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I_Know_Nothing
08-14-2011, 11:39 AM
While listening to an old Don Johnson Christian Debates podcast, he pointed out that his guest was presupposing naturalism. My gut response was "Well ...duh." If I see card trick, I would never consider the option that it was the result of actual magic; I would search for some natural explanation for it. Is this presupposing naturalism? That sounds so closed minded. Do you agree with how the phrase was used? Is it possible to presuppose, say, the laws of physics, or do they just exist?

marshmallow
08-14-2011, 12:05 PM
It's even worse than that. Science is based on a logical fallacy (affirming the consequent).

1. If P, then Q.
2. Q.
3. Therefore, P.

Huh, that's weird. My computer is acting funn--

BigT
08-14-2011, 12:09 PM
All knowledge starts with a supposition. True knowledge comes from finding and testing that supposition.

In science, for example, naturalism works. So why use another concept?

Manda JO
08-14-2011, 12:31 PM
What is even meant here by naturalism? Because I associate the word with late 19th C lit, and the idea that a person's personality and destiny are determined by the apathetic environmental forces that work on them.

I_Know_Nothing
08-14-2011, 12:42 PM
What is even meant here by naturalism?

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism_%28philosophy%29

"Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical belief that only natural laws and forces (as opposed to supernatural ones) operate in the world and that nothing exists beyond the natural world"

iamnotbatman
08-14-2011, 12:53 PM
OP, your gut response was correct. Almost everything that one encounters on a day-to-day basis validates naturalism at first blush. Those things that are less obvious, like rainbows or the motion of the moon, or lightning, also turn out to be explained by, and so corroborate, naturalism. There are always shadows, where for some reason or other we have difficulty proving naturalism ("I swear I left my car keys in my pocket, but now they are on the table"). But of course it is a gross logical fallacy to take this as evidence against naturalism. Naturalism is clearly correct 99.999% of the time, and so the logical assumption should be that in the remaining 0.001% of the time is not supernatural unless there is evidence to the contrary (which there is not).

wevets
08-14-2011, 12:58 PM
The important distinction is really not between naturalism and supernaturalism, since supernaturalism is a vague term - what's supernatural anyway?

Really, the important distinction is between things that are observed vs. things that cannot be observed.

Naturalist philosophy in this context only consists of those things with can be observed (directly or indirectly - e.g. Dark Matter is observed via its gravitational effect on visible matter) hence it's not really so much of a presupposition as working with what you have.

Depending on the religious philosophy, God may be construed as either observable or non-observable in various ways.

What really gets silly is the presupposition of supernaturalism, because supernatural entities can then be used to explain literally everything, including that which can simultaneously be explained by natural or observable causes (e.g., gravity pulls the water down the waterfall, but who's to say the water nymphs don't play a role as well?).

Tyrrell McAllister
08-14-2011, 01:16 PM
It's even worse than that. Science is based on a logical fallacy (affirming the consequent).

1. If P, then Q.
2. Q.
3. Therefore, P.

Huh, that's weird. My computer is acting funn--

Just to be clear, it is logically valid to use the following reasoning:

1. If P, then Q is more probable.
2. Q.
3. Therefore, P is more probable.

This reasoning is validated by the mathematical fact that prob(Q | P) > prob(Q) implies that prob(P | Q) > prob(P). This in turn is just a logical consequence of Bayes's theorem (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Bayes_formula):

prob(P | Q) / prob(P) = prob(Q | P) / prob(Q).

Der Trihs
08-14-2011, 03:02 PM
I just found out I've been presupposing naturalism my whole life. Is this a fallacy?No, it's using Occam's Razor. The existence of nothing more than the known natural forces should be the presumption you run on unless and until something comes along that cannot be explained by only them.

njtt
08-14-2011, 03:31 PM
The important distinction is really not between naturalism and supernaturalism, since supernaturalism is a vague term - what's supernatural anyway?

Supernatural explanations are ones that invoke hypothetical beings that are not directly observable, that have powers that human beings do not have, but who can, at least potentially be communicated with and have their behavior influenced by the sorts of communicative means that we use to influence the behavior of other humans. That is, means such as talking to them, and asking, begging or flattering them into doing what you want (prayer), bribing or otherwise paying them (sacrifices), and (in the case of certain putatively less powerful supernatural entities) threatening them.

Naturalism is, pretty much, just the policy of avoiding supernatural explanations, and providing alternatives wherever possible. That it is a good policy is an unproven and unprovable assumption. However, it is an assumption that has shown itself to be very fruitful and productive of new insights over the past two and a half millennia (i.e., since it was first tried, by the early Greek presocratic philosophers), and even more so over the past four centuries or so (i.e., since the “scientific revolution”). Supernaturalism has never had anything like the same sort of record of success. Thus, the smart money (indeed, all but the wilfully dumb money) is on naturalism.

LonesomePolecat
08-14-2011, 05:20 PM
The important distinction is really not between naturalism and supernaturalism, since supernaturalism is a vague term ... And naturalism isn't a vague term? What is "nature," the root word of both naturalism and supernaturalism?

wevets
08-14-2011, 05:28 PM
Pretty much anything that can be directly or indirectly observed, as per my post above.

wevets
08-14-2011, 06:35 PM
To elaborate a little on the above, the whole process of science has been to elucidate natural laws (hence naturalism.) If indeed God were detected and observed, as most commonly conceived in Western thought, God would be the source of such natural laws, and it would be very difficult for naturalism to not include God. What could be more natural than God if God existed?


However, it's difficult to go the other way - I can't think of anything that has been objectively observed and the conclusion* is that it is not natural but supernatural. That's why naturalism is a less vague term than supernaturalism.


*Consensus conclusion, that is. The Catholic Church, for one example, uses a conclusion of supernaturalism of events surrounding persons to be given sainthood. Generally these conclusions are very rarely accepted, and the existence of the events themselves as reported are rarely accepted, outside the Catholic Church.

The Hamster King
08-14-2011, 06:40 PM
While listening to an old Don Johnson Christian Debates podcast, he pointed out that his guest was presupposing naturalism.EVERYONE presupposes naturalism. Even the most God-besotted fanatics use the evidence of their senses to navigate from the dinner table to the toilet. In fact, it's hard to imagine how anyone could conduct the most basic functions of day-to-day life without assuming that the evidence provided by our eyes and ears correlates with reality in some meaningful way.

If someone wishes to propose that we should SOMETIMES abandon naturalism in favor of some alternate epistemology, the burden is upon them to explain why such an exception is justified.

John Mace
08-14-2011, 06:44 PM
EVERYONE presupposes naturalism. Even the most God-besotted fanatics use the evidence of their senses to navigate from the dinner table to the toilet.

I've been using a divining rod all my life. You mean everyone doesn't do that? :eek:

E-Sabbath
08-14-2011, 06:46 PM
To simplify further: Hear hoofbeats, expect horses, not zebras.

John, your weiner is not a divining rod. Probably.

Kobal2
08-14-2011, 07:08 PM
and so the logical assumption should be that in the remaining 0.001% of the time is not supernatural unless there is evidence to the contrary (which there is not).

I still swear there's something occult and downright sinister at work, disappearing my socks.

j666
08-14-2011, 07:51 PM
The natural/supernatural distinction seems the basic fallacy to me.

1. If something is observed, it is natural.
2. If something observed is not explained in our current understanding, we should consider the possibility that our understanding is incomplete or erroneous.
3. Keys teleport and time travel, and socks generate miniature short-lived black holes into which said socks disappear.

There is no supernatural, but our understanding is incomplete.

thelabdude
08-14-2011, 07:55 PM
I hope nobody questions that the universe overwhelmingly follows stable laws. Controlled experiments are very powerful in predicting future events. Charles and Boyle worked out how gases generally behave. As we developed more precise measurements, we discovered small flaws in their laws. No it wasn't Satan, but intermolecular forces.

We have never been able to reproduce unnatural exceptions to the laws of science. We continue to learn new things. It turns out the the classic description of noble gasses, not known to form compounds, was more accurate than the arrogant ''inert gasses don't form compounds'' found in my textbooks. The chemical world yawned, said yeah, hybrid orbitals, and went on to more important things.

So there may be exceptions to naturalism, but they don't lend themselves to science's most powerful tool, the controlled expement. Even the other powerful tool, observation doesn't work well on the very infrequent.

Grumman
08-14-2011, 10:14 PM
No, it's using Occam's Razor. The existence of nothing more than the known natural forces should be the presumption you run on unless and until something comes along that cannot be explained by only them.
This. The correct response to a moron like the one mentioned in the OP is "You say that like it's a bad thing".

The difference between naturalism and Christianity is that we've seen untold numbers of things caused by natural causes, and none caused by his imaginary friend. It's the same reason we presuppose that dogs exist: because there is nothing we know about the universe that suggests it isn't true.

tim-n-va
08-15-2011, 12:27 AM
No, it's using Occam's Razor. The existence of nothing more than the known natural forces should be the presumption you run on unless and until something comes along that cannot be explained by only them.

It seems to me this is the big point. To a true believer an explanation that involves God doesn't require assumptions. A conclusion that involves belief is not exportable but it is hard to argue with because what someone believes has the same weight as a fact in their internal processing.

Do you "know" that what you can observe is the best basis for knowledge or is that what you "believe"?

There is a lot to that "logic" that I agree with. It is just that I've spent a lot of time with religious family members and I'm trying to reconcile otherwise bright people not seeing the world as I do.

MrDibble
08-15-2011, 12:36 AM
To simplify further: Hear hoofbeats, expect horses, not zebras.
Ummm...

Thudlow Boink
08-15-2011, 01:09 AM
EVERYONE presupposes naturalism. Even the most God-besotted fanatics use the evidence of their senses to navigate from the dinner table to the toilet. In fact, it's hard to imagine how anyone could conduct the most basic functions of day-to-day life without assuming that the evidence provided by our eyes and ears correlates with reality in some meaningful way.But that's not what "naturalism" means, if I'm understanding it correctly. Everyone agrees that nature exists, and that things generally and predictably follow natural laws. What naturalism insists on is that nothing but nature exists, and that there never are and can never be exceptions to those natural laws.


To the OP: I'd be interested in knowing the context of the remark—what point or argument the guest in question was trying to make at the time.

E-Sabbath
08-15-2011, 05:19 AM
Ummm...

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Zebra_%28medicine%29

You never heard the phrase before? It means that if something is true most of the time, and you meet something that has symptoms of the true thing, expect it to be the true thing. Everything in life one experiences on a daily basis tends to operate under a naturalistic basis. Encounter something new, expect it to also be naturalistic.

Bryan Ekers
08-15-2011, 05:33 AM
It's the same reason we presuppose that dogs exist

Yes, but they can't look up.

MrDibble
08-15-2011, 06:26 AM
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Zebra_%28medicine%29

You never heard the phrase before? It means that if something is true most of the time, and you meet something that has symptoms of the true thing, expect it to be the true thing. Everything in life one experiences on a daily basis tends to operate under a naturalistic basis. Encounter something new, expect it to also be naturalistic.

I hadn't actually. But I was just pulling your leg - I live in Africa, it being zebras wouldn't be out of all bounds of reason.

Meatros
08-15-2011, 08:03 AM
While listening to an old Don Johnson Christian Debates podcast, he pointed out that his guest was presupposing naturalism. My gut response was "Well ...duh." If I see card trick, I would never consider the option that it was the result of actual magic; I would search for some natural explanation for it. Is this presupposing naturalism? That sounds so closed minded. Do you agree with how the phrase was used? Is it possible to presuppose, say, the laws of physics, or do they just exist?

IIRC, he's a presuppositionalist - which means that he believes there is no 'neutral' ground. You cannot 'prove' worldviews per say, you can only show which ones are consistent.

Look up Van Til, Gordon Clark, Greg Bahnsen.

It's a load of rubbish, but it's quite sophisticated.

E-Sabbath
08-15-2011, 08:59 AM
Yes, but they can't look up.

Mine can. She charges across the yard, turns, looks up, catches the frisbee. Sometimes. It's kind of iffy, but I've caught her doing it. Worth noting.

MrDibble: Ha! Yes, well, there you go.
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Hickam%27s_dictum
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Sutton%27s_law
These are also interesting. Hickam's Dictum is actually a counterpoint to the Razor.

KellyCriterion
08-15-2011, 09:10 AM
No, it's using Occam's Razor. The existence of nothing more than the known natural forces should be the presumption you run on unless and until something comes along that cannot be explained by only them.
The uncaused first cause.

How do you explain that?

Czarcasm
08-15-2011, 09:36 AM
The uncaused first cause.

How do you explain that?You don't...yet. In science, you are allowed to say "I don't know."

Meatros
08-15-2011, 09:41 AM
The uncaused first cause.

How do you explain that?

I actually have problems with both premises of the Kalam.

I don't think we have an experience with 'nothing', so I do not think our intuition is enough to ground ex nihilo, nihilo fit. Further, I don't think the universe did ever *not* exist. The Kalam presupposes the a theory of time, which I do not support.

KellyCriterion
08-15-2011, 10:05 AM
You don't...yet. In science, you are allowed to say "I don't know."
Well, there's certainly some things we can logically deduce from what science claims to know.

If Stephen Hawking is right, in that time, space and matter were created at the moment of the Big Bang, then whatever caused the Big Bang was timeless, spaceless and immaterial.

That sure doesn't sound to me like we're still talking about "naturalistic" forces..

