Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
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23-03-2015, 04:36 PM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
(23-03-2015 03:36 PM)Call_of_the_Wild Wrote:  1. Why are you an atheist/agnostic?

That is a simple question, but it has many answers, not all of which are so simple. I have more than one reason for not believing in any Theism. Some of these reasons are related, others not.

One summary reason I don't believe in any Theism is that I have failed to show upon what I would base that belief. Having spent some considerable time and energy trying to educate myself in evidence and apologetic arguments for Christianity, I have yet to encounter an argument or piece of evidence that could reasonably meet a burden of proof.

Agnosticism is what I call my admission that I do not have justified true belief when it comes to anything supernatural. I am not even sure it is possible to know such things for certain. Atheism expresses my choice to not accept a Theism as true until I can reasonably justify why I would believe.

I am open to the idea of a god and that a religion's doctrines could be true. I am not necessarily hostile to Theists, only apart from them when it comes to beliefs. Most of my acquaintances and friends are Theists and Deists and we get along very well. I have no commitment specifically to Agnostic Atheism, only to what I can justify as true.

(23-03-2015 03:36 PM)Call_of_the_Wild Wrote:  2. What is your attitude towards Jesus Christ?

I suppose I consider Jesus Christ in the same way that I consider any famous ancient religious guru. If he said the things the scriptures claim he said, I agree with him on some things, not so much on others. I think he was a man, not the son of a god, but that probably doesn't surprise you.

(23-03-2015 03:36 PM)Call_of_the_Wild Wrote:  3. What is the single most best argument that you have against theism?

I think the best arguments against Theism point out weaknesses in the attempts to prove it true. The Problem of Evil is one that made a deep impression on me. We can go over that in more detail if you want.

(23-03-2015 03:36 PM)Call_of_the_Wild Wrote:  I thank you for answering these questions in advance Thumbsup

Sure. Good questions.

(23-03-2015 03:36 PM)Call_of_the_Wild Wrote:  it is my opinion that everyone knows deep down inside that God exists...they are just in denial.

I have considered that idea before and I don't think it's true. I am self aware enough to realize that I don't know if there is a god. I don't think I could prove my internal thoughts to anyone else, but at least I can be sure. I have actually wondered the opposite, that maybe everyone doubts god deep down, and I don't find that compelling either. I think that everybody wonders if there is a god, and everybody has doubts about it sometimes. I just don't think wondering about this question means you have a secret knowledge that you actively suppress.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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23-03-2015, 08:52 PM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
(23-03-2015 04:36 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  That is a simple question, but it has many answers, not all of which are so simple. I have more than one reason for not believing in any Theism. Some of these reasons are related, others not.

One summary reason I don't believe in any Theism is that I have failed to show upon what I would base that belief. Having spent some considerable time and energy trying to educate myself in evidence and apologetic arguments for Christianity, I have yet to encounter an argument or piece of evidence that could reasonably meet a burden of proof.

The argument for Christianity is based on the Historicity of the Resurrection...you are saying that you don't find such an argument compelling, correct? Or do you just mean theism in general?

(23-03-2015 04:36 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Agnosticism is what I call my admission that I do not have justified true belief when it comes to anything supernatural. I am not even sure it is possible to know such things for certain. Atheism expresses my choice to not accept a Theism as true until I can reasonably justify why I would believe.

Ahhh, ok...got it. I can throw some good sound/valid arguments at you, arguments that I'm sure you've dealt with before, but not quite the way I would put it.

(23-03-2015 04:36 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I am open to the idea of a god and that a religion's doctrines could be true. I am not necessarily hostile to Theists, only apart from them when it comes to beliefs. Most of my acquaintances and friends are Theists and Deists and we get along very well. I have no commitment specifically to Agnostic Atheism, only to what I can justify as true.

Do you get in friendly, good natured discussions/debates with your friends regarding religion? Consider

(23-03-2015 04:36 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I suppose I consider Jesus Christ in the same way that I consider any famous ancient religious guru. If he said the things the scriptures claim he said, I agree with him on some things, not so much on others. I think he was a man, not the son of a god, but that probably doesn't surprise you.

I am surprised that you give him that much lol. Some people don't even like the idea of Jesus existing at all, because they know even if they grant that premise, they are opening themselves up to the Resurrection, even if it is in a small sense.

That is just my opinion, tho. What do you and Jesus disagree on?

(23-03-2015 04:36 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I think the best arguments against Theism point out weaknesses in the attempts to prove it true. The Problem of Evil is one that made a deep impression on me. We can go over that in more detail if you want.

The problem of evil? I will like to go over it in more detail ONLY if this is something you would rather discuss other than the kalam, ontological, consciousness argument. If so, let the games begin.

(23-03-2015 04:36 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I have considered that idea before and I don't think it's true. I am self aware enough to realize that I don't know if there is a god. I don't think I could prove my internal thoughts to anyone else, but at least I can be sure. I have actually wondered the opposite, that maybe everyone doubts god deep down, and I don't find that compelling either. I think that everybody wonders if there is a god, and everybody has doubts about it sometimes. I just don't think wondering about this question means you have a secret knowledge that you actively suppress.

Let me ask you something on that note; I don't know how knowledgeable you are on automobile mechanics, but lets hypothetically imagine that you don't have a clue about automobile mechanics. And lets say you are in a huge parking lot, with a car (any type of car). And on the ground, all of the parts of the cars are spread out over the ground. The parts would include everything inside of the hood of the car, and everything that is in the cab of the car (steering wheel, seats, etc).

Follow me so far?

Now, if someone was to completely blindfold you, and your task was to take all of the parts of the car off the ground, and assemble/configure everything to where you will have a nice functional car...would you be able to do it?? Yes or no?
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24-03-2015, 02:13 AM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
(23-03-2015 08:52 PM)Call_of_the_Wild Wrote:  The argument for Christianity is based on the Historicity of the Resurrection...you are saying that you don't find such an argument compelling, correct? Or do you just mean theism in general?

I don't think I would say "The argument for Christianity" because as far as I can tell there are many arguments for Christianity, not all of which are consistent with one interpretation of scripture. Of these many arguments, yes, the historicity of the resurrection is an one example of an argument that is not compelling to me. If that is an argument you find compelling, we could talk about miracles.

I am basically making a very broad claim based on my own personal experience in studying the many arguments for and against Theism. I don't claim to have perfected analysis of all possible arguments, so my stance is subject to revision with new information. For you to properly test me on my claim, we would have to literally go through every argument we both know and try to determine if they meet the burden of proof. Obviously, that is a tedious process, so we should probably focus on arguments that convince and compel you to your belief.

Do I find Theism in general to be compelling? No. However, it doesn't really matter to me how I happen to feel about it on the surface. It matters much more how the different arguments for Theism form a proper justification for belief, or fail to do so. Even if Theism does not seem appealing on the surface, I would still believe given the right justification.

