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The Prior Probability of God

Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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11/22/2014 12:53:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
This is cut and paste out of one of my debates, and was hoping for some feedback on the argument. The argument comes in 2 parts and seeks to establish a prior probability of God existing before one looks at the evidence. Consequently it also represents the probability of God existing if all evidence for God was non-existent.

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Skepticism is rational

Rejecting claims that are absent evidence or reasons for accepting them is a rational, and the only rational stance to take. We do not need to wait for evidence of non-existence, or non-truth to assume a claim is false first.

I will demonstrate such by reducio ad absurdum, that is to accept positive claims (such as those for asserting existence) are true, or more likely true than false a priori. To give a colloquial example, it is more likely true than false that there is a teapot in existence a specific location around Mars.

A: All positive claims are more likely true than false (Assumption)

Then we need to consider what such an assumption would entail. It would mean we could make a list of every single logically possible claim that can be conceived, and label them "more likely true than false" at first sight. Here I can insert these all as premises:

1) Therefore, claim A is more likely true than false
2) Therefore, claim B is more likely true than false
3) Therefore, claim C is more likely true than false
Infinity) Therefore, claim """ is more likely true than false

What we also need to consider though, is that claims don"t occur in a vacuum, they exist within our reality, within our universe. At the very least they exist conceptually, and hence subject to logical laws, it also means that the concept that is real cannot contradict anything in reality. For every positive claim, there are an infinite number of mutually exclusive claims, for example a teapot at Cartesian location (x,y,z) around Mars means there cannot be also be a kettle at Cartesian location (x,y,z) around Mars, nor anything and everything else physical.

Therefore, we know that the assumption "all positive claims are more likely true than false" is a false one.

To complete the argument:

A: All positive claims are more likely true than false (Assumption)
P1) If "A" is true, then at least one positive claim is more likely true than false
P2) If one positive claim is more likely true than false, then another positive claim is more likely false than true
P3) If one positive claim is more likely false than true, then not all positive claims are more likely true than false
C) If positive claims are more likely true than false, then not all positive claims are more likely true than false. "A" entails a contradiction; therefore "A" is false.

Via. reducio ad absurdum, the notion that we should accept all claims more likely true than false is dispelled. This does not entail from scepticism, which assumes all claims are more likely false than true. In fact, scepticism is the *only* position which does not run into variations of the argument I have just presented, since claims of non-existence doesn"t entail anything that can contradict any positive claims.

It"s for this reason why mathematical proofs are sceptical until the logical progression can be shown. Why scientific papers are most frequently rejected, and why any claim in academia is rejected until sufficient evidence is given for its positive truth. It establishes the burden of proof, which on scepticism is always on the one with the positive claim. In this case, the God hypothesis.

Application of Skepticism to God

There is no singular definition of "God", but most would agree at the very least it would have the following attributes:

Omnipotence
Omniscience
Intelligence
Free Will
Causal Agency
Creator of the universe

There are a plethora of other attributes, but they are unnecessary for my argument. It is little in despite there can only ever be one omnipotence, and one omniscience, and one creator of the universe. These are *exclusive* claims to God, and God only. It follows logically then that to assert a being with the above six attributes to be true is to assert:

1. The positive claim of anything else having omnipotence is false
2. The positive claim of anything else having omniscience is false
3. The positive claim of anything else creating the universe is false

As such we already see where scepticism comes in, because we have no reason a priori to think any of these 3 claims are any more likely than the "God" claim of six attributes is to be false. Moreover, the definition of God I provided is much more complex than the simple contradictory claims I made (omnipotence omniscience, universal creation), which runs into Occam"s Razor.

Therefore, from what I have argued so far, it is not unreasonable to not believe in God. No more unreasonable to not believe in God"s existence than it is to not believe in any other mythological claim (Leprechauns, Santa Claus, etc).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hopefully some atheists can weigh in on this too.
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,095
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11/22/2014 8:49:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/22/2014 12:53:12 PM, Envisage wrote:
This is cut and paste out of one of my debates, and was hoping for some feedback on the argument. The argument comes in 2 parts and seeks to establish a prior probability of God existing before one looks at the evidence. Consequently it also represents the probability of God existing if all evidence for God was non-existent.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Skepticism is rational

Rejecting claims that are absent evidence or reasons for accepting them is a rational, and the only rational stance to take. We do not need to wait for evidence of non-existence, or non-truth to assume a claim is false first.

I will demonstrate such by reducio ad absurdum, that is to accept positive claims (such as those for asserting existence) are true, or more likely true than false a priori. To give a colloquial example, it is more likely true than false that there is a teapot in existence a specific location around Mars.

A: All positive claims are more likely true than false (Assumption)

Then we need to consider what such an assumption would entail. It would mean we could make a list of every single logically possible claim that can be conceived, and label them "more likely true than false" at first sight. Here I can insert these all as premises:

1) Therefore, claim A is more likely true than false
2) Therefore, claim B is more likely true than false
3) Therefore, claim C is more likely true than false
Infinity) Therefore, claim """ is more likely true than false

What we also need to consider though, is that claims don"t occur in a vacuum, they exist within our reality, within our universe. At the very least they exist conceptually, and hence subject to logical laws, it also means that the concept that is real cannot contradict anything in reality. For every positive claim, there are an infinite number of mutually exclusive claims, for example a teapot at Cartesian location (x,y,z) around Mars means there cannot be also be a kettle at Cartesian location (x,y,z) around Mars, nor anything and everything else physical.

