The Fourteen Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

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John J. Bannan
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The Fourteen Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

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THE FOURTEEN COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENTS
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD

By John J. Bannan (5/24/2020)

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. God is the creator of the cosmos. The cosmological arguments prove the existence of God by demonstrating the necessity of a Creator for the cosmos. The cosmological arguments offer good reason through circumstantial evidence taken from the nature of the cosmos itself to believe in God. The following is a listing and explanation of all the known cosmological arguments for the existence of God:

I. THE DICHOTOMY OF EXISTENCE
(BY JOHN J. BANNAN)
The dichotomy of existence proves the existence of God by demonstrating the necessity of an uncaused Creator with the power to create any or all of the infinite potentials for physical reality to the fullest extent logically possible under everythingness. In terms of the uncaused, there are only two possibilities. The first is the uncaused reason for the existence of all physical reality. The second is the uncaused absence of any reality called absolute nothingness. These two are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive of all logical possibilities forming an abstract metaphysical dichotomy of existence. Because each side of the dichotomy is uncaused, there can be no cause for either of the two being real. Rather, one side is real and the other is not real without reason or necessity. Moreover, an uncaused thing does not have parts, because it would otherwise be caused by those parts. Because an uncaused thing does not have parts, an uncaused thing cannot be destroyed because destruction demands the disassociation of parts. As a result, the side of the dichotomy that is real can never be destroyed, and the other side that is not real can never become real.

Because physical reality can differ in the most minute way logically possible from another potential physical reality, there is no good reason to believe that the uncaused reason for the existence of all physical reality could not also create that potential physical reality. Because this uncaused reason can create this potential physical reality, then it can also create another potential physical reality differing from the former potential physical reality in the most minute way logically possible. Repeating this ad infinitum, this uncaused reason must be capable of creating any or all of the infinite logically possible physical realities called everythingness. Because potential physical realities can be created, there must be a reason for the existence of physical reality and the creation of any or all infinite potential physical realities. This reason must be uncaused, because the creation of any or all physical realities is contingent on this reason which leaves this reason without anything else to cause it.

Because the creation of less than everything that is logically possible is itself a logical possibility falling within everythingness, then this uncaused reason must necessarily be able to decide what to create out of the infinite possibilities for physical reality. This uncaused reason must have knowledge of all the infinite potentials for physical reality, the power to create any or all of these potentials, and a presence to control, sustain, alter or destroy any such creation. Moreover, this uncaused reason must have the greatest decision-making ability logically possible in order to be able to create up to the fullest extent of everythingness. We call this uncaused real side of the dichotomy of existence God.

II. THE FIRST CAUSE ARGUMENT
(BY ST. THOMAS AQUINAS)
The first cause argument proves the existence of God by demonstrating that all causes and effects in the cosmos must ultimately derive from a very first cause we call God. In the cosmos, we observe that for every cause, there is an effect. We also observe that every effect is itself a cause for a subsequent effect. Like a line of falling dominos, the first falling domino causes the fall of the second domino, and the second falling domino causes the fall of the third domino. The cosmos unfolds as a series of causes and effects over time.

Because an infinite regress in time of causes and effects is impossible, there must be a very first cause of the cosmic series of causes and effects. We observe that cause and effect in the cosmos follows an order where A causes B, and B causes C, whether the intermediate cause B is only a single cause or several causes. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there is no cause A, there will be no ultimate cause C, nor any intermediate cause B. But, if an infinite regress in time of causes and effects were possible, there would not be a first cause, and so neither would there be an ultimate cause, nor any intermediate cause. Therefore, the existence of the series of causes and effects over time in the cosmos necessitates a very first cause for the beginning of the series.

The very first cause in the beginning of the cosmic series of causes and effects over time must not itself be caused. If it were caused, then regress would continue backward in time infinitely, which is impossible. Moreover, the very first cause cannot be self-created. It is impossible for a thing to cause itself, because it would have to exist prior to itself. Therefore, the very first cause must itself be uncaused. We call this uncaused first cause God.

Because God is uncaused, God cannot be made of parts. A thing that is made of parts is caused by those parts. God being uncaused cannot Himself be caused by parts. We call this principle that God is not made of parts – divine simplicity. Divine simplicity is a mystery, because we cannot imagine a thing without parts. However, because we know a very first cause is necessary for the cosmos to be created, and we know that this very first cause cannot be made of parts, we know that divine simplicity is real. An ancient classical philosophical truth known as “ex nihilo nihil fit” states that nothing comes from nothing – or that you can’t get something from nothing. Because nothingness cannot create the cosmos, an uncaused very first cause of the cosmos is necessary to which we give the name God.

III. THE FIRST ORDER ARGUMENT
(BY JOHN J. BANNAN)
The first order argument proves the existence of God by demonstrating that the cosmos must have had an initial order created by an uncaused orderless cause we call God. We observe from the cosmos that everything has an order. This order is the relative position or arrangement of things in physical reality at any given moment in time. We observe that this order is caused by an antecedent order, and that this antecedent order is caused by an earlier antecedent order. Because an infinite regress in time of antecedent orders is impossible, there must be a very first order.

We observe that order in the cosmos follows a pattern where order A causes order B, and order B causes order C, whether the intermediate order B is only a single order or a series of consecutive orders. Now to take away order A is to take away order B. Therefore, if there is no order A, there will be no ultimate order C, nor any intermediate order B. But, if an infinite regress in time of consecutive orders were possible, there would not be a first order, and so neither would there be an ultimate order, nor any intermediate order. Therefore, the existence of the series of consecutive orders over time in the cosmos necessitates a very first order for the beginning of the series. This first order requires an orderless cause, because a first order cannot come from nothing. A cause without order is a cause without parts, and therefore must be uncaused because otherwise its parts would be its cause. Because all physical realities possess an order, this orderless cause cannot be any sort of physical reality. We call this uncaused orderless immaterial cause of first order God.

IV. THE BEGINNINGLESS TIME PARADOX
(BY JOHN J. BANNAN)
The beginningless time paradox proves the existence of God by demonstrating that the beginning of time itself must have an uncaused timeless cause we call God. If time in the cosmos had no beginning, then there would be an infinity of prior moments in time before the arrival of the present moment. An infinity of prior moments of time could never be fully traversed, because there would always be a prior moment in time that had not yet been traversed because infinity is unending. If all prior moments in time are not fully traversed, then paradoxically the present moment in time could never arrive. Because the present moment in time does arrive, then time in the cosmos must have had a beginning. Because time must have had a beginning, then time must have been caused to begin from something besides nothing because nothing cannot cause anything.