(23-03-2015 08:52 PM)Call_of_the_Wild Wrote:  I can throw some good sound/valid arguments at you, arguments that I'm sure you've dealt with before, but not quite the way I would put it.

Sure. Throw away. I am familiar with many common arguments, but I don't mind reviewing and discussing them. I find it enjoyable.

(23-03-2015 08:52 PM)Call_of_the_Wild Wrote:  Do you get in friendly, good natured discussions/debates with your friends regarding religion? Consider

Yes. All the time. With some of them we don't discuss it often, others much more.

(23-03-2015 08:52 PM)Call_of_the_Wild Wrote:  I am surprised that you give him that much lol. Some people don't even like the idea of Jesus existing at all, because they know even if they grant that premise, they are opening themselves up to the Resurrection, even if it is in a small sense.

I wouldn't say that I have any problem with the possibility of Jesus existing, or otherwise. I am certainly interested in why some scholars don't think Jesus existed, but I haven't done the reading and research. There may very well be an argument worth having there. I just don't want to argue what I don't know.

Lastly, I think the question of Christ's existence is basically moot when it comes to most debates. His existence alone is not enough to justify Christianity. It does not hurt the Atheist position at all to concede his existence even if only for the sake of argument.

(23-03-2015 08:52 PM)Call_of_the_Wild Wrote:  That is just my opinion, tho. What do you and Jesus disagree on?

We disagree on too much to summarize in one go, but here is one example.

In Matthew 6 he says not to be concerned with things like clothing, food, shelter, and other future needs. That seems to me some crossroad between unwise and insane. He goes on to say that god will provide everything as long as we focus on his kingdom. Every time I read this chapter I think of Mark Twain's "Thoughts of God".

"If men neglected "God's poor" and "God's stricken and helpless ones" as He does, what would become of them? The answer is to be found in those dark lands where man follows His example and turns his indifferent back upon them: they get no help at all; they cry, and plead and pray in vain, they linger and suffer, and miserably die. If you will look at the matter rationally, and without prejudice, the proper place to hunt for the facts of His mercy, is not where man does the mercies and He collects the praise, but in those regions where He has the field to Himself. The pulpit assures us that wherever we see suffering and sorrow, which we can relieve and do not do it, we sin, heavily. There was never yet a case of suffering or sorrow which God could not relieve. "

I just don't think I live in the world Jesus is describing, where devotion to god is all that is required to guarantee one's basic needs. If only it were that easy.

Even when I believed in god, I did not agree with Jesus on this. It didn't make any sense to me that the god who created me with the ability to work hard and care for myself would then not expect me to apply myself.

(23-03-2015 08:52 PM)Call_of_the_Wild Wrote:  The problem of evil? I will like to go over it in more detail ONLY if this is something you would rather discuss other than the kalam, ontological, consciousness argument. If so, let the games begin.

Okay. Let's start with something you find compelling. Theists choice? Tongue

(23-03-2015 08:52 PM)Call_of_the_Wild Wrote:  Let me ask you something on that note; I don't know how knowledgeable you are on automobile mechanics, but lets hypothetically imagine that you don't have a clue about automobile mechanics. And lets say you are in a huge parking lot, with a car (any type of car). And on the ground, all of the parts of the cars are spread out over the ground. The parts would include everything inside of the hood of the car, and everything that is in the cab of the car (steering wheel, seats, etc).

Follow me so far?

Now, if someone was to completely blindfold you, and your task was to take all of the parts of the car off the ground, and assemble/configure everything to where you will have a nice functional car...would you be able to do it?? Yes or no?

You wouldn't need to blindfold me to make that a practically impossible task. My lack of knowledge would do the trick with my eyes wide open. So, No. I don't think so.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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24-03-2015, 03:38 PM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
(24-03-2015 02:13 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I don't think I would say "The argument for Christianity" because as far as I can tell there are many arguments for Christianity, not all of which are consistent with one interpretation of scripture. Of these many arguments, yes, the historicity of the resurrection is an one example of an argument that is not compelling to me. If that is an argument you find compelling, we could talk about miracles.

One thing at a time, bro Laugh out load

(24-03-2015 02:13 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I am basically making a very broad claim based on my own personal experience in studying the many arguments for and against Theism. I don't claim to have perfected analysis of all possible arguments, so my stance is subject to revision with new information. For you to properly test me on my claim, we would have to literally go through every argument we both know and try to determine if they meet the burden of proof. Obviously, that is a tedious process, so we should probably focus on arguments that convince and compel you to your belief.

I'd like to start off with the Kalam Cosmological argument first, if thats cool.

(24-03-2015 02:13 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Do I find Theism in general to be compelling? No. However, it doesn't really matter to me how I happen to feel about it on the surface. It matters much more how the different arguments for Theism form a proper justification for belief, or fail to do so. Even if Theism does not seem appealing on the surface, I would still believe given the right justification.

Your honestly and open-mindedness is to be admired Thumbsup

(24-03-2015 02:13 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Sure. Throw away. I am familiar with many common arguments, but I don't mind reviewing and discussing them. I find it enjoyable.

Each argument could take some time to comb through. I have at least five that are pretty solid, in my opinion. I'd like to start with the kalam first.

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause (things don't pop in to being out of nothing).

2. The universe began to exist (based on scientific and philosophical evidence)

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause (if 2 and 3 are true, then the conclusion in 3 logically follows).

Of course, you are familiar with this argument and I'm sure you disagree...what I'd like to know is on what grounds?

(24-03-2015 02:13 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I wouldn't say that I have any problem with the possibility of Jesus existing, or otherwise. I am certainly interested in why some scholars don't think Jesus existed, but I haven't done the reading and research. There may very well be an argument worth having there. I just don't want to argue what I don't know.

Thumbsup

(24-03-2015 02:13 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Lastly, I think the question of Christ's existence is basically moot when it comes to most debates. His existence alone is not enough to justify Christianity. It does not hurt the Atheist position at all to concede his existence even if only for the sake of argument.

Good point. I recall Richard Carrier doing just that. He doesn't believe that Jesus existed, but for sake of argument, debates against the Resurrection Laugh out load

(24-03-2015 02:13 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  We disagree on too much to summarize in one go, but here is one example.

In Matthew 6 he says not to be concerned with things like clothing, food, shelter, and other future needs.

I don't think he meant "dont be concerned" in the sense of starving, homeless, and clothless...I think he means should you find yourself in less than diserable circumstances, then rely on God to see you through, in other words, have faith/trust in him.

That is why Jesis gave the example of birds and how the Father feeds and cherises them, how much more will he feed and cherish humans that were made in his own image...and Jesus even asks "Are you not more valueable than they?"

