Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
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07-04-2015, 12:47 AM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
Okay, I am going to need another block of time to thoroughly digest what you are saying here and to give you my thoughts. Hang tight for now.

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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07-04-2015, 07:16 PM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
I will let you know in advance, that there wasn't any way I could explain myself further without getting scientific and technical at least a little. I am no scientist, but I can read well enough. I hope I didn't make it too confusing. I just wanted you to know that i'm not trying to be a dick and pretend I am so much more knowledgeable than you. There just isn't a non-scientific way to address your comments.

More on Causation, Evidence, and Definitions.

Quote: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.

This is actually very different from what I am saying. I am saying that there is no reason to suggest that there must be any kind of cause. Given that we are discussing the very frontier of scientific understanding, my first instinct is to stop at "We do not yet know." In a nutshell, I think the Kalam is arguing from scientific ignorance. It is certainly not basing its premises in a body of cosmological knowledge. So, when I start inventing possibilities for different types of causation, I am doing that to make a point, not because I consider them viable. The idea is that anyone could just as easily assume one type of causation over another because we have no information to tell us which is more likely to be true.

The BGV Theorem and the Problem of Infinity

When you referred to the universe as "all of space, time, energy, and matter." I was briefly confused. You see, that isn't what I mean when I say "universe". I am referring to our local space time expansion which began at the moment of the Big Bang. This is especially important because you mentioned the BGV theorem. I don't think the theorem actually supports the Kalam at all. It proves a beginning to the expansion of our space time universe absolutely, but not the origins of its material. It is clear that the theorem is not adequate to account for the origins of our local space time universe, let alone the origins of literally everything, everywhere.

In fact, the scientist responsible for the theorem do not believe in a creator god like you do. Obviously that doesn't in and of itself mean you're wrong, but I find it very telling that the people most intimately involved with the theorem did not conclude that therefore all of STEM had a beginning. The one related theory they do endorse is Quantum Nucleation, which is the hypothesis that our local space time expansion evolved out of a Quantum Nucleation Event. The philosophical implications are that quantum energy has always existed in some form.

This is ultimately why I remain unconvinced when you point out that time itself must have had a beginning. That particular fact does not imply that our local universe, let alone existence itself also had a beginning, and that literal nothingness preceded it. It may very well be that no physical infinities exist. It still wouldn't follow that materials have origins. So, it doesn't matter if they exist or not, the Kalam still falls short of proving the necessity of origins.

That said, the problem of infinity causes some serious internal inconsistencies.

Quote: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. 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.

I am not convinced by the distinction because of the quantitative nature of power. I can think of anything from Amps to Joules to show that power can be measured and proven finite. An attempt to measure truly infinite power would result in a physical quantitative eternity, which is exactly what the Kalam says can't exist.

If that isn't a high enough standard to convince you, consider your answer to the question "What other than the Kalam's god can be categorized as existing eternally?" You said "Abstract numbers and minds".

As a side note, these are the two dead philosophical ideas I was referring to, Substance Dualism and Platonic Realism. I know you said we would discuss Substance Dualism later, so let's examine Platonic Realism. In a nutshell, Platonic Realism is the idea that abstract concepts, like number sets, literally exist in a realm outside of space and time. I call it a dead philosophical idea because contemporary philosophers almost exclusively consider this view an error of perception, the blind even naive assumption that if one can think of a concept it therefore literally exists. Given the number of Atheist Vs. Theist debates, the population of abstract invisible pink unicorns must be overpopulating a realm outside of space and time. Tongue

The main point is this. Infinity is a literal extension of a number set. In other words, if abstract numbers exist, so do infinities, because number sets include infinity. This is supported directly by Cantorian Set Theory, which is essentially the backbone of all mathematics. Infinity either exists or not, but it can't be both without a contradiction. Either number sets are not platonically real, or infinity might exist. Either way, the Kalam bites the dust.

Truth and Human Experience

Quote:Assuming that truth value only lies with human experience.

This comment really caught my attention. I think it deserves a legitimate response. I know you were being sarcastic, and you're right. What is true is not always obvious or supported by the current evidence. Science overturns incorrect assumptions all the time to discover truth, which if believed on the previous evidence, would make someone a laughing stock, even though it was true.

Even though believing something without reasonable justification doesn't guarantee that you are necessarily incorrect, I think it significantly increases the probability that you are incorrect. This is why I embrace a skeptical, reason based world view. If it were acceptable to believe anything and everything without evidence, it is impossible to avoid believing contradictory things and devolving into absurdity.

Within my world view, I can support one layer of justified belief onto top of another, on and on, until I reach the bottom layer of necessary axioms. It is a recipe for a consistent, self correcting, coherent world view.

Having once held a religious worldview, I can understand the annoyance at having an idea like God, which has such profound explanatory power, rejected. Why wouldn't someone want to know the answers to such important questions? My answer is that I do want to know the answers. I just also want to be able to prove they are the correct answers. All supernatural explanations suffer from the shared problem that they cannot be proven and are also unfalsifiable. They invoke the existence of unproven entities and magical forces to explain natural events, and they seem to fit best at the frontier of current scientific ignorance.

In a nutshell, I think I have a better chance at being right more often with my current world view, than say, yours. I also think I can invent natural explanations that will always have more explanatory power than the supernatural, because they contain fewer assumptions. For example, you can assert god has existed eternally and is responsible for all existence. I could hypothetically assert that material has always existed, perhaps on a quantum level, and is what makes up our universe, and anything else there may be. The Quantum still exists in your explanation. Only God is different. My explanation is inherently better because it cuts out that one unnecessary assumption, god. This process is sometimes known as Occam's Razor. When I think in this way, I notice that the arguments for god that argue from a place of scientific ignorance have been forced to continually recede into that frontier. Over the years philosophers have referred to these arguments as "The God of the Gaps".

"Nothing"

Quote: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.

This misses the point, but perhaps because I didn't express it clearly.

As it happens, I have some experience in listening to Dr. William Lane Craig who said the following.

"When we say creation out of "nothing" we don't mean that "nothing" is a sort of "something" out of which god made the world. Rather, we can express it more clearly by using a negative. God did not create out of anything. He created, but he did not create out of anything. That's what we mean when we say he created out of nothing. We don't mean that nothing is something. We mean "not anything". "

He goes out of his way to explain creation without materials in a realm without anything other than god. Why? What reason can the Kalam have for excluding concepts such as material outside of space time? Of course, because the Kalam is busy falsely equating the beginning of time itself, with the beginning of everything.

Therefore, god is a poor answer to a problem that doesn't actually exist. In an existence where there are no possibilities outside of space and time, we are left without any explanation of their origins, therefore we should invent a magical being that somehow exists precisely outside of all existence?

If literal nothingness is really impossible outside of spacetime, why is it so important that god create with no materials? If god can exist there, why not some materials for him to work with? I think the reason is simple. If you can assert god in a timeless state, you can just as easily assert matter there, and matter is a more efficient explanation in a situation where we are only able to speculate from our utter ignorance. The apologist knows that, and thus avoids a conclusion that does not end in "Therefore God".

As I said before, my position on before the Big Bang is "I don't know and I won't say I believe until I do". However, if I absolutely have to give an answer and lean in a particular direction, here is what I would say.

I sometimes wonder if "nothing" (philosophical literal nothingness, not a damn thing) might not exist at all. It seems to me that every time we thought there was nothing (The air, the vacuum of space, the quantum vacuum) we later discovered it was in fact a different sort of "something". Therefore, I sometimes wonder if the reason there is anything at all, universes and/or any gods rather than a dead void, is that there is no other way it could be. All of reality could be one great roiling mass of existence, spitting and bubbling up universes and existences naturally and defying the very fabric of our space time based understanding.

It is a very real possibility that we may never know these things. A guy can hope though, and feel some wonder in the meantime.

The Need for Cognitive Closure and Primacy

Quote: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.

Well, I hope that I have demonstrated that the Kalam itself attempts to defy logic and reason, so at the very least I understand how you feel. I have also tried to show that your ability of conception is not directly related to truth. Something at least could be true outside of our ability to conceive of them. The philosopher Daniel Dennett put it like this.

"If any answers to a given question are inevitably going to boggle the mind, you can't use "mind-bogglingness" to determine which of them is true."

This is why I reject principles like causation, a chain of events, minds, power, etc when applied outside of space and time. I think it is naive to expect these intuitive experiences to remain intact when even Special Relativity is breaking down. In a nutshell, we shouldn't appeal to our intuitions to explain what is beyond our capacity to conceptualize. Whatever the truth really is on these massive and tiny scales, it will boggle our minds and defy our intuitions.

That aside, I think it is really important to note that there are some well understood psychological aspects to this particular type of argument. One of these is the human "need for cognitive closure". It is roughly defined as the human need for answers and explanations. We understand this deep emotional need so well, we can prove that most people prefer any answer, even if they don't understand it completely or it has known flaws, to no answer at all. There is also "primacy" which is the human tendency to select the very first available answer, regardless of its merit, to cling to.

Look, I am not trying to psychoanalyze you, or some bullshit like that. I might as well be saying "all humans get hungry", that's how universal these principles are. You could easily look them up and learn all about them.

What I am saying is, God(s) are a culturally familiar answer to many questions and are quite frequently the first available option to most people. Higher science and mathematics are usually reserved for the older and wiser, while Sunday School is for the children. I think that the uncomfortable reality of "I don't know" is responsible for a lot of religion and god worship, maybe even a few arguments for god.

For example, not knowing how god supposedly created from nothing is enough for me to admit that I don't find it conceivable. I move on, even though I don't have an answer to the origin of anything.

