If God exists, why do so many people doubt?


Are you saying that AI is utterly impossible?!

Can you explain that as if I’m very dumb, please? I don’t follow. What does that “like” mean?

Maybe not self awareness as the one you wish to depict as the sole property of human beings, but you must admit that there is some level of it in the fly. There is the clear distinction between the self and the non-self.

Do say… how does evolution work?
I’m skipping the rest of your questionnaire, as it’s mostly nonsense.

Indeed. Anyone is free to propose any notion for explaining how things work… and how they got to be the way they are.
But I’d like to only accept those that actually match with reality.

You might want to google “fine tuning debunked” and then come back. Why do people still trot that tired old thing?..
Oh… and chance in evolution… sure… This is one subject on which you should read up on your Dawkins. He likes to use his example of “mount improbable”… maybe you could google that for a start.

Did I do that, now? hmmm interesting…

Question: do theists generally claim there to be a good probability that a god exists? Or that its existence is beyond doubt?


As in AI that is self aware and capable of abstract thinking? Yes, yes it is impossible to our current knowledge.
We have robots called “AI”, but these are learning robots modeled after the brain. For instance, Google Deep Mind is a chess “AI”. It learned to play high-level chess, only given the rules and a lot of games. However, it does not abstract nor is it self aware. It even is not as good at learning as we humans are: it learned very quickly to play chess but that was after thousands upon thousands upon thousands (I think millions actually) of games, that were simply simulated very quickly. A chess grandmaster is not as good at chess, but learns to play chess at a competent level with much less experience.

My point is that AI in the sense we are talking about is impossible, and that AI that does exist is not the same sense that we mean.

Just change the like to “that”.

Alright, if you wanna say the fly has self awareness, you go ahead. But, if you’re a materialist, it doesn’t really do you such a favor. If the fly is actually self aware, then that means it is available to something even with so simple a brain as a fly, which can make sense if you believe in the soul which aids in this attribute, but less sense if you believe it in a materialist standpoint. It should be easy to make matter self aware of its existence, then! And yet…what we know seems to go in the opposite direction.


Yeah, no. What “people” named Skepchik, Holy Koolaid, and Camels with Hammers have to say about fine tuning hasn’t made it “tired” or “old.”

Let’s try starting with a qualified astrophysicist to get a basic handle on the question.


From this on the abstract:
"I do not attempt to defend any conclusion based on the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligen life. This paper can be viewed as a critique of Stenger’s book, or read independently."
To this on the conclusions:
“We conclude that the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of life.”

Something didn’t go right…

Of course, you give me a postdoc with a critique on a book, I can give you a world renowned cosmologist who claims the opposite: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/sean-carroll-debunks-the-fine-tuning-argument-for-god/.

Go figure!


I have never doubted the existence of God. But I have always seen it as faith and only faith. We will never prove he is real.


I suspect you need to spend more than – at the very most – 19 minutes reading a 70+ page paper that concerns the subtleties of a complicated topic like astrophysics.

By "I do not attempt to defend any conclusion based on the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life," I suspect that Barnes meant any conclusions that others might hastily claim derive FROM his conclusion that the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of life. Conclusions like, for example, those that a theist might claim about which divine being is responsible for the fine-tuning. That sort of thing.

He wasn’t contradicting himself. It is just that a hasty reader, eager to find some reason to critique Barnes, might get the impression that he was because of that reader’s unwillingness to read or think carefully about what was written.



Sean Carrol is a world-renowned atheist with an axe to grind and severely hampered by his ability to critique his own thinking.

A philosopher’s take on Carroll…

Carroll tells us that explanation in physics proceeds by way of building a “model” that describes a “mathematical system” reflecting “patterns, unbreakable rules, laws of nature.” Fine and dandy; I’ve pointed this out many times myself. If Carroll’s point were merely that, to the extent that theism can’t be formulated in such mathematical terms, it just isn’t the sort of thing the physicist will find a useful explanation for the specific sorts of phenomena he’s interested in, then I wouldn’t necessarily have any problem with that…

But Carroll goes beyond that. When he says that once you’ve hit upon the best mathematical model, whatever it turns out to be, “there is no need for any extra metaphysical baggage… on top of that,” he evidently means not just that you don’t need anything more for the purposes of physics, specifically, but that you don’t need anything more than that, period. For he says that asking for more is “precisely the wrong way to think about how the fundamental reality works” and that “our metaphysics must follow our physics.” The idea seems to be that once you’ve answered all the questions in physics, you’ve answered all the questions that can be answered, including all the metaphysical questions. There’s nothing more to be done, not just nothing more for the physicist to do.

