Argument with my Philosophy Teacher
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27-01-2012, 05:06 PM
RE: Argument with my Philosophy Teacher
My bet is that he is looking to make an example of you in a good way.

Be prepared for him to zero right in on you, and have some simple explainations for your position on the topic.

You have just begun reading the sentence you have just finished reading.
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27-01-2012, 05:43 PM
RE: Argument with my Philosophy Teacher
I don't actually believe in the teacher. No-one with any pretensions to be an academic would stand over Aquinas.
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27-01-2012, 07:15 PM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2012 07:20 PM by Buddy Christ.)
RE: Argument with my Philosophy Teacher
I debunked these once before and I will do it again! (Fanfare) Da DA DA!

And strangely, it was a Philosophy class last time too, so it still fits. Ironchariots always does a good job as well.

It was this thread.


Quote:If the dude really took philosophy classes then he also already KNOWS the rebuttals to these. They're taught right after the Aquinas arguments are explained (I majored in Philosophy for 2 years before changing majors).

Aquinas uses the same technique for every argument. Taking small steps at a time, he gets you to temporary agree with him, then the very last argument is: "which everyone understands to be God." For instance, Saltine crackers are square (true), if it is not square then it is not really a Saltine cracker (ehhhh, I guess I'll give it to you), there must exists a Saltine cracker that is perfectly square (ummm, probably not but let's see where you're going with this), therefor God exists (wait, WHAT?).


1. Argument from Motion

Also known as the Domino argument.

"Some things are in motion." - Very general observation, but alright, yes some things are in motion.
"Anything moved is moved by another." - True. Nothing can cause itself to move. There are no unmoved movers.
"There can't be an infinite series of movers so there must be a Prime Mover, or First Domino in the chain of dominoes." - Not really proven that there can't be an infinite series of movers. Humans have a difficult time grasping the idea that existence may be infinite, with no beginning, it makes their head hurt so they use the next statement.
"That Prime Mover is what we call God." - Annnnnd you lost me. One, an initial force that started everything in motion does NOT have to be a God, especially not the Judeo-Christian God. It's God in your argument because you WANT it to be God. I believe it was a leprechaun named Cletus.

And two, you just violated the second rule in your little rant, the "no unmoved mover" part. You can't state there can be no unmoved mover then conclude that there IS an unmoved mover called God. Who moved God? Who was the force to push that First Domino in motion? And where did that mover come from? The argument is a contradiction of itself.


2. Argument from Cause

This is the EXACT same argument as motion only using the word "caused" instead of "moved." Both of these are simply the Cosmological Argument repackaged, which are debunked in any Philosophy of Religion class.

Again, who caused the First Cause?


3. Argument from Contingency

Once again, this is the VERY SAME freaking argument with different terms. Things that exist did not always exist. So at some point, nothing existed. There had to be something to cause things that didn't exist to start existing. This is just another way to say "create existence." And once again, the response is:

Who caused God to exist? If all things that exist(ed) at one time didn't exist. Then God couldn't have always existed. He didn't exist at one point. So how did he come into existence to bring everything else into existence.

The pattern of these arguments so far is to lay out logical rules of nature, then completely contradict these rules and call this contradiction "God." This doesn't prove there is a deity, it proves that a god couldn't have been the cause/mover/creator because in order for his to be, he'd had to break these rules. And if he is the exception, then the rules are invalid in the first place since there can be exceptions. And why can't the Big Bang just as easily be the "First Mover" or the exception?


4. Argument from Perfection
-aka the Ontological Argument

This is the dumbest of the arguments. Something that is perfect HAS to exist or else it wouldn't be perfect, being that existence is a requisite for perfection. One, who says that a perfect thing has to exist or else be imperfect? And two, I can conceive of a "perfect unicorn" as well. Consisting of all the qualities that would make the unicorn perfect, setting the standards of "what should be strived for as a unicorn." In no way, does the fact that I can conceive of a perfect creature alter its state of "exist" or "doesn't exist." The fact that it's perfect beyond true comprehension only leads me to believe that such perfection is just an idea, a concept that can't be obtained until entering the realm of metaphysics, which is basically Philosophy-speak for "imagination land."


5. Argument from Design
-aka the Teleological Argument

We've all seen the Intelligent Design argument thousands of times. I believe Hitchens, Hawkins, Harris, and a plethora of youtubers have better summaries than I could come up with on the spot. Plus I really have to poop, so my time is limited. If it the most perfect poop of which I can conceive, I will call it God.



JUST TO SUM UP. Even if these arguments prove anything. It is that of a force that caused things, not a sentient being, not a loving caring father figure. These points identify some unknown force, then label it as God. This makes the purveyors of these arguments Deists in the very least sense of the word.