On the other hand, you can apparently conceive of it even though you don't know how it happened, or even how it could happen. This suggest to me that you do not really know, you just believe. Maybe you have better arguments, I don't know. I just have a hard time understanding how someone can see such a large flaw in an argument and then accept it as sound, especially on the basis that they have no other acceptable explanations. Obviously I think you should take a closer look at your anti-Atheist arguments, and I hope to read some of them here. I am sure you can forgive me the arrogance, since you probably wish I would just shut up and praise Jesus already. Tongue

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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08-04-2015, 12:46 AM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
I have some extra time, so I will type out some thoughts on design, and the example you gave me of the disassembled automobile. When you asked me if I would be able, with no knowledge of automobile mechanics, to reconstruct a vehicle from its many haphazardly strewn parts, while wearing a blindfold, I said:

"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. "


You then continued.

Quote: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.

As you have probably heard before, accepting Evolutionary Theory doesn't require anyone to become an Atheist. There are many people who believe in god who accept it. Many of them believe in "guided evolution", or that god uses evolution as the means for creation.

Aside from that, you are right in that what you describe sounds absurd. My common sense and intuition tells me that it does not make reasonable sense. However, when I consider whether it is truly analogous to evolution, things get interesting. Like many other analogies and examples I have encountered, I do not think this one is a legitimate representation of what biological evolution actually is, or how it works.

For one thing, the process performs no action. It is not an entity, like a human being, capable of construction, configuration, and assembly. Even the language we use in describing the process betrays our biased perspective based in the universal human experience of creating things ourselves. If anyone imagines evolution as something like a creator entity but with its brain removed, it should surprise no one that the whole business seems utterly absurd to them. They have fallen into the trap of projecting an experience based form of creation onto nature, as though there were a magic human being busily building the world like we would build a house.

Evolution is merely what we call the natural process by which biological things change over time. Environmental factors and mutations drive the process. Basically, mutations happen constantly no matter what. The environment dictates which ones allow the species to survive better, or worse. The successful and useful changes live on, the unsuccessful get a Darwin award.

Given enough time, so many changes can take place over so many generations, that a species may be nothing at all like its ancient ancestors. Part of the elegance of Evolutionary Theory is its efficiency. Gradual changes, over immense time periods, can tackle even the most complicated transformations.

I have been surprised more than once to learn that certain creationists sometimes imagine the process of evolution as a rapid transformation between two already well known species. Kirk Cameron's Crock-a-Duck springs to mind most vividly. There is just nothing like it...Tongue If we were to start finding fossils like that, it wouldn't prove Evolution true, it would undermine it.

How could we possibly know that living things are no engineered exactly as we now see them? Well, It is important to note that evolution does not begin with fully assembled parts, as it were, ready for construction. Whatever parts already exists, regardless of their original function, change over time based on environmental conditions and the need to survive and reproduce.

In the automobile example you gave there is an engineer who designs and constructs it with a specific purpose in mind. Therefore, he or she does not design and manufacture superfluous or "junk" parts that represent older, less successful models. The design is reduced to the minimum number of useful parts to accomplish the intended task.

So, if living things are designed, it would make sense if we had no extra or useless parts. There should be nothing with older, more inferior parts, that instead of being removed and replaced simply were incorporated into the newer design. Thus, we can know evolution takes place when we study vestigial organs and limbs, etc. We sometimes discover layers of evolutionary change, like geological rock layers, that tell the story of the past. This is the case with the human eye, for example.

The great contemporary skeptic, Michael Shermer put it like this.

"The anatomy of the human eye, in fact, shows anything but "intelligence" in its design. It is built upside down and backwards, requiring photons of light to travel through the cornea, lens, aquaeous fluid, blood vessels, ganglion cells, amacrine cells, horizontal cells, and bipolar cells before they reach the light sensitive rods and cones that transduce the light signal into neural impulses—which are then sent to the visual cortex at the back of the brain for processing into meaningful patterns. For optimal vision, why would an intelligent designer have built an eye upside down and backwards ? It is because we evolved from sightless bacteria, now found to share our DNA, that we are so myopic."

An engineer would not construct such a backward design, but would instead arrange the parts for optimal accomplishment of the intended goal. Evolution, on the other hand, only changes what organs and tissues are already in place. Thus we eventually get an eye with parts out of typical order, with visible evolutionary layers indicative of past mutations, yet functional and offering obvious benefits to survival.

I do not know if my understanding makes any of this clear to you, but I hope to have at least clarified what Evolution is. I admit, it has taken me some considerable time to understand it, especially since I grew up in a Creationist household with basically no science education at all.

Maybe you have more objections? I would be interested to read them.

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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11-04-2015, 12:57 AM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:I will let you know in advance, that there wasn't any way I could explain myself further without getting scientific and technical at least a little. I am no scientist, but I can read well enough. I hope I didn't make it too confusing. I just wanted you to know that i'm not trying to be a dick and pretend I am so much more knowledgeable than you. There just isn't a non-scientific way to address your comments.

You are a scholar, and a gentleman.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:This is actually very different from what I am saying. I am saying that there is no reason to suggest that there must be any kind of cause.

Oh, so “everything that BEGINS to exist doesn’t have a cause”, then…correct?

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:Given that we are discussing the very frontier of scientific understanding, my first instinct is to stop at "We do not yet know."

To me, it is more like “we don’t WANT to know”. Let’s just talk about what we DO know, then. We DO know that “the universe began to exist”. That is a religiously neutral statement that can be found in any modern day text book on cosmology. The universe is all space, time, energy, and matter (STEM)..and if STEM began to exists, then it logically follows that whatever gave STEM its beginning could not itself be a product of STEM. That is what we DO know.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:In a nutshell, I think the Kalam is arguing from scientific ignorance. It is certainly not basing its premises in a body of cosmological knowledge.

Um, DP…all of the “body of cosmological knowledge” dating all the way back to the 1920’s til now…all of the evidence is pointing towards a finite universe. Again, the second premise “the universe began to exist” has already been empirically established, but of course, scientists don’t like the idea of this, which is why all of these wacky cosmological models have been proposed since the first Standard Model in the 1920’s, you know, models like the Steady State Theory…Oscillating models, Quantum Fluctuation models…all of these theories have been proposed BECAUSE of the overwhelming evidence supporting a finite universe. So for you to say that the kalam isn’t basing its premises on cosmological knowledge is either being ignorant, or disingenuous.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:So, when I start inventing possibilities for different types of causation, I am doing that to make a point, not because I consider them viable. The idea is that anyone could just as easily assume one type of causation over another because we have no information to tell us which is more likely to be true.

Um, DP…it is called “science”, you do know that, right? And the scientific method is based on observation, experiment, and prediction…now sure, you can assume/hypothesize any type of causation you want, but then the question becomes “what is the evidence supporting your hypothesis?” If you can’t conduct some kind of experiment to either prove the theory wrong/right, then there is no reason for you to believe it. And come to think of it, that is EXACTLY what has happened over the past 80-90 years..scientists have postulated dozens of cosmological theories/models, but none of these models (excluding the Standard Big Bang model), have withstood the test of time for various reasons. Now, the Standard Model, on the other hand, has had a history of empirical observation/experiments SUPPORTING it, and this is the very reason why it is the frontrunner of the pack.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:When you referred to the universe as "all of space, time, energy, and matter." I was briefly confused. You see, that isn't what I mean when I say "universe". I am referring to our local space time expansion which began at the moment of the Big Bang.

I don’t understand why you were confused. You were the one that mentioned the multiverse theory, which is still within the physical realm, although the other space-time realms are distinct from ours…so I said “universes” to cover ANY physical realm in reality, regardless of where it is in space.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:This is especially important because you mentioned the BGV theorem. I don't think the theorem actually supports the Kalam at all. It proves a beginning to the expansion of our space time universe absolutely, but not the origins of its material.

Which is exactly the freakin’ point!! Where did the material come from??? You can’t have matter without space, because where would you put it? You couldn’t have space without matter, because the matter is currently here, so if there was ever a point at which space existed with no matter, then where did the matter come from? And you can’t have space and matter without time, because with space and matter comes change, and change requires time.

It is because of these reasons why all STEM must have originated at the same time/point…which is EXACTLY what the Standard Model of the big bang suggests.
Now, as far as the BGV theorem is concerned, it proves that our universe has only been expanding for a finite amount of time…and if you go back far enough in time you will get to a “point” where there was no space for the matter to occupy…so there was literally no universe.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:It is clear that the theorem is not adequate to account for the origins of our local space time universe, let alone the origins of literally everything, everywhere.
Umm, DP…yes it does..in fact, they made the theory BASED on observations within our universe.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:In fact, the scientist responsible for the theorem do not believe in a creator god like you do.

So what? Some people refuse to believe in a creator God no matter how good the evidence is. I had a guy tell me “even if I knew God existed, I still wouldn’t believe in him”.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:Obviously that doesn't in and of itself mean you're wrong, but I find it very telling that the people most intimately involved with the theorem did not conclude that therefore all of STEM had a beginning.

Wrong again. The theorem applies to ANY universe that has been expanding at an average Hubble rate greater than 0. That applies to string theories, higher dimension scenarios, bubble universes. As long as any proposed model meets the ONE requirement, that it is expanding at a rate greater than 0, the theorem applies to it.

And it isn’t as if I am making this stuff up, either. There are videos of Vilenkin explaining the theorem on youtube.

Now, of course, I can give you the videos and quotes from Vilenkin where he explicitly states that based on the theorem, the universe began to exist. I could give you this, but I am too lazy to look them up. But if I have to, I will.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:The one related theory they do endorse is Quantum Nucleation, which is the hypothesis that our local space time expansion evolved out of a Quantum Nucleation Event. The philosophical implications are that quantum energy has always existed in some form.

Actually, the philosophical implications are that prior to the “space time expansion”, there would have been an infinite number of prior causes, which could not possibly be true in the real world. As I love mentioning, the philosophical problems with infinity is independent of physics, quantum physics, biology, mathematics, and any other scientific/mathematical disciple you have.

