Author Topic: Searching for GOD...  (Read 2126286 times)

Outrider

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38150 on: January 17, 2020, 11:15:31 AM »
But our freedom to choose is not a logical impossibility.  It is a demonstrable reality.
I am free to choose colour
I am free to choose size
I am free to choose bold
I am free to choose style

No, you are ABLE to choose - whether that choice is free, and what it might be free of, isn't immediately apparent simply because you have the capacity.

Quote
And yes, there are reasons for my choice. The reason is simply to consciously demonstrate the reality of our freedom to choose.

That's your general motivation, perhaps - is that a 'reason'? If that is the reason, that perceived need is one of the prior events - were you 'free' of your own inclinations to respond or not, or were you inevitably bound by your own nature and intellect to respond in the way you did?

O.
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torridon

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38151 on: January 17, 2020, 12:47:02 PM »
But our freedom to choose is not a logical impossibility.  It is a demonstrable reality.
I am free to choose colour
I am free to choose size
I am free to choose bold
I am free to choose style
And yes, there are reasons for my choice.
The reason is simply to consciously demonstrate the reality of our freedom to choose.

OK, but nobody can choose in way that is both consistent with determinism and also free of determinism, which your previous post implied.

Gordon

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38152 on: January 17, 2020, 12:49:27 PM »
But our freedom to choose is not a logical impossibility.  It is a demonstrable reality.
I am free to choose colour
I am free to choose size
I am free to choose bold
I am free to choose style
And yes, there are reasons for my choice.
The reason is simply to consciously demonstrate the reality of our freedom to choose.

So you were driven to respond in this particular way due to your predispositions - which is no more relevant than my choice to have had a lunchtime beer today.

So what - you can make choices, but these are never wholly free else they'd be random.

Alan Burns

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38153 on: January 17, 2020, 01:40:17 PM »

You keep stating that it's a reality, but you've not addressed that fundamental question of what, if it's free of determinism (physical or otherwise) in what way is it a choice and not simply random?  If it's a choice, it's some sort of deliberate process of balancing criteria, which makes it a deterministic process: we are in a particular state, we have a series of inputs and a condition which applies weigh to those inputs and generates an output - your 'conscious choice'.

I have already pointed out that conscious choices are determined, not random, so please do not confuse the issue by implying that I am claiming a choice to be free of determinism.

I agree that the determining factor comes from within the workings of conscious self

But the question is what comprises the "conscious self" and how it works.
The physical vs non physical question is entirely relevant, because we have knowledge of how physical reactions occur and what causes them.   But we cannot profess to know the workings of anything non physical if such a thing exists.  I am constantly being told that the concept of "physical" is irrelevant, but that is because those who say this are presuming that the non physical must comply with the same time dependent cause and effect scenario as physically determined reactions.  Such a presumption cannot be made without knowledge of the workings of the non physical.

So my contention comes down to the question of how my conscious choices and the reasons for those choices can manifest within the physically defined reactions of a material brain.  At the inevitable risk of being accused of personal incredulity again, I venture to say that such conscious choices together with consciously contemplated reasons for those choices are impossible to define by material reactions alone.  This is not a question of personal belief, but of the physical impossibility of conscious awareness and conscio0usly driven thoughts to be defined by nothing but physical reactions of material elements.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 01:46:02 PM by Alan Burns »
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Outrider

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38154 on: January 17, 2020, 02:08:46 PM »
I have already pointed out that conscious choices are determined, not random, so please do not confuse the issue by implying that I am claiming a choice to be free of determinism.

Apologies, I didn't appreciate that.

Quote
I agree that the determining factor comes from within the workings of conscious self

But the question is what comprises the "conscious self" and how it works.

The physical vs non physical question is entirely relevant, because we have knowledge of how physical reactions occur and what causes them.   But we cannot profess to know the workings of anything non physical if such a thing exists.  I am constantly being told that the concept of "physical" is irrelevant, but that is because those who say this are presuming that the non physical must comply with the same time dependent cause and effect scenario as physically determined reactions.  Such a presumption cannot be made without knowledge of the workings of the non physical.

Yes and no - there is the open question of the possibility of something else, but you need to make the logical case for it.  You can't just posit a 'non-physical, non-random, non-deterministic' effect and expect people to accept it; even if you're making it a hypothesis that awaits validatory evidence, you still need to logically structure it, and that's lacking.  If it's not random and it's not deterministic then what's the third option? What else is there?  That's not asking for the specifics of the mechanics, it's asking for the logical description of the process; it's either dependent upon what came before or it's independent of what came before, but you appear to be positing something else.