Meatros
08-15-2011, 10:17 AM
Well, there's certainly some things we can logically deduce from what science claims to know.

If Stephen Hawking is right, in that time, space and matter were created at the moment of the Big Bang, then whatever caused the Big Bang was timeless, spaceless and immaterial.

Even though I read his book, I can't remember what he posited with regard to the beginning of the universe. Your position supposes that he is right, of course, which isn't a settled issue.

That said, there are a multitude of models that put forth a universe 'from nothing'. Here's one (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0370269382908668).



That sure doesn't sound to me like we're still talking about "naturalistic" forces..


It does to me, then again, I don't know what you mean by supernaturalististic forces.

E-Sabbath
08-15-2011, 10:23 AM
It was not necessarily timeless, spaceless, and immaterial. It is simply that what we define as time, started with the Big Bang. The problem we have is that we can not observe what existed before, due to running out of what we define as time.

It is possible, to pull one example out of many (and simplifying _vastly), that our universe is a bubble inside a large universe, like air bubbles in jello. Perhaps this outside universe has existed for ten times longer than ours has. We can't tell: we can't look outside the bubble we're in.

I_Know_Nothing
08-15-2011, 10:28 AM
To the OP: I'd be interested in knowing the context of the remark—what point or argument the guest in question was trying to make at the time.

DJ starts out with a series of questions trying to understand the guest's 'worldview'. He asks questions like "Is matter all there is?" "Do we live in a closed system of cause and effect?" "Does everything need to be empirically verifiable?"

So the guest wasn't yet arguing a point, he was just in the hotseat while DJ asked him questions to explain his worldview. The guest said he believes in tangible, physical, demonstrable reality. Somewhere along the line DJ made the point that his worldview presupposes naturalism.

DJ has a model of a natural world with god existing outside, in the supernatural, whatever that is.

He uses the terms naturalist, materialist, and empiricist interchangeably, AFAIKT

KellyCriterion
08-15-2011, 10:33 AM
Even though I read his book, I can't remember what he posited with regard to the beginning of the universe. Your position supposes that he is right, of course, which isn't a settled issue.

That said, there are a multitude of models that put forth a universe 'from nothing'. Here's one (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0370269382908668).
I'm no physicist, but the link you provide here theorises about a universe originating from quantum tunnelling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_tunnelling), which requires, at the very least, one particle. In other words, something. Not nothing.

Aristotle came up with the best definition of nothing that I've come across: Nothing is what rocks dream about.

MrDibble
08-15-2011, 10:35 AM
The uncaused first cause.

How do you explain that?

Don't have to. Prove causality first.

KellyCriterion
08-15-2011, 10:35 AM
It was not necessarily timeless, spaceless, and immaterial. It is simply that what we define as time, started with the Big Bang. The problem we have is that we can not observe what existed before, due to running out of what we define as time.
But we need to be consistent with our definitions when inside a singular context. By our definitions, whatever caused time, space and matter to exist, must, by definition, be timeless, spaceless and immaterial.

It is possible, to pull one example out of many (and simplifying _vastly), that our universe is a bubble inside a large universe, like air bubbles in jello. Perhaps this outside universe has existed for ten times longer than ours has.
But there's no evidence for this, hence, no reason to believe it.

KellyCriterion
08-15-2011, 10:36 AM
Don't have to. Prove causality first.
Causality is an axiom for me. If you believe things can begin without a cause, well, I admire your faith :cool:

Czarcasm
08-15-2011, 10:38 AM
Causality is an axiom for me. If you believe things can begin without a cause, well, I admire your faith :cool:What caused God?

KellyCriterion
08-15-2011, 10:41 AM
What caused God?
If you're talking about the uncaused first cause, that would be uncaused.

Alka Seltzer
08-15-2011, 10:42 AM
But there's no evidence for this, hence, no reason to believe it.

Actually, there may be some evidence (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14372387).

Meatros
08-15-2011, 10:42 AM
DJ starts out with a series of questions trying to understand the guest's 'worldview'. He asks questions like "Is matter all there is?" "Do we live in a closed system of cause and effect?" "Does everything need to be empirically verifiable?"

This is the presuppositionalist apologetic - to put the atheist on the defense. A philosopher by the name of Witmer wrote up a good treatment on how to respond to it. I have a copy of the pdf on my harddrive, but the original site I got it from is fried, apparently.

Here's the wiki on presuppositionalism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presuppositionalism).

You could search Stephen Law's blogs (http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2009/02/presuppositionalism.html) - he has many articles/arguments with presuppositionalists.

Here's Iron Chariot's article on the TAG (http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Transcendental_argument), which presupper's favor. And here's a general commentary from debunking Christianity (http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2006/10/christian-presuppositionalism-general.html).

So the guest wasn't yet arguing a point, he was just in the hotseat while DJ asked him questions to explain his worldview. The guest said he believes in tangible, physical, demonstrable reality. Somewhere along the line DJ made the point that his worldview presupposes naturalism.

Yes, this is the same sort of thing that Gene Cooke does - they construct strawmen of the atheistic positions and then attack them (bags of matter ring a bell?).

DJ has a model of a natural world with god existing outside, in the supernatural, whatever that is.

Not really - they have vague 'models'. Typically their argumentation consists of assertions, not evidence and definitely not reason (as man cannot reason autonomously, he must think God's thoughts after him).

He uses the terms naturalist, materialist, and empiricist interchangeably, AFAIKT


Yes, it's hogwash.

Meatros
08-15-2011, 10:44 AM
I'm no physicist, but the link you provide here theorises about a universe originating from quantum tunnelling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_tunnelling), which requires, at the very least, one particle. In other words, something. Not nothing.

Aristotle came up with the best definition of nothing that I've come across: Nothing is what rocks dream about.

Or, it requires a quantum fluctuation.

Your definition of nothing presupposes something.

Meatros
08-15-2011, 10:45 AM
If you're talking about the uncaused first cause, that would be uncaused.

How about existence?

You realize that if you posit "God" then you have a problem:

Why did God chose *then* to create the universe?

Also, you haven't answered the question of why the a theory of time should be preferred. It seems that relativity is better explained through the b theory - with regards to simultaneous presents.

KellyCriterion
08-15-2011, 10:49 AM
Or, it requires a quantum fluctuation.
Again, I'm no physicist, but according to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_fluctuation):
A quantum fluctuation is the temporary change in the amount of energy in a point in space
Energy? Undergoing change? In space?

This still sounds an awful lot like something, as opposed to nothing.

Your definition of nothing presupposes something.
Feel free to correct it.

wevets
08-15-2011, 10:50 AM
If you're talking about the uncaused first cause, that would be uncaused.

So you take causality as an axiom until it reaches God, when you make an exception to causality.

Doesn't seem like that's really taking causality as an axiom after all.

KellyCriterion
08-15-2011, 10:53 AM
How about existence?

You realize that if you posit "God" then you have a problem:

Why did God chose *then* to create the universe?

There is no "then" with a timeless entity.

Also, you haven't answered the question of why the a theory of time should be preferred. It seems that relativity is better explained through the b theory - with regards to simultaneous presents.
Not clued up enough on physics to even understand your question. As long as some of the world's top physicists keep saying that space, time and matter had a beginning, that's enough for me to reject the idea that naturalism can explain everything.

KellyCriterion
08-15-2011, 10:54 AM
So you take causality as an axiom until it reaches God, when you make an exception to causality.

Doesn't seem like that's really taking causality as an axiom after all.
Everything with a beginning has a cause. I take that as an axiom.

If the uncaused first cause has no beginning, then the axiom does not apply.

MrDibble
08-15-2011, 10:55 AM
Causality is an axiom for me.That's explaining it away, not explaining it. If you believe things can begin without a cause, well, I admire your faith :cool::rolleyes: I "believe" no such thing. It happens all the time.

Meatros
08-15-2011, 11:04 AM
Again, I'm no physicist, but according to wikipedia:

Energy? Undergoing change? In space?

This still sounds an awful lot like something, as opposed to nothing.

You are misinterpreting me, I am not suggesting that there ever was 'nothing'. I'm not sure the term even makes sense.

Instead, what I am alluding to is that the initial state of the universe could be like a vacuum, where quantum particles arise without causes. This is the quantum fluctuation that I'm referring to.

Feel free to correct it.

No need - I'm not the one who is saying that 'nothing' is possible. I'm not sure the term makes sense. You are the one who is supporting the view that the universe came from nothing and therefore requires an explanation.

There is no "then" with a timeless entity.


Um... So you are positing that God created time and space without time or space?

You seem to be positing incoherencies, which cannot be rationally affirmed.

Not clued up enough on physics to even understand your question.

It's a question of philosophy, not physics, really.

Still, if you don't even understand the question, then how can you be confident of your answer (ie, God did it)?

As long as some of the world's top physicists keep saying that space, time and matter had a beginning, that's enough for me to reject the idea that naturalism can explain everything.

Out of the two theories, the b theory is preferred by philosophers. Further, you are confusing the beginning of our local universe with an ultimate beginning.

Finally, you are appealing to ignorance; 'we don't know, therefore God'.

That's not a solid base to hang your hat.

Everything with a beginning has a cause. I take that as an axiom.


Again, if you extend this to the universe you are begging the question with regard to the a theory of time.

Further, since we have no experience with 'beginnings' of this sort, your premise is begging the question with regard to ultimate beginnings.

You are confusing the changing of energy/matter into different states within the universe with 'beginnings'. We have no experience with ultimate beginnings - or beginnings from nothing.

In fact, if something could come from nothing, the only way I can make sense out of it is if it is uncaused, since there would be nothing for an agent to act upon. So even if the concept did make sense, your explanation - that God took two scoops of nothing and created something makes EVEN LESS sense then the universe arising from nothing uncaused.

I_Know_Nothing
08-15-2011, 11:11 AM
If you're talking about the uncaused first cause, that would be uncaused.

If the first cause was uncaused then how did it happen?

Uncaused cause = What is the sound of one hand clapping?

It's and imponderable/strange loop/paradox. Its answers nothing.

wevets
08-15-2011, 11:13 AM
Everything with a beginning has a cause. I take that as an axiom.

If the uncaused first cause has no beginning, then the axiom does not apply.

Cute.

How do you propose to identify which things don't have beginnings?

KellyCriterion
08-15-2011, 11:29 AM
You are misinterpreting me, I am not suggesting that there ever was 'nothing'. I'm not sure the term even makes sense.

Instead, what I am alluding to is that the initial state of the universe could be like a vacuum, where quantum particles arise without causes. This is the quantum fluctuation that I'm referring to.

Quantum particles arising without a cause? Sounds implausibly magical to me.

No need - I'm not the one who is saying that 'nothing' is possible. I'm not sure the term makes sense. You are the one who is supporting the view that the universe came from nothing and therefore requires an explanation.
We need to be careful what we mean by that. I certainly don't believe that all there was nothing, and then there was a universe. I believe there was something that caused the universe.

Um... So you are positing that God created time and space without time or space?
Whatever caused time and space, by definition, did not use/rely on time and space.

Out of the two theories, the b theory is preferred by philosophers. Further, you are confusing the beginning of our local universe with an ultimate beginning.
Same deal applies. Eg, even if the universe as we know it today sprang from a Big Crunch, you still have time, space and matter all about the place.

Finally, you are appealing to ignorance; 'we don't know, therefore God'.

That's not a solid base to hang your hat.

No, I've never posited, anywhere in this thread, anything of the sort.

You are confusing the changing of energy/matter into different states within the universe with 'beginnings'.
?

You are the one who posited "quantum fluctuations" and "quantum tunnelling" as potential beginnings of the universe.

In fact, if something could come from nothing, the only way I can make sense out of it is if it is uncaused, since there would be nothing for an agent to act upon.
This assumes such a first cause needs an agent to act upon.

So even if the concept did make sense, your explanation - that God took two scoops of nothing and created something makes EVEN LESS sense then the universe arising from nothing uncaused.
I disagree. Anything arising "uncaused" makes far less sense that anything arising "caused".

MrDibble
08-15-2011, 11:35 AM
Anything arising "uncaused" makes far less sense that anything arising "caused".
Are you actually listening to yourself? Substitute "God" for 'anything arising "uncaused"' in there - you're kind of making the argument against yourself.

Czarcasm
08-15-2011, 11:42 AM
Quantum particles arising without a cause? Sounds implausibly magical to me.More implausibly magical than this?Whatever caused time and space, by definition, did not use/rely on time and space.

Meatros
08-15-2011, 11:44 AM
Quantum particles arising without a cause? Sounds implausibly magical to me.

That's fine, but your beef isn't with me, it's with the majority of physicists.

We need to be careful what we mean by that. I certainly don't believe that all there was nothing, and then there was a universe. I believe there was something that caused the universe.

Okay, so then we both agree that nothing is not a state that the universe could have ever been in. I'm not sure there's anywhere to go from here if we both accept these things.

So what is this 'cause' and how did it create a universe?

Whatever caused time and space, by definition, did not use/rely on time and space.

I do not find this coherent at all, since it seems to be temporal. Please explain.

Same deal applies. Eg, even if the universe as we know it today sprang from a Big Crunch, you still have time, space and matter all about the place.

Actually it doesn't. A local beginning is consistent with the b theory - or rather, I should say the appearance of a local beginning.

No, I've never posited, anywhere in this thread, anything of the sort.

You are resting your claim that there is something beyond the physical on our ignorance. You might not be ready to claim that it's God, but you are still appealing to ignorance.