So it doesn’t matter what big shot physicist or mathematician you have by your side, the problem of infinity isn’t going anywhere.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:This is ultimately why I remain unconvinced when you point out that time itself must have had a beginning. That particular fact does not imply that our local universe, let alone existence itself also had a beginning, and that literal nothingness preceded it.

Umm, DP…the universe cannot exist at all without time…so if time had a beginning, then it follows that everything within time also had a beginning, unless you can somehow postulate a world at which change can occur without time…or answer the question of how did time begin in the first place. Either way, you are screwed.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:It may very well be that no physical infinities exist. It still wouldn't follow that materials have origins. So, it doesn't matter if they exist or not, the Kalam still falls short of proving the necessity of origins.

Nonsense. First off, I don’t know what you mean by “physical infinities”. If you mean what I think you mean, then what are events in time? Physical events, right? Well then, if there was no ultimate first cause, then it is apparent that the physical events which preceded any event X would have had to traverse an event number of prior event X’s…which is, absurd.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:That said, the problem of infinity causes some serious internal inconsistencies.

Yeah, for your side of things, not mines.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:I am not convinced by the distinction because of the quantitative nature of power. I can think of anything from Amps to Joules to show that power can be measured and proven finite.

And? Please explain to me how you can “measure” such quality of powers that can create out of nothing??

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:An attempt to measure truly infinite power would result in a physical quantitative eternity, which is exactly what the Kalam says can't exist.

When we say God has infinite power, we are saying he can do anything that is LOGICALLY possible, which is not quantitative. It is not the kind of power that can be measured. There is no mathematical formula that will allow you to put a number on God’s power. On the Christian view, God created from nothing..and it is very hard (if not impossible) to think of a being that is more powerful than a being that has the power to create from nothing. If you can think of something, please enlighten me.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:If that isn't a high enough standard to convince you, consider your answer to the question "What other than the Kalam's god can be categorized as existing eternally?" You said "Abstract numbers and minds".

As a side note, these are the two dead philosophical ideas I was referring to, Substance Dualism and Platonic Realism. I know you said we would discuss Substance Dualism later, so let's examine Platonic Realism. In a nutshell, Platonic Realism is the idea that abstract concepts, like number sets, literally exist in a realm outside of space and time. I call it a dead philosophical idea because contemporary philosophers almost exclusively consider this view an error of perception, the blind even naive assumption that if one can think of a concept it therefore literally exists. Given the number of Atheist Vs. Theist debates, the population of abstract invisible pink unicorns must be overpopulating a realm outside of space and time.

Well, I will put it to you this way, DP…being able to conceptualize X doesn’t mean that X literally exist. But being able to conceptualize X does mean that it is POSSIBLE for X to exist, which ultimately leads us to modal logic and the Modal Ontological Argument. Now, with that being said, my belief in abstract objects (specifically minds) and its ability to exist apart from the body is based on my background knowledge of other things, such as the necessity of a first cause (kalam) and the argument from consciousness. All of these various arguments and deductive reasons allow me to draw the conclusion that I draw.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:The main point is this. Infinity is a literal extension of a number set. In other words, if abstract numbers exist, so do infinities, because number sets include infinity. This is supported directly by Cantorian Set Theory, which is essentially the backbone of all mathematics. Infinity either exists or not, but it can't be both without a contradiction. Either number sets are not platonically real, or infinity might exist. Either way, the Kalam bites the dust.

Cantorian Set theory…that is stuff you do on paper. When you apply infinity to real life situations, that is where the absurdities begin. Infinity is just a concept, and numbers aren’t physical “things” that can cause anything. However, minds are (argument from consciousness).

Now, with that being said, I predict you are going to continue to push the issue, at which I will give you any one of the dozens of paradoxes I have which demonstrate the absurdity, and there is really no escaping the implications of these paradoxes…just ask Esquilax lol.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:Even though believing something without reasonable justification doesn't guarantee that you are necessarily incorrect, I think it significantly increases the probability that you are incorrect.

Well, whether or not you find “reasonable justification” for the arguments or the worldview the argument represents is entirely up to you. I consider myself a very reasonable person, and as I look at these effects (the origins of life, consciousness, universe, morality), I think the best explanation is that yes, Goddidit. Otherwise, you are telling me that these things occurred as a result of a mindless and blind process, which I just can’t get myself to believe, no matter how hard I try.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:This is why I embrace a skeptical, reason based world view. If it were acceptable to believe anything and everything without evidence, it is impossible to avoid believing contradictory things and devolving into absurdity.

You are right, because if I believed anything without evidence, I would believe in things like macroevolution and abiogenesis.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:Having once held a religious worldview, I can understand the annoyance at having an idea like God, which has such profound explanatory power, rejected.

With all due respect, DP…you speak as if you have somehow refuted the argument, but you haven’t. I don’t know where you are getting this false sense of refutation, but it is very apparent. Tell ya what, how about we just one by one go through all of the sub-arguments to support the second premise, “the universe began to exist. Here is what we have…
1. BGV theorem
2. Second law of thermodynamics (entropy)
3. Arguments against infinity
What I’d like to do is go through each of them, one by one.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:Why wouldn't someone want to know the answers to such important questions? My answer is that I do want to know the answers. I just also want to be able to prove they are the correct answers.

So you do, and I don’t? I want to be able to prove they are the correct answers as well. In fact, my view IS the correct answer, at the very LEAST regarding the need for an absolute First Cause. There is just no way around it.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:All supernatural explanations suffer from the shared problem that they cannot be proven and are also unfalsifiable. They invoke the existence of unproven entities and magical forces to explain natural events, and they seem to fit best at the frontier of current scientific ignorance.

Well, in that case there is no proof that naturedidit either. We only have two options, either God did it, or Nature did it…if you don’t believe one did it, the other wins by default, but you can’t prove that there were “natural forces” to explain these “natural events”, can you? No, you can’t. So at best, you are agnostic. Now, if you want to be bad and bold enough to make the absolute claim “there is no God”, then, by all means, provide an argument for it…if you can’t, then you are not better than the theist.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:In a nutshell, I think I have a better chance at being right more often with my current world view, than say, yours. I also think I can invent natural explanations that will always have more explanatory power than the supernatural, because they contain fewer assumptions.

Then lets see what you got.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:For example, you can assert god has existed eternally and is responsible for all existence. I could hypothetically assert that material has always existed, perhaps on a quantum level, and is what makes up our universe, and anything else there may be.

Actually, you can’t…and that is the typical response from the atheist, to say “If God could have existed eternally, then why can’t the universe”? Well, because the theists are aware that the cause of everything had to have been timeless, so our explanation for the effect would be that the effect was the product of a timeless cause. The atheist will then say “well, why can’t the universe have been timeless”. Well, because the universe is in a constant state of change, and change requires time. The universe could not have existed for eternity, within time. Impossible.
Now, unfortunately for you, there is just no way out of this. Now, I challenge you to provide whatever naturalistic explanation that you think can negate the problem of infinity, and the one you provided (quantum level), that just won’t cut it, because even on a quantum level, things are occurring, so time is inescapable. There is no way out. A timeless Cause is necessary.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:The Quantum still exists in your explanation. Only God is different. My explanation is inherently better because it cuts out that one unnecessary assumption, god. This process is sometimes known as Occam's Razor.

Not even Occam’s Razor can help you here. The explanation has to have more EXPLANATORY value than its competitor, and yours doesn’t. Just because you call it “The Quantum” doesn’t give it any explanatory power. You still have to account for the problem of infinity, which it is in subject to, but the God hypothesis isn’t. You still have to account for life from nonlife, The Quantum doesn’t….but God does. You still have to account for the origins of the universe…The Quantum doesn’t, God does. You still have to account for the origin of consciousness…The Quantum doesn’t…but God does. You still have to account for the concept of morality (objective), The Quantum doesn’t…but God does.

There is currently no viable scientific discovery/reason that has given you (or anyone else) any reason to believe that these things occurred naturally…it is simply a belief that you have on FAITH. If you can believe that life can come from nonlife, despite the fact that you’ve never seen such a thing, then that requires a lot of faith, just about as much faith it takes to believe in God.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:When I think in this way, I notice that the arguments for god that argue from a place of scientific ignorance have been forced to continually recede into that frontier. Over the years philosophers have referred to these arguments as "The God of the Gaps".
And if you that the answer lies within the realms of nature, despite having no evidence that this is the case, we can call that “Nature of the Gaps”. What makes you think that you can plug in your gaps with nature, but I can’t plug in my gaps with God? How does the claim “nature did it” have more virtue than “God did it”?
Double standard.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:He (Dr. Craig) goes out of his way to explain creation without materials in a realm without anything other than god. Why? What reason can the Kalam have for excluding concepts such as material outside of space time?
Because of the scientific evidence in cosmology which points to the universe and everything within it having a beginning.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:Of course, because the Kalam is busy falsely equating the beginning of time itself, with the beginning of everything.

You can continue to separate the two (time and “everything”) all you like, but the problem of infinity applies to EVERYTHING, even God himself. God himself couldn’t be infinite in time, that is how powerful the argument is. But even with that being said, your point is moot. If time had a beginning, then it is impossible for the universe to have existed “before” the beginning of time itself. They were not two separate events, they both came into existence at the exact same point.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:Therefore, god is a poor answer to a problem that doesn't actually exist. In an existence where there are no possibilities outside of space and time
Says who? Who said there are no possibilities outside of space and time?

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:If literal nothingness is really impossible outside of spacetime, why is it so important that god create with no materials?

Don’t understand the question. Please elaborate.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:If god can exist there, why not some materials for him to work with? I think the reason is simple. If you can assert god in a timeless state, you can just as easily assert matter there, and matter is a more efficient explanation in a situation where we are only able to speculate from our utter ignorance. The apologist knows that, and thus avoids a conclusion that does not end in "Therefore God".