If that's not what you're doing, then I apologise in advance, this isn't an attempt to mischaracterise your view, I'm trying to depict how I understand what you're conveying.

Quote
So my contention comes down to the question of how my conscious choices and the reasons for those choices can manifest within the physically defined reactions of a material brain.  At the inevitable risk of being accused of personal incredulity again, I venture to say that such conscious choices together with consciously contemplated reasons for those choices are impossible to define by material reactions alone. This is not a question of personal belief, but of the physical impossibility of conscious awareness and conscio0usly driven thoughts to be defined by nothing but physical reactions of material elements.

Whilst my personal feeling is that they are entirely explicable through physical processes, that's not directly impinging on this detail, so we'll leave that for another day if that's OK?

O.

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Alan Burns

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38155 on: January 17, 2020, 03:43:23 PM »
Apologies, I didn't appreciate that.

Yes and no - there is the open question of the possibility of something else, but you need to make the logical case for it.  You can't just posit a 'non-physical, non-random, non-deterministic' effect and expect people to accept it; even if you're making it a hypothesis that awaits validatory evidence, you still need to logically structure it, and that's lacking.  If it's not random and it's not deterministic then what's the third option? What else is there?  That's not asking for the specifics of the mechanics, it's asking for the logical description of the process; it's either dependent upon what came before or it's independent of what came before, but you appear to be positing something else.

If that's not what you're doing, then I apologise in advance, this isn't an attempt to mischaracterise your view, I'm trying to depict how I understand what you're conveying.

As I said previously,  I fully agree that conscious choices are determined.  If the determination involves a solely physical process, then a choice will be an entirely predetermined reaction defined by chains of physical cause and effect. 

However, in considering what I perceive to be the spiritual nature of our conscious awareness, such awareness will by definition be consciously aware of reasons prior to invoking a choice.  Such a scenario leads to the choice being determined in real time rather than being predetermined by past events - hence defining the difference between choice and reaction, which most people would agree to reflect reality.
The truth will set you free  - John 8:32
Truth is not an abstraction, but a person - Edith Stein
Free Will is the highest truth about humanity - GK Chesterton

Gordon

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38156 on: January 17, 2020, 05:32:00 PM »
As I said previously,  I fully agree that conscious choices are determined.  If the determination involves a solely physical process, then a choice will be an entirely predetermined reaction defined by chains of physical cause and effect. 

However, in considering what I perceive to be the spiritual nature of our conscious awareness, such awareness will by definition be consciously aware of reasons prior to invoking a choice.  Such a scenario leads to the choice being determined in real time rather than being predetermined by past events - hence defining the difference between choice and reaction, which most people would agree to reflect reality.

All you need do now is demonstrate something about how this 'spiritual nature' interacts with our biology: details of it's characteristics and mode of operation would be useful. Unless you have this information then you could reasonably be accused of making stuff up, and of course without justification for this 'spiritual nature' you speak of, your assertion that there is such a thing in the first place is an example of begging the question.

You seem terrified that our evolved biology provides sufficient explanation for mental activity, be it conscious or unconscious, and if you insist there is something 'spiritual' then you really need to define your terms and provide some supporting justification - to date though you haven't, which to me is no great surprise.

torridon

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38157 on: January 18, 2020, 08:07:25 AM »
But our freedom to choose is not a logical impossibility.  It is a demonstrable reality.

What is not demonstrable, is that our choices can be free of the influences that resulted in the choice. So, if you opted to get up and go to church rather than having another hour in bed, that was a consequence of the desire to go to church de facto being stronger than the desire to remain embedded. We cannot control which desires to have nor how strong they should be, so choices are able to be resolved by identifying the strongest desire.  The idea that we could exert some control over which desires to have or which beliefs to hold is profoundly absurd nonsense.

torridon

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38158 on: January 18, 2020, 08:29:10 AM »

I agree that the determining factor comes from within the workings of conscious self

But the question is what comprises the "conscious self" and how it works.
...

We feel like we make choices in our conscious mind, but research challenges that intuition, revealing consciousness to be a form of short term memory rather than the real driver of choice.