?

You are the one who posited "quantum fluctuations" and "quantum tunnelling" as potential beginnings of the universe.


Technically *I'm* not, but this is not relevant to my point. You are the one that is stating that everything needs a cause, right?

Why do you make this supposition? Is it because everything within the universe that we've seen requires a cause? If so, then what you are really saying is that already existing matter/energy needs a cause in order to change.

I would say that this says absolutely nothing about the prior state of the universe.

This assumes such a first cause needs an agent to act upon.


If you take out the agent then you have a potential situation that Richard Gott describes - a self causing universe that gobbles up it's own beginning (temporally speaking).

So if there is no agent needed, then what's the problem?

I disagree. Anything arising "uncaused" makes far less sense that anything arising "caused".

You just suggested that a first cause didn't need an agent - I assumed that you are presupposing that this makes sense. Now you are saying that it make less sense?

Okay, that's possible I guess, but now you have to explain how something can cause something else to come into existence from nothing.

Again, if you want to go this route, what do you mean when you say that something arose out of nothing, caused?

E-Sabbath
08-15-2011, 11:45 AM
But we need to be consistent with our definitions when inside a singular context. By our definitions, whatever caused time, space and matter to exist, must, by definition, be timeless, spaceless and immaterial.


Nope. All we can say is that we have no idea what happened before t=0. Can't say anything else about it right now.

Czarcasm
08-15-2011, 11:52 AM
At no time, God did nothing with nothing and created the universe?

Thudlow Boink
08-15-2011, 12:03 PM
DJ starts out with a series of questions trying to understand the guest's 'worldview'. He asks questions like "Is matter all there is?" "Do we live in a closed system of cause and effect?" "Does everything need to be empirically verifiable?"

So the guest wasn't yet arguing a point, he was just in the hotseat while DJ asked him questions to explain his worldview. The guest said he believes in tangible, physical, demonstrable reality. Somewhere along the line DJ made the point that his worldview presupposes naturalism.

DJ has a model of a natural world with god existing outside, in the supernatural, whatever that is.

He uses the terms naturalist, materialist, and empiricist interchangeably, AFAIKTI wondered what, if anything, was the difference between "naturalism" and "materialism" (as we're using the terms here).

The thread title reminds me of the oft-alluded-to Moliere character who is astonished at learning that he has been speaking prose his whole life.

I wouldn't call presupposing naturalism a fallacy, per se, but it is a presupposition. And, as such, it should be acknowledged as such, or else it can lead to fallacies like question-begging or circular reasoning.

People who give different answers to the questions you quoted above are going to be coming from different places (in, e.g. philosophical debates on religious matters), and they're going to be talking past one another unless they can agree on them or at least understand where one another is coming from and agree to disagree or suspend judgment.

I_Know_Nothing
08-15-2011, 01:01 PM
This is the presuppositionalist apologetic -

After reading through some of your links(thanks btw), I think I would call him an evidentialist He claims to go where the evidence leads, and that naturalists/materialists/empiricists are the ones making assumptions and generally being short sighted. He said once that Occam's razor shows the Bible to be true.

I've heard him refer to Mere Christianity a few times. That is not considered a presuppositionalist work is it? I think his general strategy is to show that not believing in god is logically inconsistent-->god exists so you need to choose a religion-->Christianity is the best choice-->the Bible is the inerrant word of God-->young earth creationism/right wing political Christianity. Its like believing that Jonah was swallowed by a fish is too much at first, so he has to inch you there.

Another one of his gems was the Euthyphro dilemma. His co-host posed the question "Is something good because God created it, or did God create it because its good?" He then replied "Neither, he creates from his nature, which is good.?" wtf. Didn't you just reword option #1?

I need to listen to a few hours of podcasts a day to stay sane at work. I'm getting addicted to his occasional show because I've never had so many wtf moments. It's like I'm living in Bizzaro world.

CurtC
08-15-2011, 01:25 PM
DJ starts out with a series of questions trying to understand the guest's 'worldview'. He asks questions like "Is matter all there is?" "Do we live in a closed system of cause and effect?" "Does everything need to be empirically verifiable?"

So the guest wasn't yet arguing a point, he was just in the hotseat while DJ asked him questions to explain his worldview. The guest said he believes in tangible, physical, demonstrable reality. Somewhere along the line DJ made the point that his worldview presupposes naturalism.

The problem here is that he allowed DJ to lead him to this point. The proper answer to "Is matter all there is?" is to say "Well, we know matter exists. I haven't seen evidence that there's anything else in existence. So until I see evidence, I tentatively accept that matter is probably all there is. The answer to your question is 'yes.'"

This is actually how we materialists look at it, and it does not presuppose materialism. It presupposes that what we accept should be based on evidence.

Meatros
08-15-2011, 01:27 PM
After reading through some of your links(thanks btw), I think I would call him an evidentialist He claims to go where the evidence leads, and that naturalists/materialists/empiricists are the ones making assumptions and generally being short sighted. He said once that Occam's razor shows the Bible to be true.

I could swear I've listened to him before and while he might have some evidentialist evidence, I could swear he was a full on presupper. I'm not sure though, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

If he does say that he goes where the evidence leads, then he'd be an evidentialist.

I've heard him refer to Mere Christianity a few times. That is not considered a presuppositionalist work is it? I think his general strategy is to show that not believing in god is logically inconsistent-->god exists so you need to choose a religion-->Christianity is the best choice-->the Bible is the inerrant word of God-->young earth creationism/right wing political Christianity. Its like believing that Jonah was swallowed by a fish is too much at first, so he has to inch you there.


No, CS Lewis is not considered a presuppositionalist - although he does have an argument from reason which, I think, some presuppositionalists use.


Another one of his gems was the Euthyphro dilemma. His co-host posed the question "Is something good because God created it, or did God create it because its good?" He then replied "Neither, he creates from his nature, which is good.?" wtf. Didn't you just reword option #1?


That's not *his*, it's a (now) standard evasion. A couple of things:
1. What does it mean to say a supernatural entity has a 'nature'?
2. How was God's nature determined?
3. If God's nature had been different, it seems to me that morality would be different - so it's simply luck that murdering people is against God's nature, right?
4. Why ought we follow what God's nature entails?

I need to listen to a few hours of podcasts a day to stay sane at work. I'm getting addicted to his occasional show because I've never had so many wtf moments. It's like I'm living in Bizzaro world.

:-)

I am in a similar situation.

I listen to 'Unbelievable'
The Bible Geek
Skeptiod

And, of course, I go onto Luke's page and download as many MP3 debates (http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=50) as I can stand.

CurtC
08-15-2011, 01:31 PM
Everything with a beginning has a cause. I take that as an axiom.

Let's examine this. What, in our experience, has a beginning? There are only two that I can think of: subatomic particles, and the universe itself. Now we know that subatomic particles pop into existence without cause, so this disproves your axiom. A question for you - if there are two kinds of things that we know of with beginnings, and one of them we know to be uncaused, why would you think that the other must have a cause? Seems like it would work the other way 'round.



If Stephen Hawking is right, in that time, space and matter were created at the moment of the Big Bang, then whatever caused the Big Bang was timeless, spaceless and immaterial.
What does that even mean? If something was timeless, it would be impossible for that something to take any action. How could this something for which "action" is an invalid concept, cause anything?

Voyager
08-15-2011, 02:38 PM
I'd like to dispute the premise of the OP that science began assuming naturalism. If you read many of the very earliest scientific papers, from the 16th and 17th centuries, you will see that God is frequently mentioned as the cause of all. Many of these people considered themselves to be examining the earthly evidence of the miracle of creation and of God's law. This pretty much totally disappears (at least in the papers printed in the collection I have) by the 18th century, where God is no longer a necessary part of the hypothesis. As time went on, it was discovered that all these things could be explained without supernatural intervention.
I'd say naturalism is not just a premise, but the response to the discovery that the initial supernaturalist premise was not required to explain the world. I wouldn't say this was falsified, since you can't falsify supernaturalism, but it was made unnecessary.

John DiFool
08-15-2011, 05:21 PM
The problem here is that he allowed DJ to lead him to this point. The proper answer to "Is matter all there is?" is to say "Well, we know matter exists. I haven't seen evidence that there's anything else in existence. So until I see evidence, I tentatively accept that matter is probably all there is. The answer to your question is 'yes.'"

This is actually how we materialists look at it, and it does not presuppose materialism. It presupposes that what we accept should be based on evidence.

[underlining mine]

You are assuming that the evidence is the key, or the only thing(s) worth noting, while the seeing is arguably just as important. Thus you can't use the above as a dodge that you have no preexisting bias towards materialism.

CurtC
08-15-2011, 05:35 PM
I don't understand your first sentence, but my explanation is NOT a dodge - it's how I view the situation. If I had a reason to think that there is something non-material, I would be open to it.

j666
08-15-2011, 06:54 PM
I hope nobody questions that the universe overwhelmingly follows stable laws. Controlled experiments are very powerful in predicting future events. Charles and Boyle worked out how gases generally behave. As we developed more precise measurements, we discovered small flaws in their laws. No it wasn't Satan, but intermolecular forces.
That depends on the definition of Satan, doesn't it?

I don't question that the universe consistently follows the laws of physics. I merely argue that we do not know all of them.

BigT
08-15-2011, 10:49 PM
At no time, God did nothing with nothing and created the universe?

Uh, yes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_nihilo)? Philosophy contains a lot of ideas that seem ridiculous on their face.

Princhester
08-16-2011, 03:38 AM
from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism_%28philosophy%29

"Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical belief that only natural laws and forces (as opposed to supernatural ones) operate in the world and that nothing exists beyond the natural world"

I don't believe this is a correct definition, or if it is then I don't agree that it should be. I would say that naturalism is declining to accept that non-existent things exist. To put it another way, the latter part of the above definition is true but meaningless because it is axiomatic that nothing exists beyond the natural world because if it exists it is part of the natural world.

I don't believe non-naturalists actually believe in the distinction they make: if anything they currently considered to be supernatural became something that clearly existed, it would come to be seen by them as natural.

The "supernatural" is a kiddies' playground for adults, where you tell yourself that reality doesn't apply so you can indulge your desire to make up silly stories and pretend they are true.

NotreDame05
08-16-2011, 11:51 AM
While listening to an old Don Johnson Christian Debates podcast, he pointed out that his guest was presupposing naturalism. My gut response was "Well ...duh." If I see card trick, I would never consider the option that it was the result of actual magic; I would search for some natural explanation for it. Is this presupposing naturalism? That sounds so closed minded. Do you agree with how the phrase was used? Is it possible to presuppose, say, the laws of physics, or do they just exist?

Yes, it is assuming the event, phenomenon, or in your example the card trick, was the result of a naturalistic occurrence, or caused by a naturalistic occurence, to the exclusion of all other non-naturalistic causes, occurrences, or explanations. The fundamental query is whether the assumptions we make are reasonable. Is it reasonable to assume Jon Doe killed person X as opposed to the death angel? Is it reasonable to assume the magician is deceiving us into thinking his/her tricks are "magic" as opposed to using illusions, sleight of hand, and other gimmicks?

Is it reasonable to, by default, assume a naturalistic explanation, account, or cause for some event or phenomenon as opposed to a supernatural one?

I think the answer to these questions is "yes" it is reasonable, but making such an admission does not, by itself, remove the possibility, or render impossible as a matter of fact a supernatural cause or explanation.

Czarcasm
08-16-2011, 11:58 AM
Is it reasonable to, by default, assume a naturalistic explanation, account, or cause for some event or phenomenon as opposed to a supernatural one?

I think the answer to these questions is "yes" it is reasonable, but making such an admission does not, by itself, remove the possibility, or render impossible as a matter of fact a supernatural cause or explanation.Before we allow a supernatural explanation as a possibility, shouldn't we first find out if that supernatural explanation is possible in the first place?

John DiFool
08-16-2011, 01:20 PM
I don't understand your first sentence, but my explanation is NOT a dodge - it's how I view the situation. If I had a reason to think that there is something non-material, I would be open to it.

[Underlining mine]

Precisely. If you a priori put precedence on the evidence, and not what is actually seeing the evidence (i.e. consciousness), than your conclusion is preordained.

NotreDame05
08-16-2011, 02:24 PM
Before we allow a supernatural explanation as a possibility, shouldn't we first find out if that supernatural explanation is possible in the first place?

Man's inability to be 100% certain about so few things in life, if anything, renders a lot of things possible. Man's inability to know, with 100% certainty, the supernatural is non-existent, and the supernatural cannot be the cause for anything, renders the supernatural a possibility.

David Hume spilled a lot of ink on the subject of human knowledge and its limits.

The Hamster King
08-16-2011, 02:43 PM
Man's inability to be 100% certain about so few things in life, if anything, renders a lot of things possible.How many unicorns are there in your garage?

All a posteriori knowledge is provisional. And yet we go about our lives nonetheless.

Czarcasm
08-16-2011, 02:44 PM
Man's inability to be 100% certain about so few things in life, if anything, renders a lot of things possible. Man's inability to know, with 100% certainty, the supernatural is non-existent, and the supernatural cannot be the cause for anything, renders the supernatural a possibility.

David Hume spilled a lot of ink on the subject of human knowledge and its limits.If we went through life thinking of all the possibilities, no matter how slim, before making decisions, we would never progress. There comes a time when you have to put the slimmest of possibilities into the big "Ain't worth wasting my precious time" pile, and move on. Maybe Santa Claus does have an extra-dimensional base at the North Pole...but I'm still going to call someone mounting an expedition to look for it an idiot, right to their face.