The cause of the beginning of time not having time for its own cause must therefore be uncaused. Moreover, the cause of time itself cannot be something subject to time, because the existence of anything subject to time is contingent on the existence of time. The beginning of time itself cannot have a physical explanation, because all physical explanations would be subject to time. Accordingly, there must be an uncaused immaterial explanation for the beginning of time itself we call God.

V. THE BEGINNINGLESS CAUSATION PARADOX
(BY JOHN J. BANNAN)
The beginningless causation paradox proves the existence of God by demonstrating that the beginning of causation itself must have an uncaused immaterial cause we call God. If causation in the cosmos had no beginning, then there would be an infinite regression of causation exhausting all possible causes. However, if causation were infinite, then causation could not become exhausted. Therefore, causation cannot be infinite, but must have had a beginning.

The cause of the beginning of causation not having a cause for its own beginning must therefore be uncaused. The beginning of causation itself cannot be a physical explanation, because all physical explanations would be caused. Accordingly, there must be an uncaused immaterial cause for the beginning of causation we call God.

VI. THE PRIME MOVER ARGUMENT
(BY ST. THOMAS AQUINAS)
The prime mover argument proves the existence of God by demonstrating that all motion in the cosmos must ultimately be derived from an unmoved mover we call God. We observe that in the cosmos some things are in motion. Now whatever is moved is moved by another. Things move when potential for motion becomes actual motion. Only an actual motion can convert a potential for motion into an actual motion. Nothing can be in both potentiality and actuality in the same respect simultaneously. If both actual and potential, it is actual in one respect and potential in another respect. Therefore, nothing can move itself.

Each thing in motion is moved by something else. If that by which it is moved be itself moved, then this also needs to be moved by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go onto infinity, because then there would be no first mover. Without a first mover, there would be no movement at all, because all subsequent movers move only inasmuch that they are moved by the first mover. For example, the staff moves only because it is moved by the hand. Therefore, it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, moved by no other; and this we call God.

VII. THE NECESSARY BEING ARGUMENT
(BY ST. THOMAS AQUINAS)
The necessary being argument proves the existence of God by demonstrating that there must be some being we call God that exists out of His own necessity in order for contingent beings to exist in the cosmos. We observe that in the cosmos things come and go into being called contingent beings. Every being is a contingent being, because objects in the cosmos come into being and pass away. Indeed, it is possible for those objects to exist or for those objects not to exist at any given time. For each contingent being, there is a time it does not exist. Therefore, it is impossible for these always to exist. Consequently, there could have been a time when no things existed.

If there were a time when no things existed, there would have been nothing to bring the currently existing contingent beings into existence. Therefore, nothing would be in existence now. Such an absurd result undermines the assumption that all beings are contingent. Therefore, not every being is a contingent being. There must be some being which exists of its own necessity, and does not receive its existence from another being, but rather causes them. We call this necessary being God.

VIII. THE ARGUMENT FROM COMPOSITE PARTS
(BY JOHN J. BANNAN)
The argument from composite parts proves the existence of God by demonstrating that an uncaused singular non-composite we call God is necessary for the existence of all composites in the cosmos. We observe from the cosmos that all composites are caused by their parts. Causation itself is the formation of a composite from parts in physical reality. The cosmos itself is a composite made of parts consisting of each moment in time with its physical reality. We also observe that composites themselves are made of composites. However, a composite cannot be made without parts, and because more than one part is a composite, a single part which causes all composites must be real because composites cannot come from nothing. That single part which causes all composites must be an uncaused non-composite, because parts would otherwise cause it to be a composite. Because all physical reality forms a composite with spacetime, then the single uncaused non-composite cannot be any sort of physical reality. We call this single uncaused immaterial non-composite God.

IX. THE ARGUMENT FROM TIME
(BY JOHN J. BANNAN)
The argument from time proves the existence of God by demonstrating that the existence of time requires an uncaused timeless cause we call God. Time is the creation, destruction and re-creation of physical reality at the smallest scale at relative rates. Because nothing comes from nothing, the cause of time cannot be nothing. Rather, the cause of time must have a cause outside of time. This cause of time must also remember the prior order, placement and time flow of physical reality in order to re-create physical reality at every moment in time. This cause of time not having time for its own cause must therefore be uncaused. However, the cause of time itself cannot be something subject to time, because the existence of anything subject to time is contingent on the existence of time. There are no physical explanations for the beginning of time itself, because all physical explanations would be subject to time. We call this uncaused timeless immaterial cause of time God.

X. THE KALAM COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
(BY WILLIAM LANE CRAIG)
The Kalam cosmological argument proves the existence of God by demonstrating that the cosmos had a beginning caused by a personal agent that transcends spacetime we call God. We observe from the cosmos that everything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence. The cosmos began to exist. Therefore, the cosmos has a cause for its existence. The cosmos began to exist, because an actual infinite cannot exist. A beginningless temporal series of events is an actual infinite. Therefore, a beginningless temporal series of events cannot exist.

Actual infinities that neither increase or decrease in the number of members they contain would result in absurd consequences, if they were to exist in reality. For example, a library with an infinite number of books would not be reduced in size at all by the removal of a specific number of books (short of all of them). Or, before the present event could occur the event immediately prior to it would have to occur. But, before that event could occur, the event immediately prior to it would have to occur; and so on ad infinitum. One gets driven back and back into the infinite past, making it impossible for any event to occur. Thus, if the series of past events were beginningless, the present event could not have occurred, which is absurd.

The collection of historical events is formed by successively adding events, one following another. The events are not temporally simultaneous, but occur over a period of time as the series continues to acquire new members. Even if an actual infinite were possible, it could not be realized by successive addition. In adding to the series, no matter how much this is done, even to infinity, the series remains finite and only potentially infinite. One can neither count to nor traverse the infinite.