Imagine, a few decades hence, when self driving cars are a norm on our roads,  Uber, the ride hailing company, commissions a fleet of self driving taxis that feature a hologrammatic driver, seemingly at the wheel, seemingly driving the car. Uber's canny psychologists have advised that people will prefer a ride if there is an apparent driver, even though they 'know' it is only a hologram.  People are funny, like that.  But this curiosity is how evolution has already produced in us the feeling of a 'conscious self' , an apparent driver, intangible, yet seemingly in control, making choices, pulling the levers of power.   But like the Uber's hologram driver, it is not really in control because research reveals the conscious self to be a construction of non conscious processes of mind.  That which is constructed does not control the manner of its construction, that would be circular. Every moment of our lived experience, is a phenomenological construction of mental processes over which 'we' have no control.

Never Talk to Strangers

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38159 on: January 18, 2020, 08:53:47 AM »
Please stop misrepresenting what I have said in numerous posts on this.

I have never claimed that human free will is free from determinism.

You continually do so Alan, and you've been corrected on the meaning of determinism deterministic many times before, for example: #32591 and #32601.
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Never Talk to Strangers

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38160 on: January 18, 2020, 09:01:06 AM »
But our freedom to choose is not a logical impossibility.  It is a demonstrable reality.
I am free to choose colour
I am free to choose size
I am free to choose bold
I am free to choose style
And yes, there are reasons for my choice.
The reason is simply to consciously demonstrate the reality of our freedom to choose.

Nobody is claiming people are not able to make choices. You are making claims about how that works: not fully deterministic and involving no randomness - which is self contradictory (for reasons that have nothing to do with minds being entirely physical).

You seem to think that because they involve consciousness, that must be the case, but that is just an assumption that you've never justified.
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ekim

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38161 on: January 18, 2020, 10:12:36 AM »
But like the Uber's hologram driver, it is not really in control because research reveals the conscious self to be a construction of non conscious processes of mind.  That which is constructed does not control the manner of its construction, that would be circular. Every moment of our lived experience, is a phenomenological construction of mental processes over which 'we' have no control.
Does that then mean that the researchers who have claimed such a revelation are themselves just non conscious mental processes who have no control over what spews out of their minds?  If a person decides to develop the skill to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls do you believe that he cannot learn how to 'control' his fear of falling and sustain sufficient equilibrium to complete the task?  Would he achieve it better by carrying it out unconsciously?

Alan Burns

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38162 on: January 18, 2020, 10:45:23 AM »
What is not demonstrable, is that our choices can be free of the influences that resulted in the choice. So, if you opted to get up and go to church rather than having another hour in bed, that was a consequence of the desire to go to church de facto being stronger than the desire to remain embedded. We cannot control which desires to have nor how strong they should be, so choices are able to be resolved by identifying the strongest desire.  The idea that we could exert some control over which desires to have or which beliefs to hold is profoundly absurd nonsense.

Our choices are certainly not free of influences.

But influences do not determine a choice - they influence it.  That is the role of conscious awareness - we are consciously aware of influences which we can contemplate before we choose to invoke our choice.  Our choices are determined by our conscious awareness - not by influences.
The truth will set you free  - John 8:32
Truth is not an abstraction, but a person - Edith Stein
Free Will is the highest truth about humanity - GK Chesterton

torridon

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38163 on: January 18, 2020, 11:07:59 AM »
Our choices are certainly not free of influences.

But influences do not determine a choice - they influence it.  That is the role of conscious awareness - we are consciously aware of influences which we can contemplate before we choose to invoke our choice.  Our choices are determined by our conscious awareness - not by influences.

So if your choice is not resolved by reference to the influences, how then does your 'conscious awareness' resolve it ?  How would you resolve whether to get up and go to church or stay for a lie in without reference to which option appeals the most ?
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 11:10:35 AM by torridon »

Never Talk to Strangers

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38164 on: January 18, 2020, 11:16:23 AM »
Our choices are certainly not free of influences.

But influences do not determine a choice - they influence it.

If all the influences (both internal and external) do not determine a choice, then part of is not due to anything that could influence it and is therefore random.

That is the role of conscious awareness - we are consciously aware of influences which we can contemplate before we choose to invoke our choice.  Our choices are determined by our conscious awareness - not by influences.

So you keep asserting, but you have given us no evidence and no reasoning that says that consciousness can somehow magically overcome the basic reasoning that people keep on pointing out.

