Infinite Regress
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30-01-2013, 06:29 AM
Infinite Regress
Hey.

The idea of infinite regress has never bothered me. I know that people put a lot of stock into it, but it's just never been particularly troublesome for me. Such is life.

Some of the responses in my God - Ahh Ahhh - Creator of the Universe (man, I love singing that in my head lol) were somewhat puzzling to me and shed some light on my understanding of infinite regress. So, I have a question.

The naturalist theory of the creation of the universe is that the big bang happened and that the universe was created from nothing (there are some new theories involving multiverses, but that's hardly the hegemonic view at this point).

When people suggest a creator of the universe, the question is asked, "Well who created the creator and who created that creator and so on ad infinitum?"

My question is, why did anyone have to create the creator?

If we accept that the universe came from nothing, why is it not possible that a creator came from nothing? Or that the creator's creator thing goes back X generations until one finally comes from nothing?

I ask because to me, there is a double standard with infinite regress. We accept that it doesn't apply to our universe, why couldn't that be the case with a creator?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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30-01-2013, 06:36 AM
RE: Infinite Regress
(30-01-2013 06:29 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey.

The idea of infinite regress has never bothered me. I know that people put a lot of stock into it, but it's just never been particularly troublesome for me. Such is life.

Some of the responses in my God - Ahh Ahhh - Creator of the Universe (man, I love singing that in my head lol) were somewhat puzzling to me and shed some light on my understanding of infinite regress. So, I have a question.

The naturalist theory of the creation of the universe is that the big bang happened and that the universe was created from nothing (there are some new theories involving multiverses, but that's hardly the hegemonic view at this point).

When people suggest a creator of the universe, the question is asked, "Well who created the creator and who created that creator and so on ad infinitum?"

My question is, why did anyone have to create the creator?

If we accept that the universe came from nothing, why is it not possible that a creator came from nothing? Or that the creator's creator thing goes back X generations until one finally comes from nothing?

I ask because to me, there is a double standard with infinite regress. We accept that it doesn't apply to our universe, why couldn't that be the case with a creator?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
I don't think your "naturalist explanation" is correct. It may be one of many. Infinite regress assumes time, (and an intuitive) universe. Neither are reliable, nor is there evidence for either. U ntill proven otherwise, spacetime exists only in this universe.

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30-01-2013, 06:51 AM
RE: Infinite Regress
(30-01-2013 06:29 AM)Ghost Wrote:  If we accept that the universe came from nothing, why is it not possible that a creator came from nothing? Or that the creator's creator thing goes back X generations until one finally comes from nothing?
Does nothing exist?

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Benjamin Franklin
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30-01-2013, 07:20 AM (This post was last modified: 30-01-2013 07:33 AM by Vosur.)
RE: Infinite Regress
(30-01-2013 06:29 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey.

The idea of infinite regress has never bothered me. I know that people put a lot of stock into it, but it's just never been particularly troublesome for me. Such is life.

Some of the responses in my God - Ahh Ahhh - Creator of the Universe (man, I love singing that in my head lol) were somewhat puzzling to me and shed some light on my understanding of infinite regress. So, I have a question.

The naturalist theory of the creation of the universe is that the big bang happened and that the universe was created from nothing (there are some new theories involving multiverses, but that's hardly the hegemonic view at this point).

When people suggest a creator of the universe, the question is asked, "Well who created the creator and who created that creator and so on ad infinitum?"

My question is, why did anyone have to create the creator?

If we accept that the universe came from nothing, why is it not possible that a creator came from nothing? Or that the creator's creator thing goes back X generations until one finally comes from nothing?

I ask because to me, there is a double standard with infinite regress. We accept that it doesn't apply to our universe, why couldn't that be the case with a creator?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
It seems to me that you are attacking a straw man position. The only intellectually honest answer to the question "Where did the Universe come from?" is currently "I don't know", or, alternatively, "I don't know, but I think it's probable/possible/etc. that [...]". Who on this forum told you otherwise?

Furthermore, you are taking the question "But who created the Creator?" out of its proper context. It's a common response to the following argument for the existence of god.

