My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
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09-02-2011, 01:59 PM
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
(09-02-2011 12:39 PM)LeighJones Wrote:  Yup so 3 'choices',
-infinity, a infinite chain of causes going backwards.

Which is impossible. If there were an infinite chain of causes before this point, we would never have reached this point.

Quote:-the assumption that not everything has a cause, and that at some point something happened without a cause

This isn't an assumption. It's a conclusion.

There is no evidence that there has to be a cause for anything to come into existence, let alone the universe. In fact, the argument which gamutman framed so eloquently would seem to argument that there can't be a cause for the universe. See my above reply to Ghost for more information.

Quote:whether or not that event is the Big Bang is a further assumption

This is true, and I'm glad you pointed it out, but it's ultimately irrelevant. The universe had to have begun at some point. Whether or not that point was the Big Bang is an interesting discussion to have, but it doesn't affect the issue.

Quote:-or a god of some kind

Which can't be invoked without violating your own premises.

The entire basis of the argument from first cause is that an infinite chain of causes cannot exist, and that everything must have a cause. But the conclusion - that something exists which has no cause - violates that second premise.

In symbolic logic, the argument from first cause can be framed as follows.

¬Infinite chain ∧ ¬Causeless thing ⇒ Causeless thing

"Not infinite chain and not causeless thing therefore causeless thing".

It doesn't work. The conclusion is the exact opposite of the premises.

"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, 03:10 PM (This post was last modified: 09-02-2011 03:26 PM by LeighJones.)
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
I would like to thank everyone regarding the explanations on the first cause issues, has given me a lot to think about. Indeed, any god we invoked really is just a part of 'choice' 2, its a subchoice, either it is the uncaused event or was caused by an uncaused event, its merely a step in the chain to our universe, perhaps an unnecessary one.

I do still have issues regarding the anthropic principle though. It's fine if we accept infinity backwards (which as you said, we can't) or some number of preceding events prior to the big bang (which people are arguing against), if we accept an infinity large, or at least an astronomically high, number of parallel universes. but...
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09-02-2011, 03:26 PM
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
Can you explain what your issue is with the anthropic principle? Because to me, the anthropic principle is just a fine-tuning argument. However, in a vast universe, most of the "space" is uninhabitable. The fact that life formed on a planet which is hospitable to life in a vast universe that is inhospitable is no evidence that god made the hospitable region specifically for that life.

Also, we don't know that life doesn't exist in other inhospitable regions. All we know is that WE couldn't exist in those regions.
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09-02-2011, 10:45 PM (This post was last modified: 09-02-2011 11:48 PM by LeighJones.)
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
Dealing with it on a cosmic level I meant. The laws of nature...

dawkins on it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlD-CJPGt1A

it DOES boost the atheist's cause, IF we accept parallel universes. Is it not reliant upon having a multiverse or something else to explain it?
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10-02-2011, 12:03 AM
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
As Dawkins pointed out in that video, any fine tuning argument that posits a fine tuner simply creates a new regress to be addressed. But I don't think that the multiverse model is necessary to circumvent the regress.

As I noted earlier, it's unknowable, but suppose the answer is that quanta pop into existence in a negative and positive equality whenever existence approaches a null state to prevent the default to zero which would be annihilism. Nothingness cannot exist, so a universe pops up instead. Even considering the constants Dawkins spoke of, he noted that many universes would instantly fail if there could be different constants. But some would not, and when they don't fail, everything else also becomes possible; space, time, hydrogen, stars, galaxies, planets, chemistry, life, us. In this scenario, there are no multiverses. There's one universe at a time, and this time it's this one. No gods need apply.
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10-02-2011, 10:19 AM
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
I recall reading some time ago a theory that postulated (and I'm greatly simplifying this) that while the universe is expanding at some point gravity will slow it down, and the universe will eventually contract. The more it contracts, the faster the contraction will happen. Eventually, it will pick up a lot of speed and the entire universe will just collapse into itself. When that happens, when it reaches its densest point, it will "explode" outward again and there will be another Big Bang, and the cycle of the universe will start all over again. When I read that, it made a lot of sense to me.

I believe (and someone with a greater knowledge of physics will hopefully jump in here) that int he past few years science has determined that the universe expansion seems to be increasing, not decreasing. That would seem to negate the idea that gravity will slow it down at some point as the expansion should be fastest at the origin of the universe, not 20 billion years down the road. Perhaps my concept of time is just too limited but I find it hard to fathom that we are still increasing the rate of expansion and at some point still in the future it will slow.

But, that raises another question, I think. If we know the universe is expanding, then what exists beyond the universe? We obviously can't know the answer to that any more then we can know what was before the Big Bang but that original "nothingness" must still exist (for lack of a better word) if the Universe can still grow.

I find all this stuff a little mind-numbing and I quickly get out of my depth in these types of discussions, but I'm always astonished that every time science comes back with "we don't know (yet)" there seems to be a push of "well, maybe that's where god is".

As for this issue of there not needing to be a cause, it seems to me that the issue isn't that there isn't a cause as much as there doesn't have to be one. I understood gamutman's point about cause vs. time, but that is, again, just an assumption (based on, I thought, pretty good logic, but an assumption nonetheless).

But, if there is a cause to the Big Bang, I've got my own theory. I think there was a space giant who was thinking about all this stuff and finally his head blew up - and hence the Big Bang.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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10-02-2011, 11:38 AM
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
We have a limited frame of reference. We are compelled by our nature to imagine things within that scope. However, the more we learn about the infinitesimally small and the infinitely large, the more we realize that our mental language stymies our ability to describe or imagine how it could be. This isn't just that there are no words. It's that there are no comparable pictures, no referential experiences in our mind's eye.

Imagine being a sailor in the 15th century. You see the horizon and it looks like an edge. You can't even fathom that it's just the apex of a curve which continues on and ultimately comes all the way back.

Certain things can be described while others can't - yet. We know there's a limit to how cold cold can be. But is there a limit to how hot hot can be? No matter how many degrees of heat something is, it can always be one degree hotter; or is there a wall that we can't imagine?

With that in mind, consider this. All of the universe is quanta, and quanta is nothingness, so no matter how much universe there is, it isn't expanding into something else's space, because space is the universe and the universe is made up of nothing.
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10-02-2011, 01:59 PM
RE: My religious history and the one argument I have trouble with
(10-02-2011 11:38 AM)gamutman Wrote:  With that in mind, consider this. All of the universe is quanta, and quanta is nothingness, so no matter how much universe there is, it isn't expanding into something else's space, because space is the universe and the universe is made up of nothing.

[Image: teachers-head-explodes.jpg]

That made my head explode.

Btw, here is a photo of me if anyone wants to know what I look lik.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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