(24-03-2015 02:13 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  That seems to me some crossroad between unwise and insane. He goes on to say that god will provide everything as long as we focus on his kingdom. Every time I read this chapter I think of Mark Twain's "Thoughts of God".

I just don't think I live in the world Jesus is describing, where devotion to god is all that is required to guarantee one's basic needs. If only it were that easy.

Oh, but it is that easy, depending on your perspective. Since the beginning of Christianity, there have been hundreds upon hundreds of stories of people who have shared "rags to riches" stories...or any ole story from people who were down on their luck at one point, maintained faith in God, and ultimately overcame their tribulation.

Now, these people will tell you that they prayed and had faith...but you will immediately question/doubt this, but yet, this is what they are claiming. Now, whether or not what they are saying is true is a different question than whether or not there MAY be any cases at all.

(24-03-2015 02:13 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Even when I believed in god, I did not agree with Jesus on this. It didn't make any sense to me that the god who created me with the ability to work hard and care for myself would then not expect me to apply myself.

I don't think Jesus meant for us to not work hard and enjoy the finer things in life. I think what he is talking about is an abundance/access of material things.

(24-03-2015 02:13 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Okay. Let's start with something you find compelling. Theists choice? Tongue

Well, since we will be discussing the kalam, would you mind saving the argument from evil for a later time?

(24-03-2015 02:13 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  You wouldn't need to blindfold me to make that a practically impossible task. My lack of knowledge would do the trick with my eyes wide open. So, No. I don't think so.

Yet, you will believe that a mindless, blind process was capable of engineering/configuring/assembling an entire human body, from the inside-out??

When someone's stomach is cut open, the insides are analogous to popping the hood of a car...but you, with your lack of knowledge of how a car is assembled, wouldn't be able to pull off the task...but a mindless and blind process, what we call "nature"...was able to pull of the task?

That, my friend, is why it is soooooooo hard for me to become an atheist. I just can't get my mind to believe that.
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26-03-2015, 11:37 AM (This post was last modified: 26-03-2015 04:05 PM by Dark Phoenix.)
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
I would be glad to discuss the Kalam Cosmological Argument, but I would like to spend a few days reviewing it first. It has been two years or so since I last encountered it, and I want to be sure of any objections I might have. Just sit tight for a couple of days and I will get back to you.

I think we should save your car parts analogy for after our Kalam discussion. I understand your doubts when it comes to anything other than an intended creation. You gave me a great example of how you see it, and why it is unbelievable to you. I want to discuss that some more, but let's wait. If I don't stay organized, I don't have a prayer of getting my thoughts across coherently.

In the meantime, I have a question. Are you open to changing your mind? Is it possible, given legitimate reason and/or evidence that you would abandon Theism?

Quote:I don't think he meant "dont be concerned" in the sense of starving, homeless, and clothless...I think he means should you find yourself in less than diserable circumstances, then rely on God to see you through, in other words, have faith/trust in him. That is why Jesis gave the example of birds and how the Father feeds and cherises them, how much more will he feed and cherish humans that were made in his own image...and Jesus even asks "Are you not more valueable than they?"

Well, let's take a closer look at the scripture in context. I have always studied with a KJV, so apologies in advance if you prefer a more modern translation.

Matthew 6:25-34

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink;nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air:for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore if god so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, o ye of little faith?

Therefore, take no thought, saying What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."


I don't see a verse here that makes a disclaimer like "only do these things when times are undesirable". In fact, he goes as far as to compare even thinking about basic needs with literally willing oneself to grow taller. I think he really believed that focusing on these things is a waste of time, because god would provide regardless.

God is typically defined as being omnipotent. The reality of his creation cannot reflect anything contrary to his will. If that is true, these undesirable circumstances you mentioned must be consistent with god's will. Therefore, it is impossible for god to always get you out of a jam, because at least some of those jams were his idea. I do not understand the mindset of believing god always has your back. The day to day possibility of bad things happening to you ought to dispel that notion.

Let's take the example of the birds. God supposedly cares for every bird so much that he provides food for them. (Matthew 10:29-31). We know that cannot be true because some birds eat each other. God cannot care equally for all of them because in order to feed and keep some alive, he must sacrifice others. He claims to care for the birds, yet in the very act of admitting he cares for every fallen sparrow, he admits that a fallen sparrow is commonplace. He does care enough to save them, because he evidently does not bother. I am not comforted by the thought that god will care for my basic needs as he does the sparrows.

Fortunately for us, he promises to care for humans much better than the birds, or the grass (which he points out is frequently burned to death by the sun, a circumstance which he supposedly created) because we are more important to him. That sounds encouraging, except we know it isn't true. Let's begin again with the concept that god provides for his creatures and cares when they die. We know that with varying frequency, large carnivorous mammals such as bears and lions, kill and eat human beings. Are we to suppose that in these circumstances god happened to care more about the full belly of a bear than one of his children?

When I consider these kinds of contradictions, I think the only kind of god that is consistent with observable nature is one that does not interfere, but provides his creations the means to care for themselves.

I understand why someone like Jesus would be making these mistakes. He lived in a time when human beings understood so much less than we do now about the world in which we live. It is not just human instinct, but literally the configuration of the mind, that is prone to thinking in terms of intentional agents, just like ourselves.

Take for example, Jesus' reference to the birds not farming and the lilies not spinning. Notice how he personifies animals with human expectations to make a point.

Combine our tendency to manufacture invisible intentional controlling agents with huge chasms of scientific ignorance, and you have a recipe for the kind of false beliefs Jesus is discussing here. The assumption that a superhuman controlling power manages the food chain seems no more or less valid to me than the assumption that rivers flow because the elemental river spirits control them

Quote:Oh, but it is that easy, depending on your perspective. Since the beginning of Christianity, there have been hundreds upon hundreds of stories of people who have shared "rags to riches" stories...or any ole story from people who were down on their luck at one point, maintained faith in God, and ultimately overcame their tribulation.

Now, these people will tell you that they prayed and had faith...but you will immediately question/doubt this, but yet, this is what they are claiming. Now, whether or not what they are saying is true is a different question than whether or not there MAY be any cases at all.

You say question/doubt as though it is a negative thing. This is my worldview, skeptical inquiry. I am not necessarily hostile to anyone or any idea. I don't think it is rude to ask how or why something is true. If I am going to get anywhere in determining whether or not Christian claims meet a burden of proof, I think this is the best approach.

If the claim amounts to "If you focus on god, he will make sure you don't starve" I don't think any amount of perspective can make it true. The only disproof necessary is for there to have been one Christian who starved to death at any time in history. What do you think are the chances of that having been the case?