P1: Everything that exists requires a Creator.
P2: The Universe exists.
P3: An infinite regress cannot exist.
C1: Therefore, the Universe has a Creator.
C2: Therefore, since an infinite regress cannot exist, the Creator of the Universe does not have a Creator himself.

The formerly mentioned question is being asked because the first premise states that everything that exists requires a Creator, meaning that the Creator himself would require a Creator. The only way you can make the argument work is by excluding god from P1 by committing the fallacy of special pleading.

Lastly, what is this naturalistic theory you are talking about which states that the Universe was created ex nihilo? It's certainly not the Big Bang theory.

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30-01-2013, 07:48 AM
RE: Infinite Regress
The thing is with the infinite regress is that if you are going to assume that the creator doesn't need a creator, then why assume that the universe does need one?

Either way you have something that doesn't have a creator, but if you assume there is no creator until proven otherwise then that is one thing less to find an explanation for.
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30-01-2013, 08:07 AM
RE: Infinite Regress
Hey, Hedge.

I'm not assuming anything. I've just heard people say that infinite regress is a problem of the creator of the universe and I'm just asking why.

Hey, Vosur.

Strawman? I don't think so. Infinite regress is about a creator needing a creator is it not?

Or are you suggesting that this only applies when the claim "everything requires a creator" is made?

I don't care about the intellectually honest answer at the moment. That doesn't concern this question. I'm asking if a creator requires a creator and why? It's just a question.

Perhaps you should educate me about the Big Bang theory then.

Hey, Chaos.

What?

Hey, Bucky.

What?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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30-01-2013, 08:21 AM
RE: Infinite Regress
(30-01-2013 08:07 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Hedge.

I'm not assuming anything. I've just heard people say that infinite regress is a problem of the creator of the universe and I'm just asking why.

Hey, Vosur.

Strawman? I don't think so. Infinite regress is about a creator needing a creator is it not?

Or are you suggesting that this only applies when the claim "everything requires a creator" is made?

I don't care about the intellectually honest answer at the moment. That doesn't concern this question. I'm asking if a creator requires a creator and why? It's just a question.

Perhaps you should educate me about the Big Bang theory then.

Hey, Chaos.

What?

Hey, Bucky.

What?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt


Infinite regress occurs from the argument that everything that exists needs a creator. Therefore, the postulated Creator needs a creator. This is a logical necessity that is answered by theists with the special pleading that their Creator needs no creator.

The special pleading that the Creator always existed is the problem.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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30-01-2013, 08:47 AM (This post was last modified: 30-01-2013 08:56 AM by Vosur.)
RE: Infinite Regress
(30-01-2013 08:07 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Strawman? I don't think so. Infinite regress is about a creator needing a creator is it not?
When I suggested that you are attacking a straw man position, I was talking about the acceptance of an ex nihilo creation of the Universe (by users on this forum).

And to answer your latter question: No, it's not limited to this scenario. If we were to propose that, say, a singularity was the cause of the Universe, we would of course have to ask the next question: "Where did the singularity come from?" And so on so forth ad infinitum. You know the drill.

Wikipedia Wrote:An infinite regress in a series of propositions arises if the truth of proposition P1 requires the support of proposition P2, the truth of proposition P2 requires the support of proposition P3, ... , and the truth of proposition Pn-1 requires the support of proposition Pn and n approaches infinity.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_regress

(30-01-2013 08:07 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Or are you suggesting that this only applies when the claim "everything requires a creator" is made?

I don't care about the intellectually honest answer at the moment. That doesn't concern this question. I'm asking if a creator requires a creator and why? It's just a question.
I have already answered your question in the second part of my post.

You make it look like it's a question that is being asked out of the blue when it is in fact a response to a specific argument.

The question presupposes the necessity of a Creator for everything (including the Creator) because that's what the respective argument's first premise is (reductio ad absurdum).

Someone who denies the validity of the first premise of the argument ("Everything that exists requires a Creator") has no reason to ask the above question in the first place.

