Monday, November 06, 2017

Divine Simplicity: How Do We Know God is Simple?

Image result for Metacrock's blog, God is simple




In the last couple of posts I refereed to Dawkis as using the wrong concept of simplicity. complexity in arguing that God has to be complex, Our resident loyal opponent, "Skeptical," took exception, Apparently it's insulting atheists to disagree with them. In the pursuance of this discussion "Skepie" asked a question that suggested a dandy topic, "how do we know God is simple?" The reason this is so great as a topic is because it fits right in with my scheme of illustrating the explanatory power of the God concept. Understanding why God why we should think of God as simple is more than just an answer to Dawkins it also illustrates the justification for my rational warrant idea. I don't prove the existence of God I show that belief is rationally warranted.

Dawkins is working against what he takes to be the most popular pro God arguments (one of the weakest) the monkey’s-writing-Shakespeare-by-accident argument. He couches it in terms of assembling a a 747 from a scrap yard by means of a hurricane.  The creationist, whose argument is revises, couches his argument in terms of finding some living creature who is too improbable to be assumable by accident. Improbability means complexity. The more complex something is the less likely it is to be assembled by accident. The creationist equates improbability with design. Dawkins points out that it’s not the Darwinians who are trying to get “something for nothing,” so to speak, in assuming that complexity could come about undersigned, but the creationists are seeking the “free lunch,” simply because they don’t recognize that “however statistically improbable the entity you seek to explain by evoking a designer, the designer himself has got to be at least as improbable. God is the ultimate Boeing 747.”[1] Dawkins takes this assumption through the entire book. The view of God that he’s attacking is obviously that of a big man. It may be couched as “big mind” or even “universal mind” but it’s still an entity, a thing, something that has to consciously calculate or deliberate about what it’s doing. Never does he stop to consider that he might have the wrong idea of God. He spends long pages droning on and on about consciousness raising and implying that creationists are stupid and feminists are smarter, never does it occur to him that he just might be dealing with the wrong concept of God.

Dawkins uses the wrong concept of simplicity because he is assuming that God would be subject to physical law. Of course that is a laughable notion since God created physical law, he would be no more subject to it than we are to our day dreams. But the concept he's using is something like the universe has an immense abundance of detail in it so God has to have a huge amount of dendrites in his brain to keep up with it, This is something like Skeptical thinks about it, because he says "- Complex brains enable complex thinking. God is simple because God doesn't have a brain."[2] That assumes God is a big man, Just because biological organisms must have a brain to have complex mental states doesn't mean God is in the sane boat. God is not a biological organism, The point is the true concept of God's simplicity defeats this notion but it does so by employing a different concept, God is not simple because he has fewer parts or because he doesn't need a brain but because he's qualitative different than any physical object.

According to the classical theism of Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas and their adherents, God is radically unlike creatures in that he is devoid of any complexity or composition, whether physical or metaphysical. Besides lacking spatial and temporal parts, God is free of matter-form composition, potency-act composition, and existence-essence composition. There is also no real distinction between God as subject of his attributes and his attributes. God is thus in a sense requiring clarification identical to each of his attributes, which implies that each attribute is identical to every other one. God is omniscient, then, not in virtue of instantiating or exemplifying omniscience — which would imply a real distinction between God and the property of omniscience — but by being omniscience. And the same holds for each of the divine omni-attributes: God is what he has as Augustine puts it in The City of God, XI, 10. As identical to each of his attributes, God is identical to his nature. And since his nature or essence is identical to his existence, God is identical to his existence. This is the doctrine of divine simplicity (DDS). It is represented not only in classical Christian theology, but also in Jewish, Greek, and Islamic thought. It is to be understood as an affirmation of God's absolute transcendence of creatures. God is not only radically non-anthropomorphic, but radically non-creaturomorphic, not only in respect of the properties he possesses, but in his manner of possessing them. The simple God, we could say, differs in his very ontology from any and all created beings.[3]
Probably the first thing the skeptic will issue against this idea is incredulity  because how could God be some quality like omni-presence? It also just invites a repeat of the question how do we know this I am coming to that. But first we need to answer the incredulity issue, because they wont get past this otherwise. If we could go back to the first moment, God has yet to create anything other than time and whatever basic structure or frame work had to be in place for a universe to come to be there would be no other example of any of these qualities than God, That's why when Vallicella says "God is omniscient, then, not in virtue of instantiating or exemplifying omniscience — which would imply a real distinction between God and the property of omniscience — but by being    omniscience," (see fn 3 above) he is giving us a clue to both answers.  Before God creates anything that mirrors these qualities he is the only example of them. , He doesn't have them because he's a instance of them, they are not bestowed upon him since he is the only thing that could bestow. He is the thing itself by virtue of the fact that it starts with him and cones out of him, that is out out of his creative power, Yes I do distinguish in a real way between God and creation; God is not his creation,creation is not literally part of him in a pantheistic sense.[4]

