My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
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08-02-2011, 08:58 PM
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
(08-02-2011 08:48 PM)gamutman Wrote:  Here's something that needs to be understood to fully understand why the first-cause argument fails. Time as we understand it is relative to the observer. This fact has been proven. Also, it is inextricably associated to space. So if the universe began with the big bang; all matter, energy, time and space associated with this universe also came into existence at that moment. There was no moment before. So if there was no time before that moment, there was also no space, no energy, no matter, nothing to cause anything, no time in which anything could be caused.

So the question is not how was the big bang caused? It wasn't. It happened, but it was uncaused. So we ask why did it happen? There are theories, but we don't know. We maybe can't know.

Let's say though that the reason it happened was because a breech occurred in the fabric of a different universe. Or lets say that it happened because a preceding universe crunched into singularity at the end of its time. Or let's say that it happened because everything in existence had reached a null state and that negative reality compelled positive reality. None of these things represent a "cause" in the sense that they temporally preceded the big bang. The big bang was the beginning of time as we experience it.

Why? Because whatever reason proves to be the truth, it didn't happen in our time.


See Gamut, there's your problem. You're all caught up in "logic," a favorite tactic of atheists. If you would just accept that a magic man, who is beyond the boundaries of time and existence itself, snapped his fingers and created everything, you could free yourself from your mental turmoil. Oh, and he also created gays, then wrote a book condemning gays, and then created people who were mentally inclined to doubt his existence.

Now your brain has an answer to silence that pesky "why?" question in your head. No need to even open a science book.

"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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08-02-2011, 09:08 PM
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
(08-02-2011 08:48 PM)gamutman Wrote:  Here's something that needs to be understood to fully understand why the first-cause argument fails. Time as we understand it is relative to the observer. This fact has been proven. Also, it is inextricably associated to space. So if the universe began with the big bang; all matter, energy, time and space associated with this universe also came into existence at that moment. There was no moment before. So if there was no time before that moment, there was also no space, no energy, no matter, nothing to cause anything, no time in which anything could be caused.

Yes. That's it exactly. I've used this argument myself several times. Glad to see that I'm not the only one who thinks along these lines.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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09-02-2011, 05:35 AM
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
(08-02-2011 08:48 PM)gamutman Wrote:  Here's something that needs to be understood to fully understand why the first-cause argument fails. Time as we understand it is relative to the observer. This fact has been proven. Also, it is inextricably associated to space. So if the universe began with the big bang; all matter, energy, time and space associated with this universe also came into existence at that moment. There was no moment before. So if there was no time before that moment, there was also no space, no energy, no matter, nothing to cause anything, no time in which anything could be caused.

So the question is not how was the big bang caused? It wasn't. It happened, but it was uncaused. So we ask why did it happen? There are theories, but we don't know. We maybe can't know.

Let's say though that the reason it happened was because a breech occurred in the fabric of a different universe. Or lets say that it happened because a preceding universe crunched into singularity at the end of its time. Or let's say that it happened because everything in existence had reached a null state and that negative reality compelled positive reality. None of these things represent a "cause" in the sense that they temporally preceded the big bang. The big bang was the beginning of time as we experience it.

Why? Because whatever reason proves to be the truth, it didn't happen in our time.
This is clearly what agnosticism is all about. We can't know!
So even if there is a God pushing the big red button right before the big-bang, do you really think he will be bothered by poring water over a child's head or snipping your foreskin off.

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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09-02-2011, 08:40 AM
 
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
(08-02-2011 06:43 PM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  
(08-02-2011 06:26 PM)Dregs Wrote:  "God always was, is and will be; therefore, He was not created."

That's one of those statements that my brain reacts angrily to. Like, neurons and synapses firing so hard, my hair caught fire.

Well my FB freind (and fellow Atheist) responded to that comment (she was the one who originally posted the OReilly videa to which the person in refering). Her response is not important as it was basic Atheist stuff, but the Theist retort was:

"And, I can't comprehend how it can be argued that something as marvelously complex and amazing as the human eye "evolved". Neither theory can be definitively proven, and that's why they remain theory. It is much easier for me to believe what the Bible says about creation (and God being eternal) than what evolutionists say. I understand that others find it easier to believe otherwise."

That's just it isn't it. That's the crux of it. It's EASY to believe the Bible! I responded very briefly that no it's not easier to believe otherwise its harder, much harder in fact. That fact that people choose to believe "easy" on a lot of topics is very sad indeed. [/u]
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09-02-2011, 10:01 AM
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
So, you ever get the feeling that you've walked into a conversation that has been going on for a long time and that everyone just assumes that you're up to speed? Yeah. Just happened to me.

