Argument from Desire

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Dave Matson's picture


"Superhuman strength" is not a substitute for someone with the powers of Superman! (Capital "S") If someone desired to meet Superman, does that make Superman real? We're not talking about strong, human muscles here! You have simply rewritten the script, and rather badly at that, to save your ass! If you really believe that desire confers reality, then where is Superman? Give us a compelling argument that Superman really exists or abandon your "argument." Spare us your pathetic reinterpretations.

jonthecatholic's picture
The OP actually asks you this

The OP actually asks you this. The OP is in no way saying,

"There exists a desire for God. Therefore God exists" because as everyone has so rightfully pointed out, it leads to a lot of absurd conclusions. The point of the OP was, one can only desire for something real and existing. Since people desire for God, what could you suggest that people are actually desiring for? You can actually read the last sentence of my OP. It's right there.

Contrary to what most people on here are saying, this isn't a proof for God. And I'm not expecting to convert anyone with this argument. Flameca has actually answered the question by saying people desire for justice. Which actually explains why people desire for the idea of heaven and hell to be real. Or that people who believe in God, view God as just.

David Killens's picture
@ JoC "Or that people who

@ JoC "Or that people who believe in God, view God as just."

In 1999 the bodies of three children were discovered in a tomb at the peak of of the Argentinian volcano Llullaillaco. They were Incan child sacrifices.

This was done in the name of religion. How is this just in any way? The best evidence indicates that the children were chosen and then considerable time was spent "preparing" them.

The Incan god(s) was not just, it demanded human sacrifice of children to bring luck and avoid catastrophe for the community. This is a common theme running through many religions, requiring a blood sacrifice so that the community enjoyed the good graces of the god(s). It was not about being fair or just, it was to please a capricious deity.

chimp3's picture
JoC: "I don't know how this

JoC: "I don't know how this came to this but, the fact that amputees desire for their lost limb to regrow actually implies that limbs exist."

What that actually implies is a desire for a condition of limbs growing back, which does not exist.

algebe's picture
@JOC: it points to something

@JOC: it points to something that exists which fulfills that desire.

Desire doesn't imply existence. It inspires efforts to create or obtain things. If we're hungry, we seek or produce food. If we're thirsty, we look for water. We never expect the things we desire to appear out of thin air.

People desired gods, so they made them. They grew crops to feed their hunger, built houses to live in, and concocted gods to fulfill their psychological needs.

jonthecatholic's picture
And that's not the argument

And that's not the argument being posed. It simply says that we don't desire things that do not exist. So the fact that people would desire to have food means that food should definitely exist, because it is desired. I'm in no way saying we expect things to pop into existence because of our desires. But you do bring up a valid point that because they are desired, people create them.

People desire justice so they make councils and courts to deal with these issues. It still doesn't change the main idea that if it's desired, the object of a person's desire does exist. Someone on here said they desire a square circle. I cannot think of a real reason why they would actually want a square circle except to try and prove me wrong. The desire, he has, therefore, is one of being right.

Leigh33084's picture
The desire to be right doesn

The desire to be right doesn’t matter. The example of the square circle proves your argument wrong. You can desire something that is irrational and does not exist. I desire a warm-blooded snake, a fish that lives out of water, an ocean without salt, life without pain, to teleport to work, to lose weight while eating junk food on my couch. We could rattle off countless examples. All the scientific evidence available says that those things are impossible just like the existence of god

Aposteriori unum's picture
Referential fallacy– assuming

Referential fallacy– assuming all words refer to existing things and that the meaning of words reside within the things they refer to, as opposed to words possibly referring to no real object or that the meaning of words often comes from how we use them.