God is simple because he does not have constitute parts, he is not a constitute entity and because just the one simple idea packs into it all the qualities and attributes necessary, that is being itself, It's not just a matter of having fewer parts but of being on a completely different level of being such that having parts is not an issue. As it said above, "devoid of any complexity or composition, whether physical or metaphysical. Besides lacking spatial and temporal parts, God is free of matter-form composition, potency-act composition, and existence-essence composition." 
One can also arrive at the simplicity doctrine via the divine necessity. As maximally perfect, as that than which no greater can be conceived, God must be a metaphysically necessary being, one that cannot not exist. A necessary being is one whose possibility entails its existence, and whose nonexistence entails its impossibility. But what could be the ground of this necessity of existence if not the identity in God of essence and existence, possibility and actuality? ....A divine being cannot possess contingent modal status: if God exists, then he is necessary, and if he does not exist, then he is impossible. So if God exists, then there is a very tight connection between the divine nature and the divine existence. The simplicity doctrine in its traditional and strongest form assays this ‘tightness’ as identity. The divine simplicity grounds the divine necessity. God is necessary because he is simple. It is easy to see that the divine simplicity also grounds God's possession of essential properties. God has his attributes essentially because he is identical to his attributes. Nothing is more essential to a thing than something to which it is identical.[5]

So how do we know God is simple? Because the kind of simplicity we are talking about is entailed in the concept of the kind of God Christians believe in, If God doesn't have to be complex then why think he is? If Being complex makes him more importable then he must to be complex, Remember Dawkin's argumemt only works if God is a giant biological organism which is ridiculous on it's  face. Take for example my discussion of  Philipse's God in the Age of Science.[6]

Philipse uses the issue of  explanatory power to justify using Bayes to establish the illusion of technique for deciding the matter.[7]Of course his explanatory power is a scientific explanation but he never bothers to justify it. A scientific explanation would have to be limited to the workings of the physical world and modern theology doesn't claim to answer that. Swinburne found the existence of God as the prior to be probable,[8] using simplicity as the criterion to set the prior. Philipse can’t or doesn’t dispute this: he objects to simplicity as the criterion, rather than trying to argue that God is complex, as Dawkins does (see above). He argues against simplicity as the criterion on the basis of lack of empirical evidence. He then takes up the issue of final cause. Theists sometimes use final cause as an “ultimate explanation.” “God forms a more natural stopping place [for theists] than, say, the existence of the universe. [9] The existence of the universe is what is in question, so of course that in itself can't prove its origin. But Philipse calls into question the satisfying nature of final cause, apparently assuming that infinite causal regress (or “ICR”: a series of effects and causes going back and back, with no beginning) is not unsatisfying. He asserts that defense of God as an explanation can't be “full” and “final,” because it doesn't answer the kinds of questions science answers. He couches this in terms of introducing “questionable metaphysical assumptions.” [10] I see that answer as ideologically driven.


Sources



[1] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion , New York: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (January 16, 2008)138

[2] Metacrock's Blog, Comment Section, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 01, 2017
http://metacrock.blogspot.com/2017/11/best-evidence-ocam-and-fine-tuning.html?showComment=1509796164816#c5014816464656629453

[3]  William F. Vallicella, "Divine Simplicity", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2015/entries/divine-simplicity/>  (accessed 11/5/17)

[4] Tillich beimg itselfosmot pantheitism

[5] William F. Vallicella, "Divine Simplicity", op. cit.

[6] Herman Philipse, God In The Age of Science, Oxford, London: Oxford University Press, 2012, 3

[7] Ibid, 91

[8] Ibid., 192

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid


43 comments:

Eric Sotnak said...

"God is necessary because he is simple."

I don't see why this follows.

Would you also accept that God is simple because he is necessary? If so, then what we have is that God is simple if and only if he is necessary.

Consider this counterargument:

1. For any x, if x has multiple intrinsic properties, then x is not simple.
2. God has multiple intrinsic properties.
3. Therefore, God is not simple.

I know there is a tradition of trying to deny 2 by arguing that all property attribution to God is analogical - that in truth, all of God's intrinsic properties are somehow one. But all such arguments seem to me to devolve into a claim that God's absolute simplicity cannot be comprehended by our finite understanding: we must accept it as true even though we cannot comprehend it as true.

I am open to considering that premise 1 is false, but I have never seen an argument explaining why we should do so.

7th Stooge said...

But I think that something can be simple at the level of substance and complex at the level of properties. that I as a conscious thing have no sibstantive parts and yet have many intrinsic properties capacaties and powers.

Joe Hinman said...

Eric Sotnak said...
"God is necessary because he is simple."

I don't see why this follows.

Because I'm talking about one kind of simplicity which I call "conceptual" that consists of two things structure and function.

Because it all flows out of being itself, in that sense God is simple. We would could mind, mental consciousness, everything else is pinned on that God's attributes and the world are all either contingent by creation or flow out of that one reality that God as the ground of being is the starting point of all things. Its because God isnot a constituent accumulation of qualities but is this realty that by virtue of being the source of all things Klondikes then in a fundamental waythe attributes.