Please explain how a constantly changing universe can ever be considered “timeless”. Also, please explain how the universe, if it was ever in a changeless and motionless state, how could it ever “begin” to change, since there could be neither an internal or external reason as to why it would “suddenly” change.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:As I said before, my position on before the Big Bang is "I don't know and I won't say I believe until I do". However, if I absolutely have to give an answer and lean in a particular direction, here is what I would say.
I would say “I don’t know, but I have a pretty good idea”.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:I sometimes wonder if "nothing" (philosophical literal nothingness, not a damn thing) might not exist at all.

I don’t think it could.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:It seems to me that every time we thought there was nothing (The air, the vacuum of space, the quantum vacuum) we later discovered it was in fact a different sort of "something". Therefore, I sometimes wonder if the reason there is anything at all, universes and/or any gods rather than a dead void, is that there is no other way it could be. All of reality could be one great roiling mass of existence, spitting and bubbling up universes and existences naturally and defying the very fabric of our space time based understanding.

It could be a roiling mass of existence, spitting and bubbling up universes…or it could be a supernatural creator of the whole universe and everything in it.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:It is a very real possibility that we may never know these things. A guy can hope though, and feel some wonder in the meantime.
Well, it is quite clear that there was never a point of nothingness. Something has to be eternal.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:Well, I hope that I have demonstrated that the Kalam itself attempts to defy logic and reason

Actually, in my opinion, you haven’t. But since you think that you have, we should just jump right into the reasons a supporter of the kalam would give for premise 2, as mentioned above…if you’d like.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:I have also tried to show that your ability of conception is not directly related to truth. Something at least could be true outside of our ability to conceive of them.

Right, but if things ARE true outside of our current knowledge, we should be able to conceive. The arguments I am giving, I am so bold as to say that YOU cannot conceive of infinite regression, or consciousness from unconsciousness. These things cannot be conceived of, from a naturalistic perspective. Not at all. Now, I challenge you to prove me wrong.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:The philosopher Daniel Dennett put it like this.
"If any answers to a given question are inevitably going to boggle the mind, you can't use "mind-bogglingness" to determine which of them is true."
That pretty much takes care of quantum physics, doesn’t it?
’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:This is why I reject principles like causation, a chain of events, minds, power, etc when applied outside of space and time. I think it is naive to expect these intuitive experiences to remain intact when even Special Relativity is breaking down. In a nutshell, we shouldn't appeal to our intuitions to explain what is beyond our capacity to conceptualize. Whatever the truth really is on these massive and tiny scales, it will boggle our minds and defy our intuitions.

Right, but that still doesn’t change the fact that either God did it, or nature did it. Which option is more reasonable? Alvin Plantiga lists “two dozen or so” arguments for the existence of God. What are the arguments for naturalism/atheism??

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:What I am saying is, God(s) are a culturally familiar answer to many questions and are quite frequently the first available option to most people.

Maybe because the God option is more common sensical to the average joe.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:Higher science and mathematics are usually reserved for the older and wiser, while Sunday School is for the children.

A child can grow up in Sunday school, and grow up to become a successful theistic scientist. The two are not incompatible.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:I think that the uncomfortable reality of "I don't know" is responsible for a lot of religion and god worship, maybe even a few arguments for god.

I think that the uncomfortable reality of “If God exists, I may be responsible and held accountable for some of my actions” is responsible for a lot of unbelief and naturalism, and maybe even a few arguments for atheism.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:For example, not knowing how god supposedly created from nothing is enough for me to admit that I don't find it conceivable.

And for me, not knowing how inanimate matter can suddenly or gradually “come to life” and also begin to talk, think, see, and have sex…that is enough for me to admit that I don’t find it conceivable.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:On the other hand, you can apparently conceive of it even though you don't know how it happened, or even how it could happen.

No one has all of the answers. From my personal perspective, even if I wasn’t a Christian theist, I would be at the very least a deist….and based on the arguments that I present, I am boldly saying that naturalism/atheism is illogical, it defies human logic and reasoning…and I can demonstrate how and why..and as long as I can do this, I am rational in my belief in theism, even if I don’t necessarily have the answer to all of the questions.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:This suggest to me that you do not really know, you just believe.

If you can’t scientifically prove that life can come from nonlife, yet you don’t believe in God, then you don’t really know that life came from nonlife…you just believe. Of course, atheists have traditionally accused theists of playing the “faith” game…when they are also playing the game. We both have faith in something.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:Maybe you have better arguments, I don't know.

Maybe you have better objections to the argument that I am presenting, I don’t know.

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:I just have a hard time understanding how someone can see such a large flaw in an argument and then accept it as sound

Maybe it is because I don’t see what you see?

’Dark Phoenix’ pid=’761637 dateline=’1428455818’ Wrote:, especially on the basis that they have no other acceptable explanations. Obviously I think you should take a closer look at your anti-Atheist arguments, and I hope to read some of them here. I am sure you can forgive me the arrogance, since you probably wish I would just shut up and praise Jesus already.
Oh, but I am arrogant, too.
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11-04-2015, 02:13 AM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
Okay, more digestion time required. Sit tight for a bit.

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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13-04-2015, 03:33 PM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
Sorry, accident. lol

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
Find all posts by this user
16-04-2015, 12:40 AM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
I apologize for the sheer length of my posts. I did not realize I would ever have so much to say, or that it would take me so long to formulate a response. You have given me some things to ponder that I have never previously considered at all.

The Burden of Proof

I noticed a pattern in your response that I think we should discuss. When I mentioned some of my reasons for rejecting the supernatural, you began attacking alternative explanations to demonstrate how absurd you find them. For example, you mentioned more than once how you simply cannot take any mindless or blind process seriously when it comes to explaining nature. When I mentioned that all supernatural explanations cannot be proven, or disproven, you immediately said "In that case, there is no proof nature did it either."

I bring this up, because I do not think that rejecting an explanation necessarily means you must adopt one of its rivals. For example, one could reject the notion of a Multiverse, and also reject God. I understand that it is natural to view any argument as having two sides, each one striving to convince the other with opposing theories, each one believing they have the correct explanation.

However, this argument is something completely different. I do not argue an opposing view. I think I have been clear from the start that my rejection of Theism is entirely due to what I do not know, not any opposing theories. My argument is that Theism and Deism are not substantiated by evidence and valid reasoning, and that they should be replaced with the admission that "We don't know".

So, when you tell me that you find Naturalism/Atheism absurd, or you ask me to "prove" them, I have more than just one objection. First, Atheists are not automatically Naturalists. I know people who don't believe in god, and don't have a religion, who believe in all kinds of supernatural things, such as ghosts and/ spirits. Second, of course Agnostic Atheism doesn't have arguments! In order to prove it correct as a world view, you have to disprove Theism. I understand it can be confusing because "Atheism" has more than one definition. However, I only ever use it as a description of the ideas I reject, not as a label for what I positively believe. Thus "Agnostic" Atheism. There are certainly those who will tell you they can disprove all god concepts, but I am not one of them.

It is not my position to assume that nature will always fit into the gaps of our current knowledge. There is always the possibility that the supernatural is legitimate, and I am open to it, so long as it can be verified. Thus, I hold everything to the same standard of evidence. It is not "plugging nature into the gaps" to admit that I have practically zero confidence going forward that supernaturalism will be vindicated. It is simply an expression of probabilities. We humans have done an awful lot of science and as yet, there has been nothing to prove the supernatural. In fact, a great many things once explained by the supernatural, have been proven to be governed by natural processes. For example, The Germ Theory of Disease has replaced demonic possession/influence as the primary explanation for human sickness.

I operate on the notion that most probably, all things that are possible to know and explain, will turn out to be natural. Yet, I am always open to anything for which there is evidence, even the supernatural. You make it sound as though operating on this probability is somehow unfair, or that I wouldn't admit of positive proof, even if I found it. This is just not the case. I would admit it, and believe. In the meantime, I cannot deny the wisdom of the past, and thus, what is most likely to be true of the future.

So, when you demand that I explain things like consciousness, how life came about in the first place, etc, I know you will be disappointed with my response. Of course, I don't know. You should not need me to have explanations for everything such that I completely disprove god, in order for you to determine whether or not the god hypothesis is flawed. It is not fair to demand that I prove a negative. Instead, I plan to read every word of your evidence to prove a positive, that god exists, and your religion is true.

If ultimately I don't buy your reasoning or "evidence", I will do my best to tell you exactly why, and we can discuss it further. I am not here to convince you of alternative hypotheses, but to challenge you to prove your point of view beyond all doubts. All of my experience tells me you have an impossible task at hand. However, I can still entertain the notion that I might be wrong.

Morality and Responsibility

Quote:I think that the uncomfortable reality of “If God exists, I may be responsible and held accountable for some of my actions” is responsible for a lot of unbelief and naturalism, and maybe even a few arguments for atheism.

I think it's important to discuss this one too. I have considered this line of reasoning before, and don't think it's true. For one thing, it isn't relevant to our discussion of the Kalam, because the Kalam doesn't even try to prove that it's "god" has any interest in human affairs whatsoever. Mostly though, it is just an insult. It is essentially a statement that all unbelievers are motivated by a desire to be immoral and/or irresponsible, and that their arguments from supposed reason and/or evidence are nothing more than dishonest smokescreens. Ouch much?

Clearly, we need to have a discussion about the importance of morality, because honesty and responsibility are enormously important to my life.

I don't know if you took it that way, but when I say that not having provable answers to important questions probably motivates belief in god, I don't mean to claim believers don't have any legitimate reasons to believe. I still think the reasons should sink or swim on their own merits, and I wouldn't feel good about myself if I were to dismiss everything they say as being nothing more than an emotional response to their own ignorance.