Actually, I think you are right about some people going from rags to riches. I think that believing fervently that you will be taken care of is useful even if it isn't true. Since I don't believe it is true, I view it as a coping mechanism. I just think it ultimately falls apart because all anybody would have to do to prove it wrong is to believe it and do nothing. This is the main point I have been clumsily trying to make. I think that if god intended for faith to be enough to eat, drink, and wear, he wouldn't have created a world where human beings are forced to act to obtain these things, or die.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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27-03-2015, 04:25 PM (This post was last modified: 27-03-2015 04:31 PM by Dark Phoenix.)
The Kalam Cosmological Argument
Thank you for being patient while I reviewed the Kalam Cosmological Argument. I think I have a clear understanding of why I object, which I will explain as best I can. I will use the version you typed out which is posted below for reference.

Quote:1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause (things don't pop in to being out of nothing).

2. The universe began to exist (based on scientific and philosophical evidence)

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause (if 2 and 3 are true, then the conclusion in 3 logically follows).

1. This argument is not for the existence of any god. It is an argument for a cause of the universe.

There is no mention of any god(s) in either of its premises. Most importantly, there is no mention of any god(s) in its conclusion, as is commonly the case when god is what is meant to be proven. For example, the Ontological Argument for the Existence of God ends with "Therefore, God exists". If for the sake of argument I were to accept this argument as sound, it could only prove an unnamed and undescribed cause.

I have more objections. However, I am not convinced that refuting this argument would result in progress for our discussion. What is accomplished Theistically if the argument is sound, or refuted? Did you mean to include more than this?

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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29-03-2015, 11:22 AM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
(27-03-2015 04:25 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Thank you for being patient while I reviewed the Kalam Cosmological Argument. I think I have a clear understanding of why I object, which I will explain as best I can. I will use the version you typed out which is posted below for reference.

Thumbsup

(27-03-2015 04:25 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  1. This argument is not for the existence of any god. It is an argument for a cause of the universe.

But it is. It is an argument for a First Cause...since the universe was a beginning of a space-time continuum, that would mean whatever caused it had to be timeless, and immaterial, with the POWER to create from nothing.

Coincidentally, the only Being that is capable of producing such an effect is what we call God...a timeless (before the universe), immaterial (spirit) with the POWER (omnipotence) to create a universe from nothing.

(27-03-2015 04:25 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  There is no mention of any god(s) in either of its premises.

Once you analyze 3, the implication of God is clear, although I think there should be a fourth premise along the lines of "therefore, God created the universe"...something like that.

(27-03-2015 04:25 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Most importantly, there is no mention of any god(s) in its conclusion, as is commonly the case when god is what is meant to be proven.

The advocate of the argument will break down what it means to create a universe (as I did above) by explaining what kind of characteristics the cause of the universe must have. After this is done, the implications are clear.

(27-03-2015 04:25 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  For example, the Ontological Argument for the Existence of God ends with "Therefore, God exists". If for the sake of argument I were to accept this argument as sound, it could only prove an unnamed and undescribed cause.

Particularly, the modal version of the argument is clear as to the attributes of God, and what they are.

(27-03-2015 04:25 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I have more objections. However, I am not convinced that refuting this argument would result in progress for our discussion. What is accomplished Theistically if the argument is sound, or refuted? Did you mean to include more than this?

Well, the second premise of the argument has the most meat and potatoes, and the arguments against infinity is one of them. That argument is very powerful, so powerful that the atheist doesn't stand a chance....the argument basically states that the universe cannot be eternal in its past, because time (or events in time) cannot be infinite...and on atheism, this is exactly what had to have happened, but if the arguments against infinity are true, then this is IMPOSSIBLE.

So the argument is very very strong and it isn't something that the atheist can just bypass or sweep under the rug. They have some serious problems. Not to mention the scientific evidence that we have for a finite universe.

As I said...problems.
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01-04-2015, 02:00 AM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
I can tell that you have little problem linking an argument for a cause of the universe with a god concept. However, it does not seem obvious to me from the original three lines of argument that god exists and is the best possible explanation for the cause of the universe. That said, I will try to explain my objections in the chronological order of where they appear in the argument.

1. I think the first premise is based upon an unjustified assumption about how things begin to exist.

I think it would easy for anyone to search their experience for an example of something "beginning to exist". In all such examples, pre-existing materials are rearranged to form a new combination.

For example, wooden planks may be assembled with hammer and nails into a table. The table began to exist, but not out of nothing.

As far as I know and understand, there are no examples in human experience of anything beginning to exist out of nothing. I do not think this is even in dispute. We have nothing upon which to base the idea that things begin to exist out of nothing. If you know of any examples, I am open to them.

With only creation out of materials as a properly justified foundation of understanding, I do not see how the first premise could be true. It does not even mention that there is a difference in how things might begin to exist. I do not see how the premise can be sound if it assumes an entire category of creation not substantiated in human experience.

Do you know of any examples of creation out of nothing? If you do not know of any, could you explain to me how to justify the first premise?

2. Given that we do not know anything at all concerning how our universe came to be, are not all possibilities open?

If our universe has a cause, or it does not, that knowledge would be equally stupefying and wondrous to me. If we could learn that it had a cause, what information could we possibly use to exclude certain possible causes? It seems just as possible to me that such a cause could be something physical. There could be multiple causes. There could be intelligent causes, or unintelligent ones.

I am not convinced the argument, or any other evidence, has narrowed the field successfully. In fact, I think the second premise makes a very telling assumption. Creation out of literal nothingness implies that there is in fact nothing outside of our observable universe. With one phrase, ideas of multiple universes or physical existence outside of our local universe have already been dismissed, yet we know nothing of these things. How then can we dismiss possibilities that we cannot confirm or disprove?

I think I am right to be wary of any argument which constructs a philosophical foundation on what is not yet known or understood. How can we proceed like this without making unwarranted assumptions? I admit, it is not comfortable to not know how the universe came to be. However, I am even less comfortable with an argument like this one, which implies knowledge of what is yet undiscovered.

Have you thought about any of the other possibilities I mentioned? If so, what made you close in on a timeless, immaterial, omnipotent being? How did you narrow things down?

Have you considered your own bias? I don't mean to suggest that you aren't being honest. I think of you as sincere. What I am asking is, do you think that the idea of god is so familiar to you, or perhaps so emotionally satisfying, that you don't consider other possibilities equally?

3. If only nothingness can be beyond this universe, I do not understand how a god could exist there. I think it implies a contradiction.

The Kalam excludes many possibilities outside of observable space time in favor of literal nothingness. This does not make sense to me because if I am able to narrow down my conclusion so that only nothingness is possible before the universe, how is god possible? A timeless, immaterial, omnipotent being is certainly not nothing. It is in fact, something. This, to me, implies a contradiction.

What do you think? If you are certain that only literal nothingness can exist outside of our space time universe, how is god able to exist there?

4. I think what is meant to be proven is implied within the first premise, forcing the argument into a circle.

If for the sake of argument, I were to accept that whatever begins to exist has a cause, it follows that there may be some things for which there is no cause. If there is such a category as "Always existed", what things are included in that category?