Would you also accept that God is simple because he is necessary? If so, then what we have is that God is simple if and only if he is necessary.

that's the first thing I thought of, but no. It's because he's simple in this particular way that necessitate necessity to be simple,

Consider this counterargument:

1. For any x, if x has multiple intrinsic properties, then x is not simple.
2. God has multiple intrinsic properties.
3. Therefore, God is not simple.

I know there is a tradition of trying to deny 2 by arguing that all property attribution to God is analogical - that in truth, all of God's intrinsic properties are somehow one. But all such arguments seem to me to devolve into a claim that God's absolute simplicity cannot be comprehended by our finite understanding: we must accept it as true even though we cannot comprehend it as true.

I think it can be explained in a straight forward way. That is embodied in conceptual simplicity,

I am open to considering that premise 1 is false, but I have never seen an argument explaining why we should do so.

While the counter is true, he doesn't have the the premise itself is missing the point.He's simple because out of this one act of being everything else that is is brought into being and


5:26 AM

Joe Hinman said...

7th Stooge said...
But I think that something can be simple at the level of substance and complex at the level of properties. that I as a conscious thing have no sibstantive parts and yet have many intrinsic properties capacaties and powers.

Jim point Jim. that might be a good way to put it

im-skeptical said...

OK, Joe. Let's keep it to one question at a time. What on earth makes you think "Dawkins uses the wrong concept of simplicity because he is assuming that God would be subject to physical law"? I don't think he ever said any such thing.

Joe Hinman said...

What he does say would only be intelligible if one assumes that, If he does not assure that God is subject to physical law then he can't say that being complex would make God less probable. That can only be the case if physical law impends upon complexity.

Joe Hinman said...

Eric, My answer was given under conditions of sleep deprivation. what I'm trying to say is that simplicity vs complexity is really not the valid issue, God is not a physical being, he is not subject to laws of physics,he created them. The question of grounding (does necessity ground simplicity or vice verse)is a chicken and egg question,That is not seen as a valid impediment to evolution, so this question is not a valid impediment to theology). God is simple in certain ways not necessarily in others.

Your counter argument basically says God is not simple because one can say a lot of things about him, Ok but he is in in other ways.

Eric Sotnak said...

7th Stooge said: "I think that something can be simple at the level of substance and complex at the level of properties."

This might be true, but what is the argument for it? It seems to me that all the things we know of that have complex (intrinsic) properties are also structurally complex. In fact, it is their structural complexity that allows them to be complex at the level of properties. So what we have in the case of a metaphysically simple God is, it seems to me, an argument from sheer conceivability:

1. I can conceive that something might be complex in respect of properties while being metaphysically simple.
2. Whatever is conceivable is possible.
3. Therefore, it is possible for something to be complex in respect of properties while being metaphysically simple.

The 2nd premise here has received lots or critical attention in metaphysics in recent years, and those concerns are appropriate here, as well. But I am actually more concerned about something more basic, which is the question of what, exactly, metaphysical simplicity really amounts to. I am not sure it is well-defined (likewise for structural complexity).

Put it another way: What reasons are there to reject the following principle as false (or even necessarily false?):
(C) Whatever is metaphysically simple is absolutely uniform in respect of intrinsic properties.

I am not arguing that C is true. I am making the far more cautious claim that I do not know it to be false. I'd like to see some arguments. Otherwise all we have, it seems to me, is a "well, maybe..."

im-skeptical said...

What he does say would only be intelligible if one assumes that, If he does not assure that God is subject to physical law then he can't say that being complex would make God less probable. That can only be the case if physical law impends upon complexity.

- I think you're wrong, Joe. I know you want to paint Dawkins as some kind of oaf who has a "laughable understanding of God as "a big man". But he never says any such thing. And I am pretty sure that his IQ is significantly higher than yours, so I fail to see why you can't give him the benefit of the doubt. I tried to explain to you that you don't get his argument.

Try this:
1. There are things in the world that are designed.
2. We observe that all such things are designed by an agent that is still more complex.
3. If man is designed, then the designer must be more complex than man.

This has nothing to do with God being a "big man" who is subject to physical laws, and Dawkins certainly understands that different people have various different views of God. He isn't making an assumption that there is one and only one view of God that must be true. It's just simple logic. He is presenting an argument for you to answer WITHOUT MAKING THE PRESUMPTIONS you make about the nature of God - because that would be begging the question.

Joe Hinman said...

im-skeptical said...

my answer to skep's question above
"What he does say would only be intelligible if one assumes that, If he does not assure that God is subject to physical law then he can't say that being complex would make God less probable. That can only be the case if physical law impends upon complexity."

- I think you're wrong, Joe. I know you want to paint Dawkins as some kind of oaf who has a "laughable understanding of God as "a big man". But he never says any such thing.

yes he doe, in GD he says that's the version he's dialing with

And I am pretty sure that his IQ is significantly higher than yours, so I fail to see why you can't give him the benefit of the doubt. I tried to explain to you that you don't get his argument.