What I was trying to say is that perfectly smart, decent, people can be motivated to maintain a currently held belief, even when confronted with significant reasons to abandon it, because having no explanation is deeply unsatisfying for our emotional needs as humans. For example, consider the example of Germ Theory I gave earlier. You will notice that the common explanation for sickness wasn't "We don't know why people get sick." It was "invisible beings we don't understand did it.". We invoked an unprovable, untestable, unfalsifiable, supernatural explanation right up until we obtained a legitimate scientific answer.

I meant to apply this point to the Kalam, to point out that invoking supernatural agents as an explanation for unknown Cosmology is exactly what best satisfies the human need for cognitive closure and our tendency towards primacy. When I say that Sunday school is for children, I only mean to point out that God is usually the first explanation for the unknown for everybody, and thus is almost certainly applied to gaps in our knowledge first. I was not, and am not, trying to claim that this makes believers childish or without scientific potential. Ultimately I think these things are factors of belief, not the primary cause.

All of that said, let's delve back into the argument.

Compositional Errors

As I mentioned before, I think the first premise of the Kalam is attempting to export and extrapolate natural human common sense to scales at which such things are known to be wildly untrustworthy and inaccurate.

Consider the following example. Imagine a flock of sheep. It would be perfectly reasonable to say that "every sheep in the flock has a mother." However, if you said "Therefore, the flock also has a mother" you would be incorrect. This is an example of an error in composition. Each member of the flock is part of an alike set, yet the flock itself has entirely different properties and is part of a completely different set. Therefore, it is incorrect to apply rules to the flock as a whole, which are only known to apply to the individual sheep.

Of course, there is a rather short distance in scale from a sheep to its flock, yet the experiences of the sheep of motherhood are not adequate to describe just one level up in scale. On the other hand, imagine the experiences of a human being and all he/she has or could ever learn, and transport that knowledge to a scale including all space, time, energy, and matter. Just how likely do you think it is that the common sense of humanity will succeed in describing how things work on this scale?

On the contrary, we rely on science to understand the very small, and the very large exactly because they are outside of our natural experience. Consider the following example:

(P1) An object that is pushed moves faster.

(P2) My shoe is an object.

(Con) If my shoe is traveling at the speed of light, and it is pushed, it will travel faster than the speed of light.


Notice how superficially reasonable the first premise is. In my experience, and in the experience of every single person who has ever lived, pushing an object has made it move faster. You can find the formula in any physics textbook. To argue otherwise would seem absurd to anyone and everyone who has ever moved an object.

The second premise is as dull as it is true. Of course a shoe is an example of an object.

So, if the premises are true, the conclusion should follow logically and inescapably, right? Take that Einstein! I disproved Relativity!

My point is this: Science is necessary to explain why objects cannot move faster than light. Once you get objects moving at speeds human beings have never seen before, it makes perfect sense that their experiences at lower speeds would not apply. Speeds like that are a unique situation, with unique rules, and no legitimate comparison.

Apply the same standard of evidence to the first premise of the Kalam, and I think you will see it is fallacious and not necessarily true. The universe as a whole is clearly not of the same set as the parts of which it is made. There is no opposing thing as large as a universe which we have observed to begin to exist, therefore the universe is likely a unique situation, with unique rules.

Before you complain that our universe is known to have had a cause, take the time to finish reading my points. I think I can show why that is not the case.

In conclusion, without the science to describe how huge things like "Universes" behave, we can't reasonable say we know they always have a cause. Therefore, I am justified in rejecting the first premise altogether.

A Closer Look at The BVG Theorem: Why Cosmological Inflation Does Not Support the Kalam

I appreciate your willingness to send me videos. I am definitely interested in anything you want to send my way. However, I am already somewhat familiar with what Alan Guth and Alexander Vilenkin have been saying about their inflation Theorem, as well as Inflation models in general.

As a side note, when I say "Universe" in this post, I am adopting the broad definition of all of Space, Time, Matter, and Energy. In order to help clear up some confusion, I am not referring to any unproven causation theories in any of my following comments.

The following is a visual text model showing what the Kalam claims about our universe. Items go from left to right in chronological order. Criticism is welcome if you do not feel I have accurately represented the argument.

WHEN THE UNIVERSE BEGAN TO EXIST => A FINITE CHAIN OF EVENTS IN TIME => THE UNIVERSE AS WE KNOW IT

The BVG Theorem entitled "Inflationary Spacetimes Are Incomplete in Past Directions" is all about a somewhat recent scientific theory known as Inflation. As you have argued, the BGV Theorem proves that if a universe is inflating, it cannot have done so infinitely in the past, therefore the state of inflation had a beginning. We know that our universe is even now, expanding, and has always done so. Therefore, it would seem we can conclude that all of space, time, energy, and matter had a finite beginning.

I admit, this has great appeal. When I first abandoned Theism, the Kalam gave me serious pause to consider Deism because of its appeal to the simple logic of a finite past.

Let me walk you through why I wasn't persuaded for long. A closer look at what the BVG theorem actually says, and what people like Guth actually say about, convinced me that apologists were citing a theorem they either didn't understand, or hadn't realized wasn't supporting their argument.

Here is the actual BGV Theorem's abstract.

"Here we offer a Kinematical argument, requiring no energy condition, that a cosmological model which is inflating, or just expanding sufficiently fast, must be incomplete in null and timelike past directions. Specifically we obtain a bound on the integral of the Hubble parameter over a past directed timelike or null geodesic. Thus inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of space time. "

http://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.....90.151301

Here is another direct quote from later in the paper.

"Whatever the possibilities for the boundary, it is clear that unless the averaged expansion condition can somehow be avoided for all past-directed geodesics, inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary."

The Theorem itself immediately begs the question, if Inflation is the expansion of the universe, and it proves a finite beginning to existence, what "past boundary of the inflating region of space time" could there be?

What other "regions" of spacetime can there be outside of the explanation for all space, time, energy, and matter? There can be none. That's why the Kalam's god supposedly creates from nothing. All of STEM was not yet available out of which to create.

Yet, the scientists clearly state their recognition of a "past boundary" or existence before inflation that inflation itself does not explain. Their answer to the question, "What is before inflation?" is as of now "We don't know yet. We need new physics." Why do we "need new physics" in order to describe what inflation supposedly already explains?

When I first attempted to read the Theorem I realized almost right away that "Inflation" was not as I originally thought, just a synonym for "expansion". If defined like that, the above references in the theorem makes little to no sense. Like anybody who isn't a professional scientist, there is only so much I can do with the Theorem itself. So, I found this video where Alan Guth explains inflation at some sort of scientific conference. Feel free to take a look if you want. You don't need it to digest my points though, since I will be quoting it exactly anyway.





What Is Inflation?

"The idea is that modern particle physics actually predicts that at very high energies we expect forms of matter that literally turn gravity on its head and cause gravity to become repulsive, or create a genuine gravitational repulsion. Inflation is the proposal that at least a small patch of this repulsionary material existed in the very early universe.There are various theories on how that could have come about, but they are still very speculative. "

"This repulsive gravity material predicted by particle physics, is itself unstable. Unstable in the same sense that radioactive elements are unstable, so it decays much like a radioactive material. When it does it produces products of that decay...which form a hot dense soup of particles which we often call "the primordial soup".

"This primordial soup that I mentioned, this byproduct of the decay of repulsive gravity material ends up having exactly the properties that had been assumed for the conventional Big Bang Theory. So one of the beauties of the Inflationary Theory is that it does not require anyone to give up anything about what was previous thought about Cosmology. Inflation just very naturally sets up what had been previously assumed as the initial conditions for the conventional Big Bang Theory."

In other words, inflation is the successful attempt to explain how the conditions for The Big Bang came about, not whether anything preceded those conditions.

As is often the case with scientists, Guth doesn't even try to avoid terminology that easily confuses non-scientists, or just anyone who doesn't have an in-depth grasp of Cosmology. He, and many others, refer to The Big Bang Theory using language that is easily misconstrued, such as "The beginning of our universe". This is why Christian apologists are so easily duped into thinking the Theorem supports their Kalam. The scientists are using terms such as "origins" to describe the primordial soup, not the whole of existence. There isn't any part of the discussion of the BGV Theorem in which these scientists do not admit their ignorance of how everything began, and any supposed cause.

"but we really don't know what happened before what we normally call time zero. There is a lot of uncertainty there and there is certainly room for the possibility of a very significant prehistory. There are theoretical discussions of such things, and they might also be correct."

According to the Theorem itself, Inflation cannot occur without at least "a small patch" of repulsionary material which already existed in the early universe. It does not remotely prove anything about the origins of that "early universe", let alone the origins of the "small patch" itself. This is why he cites the existence of various "speculative theories" attempting to explain these things.

Not only does Inflation not account for origins, it does not account for our current accelerating expansion either. In fact, it only even refers to a short term, extremely rapid expansion, that took place between an unknown prehistory and the known expansion of The Big Bang. If I were to re-construct our visual text model from earlier to describe what is actually known of our early universe, with the results of the BVG Theorem included, it would look like this.

UNKNOWN? => INFLATION => THE BIG BANG THEORY => THE UNIVERSE AS WE KNOW IT

In summary, you simply cannot cite the BGV Theorem as proof that the universe "began to exist" It is just not true. Within the Theorem itself are the direct citations of necessary pre-conditions and pre-existence. Once Inflation is properly defined and understood, the supposed "Problem of Infinity" doesn't even actually exist. Inflation does not explain or describe the beginning of time itself, thus no timeless entity need be invoked. The "beginning" of our universe was not the coming into existence of all STEM, therefore there is no problem of infinity. The universe as we know it can come to be out of materials, by known processes, without violating the impossibility of an infinite past inflation.

The Big Bang Theory was once likewise bastardized into supposedly proving the beginning of everything from the first time it was proposed. None of these theories prove the universe began to exist, but it hasn't stopped apologists from claiming that they do. I mentioned before that I remain agnostic when it comes to causes of the universe, because we do not yet have a base of cosmological knowledge from which to justify any answer. The one scientific theory apologists claim should draw me out of agnosticism turns out not to support their arguments after all. All of this information leads me to say of all possible causes, there is no evidence for ANY of them. Therefore, I am justified in rejecting the Kalam's second premise.