Now, why should anyone believe that claim (which is essentially just a version of scientism)? Carroll gives no argument for it at all; he just asserts it with confidence. …

Nor could there be a good argument for Carroll’s scientism, because scientism is demonstrably false. For one thing, “scientism” is more poorly defined than Carroll claims theism is. However we tighten up our definition of notions like “science,” “physics,” and the like, the resulting scientism is going to be either self-refutingor completely trivial

For another thing, to suppose that since physics confines itself to mathematical models, it follows that there is nothing more to reality than is captured by such models, is fallaciously to draw a metaphysical conclusion from a mere methodological stipulation. The problem is not just that, if there are features of reality which cannot be captured in terms of a mathematical model, then the methods of physics are guaranteed not to capture them (though that is bad enough). It is that there must in fact be more to reality than is captured by those methods, in part because (as Bertrand Russell noted) physics gives us only structure, and structure presupposes something which has the structure and which a purely structural description will of necessity fail to capture.


Yeah, well… as a critique of a book and with a less than one page summary of said book, I can’t be arsed to read the critique, as I haven’t read the book.

Or perhaps he thinks he’s beyond what philosophers think.
My speculation: if you assume mathematical models as abstractions, as metaphysical descriptors, and physics as a selector of which model corresponds to reality, one comes to read that quote you put there by the philosopher as a garble of someone who can’t discern maths from physics from science.
I think that, regardless of how accurate the models we come up with are, metaphysics endorsing philosophers with little grasp of mathematics will crop up.

Does metaphysics endure the absence of reasoning entities like human beings? If yes, then maybe there is a realm of the meta; if not, then the physical Universe would go on however it would - if there were physicists, they’d attempt to describe it.
How to ascertain which is factual?


I wouldn’t be so sure…
Computer AI passes Turing test in 'world first’
To be fair, that one turned out to be slightly dodgy, but things are getting there… it seems close.

And it becomes
"It is a nonstarter and the most obvious thing in the world that the process that brought forth life which has abstract thinking and self awareness brought forth that which had abstract thinking and self awareness. It’s a truism, and nothing anyone is denying."

ok… no argument from me there.

Why do you say this?

If you write a class in some object oriented programming language, there will always be the “self” object reference. Even the most basic computer program is aware of the self.
Certainly, it’s a very very very rudimentary awareness. Probably even more rudimentary than the fly’s. But it is a form of self awareness, is it not?
From these two examples, one can envision a sort of scale of self awareness… with the computer program at the bottom, then some bugs, animals, apes/dogs/cats and, to the best of our knowledge, humans would stand as the most self-aware entities, thus far.


I would say because we are fallen and we live in a sinful world, therefore we are mislead by voices that are NOT God’s, temptation, sin, etc. Yet, we always seem drawn back to something “higher”…and I think pretty much everyone has some sense that this isn’t all there is to the world. Some people fill that hole with worshiping nature, praying to a vague “creator”, but it’s God. :slight_smile:


Google, you say?

About that…

Apparently, he takes progressive leftists eating their own – quite literally – to be the next step in the “evolution” trajectory.

Tell me again how atheism isn’t a pseudo-religion. :thinking:


Yeah, no. If you look past clickbaity headlines, though a lot of things are called AI, they aren’t really AI. What that link is about is a chatbot which sometimes sounded human enough. That is not at all self awareness.

I don’t know if we’re talking about two different things or what, but I find it totally asinine to imply that a computer program is self aware because there’s a “self” object reference within the code.


Some physicists believe the universe sprang from nothing. I don’t pretend to really understand it myself. I am not an atheist, by the way; I am a believer in the Holy Trinity, who thinks if the universe did spring from nothing, God intended it that way:


Going off on a tangent, aren’t you?
Also, Breitbart? Really?!

Oh, and he was suggesting eating lab-grown human flesh. Not “their own”, not even literally.

And I was suggesting you read up on evolution, not cannibalism, or whatever you were searching for…

If we reach the point where you can’t tell the difference, then… how can you claim that it’s not self awareness?

Oh?.. are we going down the insult path?
Because that’s what I thought when you said:



I do believe I’ve asked for clarification on these, but I’m yet to see it.


Ah, yes, deflect away using fallacious logic. You really should read up on the Genetic Fallacy. Google it!