I said his statement is logical if we assume it's about a physical being that's true,it has nothing to do with his intelligence,it's the nature of the case,

Try this:
1. There are things in the world that are designed.
2. We observe that all such things are designed by an agent that is still more complex.
3. If man is designed, then the designer must be more complex than man.

you are still unassuming a physical derringer, if the mind that does the deigning is not governed by physical law then it doesn't have to be complex. Moreover, volition works with a simple thing evoking into greater compxity,

This has nothing to do with God being a "big man" who is subject to physical laws,

obviously it does because if he's not subject to physical law no basis for the claim that he :has to be: as complex--what would make the;has to be" if he;s not under physical law?



and Dawkins certainly understands that different people have various different views of God. He isn't making an assumption that there is one and only one view of God that must be true. It's just simple logic. He is presenting an argument for you to answer WITHOUT MAKING THE PRESUMPTIONS you make about the nature of God - because that would be begging the question.
7:24 AM


then why would there be a relationship between the complexity of the designer and the creation? what would it hurt if he was complex? if hes not under physical law tha provblity would not hold,

im-skeptical said...

yes he doe, in GD he says that's the version he's dialing with
- I don't think so.

I said his statement is logical if we assume it's about a physical being that's true
- No. It's only about the complexity of the designer. He said nothing about it being physical. That's YOUR presumption, not his.

obviously it does because if he's not subject to physical law no basis for the claim that he :has to be: as complex--what would make the;has to be" if he;s not under physical law?
- Joe, read my lips. That's YOUR presumption, not his. You make the assumption that complexity implies the physical. Nobody else here is making that presumption.

then why would there be a relationship between the complexity of the designer and the creation? what would it hurt if he was complex? if hes not under physical law tha provblity would not hold,
- It's based on observation. Designers are always more complex than the things they design. That's what we observe. This does not assume that the designer must be physical, or that the designer must be a "big man" with a white beard.

Joe Hinman said...

im-skeptical said...
yes he doe, in GD he says that's the version he's dialing with
- I don't think so.

then you may not have read it recently and forgot, I'll try to find it for you,

I said his statement is logical if we assume it's about a physical being that's true

- No. It's only about the complexity of the designer. He said nothing about it being physical. That's YOUR presumption, not his.

remember what i said now, the assumption of complexity is based upon physical law,no reason to assume spirit/mind would be compelx


obviously it does because if he's not subject to physical law no basis for the claim that he :has to be: as complex--what would make the;has to be" if he;s not under physical law?
- Joe, read my lips. That's YOUR presumption, not his. You make the assumption that complexity implies the physical. Nobody else here is making that presumption.

you are just being suborn It' pretty obvious, tel me why we should assume spirit or mind is complex. Mind doesn't require any physical space why would it be complex?


then why would there be a relationship between the complexity of the designer and the creation? what would it hurt if he was complex? if hes not under physical law tha provblity would not hold,
- It's based on observation.

observation? where do we observe spirit? where do we observe being itself?


Designers are always more complex than the things they design.

yes physical designers, that;s because of the way the physical world works,except for evolution which you did not answer, so Dawkins basing it on observation of physica

That's what we observe. This does not assume that the designer must be physical, or that the designer must be a "big man" with a white beard.

where is he swerving something not physical?


10:42 AM

Joe Hinman said...

Dawkins, The God Delusion, Op Cit, 37.38 he says he's dealing with "Bible God" he says he knows people don't literally believe in a big man with a white beard but his criticisms never get off the bible God page.

im-skeptical said...

Many Catholics and others believe in a divinely simple God who also happens to be the "God of Abraham". It is incongruous? Yes. Thet's the nature of theism.

im-skeptical said...

Moving on ...

The divine simplicity grounds the divine necessity. God is necessary because he is simple. It is easy to see that the divine simplicity also grounds God's possession of essential properties.
- I don't see any logical argument here. I just see Vallicella making presumptions, and then asserting that they are true. Is this the argument that you accept?

7th Stooge said...

This might be true, but what is the argument for it? It seems to me that all the things we know of that have complex (intrinsic) properties are also structurally complex. In fact, it is their structural complexity that allows them to be complex at the level of properties. So what we have in the case of a metaphysically simple God is, it seems to me, an argument from sheer conceivability:

The argument is that there is (arguably)an example of this in ourselves! I as a consciousness seem to be substantively simple, even if the psychological functions over which my consciousness deploys itself, eg perceiving, remembering, willing and so on, are varied. My consciousness doesn;t seem to have substantive parts even if it exhibits mulitple properties, now directed at this kind of object, now at that, and the different capacities that this represents. You might counter that my consciousness has temporal parts but I could say that this temporal division applies to the intentional objects only. I know that these are controversial claims but there is an argument there, even if it's ultimately not a very good one :)

Even if we restrict ourselves just to physical objects, consider a sphere of pure iron. At the macro scale there are no substantive parts unless you call form and matter substantive parts. Even if such a sphere isn;t metaphysically simple, it is one of the simplest of macro physical objects, but this relative simplicity isn;t matched by a corresponding simplicity of properties. It's an asymmetric relationship wich should give us pause in assuming a close correspondence.

Mike Gerow said...