As both premises are incorrect, the conclusion is likewise incorrect. The Universe may very well be without a cause. However, I will settle for "I don't know" until the scientist give me an update.

As a final point, consider the following syllogism.

(P1) Everything that has sentience, has a cause.

(P2) The Christian God is defined as sentient.

(Con) Therefore, the Christian God has a cause.


Even if nothing else I have said is something you would consider a valid refutation, I am interested to see what you make of this. I submit that if it cannot be refuted, the Kalam is therefore invalid on that basis alone.

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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23-04-2015, 09:43 PM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I apologize for the sheer length of my posts. I did not realize I would ever have so much to say, or that it would take me so long to formulate a response. You have given me some things to ponder that I have never previously considered at all.

Thumbsup

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I noticed a pattern in your response that I think we should discuss. When I mentioned some of my reasons for rejecting the supernatural, you began attacking alternative explanations to demonstrate how absurd you find them. For example, you mentioned more than once how you simply cannot take any mindless or blind process seriously when it comes to explaining nature. When I mentioned that all supernatural explanations cannot be proven, or disproven, you immediately said "In that case, there is no proof nature did it either."

I bring this up, because I do not think that rejecting an explanation necessarily means you must adopt one of its rivals. For example, one could reject the notion of a Multiverse, and also reject God. I understand that it is natural to view any argument as having two sides, each one striving to convince the other with opposing theories, each one believing they have the correct explanation.

Good point. The reason I do this is because of the law of excluded middle, which states that if there are only two options (in this case), then to negate one is to grant the other. There is no middle ground here; either God did it, or nature did it. If you wish to rule out God, then nature wins by default, and vice versa.

Now, if you notice, most atheists typically adopt a naturalistic worldview, and that is because once you negate the supernatural, then naturalism is the only game left in town, and with naturalism comes an entire set of problems that most unbelievers don't deal with unless they are pressed to do so.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  However, this argument is something completely different. I do not argue an opposing view. I think I have been clear from the start that my rejection of Theism is entirely due to what I do not know, not any opposing theories. My argument is that Theism and Deism are not substantiated by evidence and valid reasoning, and that they should be replaced with the admission that "We don't know".

Fine, but as I said before, the same thing can be said for the atheistic worldview..."We don't know"..but then again, that would be more of a lean towards agnosticism, don't you think?

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  So, when you tell me that you find Naturalism/Atheism absurd, or you ask me to "prove" them, I have more than just one objection. First, Atheists are not automatically Naturalists. I know people who don't believe in god, and don't have a religion, who believe in all kinds of supernatural things, such as ghosts and/ spirits.

True, all cases are not created equal. But then again, a person that doesn't believe in God, yet believes in other supernatural things...that would be an example of believing in ONE less supernatural entity, right?

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Second, of course Agnostic Atheism doesn't have arguments! In order to prove it correct as a world view, you have to disprove Theism. I understand it can be confusing because "Atheism" has more than one definition. However, I only ever use it as a description of the ideas I reject, not as a label for what I positively believe. Thus "Agnostic" Atheism. There are certainly those who will tell you they can disprove all god concepts, but I am not one of them.

Fair enough Yes

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  It is not my position to assume that nature will always fit into the gaps of our current knowledge. There is always the possibility that the supernatural is legitimate, and I am open to it, so long as it can be verified. Thus, I hold everything to the same standard of evidence.

Thumbsup

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  It is not "plugging nature into the gaps" to admit that I have practically zero confidence going forward that supernaturalism will be vindicated.

It is also not "god of the gaps" to conclude that the God hypothesis is the best explanation considering the facts of the matter.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  It is simply an expression of probabilities. We humans have done an awful lot of science and as yet, there has been nothing to prove the supernatural.

There hasn't been anything to disprove the supernatural, either.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  In fact, a great many things once explained by the supernatural, have been proven to be governed by natural processes.

Of course, you can use science to find out how the natural process works. But you can't use science to find out where did the natural world come from in the first place. Notice, all of my arguments stem from questions regarding origins (origins of life, universe, consciousness, objective morality, language)...and these things just can't be explained using the scientific method.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I operate on the notion that most probably, all things that are possible to know and explain, will turn out to be natural. Yet, I am always open to anything for which there is evidence, even the supernatural. You make it sound as though operating on this probability is somehow unfair, or that I wouldn't admit of positive proof, even if I found it. This is just not the case. I would admit it, and believe. In the meantime, I cannot deny the wisdom of the past, and thus, what is most likely to be true of the future.

That is fair..that is why I want to cut right to the chase regarding SPECIFIC evidences for the kalam, and how ever method that we use for knowledge, whether it is mathematics, science, or philosophy, we can come to the same conclusion, which is that God exists.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  So, when you demand that I explain things like consciousness, how life came about in the first place, etc, I know you will be disappointed with my response. Of course, I don't know. You should not need me to have explanations for everything such that I completely disprove god, in order for you to determine whether or not the god hypothesis is flawed. It is not fair to demand that I prove a negative.

"You can't prove a negative" is a common quip used by atheists. What does that even mean? Does that mean you can't prove the nonexistence of something?

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  If ultimately I don't buy your reasoning or "evidence", I will do my best to tell you exactly why, and we can discuss it further. I am not here to convince you of alternative hypotheses, but to challenge you to prove your point of view beyond all doubts. All of my experience tells me you have an impossible task at hand. However, I can still entertain the notion that I might be wrong.

I still need a response regarding the argument against infinity...once you do that, then you can call my task impossible all you'd like.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I think it's important to discuss this one too. I have considered this line of reasoning before, and don't think it's true. For one thing, it isn't relevant to our discussion of the Kalam, because the Kalam doesn't even try to prove that it's "god" has any interest in human affairs whatsoever. Mostly though, it is just an insult. It is essentially a statement that all unbelievers are motivated by a desire to be immoral and/or irresponsible, and that their arguments from supposed reason and/or evidence are nothing more than dishonest smokescreens. Ouch much? [

Wait a minute, that was my response to what you said, when you said ----> "I think that the uncomfortable reality of "I don't know" is responsible for a lot of religion and god worship, maybe even a few arguments for god.”

You gave me your opinion on why you think there is a lot of God worship, and I gave you my opinion why I think there is a lack of God worship...so what is the problem?

Now, of course, you feel as if my assessment in this regard is wrong, and I feel as if your assessment about theists and God worship is wrong. Again, all cases aren't equal, but personally speaking, I don't base my belief in God because of what I don't know, I base it upon what I DO know.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Clearly, we need to have a discussion about the importance of morality, because honesty and responsibility are enormously important to my life.

We can add that to the long and growing list Laugh out load

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I don't know if you took it that way, but when I say that not having provable answers to important questions probably motivates belief in god, I don't mean to claim believers don't have any legitimate reasons to believe.

Well, if they have legitimate reasons to believe, what is the problem? Shouldn't "legitimate reasons to believe be a good thing"?

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  What I was trying to say is that perfectly smart, decent, people can be motivated to maintain a currently held belief, even when confronted with significant reasons to abandon it, because having no explanation is deeply unsatisfying for our emotional needs as humans. For example, consider the example of Germ Theory I gave earlier. You will notice that the common explanation for sickness wasn't "We don't know why people get sick." It was "invisible beings we don't understand did it.". We invoked an unprovable, untestable, unfalsifiable, supernatural explanation right up until we obtained a legitimate scientific answer.

First, just because you've found a naturalistic reason for a phenomenon doesn't rule out the supernatural. Second, even for arguments sake, just because believers were wrong about some things doesn't mean that they are wrong about other things. Third, for example, it can be naturally explained why a person gets a boil on their skin...yet, from the Judeo-Christian perspective, God used boils as one of the plagues in Egypt..so in other words, just because you can explain naturally how an event occurs, that STILL doesn't rule out God...you can't logically say "Oh, we've found out how lightning work, so that proves God doesn't cause it."

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  As I mentioned before, I think the first premise of the Kalam is attempting to export and extrapolate natural human common sense to scales at which such things are known to be wildly untrustworthy and inaccurate.

Consider the following example. Imagine a flock of sheep. It would be perfectly reasonable to say that "every sheep in the flock has a mother." However, if you said "Therefore, the flock also has a mother" you would be incorrect. This is an example of an error in composition. Each member of the flock is part of an alike set, yet the flock itself has entirely different properties and is part of a completely different set. Therefore, it is incorrect to apply rules to the flock as a whole, which are only known to apply to the individual sheep.

Of course, there is a rather short distance in scale from a sheep to its flock, yet the experiences of the sheep of motherhood are not adequate to describe just one level up in scale. On the other hand, imagine the experiences of a human being and all he/she has or could ever learn, and transport that knowledge to a scale including all space, time, energy, and matter. Just how likely do you think it is that the common sense of humanity will succeed in describing how things work on this scale?

Excellent example, but I fail to see what this has to do with premise 1. You've failed to do a compare & contrast, which leaves me shaking my head.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Apply the same standard of evidence to the first premise of the Kalam

Oh, here it is Laugh out load I did see your part about the shoe....man, you sure as hell know how to make a short story long Laugh out load

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  , and I think you will see it is fallacious and not necessarily true. The universe as a whole is clearly not of the same set as the parts of which it is made. There is no opposing thing as large as a universe which we have observed to begin to exist, therefore the universe is likely a unique situation, with unique rules.

The arguments against infinity proves that no event WITHIN the universe could come to past if the past is eternal, which means that nothing WITHIN the universe could be the "source" of the causal chain, so the universe as a WHOLE had to be the product of the same cause that the entire causal chain was a product of. Inescapable.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Before you complain that our universe is known to have had a cause, take the time to finish reading my points. I think I can show why that is not the case.