Voyager
08-16-2011, 02:55 PM
Man's inability to be 100% certain about so few things in life, if anything, renders a lot of things possible. Man's inability to know, with 100% certainty, the supernatural is non-existent, and the supernatural cannot be the cause for anything, renders the supernatural a possibility.

David Hume spilled a lot of ink on the subject of human knowledge and its limits.

No, this doesn't make anything possible. It just makes us uncertain whether it was possible or not. It was just as impossible to exceed c in 1650 as in 1950.

NotreDame05
08-16-2011, 03:03 PM
No, this doesn't make anything possible. It just makes us uncertain whether it was possible or not. It was just as impossible to exceed c in 1650 as in 1950.

Anything man cannot be 100% certain of, which is a lot, if not everything, makes alternatives possible.

As for your speed of light reference, scientists are not 100% certain nothing could exceed the speed of light in 1650, or now in 1950, which means it is possible something can. What scientists will tell you, however, is they are 99.9% there is nothing which can exceed the speed of light, not in 1650, 1950, or at the present. This leaves a 1% chance there is something to exceed the speed of light, i.e. it is possible to exceed the speed a light and there is a 1% chance of it.

Scientists do not deal in absolutes, as you suggest above.

Thudlow Boink
08-16-2011, 03:04 PM
No, this doesn't make anything possible. It just makes us uncertain whether it was possible or not. It was just as impossible to exceed c in 1650 as in 1950.Now you've got me wondering about the meaning of the word "possible."

If we live in a deterministic universe, you could say nothing's possible except what actually does occur.

NotreDame05
08-16-2011, 03:06 PM
Maybe Santa Claus does have an extra-dimensional base at the North Pole...but I'm still going to call someone mounting an expedition to look for it an idiot, right to their face.

If we went through life thinking of all the possibilities, no matter how slim, before making decisions, we would never progress.

Not sure I agree with this remark but I digress. This has absolutely nothing to do with my prior statement you previously were addressing.

There comes a time when you have to put the slimmest of possibilities into the big "Ain't worth wasting my precious time" pile, and move on.

Maybe so but this doesn't affect my prior remark you sought to address.

NotreDame05
08-16-2011, 03:17 PM
No, this doesn't make anything possible. It just makes us uncertain whether it was possible or not. It was just as impossible to exceed c in 1650 as in 1950.

If man cannot rule out alternatives with 100% certainty, then it is possible those alternatives are true. Our lack of complete knowledge about everything renders alternatives possible.

Scientists cannot claim with 100% certainty that at no time in 1650 or 1950 did anything which exceeded the speed of light. As a result of being incapable of ruling this out with 100% certainty, and this incapability in part being the result of a lack of complete knowledge about everything, then it is possible something existed which exceeded the speed of light in 1650 or 1950.

I would be most interested to know how exactly you deduce it was not possible, i.e. impossible, for anything to exceed the speed of light in 1650 and 1950?

Czarcasm
08-16-2011, 03:27 PM
If man cannot rule out alternatives with 100% certainty, then it is possible those alternatives are true. Our lack of complete knowledge about everything renders alternatives possible.It is more probable that there will be a murderer hiding in your closet when you wake up tomorrow morning then there is for any supernatural event to exist. How much time do you plan to spend thinking about the (possible) murderer in your closet tonight?

NotreDame05
08-17-2011, 09:10 AM
How many unicorns are there in your garage?

All a posteriori knowledge is provisional. And yet we go about our lives nonetheless.

You are right, we do "go about our lives,"so what is your point? I never said anything to suggest we cannot "go about our lives" although we lack complete knowledge.

colonial
08-17-2011, 10:17 PM
The important distinction is really not between naturalism and supernaturalism,

The distinction is of the utmost importance to anyone who believes in God!
I suspect the OP's Mr. Johnson had exactly that- God- in mind when he took
umbrage at his addressee's naturalistic view of reality.




…since supernaturalism is a vague term - what's supernatural anyway?
There is nothing vague about it.

Limiting the case to the omnipotent Abrahamic God, He created the scientific
Laws of Nature, but is not restricted by them. For example, although mice and
men cannot, as a matter of scientific law, exceed the Speed of Light, God can:
He may take physical presence anywhere from one end of the Universe to the
other instantaneously and simultaneously, and He knows everything everywhere
taking place regardless of what form He chooses to assume for Himself, and where
He chooses to assume it.

Czarcasm
08-17-2011, 11:15 PM
Limiting the case to the omnipotent Abrahamic God, He created the scientific Laws of Nature, but is not restricted by them. For example, although mice and men cannot, as a matter of scientific law, exceed the Speed of Light, God can: He may take physical presence anywhere from one end of the Universe to the other instantaneously and simultaneously, and He knows everything everywhere taking place regardless of what form He chooses to assume for Himself, and whereHe chooses to assume it.Cite?

colonial
08-17-2011, 11:51 PM
Cite?

What do you mean cite?

The Abraham god is considered omnipotent by almost all Abrahamic sects,
isn't He? nd omnipotence conveys the ability to transcend the Laws of Nature,
doesn't it?

Czarcasm
08-17-2011, 11:56 PM
What do you mean cite?

The Abraham god is considered omnipotent by almost all Abrahamic sects,
isn't He? nd omnipotence conveys the ability to transcend the Laws of Nature,
doesn't it?Maybe "omnipotence" means being able to do anything and everything the laws of nature allow?

colonial
08-18-2011, 12:18 AM
Maybe "omnipotence" means being able to do anything and everything the laws of nature allow?
No, it means the ability to transcend them, as depicted by numerous miraculous
scriptural episodes, going back to such things as the Burning Bush and beyond.

God is NOT the creature of the Laws of Nature; they are His creatures.

Czarcasm
08-18-2011, 12:24 AM
No, it means the ability to transcend them, as depicted by numerous miraculous
scriptural episodes, going back to such things as the Burning Bush and beyond.

God is NOT the creature of the Laws of Nature; they are His creatures.
I see. Your stories are your cite.

colonial
08-18-2011, 01:12 AM
I see. Your stories are your cite.
What I see, in you, is someone who has somehow missed a foundation tenet
of the world's two largest religions. What I have related is not a collection of
"stories", it is what anyone with a mere passing knowledge of intellectual history
should know.

Since you will not be happy without your "cite", here:

Catholic Encyclopedia on God and the Universe (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06614a.htm)

(from link, emphasis added):

In developing the argument of the First Cause we have seen that the world is essentially dependent on God, and this dependence implies in the first place that God is the Creator of the world — the producer of its whole being or substance — and in the next place, supposing its production, that its continuance in being at every moment is due to His sustaining power. Creation means the total production of a being out of nothing, i.e. the bringing of a being into existence to replace absolute nonexistence, and the relation of Creator is the only conceivable relation in which the Infinite can stand to the finite...

However wonderful we may consider the universe to be, we recognize that neither in its substance nor in the laws by which its order is maintained, in so far as unaided reason can come to laws them, does it exhaust God's infinite power or perfectly reveal His nature.

And here:

Catholic Encyclopedia on Miracles (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10338a.htm)

(from link, emphasis added):

A miracle is said to be above nature when the effect produced is above the native powers and forces in creatures of which the known laws of nature are the expression, as raising a dead man to life, e.g., Lazarus (John 11), the widow's son (! King's 7). A miracle is said to be outside, or beside, nature when natural forces may have the power to produce the effect, at least in part, but could not of themselves alone have produced it in the way it was actually brought about. Thus the effect in abundance far exceeds the power of natural forces, or it takes place instantaneously without the means or processes which nature employs.

There is no doubt of the existence of numerous mainstream Protestant, Orthodox
and Muslim sources which convey exactly the same beliefs.

MrDibble
08-18-2011, 02:05 AM
No, it means the ability to transcend them, as depicted by numerous miraculous
scriptural episodes, going back to such things as the Burning Bush and beyond.
The Burning Bush never happened. Moses is as fictional a character as Hercules.

colonial
08-18-2011, 02:51 AM
My motivation for entering this thread was only to affirm the importance
of supernatural characters and events in the perception of vast numbers
of people. I myself seriously doubt the existence of anything supernatural.

Furthermore, I do not think an omnipotent god could also be benevolent,
on the evidence of the impact upon us of the crueller forces of Nature.
So much misery has afflicted us, so easily preventable by One of infinite power.

And finally, if God is our Father then it is incumbent upon Him to protect
us even from ourselves, as it would be incumbent for any human father
to intervene if his children set upon each other in violence.

If He exists He has sinned against us. Better pray He does not exist, for we
would be at his Unholy mercy.



The Burning Bush never happened.
I agree.



Moses is as fictional a character as Hercules.
I tend to think Moses was probably historical, although the Biblical details
are certainly almost all myth.

MrDibble
08-18-2011, 06:29 AM
I tend to think Moses was probably historical, although the Biblical details
are certainly almost all myth.
Based on what evidence? The Exodus clearly never happened, so where does Moses even fit in? David, Solomon, these I can see a case for. Moses, not at all.

Lemur866
08-18-2011, 07:56 AM
Well, "Based on a real person" covers a lot of territory.

For instance, the fictional character of Santa Claus was based on a real person. This real person, however, did not wear a red suit, did not live at the north pole, did not have a toyshop full of elves, did not drive a sleigh with 8 tiny reindeer, and was not named Santa Claus. According to legend the real person is supposed to have given people secret gifts, but we have no way of knowing if that legend is true, or if it's the same sort of thing as George Washington chopping down the cherry tree.

So if there is a "real Santa Claus", but the real Santa Claus is an accountant who lives in Miami, has no beard, hates children, and never gives presents, what does it even mean when I claim that this person is the real Santa Claus?

wevets
08-18-2011, 09:54 AM
I myself seriously doubt the existence of anything supernatural.


There is nothing vague about it.

Limiting the case to the omnipotent Abrahamic God, He created the scientific
Laws of Nature, but is not restricted by them. For example, although mice and
men cannot, as a matter of scientific law, exceed the Speed of Light, God can:

He certainly can't if the manner of his existence is that he is believed in, but has no existence outside the mind of the believers.

The problem of vagueness that I refer to is that God gets to be all sorts of things depending on who you ask - responsible for the saving of 3 people from a plane crash, but not the deaths of the 220 other people on the flight; responsible for a star runningback's success, but completely unconcerned with the individual affairs of the universe to a deist; a power that wants a personal relationship with each human, but refuses to talk directly to them; an entity kills everyone and everything on Earth except those occupying a boat, and a font of infinite forgiveness.

Even limited to popular interpretations of the Bible, God is not a well-defined entity. Therefore, vague. Other supernatural entities - ghosts, pixies, demons - are also vaguely defined.

CurtC
08-18-2011, 10:30 AM
Limiting the case to the omnipotent Abrahamic God, He created the scientific Laws of Nature, but is not restricted by them. For example, although mice and men cannot, as a matter of scientific law, exceed the Speed of Light, God can: He may take physical presence anywhere from one end of the Universe to the other instantaneously and simultaneously...

This gets to the heart of the issue I think. When creationists claim that science is closed-minded because it refuses to consider supernatural explanations, the creationists and the scientists are using two different ideas of what they mean by "supernatural."

To the scientists who claim that we can't study the supernatural, what they're saying is that something that has no effects on the natural world can't be studied. However the creationists see their supernatural God as having real effects in the physical world. I think that generally scientists would say that if anything has effects in the natural world, it's open to being examined by science.

Voyager
08-18-2011, 11:35 AM
If man cannot rule out alternatives with 100% certainty, then it is possible those alternatives are true. Our lack of complete knowledge about everything renders alternatives possible.

Scientists cannot claim with 100% certainty that at no time in 1650 or 1950 did anything which exceeded the speed of light. As a result of being incapable of ruling this out with 100% certainty, and this incapability in part being the result of a lack of complete knowledge about everything, then it is possible something existed which exceeded the speed of light in 1650 or 1950.

Again, you are confusing our knowledge of whether something is possible with whether it actually is possible. If our physics is even remotely accurate, we know nothing exceeded c in 1650 or even 1650,000 BCE. (If we are wrong about this, then it could happen.) But if the true laws of physics make exceeding c impossible, it matters little what we think about it.


I would be most interested to know how exactly you deduce it was not possible, i.e. impossible, for anything to exceed the speed of light in 1650 and 1950?
Because the laws of physics are invariant over time, which we can demonstrate by observing stars and galaxies the light from which left long before 1650.
I'm not saying that we can be absolutely 100% certain that the laws of physics are true. We can't be 100% certain that there was a world in 1650. But that is a different matter from actual laws.

Voyager
08-18-2011, 11:39 AM
Now you've got me wondering about the meaning of the word "possible."

If we live in a deterministic universe, you could say nothing's possible except what actually does occur.

Interesting. Luckily, we don't live in a deterministic universe. Even if we did, we would never know what is possible by your definition or not because the time and information needed to determine what is possible (that is what will be the result of current conditions) is greater than the time for the next thing to actually happen.

Voyager
08-18-2011, 11:45 AM
This gets to the heart of the issue I think. When creationists claim that science is closed-minded because it refuses to consider supernatural explanations, the creationists and the scientists are using two different ideas of what they mean by "supernatural."