The first thing that comes to my mind is the god you describe. Is there anything else? I cannot think of another. If you also cannot, I think it must follow that "God" and "Things which exist eternally" are equivalent and can be used interchangeably.

The first premise (Everything which begins to exist has a cause) could then be rearranged as follows without changing its meaning:

"Everything except god has a cause".

I am no professional philosopher, but I know that I cannot begin an argument by assuming the existence of the very thing I mean to prove. If I use "begins to exist" as a category, I have no choice but to imply a dichotomy that includes god.

Do you think there is anything else in the category "Things which exist eternally"?

Do you see what I mean about the implication, or do you think I have it wrong?

5. I think the phrase "begins (or began) to exist" is not used identically throughout the argument.

I noticed that the use of "begins to exist" in the first premise seems to appeal to common experience of creation with existing materials. However, the use of "began to exist" in the second premise refers to creation out of nothing.

I do not see how the argument can be sound if it is not consistent in defining its terms. Without agreement in terms, the premises cannot correctly follow one another.

What do you think? Do you see the distinction and why it matters?

6. I think causation, and our understanding of causation, is bound in time.

When I consider how one thing is caused by another, it implies to me a chain of events in time. For example, if I construct a table out of wooden planks, I have caused it to begin to exist. Each step in the construction represents a point in time, with a beginning of intent to construct, and an end result, the table.

Given this intuitive universal understanding of causation in time, what happens to my understanding when applied to a timeless existence? I do not know. I am not convinced anyone knows, or even could know. Just as is the case with creation from nothing, there is no body of evidence to consult.

It seems to me that a timeless being might actually be unable to cause anything by definition. It would remain outside of space and time, utterly changeless. To do otherwise would imply a chain of events, a before the change, and after.

I think I understand creation and causation because I experience them in my everyday life. However, when I take these intuitively understood concepts to a timeless and alien situation, they seem to lose the very foundation by which I understand them.

Do you think there can be causation without a chain of events in time? If so, can you explain it to me?

7. I think an immaterial being can have no physical means of causing anything.

As far as I know, only physical things cause other physical things to begin to exist. This is the extent of my understanding of causation in a physical universe. When I consider causation by something without physical material, I do not understand in what manner in can interact with what is caused. This god appears to have no means to create the universe other than the raw force of his will.

Do you think it makes sense that a being literally willed the universe into existence, without any physical interaction? Can you explain to me how that works?

8. I think causation requires something to be acted upon, otherwise nothing is caused.

Do you think it is possible to causally influence literally nothing? If so, how? Can you explain it to me?

9. I think that if infinities do not exist, the cause of the universe cannot be infinitely powerful.

I cannot reconcile a being with infinite power, with the assertion that infinities do not exist. Infinities must then exist and god is infinitely powerful, or they do not and god is not.

Do you see the contradiction? Do you think it can be reconciled?

10. The argument takes for granted the truth of Substance Dualism.

Substance Dualism is the belief in a spiritual vessel for the mind which allows it to be independent from physical material. Based on even my limited understanding of the science related to this, I am convinced that minds require physical matter to exist and function. Even data independent of minds, such as audio recordings, requires a physical construct, say a CD or a MP3 file, to function. I have no experience or understanding of disembodied minds.

For example, I have a mind. If disembodied minds can exist outside of the universe, have I always existed? How or when did I begin to exist?

It seems to me that an argument based in scientific cosmology should also be consistent with other sciences, like neuroscience. Do you see the inconsistency of accepting some forms of scientific knowledge but not others? What do you think?

Do you think there is a way for minds to exist outside of brains? If so, how? Can you explain it to me?

Summary

I think the Kalam is unsound, probably in more ways than just one. As far as I can tell it:

1. contains multiple logical fallacies
2. builds premises on unknowable or even false assumptions
3. makes no verifiable predictions
4. confuses the meaning of common expressions
5. equivocates the meaning of terms
6. assumes knowledge of what is not currently known, or cannot be known
7. contradicts itself internally
8. assumes the soundness of dead philosophical ideas
and 9. contains a conclusion that does not necessarily follow from its premises.

I think the Kalam suffers from repeated attempts to export basic intuitive human thinking into realms where our faculties cannot cope. It all seems very simple and reasonable when applied normally, but loses me hopelessly when we begin to discuss the outside of the universe, or before the big bang started its expansion.

I think there is still one major weakness to the argument even if I were to (hypothetically) accept it or assume it is sound. Even then, I don't think I would be any closer to understand how the universe was created, or the specific nature of the cause. I would not know what being(s) were, or even could be, responsible. I would be no closer to the concept of god having an impact on how I live my life and make decisions.

In other words: I wouldn't be closer to Theism than I am now as an Atheist. I know you are a Theist, so why the Deist argument? If you believe in a personal god who is involved in human affairs, why try to prove an aloof creator god with none of those attributes?

As I have studied some of these kinds of arguments I have noticed something that is a "red flag". I have noticed that if an argument can prove two contradictory things, it proves nothing. Don't you think the Kalam could be used to prove Allah, just as well as Yahweh? I mean this as a serious question. If I used this very same argument and claimed it supported the existence of Allah, what would your response be?

Lastly, is it this argument that convinced you of the existence of god?

Here is why I am asking. It is certainly a fact that the expansion of our universe had a beginning which we call The Big Bang. However, this was not always known. In fact, belief in god(s) has existed far longer than we have known this fact. If the best proof or evidence of god(s) is this argument, on what basis was god belief justified before the universe was known to have a beginning? Do you think such belief unjustified until now?

I apologize for the long wait, but this post took me some serious thought, effort, and time. I hope I have expressed myself clearly and asked some valuable questions. I am interested to know if you have considered some of these problems, and why you do or don't think they change the potency of the argument.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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03-04-2015, 10:40 AM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
You've made a nice and detailed response to the kalam. I will have my response to your last post by tomorrow Thumbsup
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04-04-2015, 11:58 AM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I can tell that you have little problem linking an argument for a cause of the universe with a god concept. However, it does not seem obvious to me from the original three lines of argument that god exists and is the best possible explanation for the cause of the universe. That said, I will try to explain my objections in the chronological order of where they appear in the argument.

Let's see what you got, pimp.


(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  1. I think the first premise is based upon an unjustified assumption about how things begin to exist.

First premise = Everything that begins to exist has a cause

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I think it would easy for anyone to search their experience for an example of something "beginning to exist". In all such examples, pre-existing materials are rearranged to form a new combination.

For example, wooden planks may be assembled with hammer and nails into a table. The table began to exist, but not out of nothing.

There are at least three kinds of causes...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_causes#Material_cause

Personal/Efficient cause: The painter of a painting.

Material cause: The actual "paint" or "stuff" that the painting is composed of.

