# How many non sequiturs can you count in Pascal's Wager?

deludedgod
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How many non sequiturs can you count in Pascal's Wager?

The biggest problem I always had with Pascal's wager was that the reasoning chain was incredibly flawed in that each step was a absurdem quod non sequiter , out of the various fallacies in this form, Pascal makes the mistake that in the typical triple-set of logical reasoning, step #1 will always be fallacious. The form of argument is technically valid (it is a Modus ponens) but that is only true until you realize that every first assertion of each step is a fallacy (If P then Q. P. Therefore Q).

I was trying to decide just how many non sequiters there are in Pascal's Wager. Here is what I have come up with so far

God might exist (assertion, but no fallacy)

God might be sentient (AQNS)

God might be triple-omni (AQNS)

God might be judging and vindicative (AQNS

God has anthropomorphic qualities such as wants and demands (AQNS)

God wants you to believe in him (AQNS)

There might be a soul if God exists (AQNS)

There might be an afterlife if God exists (AQNS)

There might be eternity if God exists (AQNS)

There might be eternal punishment if God exists (AQNS)

The God which has all these characteristics might be the Christian God (False dichotomy and AQNS)

Therefore, wager that a sentient, judging Christian God exists. Furthermore, wager that the afterlife exists, and that if there is an afterlife and a judging Christian God, you should also wager that there might be eternal damnation.

After all, if you are wrong...

You can see why we cannot take this seriously. It is nonsense. If we affix assertion X with a definite truth value, as the Non sequiters pile up, the truth value of X times Y times Z etc etc continues to exponentially diminish to the point where the probability function is so low that living your life based on such a wager is wholly nonsensical.

Above, I counted ten non sequiter absurdems attached the wager. That would mean that if we affix a 50/50 probability to each assertion X,Y,Z etc then the absolutely very best probability degrades to 0.00002, which must be multiplied by infinity to account for the false dichotomy which has been set up, as there are any number of theoretical deities that could be inserted into the fallacy. Thus the probability, if we were to draw it on a graph, falls to an infinitesimal limit along an asymptote to the point where it is so nonsensical that it can be fully shrugged off.

If there are any more non sequiters that you can think of which are incorporated into the wager, you can let me know.

The rule I live by is that an ontology can only establish X=X and that X exists. It cannot establish that X=Y or X=Z or that Y=Z like some theists attempt to extrapolate with astoundingly poor reasoning.

This is prevalent throughout the whole of religion and the arguments for God...

The Cosmological argument is the worst. Ontologically, it can establish that there is a first cause. Does the a posteriori establish that this cause is God? No? Does it establish that this God has any properties given to it by religion and all the mythological babble surrounding it? No. Does it offer any proof of the supernatural or of a sentient entity which Aquinas called God, no? Unless your logic is wholly based on non-sequiters. I do not know what the reasoning process is but it must go like this.

There is a first cause

Therefore, God exists

Therefore, God is sentient

Therefore, God is anthropomorphic, and has human emotions like love and vengenace

Therefore there is an afterlife

Therefore, God judges people when they die

Only slightly better ontologically is the Design argument. Because Design would imply a designer. Nonetheless, it is a) factually incorrect and b) answers almost none of the above AQNS.

Furthermore, from a scientific inductivity standpoint, Design is absurd, and wholly fails Occam's Razor (Not the simplest explanation, but the one with the less presuppositions). So if the design proponent is sat down and asked a set of standard, rigorous scientific questions, it would go like this:

The Universe has a Designer

How is this possible?

This Designer exists outside of space and time?

Who Designed the designer?

He was always there?

How is this possible when "always" is a function of time which depends on space and time, which you admitted him to be outside of?

He is God, he can do what he wants

How is this possible?

It just is.

How did this entity ever come into being?

It was always there?

Can you verify this?

No.

And the torture goes on...

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

aiia
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NSA - That there is any

AQNS - That there is any evidence of such a being to conjecture a possibility

Diaphanus
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My inner Latinist suggests

My inner Latinist suggests Absurdum Quod Non Sequitur (singular) or Absurda Quae Non Sequuntur (plural) for "non sequiter absurdums."

AQNS - That we can say anything coherent about the odds of winning the wager.

I am Antie at the Infidelguy.com forums. Avatar made from this image.

deludedgod
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Thanks

Thanks

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Chaoslord2004
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Pascals Wage is

Pascals Wage is interesting.  Not because it is a good argument, but because this wager is considered to have started decision theory.  What is actually funny, is that Pascal's wager is actually worse than what one might think.  Pascal never said "believe in God" because of his wager.  Rather, he said: "act in such a way so that you believe in God."  Hence, according to Pascal, his argument only shows that one should "act" like a Christian.

Now, Pascal was no idiot.  He was well aware that there were other conceptions of "God" besides the Christian version, however Pascal didn't see these options as "live" options.  Is this reasonable?  Of course not.  However, this explains why Pascal failed to account for other conceptions of God.

Now, besides the Ontological argument, all theistic argument suffer from a whole slew of non-sequitors.  For example, thanks to the work of David Hume, we know that the design argument and the cosmological argument fail to give us any of God's properties.  Is he good?  Is God omnipotent?  Who knows, the arguments do not demonstrate this...even if they work.

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions

deludedgod
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Indeed. One of the oddest

Indeed. One of the oddest argumentative tactics in religion revolves around this. They will use an argument like Unmoved Mover, Design, or some nonsense as such, and, by utilizing a number of AQNS that I cannot begin to fathom, will state than not only is this proof of God, but the Christian God, or Allah, or some other ridiculous nonsense.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Tomcat
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Awesome.  I would want a

Awesome.  I would want a list of these stickied.  When someone drops the wager, bringing up all these implications/non sequiters will cause them to think twice

The Enlightenment wounded the beast, but the killing blow has yet to land...

deludedgod
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Come on theists! You love

Come on theists! You love Pascal's Wager! Stick up for it

bump

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

deludedgod
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Bump. This is ridiculous.

Bump.

This is ridiculous. No God knows how many times I've seen theists condescedingly use Pascal's Wager as if it was a fucking brilliant, original argument.

Come on! What do you have to say?

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

deludedgod
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Now, besides the

Now, besides the Ontological argument, all theistic argument suffer from a whole slew of non-sequitors. For example, thanks to the work of David Hume, we know that the design argument and the cosmological argument fail to give us any of God's properties. Is he good? Is God omnipotent? Who knows, the arguments do not demonstrate this...even if they work.

Indeed. The rule I live by is that an ontology can only establish X=X and that X exists. It cannot establish that X=Y or X=Z or that Y=Z like some theists attempt to extrapolate with astoundingly poor reasoning.

The Cosmological argument is the worst. Ontologically, it can establish that there is a first cause. Does the a posteriori establish that this cause is God? No? Does it establish that this God has any properties given to it by religion and all the mythological babble surrounding it? No. Does it offer any proof of the supernatural or of a sentient entity which Aquinas called God, no? Unless your logic is wholly based on non-sequiters. I do not know what the reasoning process is but it must go like this.

