Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
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15-05-2017, 05:10 PM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(15-05-2017 04:24 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(15-05-2017 03:35 PM)Rachel Wrote:  Plus, cause must precede effect. Again, this implies time. Where there is no time, cause and effect make no sense.

I think you're missing his point. The classical "first cause" arguments (i.e., those given by Aristotle and Aquinas) are using a different definition of "cause" than the one we normally attach to the word. Aristotle defined four different causes, and at least three of them are non-temporal -- they have nothing to do with time. The First Cause is not first in a temporal sequence -- it's first in the sense of primacy, i.e., it is the "ground" for everything else. I make no claims as to whether or not these arguments actually work (I don't think they do), but you misunderstand them if you think they're talking about temporal cause and effect. They're not.

Yeah. That's all I meant. Perhaps a better example. I throw a brick at a window and the glass breaks. Me throwing the brick is a cause if you regress in the sequence a bit. The causes exist when the brick hits the window. The brick has enough force and the window has the potential to be shattered when struck by that force. A steel wall doesn't. Isn't this simultaneous? The window and the brick come into contact at the same time.
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15-05-2017, 11:25 PM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
You're just playing word games. If the "first cause" sustains everything that exists in the universe continuously haven't you just made up another unfalsifiable claim and moved God one step further back in the argument?

Furthermore if it's not temporal, then what's the point of the whole "Everything that exists must have a cause" tripe - AFAIK that whole argument relies on going back further and further in time to find the "Prime cause", on the basis that an infinite string of causes is absurd?

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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16-05-2017, 04:08 AM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(15-05-2017 11:25 PM)morondog Wrote:  AFAIK that whole argument relies on going back further and further in time to find the "Prime cause", on the basis that an infinite string of causes is absurd?

Then, you're wrong. That's not the whole argument.
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16-05-2017, 05:07 AM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(16-05-2017 04:08 AM)ColdComfort Wrote:  
(15-05-2017 11:25 PM)morondog Wrote:  AFAIK that whole argument relies on going back further and further in time to find the "Prime cause", on the basis that an infinite string of causes is absurd?

Then, you're wrong. That's not the whole argument.

Do feel free to educate me then.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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16-05-2017, 06:06 AM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
No, see, if you just pay attention to the brick at the moment of impact, and conveniently omit (forget?) that someone had to put that kinetic energy into the brick by throwing it, then you have an argument.

There is no version of the First Cause argument I have ever seen that is not some form of Special Pleading. It's all just word games to try to disguise this basic fact.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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16-05-2017, 07:38 AM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(16-05-2017 06:06 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  No, see, if you just pay attention to the brick at the moment of impact, and conveniently omit (forget?) that someone had to put that kinetic energy into the brick by throwing it, then you have an argument.

There is no version of the First Cause argument I have ever seen that is not some form of Special Pleading. It's all just word games to try to disguise this basic fact.

The "brick and glass" analogy isn't the best. Let's try another one: mass and gravity. It could be said that mass "causes" gravity, but there is no temporal sequence. Wherever (and whenever) you have mass, you have gravity -- there was never a time and/or place where mass existed without gravity. Their existence is simultaneous and inseparable. This is the kind of thing that theists mean by "first cause" when they present that argument (unless it's the Kalam argument, which does involve a temporal sequence). I still don't buy the argument, but if we want to dispute it, we have to address what they're actually claiming, and they generally aren't claiming temporal cause and effect -- it's more like the mass-gravity thing. Whenever and wherever a contingent thing exists, its existence is supported/sustained by the "first cause" ("and this we call God").

Again, I am definitely not accepting or agreeing with that argument -- just clarifying what it is that they're claiming.
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16-05-2017, 08:11 AM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(16-05-2017 07:38 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(16-05-2017 06:06 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  No, see, if you just pay attention to the brick at the moment of impact, and conveniently omit (forget?) that someone had to put that kinetic energy into the brick by throwing it, then you have an argument.

There is no version of the First Cause argument I have ever seen that is not some form of Special Pleading. It's all just word games to try to disguise this basic fact.

The "brick and glass" analogy isn't the best. Let's try another one: mass and gravity. It could be said that mass "causes" gravity, but there is no temporal sequence. Wherever (and whenever) you have mass, you have gravity -- there was never a time and/or place where mass existed without gravity. Their existence is simultaneous and inseparable. This is the kind of thing that theists mean by "first cause" when they present that argument (unless it's the Kalam argument, which does involve a temporal sequence). I still don't buy the argument, but if we want to dispute it, we have to address what they're actually claiming, and they generally aren't claiming temporal cause and effect -- it's more like the mass-gravity thing. Whenever and wherever a contingent thing exists, its existence is supported/sustained by the "first cause" ("and this we call God").

Again, I am definitely not accepting or agreeing with that argument -- just clarifying what it is that they're claiming.

Both mass and gravity are observable though... Now we've got this thing that we observe existing, and an alleged first cause that *makes* it exist, which... I mean there's no clear demonstration that I am aware of showing that things need something else to make them exist.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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16-05-2017, 08:34 AM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(16-05-2017 08:11 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(16-05-2017 07:38 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  The "brick and glass" analogy isn't the best. Let's try another one: mass and gravity. It could be said that mass "causes" gravity, but there is no temporal sequence. Wherever (and whenever) you have mass, you have gravity -- there was never a time and/or place where mass existed without gravity. Their existence is simultaneous and inseparable. This is the kind of thing that theists mean by "first cause" when they present that argument (unless it's the Kalam argument, which does involve a temporal sequence). I still don't buy the argument, but if we want to dispute it, we have to address what they're actually claiming, and they generally aren't claiming temporal cause and effect -- it's more like the mass-gravity thing. Whenever and wherever a contingent thing exists, its existence is supported/sustained by the "first cause" ("and this we call God").

Again, I am definitely not accepting or agreeing with that argument -- just clarifying what it is that they're claiming.

Both mass and gravity are observable though... Now we've got this thing that we observe existing, and an alleged first cause that *makes* it exist, which... I mean there's no clear demonstration that I am aware of showing that things need something else to make them exist.

Right, and that's one of the places where the argument breaks down (for me at least). Every logical argument has to start from a set of definitions and/or axioms. One of the axioms of the cosmological argument (aka the "First Cause" argument) is that "every contingent being/event requires a cause". If you accept this (along with the auxiliary axiom that rejects the possibility of infinite regress), you must accept their conclusion. But I don't accept their axioms, so I'm off the hook. I am not convinced that every contingent being/event requires a cause -- unless you define "contingent" to mean exactly that, and then it's special pleading. Nor am I convinced of the impossibility of infinite regress.

It seems to me that in all of these arguments, they cleverly design their axioms so that the desired conclusion is guaranteed. I refute the arguments by not accepting the contrived axioms.
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16-05-2017, 08:37 AM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
That's why I summed it up by "Special Pleading".

At some point, every single one of the arguments, however fancy, reaches a point where it says "This thing we observe was caused by that thing we observe... but where we don't know what caused the farthest-back thing we can observe, it's "God, the Uncaused Unobserved Thing That Yet Somehow Exists and Causes™."

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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16-05-2017, 08:43 AM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(16-05-2017 05:07 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(16-05-2017 04:08 AM)ColdComfort Wrote:  Then, you're wrong. That's not the whole argument.

Do feel free to educate me then.

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