If something has a finite past, its existence has a cause. The cosmos has a finite past. Therefore, the cosmos has a cause of its existence. Because spacetime originated with the cosmos and therefore has a finite past, the cause of the existence of the cosmos must transcend spacetime. Because the cause of the cosmos’ existence transcends spacetime, no scientific explanation in terms of physical laws can provide a causal account of the origin of the cosmos. Because no scientific explanation can provide a causal account of the origin of the cosmos, then the cause must be a personal agent. If the cause were an eternal, nonpersonal, mechanically operating set of conditions, then the cosmos would exist from eternity. Because the cosmos has not existed from eternity, the cause must be a personal agent we call God who chooses freely to create an effect in time.

XI. THE ARGUMENT FROM SUFFICIENT REASON
(BY GOTTFRIED LEIBNIZ)
The argument from sufficient reason proves the existence of God by demonstrating that an explanation for the existence of the cosmos is necessary, which must be a transcendent God who has within His own nature the necessity of existence. We observe from the cosmos that there must be an explanation, or sufficient reason, for anything that exists. The explanation for whatever exists must lie either in the necessity of its own nature or in a cause external to itself. A sufficient reason for the existence of the cosmos cannot be another contingent thing (and on into infinity), because to explain the existence of any contingent thing by another contingent thing lacks a sufficient reason why any contingent thing exists. The explanation of the existence of the cosmos must lie in a transcendent God, because the cosmos does not have within its own nature the necessity of existence and God does.

XII. THE ARGUMENT FROM ABDUCTION
(BY JOHN J. BANNAN)
The argument from abduction demonstrates that something must be uncaused and the best explanation is an uncaused metaphysical reality we call God. We observe that in the cosmos something has got to be uncaused, otherwise there would be nothing. It is impossible that physical reality is uncaused. Any aspect of physical reality claimed to be uncaused can be eliminated as impossible or ultimately caused, including but not limited to infinite regress, actual infinities, self-creation, time travel, eternality in time, timelessness, and acausal physics. Therefore, the best explanation that remains is an uncaused metaphysical reality we call God.

XIII. THE ARGUMENT FROM GRADATION OF BEING
(BY ST. THOMAS AQUINAS)
The argument from gradation of being proves the existence of God by demonstrating that the existence of all things requires as their cause a maximum being we call God. We observe from the cosmos that there is a gradation to be found in physical reality. Some physical things are better or worse than others. Predications of degree require reference to the uttermost case. For example, a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest. The maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus. Therefore, there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection. We call this God.

XIV. THE ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN
(BY ST. THOMAS AQUINAS)
The argument from design proves the existence of God by demonstrating that non-intelligent natural things must be directed in their purposes by a supernatural intelligent being we call God. We observe from the cosmos that natural bodies work toward some goal, and do not do so by chance. Most natural things lack knowledge. But, as an arrow reaches its target because it is directed by an archer, what lacks intelligence achieves goals by being directed by something intelligent. Therefore, some intelligent being is real by whom all natural things are directed to their end. We call this intelligent being God.

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Re: The Fourteen Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

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bluegreenearth wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:24 pmScientific theories are built upon demonstrable and falsifiable hypotheses. The kalam-plus is not falsifiable and neither demonstrates the metaphysical existence of God nor rules-out any other logically possible cause of the universe. As such, it is overstating its case.
Scientific theories use abductive reasoning, just as the Kalam-plus does. Scientific theories are tentative and, if more evidence comes in, should be supplanted by better theories. It's the same with the Kalam-plus. Scientific theories don't rule out the logically possible answers to their questions. They rule out some, but the Kalam rules out some as well through argument. The Kalam-plus is falsifiable. Give evidence of something popping into existence uncaused, give evidence that matter is eternal, give evidence that an infinite regress can happen, etc.

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Re: The Fourteen Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

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The Tanager wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:21 am
bluegreenearth wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:24 pmScientific theories are built upon demonstrable and falsifiable hypotheses. The kalam-plus is not falsifiable and neither demonstrates the metaphysical existence of God nor rules-out any other logically possible cause of the universe. As such, it is overstating its case.
Scientific theories use abductive reasoning, just as the Kalam-plus does. Scientific theories are tentative and, if more evidence comes in, should be supplanted by better theories. It's the same with the Kalam-plus. Scientific theories don't rule out the logically possible answers to their questions. They rule out some, but the Kalam rules out some as well through argument. The Kalam-plus is falsifiable. Give evidence of something popping into existence uncaused, give evidence that matter is eternal, give evidence that an infinite regress can happen, etc.
Providing evidence of those things wouldn't disprove the unembodied mind of the gaps argument. If something were observed to pop into existence, how could anyone determine and demonstrate it was uncaused for that thing to function as evidence to falsify the unembodied mind of the gaps argument? Theists would just argue that the thing in question wasn't uncaused but caused by their particular God (i.e. an uncaused unembodied mind) despite having no more evidence to support their claim than the people claiming the thing itself is uncaused. As for evidence of eternal matter, it appears to be impossible for anyone to demonstrate that any material thing is eternal because there is no way to know if all possible ways of determining some material thing is not eternal have been exhausted to know the material thing in question is eternal. So, even if there is an eternally existing material thing, the evidence necessary to demonstrate eternal existence is impossible to acquire and wouldn't falsify the unembodied mind of the gaps argument. Lastly, the infinite regress problem is not so much a problem as it is an inconvenient source of subjective philosophical discomfort because there is no logical reason to presume an infinite regress is entirely impossible. It is my understanding that the concept of a first cause and the concept of an infinite regress of causes are both logically coherent. Regardless, an eternal unembodied mind as a cause for the universe doesn't eliminate an infinite regress of causes but transfers them onto itself. In other words, an eternal unembodied mind replaces an infinite regress of non-personal causes with an infinite regress of personal causes preceding the cause of the universe. Why should an infinite regress of personal causes be more plausible than an infinite regress of non-personal causes?

Furthermore, there is no logical justification to presume an unembodied mind is any more capable of causing a material thing to begin existing than a human mind or any other abstract object. In any case, the whole Kalam-plus God of the gaps argument is a non-sequitur because the potential existence of a space-time boundary for the universe does not require the false dichotomy of an unembodied mind or abstract object to precede it. Our current inability to measure or understand the state of the universe prior to the Big Bang does not automatically validate an uncaused, timeless, spaceless, and immaterial mind as the only or most plausible logical explanation. We can't even confirm if the Classical Logic that seems to consistently apply on the macro-scale in the universe extends to the quantum-scale or to whatever might have existed before the Big Bang (if "before the Big Bang" can be considered a coherent concept at all). In fact, a special type of logic known as Quantum Logic had to be developed to describe the quantum world because Classical Logic was observed to be insufficient. Accordingly, the Classical Logic upon which the Kalam-plus argument claims to rely upon might not adequately apply to the question of what caused the universe. So, let's rewrite the Kalam-plus argument for what it is:

Premise 1) There is currently no testable scientific explanation for how the universe began to exist.
Conclusion) Therefore, default to a God of the gaps argument.