There is a first cause

Therefore, God exists

Therefore, God is sentient

Therefore, God is anthropomorphic, and has human emotions like love and vengenace

Therefore there is an afterlife

Therefore, God judges people when they die

Only slightly better ontologically is the Design argument. Because Design would imply a designer. Nonetheless, it is a) factually incorrect and b) answers almost none of the above AQNS.

Furthermore, from a scientific inductivity standpoint, Design is absurd, and wholly fails Occam's Razor (Not the simplest explanation, but the one with the less presuppositions). So if the design proponent is sat down and asked a set of standard, rigorous scientific questions, it would go like this:

The Universe has a Designer

How is this possible?

This Designer exists outside of space and time?

Who Designed the designer?

He was always there?

How is this possible when "always" is a function of time which depends on space and time, which you admitted him to be outside of?

He is God, he can do what he wants

How is this possible?

It just is.

How did this entity ever come into being?

It was always there?

Can you verify this?

No.

And the torture goes on...

I'm actually writing an essay which states that the whole of religion can be dismissed not because it is built on a slew of non sequiters, but that it cannot reconcile two impossible mutual exclusive ontologies for God. Namely, supernaturalism and anthropomorphism.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Archangel__7
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Alright, I suppose I'll

Alright, I suppose I'll respond to the challenge. =)

Let's see... There is much that is said here already; I think it might be fruitful to address some key points in your writing here and see how far we can go on these issues.

First, the teleological argument. We know a defining characteristic of this line of reasoning is the aim of showing that there is some ultimate designer of some natural phenomenon; of course, one frequent rejoinder runs along rather crudely, "What/Who designed the Designer?", prompting the theist down some infinite regress. One point I want to make clear here is that people offering this objection are assuming for the sake of argument that genuine design has been detected, presumably to set up for the intended reductio ad absurdum

Okay: then what? "Who designed the Designer?"

I want to point out that this counterargument suffers from a few assumptions which the theist is in no way obliged to accept. One of the reasons infinite regression is such a hairy problem is because we now know that our universe is finite. This means, that however small we want to partition our individual "moments", an actual infinite regress of past events is physically impossible: there is a point where Time itself came into being some finite time ago. However, why should the theist confine himself to physical constraints when conventional naturalistic methods don't even posses the basic tools needed to construct a physical explanation for physicality itself?

In other words, the infinite regress implied by the "Who designed the designer" challenge is not a problem for the theist, but for the Materialist. This would be akin to a very naive minister asking Darwin to justify his theory since it did not nicely conform some contrived understanding of what amounts to a "good" hypothesis: Evolution cannot be true because it does not fit in neatly with our metaphysical assumptions about what makes a valid explanation. If indeed evidence for genuine design is found, this empirical fact would care not for what unsavory implications this may have for the Materialist; whether or not there is sufficiently satisfying evidence for design (however much that is) is not the point: rather, wherever such evidence is found, the onus is on the Materialist, not the theist to resolve the "design-the-designer" objection.

Secondly, we'll examine some objections which seem to be more "Cosmological" in origin: among which include our understanding of God and Time, and whether or not the Cosmological Argument is sufficiently aimed at procuring enough (or any) divine attributes for a being which we may then rightly call "God".

Eternality has taken on different understandings, one of which has been "an infinite duration of events". Of course, this runs afoul of conceptions (both theological and scientific) of Time anyway; On theological grounds, serious theists reject platonic ideas of Time co-existing eternally with God, implying a metaphysical pluralism (and of course, denying God's simple Aseity). In other words, even Time itself is contingent, and owes its existence to God. On scientific grounds, we of course know Time has had a definite beginning at the point of the Big Bang. Does it make sense, then, to speak of God's existence independently of time? Why not?

To explore this further, we'll go into the second part of my commentary: whether or not the Cosmological argument suffices to secure enough (or any) classical attributes for a being we may rightly call "God". I think contemporary theistic philosophers do not make this kind of claim.

Consider once more that not only Matter and Energy, but Time and Space itself came into being at the point of the Big Bang. It's been suggested that therefore this Cause must be Timeless, Changeless, Immaterial, enormously powerful, capable of free will (since physical law did not exist to make the Big Bang a necessary or determined event), and enormously intelligent (to carefully calibrate the dozens of physical constants and quantities that make a life-permitting universe possible).

Already from observing what we know of current Cosmogony, we can arrive at attributes which run eerily consistent with the being described in Classical Theism, and wherever our live options are between Naturalism and Theism, theism wins hands-down. On the whole, the Cosmological argument, so construed, does not produce the various "Omni" traits deductively, but provides good reason to reconsider one's commitment to metaphysical naturalism. Whether or not this argument succeeds is a good question. But it certainly cannot fail on any grounds provided in the original post.

deludedgod
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I want to point out that

I want to point out that this counterargument suffers from a few assumptions which the theist is in no way obliged to accept. One of the reasons infinite regression is such a hairy problem is because we now know that our universe is finite. This means, that however small we want to partition our individual "moments", an actual infinite regress of past events is physically impossible: there is a point where Time itself came into being some finite time ago. However, why should the theist confine himself to physical constraints when conventional naturalistic methods don't even posses the basic tools needed to construct a physical explanation for physicality itself?

If there is no infinite regress, then Aquinas' first assumption fails. The fact of the matter is that space and time are co-dependent functions of existence. Anything outside of them does not technically exist. Furthermore, to conclude the God concept as set down by religion based on such is still an absurdum quod non sequiter.

In other words, the infinite regress implied by the "Who designed the designer" challenge is not a problem for the theist, but for the Materialist. This would be akin to a very naive minister asking Darwin to justify his theory since it did not nicely conform some contrived understanding of what amounts to a "good" hypothesis: Evolution cannot be true because it does not fit in neatly with our metaphysical assumptions about what makes a valid explanation.

That is not the point. A hypothesis is unsubstantiated eg has no evidence and thus is nothing more than a proposition. When something has evidence, however, then it can be taken into account. Furthermore, Evolution does not fail Occam's razor. Design does.

If indeed evidence for genuine design is found, this empirical fact would care not for what unsavory implications this may have for the Materialist; whether or not there is sufficiently satisfying evidence for design (however much that is) is not the point: rather, wherever such evidence is found, the onus is on the Materialist, not the theist to resolve the "design-the-designer" objection.

But there is no evidence for design. Irreducible complexity has been shown to be false. Thus the "wherever such evidence is found" statement is meaningless. You are failing to answer my point. The Design hypothesis is forced to make far too many unsubstantiated assertions to defend itself.

Eternality has taken on different understandings, one of which has been "an infinite duration of events". Of course, this runs afoul of conceptions (both theological and scientific) of Time anyway; On theological grounds, serious theists reject platonic ideas of Time co-existing eternally with God, implying a metaphysical pluralism (and of course, denying God's simple Aseity). In other words, even Time itself is contingent, and owes its existence to God. On scientific grounds, we of course know Time has had a definite beginning at the point of the Big Bang. Does it make sense, then, to speak of God's existence independently of time? Why not?