Except that he is advocating that humans ought to “get over” what he calls the “taboo” of eating human flesh and that lab grown human flesh is a means to get over that taboo. Why would he be advocating “getting over” eating human flesh if he wasn’t literally claiming it is okay to eat other humans?

You suggested that I read up on Dawkins, not evolution.
Your sage advice: “This is one subject on which you should read up on your Dawkins.


Except Feser proves that Carroll is not “beyond” what philosophers think because his logic is self-refuting. And your merely imaging that he thinks at some superior level does not make it so.
Carroll’s thoughts are not higher than all human logic merely because you assert it.
You still have to prove it.

I thought you were big on proof rather than man in the sky dreams, yet here you are espousing what you won’t endure if a theist tried it.

Again your presumption is that philosophers like Feser are merely inept at mathematics and you offer no proof or evidence for that, just “speculation” amounting to empty “what if” thinking.

Then you move from a presumption that Feser doesn’t sufficiently comprehend mathematics to “put there by the philosopher as a garble of someone who can’t discern maths from physics from science.” Nice assertion without any logical proof you have written. In other words, you presume that Feser doesn’t know math, then argue based upon that presumption that his article is merely “a garble,” without so much as considering or even reading, let alone comprehending his points. Nice work!

Besides the fact that Feser’s argument is a logical one that doesn’t require any knowledge of mathematics to be true, he is a trained analytic philosopher. So your point amounts to deflection, not a rebuttal. You would see that if you were a competent philosopher.

Whether the universe goes on however it does or endures, it still requires an underlying ontological structure even if that structure can be fully depicted by mathematics. The mathematical depiction itself cannot be the metaphysical “substance” of which it is made, unless you want to go all Pythagorean on us.


Do you know how chat bots work? They don’t have self awareness. They take up tons of data and then puts out sentences that seem they would make sense. It is not perfect, so sometimes the sentences are really strange. Other times, they seem more realistic. I do not see the connection to self awareness.

No, we are not going down the insult path. I truly find the idea that was promulgated asinine. That is not an insult to you. I don’t know if we are speaking about different concepts or what, but to claim that a computer can think about itself, know itself, ponder it’s existence, etc., because a code includes a ‘self’ referential is ridiculous. It is a coding mechanic useful for the programmer. The program doesn’t think, but run.

For clarification, I am speaking of abstract thought. We can think about our thinking, justice, our own self, etc.


Yeah… riiight…
I think you need to take a break, then take a deep breath and read that again… slowly.

Feser is using Carroll’s words to “prove” that, but without doing the proper legwork to understand them.
I’m sure even I can prove Feser’s words to be logically self-refuting if I take all my info from some lecture or debate that he’s made.
Often, there’s no time to properly define the terminology, so one goes with their own and that can be misinterpreted.

You know?.. Muslims often claim that their religion, based on their own holy book is a completely logic one.
Just like with them, I don’t doubt the logic in Feser’s points.
I see a misunderstanding of what I interpret from what Carroll says about mathematical models providing all the needed underlying structure for the physics.

Also, I don’t remember ever claiming that I’m a philosopher, let alone a competent one.
I just try to be what is called around here a “tudólogo”, which is extra difficult given my notorious bad memory.

I see you’re getting it. :slight_smile:

Perhaps… perhaps not as a depiction, but as the underlying mathematical concepts.
Depictions are always charged with our agreed upon representations and symbology.


I know how archaic chat bots work… or even bots with machine learning under their hood.
I’ve read about AI which is taught actual concepts and it then develops itself around those and new ones it can learn.
I remember seeing a video on “project milo” and being impressed… although there’s nothing that says it wasn’t scripted. It’s impressive if it’s true… sadly, it seems to have been discontinued and we’ll never really know.

Indeed, that would be ridiculous… luckily, it’s not at all what I was saying.
I’m not attributing human-level self awareness to the computer program, nor to the fly… just rudimentary levels of self-awareness.
I see a level closer to humans in dogs, for example, when they do something that their owners don’t like and then act all ashamed when they owner discovers it and confronts them. Still not up to our philosophical standards of self-awareness, certainly, but better than a fly’s.
If you can’t see the incremental reality with brain capacity, but instead judge self-awareness to be a trait that only humans have, then I’m afraid we are talking past each other and might as well disengage from the conversation.


And I am reasonably sure that you can’t, but even more definitely certain that you won’t. :wink:

Which means your response doesn’t amount to a rebuttal or argument, but more along the lines of braggadocio.

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