To the scientists who claim that we can't study the supernatural, what they're saying is that something that has no effects on the natural world can't be studied. However the creationists see their supernatural God as having real effects in the physical world. I think that generally scientists would say that if anything has effects in the natural world, it's open to being examined by science.
If supernatural events can't affect the natural world, then they effectively don't exist. I don't see anything in any reasonable definition of the supernatural that would imply that they can't be examined by science. They just can't be explained by science. The problem isn't that science can't examine these things - it is that every supposed effect of a supernatural phenomenon has turned out to be explicable by natural causes. Fakery is a natural cause.

Voyager
08-18-2011, 11:47 AM
What do you mean cite?

The Abraham god is considered omnipotent by almost all Abrahamic sects,
isn't He? nd omnipotence conveys the ability to transcend the Laws of Nature,
doesn't it?

Except when chariots of iron are involved, apparently.
Omnipotence has been inferred for God, mostly from the Christian definition of God, but there is precious little in the Bible, especially the older parts, that support it.

Meatros
08-18-2011, 12:57 PM
What do you mean cite?

The Abraham god is considered omnipotent by almost all Abrahamic sects,
isn't He? nd omnipotence conveys the ability to transcend the Laws of Nature,
doesn't it?

If he's able to do this, that makes it rather difficult for Abrahamists to accept the uniformity of nature, which in turn makes it difficult to put a lot of stock in the outcomes that science shows us.

How do we know that gravity is keeping us tethered to the world as opposed to a miracle from God - which he will stop in three days?

colonial
08-18-2011, 01:58 PM
Based on what evidence? The Exodus clearly never happened, so where does Moses even fit in? David, Solomon, these I can see a case for. Moses, not at all.
There is no non-scriptural evidence for any of the events of Exodus.
However, just as the Iliad may be an embellished account of a real war
against a real city located near the Dardanelles, so may Exodus be to
an era in the history of the Jewish people, and so may the Gospels be
to the ministry of a real man whose life is not independently attested.

colonial
08-18-2011, 02:08 PM
He certainly can't if the manner of his existence is that he is believed in, but has no existence outside the mind of the believers.

The problem of vagueness that I refer to is that God gets to be all sorts of things depending on who you ask - responsible for the saving of 3 people from a plane crash, but not the deaths of the 220 other people on the flight; responsible for a star runningback's success, but completely unconcerned with the individual affairs of the universe to a deist; a power that wants a personal relationship with each human, but refuses to talk directly to them; an entity kills everyone and everything on Earth except those occupying a boat, and a font of infinite forgiveness.

Even limited to popular interpretations of the Bible, God is not a well-defined entity. Therefore, vague. Other supernatural entities - ghosts, pixies, demons - are also vaguely defined.
All this is true, but it does not present a case against the past and ongoing
importance of the supernatural in the perception of billions of people.

colonial
08-18-2011, 02:16 PM
What do you mean cite?

The Abrahamic god is considered omnipotent by almost all Abrahamic sects,
isn't He? And omnipotence conveys the ability to transcend the Laws of Nature,
doesn't it?


Except when chariots of iron are involved, apparently.
I do not understand.


Omnipotence has been inferred for God, mostly from the Christian definition of God, but there is precious little in the Bible, especially the older parts, that support it.
I do not know the Bible well enough to comment on this. Justified or not,
the inference has been made for 2000 years and continues to be made.

wevets
08-18-2011, 02:24 PM
All this is true, but it does not present a case against the past and ongoing
importance of the supernatural in the perception of billions of people.

Completely irrelevant.

Supernaturalism and naturalism aren't about peoples' perceptions, they're about people attempting to describe the world beyond their perceptions.

colonial
08-18-2011, 02:27 PM
If he's able to do this, that makes it rather difficult for Abrahamists to accept the uniformity of nature, which in turn makes it difficult to put a lot of stock in the outcomes that science shows us.

I believe the citation from post #90 covers this adequately. Here again is the link:

Catholic Encyclopedia on God and the Universe (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06614a.htm)


How do we know that gravity is keeping us tethered to the world as opposed to a miracle from God - which he will stop in three days?
We are permitted to make such inference as justified by observation of Nature,
and God is permitted to alter Nature.

MrDibble
08-18-2011, 02:34 PM
There is no non-scriptural evidence for any of the events of Exodus. In fact, there's plenty of non-scriptural evidence against the events of Exodus.
However, just as the Iliad may be an embellished account of a real war
against a real city located near the Dardanelles, so may Exodus be to
an era in the history of the Jewish peopleNot really, no. The Jews were never slaves in Egypt. The Jews didn't exist as a people at the time of Exodus, so they couldn't have been., and so may the Gospels be
to the ministry of a real man whose life is not independently attested.Then he to all intents and purposes didn't exist, if the Gospels is as fictionalized an account of his life as that of Moses.

colonial
08-18-2011, 02:40 PM
Completely irrelevant.

Supernaturalism and naturalism aren't about peoples' perceptions, they're about people attempting to describe the world beyond their perceptions.
This reply tells me that you are confused and in over your head.
Goodbye.

colonial
08-18-2011, 03:22 PM
In fact, there's plenty of non-scriptural evidence against the events of Exodus.

Um, cite?

And I wonder how The Master could have missed all this evidence of yours:

Cecil Adams Comments on Exodus (http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/34/is-there-any-historical-basis-for-the-events-of-the-jewish-exodus)




Not really, no. The Jews were never slaves in Egypt. The Jews didn't exist as a people at the time of Exodus, so they couldn't have been.
According to The Master the existence of the Israelites is attested by Egyptian stela of ~1230BC.




Then he to all intents and purposes didn't exist, if the Gospels is as fictionalized an account of his life as that of Moses.
What are “intents and purposes”? Whatever they are they are in logical tension
with the idea of a “fictionalized account of his life”, a phrase which implies
underlying historical reality of “his life”.

It is fine to be rebellious, and at odds with standard scholarly opinion on the matter
of the historicity of Christ. However, it is not so fine to be at odds with The Master:

Cecil Adams Comments on Christ (http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/518/did-jesus-really-exist-and-whats-with-the-shroud-of-turin)

wevets
08-18-2011, 04:52 PM
This reply tells me that you are confused and in over your head.
Goodbye.


Ah, the honorable tactic of refusing to acknowledge that which everyone knows when it is inconvenient to your debating position.


Your refusal to engage me regardless, people use the terms "naturalism" and "supernaturalism" in an attempt to come to grips with the world outside their own heads and to see what common ground there is with other minds.


The claim of supernaturalism is not that people can imagine entities that are not subject to the laws of physics and chemistry, energy and matter, but that the world external to people's minds contains such entities.

KellyCriterion
08-19-2011, 03:44 AM
That's fine, but your beef isn't with me, it's with the majority of physicists.

I am finding cites alluding to the behaviour of quantum particles as being unpredictable and resembling randomness, but can find nothing that says "We know that quantum particles have no cause because.. and the reason we know there is no cause as opposed to not knowing what the cause is, is because.."

So what is this 'cause' and how did it create a universe?
Don't know.

You are resting your claim that there is something beyond the physical on our ignorance. You might not be ready to claim that it's God, but you are still appealing to ignorance.
You keep asserting this, but that doesn't make it true. I take it as an axiom that everything with a beginning has a cause. Laugh hysterically at me for that if you wish, but it's from that basis, not ignorance as you keep asserting, that I conclude universes can't magically appear without a cause.

Technically *I'm* not, but this is not relevant to my point. You are the one that is stating that everything needs a cause, right?
Everything with a beginning, yes.

Clearly not "everything" needs a cause, or else nothing would be the only thing there is, was, and ever will be.

You just suggested that a first cause didn't need an agent - I assumed that you are presupposing that this makes sense. Now you are saying that it make less sense?
Not sure what you are saying, but obviously if there is a first cause, it was, by definition, itself uncaused.

Okay, that's possible I guess, but now you have to explain how something can cause something else to come into existence from nothing.
I need to explain nothing of sort.

Again, if you want to go this route, what do you mean when you say that something arose out of nothing, caused?
I am saying that something, as opposed to nothing, caused the universe to come in to existence. Asking me to explain the specific mechanics of this process is not a counter argument. For years we couldn't explain earthquakes, so therefore nothing caused earthquakes? I can't follow your logic.

MrDibble
08-19-2011, 04:31 AM
Um, cite?

And I wonder how The Master could have missed all this evidence of yours:
Firstly, I could give a toss for Cecil Adams as an authority on anything.
Secondly, that column is 30 years old.
According to The Master the existence of the Israelites is attested by Egyptian stela of ~1230BC.
According to "The Master" and that stela, the Israelites were all wiped out. So there's that.What are “intents and purposes”?If your intent and purpose is to show a historical basis for Jesus, and you point to Moses, all you're saying is Jesus is as mythical. Whatever they are they are in logical tension
with the idea of a “fictionalized account of his life”, a phrase which implies
underlying historical reality of “his life”.No tension. I said "as fictionalized an account", meaning there is no connection between history and the account, so it is impossible to infer anything about him from those accounts.
It is fine to be rebellious, and at odds with standard scholarly opinion on the matter
of the historicity of Christ. However, it is not so fine to be at odds with The Master:

Again, I could give a toss what Cecil Adams has to say on the matter 26 years ago. Fact of the matter is, I choose not to believe in a historical Jesus (as depicted in the Gospels, I don't care about some hypothetical handyman named JoshuaBenJoseph) because there's no direct evidence for his existence. Plain as that. Just like I choose not to believe in a historical Buddha for the same reason. Or a historical Orpheus.

Meatros
08-19-2011, 08:28 AM
I believe the citation from post #90 covers this adequately. Here again is the link:

Catholic Encyclopedia on God and the Universe

I'm not sure it does - to be frank, I think the encyclopedia is trying to have it's cake and eat it too. It seems the pantheistic version is more coherent with regard to God sustaining the universe and miracles.

All this link tries to explain is God's importance to the universe, it doesn't address why we should be sure that a particular event is the result of a miracle or God's order (ie, the laws of nature).

We are permitted to make such inference as justified by observation of Nature,
and God is permitted to alter Nature.

So how can we tell the difference between them?

CurtC
08-19-2011, 08:48 AM
I am finding cites alluding to the behaviour of quantum particles as being unpredictable and resembling randomness, but can find nothing that says "We know that quantum particles have no cause because.. and the reason we know there is no cause as opposed to not knowing what the cause is, is because.."

I'm surprised you couldn't find it. Here's a better clue - look up "Bell's inequality." It pretty much rules out an underlying, unseen cause (hidden variables).

You never did answer my question back from page 2 - if this God who created the universe is "timeless," then how can it take any action or make any decisions? Those are dependent on time existing.

Not sure what you are saying, but obviously if there is a first cause, it was, by definition, itself uncaused.This seems awfully close to the Ontological Argument for God - that a God must exist because of the way we define our words.

Meatros
08-19-2011, 09:14 AM
I am finding cites alluding to the behaviour of quantum particles as being unpredictable and resembling randomness, but can find nothing that says "We know that quantum particles have no cause because.. and the reason we know there is no cause as opposed to not knowing what the cause is, is because.."

Are you asking for certainty in science as opposed to what is reasonable to believe?

Again, your problem seems to be with physicists and possibly the metaphysics of science.

Here are some links that might help:

Creation ex nihilo (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mark_vuletic/vacuum.html)
Mystic
(http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Quantum/mystic.pdf)

Keep in mind that these are meant to help - I don't necessarily agree with them. In fact, I think both your premises are wrong and that you are begging the question. Here's a good article (http://www.ipod.org.uk/reality/reality_mysterious_flow.asp) that illustrates more precisely what I mean.

Don't know.

So then how do you know either? You are essentially saying, 'we don't know, therefore magic'.

I would prefer to base my beliefs on models with at least some evidence and coherence - or I would simply admit that I don't know.

Either position is better than 'I don't know, therefore it was the result of magic'.

You keep asserting this, but that doesn't make it true. I take it as an axiom that everything with a beginning has a cause. Laugh hysterically at me for that if you wish, but it's from that basis, not ignorance as you keep asserting, that I conclude universes can't magically appear without a cause.

Okay, then the onus is on you to demonstrate it. What is your basis for saying that:
1. The universe came into existence (ie, you are begging the question with regard to the a theory of time).
2. That anything that comes into existence has a cause.

Further, please explain what you mean by 'come into existence' since I suspect that you mean that it came into existence from nothing, which begs two more questions:
1. That 'nothing' can exist.
2. That the prior state of affairs was nothing and the universe came out of it.

We have no evidence that anything has come into existence from absolute nothing, much less that it has or could have a cause. This is an assertion on your part probably DUE to the behavior of already existing matter/energy WITHIN this universe. Further, this assertion is contradicted by observations of quantum particles popping into and out of existence in a vacuum.

You can take whatever you'd like as an axiom - but why should anyone (including yourself) put any weight into that axiom? In other words, your 'axiom' is no better than if I said I had an axiom that you were completely wrong on this. You probably don't find my axiom compelling, do you?

Everything with a beginning, yes.

Show one thing that had an ultimate beginning.

Clearly not "everything" needs a cause, or else nothing would be the only thing there is, was, and ever will be.

What is 'nothing'?

Further, what is the criteria for something not to have a cause?

Not sure what you are saying, but obviously if there is a first cause, it was, by definition, itself uncaused.

I think this refutes your argument - however I think we are miscommunicating and I wish to be charitable to your position. So can you please explain in different words what you mean by this?