Another non sequiter. It would be far more logical to conclude that the answer is not yet known than to attribute it to some magical being who does not exist by the scientific definition of exist.  None of this is actually a defence of religion anyway, or the mythology it supports.

To explore this further, we'll go into the second part of my commentary: whether or not the Cosmological argument suffices to secure enough (or any) classical attributes for a being we may rightly call "God". I think contemporary theistic philosophers do not make this kind of claim.

In that case, there is no evidence for any of the classical attributes. The reason I drafted this is because so many religious people think that the philosophical a posteriori and a priori arguments are evidence for the God of their religious creeds.

Consider once more that not only Matter and Energy, but Time and Space itself came into being at the point of the Big Bang. It's been suggested that therefore this Cause must be Timeless, Changeless, Immaterial, enormously powerful, capable of free will (since physical law did not exist to make the Big Bang a necessary or determined event), and enormously intelligent (to carefully calibrate the dozens of physical constants and quantities that make a life-permitting universe possible).

Cosmological fine-tuning argument. There are two counters. One is the locked constants argument, which will probably be solved by the Unifying Theory in the next few decades or the multiverse explanation.

Furthermore, for this being to be enormously intelligent would be an ontological impossibility because that is an anthtropomorphic concept dependant on neurons which is dependant on cells and ions which is obviously dependent on physical matter. The God concept is an impossible ontology which can be reasoned out of using a posteriori because it asks for the impossible reconciliation of two mutually exclusive concepts: Supernaturalism and anthropomorphism.

Also, for it to be immaterial would be another ontological contradiction because if it is immaterial, there is no conceivable way to define this entity existing or having the ability to do anything, because that is a physical property.

Also, the big-bang can be explained by a gravitational asymptotic singularity.

Already from observing what we know of current Cosmogony, we can arrive at attributes which run eerily consistent with the being described in Classical Theism, and wherever our live options are between Naturalism and Theism, theism wins hands-down.

False. it is based on an ontological impossibility.

On the whole, the Cosmological argument, so construed, does not produce the various "Omni" traits deductively, but provides good reason to reconsider one's commitment to metaphysical naturalism. Whether or not this argument succeeds is a good question. But it certainly cannot fail on any grounds provided in the original post.

The cosmological argument fails because it breaks the first law of ontology. X=X, not X=Y or Z. The arguments were easy to break because they are all dependant on assumptions and impossible definitions. The atheist says "how the universe was created was a mystery, let's find out about it". The theist says "No need. We already have the answer. It was a magical, immaterial intelligent entity". I would say the former is more reasonable.

This post was actually and orignally about Pascal's Wager, anyway. It is impossible for a theist to justify their belief in the afterlife.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Archangel__7
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Quote:

Quote:
The fact of the matter is that space and time are co-dependent functions of existence. Anything outside of them does not technically exist.

I think you're introducing assumptions here I'm not willing to let have for free. You apparently don't believe in universals, but that's precisely going to be the question at issue, isn't it? Why suppose existence must be confined to spaciotemporal dimensions?
Quote:
Furthermore, to conclude the God concept as set down by religion based on such is still an absurdum quod non sequiter.

Not necessarily. It seems there's agreement (in our time and culture at least) that the two remaining live options are Naturalism and Theism. Given the criterion I've laid above, I think one is rationally justified in concluding the hypothesis "God exists" is more probable than naturalistic alternatives. If theists have good reason to think that a Cause possessing the Cosmological attributes I've listed exists, and if theists do their homework (and at the end of the day) find cosmological fine-tuning arguments convincing, then they're on much better grounds to justifiably assume God's classical attributes by way of induction than they were otherwise.
Quote:
But there is no evidence for design. .... You are failing to answer my point. The Design hypothesis is forced to make far too many unsubstantiated assertions to defend itself.

This was a predictable response, which is why I clarified that a proponent of the "Who Designed the Designer" objection must temporarily assume the presence of genuine design in order for the ad absurdum to work. Ironically, retreating to "But there is no evidence for design" as a response is itself a failure to engage my point and I take it as a concession that the "Who Designed The Designer" objection fails. This is about the only point I wished to make with respect to that particular challenge (The actual strengths or weaknesses of Intelligent Design I'll leave for another day).

Concerning the "non sequiters" (it's non sequitur, btw), I focus mainly on those divine elements arising from the cosmological argument since, as far as I can tell, precious little in your post actually deals with much concerning Pascal's Wager to begin with...

Quote:
It would be far more logical to conclude that the answer is not yet known than to attribute it to some magical being who does not exist by the scientific definition of exist.

With respect to my writing dealing with Time, you called me out on "another non sequiter", but on what grounds? If the question at stake is the coherency of God with respect to time, why am I not allowed to countenance other classical attributes in an attempt to reconcile them? Where is the non sequitur? I'm not sure what to make of your other comments on this section, so I'll move on.
Quote:
"...scientific definition of exist"

I have a real problem with this. When I hear "Science", immediately I think of things such as empirical observation, sense-perception, and so on. To what sort of empirical observation does one appeal in order to justify a restriction of existence to that which can be seen? What does it mean to say that existence can be defined "scientifically"? I'll cut to the chase here, and suggest that this is really another case of assuming precisely what's in question: Is the fundamental nature of ultimate reality such that entities like universals exist... things like the number 2, the mind, perhaps an objective meaning to "science", and so on? However the outcome of that debate, I'll just say I don't accept your assumptions on this count; I may as well be quoting Bible verses and expect a similar level of effectiveness.
Quote:
There are two counters. One is the locked constants argument, which will probably be solved by the Unifying Theory in the next few decades or the multiverse explanation.

Well, thanks for the assurances, but for the purposes of our discussion now, why should I take a rain check on speculative theorizing on such an important question? I'm not confident I'd be extended the same courtesy.
Quote:
Furthermore, for this being to be enormously intelligent would be an ontological impossibility because that is an anthtropomorphic concept dependant on neurons which is dependant on cells and ions which is obviously dependent on physical matter. The God concept is an impossible ontology which can be reasoned out of using a posteriori because it asks for the impossible reconciliation of two mutually exclusive concepts: Supernaturalism and anthropomorphism.

Oh, I agree that on Materialism (especially the physicalist variety), an immaterial intelligence would be an ontological impossibility. But doesn't this assume precisely what's in question? I don't want to say you're not entitled to assuming a purely physicalist account of consciousness, but arguments aren't decided by assuming the desired conclusion from the outset. Second, how in the world does anthropomorphic (You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means) resemblances stand in logical contradiction to "supernaturalism".

At any rate, the point of your main post was that the Cosmological argument fails to deductively prove the existence of a being we might call "God", and I've shown how it is that many theists don't in fact argue that point: Rather, contemporary forms of the cosmological argument draw from the startling resemblances this Cause has to the being identified in Classical Theism-- resemblances that are enjoyed more closely with God than with any other entity so far postulated by proponents of any other worldview.

Quote:
Also, the big-bang can be explained by a gravitational asymptotic singularity.

It's funny my physics professor disagrees.
Now, I'm not ruling out that it's possible (maybe it's even promising), but as far as I can tell, such theories have their work cut out for them if they are to succeed.