What I've gathered is that there is no evidence that the big bang had a cause. Is that right? Cause if it is, that sounds like jibberish to me.

The other thing that I've gathered is that denying the posibility of a cause to the start of the universe seems primarilly like a way of derailing the possibility of God. That seems kind of weak sauce to me.

Perhaps someone could explain this to me. I can totally understand that we don't know what caused the big bang, that makes perfect sense, but the idea that there doesn't have to be a cause (or that there just straight up isn't) seems ridiculous to me. Like really, I'm lost.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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09-02-2011, 10:38 AM
 
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
This is the only way I can think of it and stay sane. If one says "all things must have a cause" then by that very statement you have infinite causality. So no matter what "cause" anyone provides me, just like a 5 year old child I respond "well what caused that then?" On and on we go. It seems theists of all ilks rectify this by somehow creating a "being" that is beyond needing a cause. Say what?? So IMHO you are left with a few choices, accept an infinite causality loop, admit your initial premise is flawed and that everything does not need a cause, or God. I personally have a real issue with infity so the first ones out for me, and I also have a problem with directly contradicting myself, so I chose to not assume everything has a cause. So even if the Big Bang did indeed have a cause, there is something that did not. So now you are again faced with a couple choices what did not have a cause, something like the Big Bang, or God? Toss up IMO. Point being for me does the choice change anything? If you choose God do you know anymore than you did 30 seconds ago? You might feel a little less silly during Sex because your actually calling out a real beings name, but you don't behave differently do you? So as the Band Rush says I choose not to make a choice.
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09-02-2011, 10:39 AM (This post was last modified: 09-02-2011 10:42 AM by gamutman.)
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
Cause is inextricably tied to effect. We follow effects backwards (in time) to determine causes. Sometimes causes can have a variety of potential effects. (Actually all times) One theory says that all potential effects exist in parallel timelines. Each divergent timeline is fundamentally a different universe, but each was once the same universe when we follow backward to before the cause of the divergence. (This is known as the butterfly effect.)

Our universe is all about cause and effect, but cause and effect is all about the timeline. A timeline that goes back only so far and then hits a wall breaks the cause and effect chain. The big bang is such a wall. Nothing happened before it in our timeline because our timeline (in fact time itself) begins with the big bang.
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09-02-2011, 12:39 PM (This post was last modified: 09-02-2011 01:02 PM by LeighJones.)
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
(09-02-2011 10:01 AM)Ghost Wrote:  So, you ever get the feeling that you've walked into a conversation that has been going on for a long time and that everyone just assumes that you're up to speed? Yeah. Just happened to me.

What I've gathered is that there is no evidence that the big bang had a cause. Is that right? Cause if it is, that sounds like jibberish to me.

The other thing that I've gathered is that denying the posibility of a cause to the start of the universe seems primarilly like a way of derailing the possibility of God. That seems kind of weak sauce to me.

Perhaps someone could explain this to me. I can totally understand that we don't know what caused the big bang, that makes perfect sense, but the idea that there doesn't have to be a cause (or that there just straight up isn't) seems ridiculous to me. Like really, I'm lost.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

^^ this is pretty much where I'm coming from in terms of the big bang and causes.

Nearly every argument against it that i've found so far on the net argues against a theistic god/s, not deistic ones.

(09-02-2011 10:38 AM)Dregs Wrote:  This is the only way I can think of it and stay sane. If one says "all things must have a cause" then by that very statement you have infinite causality. So no matter what "cause" anyone provides me, just like a 5 year old child I respond "well what caused that then?" On and on we go. It seems theists of all ilks rectify this by somehow creating a "being" that is beyond needing a cause. Say what?? So IMHO you are left with a few choices, accept an infinite causality loop, admit your initial premise is flawed and that everything does not need a cause, or God. I personally have a real issue with infity so the first ones out for me, and I also have a problem with directly contradicting myself, so I chose to not assume everything has a cause. So even if the Big Bang did indeed have a cause, there is something that did not. So now you are again faced with a couple choices what did not have a cause, something like the Big Bang, or God? Toss up IMO. Point being for me does the choice change anything? If you choose God do you know anymore than you did 30 seconds ago? You might feel a little less silly during Sex because your actually calling out a real beings name, but you don't behave differently do you? So as the Band Rush says I choose not to make a choice.