I need to explain nothing of sort.

Then why should we believe that "Anything arising "uncaused" makes far less sense that anything arising "caused"."

Why should we believe that something can cause something else to come into existence from nothing even makes sense?

Should we just trust you?

I am saying that something, as opposed to nothing, caused the universe to come in to existence. Asking me to explain the specific mechanics of this process is not a counter argument. For years we couldn't explain earthquakes, so therefore nothing caused earthquakes? I can't follow your logic.

What evidence do you have that the universe came into existence?
What evidence do you have that the a theory of time (presentism) is correct?

I could go the Richard Gott route and say the universe caused itself and your argument provides evidence of this. Would you object? Why?

I could go the quantum tunneling route and say that your argument provides evidence of this. Would you object? Why?

Asking you to explain the mechanics is relevant when you dismiss the models and theories that physicists and philosophers have as an explanation - especially if you are going to say that your explanation makes more sense!

Meatros
08-19-2011, 09:16 AM
You never did answer my question back from page 2 - if this God who created the universe is "timeless," then how can it take any action or make any decisions? Those are dependent on time existing.

I don't think she's fully come out and said that God did it. She seems to be saying this, implicitly, granted.

I would ask if this is the case, then what evidence does she have that there is an absolute time, which our relative universe operates within - which is what she is presupposing.

Princhester
08-21-2011, 05:56 AM
However the creationists see their supernatural God as having real effects in the physical world.

I don't really believe a word of it. If their god had actual non-tenuous effects he would just be a part of the world: natural. It's the very tenuousness of the alleged effects (tenuous to the point of non-existence) that causes what is labeled supernatural to be "supernatural".

It's just another word for "horseshit we make up and know deep down is just fairystories but choose to believe in anyway".

"The supernatural" is to the natural as "stage magic" is to a stage trick: it only exists as a lack of knowledge or understanding. Once you gain knowledge and understanding of a "magic" trick you don't believe in magic, you just know how the stage trick was done. If we ever discover there actually are angels we won't prove the supernatural exists, we will have just discovered a new aspect of nature.

KellyCriterion
08-21-2011, 08:02 AM
I'm surprised you couldn't find it. Here's a better clue - look up "Bell's inequality." It pretty much rules out an underlying, unseen cause (hidden variables).
I tried again, but still nothing. Can you please link me to some direct cites that show evidence that quantum particles exhibit uncaused behaviour. (Not to be confused with behaviour that is unpredictable, and/or resembles randomness).

You never did answer my question back from page 2 - if this God who created the universe is "timeless," then how can it take any action or make any decisions? Those are dependent on time existing.
Whatever caused time to exist must itself be timeless. Therefore, one explanation would be to posit that whatever caused time is in a constant, unchanging state of causation.

KellyCriterion
08-21-2011, 08:27 AM
Are you asking for certainty in science as opposed to what is reasonable to believe?

Again, your problem seems to be with physicists and possibly the metaphysics of science.

Here are some links that might help:

Creation ex nihilo (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mark_vuletic/vacuum.html)

From your above link:

To most people, the claim that something cannot come from nothing is a truism. However, most physicists disagree. Against the claim, they often cite what are variously known as quantum vacuum fluctuations or virtual particles. These are particle-antiparticle pairs that come into existence in otherwise empty space for very brief periods of time, in agreement with the Heisenberg uncertainty relations. [Q1] [Q2] They produce measurable effects, such as the Lamb shift and the Casimir-Polder force.[Q3] [Q4] These particles are not anomalies; they are so common that some physicists argue that if we think of empty space as nothing, then there is no such thing as nothing, because space never is empty—it is always filled with virtual particles.[Q5] In short, if we follow most people in thinking of empty space as nothing, then we have at least one pervasive example of something that can come from nothing.

This extract appears to be saying that quantum particles are not seemingly caused by the otherwise empty space they appear in. This is not evidence that the quantum particles are uncaused, unless we pre-suppose that the empty space is all that exists. I see no reason to pre-suppose that.


So then how do you know either? You are essentially saying, 'we don't know, therefore magic'.
You asked me a question that I didn't know the answer to, so I said I don't know. I went on to draw absolutely no subsequent conclusion.

You, however, have repeatedly implied that universes magically popping in to existence without a cause is a consideration to be taken seriously. In other words "We do know, and it's magic".


Okay, then the onus is on you to demonstrate it. What is your basis for saying that:
1. The universe came into existence (ie, you are begging the question with regard to the a theory of time).
I take it as an axiom that everything with a beginning requires a cause. I don't take seriously, like you and others, that universes, or anything at all for that matter, can magically come in to existence without a cause. It's an axiom that you can take or leave, there is nothing further that can be fleshed out in regards to it.

Further, please explain what you mean by 'come into existence' since I suspect that you mean that it came into existence from nothing, which begs two more questions:
1. That 'nothing' can exist.
2. That the prior state of affairs was nothing and the universe came out of it.
For something to come in to existence, all that is required is that said thing:

Does not exist, and then
Exists


We have no evidence that anything has come into existence from absolute nothing
Good, because I also reject that anything can come in to existence from absolutely nothing..

much less that it has or could have a cause. This is an assertion on your part probably DUE to the behavior of already existing matter/energy WITHIN this universe. Further, this assertion is contradicted by observations of quantum particles popping into and out of existence in a vacuum.
So what are you saying? Is there evidence of something popping in to existence uncaused, or isn't there?

You can take whatever you'd like as an axiom - but why should anyone (including yourself) put any weight into that axiom? In other words, your 'axiom' is no better than if I said I had an axiom that you were completely wrong on this. You probably don't find my axiom compelling, do you?
Every scientist in history has relied on axioms. Again, I reject that anything can come in to existence without a cause, universes or otherwise. This to me is axiomatic, it's self-evident. If one takes my view, then there are implications in terms of explaining what caused a material, time-and-space bound universe to come in to existence.

If you, however, take the idea seriously that things can magically come in to existence without a cause, then all the power to you, but we disagree at the axiomatic level. Axioms by nature do not/can not need further explanation, lest they are no longer axioms. Hence, I'm not sure what more I can say to you.

Meatros
08-21-2011, 12:28 PM
This extract appears to be saying that quantum particles are not seemingly caused by the otherwise empty space they appear in. This is not evidence that the quantum particles are uncaused, unless we pre-suppose that the empty space is all that exists. I see no reason to pre-suppose that.

I'm not sure how you got that - the text you quoted is basically saying there might not be something we would call 'empty space' or that what we consider empty space is actually filled with 'virtual particles'. I see nothing about 'causes' in the portion you are trying to draw my attention to. As to presuppositions, empty space is obviously not all that exists.

I'm not sure what you are trying to say here, to be frank.

You asked me a question that I didn't know the answer to, so I said I don't know. I went on to draw absolutely no subsequent conclusion.

You, however, have repeatedly implied that universes magically popping in to existence without a cause is a consideration to be taken seriously. In other words "We do know, and it's magic".


I feel as though you are backing away from the claims you have made. What is your position?

As to your interpretation of my position, it is wrong - I do not support the notion that the universe magically popped into existence. I have repeatedly stressed that I am a proponent of the b theory of time.

I have said that *IF* the universe did come into existence at one point in time (presupposing the a theory) then the idea that it was uncaused by an outside agent is more likely since it makes more sense than if an outside agent caused it (with the exception of m theory).

I take it as an axiom that everything with a beginning requires a cause.

Okay, I can leave your explanation as unreasonable - as it begs several questions. It can be rejected by rational people.


I don't take seriously, like you and others, that universes, or anything at all for that matter, can magically come in to existence without a cause. It's an axiom that you can take or leave, there is nothing further that can be fleshed out in regards to it.

You apparently don't even understand my position since you consistently create a strawman out of it. I do not hold that there ever was a moment when the universe *wasn't*.

I will leave your 'axiom' as it's irrational.

For something to come in to existence, all that is required is that said thing:

Does not exist, and then
Exists


This isn't actually true, as I have explained multiple times. You seem to be shutting down though (it's clear you haven't read my links, as you continue to misconstrue my position), so I suppose we will have to leave things as they are.

Good, because I also reject that anything can come in to existence from absolutely nothing..


Okay.

So what are you saying? Is there evidence of something popping in to existence uncaused, or isn't there?

I am saying that what we have observed within the universe supports things popping into existence uncaused. I am also separating this observation with the universe itself. In other words, I am trying to avoid a composition logical fallacy.

Every scientist in history has relied on axioms. Again, I reject that anything can come in to existence without a cause, universes or otherwise. This to me is axiomatic, it's self-evident. If one takes my view, then there are implications in terms of explaining what caused a material, time-and-space bound universe to come in to existence.

?

I am not saying that you cannot make use of axioms - I am saying your axioms are arbitrary and you are only taking them as axiomatic because you cannot defend them and don't want to actually discuss them.

You are appealing to intuition about something that is decidedly AGAINST intuition (quantum physics). So we have good reason for rejecting your view. You, of course, may continue to believe it, or believe in magic or whatever, but you can't then say that your position is reasonable, because it's not. When this is pointed out, you say that your position is axiomatic and you stick your fingers in your metaphorical ears.

If you, however, take the idea seriously that things can magically come in to existence without a cause, then all the power to you, but we disagree at the axiomatic level. Axioms by nature do not/can not need further explanation, lest they are no longer axioms. Hence, I'm not sure what more I can say to you.

You realize that axioms are not supposed to be arbitrarily chosen, don't you?

Reasonable people do not just say 'this position "feels" right to me, therefore I am going to make it axiomatic'.

This is essentially what you are doing.

colonial
08-21-2011, 05:25 PM
Hey Dibble, did you see this?:

um, cite?



Firstly, I could give a toss for Cecil Adams as an authority on anything.
Cecil Adams is one of the greatest sources of popularly available objective
and scrupulously researched information in the world today, and has been
for close to 40 years. You couldn’t tie his shoelaces.



Secondly, that column is 30 years old.
This observation of yours, standing alone as it does, is valueless.

Ordinarily I do not do other people’s work for them. In this case, however,
I have become interested enough in the subject to do some googling, and
I do not mind relating what I have learned, what you should have learned
for yourself and posted here.

30 years ago expert consensus accepted OT chronology and political history
as correct at least in outline.

Since then the experts have fragmented into a continuum ranging from extreme
“Maximalists” who accept the OT as without serious historical error, to extreme
“Minimalists” who consider the OT to be of no value as history, even going so far
as to deny the reality of David and the later kingdom of Judah.

Following are essays by prominent members of the two sides, who, sadly,
despise each other and do not mind saying so in the most rancorous terms.
Not surprisingly each side describes the other as now dominating the literature,
and suppressing dissent.

On the Exodus issue neither discusses Moses, but Maximalist Rendsberg affirms
the existence of the even earlier Joseph, so it is reasonable to assume he would
do the same for Moses. On the other hand Minimalist Davies says that the first
six books of the Bible are” substantially devoid of reliable history”, and that would
include all reference to Moses.

Maximalist: Gary A. Rendsberg (http://jewish30yrs.mcgill.ca/rendsburg/index.html)

Minimalist: Philip Davies (http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/Minimalism.htm)
(Although Davies does not like the term “Minimalist”, I think he is being too thin-skinned)


And here is a link to an interview of the man who is apparently the foremost presently
active Israeli archeologist of the OT era:

Israel Finkelstein re the Ancient history of the Jews (http://prophetess.lstc.edu/~rklein/Documents/grounds.htm)

Finkelstein says this about Exodus:

(from link, emphasis added):
There is no evidence that the Israelites were in Egypt, not the slightest, not the least bit of evidence. There are no clues, either archaeological or historical, to prove that the Israelites built monuments in Egypt, even though the biblical description of the famine in the Land of Israel may be accurate. We know from archaeology that there was a migration of Canaanites to Egypt in the first half of the second millennium BCE, that these migrants built communities in the area of the Nile Delta, and that the Egyptians afterward expelled them from there.
I find this passage frankly baffling because rather than ruling out a Jewish presence
in Egypt followed by eviction, the emphasized section seems to leave the door wide
open for them. And please do not object to my identifying “Canaanites” with “Jews”
before reading the entire link.

Perhaps much more reading would give me a better feel for who has the best of this
argument. I cannot tell based on what little I have added over the past few days to
what little I already knew.



According to "The Master" and that stela, the Israelites were all wiped out. So there's that.

No, sorry, archaeological evidence cited by both Finkelstein and Rendsberg proves
the existence of an Israelite kingdom ~1000BC&ff:

Finkelstein: “There is an inscription from Tel Dan from the ninth century BCE that mentions the southern kingdom by the name of `the house of David.' "

Rendsberg: “in 1993... an Aramaic inscription dated to the 9th century B.C.E. was found at Tel Dan in the far north of the country, mentioning both מלך ישראל "king of Israel" and ביתדוד "house of David." The Aramean king who had erected this stela to commemorate his victory over the northern part of Israel."

And Finkelstein adds that the later King Ahab is mentioned in Assyrian sources,
so whatever happened to the Israelites ~1200BC, they were not “all wiped out”
since ~200&ff years later they were still noteworthy enough to draw the attention
of foreign powers.