Vastet
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Archangel__7

Archangel__7 wrote:
Quote:
The fact of the matter is that space and time are co-dependent functions of existence. Anything outside of them does not technically exist.

I think you're introducing assumptions here I'm not willing to let have for free. You apparently don't believe in universals, but that's precisely going to be the question at issue, isn't it? Why suppose existence must be confined to spaciotemporal dimensions?

Why suppose otherwise? The only reason to do so is to defend an introduced invisible concept in the first place.

Archangel__7 wrote:

Quote:
Furthermore, to conclude the God concept as set down by religion based on such is still an absurdum quod non sequiter.

Not necessarily. It seems there's agreement (in our time and culture at least) that the two remaining live options are Naturalism and Theism. Given the criterion I've laid above, I think one is rationally justified in concluding the hypothesis "God exists" is more probable than naturalistic alternatives.

I think I've shown the opposite is true.

Archangel__7 wrote:
If theists have good reason to think that a Cause possessing the Cosmological attributes I've listed exists, and if theists do their homework (and at the end of the day) find cosmological fine-tuning arguments convincing, then they're on much better grounds to justifiably assume God's classical attributes by way of induction than they were otherwise.

Obviously not. This is cherry picking science to find what works with the god and discarding what doesn't work, even if true. It's irrational.

Archangel__7 wrote:

Quote:
But there is no evidence for design. .... You are failing to answer my point. The Design hypothesis is forced to make far too many unsubstantiated assertions to defend itself.

This was a predictable response, which is why I clarified that a proponent of the "Who Designed the Designer" objection must temporarily assume the presence of genuine design in order for the ad absurdum to work. Ironically, retreating to "But there is no evidence for design" as a response is itself a failure to engage my point and I take it as a concession that the "Who Designed The Designer" objection fails. This is about the only point I wished to make with respect to that particular challenge (The actual strengths or weaknesses of Intelligent Design I'll leave for another day).

I personally can't wait to tear ID apart yet again. I'm sure Deludedgod awaits the opportunity with even more relish.

Archangel__7 wrote:
Concerning the "non sequiters" (it's non sequitur, btw),

I find people who focus on spelling and grammar have so many holes in their argument that they must resort to attacks in order to misdirect from the debate at hand.

Archangel__7 wrote:
I focus mainly on those divine elements arising from the cosmological argument since, as far as I can tell, precious little in your post actually deals with much concerning Pascal's Wager to begin with...

And how exactly do you justify this comment? When I look at his original post and the topic title, I see a perfect match.

Archangel__7 wrote:

Quote:
It would be far more logical to conclude that the answer is not yet known than to attribute it to some magical being who does not exist by the scientific definition of exist.

With respect to my writing dealing with Time, you called me out on "another non sequiter", but on what grounds? If the question at stake is the coherency of God with respect to time, why am I not allowed to countenance other classical attributes in an attempt to reconcile them? Where is the non sequitur? I'm not sure what to make of your other comments on this section, so I'll move on.

You're begging the question of gods existance in the first place.

Archangel__7 wrote:
Quote:
"...scientific definition of exist"

I have a real problem with this. When I hear "Science", immediately I think of things such as empirical observation, sense-perception, and so on. To what sort of empirical observation does one appeal in order to justify a restriction of existence to that which can be seen? What does it mean to say that existence can be defined "scientifically"?

It means that existance is defined in accord with reality, as opposed to magic, smoke, mirrors, and imagination.

Archangel__7 wrote:
I'll cut to the chase here, and suggest that this is really another case of assuming precisely what's in question: Is the fundamental nature of ultimate reality such that entities like universals exist... things like the number 2, the mind, perhaps an objective meaning to "science", and so on? However the outcome of that debate, I'll just say I don't accept your assumptions on this count; I may as well be quoting Bible verses and expect a similar level of effectiveness.

Universals depend on the universe to exist. 2 exists only when there is two of something. A mind exists only when(as far as we have observed) cellular matter undergoes chemical interaction. They do not exist in and of themselves. Science is quite simply the study of reality. It cannot be subjective by definition.

Archangel__7 wrote:

Oh, I agree that on Materialism (especially the physicalist variety), an immaterial intelligence would be an ontological impossibility. But doesn't this assume precisely what's in question?

To do anything other than assume reality is real is to beg the question, and is a logical fallacy.

Archangel__7 wrote:
I don't want to say you're not entitled to assuming a purely physicalist account of consciousness, but arguments aren't decided by assuming the desired conclusion from the outset.

Which is exactly why every theist argument ever made has been flawed. Sometimes in more than one way. It's also why intelligent design bit the dust within hours of it's birth.

Archangel__7 wrote:
Second, how in the world does anthropomorphic (You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means) resemblances stand in logical contradiction to "supernaturalism".

I think you're the one who does not know what anthropomorphic means. Every deity in history has been anthropomorphicized(if that's not a word it is now). And supernaturalism isn't a valid concept to begin with. I think Todangst has done a good job at proving it.

Archangel__7 wrote:
At any rate, the point of your main post was that the Cosmological argument fails to deductively prove the existence of a being we might call "God",

Obviously you completely missed the point of his main post, which was that Pascal's Wager is packed full of non-sequiturs.

Archangel__7 wrote:
and I've shown how it is that many theists don't in fact argue that point: Rather, contemporary forms of the cosmological argument draw from the startling resemblances this Cause has to the being identified in Classical Theism-- resemblances that are enjoyed more closely with God than with any other entity so far postulated by proponents of any other worldview.

Considering my last point, this is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. I see no need to argue it. Which is not to say I can't.

Archangel__7 wrote:

Quote:
Also, the big-bang can be explained by a gravitational asymptotic singularity.

It's funny my physics professor disagrees.
Now, I'm not ruling out that it's possible (maybe it's even promising), but as far as I can tell, such theories have their work cut out for them if they are to succeed.

This is merely a lazy and naked assertion. Since there's no substance behind the counter-point, I see no reason to bother looking into the physics of the argument for veracity.

Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

deludedgod
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He is just being

He is just being intellectually lazy. He didn't even bother to properly counter my main point about mutually exclusive ontology, and he failed completely to justify the supernatural on any grounds. The only way he could do it is to reason in a circle.

And btw, I know exactly what anthropomorphic means. And I challenge you to give me a deity (man has made up thousands, so take your pick) who is not anthropomorphized.

The only thing you actually said was "you assume physicalism" which is an obvious reasoning in a circle if you cannot justify supernaturalism on any possible grounds, nor resolve it's impossible contradiction with the classical God. You're just being intellectually lazy now by failing to bother to make a real point and instead projecting your failure of rationalizing supernaturalism onto us by making such an insistence. You are setting up an infuriating logical fallacy: the argument from assertion.

I would suggest you read what todangst says about supernatural, whose sentiments regarding the impossibility of the definition I echo.

And if you did not think there was anything about Pascal's Wager, you must have skipped half the post.

