:33:10 -0800
> 
> 
> Bruno Marchal wrote:
> > Le 04-déc.-06, à 08:34, Tom Caylor wrote :
> > > The existence of a personal God who is not silent answers the questions
> > > in a way that an impersonal god or reality does not...
> >
> > I certainly have a methodological problem with such an idea. This is
> > due to my motivation in the subject. I am searching an explanation of
> > what is a person, so assuming the existence of a person (any person,
> > godlike or not) seems to me to beg the question...
> >
> 
> In my view, your motivation is not large enough.  I am also motivated
> by a problem: the problem of evil.  I don't think the real problem of
> evil is solved or even really addressed with comp.  This is because
> comp cannot define evil correctly.  I will try to explain this more.
> 
> > Note also that the major critics by the neoplatonists on Aristotle,
> > besides their diverging opinions on the nature of matter, is the
> > non-person character of the big unnameable, but then for Plotinus the
> > "second God" (the second primary hypostase is "personal"), and indeed
> > G* has a personal aspect from the point of view of the machine. I agree
> > (comp agree) with Plotinus  that the big first cannot be a person. The
> > second one can. To be sure Plotinus is not always completely clear on
> > that point (especially on his chapter on free-will).
> >
> 
> None of Plotinus' hypostases are both personal and free from evil (as
> well as infinite, which we agree is needed (but not sufficient, I
> maintain!) for the problem of meaning).
> 
> > ...
> > > An impersonal origin results in everything
> > > finally being equal.
> >
> > Why? This reminds me Smullyan describing two possible reactions of a
> > human in front of the comp hyp:
> > 1) The human does not trust himself and believes that machine are
> > stupid at the start. His reaction about comp is: "I am machine thus I
> > am as stupid as a machine".
> > 2) The human trust himself: his reaction with the comp hyp is "Cute, it
> > means machine can be as nice as me".
> >
> 
> Where you can really see that numbers are impersonal is in the fact
> that they don't solve the problem of evil.  Yes, Man is finite and cf
> Sartre, Plato etc. is not a sufficient integration point within himself
> for meaning.  But man, as a person, is also noble and cruel in his
> relationship with himself and other persons.  With an impersonal core,
> the universe/multiverse is totally silent in this area.  With an
> impersonal core, Man's alienation with himself and other persons is
> only because of chance.  With an impersonal core, man is simply
> statistically out of line with the rest of the universe.   With an
> impersonal core, the only possible definition of "right" vs. "wrong" is
> statistical (e.g. the average), and ultimately there is no difference
> between cruelty and non-cruelty.  As Marquis de Sade said, "What is, is
> right".  If we were all tied to a computer which takes the average and
> spits it out as the current definition of "right", then after a while,
> if it weren't for meaningless random fluctuations, it would filter into
> a constant and we would all end up flat-lining.
> 
> > ...
> >
> > > Impersonal+complexity does not produce personal.
> >
> >
> > I would like to see a proof of that statement. The comp first person
> > seems to me to be a counterexample, unless you assume at the start the
> > negation of comp (and weaker-comp).
> >
> 
> See above paragraph.  Impersonal+complexity produces something with
> evil intrinsically in the mix, and no real solution can exist.  See
> below for more on this.
> 
> > > This is the problem Plato had.  He knew that you need absolutes in
> > > order to have meaning.  Plato's gods weren't big enough to be the point
> > > of reference needed to define a person.  The gods and fates were
> > > continuously fighting one another.
> >
> > You are right, but Plato did not know about Church thesis, or
> > incompleteness.
> >
> > > I know you get some nice relative
> > > forms, G*/G and all that.  But in the end it is all meaningless.
> >
> > You are quite quick here. Why would machine's beliefs and hopes be
> > meaningless?
> >
> >
> 
> You are talking about relative meaning, meaning relative to the
> machine.  This is why I said *in the end* it is all meaningless.
> Meaning has to address evil and nobility.  See below.
> 
> >
> > > As
> > > Satre pointed out, no finite point has any meaning without an infinite
> > > reference point.
> >
> >
> > I totally agree with Sartre's point here. Church thesis is exactly what
> > gives an absolute infinite reference point.
> >
> 
> OK, even saying for the sake of argument Church's Thesis gives an
> absolute infinite reference point.  This is not sufficient for solving
> the problem of evil.  When you change the language or reference frame
> from one machine to the other, suddenly evil (in one machine's
> perspective) gets redefined.  This is the problem that happens for
> example in marriage.  The two person's see each other as a machine in
> an impersonal universe, and the cycle of "I'm withholding love or
> respect until I get love or respect from you" starts and doesn't end...
> until at least one person makes the choice to tap into (and hold onto)
> the ultimate Person who provides the infinite source of unconditional
> love), resulting in the manifestation of nobility rather than cruelty.
> 
> >
> > ...
> >
> > > Everything that there is is there.  But this is the ultimate in begging
> > > the question. The question remains, why is everything (I see) there?
> > > Why do I exist?
> >
> > We have to accept something, if only because we cannot explain prime
> > numbers without accepting the numbers, then comp explains why numbers
> > talk like if they were sensible person, like if they were not numbers,
> > like if they believe in a physical reality and beyond.
> > And above all, G* explains why those beliefs are correct.
> > I can indeed sum up a part of the interview by: machine will correctly
> > discover their unnameable self and G* will correctly prove that such a
> > self is not a machine from the first and third person point of view.