Yup so 3 'choices',
-infinity, a infinite chain of causes going backwards.
-the assumption that not everything has a cause, and that at some point something happened without a cause (whether or not that event is the Big Bang is a further assumption)
-or a god of some kind(not God, the judeo-christian monster, that's another 20 assumptions in), though again, causes are an issue, we can't just let this god get away with breaking the laws of physics, whatever those laws may be where/when we invoke it (though were did those laws come from?)

I'm not going to instantly cast out infinity, it makes no sense to me personally as well, but nor does quantum mechanics, so making no sense to me doesn't make it false, though it has caused it to drop dramatically in how likely I judge it to be. That is, after all, all we can do, determine what we feel is the likelyhood of these being true

I can see how the position that some of you have advocated (Apatheism? Apathetic agnostiscism?), "we can't know, no point fretting about it," is both wise and useful, and keeps you sane and allows you to focus your mind on more important efforts, whatever you judge those to be. But my mind is going to wander, and this is where it's headed...




Lets work within the third 'choice', we have determined its likelyhood, whether it be .01%, 33%, 42%, 90%... now we must further divide it up, into the sub 'choices', and how likely we deem them to be. I am agnostic, we cannot know for sure. However, I am only agnostic to a degree, it is possible to say that gods that a person proposes, or could propose, are impossible, or so unlikely as for it to make little difference, through reason and logic. "God" is gone. An omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient being is impossible. And we can whittle down the number of gods in this manner until practically none are left. Deism and pantheism (and variations on them) are nearly all that's left (within the third 'choice').

I was asked to explain why I found pandeism persuasive: This was my reasoning:

Pantheism asserts that god and the universe are essentially synonymous, it's a nice idea, but a bit of a 'deepity' in my veiw. What's the point? Ok the universe is a god but not in any meaningful sense of the word... but we may as well be in 'choice' one or two.

It's not an intelligent being, not unless we also start getting into the panpsychism, whether it be all matter or all living beings. Living beings we can discount because they didn't arise until long after the rest of the universe so we are left with matter being linked and on some level intelligent, this I can also see, perhaps this is what we are seeing with quantum mechanics? True randomness, true free will? So I guess I discount pantheism unless panpsychism is also involved. It's cause, its spontaneous eruption into being, remain an issue (marginally less so, but still an issue, and even less so still when you add panpsychism). Reason then becomes an issue however if we ascribe it any level of intelligence.

Deism asserts that a deity (polydeism, more than one) started the universe off, and then did nothing else, it could technically be watching, but it is not intervening. This, to me raises too many questions regarding purpose, it seems like a cop out. A god did it, but isn't doing it now.

The deity doesn't have to be omnipotent, simply powerful enough to create the universe, doesn't have to be omniscient, simply smart enough to create the universe*, and it doesn't have to be omnibenevolent (what the deitic deity is would be hard to judge, given the state of the universe it you could only reasonably (in my view) claim that it is a) neutral or b) amoral, above good and evil, or having no concept of the idea. The less assumptions made the better and more plausible the idea.

*or it could have done it accidentally. This type of deism I judge to have merit, it is a possibility.

Deism (and theism) do have the advantage of helping to explain the state of our universe. On a cosmic level I don't think the anthropic principle** can be accepted unless we a) accept infinity going backwards, in which case our existence may have been inevitable, or b) accept that there are an infinite, or at least ridiculously large number of parallel universes, (not the version where each choice/random event splits the universe into at least two {unless those choices/random events in the very beginning helped form the physical laws we now have} with each choice being a different path, but the version where there are many universes, some with laws like our own, some with physical laws completely different to ours). From what I understand (please correct me if I'm wrong on this, it's an important point for me) there isn't yet a scientific consensus on this issue.

The flaw, like I said, is all to do with purpose (unless it was accidental). This deity (or deities) created the universe and then did what? Are we a reality show? A toy it/they got bored of? One of the other deities said "bet you can't make a universe" "oh yeah?" "ta-da!"? It seems a rather odd and illogical thing to do (illogical, uh-oh). I have trouble coming up with reasons, except for one, a reason that I can both respect and deem plausible: To learn. However there would be a better way of doing it if this was the motive, if I can see that there is a better way then they would as well:

If we merge the two/three (I include some panpsychism) idea's we come up against fewer logical issues (In my view anyway). Possible motives are easier to think up and the cause issue is at least moved back a step and back into 'choice' 3 territory. So we have this hyper intelligent being, intelligent enough at least to create a universe, perhaps even approaching omniscience in terms of knowing science and maths, but what are the things it could not logically know? Non-existence, fear, love (to love and be loved)... knowledge of good an evil..., especially if it is the only one of it's kind. Well, there's one easy way to sort that out, not just create a universe, but become a universe...