And I already explained how the two concepts are mutually exclusive, you were just too lazy to counter it, and instead attempted to get out of it by begging the question. One of them is invalid to begin with, and the other wholly depends on properties which supernaturalism lack ie physical properties (at very least, it cannot exist outside of said propertiess)

And I'll echo Vastet here: You cannot justify an ontology for an entity that does not exist by definition, especially if you don't even bother to clarify such a stance on an incredibly ill-defined concept as supernaturalism.  Any requisite which you would state would require existence at very least. Supernaturalism fails this.

And also, all empirical evidence and inductivity is inherently based on something existing. It is impossible to reason your way into supernaturalism, it is a ridiculous concept.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Archangel__7
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Okay.. I think I'll go for

Okay.. I think I'll go for just one more round here, and I'll have to let each of you have the last word on this. For my part, I've located two critical flaws in objections to theism : one on the basis of the "who designed the desginer" argument, and the other on the basis of some perceived incoherence with God and Time. In what follows, i intend to address some of the more prevailing objections, which I hope will suffice for clarity, if not some level of agreement.

Quote:
Why suppose otherwise? The only reason to do so is to defend an introduced invisible concept in the first place.

If you follow that particular segment of the conversation, the question posed was "Who designed the Designer?" I've pointed out this question attempts to foist a set of assumption the theist is not obligated to affirm, that if there is Design in nature, that the source of this design must be physical. But you ask "why suppose otherwise?" Because of my earlier point: why should the theist confine himself to physical constraints when conventional naturalistic methods don't even posses the basic tools needed to construct a physical explanation for physicality itself?

Quote:
Obviously not. This is cherry picking science to find what works with the god and discarding what doesn't work, even if true. It's irrational.

One need only focus on evidence that's relevant to the direct point being addressed. Suppose all other theistic arguments fail; fine... for the sake of just this discussion alone, I'm perfectly fine with that. It still remains that my point on this score has been made, and that is all that logic requires.

Quote:
And how exactly do you justify this comment? When I look at his original post and the topic title, I see a perfect match.

I understand deludedgod to be introducing a misuse of Pascal's Wager to the effect that what's really being advocated by these theists is not at all what Pascal argued in the first place. If the content of one's post is going to deal with the substantial content of the Pascalian wager, you might want to do something similar to what Susan has done elsewhere on this forum .

Quote:
You're begging the question of gods existance in the first place.

Look, I haven't been arguing for the existence of God in this thread. When challenges against theism are such that they're meant to critique the internal coherency of God, all of God's classical attributes are on the table for discussion. Logic does not require proof that God exists before one can show that God and Time are not logically incompatible, and so my question remains, where is the non-sequitur in this?

Quote:
Universals depend on the universe to exist. 2 exists only when there is two of something. A mind exists only when(as far as we have observed) cellular matter undergoes chemical interaction. They do not exist in and of themselves. Science is quite simply the study of reality.

Well, it seems you've done well to define your position as a Nominalist Materialist (and offered a handy definition of scientism). But my point is simply that a definition is not the same as a defense. I could just as easily say that God must exist because by definition, such a being must exist necessarily, but you'd probably be on good grounds to call "foul" on me for that tactic since that's just the issue that's in question. In short, you're wholly rational in assuming that position just to begin debate on that (after all, if you're going to debate, you have to have some starting point), but it does not follow that my beliefs are then made "irrational" by simply holding an opposing view.

Quote:
I think you're the one who does not know what anthropomorphic means. Every deity in history has been anthropomorphicized (if that's not a word it is now).

To some extent, I can accept that there are a number of family resemblances in religious motifs throughout history. Freud in recognizing this once remarked that "Religions owe their compulsive power to reawakened memories of very ancient, forgotten, highly emotional episodes of human history." He found motifs about paradise, about expulsion from paradise, about immortality, and about ressurection or rebirth in so many different societies and ancient cultures, that it made him think about how similar they were to many of the beliefs in current religions like Judaism and some branches of Christianity.

C.S. Lewis, on the other hand, sees these similarities as manifestations of all creation anticipating the genuine article which was to appear definitively in the person of Christ. To Lewis, this universal anticipation of these events offered grounds to think that perhaps there was something of substance to these motifs if they're to be found everywhere.

Whichever side is correct is a good question. In any event, here's the point I raised in my previous comment:

Quote:
How in the world does anthropomorphic (You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means) resemblances stand in logical contradiction to "supernaturalism".

One might try to induce a probabilistic conclusion that Christianity therefore is historically lacking, but insofar as one speaks in terms of probabilities, there's absolutely no logical contradiction at play, and this is precisely what deludedgod intended to suggest:

Quote:
"The God concept is an impossible ontology which can be reasoned out of using a posteriori because it asks for the impossible reconciliation of two mutually exclusive concepts: Supernaturalism and anthropomorphism." (emphasis mine)

If you care to defend his use of these terms, be my guest, but I have no idea how one is going to formally prove mutual exclusivity between Supernaturalism and "anthropomorphism", whatever his intended use of the word is supposed to be.

Deludedgod, I'll address you here directly now:

I don't really have much else to tell you. I've covered the same ground a couple times, and if it's not clear by now, we may have to settle for not coming to an adequate understanding of the question at this time. We may have better luck as the dust settles and more time is allowed to think about what has been said here.

Quote:
You cannot justify an ontology for an entity that does not exist by definition

That's strange, I don't know of any theist defending a definition of a being that included his non-existence. I mean, this isn't an argument to just say that your opponent's view is simply wrong "by definition". Alvin Plantinga puts it this way:

Quote:
"Of course, if the verificationists had given cogent arguments for their criterion, ...then perhaps there would have been a problem here for the Christian philosopher; then we would have been obliged either to agree that Christian theism is cognitively meaningless, or else revise or reject those premises. But the Verificationists never gave any cogent arguments; indeed, they seldom gave any arguments at all. Some simply trumpeted this principle as a great discovery, and when challenged, repeated it loudly and slowly; but why should that disturb anyone? Others proposed it as a definition--a definition of the term "meaningful." Now of course the positivists had a right to use this term in any way they chose; it's a free country. But how could their decision to use that term in a particular way show anything so momentous as that all those who took themselves to be believers in God were wholly deluded? If I propose to use the term 'Democrat' to mean 'unmitigated scoundrel,' would it follow that Democrats everywhere should hang their heads in shame?"

Quote:
All empirical evidence and inductivity is inherently based on something existing.

On the face of it, I agree with this, and I've laid out the consequences that would follow if genuine design were found to exist: The Materialist would have great difficulty trying to untangle their own pet "Who designed the designer" problem if they want to avoid theism (or at least avoid abandoning Naturalism). Whether or not Design has actually been shown to exist is not my point: Rather, your assertion that "It is impossible to reason your way into supernaturalism" is false. As far as I can see, there is no logical impossibility to the notion that Naturalism could be proven false. I've just given you just such a situation in this very paragraph. You may think it unlikely, and perhaps contrary to "conventional wisdom", but you've got a long way to go to show it to be impossible.

deludedgod
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If you care to defend his

If you care to defend his use of these terms, be my guest, but I have no idea how one is going to formally prove mutual exclusivity between Supernaturalism and "anthropomorphism", whatever his intended use of the word is supposed to be.