Formal cause: The pattern or form of a painting that makes it what it is, such as the pattern of Mount Rushmore which allows it to take the form of the faces of the Presidents.

You are saying that there was no personal cause, just a infinitely long chain of material/formal causes...because the material was always there, it just changed forms over long periods of time.

There are at least two problems with this view. First, The BGV theorem (Bord-Guth-Vilenkin) proves that any universe that has been expanding at a minimum rate of Hav > 0 must have had an absolute beginning. Thus far, most, if not ALL cosmological models to date meets this requirement. This theorem harmonizes with the independent philosophical arguments against infinity, which show that an infinite regression of past events leading to the present is illogical, therefore a first cause is needed. The two arguments supplement each other, despite being independent arguments and I believe this is by no coincidence.

Second, it appears as if you have an entropy problem. Our universe is balanced on a mathematically precise edge, and a chaotic expansion/explosion (Big Bang Theory) would not get you to such low entropy conditions that is needed for a life permitting universe, which means that the low entropy conditions had to have been placed into the singularity from the very beginning...the low entropy had to be part of the initial phase, which could only be the case if there was a cosmic engineer orchestrating the entire process (appealing to the best explanation).

The latter is kinda getting into the Argument from Design, but it seemed worth mentioning here.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  As far as I know and understand, there are no examples in human experience of anything beginning to exist out of nothing.

That is because we only see things billions of years after everything was already here, so it would seem to defy human experience, doesn't it?

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I do not think this is even in dispute. We have nothing upon which to base the idea that things begin to exist out of nothing. If you know of any examples, I am open to them.

Well, we only have three options...either..

1. The universe popped in to being, uncaused, out of nothing

2. The universe has always existed

3. The universe began to exist at some point in the finite past

Those are the only three options, and if you know of any more, please let me know, and I can add it to the list Laugh out load

Now, quite frankly #1 is absolutely absurd, and I'm sure you will agree that it is. #2 has evidence stacked against it based on reasons previously mentioned above...so the only option left is #3.

I am of the opinion that no one can scientifically falsify or offer any logical argumentation against #3, so the only thing that they can do is try to keep numbers 1 and 2 alive, which...they really can't.

So # 3 seems to be the more logical and even the NECESSARY option...and if we are all honest and willing to go where the evidence takes us, it is something we should all see.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  With only creation out of materials as a properly justified foundation of understanding, I do not see how the first premise could be true.

I would agree with you, if it weren't for the infinity problem, which is basically what you will have if you posit a finite universe. As long as that problem exists, then a finite universe just couldn't have been the case.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  It does not even mention that there is a difference in how things might begin to exist.

Please explain.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I do not see how the premise can be sound if it assumes an entire category of creation not substantiated in human experience.

Assuming that truth value only lies with human experience.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Do you know of any examples of creation out of nothing? If you do not know of any, could you explain to me how to justify the first premise?

I admit, I don't know of any examples of creation out of nothing. However, I can at least conceive of God creating out of nothing. I cannot conceive of an infinite universe, which implies an infinite number of past events which leads to the current event, and neither can you.

But really, that is the point, though. Whatever happened during those beginning stages was completely beyond the scope of human experience, and even human intuition, to a certain degree.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  2. Given that we do not know anything at all concerning how our universe came to be, are not all possibilities open?

Not really. Because we can imagine what a world would be like if either #1 or #2 were correct, and that would led to absurdities.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  If our universe has a cause, or it does not, that knowledge would be equally stupefying and wondrous to me. If we could learn that it had a cause

Which we do..

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  , what information could we possibly use to exclude certain possible causes?

But there aren't that many possible causes, though. There are only the three that I mentioned above. If you know of any other causes that are besides these, then add those to the list.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  It seems just as possible to me that such a cause could be something physical.

What physical cause could be the cause of all space, time, matter, and energy?

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  There could be multiple causes.

Infinity problem.


(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  There could be intelligent causes

I agree, which would have had to be beyond space and time.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  or unintelligent ones.

An unintelligent cause that was the originator of speech, consciousness, life, and intelligence?

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I am not convinced the argument, or any other evidence, has narrowed the field successfully.

Then we should discuss the BGV theorem and the problems with infinity in more detail.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  In fact, I think the second premise makes a very telling assumption. Creation out of literal nothingness implies that there is in fact nothing outside of our observable universe.

There was nothing but God, if the argument is sound.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  With one phrase, ideas of multiple universes or physical existence outside of our local universe have already been dismissed, yet we know nothing of these things. How then can we dismiss possibilities that we cannot confirm or disprove?

But see, the BGV theorem and the infinity problem are completely INDEPENDENT of multi-verses or any cosmological model one can postulate. Well, I shouldn't say "completely" independent, because with the BGV theorem, if there is a plausible model at which the average Hubble expansion is greater than zero, then the theorem won't hold as much weight...so that is not to say that there won't EVER be a model that meets the criterion for the theorem to be voided, but hell, as much as they've tried, no one has yet to be able to overcome it, and trust me, they've tried.

The theorem is powerful because there is only ONE condition to be met in order for it to be true, and that is that the AVERAGE Hubble expansion for the given model to be greater than 0. That's it. Nothing more. So it is a very powerful and general theorem that applies to pretty much all conceived models.

But the infinity problem is a different problem, because rules of logic applies to anything, regardless of what the latest scientific discovery is. So you can posit any cosmological model for the universe, and the infinity problem would still be there. That is why, as I said, #3 is the only option left after the others are negated for any of the various reasons we can negate them.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I think I am right to be wary of any argument which constructs a philosophical foundation on what is not yet known or understood. How can we proceed like this without making unwarranted assumptions? I admit, it is not comfortable to not know how the universe came to be. However, I am even less comfortable with an argument like this one, which implies knowledge of what is yet undiscovered.

Again, with the argument against infinity, there is no amount of knowledge that can be discovered which will make this problem go away. Even God himself couldn't help you with this one, and he is said to be omnipotent/omniscient. That isn't to take anything away from God, but God himself is bound by the laws of logic and reason, and the concept of infinity defies logic and reason.

And as getting back to the BGV theorem, that is where the current scientific evidence is right now...and so far, the universe, as we know it, began to exist. If you postulate any naturalistic cause for this beginning, then you are right back to square one with the problem of infinity.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Have you thought about any of the other possibilities I mentioned? If so, what made you close in on a timeless, immaterial, omnipotent being? How did you narrow things down?

It is called the "Law of Excluded Middle", which means that if you only have two options (in this case, three), if two of the three options are successfully negated, then the last option wins by default.

We only have three options, that's it..and I guarantee that anything else that you can think of will fall under one of those three options. There is no more room to cover...#1 and #2 are successfully eliminated for reasons previously mentioned, and the lone survivor is option #3.

