Does "maybe not" equal "not necessary"?
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16-10-2016, 06:30 AM
RE: Does "maybe not" equal "not necessary"?
(16-10-2016 03:18 AM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  Hey atheists, maybe you can help me out again...

I'm planning on calling in to the Atheist Experience tonight and ask them the same question I asked here ("Do you believe no gods exist?"), but there is another gripe I have with them that I don't want to bring up if I don't have to. A couple months ago, I called in with a response to the "Who created God?" argument/question, and the segment concluded with Matt saying this:

----"If you are going to try to counter the first cause argument and give an argument for why God didn’t need a cause, the conclusion of that argument needs to be, 'Therefore, God does not require a cause'. The conclusion of that argument should not be 'God maybe requires a cause, maybe doesn’t.'"
For full context you can see the whole segment here. The quote is at 00:30:23.

Now, I think Matt may have misremembered the argument because the conclusion, in the Matt-redefined argument, was "Therefore, God may not be bound by time" or in other words, "God may not have a cause". My question is, isn't this the same thing as saying "God does not require a cause", such that the next step can be "Therefore, God does not require a cause"?

In trying to figure this out, I found this on the wikipedia page for modal logic:
----"It is not necessary that X" is logically equivalent to "It is possible that not X".
----"It is not possible that X" is logically equivalent to "It is necessary that not X".

It seems, then, that I can state my conclusion in the form, "It is possible that God does not have a cause (not X). Therefore, it is not necessary that God has a cause (X)". Am I mistaken?

Also, please don't bring up any other parts of the argument such as "How do you know God is outside of the universe?" until either you try to answer the above question or the question is resolved. I'm not going to respond to any such posts. Thanks!

Bear in mind the context. Whether or not a god would need a cause is most important in some sort of prime-mover argument wherein a key premise is that everything needs to have a cause (and the ultimate, original cause is your god). The difficulty is not so much in establishing that your god could be uncaused. It's establishing it in such a way that does not undermine the premise that everything requires a cause, and so undermining your original argument. Once you allow for that possibility, you invite Sagan's "why not skip a step" argument -- why not just suppose that the Big Bang is the first cause, with no need for a cause itself? If you were to establish that it was possible that a god was uncaused, have you done the same check to see if it is possible that the Big Bang was uncaused?

The nature of Matt's (and others') "who created God" question isn't just to pose the question itself. It's to pose the question in such a way that any attempt to answer it (or even argue that it is unanswerable) undermines the Cosmological argument for God. In context, you're leveraging the concept of a universal need for causation as part of that argument. Establish an exception and you damage that argument for God.

Try to bear the dual-nature of this question in mind as you address it. Right now, you're only working one side of it.

... also, for the record, and you probably know this, we don't really think "who created God" is a real question. We don't think there's a god at all, so the question of who created this thing that doesn't exist at all is loaded with a false assumption. It's a vapid question. It's only coherent for us to ask when engaging in a hypothetical, wherein it's proposed that everything must have a cause or a creator or some-such.

... also-also, establishing "it's possible in abstract" isn't going to convince anyone. You need to go for "it's true" or at least "it's probable". Matt tends to... not have patience for that sort of irrelevant, abstract point and tries to force the conversation to focus on the meat of things.
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16-10-2016, 06:34 AM
RE: Does "maybe not" equal "not necessary"?
I would just say that no gods exist. The rest is just mental masturbation.

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16-10-2016, 06:40 AM
RE: Does "maybe not" equal "not necessary"?
(16-10-2016 06:15 AM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  It's an analogy, but I don't know if it's a good analogy. For a ball rolling, we know that all it needs is a force to set things in motion, which there are plenty of in the universe. We don't know of anything that can cause a universe, so we don't have any explanations for it.

We also do not know that a universe needs a cause or what causes might exist in some multiverse scenario. The bolded part is the key point. Putting the label 'god' on an unknown is a god-of-the-gaps argument.

Quote:What that seems to mean is that any proposal is possible as long as it isn't illogical, goes against what we know. Which, if anything is possible, it seems none of them are necessary.

I would never agree that "any proposal is possible". We might not be able to say that any given proposal is impossible but, as we've been over before, not knowing something is impossible doesn't mean that it is possible. It jut means that we don't know if it is possible or not.

Quote:But is there any natural explanation that doesn't break our current understanding of reality? Consider

Not having a natural explanation is not justification for assuming a supernatural explanation. The history of science has been (a) strange thing (storms, earthquakes, eclipses, etc), (b) assumed supernatural explanation, ( c) investigation, (d) natural explanation. We are still in step C for many things but never has "(d) supernatural explanation" been the solution.

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16-10-2016, 07:41 AM
RE: Does "maybe not" equal "not necessary"?
(16-10-2016 06:27 AM)unfogged Wrote:  If you can show that it IS possible that a god can exist without having a cause than it would be fair to say that it is not necessary that an existent god has a cause. Big whoop. You really do need to show that (a) the god exists and (b) no cause is needed.

(a) Yes, but that's a separate argument. In the context of the "Who created God?" discussion, God is assumed to exist. I think a more relevant question would be "How can God exist outside of the universe?" which I could answer, given time to explain existence.

(b) Um, that's what the argument concluded, "Therefore, it is not necessary that God has a cause." Unless you're referring again to the overall soundness of the argument, in which case I would have to point to the "How can God exist outside of the universe?" answer.