Ok.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  In conclusion, without the science to describe how huge things like "Universes" behave, we can't reasonable say we know they always have a cause.

Hhahahaha..is that the best you've got? First off, I don't know about other universes, I can only speak for this one...and again, we can conclude that the universe had a cause based on the evidence regarding..

1. The problem with infinity (mathematical and philosophical evidence)
2. BGV theorem (empirical evidence)
3. Entropy (empirical evidence)

So we have evidence from all aspects of knowledge....mathematics, science, and philosophy. What I'd like is for you address the evidences.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Therefore, I am justified in rejecting the first premise altogether.

Think so?

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:   A Closer Look at The BVG Theorem: Why Cosmological Inflation Does Not Support the Kalam

I appreciate your willingness to send me videos. I am definitely interested in anything you want to send my way. However, I am already somewhat familiar with what Alan Guth and Alexander Vilenkin have been saying about their inflation Theorem, as well as Inflation models in general.

Then, of course you'd know that both gentlemen have already been on record saying that the universe began to exist, on both paper and video. Guth even confirmed this in the video that you posted as well.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  As a side note, when I say "Universe" in this post, I am adopting the broad definition of all of Space, Time, Matter, and Energy. In order to help clear up some confusion, I am not referring to any unproven causation theories in any of my following comments.

Ok

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The following is a visual text model showing what the Kalam claims about our universe. Items go from left to right in chronological order. Criticism is welcome if you do not feel I have accurately represented the argument.

WHEN THE UNIVERSE BEGAN TO EXIST => A FINITE CHAIN OF EVENTS IN TIME => THE UNIVERSE AS WE KNOW IT

Beautiful.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The BVG Theorem entitled "Inflationary Spacetimes Are Incomplete in Past Directions" is all about a somewhat recent scientific theory known as Inflation. As you have argued, the BGV Theorem proves that if a universe is inflating, it cannot have done so infinitely in the past, therefore the state of inflation had a beginning. We know that our universe is even now, expanding, and has always done so. Therefore, it would seem we can conclude that all of space, time, energy, and matter had a finite beginning.

I admit, this has great appeal. When I first abandoned Theism, the Kalam gave me serious pause to consider Deism because of its appeal to the simple logic of a finite past.

Theism will welcome you back. Particularly, the Christian version.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Let me walk you through why I wasn't persuaded for long. A closer look at what the BVG theorem actually says, and what people like Guth actually say about, convinced me that apologists were citing a theorem they either didn't understand, or hadn't realized wasn't supporting their argument.

Really?

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Here is the actual BGV Theorem's abstract.

"Here we offer a Kinematical argument, requiring no energy condition, that a cosmological model which is inflating, or just expanding sufficiently fast, must be incomplete in null and timelike past directions. Specifically we obtain a bound on the integral of the Hubble parameter over a past directed timelike or null geodesic. Thus inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of space time. "

http://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.....90.151301

Here is another direct quote from later in the paper.

"Whatever the possibilities for the boundary, it is clear that unless the averaged expansion condition can somehow be avoided for all past-directed geodesics, inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary."

The Theorem itself immediately begs the question, if Inflation is the expansion of the universe, and it proves a finite beginning to existence, what "past boundary of the inflating region of space time" could there be?

That is easy...a supernatural boundary...a boundary from which the buck stops (God).

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  What other "regions" of spacetime can there be outside of the explanation for all space, time, energy, and matter? There can be none. That's why the Kalam's god supposedly creates from nothing. All of STEM was not yet available out of which to create.

No problems there.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Yet, the scientists clearly state their recognition of a "past boundary" or existence before inflation that inflation itself does not explain. Their answer to the question, "What is before inflation?" is as of now "We don't know yet. We need new physics." Why do we "need new physics" in order to describe what inflation supposedly already explains?

In the video that you proposed, Guth himself stated that it doesn't answer the question of where did the matter come from. The point is ultimately clear, the universe began to exist, and there is currently no empirical data that can answer the question of where did the "stuff" come from, but we know that it is finite and it came from somewhere. So yeah, from a scientific perspective, we don't know.

The problem with that is, any naturalistic hypothesis that one can give will only lead you right back to infinite regression, which again, is logically absurd. It can't happen. An ultimate First Cause is needed.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  When I first attempted to read the Theorem I realized almost right away that "Inflation" was not as I originally thought, just a synonym for "expansion". If defined like that, the above references in the theorem makes little to no sense. Like anybody who isn't a professional scientist, there is only so much I can do with the Theorem itself. So, I found this video where Alan Guth explains inflation at some sort of scientific conference. Feel free to take a look if you want. You don't need it to digest my points though, since I will be quoting it exactly anyway.


What Is Inflation?

"The idea is that modern particle physics actually predicts that at very high energies we expect forms of matter that literally turn gravity on its head and cause gravity to become repulsive, or create a genuine gravitational repulsion. Inflation is the proposal that at least a small patch of this repulsionary material existed in the very early universe.There are various theories on how that could have come about, but they are still very speculative. "

"This repulsive gravity material predicted by particle physics, is itself unstable. Unstable in the same sense that radioactive elements are unstable, so it decays much like a radioactive material. When it does it produces products of that decay...which form a hot dense soup of particles which we often call "the primordial soup".

"This primordial soup that I mentioned, this byproduct of the decay of repulsive gravity material ends up having exactly the properties that had been assumed for the conventional Big Bang Theory. So one of the beauties of the Inflationary Theory is that it does not require anyone to give up anything about what was previous thought about Cosmology. Inflation just very naturally sets up what had been previously assumed as the initial conditions for the conventional Big Bang Theory."

In other words, inflation is the successful attempt to explain how the conditions for The Big Bang came about, not whether anything preceded those conditions.

As is often the case with scientists, Guth doesn't even try to avoid terminology that easily confuses non-scientists, or just anyone who doesn't have an in-depth grasp of Cosmology. He, and many others, refer to The Big Bang Theory using language that is easily misconstrued, such as "The beginning of our universe". This is why Christian apologists are so easily duped into thinking the Theorem supports their Kalam. The scientists are using terms such as "origins" to describe the primordial soup, not the whole of existence. There isn't any part of the discussion of the BGV Theorem in which these scientists do not admit their ignorance of how everything began, and any supposed cause.

"but we really don't know what happened before what we normally call time zero. There is a lot of uncertainty there and there is certainly room for the possibility of a very significant prehistory. There are theoretical discussions of such things, and they might also be correct."

According to the Theorem itself, Inflation cannot occur without at least "a small patch" of repulsionary material which already existed in the early universe. It does not remotely prove anything about the origins of that "early universe", let alone the origins of the "small patch" itself. This is why he cites the existence of various "speculative theories" attempting to explain these things.

Not only does Inflation not account for origins, it does not account for our current accelerating expansion either. In fact, it only even refers to a short term, extremely rapid expansion, that took place between an unknown prehistory and the known expansion of The Big Bang. If I were to re-construct our visual text model from earlier to describe what is actually known of our early universe, with the results of the BVG Theorem included, it would look like this.

UNKNOWN? => INFLATION => THE BIG BANG THEORY => THE UNIVERSE AS WE KNOW IT

In summary, you simply cannot cite the BGV Theorem as proof that the universe "began to exist" It is just not true. Within the Theorem itself are the direct citations of necessary pre-conditions and pre-existence. Once Inflation is properly defined and understood, the supposed "Problem of Infinity" doesn't even actually exist. Inflation does not explain or describe the beginning of time itself, thus no timeless entity need be invoked.

In the video you proposed, Guth is not talking about the theorem itself, he is talking about the inflation part of the theory, which is something kinda different. The theorem itself still stands to this day. Guth didn't even give a hint of implying that the universe is infinite.

Here is a short and simple video of Alexander Vilenkin giving a lecture on the theorem.



(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The "beginning" of our universe was not the coming into existence of all STEM, therefore there is no problem of infinity. The universe as we know it can come to be out of materials, by known processes, without violating the impossibility of an infinite past inflation.

You, my friend, are grasping at straws here. Either our universe had a beginning, or it didn't have a beginning. I am not sure what "the universe as we know it can come to be out of materials"...I am not even sure what that means. Space isn't made up of materials...how can space be made up out of preexisting materials??

As I said before, all of STEM had to come into being in the same instance (unless you can refute the point)...you can't have one without the others, and you certainly cannot have an infinite chain of cause/effect relations

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The Big Bang Theory was once likewise bastardized into supposedly proving the beginning of everything from the first time it was proposed. None of these theories prove the universe began to exist, but it hasn't stopped apologists from claiming that they do.

Laugh out load Um, DP..there was a shit ton of cosmological models that naturalists were steaming up after the big bang theory is proposed...why is that? Because they know what the implications are if all STEM began to exist, that is why. They are so desperate to come up with naturalistic alternatives that Lawrence Krauss was even bold enough to come up with "A Universe from Nothing" approach.

The big bang theory actually has a HISTORY of scientific verifications confirming it...it started with mathematical equations that pointed to a beginning (Einstein & Lemaitre) , and then this beginning was confirmed by OBSERVATIONS (Hubble), and then from there, there has been verification after verification regarding the theory...which is why the BBT has the most empirical evidence supporting it, and also why there have been so many attempts by naturalists to come up with pre-big bang scenarios to negate this beginning.

It is disingenuous, man, to act as if the scientific evidence isn't pointing towards a finite universe. That is just denying scientific history.

And it is also worth mentioning again that premise 2 of the argument is a religiously NEUTRAL statement...saying "the universe began to exist" doesn't have anything to do with religion, that is just a factual statement made due to good scientific evidence. Why would anyone deny this? Because they know the implications, of course.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I mentioned before that I remain agnostic when it comes to causes of the universe , because we do not yet have a base of cosmological knowledge from which to justify any answer.