It is just the process of elimination.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Have you considered your own bias? I don't mean to suggest that you aren't being honest. I think of you as sincere. What I am asking is, do you think that the idea of god is so familiar to you, or perhaps so emotionally satisfying, that you don't consider other possibilities equally?

Oh, but I have. Geez, DP, you are making it seem as if you are offering new ideas, new objections...man, apologists have been dealing with these objections, particularly the "other kinds of causes" objections for years. This is nothing new to us.

But my belief in God is far beyond just one argument...I have many, which I think are sound/valid.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  3. If only nothingness can be beyond this universe, I do not understand how a god could exist there. I think it implies a contradiction.

But there was never "nothing" in the sense of absolute "non-being" anywhere in any possible world. That itself would be a contradiction, because you can't go from absolute nothingness (i.e. no god, no universe) and here, now we have a universe. That would be absurd. There always had to be something...there is some kind of "eternity" going on here, and that eternity either stems from God, or the universe, and I think it is clear as to where it stems from.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The Kalam excludes many possibilities outside of observable space time in favor of literal nothingness. This does not make sense to me because if I am able to narrow down my conclusion so that only nothingness is possible before the universe, how is god possible? A timeless, immaterial, omnipotent being is certainly not nothing. It is in fact, something. This, to me, implies a contradiction.

Remember, the argument is "Everything that begins to exist has a cause", God did not begin, therefore, God did not have a cause. Remember, something had to always be here/there. Something. Now, either this "something" is God, or this "something" is the universe.

And by no coincidence, this goes right back to #2 and #3 above. Either one or the other.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  What do you think? If you are certain that only literal nothingness can exist outside of our space time universe, how is god able to exist there?

DP, that isn't the argument, bro!!! The argument is that God exists outside of our space-time universe.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  4. I think what is meant to be proven is implied within the first premise, forcing the argument into a circle.

Think so?

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  If for the sake of argument, I were to accept that whatever begins to exist has a cause, it follows that there may be some things for which there is no cause. If there is such a category as "Always existed", what things are included in that category?

God. Laugh out load

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The first thing that comes to my mind is the god you describe. Is there anything else? I cannot think of another. If you also cannot, I think it must follow that "God" and "Things which exist eternally" are equivalent and can be used interchangeably.

Abstract objects like numbers and minds...these things can also be considered outside of space.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The first premise (Everything which begins to exist has a cause) could then be rearranged as follows without changing its meaning:

"Everything except god has a cause".

I am no professional philosopher, but I know that I cannot begin an argument by assuming the existence of the very thing I mean to prove. If I use "begins to exist" as a category, I have no choice but to imply a dichotomy that includes god.

Which is why you use arguments to justify the premise. Usually a syllogism will have more than one premise, tho.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Do you think there is anything else in the category "Things which exist eternally"?

Besides God and things like numbers...I can't see anything existing eternally.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Do you see what I mean about the implication, or do you think I have it wrong?

I think you are a lil bit wrong Smile

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  5. I think the phrase "begins (or began) to exist" is not used identically throughout the argument.

I noticed that the use of "begins to exist" in the first premise seems to appeal to common experience of creation with existing materials. However, the use of "began to exist" in the second premise refers to creation out of nothing.

That is why there is a long list of argumentation that is made for the entire argument. William Lane Craig devoted an entire book to the argument back in 1979. The syllogism is only three points, but there is a lot that is put into those three points.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I do not see how the argument can be sound if it is not consistent in defining its terms. Without agreement in terms, the premises cannot correctly follow one another.

Tell ya what, watch any debate with WLC regarding the question "Does God exist", and he always opens with the kalam cosmological argument, he gets in detail an I think you will find it to your liking.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  What do you think? Do you see the distinction and why it matters?

I think it matters, a little Laugh out load

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  6. I think causation, and our understanding of causation, is bound in time.

It is, but only after the universe and time itself began.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  When I consider how one thing is caused by another, it implies to me a chain of events in time. For example, if I construct a table out of wooden planks, I have caused it to begin to exist. Each step in the construction represents a point in time, with a beginning of intent to construct, and an end result, the table.

The problem is, the causal chain of cause/effect relations cannot be extended to past infinity, which goes right back to the infinity problem I kept mentioning earlier. An absolute timeless First Cause is necessary.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Given this intuitive universal understanding of causation in time, what happens to my understanding when applied to a timeless existence? I do not know. I am not convinced anyone knows, or even could know. Just as is the case with creation from nothing, there is no body of evidence to consult.

This is difficult to grasp, I admit. The only thing I can think of is for God to have been in a stationary motionless state for eternity..with an eternal will to create the universe...and once he began creation, time began, and he is now forever in the realm of time.

That is the only way I can think of it.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  It seems to me that a timeless being might actually be unable to cause anything by definition. It would remain outside of space and time, utterly changeless. To do otherwise would imply a chain of events, a before the change, and after.

But it was only when he began to create that time began, so his action was in fact "in time". It is called the space-time continuum . You can't one without the other...all of space, time, energy, matter (STEM) had to come in to being at the same instant in "time", which is what the standard model of the big bang is, anyway.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I think I understand creation and causation because I experience them in my everyday life. However, when I take these intuitively understood concepts to a timeless and alien situation, they seem to lose the very foundation by which I understand them. Do you think there can be causation without a chain of events in time? If so, can you explain it to me?

I got one for you. Lets see if you can wrap your mind around this: Lets say you have a bowling ball, and you placed the bowling ball on the cushion of a couch. Now, the pressure of the bowling ball will cause a dent in the cushion, correct?

Now, imagine if there was this eternal bowling ball, and this eternal couch, with eternal cushions on the couch...and lets say the bowling ball was resting on the cushion for eternity...is not the bowling ball still the cause of the dent in the cushion, even though there was never a preceding moment before the dent? The ball still the cause of the dent, DESPITE not causing it in time, correct?

Consider Hmmmm.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  7. I think an immaterial being can have no physical means of causing anything.

Based on what?

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  As far as I know, only physical things cause other physical things to begin to exist. This is the extent of my understanding of causation in a physical universe. When I consider causation by something without physical material, I do not understand in what manner in can interact with what is caused. This god appears to have no means to create the universe other than the raw force of his will.

So, you have a immaterial thing that created physical things, a concept which you do not understand. You also have an infinite number of cause/effect chain going all the way back to past infinity, which you also cannot understand (since it the concept is logically absurd, I will assume you can't demonstrate it to prove it).

Yet, one of these things must be true. So which is it?

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Do you think it makes sense that a being literally willed the universe into existence, without any physical interaction? Can you explain to me how that works?

I can't explain how God, a immaterial being, created a physical universe, from nothing. However, it is certainly conceivable that he did. In other words, based on all of the things I mentioned in this post, plus the other arguments that I have to offer in favor of theism, plus the arguments I have AGAINST atheism, it makes it all more easier to believe and accept that a immaterial being DID create a physical universe.

