Hypostatization (was: God, arrogance, and belief)

From: upgrade (fm1@amug.org)
Date: Sun Jan 23 2000 - 11:37:17 MST

At 10:00 AM 1/22/00 -0800, Max More <max@maxmore.com> wrote:
>Sorry I don't have more time to post on these threads. I feel that I
>should, especially since I teach a class in Philosophy of Religion. So,
>just a few points made briefly (well, more briefly than I'd like):
>Though I always prefer to describe my views in positive rather than
>negative terms, if asked (about the traditional God) "are you an
>atheist", then my direct answer would be "yes". I think it is a mistake to
>say that you should be an agnostic because you cannot prove that there is
>no God. There are many things I cannot prove do not exist. My example in
>class: there is an invisible, intangible alien elf who lives on top of the
>Empire State Building who uses a mysterious mind control technology to
>increase conflicts among people to weaken us ready for an alien invasion.
>Do I believe this being exists? No. I am an a-elfist, just as I am an atheist.
>Atheism = a-theism = lack of belief in a God. Lacking belief does not
>automatically imply you can *prove* there is no such thing. While I find
>it almost impossible to make sense of the Christian idea of God given the
>state of the world, I cannot prove that our universe was not created by
>some higher power, perhaps even something much like the Christian/Muslim
>God. I just see no positive reason to believe this, many strong reasons to
>doubt it, and so lack belief.

Hypostatization is the phenomenon of believing that because
some people use some word, therefore the word actually stands
for something or has a referent.

So, a very basic question to theists, agnostics, atheists alike:
When you use the word "god" what are you talking about? What
are you referring to? What is the referent for your word "god?"

Usually, when you ask this question and further question
whatever answers are given, you end up with nonsense similar
to "the elf on the Empire State building."

I haven't yet similarly asked people what they're talking about
when they use the word "soul."

Just because 99.999...% of people use words like "god" or
"soul" as if valid, doesn't necessarily signify that anything
other than hypostatization is involved.

If someone says to me "ooblegoob" exists, can you disprove
its existence? I reply that nothing has been said that
establishes a need to prove or disprove anything. "Ooblegoob
is simply a nonsense word.

A man once said to me, "There's green cheese in the middlle
of the moon. People who believe this are greencheesists.
Those who don't know are agnogreencheesists. Those who
don't believe are agreencheesists. Those who believe the
whole universe is made of green cheese are pangreencheesists.
Which one of these are you?

I replied, "Sorry, I'm none of these."

Frederick Mann

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