On 3/7/2012 5:03 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 06 Mar 2012, at 18:59, John Clark wrote:

On Mon, Mar 5, 2012  Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be 
<mailto:marc...@ulb.ac.be>> wrote:

        >> God needs to be a person.

    > In some tradition, and it is a mystery why you stick on those tradition, 
    that you criticize them so vigorously.

Because "God" is just a word

It is not *necessarily* just a word. There are common pattern in the use of 
that word.

But the common pattern is that "God" designates a person. Those who have used it to mean some pervasive force or impersonal ground of being have generally done so to avoid persecution for being a-theists. But I doubt that is a problem in Brussels.

and morons fools and some of the most evil people who have ever walked the Earth have mutilated that word far beyond any hope of repair.

That's your opinion.

Language evolves and like biological Evolution it almost never goes backwards and retraces it's steps, let me give a example: The word "gay" means happy and until just a few decades ago that's all it meant, but today if I use that word just to indicate that somebody is happy I am issuing a invitation to be misunderstood. I have a even better example, technically the word "pedophile" means a lover of children, well there is nothing wrong with that in fact it's a virtue, people should like children, but today it means more than that and its far too late for the word to be rehabilitated, so I would never dream of calling someone a "pedophile" unless I had rock solid evidence they were a monster. In the same way the word "God" has gone too far, it has much too much baggage to be rehabilitated now. So use another word, there are lots to choose from.

I follow often Plotinus, which "already" avoided bot the term "God" and the term "theology". I use "ONE" instead, and I have used the word "biology" and "psychology". But atheists (from some club) were not glad with the result, and critize the wholme field, so it motivated me to do the same thing than the student of Plotinus, to use the word that people use in the field. You make your point for everyday word like "gay" and "pedophile", but not for the technical field "theology".

I don't know of anyone besides you who considers "theology" a technical field or works in it as such. My dictionary of philosophy defines "theology" as "the study of God and God's relation to the world." It defines "God" as the "the highest ultimate being, assumed by theology on the basis of authority, revelation, or faith" [Dictionary of Philosophy, Dagobert Runes].

    > some, like Richard Dawkins presents science as if it was a sort of 
    which makes science into pseudo-science

I have no idea what your complaint with Richard Dawkins is, I've read all his books and think he's terrific.

My problem with people like Dawkins and Stenger, which I have read more recently, is that they oppose science to theology, but by doing that they avoid the theological question, which means that it is the field, and not the word, which makes problem fro them. It shows also that they have (unconscious, perhaps) theological interpretation of their field. For example, they never say that they *assume* the existence of a primary physical universe, they dismiss the mind-body problem, they dismiss the mind problem, and the body problem.

There is some truth in that. Stenger sometimes muses that maybe consciousness doesn't really exist - and I think he is motivated to consider this because it's hard to fit into his preferred model of "atoms and the void".

They talk like if science as decided between Aristotle and Plato kind of theology. This is just arrogant. in fact, books like Stenger's and Dawkins' one, fuel not just the pseudo-religion, but its naive and fundamentalist components.

I don't know Dawkins, but I do know Vic Stenger and have helped edit his books, so I will come to his defense. Vic is quiet explicit about what God he argues against: "In the present book I will go much further and argue that by this moment in time science has advanced sufficiently to be able to make a definitive statement on the existence or non-existence of a God having the attributes that are traditionally associated with the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God." [God the Failed Hypothesis, Stenger 2007]

They makes people believe that the debate is between atheism and religion,

No, it's between atheism and theism.  Religion is too broad and ill-defined to 

but they agree on the theological main point,

I don't think so.  Dawkins has said that theology is a discipline with no 
subject matter.

and hides the more serious question of choosing between Plato's theology and Aristotle one. Not only atheists do theology, but they defend the same theology as their opponents, except on the superstition.

Refer to the definition above.  God is superstition and He is the subject 
matter of theology.

Like a catholic bishop said on such type of work: they make an excellent 
advertising for us.

    > if you agree with Gödel's formalization of Saint-Anselmus' definition of 
God [...]

That was in Godel's later years

I don't think so.

when he went off the rails and thought he had a rock solid logical proof for the existence of God,

He never took that proof seriously. He just wanted to show that we can reason in the field, and defended the idea that we can do theology seriously. He never asserted publicly his belief or disbelief, and he did only advocate rigor.

fortunately even at his worst he retained enough sanity to know he should not publish the thing. Godel was I think an even greater logician than Aristotle; nevertheless he was always a very odd man and he got odder as he got older. He sealed his windows shut because he thought night air was deadly, he wore heavy woolen coats on even the hottest days because he thought the cold was deadly too, and for unknown reasons he insisted on putting cheap plastic flamingos on his front lawn. He ended up starving himself to death, he refused to eat because he thought unnamed sinister forces were trying to poison him. The great logician weighed 65 pounds when he died in 1978 from lack of food brought on by paranoia.

I have no evidence that he was sick when producing his theological argument. But he was a very rigorous guy in all matter he approached. Theology is just an example of this.

Aristotle invented modal logic to discuss those issues rigorously, and this has lead to progress, more or less up to the eleventh century, where the east begin to buy and take for granted the Aristotelian metaphysical doctrine.

My work did annoy some fundamentalist atheists nearby, well before I use the term "theology".


 It is more because I have problem with atheists that I use that term than the 

So you agree it is misleading that is why you use it!?

many people who believe they were atheists understood better they were not atheists but agnostic. This helps a lot.

It depends on that god(s) your talking about. I used to tell everyone I was an agnostic because I could think of gods that might exist. But this caused trouble because they always assumed I was agnostic about their God, a magical father figure. So I started telling people I was an atheist, except in philosophical debates where "god" could be defined.

To understand the mind-body problem it is necessary to be agnostic on both the first and the third Aristotelian Gods (the Initiator, and Matter). Also, it is by reading good books in Theology, that I made sense of what the ideally correct universal machine explains already about itself, like the book by Jean Trouillard "L'Un et l'âme selon Proclos" (the ONE and the Soul according to Proclos). I read Proclos' treatise on theology before reading Plotinus.

In fact, almost all so called atheist, become agnostic, or realized they were agnostic, when understanding that with comp the mind body problem is a scientific problem. We just don't know the answer, and atheists are often dishonest by pretending that science is on their side.

Or they may just have a different meaning of "theism" than you - the one that's in all the dictionaries.


The atheists nearby believes that agnostics are atheists who are coward and does not dare to make their opinion public, but this is a rhetorical trick, based on the confusion between ~Bg and B~g (I don't believe in God, and I believe there is no God).

You are throwing the baby with the bath water, and you are making science into a pseudo-religion. Before enlightenment, all the sciences were a matter of pseudo-religious dogma. But the enlightenment brings them back into non confessional academy, except one, which remains a taboo subject for the atheists believers and the religious believer alike. What a coincidence.


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/ <http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/%7Emarchal/>

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