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Re: The Fourteen Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

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bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:37 pmProviding evidence of those things wouldn't disprove the unembodied mind of the gaps argument.
Where have I provided an "unembodied mind of the gaps" argument? Please point out exactly what I said that should give one that conclusion.
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:37 pmIf something were observed to pop into existence, how could anyone determine and demonstrate it was uncaused for that thing to function as evidence to falsify the unembodied mind of the gaps argument? Theists would just argue that the thing in question wasn't uncaused but caused by their particular God (i.e. an uncaused unembodied mind) despite having no more evidence to support their claim than the people claiming the thing itself is uncaused.
All theists aren't the same. I would not simply claim my God caused the thing to exist.
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:37 pmAs for evidence of eternal matter, it appears to be impossible for anyone to demonstrate that any material thing is eternal because there is no way to know if all possible ways of determining some material thing is not eternal have been exhausted to know the material thing in question is eternal. So, even if there is an eternally existing material thing, the evidence necessary to demonstrate eternal existence is impossible to acquire and wouldn't falsify the unembodied mind of the gaps argument.
Why would that (i.e., exhausting all tests of non-eternity) be the only way to prove a material thing is eternal?
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:37 pmLastly, the infinite regress problem is not so much a problem as it is an inconvenient source of subjective philosophical discomfort because there is no logical reason to presume an infinite regress is entirely impossible. It is my understanding that the concept of a first cause and the concept of an infinite regress of causes are both logically coherent.
Certainly some philosophers argue it isn't illogical, but I think the concept of an infinite regress is logically incoherent. In the infinite regress the chain of reasoning has no end and, therefore, we are never given any reason to actually believe the truth of the proposition the infinite regress is brought in to explain, yet the regress is brought it as an explanation.
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:37 pmRegardless, an eternal unembodied mind as a cause for the universe doesn't eliminate an infinite regress of causes but transfers them onto itself. In other words, an eternal unembodied mind replaces an infinite regress of non-personal causes with an infinite regress of personal causes preceding the cause of the universe. Why should an infinite regress of personal causes be more plausible than an infinite regress of non-personal causes?
How does it do that? What is the infinite regress of personal causes?
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:37 pmFurthermore, there is no logical justification to presume an unembodied mind is any more capable of causing a material thing to begin existing than a human mind or any other abstract object.
Even if one is a materialist (if one is honest) they know the evidence for a human mind being a cause in reality is stronger than the evidence for abstract objects being a cause in reality. The Kalam-plus shows the universe needs some kind of cause. This cause can't be material (that would be self-causation which is illogical). The immaterial things we (may) have contact with are minds and abstract objects; we know of no others. There may be others, but we have no reason to think those exist; thus the evidence is in favor of it being a mind or an abstract object. Logical possibility is not enough to put the non-mind, non-abstract new kind of thing (with no other evidence whatsoever in its favor) on the same rational level of a mind or abstract object. Something caused the universe. That we haven't observed a mind or abstract object having such power does not push the logical weight over (even an inch) towards the non-mind, non-abstract, new kind of thing.
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:37 pmIn any case, the whole Kalam-plus God of the gaps argument is a non-sequitur because the potential existence of a space-time boundary for the universe does not require the false dichotomy of an unembodied mind or abstract object to precede it.
I didn't argue that it requires it. I said the most reasonable explanation given the whole body of human knowledge is more on the unembodied mind side than your logically possible candidate.
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:37 pmOur current inability to measure or understand the state of the universe prior to the Big Bang does not automatically validate an uncaused, timeless, spaceless, and immaterial mind as the only or most plausible logical explanation.
This argument has nothing to do with our current inability to understand the state of the universe prior to the Big Bang. It's about logic being applied to matter and time whatever states this universe has existed in.
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:37 pmWe can't even confirm if the Classical Logic that seems to consistently apply on the macro-scale in the universe extends to the quantum-scale or to whatever might have existed before the Big Bang (if "before the Big Bang" can be considered a coherent concept at all).
We can't even confirm that we aren't living in the Matrix. But it's more reasonable to believe we aren't. It's more reasonable that logic applies to all of reality. You are even using classical logic to argue that it may not apply.
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:37 pmIn fact, a special type of logic known as Quantum Logic had to be developed to describe the quantum world because Classical Logic was observed to be insufficient. Accordingly, the Classical Logic upon which the Kalam-plus argument claims to rely upon might not adequately apply to the question of what caused the universe.
Yes, those that ascribe to certain interpretations of quantum mechanics that make classically illogical statements came up with quantum logic, that doesn't mean it classical logic is insufficient in describing reality.
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:37 pmSo, let's rewrite the Kalam-plus argument for what it is:

Premise 1) There is currently no testable scientific explanation for how the universe began to exist.
Conclusion) Therefore, default to a God of the gaps argument.
That is a horrible argument and has nothing to do with the Kalam-plus argument I've been presenting.

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Re: The Fourteen Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