In general, determining the soundness of the argument would be a much greater task, one that goes beyond the scope of the "Who created God?" discussion. I only wanted to make sure of the validity of the argument, because I can always evaluate the truth of each premise.
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16-10-2016, 08:10 AM
RE: Does "maybe not" equal "not necessary"?
(16-10-2016 06:15 AM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  But is there any natural explanation that doesn't break our current understanding of reality? Consider
The problem here too is that everything we know about reality is completely contained and limited to "inside" our universe.
We have absolutely no idea if the universe itself, or other universes if there is in fact a multiverse, abide by those same laws. I forgot the technical name, but it can fall under the "sum of all parts" fallacy. IE.. no part of a plane can fly, therefore a plane cannot fly.

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16-10-2016, 08:24 AM
RE: Does "maybe not" equal "not necessary"?
(16-10-2016 06:30 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  Bear in mind the context. Whether or not a god would need a cause is most important in some sort of prime-mover argument wherein a key premise is that everything needs to have a cause (and the ultimate, original cause is your god).

It is in the word "everything" that I think makes the traditional argument flawed. "Everything" would include anything in the "cosmos", let's call it, when we only understand the workings of our universe. So I changed it to "causation is a part of the universe" because that more accurately represents our knowledge. But when you restrict it to our universe, that leaves possibility for the rest of the cosmos.

Quote:Once you allow for that possibility, you invite Sagan's "why not skip a step" argument -- why not just suppose that the Big Bang is the first cause, with no need for a cause itself? If you were to establish that it was possible that a god was uncaused, have you done the same check to see if it is possible that the Big Bang was uncaused?

This somewhat has to do with the soundness of the argument like unfogged brought up. Because causality is a concept that exists as part of the universe, it seems illogical for, if the universe is caused, which it seems to be according to the Big Bang, then by its own mechanism it must have had a previous state to cause it. But then that means it was in a previous state before it began, which seems contradictory. Notice I'm saying "seems" a lot. It's because, yes, I can't say it is impossible because we don't know how causality might have worked differently then, but when we talk about soundness, we talk about likelihood, and these things are evidence against the universe causing itself. Now you should ask, "Is there better evidence for something 'outside' the universe to cause it?", and I think I could provide some reason but, again, that's outside of the current discussion. I've already trailed enough by going off on this tangent about soundness. But once these points have been established and accepted, we could continue on into the soundness.

Quote:In context, you're leveraging the concept of a universal need for causation as part of that argument. Establish an exception and you damage that argument for God.

I'm not sure what the "exception" is that you are referring to, but if it's the fact that God isn't affected by time, that's not an exception. I didn't say things have to exist in the universe. Whatever acted as the cause for this universe, which can be called God, whether that be just a definition or a property of a more well-defined god, would be one such thing outside of the universe.

Quote:... also, for the record, and you probably know this, we don't really think "who created God" is a real question. We don't think there's a god at all...

Yes, as you've described it's a question composed to point out the flaw in a cosmological argument. I'll just note that like I said with unfogged, it does assume a God exists, and so we can talk about it in that context.

Quote:... also-also, establishing "it's possible in abstract" isn't going to convince anyone. You need to go for "it's true" or at least "it's probable". Matt tends to... not have patience for that sort of irrelevant, abstract point and tries to force the conversation to focus on the meat of things.

Yeah. I'll just reiterate one more time, not by anybody's fault, that I wasn't looking to argue for its soundness. I wanted to see if the logic was true so that it could work as a valid counterargument.

A couple other things. One, I don't think the main point of philosophical discourse is to verify the soundness of arguments and find the absolute truth. Sure, it's the end goal, but no person agrees with any other person on everything, so it is inevitable that no argument is going to be universally sound. That said, I actually decided to call in in the first place because I watched the video The Best Argument For Atheism and I thought it was ridiculous, considering there is such a simple counterargument to the idea. And to the "on the fence" agnostics and deists that Kyle made the video for, they would certainly accept the premises of my argument because they are open to such possibilities, whether that be a good thing or a bad thing.
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16-10-2016, 08:33 AM
RE: Does "maybe not" equal "not necessary"?
(16-10-2016 06:34 AM)chimp3 Wrote:  I would just say that no gods exist. The rest is just mental masturbation.

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16-10-2016, 08:35 AM
RE: Does "maybe not" equal "not necessary"?
Things that exist need an environment of existence to be in place prior to that thing existing.

An environment of existence is necessary for anything to exist.

The only intelligence that we know of are human beings. A universe is necessary for our existence.
For a god to exist, a human mind is necessary.

Humans have discovered a great deal about the universe and some have placed a god at its beginning, because they cannot imagine a naturally blooming flower. There must be a gardener who planted the seed and tended to the flower causing it to bloom.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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16-10-2016, 08:49 AM (This post was last modified: 16-10-2016 09:12 AM by Peebothuhul.)
RE: Does "maybe not" equal "not necessary"?
At work.

Sadcryface

I acknowledged/acceped the first premise.....

...... and I thought I gave a pretty good example/possibility/idea.
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16-10-2016, 08:59 AM
RE: Does "maybe not" equal "not necessary"?
(16-10-2016 06:40 AM)unfogged Wrote:  We also do not know that a universe needs a cause or what causes might exist in some multiverse scenario. The bolded part is the key point. Putting the label 'god' on an unknown is a god-of-the-gaps argument.

Yes, that's why I didn't mention any god. Just said can't explain it

Quote:Not having a natural explanation is not justification for assuming a supernatural explanation.

True, not justifying one case is not reason to assume the other, unless it is a dichotomy. But I can think of other explanations that can be arrived at with fairly simple reasoning that don't break any natural laws. For example, I have reason to think that reality isn't restrained to our universe, but you would have to first come to the conclusion that our universe is just a set of rules, the same way a game of chess is just a set of rules and you may also have to accept some plausibility of a multiverse being true. And I'm not confident in my abilities to show these things to be likely because they deal with highly debated concepts, such as whether or not the universe is mathematical or physical, of which I don't think empirically minded people would favor very much. But I could try, maybe.
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