And a sidenote:

Quote:Yeah, they all say "time cannot be infinite, there had to be a beginning, and [insert name of specific religion they believe in] was the beginning of everything."

None of this is based on anything. It's the same as saying "I want time to have a beginning because it's easier to grasp, and I want my God to have started it."


If you compact the Aquinas arguments and read the first few and the very last statements, it's almost a mockery of itself.

"Nothing can be an unmoved mover"
...
"God is an unmoved mover"


"Nothing can exist without a cause"
...
"God exists without a cause"


"2+2 HAS to equal 4"
...
"2+2 equals 5"

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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27-01-2012, 07:54 PM (This post was last modified: 01-02-2012 08:21 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Argument with my Philosophy Teacher
1. What are you doing at that school ? He clearly is not interested in teaching the class to think critically...a very bad sign. I'd drop the class, tomorrow. And go complain to his depatment head, on the way. Demand your money back. (That will at least cause an internal discussion/ruckus in his department). (His classroom behavior is inexcusable). Don't underestimate your power.

He will no doubt use the "first cause" argument. It's been pretty well discussed above. My suggestion is to ask him, when he says, "nothing comes from nothing"...respond with...

1. We know from Quantum Physics that "nothing" IS "something". (See Krauss' video and book "A Universe from Nothing")...Ask him to define "nothingness". He won't be able to. We know from Quantum Mechanics, nothing IS something.
Ask him if nothing is "zero". Then say -1+1=0. (That little equation, in itself refutes the first cause argument because gravity can have a negative value, and the observable universe is positive).

2. Then ask him to define "existence"...after he says or implies the a god exists. he will no doubt use words like "know", "act", "create, "beget", "think", "love", "see" etc etc. EVERY single word he will come up with will require the existence of the dimensions of space-time to procede within. Then ask him how any of those processes could be "on-going" if TIME doesn't exist yet. (Ask him if god created time?) If not the game is over right then. If he says yes, then ask him how god "exists"..by any of his definitions, "eternally"....(BTW yet ANOTHER concept requiring TIME), within the dimension of time, and still be it's creator, (from the first instant of it's existence). You just take the "first cause" argument back a few steps further. Tell him his definition of "existence" can contain NO concept that requires time, to procede.

3. Ask him how he makes the JUMP, from his need for a "first cause", to HIS god, (one of MANY MANY thousands of gods), mankind has cooked up over the centuries.

4. If he uses the "supernatural" argument, saying god does not need a first cause becuase he/she/it...(ask him if god is a "she" just to bug him), is "supernatural", then ask him how angels and demons can be supernatural, and still need a "cause". It's the "Argument from Special Pleading" fallacy.

5. When he says, "prove there is not a god", tell him "prove that Bertrum Russells' Teacup is NOT orbiting in Deep Space."

6. Tell him "there's also a 1957 Chevy orbiting Pluto. I'm sure that there is, because you can't prove that there isn't."

7. I have a feeling you are in a Catholic college. If so, he is going to on about (St.) Thomas Aquinas. Remind him that the Roman Church condemned Aquinas...Condemnation of 1277 :

"In 1277, the bishop of Paris, Etienne Tempier, who had issued the condemnation of 1270 issued another, more extensive condemnation. One aim of this condemnation was to clarify that God's absolute power transcended any principles of logic that Aristotle or Averroes might place on it. More specifically, it contained a list of 219 propositions that the bishop had determined to violate the omnipotence of God, and included in this list were twenty Thomistic propositions. Their inclusion badly damaged Thomas's reputation for many years".

The basis for much of Thomistic thought is his appeal to Plato's "natural law", (which is one of the things the Roman Church censured him for). In fact, we now know, that almost all of what Aquinas consisered "natural", is not in fact necessarily so. (The Roman Church appeals to that, for example, as their justification for their stance against same sex marraige, and condemnation of same sex behavior as "unnatural"). We now know that (some) members of every species on the planet, including mammals, birds, insects, fish, ampibians, engage in those behaviors, (either exclusively, or along a Bell curve distribution of many behaviors), http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/200...122106.htm
So scientific advances/observation has, in many ways refuted the "natural law" arguments of Aquinas.