But there is a better way still! Panendeism, a mild form that is similar to deism in a way, an even better method would probably be to both experience, and observe from without, thus the deity would both become the universe, and remained outside to observe, to best learn from the experience.

Those are my pandeistic idea's anyway, there are other pandeistic idea's, these are mine. It is one of the few logical deities in my opinion. Like I said there is something to be said for the accidental deist.

I guess what I'm saying is that within choice 3, which I am deeming to be rather likely due to the causes issues I'm having, Pandeism/panendeism (can't discount poly- though, though this does have issues, weakening the purpose arguments) are way way up there. If choice 3 is 50% (it isn't, and to say there are two choices, therefore each is as likely as the other is of course nonsense unless its a coin) but if it is 50%, to give it a hypothetical number, then pandiesm/panentheism is at 48%, with accidental deism following at 1.9%, deism and pantheism a sliver, and traditional theistic beliefs so minute as to not even be worth mentioning (but I will, because I enjoy contradicting myself, it annoys me and I take pleasure in that)

I can't believe I wrote 6 billion years in my first post, I was thinking of people in the world just before i wrote that and it was very late at night... FIFTEEN! And no-one picked me up on it! FOR-SHAME =P

=D this has been quite helpful actually, to put these thoughts to 'paper'.

I'm ready to be torn a new one =)

**can or can't be applied, I forget which way the anthropic principle goes.
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09-02-2011, 01:45 PM (This post was last modified: 09-02-2011 01:51 PM by gamutman.)
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
Even if you posit deism or pandeism or panendeism, it still has the same problem of regress. A deistic deity is not a first cause as it must itself have a cause. It's frankly no better than any other idea of god(s) or God.

If existence is a necessary state of being then there is never any need for any kind of deity. Try to imagine nothingness. You can't do it. Not really. It's reasonable to assume that the omniverse is a flux state where quanta are simple mathematical imperatives equaling zero rather than actually being zero. There can't be "nothing" so instead there is something equal to nothing. If this is the case, then nothing exists in a fundamental sense, and quantum theory is actually leaning in that direction. Basically if something equals nothing it is nothing.

So if nothing exists, then god is not necessary to explain why something does exist.

As for pantheism, pandeism, panentheism, etc. none of them is anything more than speculation. None has more to believe in than either of the others. If one claims to be a pantheist, then one is rejecting panentheism. Why do that? Even if you think one explanation seems to have more merit, you have to acknowledge that that's arbitrary and subjective. Besides, a pantheistic godhead does not require worship. It doesn't offer salvation. It doesn't answer prayers. What's the point of embracing it as a "philosophy?" In fact, I would go so far as to call pantheistic or deistic or pandeistic or any other thought-based concept of "deitiy" mental masturbation.

I don't know that deism is not the ultimate truth, but I don't see anything there to "believe" in. I'm agnostic in regards to it, but i am atheistic towards it.
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09-02-2011, 01:49 PM
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
(09-02-2011 10:01 AM)Ghost Wrote:  What I've gathered is that there is no evidence that the big bang had a cause. Is that right?

Essentially, yes. There's also the argument which gamutman put forward, which is that it is logically impossible for time to have a cause, since cause and effect are dependent upon time.

Quote:Cause if it is, that sounds like jibberish to me.

Why? "There is no evidence that the Big Bang had a cause" is entirely true.

Quote:The other thing that I've gathered is that denying the posibility of a cause to the start of the universe seems primarilly like a way of derailing the possibility of God.

Well, no. It's just an argument that the universe cannot have had a cause, since time is part of the universe, and there must be time for there to be a cause. Time itself cannot have a cause.

That the notion of a creator god is rejected as a result of this argument is incidental. The argument that the universe cannot have had a cause is "primarily a way to disprove God" in the same way that the argument that matter cannot exist in a solid state above a certain temperature is "primarily a way to disprove the notion of an iron sun".

Quote:Perhaps someone could explain this to me. I can totally understand that we don't know what caused the big bang, that makes perfect sense, but the idea that there doesn't have to be a cause (or that there just straight up isn't) seems ridiculous to me. Like really, I'm lost.

Well, why do you think that the universe has to have a cause?

Beyond that, again, for there to be a cause, there must be time, because an effect has to come after the cause, and nothing can come after anything else without time. Since time is part of the universe, time did not exist before the universe. In fact, even the phrase "before the universe" is nonsensical. So not only is there no evidence supporting the argument from first cause, there is an argument - which, as far as I can tell, is both sound and valid - which expressly refutes the possibility.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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