If your intent and purpose is to show a historical basis for Jesus, and you point to Moses, all you're saying is Jesus is as mythical.
You have lost the thread of our conversation. We began with the issue of
Moses’ existence, and I offered the Iliad, Exodus and the Gospels as a
three-way analogy. (Curiously it is the Iliad for which physical evidence
corroborates the possibility of historical basis: one of the several layers
of Schliemann’s “Troy” was destroyed by fire ~1250BC)



No tension. I said "as fictionalized an account", meaning there is no connection between history and the account, so it is impossible to infer anything about him from those accounts.
The tension remains as long as “his life” is itself not dismissed as fiction.
I see you do just that below, so no need to dwell on it here.



Again, I could give a toss what Cecil Adams has to say on the matter 26 years ago.
Addressed.



Fact of the matter is, I choose not to believe in a historical Jesus (as depicted in the Gospels, I don't care about some hypothetical handyman named JoshuaBenJoseph) because there's no direct evidence for his existence. Plain as that. Just like I choose not to believe in a historical Buddha for the same reason. Or a historical Orpheus.
This specious approach inverses the error committed by scriptural fundamentalists:
rather than believing on faith everything in the Bible even if uncorroborated,
you believe nothing based on faith.

I see no reason to alter my original comment, namely that despite lack of
corroboration the early Jews probably had a leader named Moses. Not that
it would make any difference to me if Egyptian census records were discovered
for the entire 2000 years ~2500 to 500BC, and that the records contained not
one Jewish name, since my view of the subject is not ideologically motivated.

colonial
08-21-2011, 05:32 PM
I'm not sure it does - to be frank, I think the encyclopedia is trying to have it's cake and eat it too. It seems the pantheistic version is more coherent with regard to God sustaining the universe and miracles.

All this link tries to explain is God's importance to the universe, it doesn't address why we should be sure that a particular event is the result of a miracle or God's order (ie, the laws of nature).
Your original question to me concerns only existence of “uniformity of nature”,
which I take to mean consistent scientific law. The link seems to me to affirm
the existence of such law, subordinate though it may be to God:

However wonderful we may consider the universe to be, we recognize that neither in its substance nor in the laws by which its order is maintained, in so far as unaided reason can come to know them, does it exhaust God's infinite power or perfectly reveal His nature.




We are permitted to make such inference as justified by observation of Nature,
and God is permitted to alter Nature.


So how can we tell the difference between them?
A defining attribute of miracles is that they obviously violate scientific law and
inference. For example, when a jug of water is transformed into a jug of wine
we must be dealing with spontaneous transmutation of elements. Or if you prefer
an example making use of gravity, suppose the stars were to realign themselves
in the form of a cross…

NotreDame05
08-21-2011, 07:36 PM
Again, you are confusing our knowledge of whether something is possible with whether it actually is possible. If our physics is even remotely accurate, we know nothing exceeded c in 1650 or even 1650,000 BCE. (If we are wrong about this, then it could happen.) But if the true laws of physics make exceeding c impossible, it matters little what we think about it.

Because the laws of physics are invariant over time, which we can demonstrate by observing stars and galaxies the light from which left long before 1650.
I'm not saying that we can be absolutely 100% certain that the laws of physics are true. We can't be 100% certain that there was a world in 1650. But that is a different matter from actual laws.

Your example referencing the speed of light is not a good one. Why? Because I have yet to encounter any physicists or scientists who can say with 100% certainty nothing exceeded the speed of light in 1650. Rather, they say they are 99.9% sure nothing exceeded the speed light in 1650. When it comes to any scientific fact, I am not aware of anyone in the scientific community professing 100% certainty in the fact itself. The lack of 100% certainty is what scientists and the scientific community profess as a fundamentally important quality of scientific inquiry, the scientific method, indeed scientific pursuit of what is true about nature and the universe. But I digress, so let me address your other point, of "actually" possible as opposed to not actually possible.

I find the dialogue of whether something is "actually" possible a futile exercise, pure intellectual masturbation. We can rarely if ever know whether something is "actually" possible, much less "actual." I find this dialogue parallel to an "actual innocence" claim in criminal law. Just as we can never know, in many if not all circumstances, whether someone is "actually" innocent, we can never know, in many if not all circumstances, whether something is "actually" possible.

Our lack of complete knowledge, and inability to exclude alternatives with 100% certainty, renders those alternatives possible. We have to say, "The alternatives are possible," because of both considerations, a lack of complete knowledge and inability to exclude alternatives with 100% certainty. The comment of "actually" possible does nothing more than illuminate a notion I have already made, which is we can never be 100% sure whether something is "actual" at all.

Can you, with 100% certainty, discern what is "actually" possible as opposed to what is not actually possible? None of us can with many, many, many things, if not all things, and because of this fact, it doesn't make any sense to venture into the realm of "actually" possible.

So let's use an example. Let' use a criminal trial as an example.

The prosecution alleges on a rainy night person X had a conversation with his girlfriend on his cellular phone at 9:30. Shortly after the conversation person X then drove to his girlfriend's home Person X had with him a 9mm handgun, which he has a license to carry and he has the weapon with him at all times. Person X, having a key to the residence, unlocked the front door. Person X entered the home. Person X found his girlfriend with another man having sex. The man is killed and the girlfriend is wounded. As a result of his injuries she is in a coma.

We have at least two explanations. The prosecution alleges person X murdered the man and attempted to murder his girlfriend. Person X claims it was self-defense of his girlfriend and himself, as he was responding to a distress call his girlfriend made.

Now, according to your logic, one explanation is actually possible but how do we know, with 100% certainty, which one? We can't say with 100% certainty which account of events is actually possible. At best, all we can say is one is possible, and with the right set of facts, one is more possible than the other, but the other is possible. Whether it is "actually" possible is a pointless discussion, since we can never know anyway. These considerations force us to say something is possible.

KellyCriterion
08-22-2011, 06:46 AM
I am saying that what we have observed within the universe supports things popping into existence uncaused.

This is, quite simply, wrong.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. If we see something appearing and don't know what caused it, the best we can say, which is why I say it, is that we do not know what caused said thing to appear.

"Woooaaah! Magic!!" I guess could be another explanation, and it's one that you seem to give credence to, but I choose to dismiss it outright.

If you're going to keep insisting that quantum particles exhibit uncaused behaviour, and this has been somehow demonstrated, then can you please link me to something digestible; an article, a lecture, something that actually backs this claim of yours.

Please.. educate me. Remove me from my rigid cause-and-effect mindset.

Czarcasm
08-22-2011, 06:51 AM
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.Absence of evidence is also not evidence of irrational nonsense.

Meatros
08-22-2011, 06:57 AM
Your original question to me concerns only existence of “uniformity of nature”,
which I take to mean consistent scientific law. The link seems to me to affirm
the existence of such law, subordinate though it may be to God:

However wonderful we may consider the universe to be, we recognize that neither in its substance nor in the laws by which its order is maintained, in so far as unaided reason can come to know them, does it exhaust God's infinite power or perfectly reveal His nature.


Yes, the link tries to explain it - I find the pantheist version more coherent. When you try to incorporate miracles into it, it becomes less so.

A defining attribute of miracles is that they obviously violate scientific law and
inference. For example, when a jug of water is transformed into a jug of wine
we must be dealing with spontaneous transmutation of elements. Or if you prefer
an example making use of gravity, suppose the stars were to realign themselves
in the form of a cross…

But if everything is a process of Gods, then there really is no scientific law - what we observe as uniformities are just how God is structuring the universe at present. What assurance do we have that such a thing is not simply temporary?

Meatros
08-22-2011, 07:07 AM
This is, quite simply, wrong.


You base this on....?

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. If we see something appearing and don't know what caused it, the best we can say, which is why I say it, is that we do not know what caused said thing to appear.



You realize that it was only through extensive empirical evidence that the randomness of quantum physics was revealed, right?

Further, what type of evidence are you looking for? Since you don't seem to feel this is the case, then please explain what it would take for you to accept it as the case? I think you are attempting to make your position non falsifiable.

In any event, quantum physics doesn't rely on what we don't know - it relies on what we do know, through probabilities, so I'm not entirely sure what you are talking about, with reference to the above.

"Woooaaah! Magic!!" I guess could be another explanation, and it's one that you seem to give credence to, but I choose to dismiss it outright.

This is a strawman. I've repeatedly stated my position, you've ignored it. This is a fault on your understanding, not my explanation.

If you're going to keep insisting that quantum particles exhibit uncaused behaviour, and this has been somehow demonstrated, then can you please link me to something digestible; an article, a lecture, something that actually backs this claim of yours.


No, I've given you enough stuff for you to chew on - you've simply ignored it and misconstrued my position repeatedly. It's time for you to do your own homework. When you've demonstrated that you know what my position is without putting forth a strawman, then I'll get you more information if you'd like. Until then, I have to doubt your motives because of how badly you've misconstrued my position. Right now it just seems as though you are attempting to lead me on a wild goose chase.

Here's a hint towards my position, your strawman presupposes that I accept the a theory of time.

KellyCriterion
08-22-2011, 07:19 AM
Absence of evidence is also not evidence of irrational nonsense.:dubious:

Having a bad day are you, Czarcasm?

I said.. "If we see something appearing and don't know what caused it, the best we can say, which is why I say it, is that we do not know what caused said thing to appear."

That's "irrational nonsense", is it?

:confused:

Czarcasm
08-22-2011, 07:32 AM
:dubious:

Having a bad day are you, Czarcasm?

I said.. "If we see something appearing and don't know what caused it, the best we can say, which is why I say it, is that we do not know what caused said thing to appear."

That's "irrational nonsense", is it?

:confused:Would that include the universe?

Meatros
08-22-2011, 07:34 AM
:dubious:

Having a bad day are you, Czarcasm?

I said.. "If we see something appearing and don't know what caused it, the best we can say, which is why I say it, is that we do not know what caused said thing to appear."

That's "irrational nonsense", is it?

:confused:

No one has put that forwards though - what you are putting forward under the guise of popularly held belief is incredibly uncharitable to the point of total misrepresentation.

For example, your statement does not reflect quantum tunneling, m-theory, or Gott's cosmology - yet, presumably, that is your intention.

CurtC
08-22-2011, 09:06 AM
If you're going to keep insisting that quantum particles exhibit uncaused behaviour, and this has been somehow demonstrated, then can you please link me to something digestible; an article, a lecture, something that actually backs this claim of yours.

Please.. educate me. Remove me from my rigid cause-and-effect mindset.

The lack of cause follows from the Uncertainty Principle. Further, experiments demonstrating Bell's Inequality have shown that there is not some underlying cause that's just beyond our ability to detect. Quantum events, including the creation of virtual particles, are fundamentally uncaused and random. You've already been given links explaining this.

colonial
08-22-2011, 09:15 AM
Yes, the link tries to explain it - I find the pantheist version more coherent. When you try to incorporate miracles into it, it becomes less so.
Neither version convinces me of a need to pledge allegiance.



But if everything is a process of Gods, then there really is no scientific law - what we observe as uniformities are just how God is structuring the universe at present.
I do not have any problem equating scientific law with Godly structuring,
and I do not think they raise any philosphical problems with each other.



What assurance do we have that such a thing is not simply temporary?
Obviously none. So what?

I do not think there is any tension between science and God, as long as
the scriptures are not taken literally, except possibly from the perspective
of Occam's Law of Parsimony.

If there is an uncaused originating force for the Universe it would be simplest
if that force were the Universe itself, rather than an additional actor, separate
from the rest of reality, which we name "God". The reason I wonder about this
as a possbile avenue of attack is that it must by now have been thoroughly evaluated
by skeptics of preeminent scientific as well as philosphical stature, and if there
was consensus among them that the argument was decisive we would all have
heard of it by now.

Meatros
08-22-2011, 09:30 AM
Neither version convinces me of a need to pledge allegiance.

Fair enough.

I do not have any problem equating scientific law with Godly structuring,
and I do not think they raise any philosphical problems with each other.


Fair enough - however I do find it problematic - but this all depends on what God is supposed to do. I suppose that my relegating coherency to pantheism is not altogether correct - deism could be a fit as well. I suppose other forms of monotheism could too - but I have my doubts as the amount of interference would lead to more and more distrust on natures regularity.

Obviously none. So what?

I do not think there is any tension between science and God, as long as
the scriptures are not taken literally, except possibly from the perspective
of Occam's Law of Parsimony.

I think this is where we are diverging. I'm looking at theism one way and you another. When I think of miracles and God, I think of people who can pray in such a way as to interfere with nature. I am seeing that this is not a fair appraisal of your view, so it doesn't appear to apply.


If there is an uncaused originating force for the Universe it would be simplest
if that force were the Universe itself, rather than an additional actor, separate
from the rest of reality, which we name "God". The reason I wonder about this
as a possbile avenue of attack is that it must by now have been thoroughly evaluated by skeptics of preeminent scientific as well as philosphical stature, and if there was consensus among them that the argument was decisive we would all have heard of it by now.

Yes, that is an interesting point - although if I'm being straight forward, I'm not entirely convinced that we *can know* of the origin of the universe. It could just be beyond us to be able to know whether or not a God was somehow responsible. Right now I do not thing that 'God' is a very coherent explanation. I think it's fraught with problems - one of which seems to be the presupposition of an absolute frame of time.

canterburyales
08-22-2011, 10:42 AM
This is, quite simply, wrong.

If you're going to keep insisting that quantum particles exhibit uncaused behaviour, and this has been somehow demonstrated, then can you please link me to something digestible; an article, a lecture, something that actually backs this claim of yours.

Please.. educate me. Remove me from my rigid cause-and-effect mindset.