How do you know a conscious choice isn't determined by all the influences and yet involves no randomness? How do you overcome the basic contradiction (no, circular nonsense about an undefined "present", is not an answer)?
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enki

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38165 on: January 18, 2020, 11:23:54 AM »
Does that then mean that the researchers who have claimed such a revelation are themselves just non conscious mental processes who have no control over what spews out of their minds?  If a person decides to develop the skill to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls do you believe that he cannot learn how to 'control' his fear of falling and sustain sufficient equilibrium to complete the task?  Would he achieve it better by carrying it out unconsciously?

Interesting idea about the tightrope walker, Ekim. I remember reading about a highly regarded rock climber who said that he let his unconscious abilities take over to a large extent. He suggested that the less he thought, the better were his rock climbing abilities and the more confident he became.

I think it is quite possible that your tightrope walker might well learn how to control his fear of falling and sustain his balance via a constant feedback to his unconscious from data received from his conscious mind.
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ippy

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38166 on: January 18, 2020, 12:03:41 PM »
Our choices are certainly not free of influences.

But influences do not determine a choice - they influence it.  That is the role of conscious awareness - we are consciously aware of influences which we can contemplate before we choose to invoke our choice.  Our choices are determined by our conscious awareness - not by influences.

I don't think it even occurs to you that there may have been the slightest chance that you may have been indoctrinated, go back and see if you can find some of NM's posts it might make you have a rethink about the stance you take where you really appear to believe the religious stuff you've managed to fill your head with, more likely someone else has filled your head with it for you.

Think about it just on your continuing use of assertions alone Alan, the fact that you're either refusing to back them up or more to the point, in my view is, you're utterly and completely unable to back them up, doesn't this reoccurring complete inability to substantiate any your assertions make you question yourself, I'm wondering if it's a source of worry for you? I would have thought it must be?

Commiserations to you Alan, ippy.

Bramble

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38167 on: January 18, 2020, 01:21:37 PM »
Does that then mean that the researchers who have claimed such a revelation are themselves just non conscious mental processes who have no control over what spews out of their minds?  If a person decides to develop the skill to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls do you believe that he cannot learn how to 'control' his fear of falling and sustain sufficient equilibrium to complete the task?  Would he achieve it better by carrying it out unconsciously?

I've never mastered tightrope walking but my daily wander involves multiple crossings of a rocky stream and I've found that the best way to fall in is to attempt any kind of conscious control of the process of jumping from rock to rock. The body has its own wisdom and it's amazing what it can manage without my personal supervision. I'm not sure I'd even know where to begin overseeing the vital functions of my internal organs and I've learned that if I want to do something well it's usually a good idea to get out of the way and just let it happen. When learning a new skill things generally only start to go smoothly when I'm able to hand over to unconscious processes, and the business of living is no exception. The more I try to dictate from the driving seat the closer I come to paralysis and the anxiety is ruinous. 'Take back control?' No thanks.

bluehillside Retd.

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38168 on: January 18, 2020, 03:19:38 PM »
AB is that chap from the Sidney Harris cartoon who concedes that there is some reason-based thinking (ie, cause and effect) as Step 1 but only up to a point, for Step 2 he drops in magic (“soul”), then Step 3 is carrying on as if Step 2 was demonstrated:

https://memeguy.com/photo/40062/math-is-like-magic

Of course whenever you ask him to go back to Step 2 by asking for even the scantiest shred of information about these supposed “souls” of his he goes all quiet, but that’s the beginning and end of it.
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ekim

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38169 on: January 18, 2020, 03:37:39 PM »
Interesting idea about the tightrope walker, Ekim. I remember reading about a highly regarded rock climber who said that he let his unconscious abilities take over to a large extent. He suggested that the less he thought, the better were his rock climbing abilities and the more confident he became.

I think it is quite possible that your tightrope walker might well learn how to control his fear of falling and sustain his balance via a constant feedback to his unconscious from data received from his conscious mind.