8. The "time cannot be infinite, there had to be a beginning, and (MY) 'god' was the beginning of everything" is illogical for many reasons. Two of them are,
a. the word "beginning" implies that the action "the beginning of time" exists in an already existing, (a priori), dimension of time, or the word "beginning" has no meaning there, (it just adds ANOTHER "super-time" dimension, in which the "beginning" would have had to "begin"...it's the same infinite regression business that the "uncaused cause" raises).
b. a creator, "creating" something, (ie a "creative ACTION"), would have to have a "beginning, ((and at least a (1) further point along the "creative" PROCESS, or it's not an "act")). THAT requires time, (to exist ALREADY), BEFORE the 'creative action' began...again infinite regression). They will say..."no, it was the 'instant' of creation"...to which I reply...the word "instant" is meaningless. I can find a better clock than you, and break down to smaller units ANY "instant" you care to propose, AND we know from Einstein's Relativity, that time is relative to acceleration/speed...thus there is NO "one" instant everywhere...(and everyone who uses a GPS in their car uses Relativity calculations every day).. Space-time began, as far as we know, only in THIS universe, at the Big Bang. There is no way you can get around the fact that if their god "exists", time had to ALWAYS exist concurrently with "him", or "he" couldn't "exist", and therefore "he" is not the creator of everything. (OR, the human word "existence" is meaningless, and the whole enterprise is a waste of time).

Another corollary from Einstein's Theory of Relativity is that this universe is not necessarily "intuitive", (also a corollary of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Theorem). One of the assumptions of ALL the Thomistic arguments is that the (entire, complete) universe is "intuitive", or "appreciable" by beings with (only) 5 senses. It has been proven that it is NOT.

For a discussion of how the "laws of nature/physics" could have spontaneously arisen, see Lawrence Krauss' "A Universe from Nothing".

9. His admonition to you "stop scaring the other students"..bla bla bla..means that HE was scared (did he pass out a poll asking the others if THEY were scared?) ...YOU are a threat to him and he is afraid of you. Think about it.

Be sure and come back, and let us know what happened.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist & Levitating Yogi
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01-02-2012, 12:44 AM
RE: Argument with my Philosophy Teacher
Thanks a lot for the responses guys. My class is tomorrow so I will let you guys know how everything goes.
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01-02-2012, 12:48 AM
RE: Argument with my Philosophy Teacher
(27-01-2012 01:05 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  That question is silly.

No one is omniscient, therefore, we can never know 100% if there is or isn't a God.

Are you saying that God doesn't know who he is? Big Grin

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01-02-2012, 01:23 AM
RE: Argument with my Philosophy Teacher
Sounds to me as if your teacher is in fact - a closet atheist... Or he is seriously questioning his beliefs and isn't intelligent enough to find a way out of the bag.

I'm not the first to say that Thomas Aquinas was a blithering fool that babbled and rambled on about anything and everything, and he had absolutely no true merit whatsoever to back up his 'proof'... He believed that 'everything has a purpose in life, and the purpose is through divine planning' or God's will. Cop out! His Five Proofs were merely ' A Theory'!

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Thanks for getting off my back!"
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01-02-2012, 11:50 PM
RE: Argument with my Philosophy Teacher
I took a Philosophy of Religion class that detailed all the arguments for and against, and the rebuttals to each argument. The teacher determined that it is a "scottish verdict" --- that there can be no ruling one way or the other. That's how any unbiased, rational person thinks (like KingsChosen - his comment was entirely right).

You could rebut your teacher, but surely he's heard the argument against it before, correct? Anybody could just look it up on Wikipedia or find a random rebuttal on... say... a forum like this one? I actually found that through a Google search Wink

So if your teacher has never read a rebuttal, it's because he doesn't seek to fully understand a philosophy before he renders a judgement on it. And if he has read a rebuttal or two and denies that the issue is still arguable, then he is unreasonable. In either case, I wouldn't bother arguing with the guy --- it's a lose-lose proposition.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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02-02-2012, 12:17 AM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2012 08:44 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Argument with my Philosophy Teacher
(01-02-2012 11:50 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  I took a Philosophy of Religion class that detailed all the arguments for and against, and the rebuttals to each argument. The teacher determined that it is a "scottish verdict" --- that there can be no ruling one way or the other. That's how any unbiased, rational person thinks (like KingsChosen - his comment was entirely right).

What ?
"That's how any unbiased rational person thinks" ?
I wasn't aware *THEY* thought any "way".
The function of a teacher is to "determine" things ?
What a shocking statement !
Please define "rational", and "unbiased" ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQhd05ZVYWg

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06-02-2012, 01:37 AM
RE: Argument with my Philosophy Teacher
(27-01-2012 01:05 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  That question is silly.

No one is omniscient, therefore, we can never know 100% if there is or isn't a God.

That's right. So, Christian should stop proclaiming the Bible is the truth.
If people believed because of evidence, no one would be a Christian.
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