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The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmWhere have I provided an "unembodied mind of the gaps" argument? Please point out exactly what I said that should give one that conclusion.
The Kalam-plus argument is a God of the gaps argument because it claims to know God is the answer to a question that has no justifiable answer. A philosophical abductive argument does not and cannot demonstrate the existence of any cause for it to function as an explanation of anything.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmAll theists aren't the same. I would not simply claim my God caused the thing to exist.
No, you claim to have a philosophical abductive argument for God as the cause of the universe. However, that doesn't change the fact that it is still just another God of the gaps argument since it fails to demonstrate the existence of anything as the cause of anything.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmWhy would that (i.e., exhausting all tests of non-eternity) be the only way to prove a material thing is eternal?
I know it is not very satisfying to receive a question in response to a question, but how would you propose to demonstrate something has an eternal existence? Of course, my question is rhetorical because it is logically impossible to demonstrate that anything can exist for an eternity.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmCertainly some philosophers argue it isn't illogical, but I think the concept of an infinite regress is logically incoherent. In the infinite regress the chain of reasoning has no end and, therefore, we are never given any reason to actually believe the truth of the proposition the infinite regress is brought in to explain, yet the regress is brought it as an explanation.
Your subjective perspective is noted. I don't care for an infinite regress either but won't claim it would be impossible for one to exist.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmHow does it do that? What is the infinite regress of personal causes?
Are you claiming God had no other personal thoughts prior to the personal thought that caused the universe to begin existing? Was there no chain of thoughts that led up to the moment when God thought to cause the universe to begin existing? I presume you believe God existed and was thinking about things for an eternity prior to him being the personal cause of the universe. If so, then wouldn't God and his personal thoughts constitute an infinite regress? Also, what caused God to think of creating the universe at that particular moment of his eternal existence and not at some other random moment? Why wasn't God the cause of the universe 3 minutes ago or 33 trillion years ago instead of approximately 13.7 billion years ago?
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmEven if one is a materialist (if one is honest) they know the evidence for a human mind being a cause in reality is stronger than the evidence for abstract objects being a cause in reality.
The human mind doesn't cause material things to begin existing from nothing and neither do abstract objects.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmThe Kalam-plus shows the universe needs some kind of cause. This cause can't be material (that would be self-causation which is illogical).
The cause can't be material that began to exist within the universe, but I'm not aware of a logical justification to rule-out the possibility for some uncaused material to exist outside the observable universe for it to function as a cause.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmThe immaterial things we (may) have contact with are minds and abstract objects; we know of no others.
How is an unembodied mind different from an abstract object? Could an unembodied mind be a type of abstract object since it is currently only a concept that cannot be demonstrated to exist independently from a physical brain?
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmThere may be others, but we have no reason to think those exist; thus the evidence is in favor of it being a mind or an abstract object.
What unbiased reason is there to think an abstract unembodied mind can exist where any other abstract object cannot exist?
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmLogical possibility is not enough to put the non-mind, non-abstract new kind of thing (with no other evidence whatsoever in its favor) on the same rational level of a mind or abstract object.
Logical possibility is not enough to elevate the abstract unembodied mind above the level of any other abstract object.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmSomething caused the universe. That we haven't observed a mind or abstract object having such power does not push the logical weight over (even an inch) towards the non-mind, non-abstract, new kind of thing.
I never suggested a new kind of thing possessed more logical weight but am arguing that an abstract unembodied mind is no more plausible than any other logical possibility.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmI didn't argue that it requires it. I said the most reasonable explanation given the whole body of human knowledge is more on the unembodied mind side than your logically possible candidate.
Giving your argument the most charitable consideration, it would merely place the abstract unembodied mind claim on the same level as any other logically possible candidate explanation.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmThis argument has nothing to do with our current inability to understand the state of the universe prior to the Big Bang.
Because the argument fails to consider or ignores the fact that we are currently unable to understand the state of the universe prior to the Big Bang, it inserts God into that gap with no more justification than any other logically possible explanation.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmIt's about logic being applied to matter and time whatever states this universe has existed in.
The Classical Logic you are applying is a language describing the properties of reality that are consistently observed within the universe. If there is a parallel universe where the properties of reality were consistently observed to be something else, the language describing those properties would be considered the Laws of Logic in the context of that reality. So, we can't presume the Classical Logic that seem to consistently apply within the reality of our universe may or may not consistently apply to the reality of a parallel universe or whatever reality might exist outside this or any other universe. As such, I am unable to justify a reason to move beyond agnosticism regarding the cause of the universe.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmWe can't even confirm that we aren't living in the Matrix. But it's more reasonable to believe we aren't. It's more reasonable that logic applies to all of reality. You are even using classical logic to argue that it may not apply.
I'm not claiming Classical Logic may not apply but that I cannot know if it may or may not apply. As for the problem of solipsism (living in the Matrix), it is not that reason leads us to reject the Matrix possibility but that we pragmatically presuppose the external world actually exists because there are no demonstrable advantages to presuming otherwise.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pmYes, those that ascribe to certain interpretations of quantum mechanics that make classically illogical statements came up with quantum logic, that doesn't mean it classical logic is insufficient in describing reality.
I never claimed Classical Logic was insufficient in describing the reality we experience within the universe. The question is whether Classical Logic may or may not apply outside the universe.
The Tanager wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:34 pm
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:37 pmSo, let's rewrite the Kalam-plus argument for what it is:

Premise 1) There is currently no testable scientific explanation for how the universe began to exist.
Conclusion) Therefore, default to a God of the gaps argument.
That is a horrible argument and has nothing to do with the Kalam-plus argument I've been presenting.
Unfortunately, the Kalam-plus argument will be nothing but another God of the gaps argument unless it can demonstrate the existence of God as a cause of the universe to the exclusion of any other possible causes for it to function as an explanation. If the Kalam-plus argument had any merit at all, it would be convincing to every qualified expert who understand these sorts of arguments better than you or me. However, I find that most people who accept the Kalam-plus argument were already theists to begin with and were previously convinced by some other reason to believe in God. Why do you want to continue promoting the Kalam-plus argument when it is not even taken seriously by experts outside of apologetic circles? If you are sufficiently confident in it, why not submit your defense of the Kalam-plus argument in secular academic journals for peer review?

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Re: The Fourteen Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

Post #65

Post by The Tanager »

bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmThe Kalam-plus argument is a God of the gaps argument because it claims to know God is the answer to a question that has no justifiable answer. A philosophical abductive argument does not and cannot demonstrate the existence of any cause for it to function as an explanation of anything.
The Kalam-plus is an inference to the best explanation. It claims that theism is the view that best explains the data (the existence of a spatio-temporal universe that began to exist). Science is full of inferences to the best explanation. Philosophy is as well. To form beliefs this way is perfectly rational.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmI know it is not very satisfying to receive a question in response to a question, but how would you propose to demonstrate something has an eternal existence? Of course, my question is rhetorical because it is logically impossible to demonstrate that anything can exist for an eternity.
Eternal, here, is talking about having always existed, not whether it will continue to exist forever. Why is it logically impossible to demonstrate that something has always existed?
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmYour subjective perspective is noted. I don't care for an infinite regress either but won't claim it would be impossible for one to exist.
I didn't say I concluded that an infinite regress was logically incoherent because I subjectively don't care for it. I gave an actual line of reasoning to conclude such. I'll say it a slightly different way. The question is: what is the explanation of X? Someone says there is an infinite regress that explains X. But since the infinite regress has no end we are never given any reason that explains things. It is illogical to say that an answer that gives no reason for X is an explanation for X.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmAre you claiming God had no other personal thoughts prior to the personal thought that caused the universe to begin existing? Was there no chain of thoughts that led up to the moment when God thought to cause the universe to begin existing? I presume you believe God existed and was thinking about things for an eternity prior to him being the personal cause of the universe. If so, then wouldn't God and his personal thoughts constitute an infinite regress?
Remember that the cause of space-time must be timeless. Your analysis above treats the cause of the universe as being temporal. However many thoughts a timeless being has, it would not experience them chronologically.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmAlso, what caused God to think of creating the universe at that particular moment of his eternal existence and not at some other random moment? Why wasn't God the cause of the universe 3 minutes ago or 33 trillion years ago instead of approximately 13.7 billion years ago?
The timeframe has nothing to do with God's experience of reality, but of the universe's existence in time.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmThe human mind doesn't cause material things to begin existing from nothing and neither do abstract objects.
I didn't say they did. Do we have evidence of material things doing so? No. We don't even have reason to believe the material quantum states that this proposed immaterial quantum state is based on do. Yet, the spatio-temporal universe (all of matter) had to begin to exist. That means that matter began to exist from nothing (i.e., where no matter existed). Something material logically could not be the cause. That means something immaterial has to be the cause. The immaterial categories we have some evidence for are abstract objects and minds. We have no evidence for a third category, which puts it below the other candidates. We then have some evidence that minds can be causes and none that abstract objects can be causes. The inference to the best explanation is that an immaterial mind more powerful than the human minds we know caused the universe. Is that certain? No. But it is, by far, the best explanation given all of human knowledge. Until new information comes in, I'm going to go with the best explanation here, unless other arguments against theism sway the balance against it.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmGiving your argument the most charitable consideration, it would merely place the abstract unembodied mind claim on the same level as any other logically possible candidate explanation.
Not if the summary I just gave is correct. A material cause of all matter is logically impossible. The immaterial quantum state is a logically possible candidate, so it has more going for it than a material cause of all matter. It has less going for it as the cause of the universe than abstract objects, which we know exist. Abstract objects have less going for them as the cause than an immaterial mind, because we know minds can cause things (or, at least, have more going for such a possibility than abstract objects do). These are not on the same level.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmThe cause can't be material that began to exist within the universe, but I'm not aware of a logical justification to rule-out the possibility for some uncaused material to exist outside the observable universe for it to function as a cause.
Then you are forgetting that I've already said that the universe, in the Kalam-plus, refers to all matter, not just the state of matter we observe in our universe now.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmHow is an unembodied mind different from an abstract object? Could an unembodied mind be a type of abstract object since it is currently only a concept that cannot be demonstrated to exist independently from a physical brain?
That abstract objects are defined as "concepts that exist in a physical brain" is a bad definition for the reasons I've already talked about. Minds can cause things, while abstract objects do not. That's the difference. Or, if you are a materialist, that minds cause things is a stronger position than that abstract objects cause things.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmBecause the argument fails to consider or ignores the fact that we are currently unable to understand the state of the universe prior to the Big Bang, it inserts God into that gap with no more justification than any other logically possible explanation.
But we can understand some things about prior states of the universe (i.e., all of matter) through logic. We can understand that matter began to exist at some point. It does not matter that we don't understand in what forms it existed and all of that. The Kalam-plus is not inserting God into a lack of understanding. God isn't put in the place of previous states of the universe but prior to any material state whatsoever. Not knowing the (possible) previous states doesn't change that.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmThe Classical Logic you are applying is a language describing the properties of reality that are consistently observed within the universe. If there is a parallel universe where the properties of reality were consistently observed to be something else, the language describing those properties would be considered the Laws of Logic in the context of that reality. So, we can't presume the Classical Logic that seem to consistently apply within the reality of our universe may or may not consistently apply to the reality of a parallel universe or whatever reality might exist outside this or any other universe. As such, I am unable to justify a reason to move beyond agnosticism regarding the cause of the universe.
Can you give me a hypothetical example to play this out more clearly in mind?
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmAs for the problem of solipsism (living in the Matrix), it is not that reason leads us to reject the Matrix possibility but that we pragmatically presuppose the external world actually exists because there are no demonstrable advantages to presuming otherwise.
Occam's razor is in favor of rejecting the Matrix possibility.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmI never claimed Classical Logic was insufficient in describing the reality we experience within the universe. The question is whether Classical Logic may or may not apply outside the universe.
I never claimed you claimed that. I wasn't talking about describing the reality we experience, but all of reality being necessarily logical.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmUnfortunately, the Kalam-plus argument will be nothing but another God of the gaps argument unless it can demonstrate the existence of God as a cause of the universe to the exclusion of any other possible causes for it to function as an explanation.
Are you saying that a theory must disprove all other logically possible theories to be considered a good explanation that one is rational to believe? If so, then do you think any belief you hold meets this criteria? Can you give me an example?
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmIf the Kalam-plus argument had any merit at all, it would be convincing to every qualified expert who understand these sorts of arguments better than you or me. However, I find that most people who accept the Kalam-plus argument were already theists to begin with and were previously convinced by some other reason to believe in God.
People, even experts, believe all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons. Arguments have merit based on the reasoning involved, not based on who believes them true or false.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmWhy do you want to continue promoting the Kalam-plus argument when it is not even taken seriously by experts outside of apologetic circles?
Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered. As a whole, theists and non-theists, there is a lot more bad philosophy than good philosophy being practiced. Even if my philosophy is the bad, it needs to be answered by good philosophy, not because some experts (however that is judged) say it is just bad. Appeal to authority is not good philosophy.
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmIf you are sufficiently confident in it, why not submit your defense of the Kalam-plus argument in secular academic journals for peer review?
This argument does get attention outside of apologetic circles. Theists have written in secular journals about it. Opponents (Davies, Grunbaum, Morriston, Oppy, Rundle, etc.) have written their objections. Theists have responded.