Yes, the way I am inclined to see it is that the driving force is basically desire, perhaps to extend one's potential or loosely speaking, reduce the 'space' to the desired objective.  Fear could be seen as the desire to extend the 'space' to the feared object.  Consciousness doesn't exercise control but facilitates or refines the process.  I doubt whether a person could sleepwalk his way across the tightrope. Skill and consciousness need to go together, if not a good example is a competent driver falling asleep over the wheel.   I would say that skills are largely derived from repetition over time, perhaps either starting from small beginnings or as a genetic inheritance or both. Bramble's walking on rocks started when she learned to walk as a small child.  Eventually repetition embeds itself into what we refer to as the sub/unconscious.  Unfortunately, repetition has a negative side to it as exemplified by addictions, compulsions and irrational phobias and they can exert control over consciousness.  Gaining freedom from those attachments can be very difficult.

torridon

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38170 on: January 19, 2020, 09:28:00 AM »
Does that then mean that the researchers who have claimed such a revelation are themselves just non conscious mental processes who have no control over what spews out of their minds?  If a person decides to develop the skill to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls do you believe that he cannot learn how to 'control' his fear of falling and sustain sufficient equilibrium to complete the task?  Would he achieve it better by carrying it out unconsciously?

To walk across a tightrope clearly it would be a good idea to be fully awake and alert.  That doesn't amount to a challenge to the observation that consciousness derives from non-conscious mental processes. We don't have control over how we perceive the world, why, because our conscious self is a product of non conscious processes.  I don't get any say in whether to see the sky as blue or not. Any good optical illusion is evidence that 'we' are the product of processes over which we have no control.  Even when we 'know', intellectually, that our senses are being fooled, we cannot force ourselves to see correctly.  Our conscious self has no control over its own provenance.  If our conscious self in a strict sense really was the driver of choice as Alan likes to claim, then we would be able to choose to experience the world as is, we would be able to see past illusions, choosing to experience things correctly.  But we cannot do this, having no control over subliminal processes of mind.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 12:01:12 PM by torridon »

Alan Burns

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38171 on: January 19, 2020, 10:16:58 AM »
AB is that chap from the Sidney Harris cartoon who concedes that there is some reason-based thinking (ie, cause and effect) as Step 1 but only up to a point, for Step 2 he drops in magic (“soul”), then Step 3 is carrying on as if Step 2 was demonstrated:

https://memeguy.com/photo/40062/math-is-like-magic

Of course whenever you ask him to go back to Step 2 by asking for even the scantiest shred of information about these supposed “souls” of his he goes all quiet, but that’s the beginning and end of it.
You still do not seem to understand, Blue.
You are the cause, not the effect - no magic involved.
Perhaps you do nor realise just how powerful you are!
« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 10:22:36 AM by Alan Burns »
The truth will set you free  - John 8:32
Truth is not an abstraction, but a person - Edith Stein
Free Will is the highest truth about humanity - GK Chesterton

Never Talk to Strangers

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38172 on: January 19, 2020, 10:29:07 AM »
You still do not seem to understand, Blue.
You are the cause, not the effect - no magic involved.
Perhaps you do nor realise just how powerful you are!

Empty sloganeering. You still haven't made any logical connection that goes from human ability to choose and your impossible, contradictory claims about how it works (not fully determined by its antecedents and involving no randomness).

It really isn't the same thing, nor is it in any way self-evident or "demonstrable" (as you keep asserting). In fact, since your claims make no sense, it isn't even imaginable.
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Alan Burns

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38173 on: January 19, 2020, 12:21:46 PM »
Empty sloganeering. You still haven't made any logical connection that goes from human ability to choose and your impossible, contradictory claims about how it works (not fully determined by its antecedents and involving no randomness).

It really isn't the same thing, nor is it in any way self-evident or "demonstrable" (as you keep asserting). In fact, since your claims make no sense, it isn't even imaginable.
If you can't even imagine the power of your own conscious will, I despair of ever convincing you of the reality of God's existence.
The truth will set you free  - John 8:32
Truth is not an abstraction, but a person - Edith Stein
Free Will is the highest truth about humanity - GK Chesterton

Never Talk to Strangers

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Re: Searching for GOD...
« Reply #38174 on: January 19, 2020, 12:26:30 PM »
If you can't even imagine the power of your own conscious will, I despair of ever convincing you of the reality of God's existence.

Once again, you're ignoring the logic and insisting on something that is self-contradictory. I repeat that you have given us no reason whatsoever to believe that our ability to make "conscious choices" leads to your contradictory claims about it (not fully determined by its antecedents and no randomness) - neither have you explained how the two can possibly be reconciled - and hence, even imagined.

It is truly laughable that you claim to have done a logical analysis.
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