Belief versus reality
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30-10-2017, 10:49 AM
RE: Belief versus reality
(30-10-2017 05:26 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(30-10-2017 04:02 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  It is possible that things exists outside of our space-time. However, if such things do exist, then we have no way of knowing. If they cross into our space-time, they are in principle detectable while they do so. However an entity that never crosses into our space-time or otherwise interacts with it is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a non-existent entity. Seeing as how we have no reason to conclude that anything exists outside of our-space time (for we have no evidence of such an instance or event), there is no reasonable grounds to hold positive belief in such a possibility. In short, we have no reason to think that the supernatural is at all possible, let alone probable.

We also have no reason to think that everything that exists is detectable by our feeble senses and intellects. I think the only honest answer is that we don't know. And that's the answer I'm sticking with.

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If it is undetectable it may as well be non-existent.
If it is undetectable, we will never have any knowledge of it.
To continue to hammer on about undetectable things is the very picture of mental masturbation. Drinking Beverage

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30-10-2017, 11:29 AM
RE: Belief versus reality
(30-10-2017 10:44 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(29-10-2017 08:09 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  There are different senses of the word "causation". You appear to be stuck on the modern sense -- what most people today think of when they see or hear the word. The "first cause" of the cosmological argument has nothing to do with this type of causation. Better words might be "dependence" or "ground". The fundamental notion is that contingent things require something else to sustain their very existence at each and every moment of time. The chain of dependence is vertical, not horizontal (where the horizontal axis represents time).

My arguments in this thread have nothing to do with the sort of causation that you keep referring to, and everything to do with the entirely different sort of causation that Aristotle and Aquinas were referring to.

Just to keep the record straight, I will repeat that I do not buy the cosmological argument, and I do not believe in God (and most certainly not in the God of the Bible). There are several things about the argument that make me uneasy, not least of these being its conclusion (that an immaterial and immutable intelligence can affect material objects). However, I don't think the argument can be dismissed as trivially as most people here seem to be doing. You can't dismiss an argument merely because you don't like the conclusion. You need to point out the specific flaws in the argument, and I don't see anyone doing that. Instead, they repeatedly point out flaws in a different argument -- one that Aristotle and Aquinas were not making.

In the modern world, causation is used only in the sense I am referring to, except in outré, pointless rehashes of outdated, ignorant philosophy.

No one in the real world uses causation in the way Aristotle or Aquinas used it. And the words 'cause' and 'causation' are poor English translations of the Greek and Latin in which these 'first cause' arguments were posed.

To continue to use a word that is so clearly inapplicable is simply pig-headed and bound to lead to confusion. And that confusion seems to be intentional.

I have no intent to cause any confusion. That is the way the words have always been translated, and the way these arguments are always given. I'm not sure what you mean by the real world, but there are a significant number of philosophers alive and working today who take these arguments seriously, and not all of them are theists.

Many philosophers use ordinary words in unusual ways in the context of their philosophical arguments. If you want to discuss those arguments, you need to familiarize yourself with their terminology, idiosyncratic as it may be. If you're unwilling to do that, it might be best to not attempt to discuss the arguments at all. Arguing against a straw man version of them accomplishes nothing.
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30-10-2017, 12:55 PM
RE: Belief versus reality
I would agree there are probably many things we can't detect ... other "universes", other dimensions, Dark Energy, Dark Matter, (which perhaps can be inferred) ... but there is no evidence of any gods, and they are undetectable. If there were evidence of any, (children with cancer being miraculously healed, prayer working, etc etc) it might be different. For us, an undetectable god is the same as one that doesn't exist, and that's what we have here.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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31-10-2017, 02:27 AM (This post was last modified: 31-10-2017 02:32 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Belief versus reality
Even if you use some weird, unreal version of the weird "causation", it's still just an assertion that it in any way applies to all things in reality, no matter how many times we may claim to observe it. (All things minus God, of course. Mustn't forget that special pleading.) So you can never step foot outside an imaginary playground in your head.

The problem is that these arguments are really saying this:

1) Some things (may) require a "cause"
2) It just so happens that the group of things that don't need a cause is of size 1, and isn't reality itself
3) It just so happens that the thing that doesn't need a cause is in some way responsible for all the other things

Premise 1 is fine, it's the assumption-free version of the usual loaded special-pleading nonsense. It's just that it tells us absolutely nothing; nor should it.

Premise 2 and 3 are just inserting the desired conclusions. The rest of these arguments are just ways of obscuring this fact. And this still tells you nothing about "god", unless you just insert its attributes into the premises as well.

One more point...

There's a difference between a creator and a designer. The former does not imply the latter, apart from in the most meaningless sense of the word.

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31-10-2017, 05:40 AM
RE: Belief versus reality
(30-10-2017 11:29 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(30-10-2017 10:44 AM)Chas Wrote:  In the modern world, causation is used only in the sense I am referring to, except in outré, pointless rehashes of outdated, ignorant philosophy.

No one in the real world uses causation in the way Aristotle or Aquinas used it. And the words 'cause' and 'causation' are poor English translations of the Greek and Latin in which these 'first cause' arguments were posed.