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Re: The Fourteen Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

Post #66

Post by bluegreenearth »

The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmThe Kalam-plus is an inference to the best explanation. It claims that theism is the view that best explains the data (the existence of a spatio-temporal universe that began to exist). Science is full of inferences to the best explanation. Philosophy is as well. To form beliefs this way is perfectly rational.
I'm not accusing the Kalam-plus of being irrational. The famous philosophical argument by Jonathan Swift, "A Modest Proposal", is equally rational but completely disingenuous because no mentally healthy and ethical person would ever agree to its implementation. As for the Kalam-plus being an inference to the best explanation, you haven't succeeded in demonstrating it is a better inference than any other logical possibility.
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmEternal, here, is talking about having always existed, not whether it will continue to exist forever. Why is it logically impossible to demonstrate that something has always existed?
I understood what "eternal" was referencing and maintain that it is impossible to demonstrate that something has always existed. If you think it is possible, then demonstrate your claim is true.
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmI didn't say I concluded that an infinite regress was logically incoherent because I subjectively don't care for it. I gave an actual line of reasoning to conclude such. I'll say it a slightly different way. The question is: what is the explanation of X? Someone says there is an infinite regress that explains X. But since the infinite regress has no end we are never given any reason that explains things. It is illogical to say that an answer that gives no reason for X is an explanation for X.
Your line of reasoning does not preclude the possibility of an infinite regress because there is no reason to presume the cause of the universe needs to have an explanation that can be understood by our limited human intellect. I have no problem acknowledging that we don't know and may not have the intellectual capacity to know or infer the best explanation for the cause of the universe given the amount of inaccessible information that is required. This is precisely why the Kalam-plus argument is overstating its case.
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmRemember that the cause of space-time must be timeless. Your analysis above treats the cause of the universe as being temporal. However many thoughts a timeless being has, it would not experience them chronologically.
The cause of space-time doesn't necessarily have to be timeless. It just can't operate within a linear (i.e. chronological) time frame as you suggest, but other types of time frames have been proposed in which the cause of the universe could exist.
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmI didn't say they did. Do we have evidence of material things doing so? No. We don't even have reason to believe the material quantum states that this proposed immaterial quantum state is based on do. Yet, the spatio-temporal universe (all of matter) had to begin to exist. That means that matter began to exist from nothing (i.e., where no matter existed).
It is my understanding that matter can be neither created nor destroyed. The Big Bang Theory implies is that all the matter in the universe was condensed to an infinitely dense point prior to expanding into the universe we observe at the present moment. Therefore, we have no reason to conclude that matter began to exist from nothing. For all I know, the infinitely dense point of matter could have existed for an eternity in that state prior to the Big Bang when it began expanding into the universe we observe at the present moment.
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmSomething material logically could not be the cause. That means something immaterial has to be the cause.
The material within the universe that began expanding from an infinitely dense point at the moment of the Big Bang might not be its own cause. However, what justifiable reason do we have to presume there is no uncaused material existing outside the observable universe? What justifiable reason do we have to presume the infinitely dense point of material that existed at the moment of the Big Bang didn't exist prior to that moment?
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmThe immaterial categories we have some evidence for are abstract objects and minds. We have no evidence for a third category, which puts it below the other candidates. We then have some evidence that minds can be causes and none that abstract objects can be causes. The inference to the best explanation is that an immaterial mind more powerful than the human minds we know caused the universe. Is that certain? No. But it is, by far, the best explanation given all of human knowledge. Until new information comes in, I'm going to go with the best explanation here, unless other arguments against theism sway the balance against it.
The evidence we have is that physical brains can cause things to happen. The "mind" is an abstract concept.
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmNot if the summary I just gave is correct. A material cause of all matter is logically impossible. The immaterial quantum state is a logically possible candidate, so it has more going for it than a material cause of all matter. It has less going for it as the cause of the universe than abstract objects, which we know exist. Abstract objects have less going for them as the cause than an immaterial mind, because we know minds can cause things (or, at least, have more going for such a possibility than abstract objects do). These are not on the same level.
See my objections above.
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmThen you are forgetting that I've already said that the universe, in the Kalam-plus, refers to all matter, not just the state of matter we observe in our universe now.
If the Kalam-plus refers to all matter, even uncaused matter, then it fails to rule-out uncaused matter as an equally plausible cause of the universe.
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmThat abstract objects are defined as "concepts that exist in a physical brain" is a bad definition for the reasons I've already talked about. Minds can cause things, while abstract objects do not. That's the difference. Or, if you are a materialist, that minds cause things is a stronger position than that abstract objects cause things.
As previously mentioned, all we have is evidence that physical brains can cause things to happen. The "mind" has not been demonstrated to be anything more than an abstract concept.
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmBut we can understand some things about prior states of the universe (i.e., all of matter) through logic. We can understand that matter began to exist at some point. It does not matter that we don't understand in what forms it existed and all of that. The Kalam-plus is not inserting God into a lack of understanding. God isn't put in the place of previous states of the universe but prior to any material state whatsoever. Not knowing the (possible) previous states doesn't change that.
If all the matter in the observable universe can be neither created nor destroyed, then it is relevant if an infinitely dense point of matter existed for an eternity prior to the moment of the Big Bang.
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pm
bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:48 pmThe Classical Logic you are applying is a language describing the properties of reality that are consistently observed within the universe. If there is a parallel universe where the properties of reality were consistently observed to be something else, the language describing those properties would be considered the Laws of Logic in the context of that reality. So, we can't presume the Classical Logic that seem to consistently apply within the reality of our universe may or may not consistently apply to the reality of a parallel universe or whatever reality might exist outside this or any other universe. As such, I am unable to justify a reason to move beyond agnosticism regarding the cause of the universe.
Can you give me a hypothetical example to play this out more clearly in mind?
If it is possible for the Classical Logic describing the realty we experience to not apply in a different reality, then there is no hypothetical example you would accept as a clarification because it wouldn't operate according to the Classical Logic you are using.
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmOccam's razor is in favor of rejecting the Matrix possibility.
That is what I mean by pragmatism except that it isn't so much that we reject the Matrix possibility as it is a matter of ignoring the possibility.
The Tanager wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:25 pmI never claimed you claimed that. I wasn't talking about describing the reality we experience, but all of reality being necessarily logical.
You can't claim to know the properties of a reality you can't detect or experience in some way.

