Thursday, 10 April 2014
The Question Of The Existence of God
I'm going to write a bit here about the existence of God as an intellectual matter; that is where God, or the notion of God, stands within the proper and hence true use of language; and all this is more or less in reference to a post I previously wrote titled 'Life and Meaning', and also its offshoot, the brilliantly titled Life and Meaning Again. The issue of God's existence is actually contained more or less wholly within those pieces, though perhaps seemingly only inferentially, and so hopefully this will clarify things.
Within the first piece mentioned above I wrote [editing a little the extract] :
When using language as an intellectual truth-tool, if that language is to produce the correct results, then it must be used properly, not in a self-contradictory manner. And so it makes no sense to introduce within intellectual discourse elements that are alleged to be external to life. Life is all that is, and if God is, then the two flow inseparably into one another, cannot be separated into distinct realms. To say that life and God are distinct is to necessarily infer that life is less than the totality of all that is, which is obviously linguistic nonsense. And to say that God is external to life and what is is to say that God, being not part of what is, is not, and so does not exist. If something isn't part of what is, then it is part of what isn't! which is to say there is no 'it' to speak of.
To treat God as an object of intellectual discourse is necessarily to falsify an absolute. Firstly as shown above, God cannot be treated as external to what is, and secondly, God cannot be treated as an element within life - this is the attempt to turn an absolute into a relative, where God has somehow become submerged within God's creation, and so is another object of creation and a lesser being than life.
So it is clear that God cannot be discussed in this sense of intellectual argument without necessarily falsifying God, and so the question "Does God exist?" is an impermissible and absurd use of language. This however may seem very unsatisfactory, almost a cop-out, even if reluctantly admitted to be the strictly intellectually correct position. This frustration would however be little but a misinterpretation of the above, and thankfully a correct equivalent question can be asked, and that question is: "Is life intrinsically significant or accidentally so?"
So to clarify: the question does God exist is an illegitimate use of language where God is necessarily falsified by the naming and hence particularising process - 'God' being necessarily reduced to an element of, within and inferior to life. Even to say for example, "God is the totality of life" fails as a totality is necessarily something limited and finite. A totality has limits, whereas infinity endlessly spills beyond imaginary limits.
A directly equivalent question as to God's existence or not can however be properly asked - this being whether life is intrinsically intelligent or significant or accidentally so - and it is essential to realise that this is not in any sense a diluted, lukewarm version of "Does God exist?" And it is not a humanistic variation where we are seeking to ascribe meaning to life out of necessity or convenience, i.e. that the human need for significance justifies and even necesitates us to pretend relative humanly created values are actually absolutes because otherwise, in the vacuum of their accepted absence, a resultant intellectual and ethical chaos would ensue.
No, this question as to whether life is intrinsically significant or accidentally so is in truth precisely what is meant by the God question but properly asked. And here it is quite obvious that the atheism side of things has sought to argue along the lines of life's accidental significance - that the structures of life have organised themselves in cohesive forms through variations of the random fluctuations of matter within a temporal environment; that certain 'operating programs' within life develop that render the likelihood of such cohesions more likely, and so on. I have in those two linked pieces examined the sustainability of the Accidental Significance position, and so for example:
. . . the attempt to posit the intrinsic intelligence of life as accidental, that things were senseless and unintelligent, and through chance and time eventually structures of accidental intelligence ensued, and so while offering the impression of being 'meaningful' these structures are only accidentally so.
With the evolution argument when turned to an imagined philosophical overview, and other 'scientific' stances, is generally the attempt to posit the intrinsic intelligence of life as accidental, that things were senseless and unintelligent, and through chance and time eventually structures of accidental intelligence ensued, and so while offering the impression of being 'meaningful' these structures are only accidentally so.
But as written earlier: "Every structure that exists is intrinsically of an intelligent order; if it weren't internally intelligent it wouldn't cohere as a living/real structure. The fact of its existence, be it an atom, a stone, a bird, insect, human, etc. is absolutely dependent on its being intelligent and in itself meaningful."
There is no point within existence where this intrinsic intelligence of life's or reality's structures is flouted. The existence of every millisecond of being and the existence of everything that exists within every millisecond is inseparable and absolutely intwertwined with and dependent on this intrinsic intelligence. This intrinsic intelligence doesn't enter the equation of reality accidentally somewhere down the line of existence. Every atom, every gas, everything that can explode leading to further refinements of structure, an explosion itself, time and existence itself are and can only be because of their being of an intelligent order.
That this intrinsic intelligence is unarguable and present at every point is perhaps best illustrated when we consider what the ground of intellectual analysis or penetration of any 'structure' that 'science' is is based on. In this sense of intellectual penetration of structure I am including phenomena from atomic particles to phenomena like gravity, light, sound, etc. And what this ground is from which intellectual vision proceeds is that the structure observed and analysed is of an intelligent order. If it were not intrinsically intelligent then the discoursing intellect could produce no results.
And so again is shown the falseness of the notion of accidental meaningfulness; there is no point where an observing intellect can declare that this meaningfulness is accidentally introduced into the system of life as there is not and cannot be any point at which the meaningfulness can be said to be absent. The entire basis of the intellect being able to state anything about any system is that of the system's being of an intelligent order; thus it can meaningfully yield meaningful statements. If a system were declared devoid of intelligence, well then it could not be a system in the first place and so the statement self-contradictory.
And so in the unfortunately lengthy enough extract above is shown how false is the imagined position of, famously at present, figures like Richard Dawkins, where science is supposed to defend an atheistic philosophical worldview of Accidental Significance. Science by total contrast to this imagined 'rational' position actually exists wholly within the framework of life's unquestionable, intrinsic significance. That life's structures are intrinsically meaningful, yielding intelligent results when perceived by an intrinsically intelligent mind is an absolute given, just as the intrinsic significance of the world of mathematics is an unquestionable given within that field. We don't have to for instance torture ourselves in conceiving how the 'structures' of gravity and electricity are accidentally intelligent; their intrinsic intelligence is a given. Similarly it is senseless to try to construct theories to place vision, memories, dreams, etc within a philosophical system that explains how they accidentally can exist. Instead again their intrinsic, intelligent 'isness' is a given. Or we don't have to do the same to explain how the plants that grow by some miraculous but accidental piece of good fortune contain minerals, vitamins, etc and that we can do this thing called eating of these entities and derive strength and health from them; or how we live as a consequence of the strange process of breathing air. No, again this intrinsic meaningfulness of life and its diversities is a complete given. And it is very important not to imagine this intrinsic meaningfulness of life being a given is a kind of cop-out, that this is a facile "That's just the way things are" statement, just as there is nothing facile about mathematics being intrinsically meaningful and consistent.
So in short, it is unarguable that life and intelligence are inseparable at every imaginable point within the spectrum of life. Life/reality/ existence is existentially intelligent and cannot be otherwise. And as pointed to earlier when looking at God within such argument, this is not to be confused with Intelligent Design which deals in unsustainable and schizophrenic division of life being designed by an element external to life.
I might go into the question of Faith as it relates to all the above subsequently, and what actually this faith is. Here.