... the "designer" aspect just says a designer has to have more knowledge than is necessary for designing a thing, because otherwise he or she would fail to be a "designer" - ie capable of different design choices - and be at best something like a "compiler". But Joe's whole issue might best be described as suggesting the anthpomorphic image of "God as designer" is being taken too far in some cases? Almost certainly, if theres a personal creator God, it's still not really the case that he or she "designed" the universe in some way that's directly comparable with a graphic artist or an engineer at work, and, in fact, Gods action is likely hardly comparable to that at all....even if that's the best image for it that we humans can come up with....so Dawkins criticism might apply to the to God's creative action per se - but only to a "metaphor" for it.

What about emergences? If the Newtonian world arises from the QM realm, does that mean QM is more complex than Newtonian physics?

.... Well, QM is certainly unusual, less familiar to us, but I'm not sure it's definitely "more complex" either.


Hmmmm....

Eric Sotnak said...

"The argument is that there is (arguably)an example of this in ourselves! I as a consciousness seem to be substantively simple...."

Here, too, we have an argument from conceivability.

1. I can conceive that my mind is a simple (non-material) substance.
2. Whatever is conceivable is possible.
3. Therefore, it is possible that my mind is a simple (non-material) substance.

But here is a counterargument.

1. My mind is complex in respect of properties.
2. Anything that is simple cannot be complex in respect of properties.
3. Therefore, my mind is not simple.

Not I am not defending this argument. I am suggesting that it is not obviously wrong, because we do not know whether or not the 2nd premise is true. Physicalist models of cognition have the advantage here, it seems to me, since they explain the diversity of cognitive functions in terms of the complex structure of the brain.

Also, are you supposing that complexity in cause only applies to cases where some phenomenon is divisible into parts or components? This is Descartes' divisibility argument all over again, isn't it?

7th Stooge said...

... the "designer" aspect just says a designer has to have more knowledge than is necessary for designing a thing, because otherwise he or she would fail to be a "designer" - ie capable of different design choices - and be at best something like a "compiler". But Joe's whole issue might best be described as suggesting the anthpomorphic image of "God as designer" is being taken too far in some cases? Almost certainly, if theres a personal creator God, it's still not really the case that he or she "designed" the universe in some way that's directly comparable with a graphic artist or an engineer at work, and, in fact, Gods action is likely hardly comparable to that at all....even if that's the best image for it that we humans can come up with....so Dawkins criticism might apply to the to God's creative action per se - but only to a "metaphor" for it.

That's the natural theology approach of the 18th century, imagining God as a master craftsmen or engineer. I think most theologians have moved on from that conception to one of God endowing reality with the potential for ordered complexity.

7th Stooge said...

Erik, I think the argument is that the nature of phenomenal concepts is immediately given; knowledge about them is constitutve rather than causal so that conceivability functions differently there than it does with respect to concepts like water. Where the ontology is made up of 'seemings,' then seemings behave differently than they would otherwise.

So the explanatory target of neuro- and cognitive sciences and psychology I would say is different from the target of consciousness. This is why the reductions from these disciplines don't seem to go through.

Also, are you supposing that complexity in cause only applies to cases where some phenomenon is divisible into parts or components? This is Descartes' divisibility argument all over again, isn't it?

What else would metaphysical complexity be other than divisibility inot aprts or components? Anyway, with the iron ball, it wasn't just complexity of cause but also of intrinsic properties like size, mass, weight, etc.

Joe Hinman said...

Many Catholics and others believe in a divinely simple God who also happens to be the "God of Abraham". It is incongruous? Yes. Thet's the nature of theism.

God of Abraham still not subject to laws of phyics

im-skeptical said...

God of Abraham still not subject to laws of phyics

- That's the God Dawkins is talking about. It is only you making presumptions about his nature. I don't hear Dawkins doing that, and you have no justification for reading things into is words and then calling him ignorant.

Mike Gerow said...

Many Catholics and others believe in a divinely simple God who also happens to be the "God of Abraham". It is incongruous? Yes. Thet's the nature of theism.

God of Abraham still not subject to laws of phyics


Yeh, it's pretty clear that "I AM THAT IAM" would not be subject to any law....

Joe Hinman said...

Yeh, it's pretty clear that "I AM THAT IAM" would not be subject to any law....

two thumbs up Mike.

Joe Hinman said...

That's the God Dawkins is talking about. It is only you making presumptions about his nature. I don't hear Dawkins doing that, and you have no justification for reading things into is words and then calling him ignorant.

you seem not to understand the basic concrete of argument, and you can't give me examples of what he really doe mean. If he;s not assuming God is subject to natural law why else would he have to be complex?

you say because designers usually are,well that's when they are naturalistic ones but not when they are the ground of being,

Joe Hinman said...

remember the point of the post was to show how we know God is simple not to prove Dawkins is wrong, but Skep has to prove he knows stuff he had to show he's right about something so he latches on that one point and takes the whole discussion into the ground,

im-skeptical said...

Joe, you seem not to understand the basic concrete of argument. I spelled mine out for you. Yes, designers are usually complex. In fact, they are always more complex than the thing they design, and you can't show us one single case of an exception to that. All you can do is BEG THE QUESTION by assuming that 1) God is a designer, and 2) God is simple. But both of those things are nothing more than faith-based assumptions. You haven't given your readers any reason to assume that they're true. You quoted from Valicalla, and I pointed out that he didn't even present a logical argument. He merely asserts what you assume to be true. I don't see an argument there. WHERE'S YOUR ARGUMENT?