Because as I said, at least theism (Christian theism) is conceivable...I don't necessarily have to know HOW God did it, but I can imagine a God being able to do such a thing...what I can't imagine, is....how things could have gotten to this point on atheism...and part of the reason of WHY I can't conceive it is because most of it defies all logic and reason, and we can't normally conceive of things that are logically impossible.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  8. I think causation requires something to be acted upon, otherwise nothing is caused.

"something to be acted upon" What does that mean?

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Do you think it is possible to causally influence literally nothing? If so, how? Can you explain it to me?

Who said that God "causally influenced literally nothing"?

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  9. I think that if infinities do not exist, the cause of the universe cannot be infinitely powerful.

Okkkk Huh

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I cannot reconcile a being with infinite power, with the assertion that infinities do not exist. Infinities must then exist and god is infinitely powerful, or they do not and god is not.

When we call God infinite, it is in a qualitative sense, not a quantitative sense. That is a key difference that needs to be distinguished here.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Do you see the contradiction? Do you think it can be reconciled?

Of course. Easily. We call God infinite based on the quality of his being...power...knowledge...presence...benevolence....each of these qualities are maxed out its fullest extent...but that has nothing to do with quantities...and the arguments against infinity is an argument against quantities, such as having an infinite number of marbles, or traversing an infinite number of points on a road.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  10. The argument takes for granted the truth of Substance Dualism.

Substance Dualism is the belief in a spiritual vessel for the mind which allows it to be independent from physical material. Based on even my limited understanding of the science related to this, I am convinced that minds require physical matter to exist and function. Even data independent of minds, such as audio recordings, requires a physical construct, say a CD or a MP3 file, to function. I have no experience or understanding of disembodied minds.

Lets save this one for another day Big Grin

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  For example, I have a mind. If disembodied minds can exist outside of the universe, have I always existed? How or when did I begin to exist?

This one, too Big Grin

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  It seems to me that an argument based in scientific cosmology should also be consistent with other sciences, like neuroscience. Do you see the inconsistency of accepting some forms of scientific knowledge but not others? What do you think?

Do you think there is a way for minds to exist outside of brains? If so, how? Can you explain it to me?

This one, three Big Grin

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Summary

I think the Kalam is unsound, probably in more ways than just one. As far as I can tell it:

1. contains multiple logical fallacies
2. builds premises on unknowable or even false assumptions
3. makes no verifiable predictions
4. confuses the meaning of common expressions
5. equivocates the meaning of terms
6. assumes knowledge of what is not currently known, or cannot be known
7. contradicts itself internally
8. assumes the soundness of dead philosophical ideas
and 9. contains a conclusion that does not necessarily follow from its premises.

Think so?

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I think the Kalam suffers from repeated attempts to export basic intuitive human thinking into realms where our faculties cannot cope. It all seems very simple and reasonable when applied normally, but loses me hopelessly when we begin to discuss the outside of the universe, or before the big bang started its expansion.

That is why I am here for you, DP Cool

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I think there is still one major weakness to the argument even if I were to (hypothetically) accept it or assume it is sound. Even then, I don't think I would be any closer to understand how the universe was created, or the specific nature of the cause. I would not know what being(s) were, or even could be, responsible. I would be no closer to the concept of god having an impact on how I live my life and make decisions.

In other words: I wouldn't be closer to Theism than I am now as an Atheist. I know you are a Theist, so why the Deist argument? If you believe in a personal god who is involved in human affairs, why try to prove an aloof creator god with none of those attributes?

Don't you think the Kalam could be used to prove Allah, just as well as Yahweh? I mean this as a serious question. If I used this very same argument and claimed it supported the existence of Allah, what would your response be? [/quote]

Good questions. The argument does more than you think, actually. You are right, any deist or Muslim could use this argument...in fact, the argument originally began based off of medieval Muslim thought, yet, Christians use the argument.

But first off, if the argument is true, then that puts atheism out of a job, doesn't it? Second, the argument helps to determine the attributes/nature of what such a being would have to be...such a being would have to had been timeless, eternal, necessary, immaterial, omnipotent (ability to create from nothing), and astronomically smart (based on the engineering of cosmological constants and on the molecular level).

And if you throw in the Moral Argument, then this being must be a moral agent, with feelings and emotions, making such a being all the more personal.

So, with this argument, along with the Moral argument and sprinkle a little teleological argument in there, you have a model of just what the God of the universe is. But which God is it?

That is when a Christian present the Argument based on the Resurrection of Jesus (shout out to Easter Sunday :thumbsupSmile. If this argument is true, then that undoubtedly answers the question of "which God"...and again, it is no coincidence that the Christian God has all of the attributes needed to create stuff...and God was said to have these attributes 3,000 years ago, so no one can say that the book was constantly being updated to keep up with the times and latest philosophical trends Laugh out load

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Lastly, is it this argument that convinced you of the existence of god?

No, but it made my faith stronger. Christian apologists is not being taught in Churches, so we start off with just having faith...but it wasn't until I got into apologetics that I say "wait a minute, there are good philosophical and scientific reasons why I belief in God is rational"...or "there is an actual argument for the Resurrection of Jesus."

So now it is more than just faith, my friend. It is REASONS TO BELIEVE.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Here is why I am asking. It is certainly a fact that the expansion of our universe had a beginning which we call The Big Bang. However, this was not always known. In fact, belief in god(s) has existed far longer than we have known this fact. If the best proof or evidence of god(s) is this argument, on what basis was god belief justified before the universe was known to have a beginning? Do you think such belief unjustified until now?

There was always philosophical reasons that theists have historically given for the belief in God (Thomas Aquinas, St. Anslem). However, the scientific evidence didn't come until the 20th century...until then, philosophical arguments were given...however, at least from the Christian-Jewish view, they've always maintained that the universe was finite, and that a Supreme Being created it...that is what they've always maintained....now, fast forward 3,000 years, and science has confirmed that the universe began to exist...and when you do some serious critical thinking, you will find exactly what MEANS for the universe to begin to exist, and what attributes was needed for the ORIGINATOR of the entire thing...and you will find that what was needed to create the universe, the Judeo-Christian God matches to a tee.

(01-04-2015 02:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I apologize for the long wait, but this post took me some serious thought, effort, and time. I hope I have expressed myself clearly and asked some valuable questions. I am interested to know if you have considered some of these problems, and why you do or don't think they change the potency of the argument.

I apologize for the long wait, too. Man, if only people knew how mentally draining it is to come on here and give lengthy responses to so many people. It can be very draining.

You've asked some good questions, and you've helped me keep my sword sharp, bro. I really do wish you can climb aboard the Christian bandwagon and join us...you'd make a good apologist for our side Yes
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