Nyarlathotep's picture
JoC - It simply says that we

JoC - It simply says that we don't desire things that do not exist.

right; and we already know it is false from the existence of a counterexample.

jonthecatholic's picture
It actually only shows that

It actually only shows that you, my friend, have a desire to prove me wrong. I doubt you can tell me quite honestly you actually desire a square circle. Or that you desire a married bachelor,

Nyarlathotep's picture
You don't think people desire

You don't think people desire impossible stuff? What universe do you live in?

jonthecatholic's picture
Hahaha. As I’ve said,

Hahaha. As I’ve said, whatever desire you put forth, it always points to something which exists. For example, if I desire, a billion dollars, it doesn’t mean I’ll ever get that kind of money but it does mean that money exists. For me to desire it, it has to exist.

Now, if you truly desire a square circle, what are you to do with this idea? Why do you desire it?

Tin-Man's picture
@JoC Re: Square circle

@JoC Re: Square circle

Well, I cannot speak for Nyar, but I know if I had a square circle I would use it with the triangular oval I've always wanted to draw and paint a bunch of rectangular hexagons to sell in the art museum I would open.

Flamenca's picture
How about invisibility, @JoC?

How about invisibility, @JoC? That's my favorite superpower...

jonthecatholic's picture
It depends on what you desire

It depends on what you desire it for? Do with to have anonymity, do you want to get secrets that other people wouldn’t say in front of you? You’re desire for this certain power points to something real that exists. Power, maybe.

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
I desire theism/religion to

I desire theism/religion to stop, right............................ now!

............................ oh darn' it!

Dave Matson's picture
What about the desire by

What about the desire by Spanish explorers for the fountain of youth? What about the desire to be (or meet) Superman? One can certainly desire something that has no reference to reality, so your whole argument goes out the window.

Grinseed's picture
All the things that humans

All the things that humans desired (and still do) were the seed bed for a host of gods, such as you find in pantheism, which included everything from basic Maslovian physical needs to the abstract, intellectual and spiritual.

Ancient Greek pottery makers even had a god they could plead with to prevent hairline fractures in pottery while it was being fired in a kiln.
All these individual desires were real and still are, but none of the gods were.

Replacing these gods with a single god does not make any of these desires easier to satisfy, nor does it make the concept of a god any more the real.

As an atheist, I cant help but find Nyarlathotep's desire for a square circle any more irrational than your desire for a god that even cares about what we desire. The Abrahamic god seems more interested in desiring to be worshipped.

chimp3's picture
Children desire to get toys

Children desire to get toys from Santa every Christmas . The toys are real. Santa is a real concept. So, one can desire a human created concept. That does not make the concept anything less than a fairy tale. People desire Krishna, Ahura Mazda, Vishnu, Allah, Ayida and Damballah. There is even a resurgence of Odin worshippers. Is the OP admitting the existence of every god ever created and Santa too?

Randomhero1982's picture
Chimp3 wins the internet

Chimp3 wins the internet today!

jonthecatholic's picture
Of course not. But you’re

Of course not. But you’re touching on a very important aspect of the OP. All of those people you mention desire a God or some higher power.

Again, if you read the OP, you’ll understand that it doesn’t mean that Santa would be real. It does point to a reality that is real. In Santa’s case, kids just want a person to give them gifts. That does exist.

chimp3's picture
People are capable of

People are capable of desiring fictions. That only proves that desire and fictions exist.

Cognostic's picture
@ "For example, people get

@ "For example, people get hungry. The fact that hunger (desire for food) exists, means that food must definitely exist. People desire for companionship, therefore companionship must exist."

The argument is moronic at its base. Things that exist that you desire obviously exist. Things that do not exist do not exist regardless of how you desire them. How many kids stay up late at night waiting for Santa Clause. We are back to the same old BS/ You think God exists - prove it. I don't care how much you desire to make it so, Muhammad did not ride a horse to the moon or split it in half. No one lived inside the belly of a fish for three days. Desire does nothing/ (I REJECT YOUR FISTS PREMISE) Desire does nothing to create anything. If it did, a whole lot of blind people and amputees would be walking and seeing.

Desire for God -
There is a reason people say "Our Father." They desire being part of a family. They desire to have someone over them telling them what to do. It is hard to be free. Better to be led.