(30-01-2013 08:07 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Perhaps you should educate me about the Big Bang theory then.
Allow me to quote another user who has expressed it eloquently:

(29-01-2013 01:23 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Evolution is to Abiogenesis what the Big Bang is to the 'creation' of the universe. Much as evolution explain biodiversity and not the origins of life, so the Big Bang explains the universe's expansion and formation, but not it's 'creation'. Was it a singularity? Was it caused by quantum fluctuations in the dimensional strings? We don't know, but there are competing ideas.

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30-01-2013, 08:57 AM
RE: Infinite Regress
Ok, first response is that no matter which side you're on, creator vs. no-creator, we all assume that something has always existed. You either believe that the universe has always existed in some state or other, even before the big bang, or you believe that a creator always existed.

Fine, so either way, something is infinite.

But, what is most likely?

Let's take belief out of it. Let's assume that nobody has ever heard of the concept of gods or religion or creators. Let's just assume that today we're asking what has always existed for the very first time in the history of mankind.

What is the most complex thing you can think of? A watch? A sports car? A space shuttle? A galaxy? Whatever it is, I suggest there is something even more complex to consider: a perfect being who is both omniscient and omnipotent, capable of creating an entire universe in a few days. Whatever he is, he's surely vastly complex to have all that knowledge and all that power. Philosophically, he must be more complex than anything he could ever create - for example, you don't see amoebas creating watches or sports cars or space shuttles or galaxies.

What is the simplest (least complex) thing you can think of? A rock? A grain of sand? A drop of water? A simple hydrogen atom? A smaller particle, like an electron or a boson? Yes, those particles are awfully simple, far more simple than a grain of sand or a drop of water, both of which are made of many separate atoms and many more particles.

Now, for this question, remember to forget beliefs, forget lifelong indoctrination, just evaluate the question from a purely philosophical perspective:

Which seems more likely to have always existed, the most complex thing in the universe or the simplest thing in the universe?

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30-01-2013, 10:33 AM
RE: Infinite Regress
(30-01-2013 06:29 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey.

The idea of infinite regress has never bothered me. I know that people put a lot of stock into it, but it's just never been particularly troublesome for me. Such is life.

Some of the responses in my God - Ahh Ahhh - Creator of the Universe (man, I love singing that in my head lol) were somewhat puzzling to me and shed some light on my understanding of infinite regress. So, I have a question.

The naturalist theory of the creation of the universe is that the big bang happened and that the universe was created from nothing (there are some new theories involving multiverses, but that's hardly the hegemonic view at this point).

When people suggest a creator of the universe, the question is asked, "Well who created the creator and who created that creator and so on ad infinitum?"

My question is, why did anyone have to create the creator?

If we accept that the universe came from nothing, why is it not possible that a creator came from nothing? Or that the creator's creator thing goes back X generations until one finally comes from nothing?

I ask because to me, there is a double standard with infinite regress. We accept that it doesn't apply to our universe, why couldn't that be the case with a creator?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Assuming for a second that there had to be a first "something" that existed before anything else (although I suspect reality is a lot more complicated, but difficult for us to imagine), then there would be 2 possibilities for that first "something":

1) It simply came into existence from nothing
2) It was created by something else

But #2 is not really a possibility because that requires the "something" not to be first since the creator would have existed before it in order to create it.

So that oversimplified view would lead to the conclusion that the first "something" had to have come into existence from nothing.

As stated, I think that's probably far too simple, but even if we accept it as true, it doesn't even begin to indicate that the first "something" is a god. More likely, it was a chemical element or something else very basic.

That said, the whole idea of even a chemical element coming from nothing seems like a huge leap, but the alternative that at least something must have always existed provides no more intellectual comfort. This is all difficult to imagine just for a mere chemical element. Thinking about it in terms of a being with the power of a creator god multiplies that difficulty infinitely.

I think the point of the infinite regress argument isn't to say that something couldn't have come from nothing, but to counter the theist claim that "something couldn't have come from nothing and therefore something always existed which must be God". That conclusion is completely arbitrary and the infinite regress is used to spotlight that fact. It's not intended to provide us an alternative answer, but to return us to the proper "we don't know" position.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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