> >
> 
> My view is that, yes because of the limitations of finite systems, cf
> Godel incompleteness, certain things are unnameable *relative* to the
> system, BUT that this does not necessarily imply that the absolute core
> of Everything has to be unnameable by anyone.  I claim that the
> absolute core of Everything is nameable by the core Himself, a Person.
> And He has told us His name: "I AM THAT I AM".  He is infinite (we are
> not), and He is absolutely good and loving (we originally were and will
> be).  More below.
> 
> >
> > > Relative truth is ultimately useless when it comes to the end of my
> > > life.
> >
> > I agree with you. It is really the discovery of Church thesis, which
> > introduces a lot of "absoluteness" in math (Godel found this
> > miraculous) that I have begin to take "mathematicalism" seriously.
> >
> 
> Great.  But again, because of the problem of evil, "mathematicalism" is
> insufficient for a theory of absolutely Everything.  The linguistics
> philosophers confine themselves to too small of a territory.
> 
> >
> >
> > > I would paraphrase Brent Meeker and ask, "Why does 'blind' have to be
> > > the
> > > default?"
> >
> > If "non blindness" is introduced as an hypothesis, it will prevent at
> > the start any possible impersonal (blind) explanation of "vision". Like
> > putting consciousness in the neuron for explaining consciousness in the
> > brain: this does not explain consciousness. Not only this does not
> > explain consciousness, but it makes the search of an explanation almost
> > impossible.
> >
> 
> Is it not possible that reality indeed has a definite personal
> character, even at the core?  If so, then if you start with impersonal
> blindness, i.e. "Everything is random" no matter how orderly is appears
> locally, then you will never find the definite personal character of
> the universe, because if you take this blind approach absolutely
> seriously you will always ignore order and character and personality as
> intrinsic. (Actually nobody does that consistently.  See story at end.)
> 
> >
> > > My response to Bruno addresses the assumption of
> > > impersonality.
> >
> > I'm not convinced. The assumption of a personal God, like the
> > assumption of an impersonal physical universe, explains nothing. Imo.
> > It explains neither mind nor matter, nor ... God.
> > Now, I have much more evidence---empirical and theoretical--- for a
> > (probably impersonal and immaterial) God, than for a primitive
> > impersonal physical universe, which I take to be a locally useful FAPP
> > superstition which does not resist reflection and introspection, as I
> > try to illustrate with machine's introspection.
> >
> > Bruno
> >
> > http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
> 
> Here is more on the problem of evil:
> 
> If we assume that there as been a continuous line of intrinsic evil in
> the universe (as the impersonal core has to), then there is an unbroken
> line between what man is now and what he has always been, i.e. man has
> always had a thread of cruelty.  With this assumption, then the
> conclusion would have to be that of French thinker Charles Baudelaire,
> "If there is a God, He is the Devil".  For example in (impersonal,
> pantheistic) Hinduism, there is constructive Vishnu and destructive
> Kali.  Also, Albert Camus noted that with such a core there is no
> reason to stand against evil, for instance in helping widows and
> orphans in Christianity, because evil is just part of the way things
> intrinsically are.  Finally, with such an impersonal core, with no
> ultimately good personal God, there is no hope of a qualitative change
> in man, since cruelty is intrinsic to the way man has always been.
> 
> The "later Heidegger" saw that this assumption that "man, the way he
> is, is normal" leads to a dead end.  However, his attempted solution
> was only an epistemological solution.  He put the discontinuity at
> Aristotle, and called man's problem an epistemological abnormality,
> rather than a moral one.  By "moral" I mean a rejection of our origin
> in the ultimately good Person.  (I don't mean that evolution is false.
> I mean *ultimate* origin.)  However, Heidegger's solution was not
> sufficient, since he did not define evil correctly, since evil can only
> be correctly defined with respect to a Personal core.  I maintain that
> any impersonal core has this same instrinsic limitation.
> 
> Plato searched for a place to root his absolutes.  Neither Plator nor
> the neo-Platonists found the solution because their impersonal gods
> were not immune from evil.  The impersonal gods ultimately cannot
> distinguish between man's finiteness and his cruelty.  Only the
> infinite personal good God has a character from which evil is totally
> excluded.  This is the only core for which a solution to the real
> problem of evil is possible, so that everything can ultimately be
> brought back into unity and wholeness.
> 
> Finally, regarding the unsolvable dichotomy in the impersonal (closed)
> naturalistic system, Francis Schaeffer tells the following story:
> "I remember sitting in a Lyons' Corner House near Marble Arch in London
> some years ago, talking to a brilliant young physicist.  I asked him
> about the latest work he was doing, and he told me about a new idea
> that he thought might solve Einstein's problem concerning
> electromagnetism and gravity.  He became very enthusiastic about this,
> because I knew enough about the subject to stimulate him, and he was
> far away in his thought.  Then I brought him back by saying, 'This is
> fine for the Christian, who really knows who he is, to say that the
> material universe may finally be reduced to energy particles moving in
> opposite directions in a vortex, but what about your naturalistic
> colleagues?  What happens to them when they go home to their wives and
> families at night?'  He paused for a moment and then said, 'Oh, Dr.
> Schaeffer, they just have to live in a dichotomy.'"
> 
> Tom
> 
> 
> > 

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