Deludedgod, I'll address you here directly now:

I don't really have much else to tell you. I've covered the same ground a couple times, and if it's not clear by now, we may have to settle for not coming to an adequate understanding of the question at this time. We may have better luck as the dust settles and more time is allowed to think about what has been said here.

Very simple:

The classical God concept has anthropomorphic quantities attached:

-sentience, conciousness and intelligence

-emotions like love and vengefulness

-omniscience (which would imply sight and hearing)

-ability to directly influence the physical world

It also has supernatural quantities

-Outside space and time

-transcendant of these

-eternal

-existed before matter/energy

-cause of the above

It is impossible to reconcile these. Sentience, emotions and conciousness are based on physical properties. 150 years of neurology attest to this. Omniscience would imply sight, which would imply ability to process photons, which are a physical phenomenon. It is impossible for a non-physical entity to have attributes that are wholly grounded in the physical world. It would be impossible for God to "speak" as that would require him to have air in his lungs. It would be impossible for the entity to influence the physical world because that requires energy, a physical property. Obviously, the ancients who ignorantly created their Gods around their meager fires did not know this, but we should.

There is no way to rationalize your way out of the fact that an entity which does not exist in the physical world can have attributes for which physical existence is the most basic of requisites.

I don't particularly like Plantiga's style here (His evolutionary argument against naturalism was sloppy and he failed to justify the low probability of the R, N, E and C variables. It seems to me that he is not actually making an argument, but rather suggesting rather childishly that his opponents had not made an argument. With respect to the supernatural, verificationism is merely a denial of a concept which the theists have never justified. Last time I checked, the burden of proof was on the claimant.

As far as I can see, there is no logical impossibility to the notion that Naturalism could be proven false. I've just given you just such a situation in this very paragraph. You may think it unlikely, and perhaps contrary to "conventional wisdom", but you've got a long way to go to show it to be impossible.

That is nice but there is no evidence for design. You know why? Not testable. This is why nearly all respected scientists hate it. You think a God designed life? Got any emprical evidence or experiments to back it up? No. Then go away. It makes a staggering number of inferences, each more absurd than the last in defence. And the law of Parsimony expressly banishes this argument because for science to embrace something, it must be testable. No tests, no theory.

This is why I reject supernaturalism. By it's own definition, it cannot be shown to exist. If it could, it would be called naturalism.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Vastet
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Archangel__7 wrote: Okay..

Archangel__7 wrote:
Okay.. I think I'll go for just one more round here, and I'll have to let each of you have the last word on this. For my part, I've located two critical flaws in objections to theism : one on the basis of the "who designed the desginer" argument, and the other on the basis of some perceived incoherence with God and Time. In what follows, i intend to address some of the more prevailing objections, which I hope will suffice for clarity, if not some level of agreement.

Quote:
Why suppose otherwise? The only reason to do so is to defend an introduced invisible concept in the first place.

If you follow that particular segment of the conversation, the question posed was "Who designed the Designer?" I've pointed out this question attempts to foist a set of assumption the theist is not obligated to affirm, that if there is Design in nature, that the source of this design must be physical.

The theist assumes there's a designer in the first place. If the designer exists and is physical, then the designer is natural, and can be supported with evidence. Which no theist has accomplished. And I really haven't seen you say anything that refuted the argument of who designed the designer either.

Archangel__7 wrote:

But you ask "why suppose otherwise?" Because of my earlier point: why should the theist confine himself to physical constraints when conventional naturalistic methods don't even posses the basic tools needed to construct a physical explanation for physicality itself?

Of what value is refusing to accept reality? Us not knowing everything is no reason to assume there's something that made everything. Let alone attribute a specific philosophy that has no grounding in reality or the slightest fraction of validation.

Archangel__7 wrote:
One need only focus on evidence that's relevant to the direct point being addressed.

False. One must focus on all evidence to attempt to prove the assumption wrong. That's how science works. If any proof at all makes a theory incompatible with reality, then the theory is false.

Archangel__7 wrote:
Suppose all other theistic arguments fail; fine... for the sake of just this discussion alone, I'm perfectly fine with that.

That's good, because it's true.

Archangel__7 wrote:
It still remains that my point on this score has been made, and that is all that logic requires.

Archangel__7 wrote:
Quote:
And how exactly do you justify this comment? When I look at his original post and the topic title, I see a perfect match.

I understand deludedgod to be introducing a misuse of Pascal's Wager to the effect that what's really being advocated by these theists is not at all what Pascal argued in the first place.

One wonders if you even know what pascals wager is(by name) to suggest such foolishness. There isn't a single thing in the original post that is contradictory to what Pascal himself said.

Archangel__7 wrote:
If the content of one's post is going to deal with the substantial content of the Pascalian wager, you might want to do something similar to what Susan has done elsewhere on this forum .

This is nonsensical. Deludedgod did exactly what the topic title states would be done. He was pointing out non-sequiturs within pascals wager. He did so. Others may have also done so. This argument is completely irrelevant.

Archangel__7 wrote:
Quote:
You're begging the question of gods existance in the first place.

Look, I haven't been arguing for the existence of God in this thread.

Yes you have.

Archangel__7 wrote:
When challenges against theism are such that they're meant to critique the internal coherency of God, all of God's classical attributes are on the table for discussion. Logic does not require proof that God exists before one can show that God and Time are not logically incompatible, and so my question remains, where is the non-sequitur in this?

That's not pascals wager, not the point of the thread, and is completely irrelevant to the discussion. I therefore ignore it, even though it is remarkably easy to rip apart.

Archangel__7 wrote:
Quote:
Universals depend on the universe to exist. 2 exists only when there is two of something. A mind exists only when(as far as we have observed) cellular matter undergoes chemical interaction. They do not exist in and of themselves. Science is quite simply the study of reality.

Well, it seems you've done well to define your position as a Nominalist Materialist (and offered a handy definition of scientism). But my point is simply that a definition is not the same as a defense. I could just as easily say that God must exist because by definition, such a being must exist necessarily, but you'd probably be on good grounds to call "foul" on me for that tactic since that's just the issue that's in question. In short, you're wholly rational in assuming that position just to begin debate on that (after all, if you're going to debate, you have to have some starting point), but it does not follow that my beliefs are then made "irrational" by simply holding an opposing view.

Your views aren't irrational because mine are rational, they are irrational because they are irrational. This is a strawman argument. How much logic have you really studied? I haven't studied any at all, yet I'm still poking yours so full of holes it's lucky you aren't a boat.

Archangel__7 wrote:
Quote:
I think you're the one who does not know what anthropomorphic means. Every deity in history has been anthropomorphicized (if that's not a word it is now).

To some extent, I can accept that there are a number of family resemblances in religious motifs throughout history. Freud in recognizing this once remarked that "Religions owe their compulsive power to reawakened memories of very ancient, forgotten, highly emotional episodes of human history." He found motifs about paradise, about expulsion from paradise, about immortality, and about ressurection or rebirth in so many different societies and ancient cultures, that it made him think about how similar they were to many of the beliefs in current religions like Judaism and some branches of Christianity. C.S. Lewis, on the other hand, sees these similarities as manifestations of all creation anticipating the genuine article which was to appear definitively in the person of Christ. To Lewis, this universal anticipation of these events offered grounds to think that perhaps there was something of substance to these motifs if they're to be found everywhere.