Then you are denying and/or rejecting mathematical/observational evidence that says otherwise. I gave you a video from Alexander Vilenkin (who is no theist, btw), which explains the BGV theorem. I can give you any amount of links from atheists/agnostic scientists who have proposed models which negate a beginning, and I can also give you philosophical arguments which state that a First Cause is necessary, plus a couple of more arguments from science (second law of thermodynamics & entropy).

The knowledge is there, it is the acceptance that is the difficult part.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The one scientific theory apologists claim should draw me out of agnosticism turns out not to support their arguments after all.

You haven't demonstrated this, certainly not from the Alan Guth video.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  All of this information leads me to say of all possible causes, there is no evidence for ANY of them. Therefore, I am justified in rejecting the Kalam's second premise.

Of course, you can systematically reject ANYTHING, but that doesn't mean that you've refuted anything. You asked for evidence, and I gave you evidence, and more.

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  As both premises are incorrect, the conclusion is likewise incorrect. The Universe may very well be without a cause.

Then time is infinite and the past is eternal. Fortunately, it can be proven that time is finite and the past isn't eternal, and I've yet to see one attempted refutation of the infinity problem (regarding infinite regress).

(16-04-2015 12:40 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  However, I will settle for "I don't know" until the scientist give me an update.

It seems to me as if you don't know because you don't want to know. As long as you "don't know", that plays very well into the whole atheists/agnostic theme of the continual of unbelief.


As a final point, consider the following syllogism.

(P1) Everything that has sentience, has a cause.

(P2) The Christian God is defined as sentient.

(Con) Therefore, the Christian God has a cause.


Even if nothing else I have said is something you would consider a valid refutation, I am interested to see what you make of this. I submit that if it cannot be refuted, the Kalam is therefore invalid on that basis alone.

If it cannot be refuted? First I need sound and valid reasons that the premises are true, and that has to come from YOU Laugh out load
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29-04-2015, 07:11 PM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
I think you may have a formatting issue in your last post. I was able to make my way through it, but fixing it could aid any readers of our conversation.

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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02-05-2015, 05:04 AM
RE: Sending out a Call_of_the_Wild
Naturalism, Agnosticism, and Atheism

I feel that I have not been vague, rather that I have expressed my views clearly, that I do not advocate dogmatic Naturalism, nor do I feel that supernaturalism is adequately disproved. I am open to any phenomena provided only that it is verified.

When I say I am agnostic, it should tell you that I am without knowledge, on matters of the supernatural. When I say I am an Atheist, it should tell you that on the question of god(s), I do not believe.

There should be contained within these two labels absolutely no indication of dogmatic naturalism, any acceptance of a burden to disprove god(s) utterly, or proven explanations for all unknown phenomena. These expectations are excellent examples of unfair shifting of the burden of proof. There can be little struggle in maintaining any belief provided that changing that belief is predicated upon impossible and unreasonable conditions.

I know you understand the concept because you apply it correctly when examining my arguments, yet we are wasting time with an entirely different measuring stick when it comes to the supernatural. Apparently all that is necessary for you to justify belief in this special category is that it has not yet been utterly disproved. I say it should be enough for anyone to disbelieve because it has not yet been proven.

When you cannot know a thing to be true, the only possible default position is to not believe it. Likewise, the only possible default when a thing has been proven beyond all doubts is to accept the proof and believe it. So what argument do you intend to make? One moment you are admitting the supernatural is not yet proven, but that it doesn't matter because it hasn't been disproven either, and the next you are putting forward the Kalam as a proof.

The quip "you can't prove a negative" is a direct comment on how you are shifting the burden of proof unfairly onto whoever does not accept a claim. Proving a negative is simply proving that something is not so, rather than that it is so. It is possible to prove a negative. It is however, typically much more difficult. When you hinge your belief on whether or not god's non-existence can be proven, you are demanding the unbelievers prove the negation of god's existence.

In summary, if believers feel that they cannot, and will not, stop believing until such a time as unbelievers prove the non-existence of god, they have failed to understand the burden of proof and are operating at a terminus of unreason. They have created a perfect system for believing precisely what they want by making the task of shaking their belief unfairly immense, perhaps even impossible altogether.

"The Best Explanation"

We clearly differ on what criteria make an explanation superior. I do not consider a hypothesis to be superior simply because it can explain a greater quantity of things, unknown or otherwise. Rather, I take note of explanations with the fewest possible unknown factors, or superfluous assumptions. If in asserting a thing, another even more complex and mysterious thing is asserted, our understanding is counterproductively decreasing and the explanation is inferior. The more mysterious the new assertion is, the less we can predict with what we have learned.

In the case of the supernatural, it can "explain" everything and still tell us nothing of consequence. One can merely assert that the supernatural is the cause of everything, yet there is no new data with which to progress in our understanding. I could assert that the flying spaghetti monster is the cause and reason for everything, including the creation of god. Having explained one more thing than god, he now explains the most unknown things. I don't know about you, though I may suspect, but I much prefer the caliber of explanation provided by science to "The supernatural did it. Case closed." Invoke the supernatural, learn nothing, and know nothing of consequence.

The track record of those who advocate supernatural explanations is so poor I am convinced their methods of determining causes and effects are utterly unsound. It is not their fault as a matter of integrity. It is a matter of unsound methods and shoddy tools. If religion, spirituality, mysticism, meditation, prayer, and every other possible supernatural invocation is unable to explain something like disease in even one tenth the elegant detail of Science, I might take notice. Yet, that is a wild exaggeration of their merits at best.

After science has discovered material truth, made successful predictions, and opened up new frontiers of study and future knowledge, one can watch those who once advocated the supernatural pathetically re-interpreting their former "divine truths" to fit within the new understanding of science. I might take notice if one day religion discovered a truth so concrete that science had to change to accommodate it. That would be the day.

Cause and Effect, BVG, and Infinity

We have spent a lot of time and energy arguing whether all of space, time, energy, and matter began to exist out of literal nothingness. Yet, the biggest weakness of the Kalam is that it would fail even if that were all true, because it would not then follow that the universe would require a cause.

In order to establish that cause and effect occur normally on a scale so large as to include everything, we would need two things. Something also on that scale by which to compare and judge our universe, and the physics/mathematics necessary to operate on that scale without error.

The first is obviously impossible, since we are talking about everything. Of course there isn't going to be a second "everything" to compare.

We need higher physics and mathematics to describe incredibly fast speeds, incredibly small objects, and incredibly large objects within our universe. Good luck figuring out causation on a scale as large as the whole universe itself without something scientific or mathematical to back you up. The fact that in your everyday life, causes and effects have always functioned, is the philosophical and scientific equivalent of bringing a nail clipper to a tank fight.

When it comes to BVG, I can prove right here and now that 1) It does not at all prove all of space, time, energy, and matter began to exist, and 2) That the question of cosmic origins is still very much unanswered and opened to competing models.

Since you prefer Vilenkin to Guth, here we go.





It appears that the question of the origin of the universe does not have a satisfactory answer. Suppose I tell you what happened before inflation, then you could ask what happened before that.

Given this one statement, it seems to me that either Alexander Vilenkin is contradicting himself, or you are misrepresenting him and his theorem egregiously. In order for me to conclude the former, I would have to accept that he is smart enough to co-write the theorem, yet not smart enough to know what it proves. Take a shot in the dark at how likely I am to believe that.

He goes on to tout his particular competing model of origins that I mentioned before, Quantum Nucleation, or a universe springing from nothing due to quantum fluctuations. He goes out of his way to point out, and confirm, that even this model requires the prior existence of energy, specifically these quantum fluctuations.

By nothing I mean a state which has not only no matter, but also no space and no time.

Here is my shorter story.

There is no problem of infinity because 1) Only "inflating" or expanding universes are past incomplete. Even if you apply BVG to an expanding universe, rather than the "Inflation" Vilenkin mentions, there is still any possible amount of existence before expansion began that is not yet explained. There are no physics yet to describe it, thus it is a past "boundary" to our understanding.

2) Whatever may have existed pre-expansion is not subject to a linear timeline and is not past incomplete either. Quantum energy may have always existed, or even matter

Your personal inability to coherently contemplate this early universe is both unsurprising and irrelevant. It is a great cosmological wonder and a puzzle even to people like Vilenkin.

Every piece of every kind of evidence could all be pointing to a finite universe beginning in a finite point, and all that would prove is that the expansion began at that exact point. Even when a Cosmologist refers to this point as "The beginning of our universe" it still wouldn't describe the popping into existence of all STEM out of nothing.

Everything hinges on definitions. We are clearly not using or understanding some words and phrases in the same way. When Cosmologists say "The universe had a beginning" it does not mean what the Kalam is attempting to prove. They are speaking about the well established and understood theories of Inflation and The Big Bang, not the popping into existence of all STEM. You can quote mine a hundred different times Guth and Vilenkin have said the words "beginning of the universe" with ease and still not have any support for the Kalam. All Christian apologists are doing is showing they are not experts in Cosmology, and forcing unbelievers to become one in order to continue the conversation.

Sentience and Causation

Happy to oblige when it comes to supporting my little example syllogism, although I thought it was pretty much self explanatory. The point of a syllogism is to begin at a place of undeniable truth and proceed to a conclusion that is not yet known to be true.

Everything sentient you or I has ever known has been the result of a cause. None of them are eternal. You're telling me that isn't enough to establish the truth of something, that it always is true in your experience on a human scale? Yet, you say everything which exists must have had a cause. So, causation only applies to the universe when you say it does?

No brainer on number two, unless you plan to worship a mindless god.

The conclusion follows logically from the premises. If they are true, it must also be true.

I find it hard to believe you haven't seen the point by now, that arguing against this syllogism is only possible the same way you would argue against the Kalam. If you try to show that its premises are false, you are shedding harsh light on the same inadequacies in the premises of the Kalam. The cleverness isn't that it's true, but that it forces you to be consistent.

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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