Therefore, we know that the assumption "all positive claims are more likely true than false" is a false one.

To complete the argument:

A: All positive claims are more likely true than false (Assumption)
P1) If "A" is true, then at least one positive claim is more likely true than false
P2) If one positive claim is more likely true than false, then another positive claim is more likely false than true
P3) If one positive claim is more likely false than true, then not all positive claims are more likely true than false
C) If positive claims are more likely true than false, then not all positive claims are more likely true than false. "A" entails a contradiction; therefore "A" is false.

Via. reducio ad absurdum, the notion that we should accept all claims more likely true than false is dispelled. This does not entail from scepticism, which assumes all claims are more likely false than true. In fact, scepticism is the *only* position which does not run into variations of the argument I have just presented, since claims of non-existence doesn"t entail anything that can contradict any positive claims.

It"s for this reason why mathematical proofs are sceptical until the logical progression can be shown. Why scientific papers are most frequently rejected, and why any claim in academia is rejected until sufficient evidence is given for its positive truth. It establishes the burden of proof, which on scepticism is always on the one with the positive claim. In this case, the God hypothesis.

Application of Skepticism to God

There is no singular definition of "God", but most would agree at the very least it would have the following attributes:

Omnipotence
Omniscience
Intelligence
Free Will
Causal Agency
Creator of the universe

There are a plethora of other attributes, but they are unnecessary for my argument. It is little in despite there can only ever be one omnipotence, and one omniscience, and one creator of the universe. These are *exclusive* claims to God, and God only. It follows logically then that to assert a being with the above six attributes to be true is to assert:

1. The positive claim of anything else having omnipotence is false
2. The positive claim of anything else having omniscience is false
3. The positive claim of anything else creating the universe is false

As such we already see where scepticism comes in, because we have no reason a priori to think any of these 3 claims are any more likely than the "God" claim of six attributes is to be false. Moreover, the definition of God I provided is much more complex than the simple contradictory claims I made (omnipotence omniscience, universal creation), which runs into Occam"s Razor.

Therefore, from what I have argued so far, it is not unreasonable to not believe in God. No more unreasonable to not believe in God"s existence than it is to not believe in any other mythological claim (Leprechauns, Santa Claus, etc).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hopefully some atheists can weigh in on this too.

As usual, your logic is impressive. I'm surprised no one has commented on this.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
james14
Posts: 68
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11/22/2014 8:56:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
You know why no else commented? Because your reasoning is LONG and HARD TO FOLLOW. Could you possibly post a brief summary to help me realize what all that was really about, possibly one with bullet points? Mainly, what did all that have to do with God?
Maybe I'm a genius; maybe not.

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Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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11/22/2014 10:22:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/22/2014 8:56:43 PM, james14 wrote:
You know why no else commented? Because your reasoning is LONG and HARD TO FOLLOW. Could you possibly post a brief summary to help me realize what all that was really about, possibly one with bullet points? Mainly, what did all that have to do with God?

The second part of the argument relates the concept to God, with the same reasoning process.

I could reformulate the reducio to make it more explicit, which is the main thing here:

A: All positive claims are more likely true than false (Assumption)
1. If "A" is true, then at least one positive claim is more likely true than false
2. If one positive claim is more likely true than false, then another positive claim is more likely false than true
3. If one positive claim is more likely false than true, then not all positive claims are more likely true than false
4. If all positive claims are more likely true than false, then not all positive claims are more likely true than false. (A & Not A)
5. "A" entails a contradiction; therefore "A" must be false.
jodybirdy
Posts: 2,089
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11/22/2014 10:38:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/22/2014 10:22:50 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 11/22/2014 8:56:43 PM, james14 wrote:
You know why no else commented? Because your reasoning is LONG and HARD TO FOLLOW. Could you possibly post a brief summary to help me realize what all that was really about, possibly one with bullet points? Mainly, what did all that have to do with God?

The second part of the argument relates the concept to God, with the same reasoning process.

I could reformulate the reducio to make it more explicit, which is the main thing here:

A: All positive claims are more likely true than false (Assumption)
1. If "A" is true, then at least one positive claim is more likely true than false
2. If one positive claim is more likely true than false, then another positive claim is more likely false than true
3. If one positive claim is more likely false than true, then not all positive claims are more likely true than false
4. If all positive claims are more likely true than false, then not all positive claims are more likely true than false. (A & Not A)
5. "A" entails a contradiction; therefore "A" must be false.

Sounds reasonable enough to me. Though somewhat hard to follow. I've always stuck to the motto that verbosity leads to unclear things. But I like your logic.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral."
DanneJeRusse
Posts: 12,609
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11/23/2014 11:46:45 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/23/2014 11:03:37 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
At church. ;)

Yes, revitalize and reaffirm the indoctrination. Like a shot in the arm, the pain brings on a smile and all the logic, reason and rationale of reality facing you the entire week disappears like magic.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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11/23/2014 12:59:51 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/23/2014 11:46:45 AM, DanneJeRusse wrote:
At 11/23/2014 11:03:37 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
At church. ;)

Yes, revitalize and reaffirm the indoctrination. Like a shot in the arm, the pain brings on a smile and all the logic, reason and rationale of reality facing you the entire week disappears like magic.

Cool story, bro. Do you have anything relevant to say? No? Then don't waste my time.
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