Joe Hinman said...

im-skeptical said...
Joe, you seem not to understand the basic concrete of argument. I spelled mine out for you. Yes, designers are usually complex. In fact, they are always more complex than the thing they design, and you can't show us one single case of an exception to that.

I don't have to because are no other examples of God than God, the only designer who can be like God is God, I can't show another example,all the designers you are talking about are physical beings,STOP IGNORING THAT YOU HAVE PASSED IT OVER SEVERAL TIME NOW IT CHANGES THE WHOLE ARGUMENT, YOU LOST,



All you can do is BEG THE QUESTION by assuming that 1) God is a designer, and 2) God is simple.

we are talking about God a priori so it can't be begging the question that is really foolish reasoning,makes me wonder if you understand begging the question


But both of those things are nothing more than faith-based assumptions. You haven't given your readers any reason to assume that they're true.

I never said I was making an argument for the existence of god,i said the opposite, so that's not a point. I show that if God exit he has to be simple so Dawkins argument doesn't apply,that was not even the point of the post, you totally missed the point. You don'teen understand the reason I gave for /god being simple so calling it faith based is jut pajoirative.


You quoted from Valicalla, and I pointed out that he didn't even present a logical argument. He merely asserts what you assume to be true. I don't see an argument there. WHERE'S YOUR ARGUMENT?

im-skeptical said...

I don't have to because are no other examples of God than God, the only designer who can be like God is God, I can't show another example,all the designers you are talking about are physical beings,STOP IGNORING THAT YOU HAVE PASSED IT OVER SEVERAL TIME NOW IT CHANGES THE WHOLE ARGUMENT, YOU LOST

- No, Joe. All the designers I'm talking about are all the designers we know of. STOP IGNORING THAT YOU HAVE PASSED IT OVER SEVERAL TIME NOW IT CHANGES THE WHOLE ARGUMENT, YOU LOST.

Joe Hinman said...


Blogger im-skeptical said...
I don't have to because are no other examples of God than God, the only designer who can be like God is God, I can't show another example,all the designers you are talking about are physical beings,STOP IGNORING THAT YOU HAVE PASSED IT OVER SEVERAL TIME NOW IT CHANGES THE WHOLE ARGUMENT, YOU LOST

- No, Joe. All the designers I'm talking about are all the designers we know of. STOP IGNORING THAT YOU HAVE PASSED IT OVER SEVERAL TIME NOW IT CHANGES THE WHOLE ARGUMENT, YOU LOST.

It seem you really don;t understand the basic issues at play here,knowing designers is not the issue, I know Frank Loyd Wright he was subject the laws of nature,

you are not getting it, the examples you can give other than God are subject to physical law,


God is not subject to physical law,top wasting my time


8:57 AM Delete

im-skeptical said...

It seem you really don;t understand the basic issues at play here

I get it perfectly well, Joe. Your imaginary God has whatever qualities and attributes you say he has because that's the way you define him. And if I speak to another theist who believes different things about HIS imaginary God, he will tell me the same thing. But here's a basic issue the you don't seem to understand. I live in the world of reality, and in my world, arguments have to be sound if you want people to buy them. You don't get to invent your own rules of logic, and you can't just define things into existence, the way you have done. I asked you to present your argument, rather than just asserting that what you believe is true, and you can't make any cogent logical argument for it. You have nothing.

im-skeptical said...

we are talking about God a priori so it can't be begging the question that is really foolish reasoning,makes me wonder if you understand begging the question

- The good old A Priori Gambit

Joe Hinman said...

m-skeptical said...
we are talking about God a priori so it can't be begging the question that is really foolish reasoning,makes me wonder if you understand begging the question

- The good old A Priori Gambit

you apparently have no idea what that words means,

im-skeptical said...

I know that you use a priori as an excuse to claim knowledge that you don't have.

Joe Hinman said...

im-skeptical said...
I know that you use a priori as an excuse to claim knowledge that you don't have.
7:21 AM

go back and look at what I said,It involved the inherent logic of the sentence,this is why I say you don;t understand what a priori means,you think there's only one use for it and that's the third rate Christian apoloetics use,

you said: "I get it perfectly well, Joe. Your imaginary God has whatever qualities and attributes you say he has because that's the way you define him."

that's what I'm saying yes that is the way we define him if it ant got that then we ant talking about him,

that is i not the say he exists because I define him as exiting, that's
a totally different issue. God existing is different from God being simple. The concept of God can be that of a simple thing regardless of it's existence or lack thereof, that is a priori truth. A truth tahtis true by definition.

im-skeptical said...

A truth tahtis true by definition.

- The problem with ontological arguments is that they define God into existence. It is really a form of circular reasoning. Something isn't true because you define it that way. Rather, your definition is true only if it describes an actual existing state of affairs. A priori knowledge doesn't exist simply because you define something a certain way. It only holds if the thing you define exists. And you can't know that without some kind of observation. Therefore, it's not really a priori knowledge, is it?