Why is it so typical for a theist to dodge a point and go on spouting about things that have nothing to do with anything? *sigh*

Archangel__7 wrote:
Whichever side is correct is a good question. In any event, here's the point I raised in my previous comment:
Quote:
How in the world does anthropomorphic (You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means) resemblances stand in logical contradiction to "supernaturalism".

This would be amusing if it weren't so sad. Since you're incapable of dealing with arguments, and you've stated this is your last post, I'm not going to waste any more of my time ripping apart something that even a 6 year old would shake his head at.

Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

ShaunPhilly
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Archangel__7 wrote: why

Archangel__7 wrote:

why should the theist confine himself to physical constraints when conventional naturalistic methods don't even posses the basic tools needed to construct a physical explanation for physicality itself?

There is quite a lot to respond to, but I think this is the most important point to address.

Physicality does not need to explain physicality any more than the doubter needs to explain doubt.  Any person, whether theist or atheist, needs to contrain themselves to nature because they cannot lean on a supernature.

If the question is whether a supernatural exists (if anything outside of nature can be said to exist--this is the point in question...), does not even make sense.

We know we are physical beings.  We define physical in such a way that only an Idealist (who believes that the universe is a projection of Mind) would disagree with.  The question, then, is whether in addition to the material if anything supernatural exists--either within us or otherwise.  The problem here in ontological.  If dualism were true, then how does the natural interact with the supernatural?  If they are able to communicate and influence one-another, then taht simply extends the reach of the natural into the supernatural, making it natural.  It may have different properties, but it is still natural.

But, explain physicality itself? I don't even know what that means.  The physical exists, that we cannot question.  Why suppose anything more? What does it explain?  What you are missing about the 'designer of the designer' question is the fact that if you must assume that something must be ultimate, to suppose a god when the universe itself could be the ultimate is special pleading.  Taht is, there is no justification for even proposing a designer without the design.  And asking 'what if there were evidence of design' is akin to asking "and what if there were perpetual motion machines?" Until there is such evidence, the hypothetical question is irrelevant.

Yes, space might be finite, but that does not necessitate time being so.  The universe as it exists might have had a beginning, but that doesn't mean that space and time didn't precede it in some other form.

I'll await todansgt's reply, as his grasp pf cosmology is greater than mine.

I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.

Chaoslord2004
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Archangel__7 wrote: I've

Archangel__7 wrote:
I've located two critical flaws in objections to theism : one on the basis of the "who designed the desginer" argument

I agree, otherwise you get an infinite regress of designers.  However, in postulating the argument from design, the theist has a few ontological commitments he must make, IF he is to escape the regress.  The theist must accept that God is a necessary being.  Furthermore, both the Cosmological and the Teleological arguments rest upon the presupposition that God is a necessary being.  Without the ontological argument, the Cosmological and Teleological arguments fail.  So, does it work?  No.  To quote Kant:  "Existence is not a predicate."  Without existence being a predicate, the ontological argument fails.

Archangel__7 wrote:
why should the theist confine himself to physical constraints when conventional naturalistic methods don't even posses the basic tools needed to construct a physical explanation for physicality itself?

In other words, God-of-the-Gaps.  You see a potential problem for naturalism and materialism and you interpret that as a win for theism.  Sorry, this argument style hasn't been persuasive since the 6th grade.

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions

Archangel__7
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Shaunphilly, I hope you

Shaunphilly, I hope you don't interpret my omissions here as any sign of disrespect for your comments.  I want to tackle your thoughts as well, though ChaosLord2004 and I go some way back, and I just happened to find his objections pretty illuminating at this hour.  Just stay tuned and hopefully I'll find more time I really don't have to address them.  As to the rest, we had a spirited discussion, and you've raised some good points, but I've lost interest in continuing down the same track for another round.

In some fashion, we might think of God-of-the-gaps methodology as another form of an argument from ignorance; but the comments I offered above is not one of them.

It's not just that the theist is incapable of conceiving how one can possibly explain the qualities the universe displays in physical terms; it's that the theist can see (however dimly) that it is impossible that one could.

Let's suppose now that "Science" is the primary (perhaps the only) gateway to knowledge; So construed, reason applied to scientific methodology is at least conceived to be most authoritative routine in constructing an account of what occurs naturally in the universe, however unique the event being accounted for might be.  But let's think now for a moment about what some of the necessary tools one would need to begin constructing physical explanations for observed phenomena.

In terms of cosmology, much of the heavy lifting is done by physics.  What constitutes some of the basic or most necessary components to begin doing physics?  Arguably, Time, Space, Matter and Energy--in fact, without these, whatever realities one might attempt to describe would no longer lie within the domain of physics, as such, so much as they would now be in the realm of metaphysics.  Alright... given that these elements came into being at the point of the singularity (big bang), if our curiosities drive us to somehow go beyond that event to try and construct a naturalistic account of why something exists rather than nothing, what would such an explanation look like?

In other words, try constructing a physical explanation for physicality itself.  I know it's a confusing phrase, and there are perhaps much better ways of putting it that aren't as ambiguous, but surely you see here that the method of reasoning does not suppose a single attribute about God (We haven't even assumed God's existence yet); nonetheless, I think we're in a much better position to see my earlier point. It's not simply that theists don't have the imagination to conceive how a naturalistic explanation might look like--that would be god-of-the-gaps, and indeed an argument from ignorance. Rather, this difficulty provides good grounds for doubting that such an explanation is even possible.  Sure, many speculative theories seem to come and go, and we're assured that (someday, at least), this problem will be cracked.  But the conceptual framework of contemporary science as characterized by many in this forum seems utterly incapable of violating its own Materialistic assumptions.

Theists, on the other hand, are in no way committed to such artificial restrictions, and are free to consider possibilities beyond Materialistic confinements of Matter, Space, Time, and Energy. In fact, if you scroll up, I gave a number of causal attributes drawn from the absence of these basic physical elements; and if these attributes are consistent with the God of Classical Theism, I think theists who consider these points may be well justified in CONCLUDING (note, Cosmological argument need not assume the existence of God from the outset, though they may bring background information of a hypothetical being that might exist as a live candidate) that the proposition "God Exists" is more plausible than any naturalistic alternative.

The Teleological argument works in much the same way. Both assume the validity of Natural theology in its evidentialist forms to reason one's way not From God, but To God.

But that still leaves us with a more nuanced objection, which may be what you've been trying to highlight: that the very openness to the possibility of an ontology that would allow for an "extra-natural" or super-mundane reality is an assumption that the theist is smuggling in as a live option to begin his thought process.  One might think this is a bit like stacking the deck in his favor before the cards are dealt;  but just read through this entire thread, and tell me if atheists do not do this very same thing with Materialism.  Much of what I've received in response to my comments were pontifications (not actual arguments) of a Nominalist Materialist, a good definition of scientism, and an assertion that any other ontology other than the one the author subscribes to must be a logical impossibility.  Now I'm not trying to be flippant about this, and neither am I suggesting that one cannot avail himself to these assumptions as starting points, but if all one does in a discussion is restate their position and claim it true by fiat, how am I the "intellecually lazy" one?