Note: The rest of your response was about your objection to what you perceived as an argument from authority. I'm not attempting to use an argument from authority to claim the Kalam-plus is false or some other claim is true but to express my frustration with this futile attempt to defend an unfalsifiable claim as an inference to the best explanation. Frankly, I'm ready to acknowledge that this debate is not going to resolve any epistemological difference between us and move onto to something else. My wife is starting to complain about the time I'm wasting on this forum when I could be doing something more useful with my time. So, if I don't reply for a while or at all, that will be the reason.

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Re: The Fourteen Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

Post #67

Post by The Tanager »

bluegreenearth wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:49 pmFrankly, I'm ready to acknowledge that this debate is not going to resolve any epistemological difference between us and move onto to something else. My wife is starting to complain about the time I'm wasting on this forum when I could be doing something more useful with my time. So, if I don't reply for a while or at all, that will be the reason.
Just so you are clear on my thoughts approaching this, I don't try to resolve things, but simply have a discussion. I'm always open to me or someone else changing their minds on something, but it's not something I seek after. I'm sharing my thoughts, wanting mine challenged, and challenging yours. I definitely do not approach this discussion as though you owe me anything. You are free to quit this discussion any time and for all eternity, without it being viewed as an admission of defeat or anything like that. I don't view these discussions as those kinds of debates. I appreciate your patience and the time you've taken already (and in other discussions with me). I hope you and your wife spend some wonderful time together. I'll always be willing to discuss things in the future on this topic or others.

Tomorrow I will respond to your thoughts so that if you decide to continue the discussion, some thoughts will be there for you.

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Re: The Fourteen Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

Post #68

Post by The Tanager »

bluegreenearth wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:49 pmI understood what "eternal" was referencing and maintain that it is impossible to demonstrate that something has always existed. If you think it is possible, then demonstrate your claim is true.
Since the Kalam-plus claims that matter is not eternal, an argument that matter is eternal (if it exists) would falsify it. Your response is that such an argument is logically impossible unless I can prove otherwise, with no argument that it is logically impossible. Why is this my burden to carry? Why do you get to make an unsupported claim as a defeater to my claim and then make me prove your defeater wrong?
bluegreenearth wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:49 pmYour line of reasoning does not preclude the possibility of an infinite regress because there is no reason to presume the cause of the universe needs to have an explanation that can be understood by our limited human intellect. I have no problem acknowledging that we don't know and may not have the intellectual capacity to know or infer the best explanation for the cause of the universe given the amount of inaccessible information that is required. This is precisely why the Kalam-plus argument is overstating its case.
An infinite regress is not an explanation that may be understood through more knowledge; it's not an explanation at all. It continues to pass the buck over and over again, never getting an actual explanation.
bluegreenearth wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:49 pmThe cause of space-time doesn't necessarily have to be timeless. It just can't operate within a linear (i.e. chronological) time frame as you suggest, but other types of time frames have been proposed in which the cause of the universe could exist.
Do you have reasons to believe these other types of time could actually exist or is it just an unknown area that you think there could be refuge in if these other types of time do exist? I'd be happy to explore what time is together.
bluegreenearth wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:49 pmIt is my understanding that matter can be neither created nor destroyed. The Big Bang Theory implies is that all the matter in the universe was condensed to an infinitely dense point prior to expanding into the universe we observe at the present moment. Therefore, we have no reason to conclude that matter began to exist from nothing. For all I know, the infinitely dense point of matter could have existed for an eternity in that state prior to the Big Bang when it began expanding into the universe we observe at the present moment.
Recapping the third argument we were talking about awhile back: to do so, it would need a personal cause, otherwise the universe would be just as eternal as the cause. The universe is not eternal.

Why do you think matter can be neither created nor destroyed?
bluegreenearth wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:49 pmThe evidence we have is that physical brains can cause things to happen. The "mind" is an abstract concept.
What evidence do we have that the mind is only a concept "that exists in a physical brain"?

Now, even if you ultimately think the case for minds existing is poor, there are still serious philosophical arguments in favor of minds existing and causing things to occur. When we see that the universe/matter is not eternal, logic tells us the cause can't be material and the "poor" case for minds existing and being a cause is still much stronger than the other immaterial candidate category of abstract objects (properly defined). The cause needs to be immaterial. So, we look at immaterial candidates and see what is most likely able to cause things. It's a mind over abstract objects or some unknown possible category.
bluegreenearth wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:49 pmIf the Kalam-plus refers to all matter, even uncaused matter, then it fails to rule-out uncaused matter as an equally plausible cause of the universe.
What is uncaused matter?
bluegreenearth wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:49 pmIf it is possible for the Classical Logic describing the realty we experience to not apply in a different reality, then there is no hypothetical example you would accept as a clarification because it wouldn't operate according to the Classical Logic you are using.
I'm asking because I'm not sure if the examples you have in mind do contradict classical logic. With an example, I could see if that seems to me to be the case or not.
bluegreenearth wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:49 pm
As for the problem of solipsism (living in the Matrix), it is not that reason leads us to reject the Matrix possibility but that we pragmatically presuppose the external world actually exists because there are no demonstrable advantages to presuming otherwise.
Occam's razor is in favor of rejecting the Matrix possibility.
That is what I mean by pragmatism except that it isn't so much that we reject the Matrix possibility as it is a matter of ignoring the possibility.
So, are you saying that applying Occam's razor is not following reason to reject the Matrix possibility? It's not 'reason' to say (all other things being equal): follow the simpler explanation? I think it's not ignoring the more complex explanation, but comparing both and saying reason says to side with the less complex explanation.
bluegreenearth wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:49 pmNote: The rest of your response was about your objection to what you perceived as an argument from authority. I'm not attempting to use an argument from authority to claim the Kalam-plus is false or some other claim is true but to express my frustration with this futile attempt to defend an unfalsifiable claim as an inference to the best explanation.
Okay. I've also shared why I think it seems falsifiable and not a futile defense.

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Re: The Fourteen Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

Post #69

Post by bluegreenearth »

[Replying to The Tanager in post #68]

I'm passing on offering my own comments for reasons previously expressed, but the objections to Kalam-plus argument at the link below should hopefully provide you with a worthwhile challenge:

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/William_L ... ment_fails

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Re: The Fourteen Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

Post #70

Post by The Tanager »

Thank you for sharing that link. It was a bit to work through, but it got me thinking more deeply. I'm sharing my thoughts for any interested, as best as I can understand the critiques given. I'm also re-organizing them to go along with the part of the Kalam-plus being critiqued. That helps me analyze arguments better.

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