Joe Hinman said...


- The problem with ontological arguments is that they define God into existence. It is really a form of circular reasoning. Something isn't true because you define it that way.

No. It is not defining God into existence. thinning that proves you don't know much but that's irrelevant because I said nothing about a God argument,a priori reasoning is not just about God.


Rather, your definition is true only if it describes an actual existing state of affairs.

No you don't understand logic. There are two kinds of reasoning a priori and a postoriori, the latter is empirical and the former is true by definition. something does not have to be actual to be true by definition, example, all husbands are married men,that is an a prori truth,but there may not be any married men, it;s still true if there are married men they are husbands. We don't have to check all the busbands we know by defintino theyaremarriedmen,


A priori knowledge doesn't exist simply because you define something a certain way.

no one thinks it does,


It only holds if the thing you define exists. And you can't know that without some kind of observation. Therefore, it's not really a priori knowledge, is it?

yes you can. If you know what the terms mean you know the a priri truth of it, If you know Jackie and jills brother than you now by definition they gave the same parents,

you don't understand how the ontological argument works, you are going by atheist propaganda but most atheists are now willing to learn,

im-skeptical said...

No you don't understand logic. There are two kinds of reasoning a priori and a postoriori, the latter is empirical and the former is true by definition
- See my post The A Priori Gambit. A priori knowledge is what you claim to be true without observation. But the problem is that just because you have an intuition or a feeling, it isn't necessarily true.

example, all husbands are married men,that is an a prori truth,but there may not be any married men, it;s still true if there are married men they are husbands.
- It's true by definition only because the definition reflects reality. I can define a "shmarkle" to be a married bachelor. My definition would be false because the state of affairs it describes can't exist. I can define a "vericorn" to be creature that lives on Mars. My definition would be false because it describes a state of affairs that doesn't exist. You can define "God" as a being than which no greater can be conceived. Your definition would be false because it describes a state of affairs that can't exist. And no matter how hard you try to make it true, you're just playing games with the definitions of words.

you don't understand how the ontological argument works, you are going by atheist propaganda but most atheists are now willing to learn
- Philosophers don't buy it. Most reasonable theists don't buy it.

Ryan M said...

1. Every designer is more complex than its design(s).
2. If God exists, then God is simple.
3. If God exists, then God is a designer.
4. If God is a designer, then there exists a design from God.
5. If God is simple, and there exists a design from God, then there exists a designer that is less complex than its design.
6. God exists. (Assumption)
7. Therefore, God is simple. (From 2,6)
8. Therefore, God is a designer.(From 3 ,6)
9. Therefore, there exists a design from God.(From 4, 8)
10. Therefore, there exists a designer which is less complex than its design.(From 5, 7, 9)
11. Every designer is more complex than its design(s). (From 1)
12. Therefore, it is not the case that God exists. (From 6 - 11)

I think Skep has an argument like this in mind, and he's saying that you can only refute it by showing an example of premise 1 being wrong. Stating, say, that premise 1 is false because it would be false "If God exists..." won't help unless you can use "God exists" as a premise. Outside of providing a counter to his argument, you ought to rely on an argument for premise 1 being presented by Skep.

Unless we have a counter to premise 1, saying God would be simple, but providing no proof/evidence for God, does nothing but make it appear that there is a convincing reductio of theism.

Joe Hinman said...

Ryan M said...
1. Every designer is more complex than its design(s).
2. If God exists, then God is simple.
3. If God exists, then God is a designer.
4. If God is a designer, then there exists a design from God.
5. If God is simple, and there exists a design from God, then there exists a designer that is less complex than its design.
6. God exists. (Assumption)
7. Therefore, God is simple. (From 2,6)
8. Therefore, God is a designer.(From 3 ,6)
9. Therefore, there exists a design from God.(From 4, 8)
10. Therefore, there exists a designer which is less complex than its design.(From 5, 7, 9)
11. Every designer is more complex than its design(s). (From 1)
12. Therefore, it is not the case that God exists. (From 6 - 11)


The whole issue is moot because it can't apply to God. for two reasons:
(1)two different kinds of simplicity are at issue, the reason Dawkins gives why complexity i less likely-- the problem with God being complex-- only applies to a physical thing that evolves not apply to God, (2) A designer may have to be more complex than the design but a consciousness not linked to physical brain might not be a liability in the way that Dawkins's argument assumes,since his argument applies to physical objects.


I think Skep has an argument like this in mind, and he's saying that you can only refute it by showing an example of premise 1 being wrong. Stating, say, that premise 1 is false because it would be false "If God exists..." won't help unless you can use "God exists" as a premise. Outside of providing a counter to his argument, you ought to rely on an argument for premise 1 being presented by Skep.