P.S. -- Existence indeed is not a predicate... but Necessary Existence sure is, and this is what St. Anselm talks about anyway.  Kant was barking up the wrong tree.

Vastet
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*Declares victory*

*Declares victory*

Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

ShaunPhilly
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Archagel__7 wrote: One

Archagel__7 wrote:

One might think this is a bit like stacking the deck in his favor before the cards are dealt;  but just read through this entire thread, and tell me if atheists do not do this very same thing with Materialism.

The fundamental difference is that a materialist starts with what he knows exists, calls it matter, then goes on to see what that stuff acts like.  There is no smuggling going on, because he starts with stuff empirically observed.

No supernatural stuff is observed (because if it were it would be material), so it must be smuggled.  It is smuggled (in many cases) from the apparant dualism that is derived from conscious experience; they think that things exist without material basis because they don't see actual examples of them (concepts like freedom or the dunned Platonic ideals).  They simply don't realize that these concepts a just as material as anything else--in the brain.

Shaun

I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.

Chaoslord2004
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Archangel__7 wrote: P.S. --

Archangel__7 wrote:
P.S. -- Existence indeed is not a predicate... but Necessary Existence sure is, and this is what St. Anselm talks about anyway.  Kant was barking up the wrong tree.

No, actually he wasn't.  Look at the ontological arguments of Descartes and Anslem again.  Their whole point was to show that assuming God doesn't exist, leads to a contradiction.  Thus, simply understanding the concept of God, reveals that he must exist.  Or, as Descartes said:  Once we have a clear and distinct idea of God, we see that he must exist.  So, here is Descartes argument:

P1:  God is the being with all perfections

P2:  Existence is a perfection

C:  God exists.

Since this is an argument based merely on a definition, it is a necessary truth that God exists...if the argument works.  Much in the same way this is argument works:

P1:  All men are mortal

P2:  Socrates is a man

C:  Socrates is mortal

Now, yes, "necessary existence" is a property something can have.  The ontological argument tries to establish this.  However, to establish this, it must first assume existence is a predicate.

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions

Chaoslord2004
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Archangel__7 wrote: as

Archangel__7 wrote:
as well, though ChaosLord2004 and I go some way back

We do?  Refresh my memory.

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions

lazyness
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My brains are leaking outta

My brains are leaking outta my ears!

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

Now, yes, "necessary existence" is a property something can have. The ontological argument tries to establish this. However, to establish this, it must first assume existence is a predicate.

What is the difference between "existence" and "necessary existence"?

Thanks.

todangst
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ShaunPhilly

ShaunPhilly wrote:

Archangel__7 wrote:

why should the theist confine himself to physical constraints when conventional naturalistic methods don't even posses the basic tools needed to construct a physical explanation for physicality itself?

There is quite a lot to respond to, but I think this is the most important point to address.

Physicality does not need to explain physicality any more than the doubter needs to explain doubt. Any person, whether theist or atheist, needs to contrain themselves to nature because they cannot lean on a supernature.

Well said. (I should mention that I always look forward to reading your posts.)

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If the question is whether a supernatural exists (if anything outside of nature can be said to exist--this is the point in question...), does not even make sense.

Yes, any term that attempts to make such a reference is a broken concept.

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We know we are physical beings. We define physical in such a way that only an Idealist (who believes that the universe is a projection of Mind) would disagree with. The question, then, is whether in addition to the material if anything supernatural exists--either within us or otherwise. The problem here in ontological. If dualism were true, then how does the natural interact with the supernatural? If they are able to communicate and influence one-another, then that simply extends the reach of the natural into the supernatural, making it natural. It may have different properties, but it is still natural.

Precisely. In addition, I'd add that any causal argument or claim is a naturalistic claim.

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But, explain physicality itself? I don't even know what that means. The physical exists, that we cannot question. Why suppose anything more?

The theist commits a black hole fallacy by demanding an ontology - unless he is an idealist - i.e. unless he rejects the existence of matter. However, we can of course provide an explanation of what matter is....  and we can attempt to discuss the metaphysics of matter: matter is composed of fermions - a 'bit' of matter with no substructure. But we can continue from here: is matter ultimately nearly infinitely small vibrating strings? Is matter 'folded over space'?

Quote:

Yes, space might be finite, but that does not necessitate time being so. The universe as it exists might have had a beginning, but that doesn't mean that space and time didn't precede it in some other form.

I'll await todansgt's reply, as his grasp pf cosmology is greater than mine.

You've already said it well. All I'd add is my brief set of notes on some ideas from cosmologists on the matter. They key point I'd make here is that cosmologists themselves do not consider the big bang to be an explanation of 'how the universe began', but instead merely a description of our universe at planck time. I'm not aware of many cosmologists who consider the big bang to be a creation event.

# Why (Almost All) Cosmologists are Atheists

Sean M. Carroll, University of Chicago

http://www.rationalresponders.com/common_cosmological_misconceptions

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'

todangst
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Chaoslord2004

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

Archangel__7 wrote:
P.S. -- Existence indeed is not a predicate... but Necessary Existence sure is, and this is what St. Anselm talks about anyway. Kant was barking up the wrong tree.

No, actually he wasn't.

I don't think so either.

'Necessary existence' can be a predicate?

Quote:

Look at the ontological arguments of Descartes and Anslem again. Their whole point was to show that assuming God doesn't exist, leads to a contradiction.

Precisely.

Here's a thought: had they been right, were it true that any attempt to deny 'god' led to a contradiction, would there have been any need for an Anslem or a Descartes to point it out to us in the first place?

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Thus, simply understanding the concept of God, reveals that he must exist. Or, as Descartes said: Once we have a clear and distinct idea of God, we see that he must exist.

I wonder why Descartes never caught on to the problem in his very first premise: the impossibility of imagining something outside of nature.

Then again, he felt he proved immateriality by saying "You can have half a body, but not half an idea" so perhaps such discoveries were beyond him.

Quote:

So, here is Descartes argument:

P1: God is the being with all perfections

P2: Existence is a perfection

C: God exists.

Since this is an argument based merely on a definition, it is a necessary truth that God exists...if the argument works. Much in the same way this is argument works:

P1: All men are mortal

P2: Socrates is a man

C: Socrates is mortal

Now, yes, "necessary existence" is a property something can have. The ontological argument tries to establish this. However, to establish this, it must first assume existence is a predicate.

Yes.  When you say "necessary existence" is a 'property' do you simply mean that some things necessarily exist, given the basic metaphysic of a sentient brain?

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'

todangst
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lazyness wrote:   What is

lazyness wrote:

What is the difference between "existence" and "necessary existence"?

Thanks.

That's a good question.

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'

Polaris
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Todangst Wrote:

.

Pheonix
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deludedgod wrote:The biggest

nvm, figured it out!