To continue to use a word that is so clearly inapplicable is simply pig-headed and bound to lead to confusion. And that confusion seems to be intentional.

I have no intent to cause any confusion. That is the way the words have always been translated, and the way these arguments are always given. I'm not sure what you mean by the real world, but there are a significant number of philosophers alive and working today who take these arguments seriously, and not all of them are theists.

Many philosophers use ordinary words in unusual ways in the context of their philosophical arguments. If you want to discuss those arguments, you need to familiarize yourself with their terminology, idiosyncratic as it may be. If you're unwilling to do that, it might be best to not attempt to discuss the arguments at all. Arguing against a straw man version of them accomplishes nothing.

I'll boil this down: I am not constructing nor arguing with a straw man argument; I am calling bullshit on the whole basis of Aristotle's four causes and the first cause arguments, especially the idea that knowledge can be gained by reasoning alone and that only god is a formal cause.
These men were trying to make sense of the world but missed the mark due to ignorance of things we have since discovered. Let's award them a nice participation medal, but their philosophies have been shown to be not just deficient, but incorrect.

N.B. And the words are important. Unless one is learned in Aristotelian and/or Aquinian philosophy, the the word 'cause' is merely confusing and needs to be explained as not actually meaning 'cause'.

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31-10-2017, 05:48 AM
RE: Belief versus reality
(31-10-2017 02:27 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Even if you use some weird, unreal version of the weird "causation", it's still just an assertion that it in any way applies to all things in reality....

"Weird causation" sounds like some quantum mechanics thing.
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31-10-2017, 05:57 AM
RE: Belief versus reality
(31-10-2017 05:40 AM)Chas Wrote:  their philosophies have been shown to be not just deficient, but incorrect.

Can you explain to me how Aristotle's concept of four causes has been shown to be incorrect? I've found it to be pretty useful over the years, with absolutely no supernatural elements implied.
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31-10-2017, 07:23 AM (This post was last modified: 31-10-2017 08:19 AM by Free.)
RE: Belief versus reality
(31-10-2017 05:57 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  
(31-10-2017 05:40 AM)Chas Wrote:  their philosophies have been shown to be not just deficient, but incorrect.

Can you explain to me how Aristotle's concept of four causes has been shown to be incorrect? I've found it to be pretty useful over the years, with absolutely no supernatural elements implied.

Well, we can begin with one cause.

End

"Aristotle defines the end, purpose, telos, or final "cause" as that for the sake of which a thing is done. For example, according to Aristotle, a seed has the eventual adult plant as its end if and only if the seed would become the adult plant under normal circumstances."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_causes#cite_note-14

In this example, should we accept that the "end" should be defined as only when something has achieved maturation? And by maturation, meaning by what we percieve to be maturation?

Obviously there are problems with this, particularily in respect to evolution.

We tend to look at evolution with a somewhat narrow view of what it could actually be. On a larger scale, such as a planetary scale, the plant example used by Aristotle does not appear to complete anything except maturation of it's life cycle, but this is by no means the "end."

After maturation occurs, the plant continues to live, and its life continues to affect, at the very least, it's nearby environment. Even the plants' decay upon its percieved death will elicit change, a change that is recorded in the cycle of life which demonstrates the dynamic nature of not only things on earth, but also on a universal scale.

The nature of things is not solidary, but rather it is a collective of all things interacting in the natural world.

What we perceive to be an end is not an end at all, but rather it is merely a small cog in the wheel of a planetary and universal evolutionary process which is constantly in a state of flux, always dynamically progressing towards the next form of existence.

Aristotle's view of the "end" is restricted by his perception, and can be easily demonstrated as incomplete and inaccurate when such things as evolution are juxtaposed.

Therefore, the maturation of a plant is not the end, nor is it the beginning, of anything. It is merely a point in the cycle of an endless dynamic process demonstrating an infinite dynamic progression preceded by an infinite dynamic regression.

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31-10-2017, 08:00 AM
RE: Belief versus reality
(31-10-2017 05:40 AM)Chas Wrote:  .....

N.B. And the words are important. Unless one is learned in Aristotelian and/or Aquinian philosophy, the the word 'cause' is merely confusing and needs to be explained as not actually meaning 'cause'.

And I took some pains to explain it as such. Most people here apparently weren't paying attention.
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31-10-2017, 08:17 AM
RE: Belief versus reality
(30-10-2017 11:29 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  ... but there are a significant number of philosophers alive and working today who take these arguments seriously, and not all of them are theists.

As far as I'm concerned, "philosophers" are people who can't find a meaningful job outside of academia, and who manage to convince enough gullible folks that they hold some special knowledge about the world and humanity and the meaning of life. Although of course they don't—beyond a farrago of smoke and mirrors.

Although I agree that Thales, Epictetus, or Confucius could legitimately be regarded as philosophers within their time frames.

Quote:Many philosophers use ordinary words in unusual ways in the context of their philosophical arguments. If you want to discuss those arguments, you need to familiarize yourself with their terminology, idiosyncratic as it may be.

Which is because they rely on the old adage of "bullshit baffles brains". Dodgy

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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