There is desire to earn riches and your way into heaven. To hear your favorite music. To be reunited with loved ones. To live without pain. To have cake and ice cream every day and not get fat. To live in a perfect world.

There is desire to avoid eternal damnation. The fires of hell, sulfer and brimstone where your flesh is burned from your body and then regrown only to burn again forever and ever amen.

There is desire to stay asleep; Refuse to wake up ;and see the world as it is. To stay quietly in the shadows of the pews and ignore that pain and suffering of the world while also missing out on the amazing joys.

Leigh33084's picture
People have a desire for God

People have a desire for God to give explanation to questions that do not have answers or concepts/situations that they are unable or unwilling to understand or examine. So the desire for god is really a desire to answer existential questions like “why are we here?”. Nobody knows the purpose of human existence but religion lets people believe we exist as god’s children serving his will on earth. Why do bad things happen to good people? When a person loses a child, natural disaster strikes, or someone is senselessly murdered not only does god have a plan, he also has a kingdom of heaven which is supposed to be eternal paradise. I believe these events are broadly random and part of life while some can specifically be explained through more complex analysis of society, neurological abnormalities, and human choices. But I’m able to embrace that sometimes shit just happens and can’t be explained. But if you believe in god, you don’t have to look too hard inward or outward and shit doesn’t just happen when you believe there is a plan. Which sounds easier and more comforting to you? Living deeply rooted in reality can be painful and god fills the desire to eschew both reality and pain. The problem is that avoidance through religion is dangerous. People don’t have to think too hard or actually solve problems when you can just use god as the answer. Then of course I could write a book on how the Bible is full of hipocrysy, violence, vengeance, misogyny and contradictions and the ways it causes judgment, hate and unearned moral superiority. But I digress. The God desire is most simply explained by Karl Marx: “religion is the opiate of the masses.” While the hunger/food example is a biological imperative, the socially constructed desire for god can be fulfilled in ways that cause less harm than religion.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
This is the third recent

This is the third recent thread where JoC has attempted to prove or insinuate the existence of his pet deity by fallacious or inaccurate means. All with an equally impressive and resounding lack of success. But it is fun to see each one meticulously demolished by the brains trust on these forums.
I particularly like Aposteri Unum's description on this thread of a:
"Referential fallacy– assuming all words refer to existing things and that the meaning of words reside within the things they refer to, as opposed to words possibly referring to no real object or that the meaning of words often comes from how we use them."

Now, I would have put it as the "Humpty Dumpty Fallacy".."When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all.".

But Aposteri Unum is considerably more polite and considerably brighter than I will just admire that elegant "Referential Fallacy"
Now wheres that 100 likes button?

Anonymous's picture
WOW! reading your responses

WOW! reading your responses is so interesting!

mykcob4's picture
Oh come on JoC

Oh come on JoC
that is pretty lame. Desire doesn't prove anything. There are several things commonly desired but don't' exist. I would love world peace but it has never existed. I would love for everyone to come to there senses and realize that there is no god, but I don't see that ever happening.
JoC just to be clear. Your proposal fits the category of proof by illogic. Why can't christians just quit all this nonsense of illogic, revisionist history, pseudo-science, and just fucking come up with sound solid facts to prove their myth? Why all the superfluous bullshit?
Desire? Really?

Sheldon's picture
"This argument in my opinion

"This argument in my opinion isn’t the stongest one but it does require some answering. Basically it says that if something is being desired, it points to something that exists which fulfills that desire."

Really? So If I desired dragons that would make them real? Did this really require a thread of it's own, it's risible nonsense JoC?

Armando Perez's picture
I would really desire to ride

I really desire to ride a dragon! but uff! they are not anywhere

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
Something I find amusing is

Something I find amusing is how the theistic refutation is always an 'argument'.

Kalam Cosmological argument
Teleological argument
Case in point 'argument from desire'.

It would be nice to see a point of view that involves actual evidence.


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