I think what I just said beats it. I might just while skep's argumet might be a good argent against some more conventional notion of God, if we think of God as less a designer more like a principle like evolution then its not even applicableL

Unless we have a counter to premise 1, saying God would be simple, but providing no proof/evidence for God, does nothing but make it appear that there is a convincing reductio of theism.

show me why God being complex is a problem show me why the kind of simplicity doesn't matter,

12:30 AM Delete

Joe Hinman said...

m-skeptical said...
No you don't understand logic. There are two kinds of reasoning a priori and a postoriori, the latter is empirical and the former is true by definition

- See my post The A Priori Gambit. A priori knowledge is what you claim to be true without observation. But the problem is that just because you have an intuition or a feeling, it isn't necessarily true.

a proiori is not based upon i tuition it; bawd upon the logic of the terms, I did not make a priori argent I said one phrase I used was true by definition, You are just reacting t buzz words you don;t really understand the issues involved,

example, all husbands are married men,that is an a prori truth,but there may not be any married men, it;s still true if there are married men they are husbands.


- It's true by definition only because the definition reflects reality.

no not in the example of that sentence or the use of the term,any time I ay husband it;s a married man it doesn;t matter if there are any about or not,

I can define a "shmarkle" to be a married bachelor. My definition would be false because the state of affairs it describes can't exist.


no that's wrong, the meaning of the term doesn't change, just because there are no example doesn't mean the meaning changes. If you notice the thing make the tern nonsensical is the meaning of the other two terms,,

I can define a "vericorn" to be creature that lives on Mars. My definition would be false because it describes a state of affairs that doesn't exist.






You can define "God" as a being than which no greater can be conceived. Your definition would be false because it describes a state of affairs that can't exist. And no matter how hard you try to make it true, you're just playing games with the definitions of words.

no that would be why it has no actual referent but it would not be wrong it would still mean that; what you are saying i saying the term Zeus doe not refer to a god because no gods exist,

that is not how a prori reposing workings relation to God arguments,
the thing is it's complicated and you don't want it to be true so you jut cant force yourself to listen long enough to get it., a priori reasoning does not work in God arguments by saying God must exist because I define him a existing,


you don't understand how the ontological argument works, you are going by atheist propaganda but most atheists are now willing to learn

- Philosophers don't buy it. Most reasonable theists don't buy it.

some do and those who don't are impressed by the work of those who do.


a priri reasoning is not about the ontological argument per se I did not make the ontological argument here.

Ryan M said...

Dawkins targets God as being complex to counter a sort of design argument which stipulates that complexity requires design. E.g:

1. If something is complex, then it has a designer.
2. The universe is complex.
3. Therefore, the universe has a designer.

Argument 2:

1. Every designer is more complex than its design(s).
2. If something is complex, then it has a designer.
3. If God exists, then God designed earth.
4. The earth is complex.
5. Therefore, if God exists, then God is more complex than earth.
6. Anything more complex than a complex thing is itself complex.
7. Therefore, if God exists, then God is complex.
8. Therefore, if God exists, then God has a designer.

This, I think, captures the sort of counter argument I believe Dawkins had in mind against a particular sort of design argument. So, to what extend does God being complex matter? It matters if we discover that God is complex and try to advocate that the same sort of complexity implies design. To avoid this issue, one must either not advocate such a design argument or deny Dawkins first premise.

Simplicity doesn't matter for the reason I outlined. If we accept the first premise that all designers are more complex than their designs, and we accept that God being simple implies God has no complexity, then we must conclude that God did not design anything whatsoever. Your response is to say the domain of premise 1 is just the physical, but I don't see why that would be. If complexity is measured by perhaps the shortest algorithm that can be used to describe a thing, then whether something is physical or not doesn't seem to matter.

Joe Hinman said...


This, I think, captures the sort of counter argument I believe Dawkins had in mind against a particular sort of design argument. So, to what extend does God being complex matter? It matters if we discover that God is complex and try to advocate that the same sort of complexity implies design. To avoid this issue, one must either not advocate such a design argument or deny Dawkins first premise.

He's right to counter that argument but he does go beyond that and intimates that this argument cats aspersions on Gods existence, and he clearly seems to be trying to apply physical law to God,

Simplicity doesn't matter for the reason I outlined. If we accept the first premise that all designers are more complex than their designs, and we accept that God being simple implies God has no complexity, then we must conclude that God did not design anything whatsoever.

you just gave me the just when you said "and we accept that God being simple implies God has no complexity." Examine previous discussion you will see I said first that its the type of simplicity/complexity that matters and that God is simple in some ways and complx in others


Your response is to say the domain of premise 1 is just the physical, but I don't see why that would be. If complexity is measured by perhaps the shortest algorithm that can be used to describe a thing, then whether something is physical or not doesn't seem to matter.

Even if we accept premise one the argument there i no cart blanch against God since I just said he can complex in other way, I believe I explained by being not physical mattes, We have no knowledge non physical designer.

Two things can be argued here,(1) that since we don't know about non physical things we might say P1 ha no teeth, but I don't like because it seems like special pleading. we could also say (2) I did say God could be complex and since the consequences of being complex apply only to a subject which is subject to physical law they would not be superior to God. This is not special pleading because God created physical law it's always been accepted that he is not subject to his own creation,that;s what makes him God.


this did not begin as a discussion about the failure of Dawkins,I merely used him as example of someone with the wrong concept of simplicity,