I hope you don't mind if I cut in. I am not a physicist but I have an interest and have read quite a bit about quantum phenomenon.

It is not an easy path to remove yourself from a 'rigid cause-and-effect mindset.' To really grasp the subtleties you do need mathematics but I think a very convincing case can be made without it. I would suggest watching this series of videos:

http://vega.org.uk/video/subseries/8

the videos clock in at over four hours total but if you really do want to understand it will take time, more than four hours even.

I don't think that there is talk of particles coming into existence from nothing but it does show that the direction of time and therefore causality is not as simple as we may first assume. It also shows that the world seems to be inherently probabilistic.

If you are serious about being educated, I would suggest that this is a good place to start. I think you will find that when physics claims that a particle comes from nothing there is a long line of reasoning that lead to that statement. It is not simply an attempt to explain an unknown. To really understand, you need to follow that line of reasoning and understand concepts such as the uncertainty principle.

I hope you enjoy the ride.

Voyager
08-22-2011, 12:04 PM
Your example referencing the speed of light is not a good one. Why? Because I have yet to encounter any physicists or scientists who can say with 100% certainty nothing exceeded the speed of light in 1650. Rather, they say they are 99.9% sure nothing exceeded the speed light in 1650. When it comes to any scientific fact, I am not aware of anyone in the scientific community professing 100% certainty in the fact itself. The lack of 100% certainty is what scientists and the scientific community profess as a fundamentally important quality of scientific inquiry, the scientific method, indeed scientific pursuit of what is true about nature and the universe. But I digress, so let me address your other point, of "actually" possible as opposed to not actually possible.

Basically, you are missing the point. You might have missed me saying that we are not 100% certain that the world even existed in 1650. I suffered through a Theory of Knowledge class that had a bunch of extreme skeptics shouting "you can't be certain" at every turn, so I know this. I've also read Lord Keynes first book which is exactly on this subject.
But the point you are missing is that we must distinguish our knowledge of the physical world from the actual structure of the physical world. We don't "know" that nothing is exceeding the speed of light right now, never mind 1650.
I can ask you if I have a picture of Santa Claus and a picture of Alice in Wonderland in my office. You'd have to say that both are possible. In fact, I don't have Santa but I do have Alice. This fact is totally separate from your answer and from any estimation of the probability I have them that you might have made.

The reason for saying that nothing exceeded the speed of light in 1650 is that relativity makes numerous predictions all of which have been verified. I'd say that the average physicist would put the probability of c being the speed limit as considerably higher than 99.5%, but you can't really compute a probability for such a thing. But no matter - our lack of knowledge does not mean that exceeding c is actually possible.

NotreDame05
08-22-2011, 12:58 PM
Basically, you are missing the point. You might have missed me saying that we are not 100% certain that the world even existed in 1650. I suffered through a Theory of Knowledge class that had a bunch of extreme skeptics shouting "you can't be certain" at every turn, so I know this. I've also read Lord Keynes first book which is exactly on this subject.
But the point you are missing is that we must distinguish our knowledge of the physical world from the actual structure of the physical world. We don't "know" that nothing is exceeding the speed of light right now, never mind 1650.
I can ask you if I have a picture of Santa Claus and a picture of Alice in Wonderland in my office. You'd have to say that both are possible. In fact, I don't have Santa but I do have Alice. This fact is totally separate from your answer and from any estimation of the probability I have them that you might have made.

The reason for saying that nothing exceeded the speed of light in 1650 is that relativity makes numerous predictions all of which have been verified. I'd say that the average physicist would put the probability of c being the speed limit as considerably higher than 99.5%, but you can't really compute a probability for such a thing. But no matter - our lack of knowledge does not mean that exceeding c is actually possible.

No, I understand your point. I just think it is a useless exercise.

Like I said, we can venture opinions, guesses, and speculation all day long as to whether something is "actual" or "actually possible" but such an exercise is pointless. We generally do not think of whether something is "actually" possible because in many instances, if not all of them, such a question is a waste of time, since it is incapable of being known.

Furthermore, as it relates to the opening post, the notion of "actually possible" does not assist us at all, but due to the reasons I mentioned, necessitate those alternatives be construed as possible. Whether they are actually possible is an exercise which is a waste of time and, ironically enough, would render unnecessary the original poster's dilemma. If the original poster knew what was "actual" and "actually possible" then presupposing an explanation, to the excluision of others, is no longer a dilemma.

Voyager
08-22-2011, 02:50 PM
No, I understand your point. I just think it is a useless exercise.

Like I said, we can venture opinions, guesses, and speculation all day long as to whether something is "actual" or "actually possible" but such an exercise is pointless. We generally do not think of whether something is "actually" possible because in many instances, if not all of them, such a question is a waste of time, since it is incapable of being known.

Furthermore, as it relates to the opening post, the notion of "actually possible" does not assist us at all, but due to the reasons I mentioned, necessitate those alternatives be construed as possible. Whether they are actually possible is an exercise which is a waste of time and, ironically enough, would render unnecessary the original poster's dilemma. If the original poster knew what was "actual" and "actually possible" then presupposing an explanation, to the excluision of others, is no longer a dilemma.
All of science is predicated on there being true statements you can say about the universe, and reducing the gap between our model of the universe and its nature. Every experimental result comes with the probability that the results are due to chance, and we try to reduce that p value as much as possible. A large p value means that you cannot reject the null hypothesis, but it is not the same as falsifying the hypothesis.

Bryan Ekers
08-22-2011, 04:24 PM
I do not understand.

"Chariots of iron" is a reference to one of the odder passages of the old testament:

Judges 1:19 - And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

It's easy to see how chariots of iron (and advanced military hardware generally) could stop Judah's army, but there's no explanation of why God would be stymied by them.

Voyager
08-22-2011, 06:50 PM
"Chariots of iron" is a reference to one of the odder passages of the old testament:

Judges 1:19 - And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

It's easy to see how chariots of iron (and advanced military hardware generally) could stop Judah's army, but there's no explanation of why God would be stymied by them.

Thanks - I've been busy and forgot to respond. This is yet another example of why reading the entire Bible, and not the Sunday School edited version, is so interesting. There are many passages like this one which make you go *huh*.

I can just see the editorial meeting now.

Chief Editor Priest: Look, this is a mess. You got contradictory creation stories, you
have Cain setting up a city when there is no one else around, you've got God losing to chariots of iron.
Jeremiah (likely one of the people who pulled it together): Don't worry! No one will notice!



"Ed Wood" reference for those confused.

Skald the Rhymer
08-22-2011, 07:17 PM
If you're talking about the uncaused first cause, that would be uncaused.

Why can God be uncaused but not the universe?

Skald the Rhymer
08-22-2011, 07:38 PM
Hey Dibble, did you see this?:
<most of long post snipped as a single paragraph makes my point>

I see no reason to alter my original comment, namely that despite lack of
corroboration the early Jews probably had a leader named Moses. Not that
it would make any difference to me if Egyptian census records were discovered
for the entire 2000 years ~2500 to 500BC, and that the records contained not
one Jewish name, since my view of the subject is not ideologically motivated.

For gods' sake, man, you are not using a fricking typewriter. Let the word wrap do its job. Your pointless returns are highly annoying and reduce the readability of your posts.

colonial
08-22-2011, 11:35 PM
"Chariots of iron" is a reference to one of the odder passages of the old testament:

Judges 1:19 - And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

It's easy to see how chariots of iron (and advanced military hardware generally) could stop Judah's army, but there's no explanation of why God would be stymied by them.
Thank you for the information.

One would think that a little chariot would be no obstacle to a power
capable of parting the waters of the Red Sea. I am afraid I can offer
no help in explaining Biblical inconsistency and contradiction.

I wonder how such towering figures as Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and
Calvin cope with these issues. I think one freely employed tactic is recourse
to literary device: when some scriptural passage looks fishy they just say
“allegory” or “metaphor” or “symbolism”, and presto, it is all taken
care of. I have to admit to not having read any theology, so maybe I am
underestimating the ingenuity of its masters.

colonial
08-22-2011, 11:41 PM
For gods' sake, man, you are not using a fricking typewriter. Let the word wrap do its job. Your pointless returns are highly annoying and reduce the readability of your posts.
I format my posts to suit myself, and I operate on the assumption
that anyone who is distracted is probably not interested in giving
much serious thought to the discussion anyway.

PS anyone who identifies with rhyme (viz poetry) should if anything
be receptive to lines of 10-15 words or even less.

Meatros
08-23-2011, 07:10 AM
Thank you for the information.

One would think that a little chariot would be no obstacle to a power
capable of parting the waters of the Red Sea. I am afraid I can offer
no help in explaining Biblical inconsistency and contradiction.

I wonder how such towering figures as Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and
Calvin cope with these issues. I think one freely employed tactic is recourse
to literary device: when some scriptural passage looks fishy they just say
“allegory” or “metaphor” or “symbolism”, and presto, it is all taken
care of. I have to admit to not having read any theology, so maybe I am
underestimating the ingenuity of its masters.

I'm not sure about the others, but I do not think that Augustine would suffer much loss of sleep over these things. He would probably say that they were metaphor or allegory. I seem to recall he said something like this with regard to Genesis.

wevets
08-23-2011, 08:24 AM
Fact of the matter is, I choose not to believe in a historical Jesus (as depicted in the Gospels, I don't care about some hypothetical handyman named JoshuaBenJoseph) because there's no direct evidence for his existence. Plain as that. Just like I choose not to believe in a historical Buddha for the same reason. Or a historical Orpheus.

This specious approach inverses the error committed by scriptural fundamentalists:
rather than believing on faith everything in the Bible even if uncorroborated,
you believe nothing based on faith.

I see no reason to alter my original comment, namely that despite lack of
corroboration the early Jews probably had a leader named Moses.

That's not profound, that's just a misunderstanding of the word faith:

Definition of FAITH
1a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>


It's simply a misuse of the word faith to claim that someone who doesn't believe things happened as the bible says they did is doing anything based on faith.


I wonder if, in the interests of consistency, you believe in supernatural claims from other books written thousands of years ago?

colonial
08-23-2011, 02:21 PM
That's not profound, that's just a misunderstanding of the word faith:


Definition of FAITH
1a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>


It's simply a misuse of the word faith to claim that someone who doesn't believe things happened as the bible says they did is doing anything based on faith.

You again. Sigh.

It should not overexercise anyone's critical facilities to see that definitions
2b and 3 accord with what I intended to convey.




I wonder if, in the interests of consistency, you believe in supernatural claims from other books written thousands of years ago?
I do not believe in any supernatural claims from any source, and have
not expressed any such belief.

wevets
08-23-2011, 02:44 PM
You again. Sigh.

It should not overexercise anyone's critical facilities to see that definitions
2b and 3 accord with what I intended to convey.


Nope.

b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>


MrDibble's point was that he doesn't believe the biblical account. Quite the opposite of definitions 2b and 3.





I do not believe in any supernatural claims from any source, and have
not expressed any such belief.

Then one must wonder - why disagree with someone who says there may have been some carpenter in Palestine 2000 years ago named Joshua, but that he doesn't believe there was anything supernatural about that person?

colonial
08-23-2011, 04:47 PM
Nope.

MrDibble's point was that he doesn't believe the biblical account. Quite the opposite of definitions 2b and 3.

Then one must wonder - why disagree with someone who says there may have been some carpenter in Palestine 2000 years ago named Joshua, but that he doesn't believe there was anything supernatural about that person?
You really are not getting it at all.

I thought I would check your profile to see if there might be something there to explain
your complete inability to comprehend stuff.

Do you think you might need to spend more time in the decompression chamber?

Skald the Rhymer
08-23-2011, 04:57 PM
I format my posts to suit myself, and I operate on the assumption
that anyone who is distracted is probably not interested in giving
much serious thought to the discussion anyway.


The purpose of conventions in communication, colonial, is to make the reader's task easier. The way you format your posts draws attention to itself and away from your message. It is the very opposite of clarity.

Marley23
08-23-2011, 05:17 PM
You really are not getting it at all.

I thought I would check your profile to see if there might be something there to explain
your complete inability to comprehend stuff.

Do you think you might need to spend more time in the decompression chamber?
Personal insults aren't allowed in this forum, so you need to adopt a more civil tone immediately. Don't do this again.

wevets
08-26-2011, 10:34 AM
This isn't intended to be personal, colonial, I'm just not clear on why someone would reject supernaturalism yet argue that supernatural events or entities in the bible should be accorded belief.

Perhaps I've summarized your views incorrectly - could you lay them out more explicitly?

colonial
08-26-2011, 04:23 PM
This isn't intended to be personal, colonial, I'm just not clear on why someone would reject supernaturalism yet argue that supernatural events or entities in the bible should be accorded belief.

Perhaps I've summarized your views incorrectly - could you lay them out more explicitly?

For the last time, I have not said that any supernatural event should be
accorded belief. Accepting the historical existence of people as Moses
and events such as the Jews' escape from Egypt does not create obligation
to accept supernatural attachments concocted by those of supernaturalist
persuasion.

Our disagreement began when I felt obliged to point out that supernaturalist
belief is a brute fact of utmost significance in the life of the human race,
like it or not. You wish it would go away? Me too. Too bad for us.

wevets
08-26-2011, 05:31 PM
For the last time, I have not said that any supernatural event should be
accorded belief. Accepting the historical existence of people as Moses
and events such as the Jews' escape from Egypt does not create obligation
to accept supernatural attachments concocted by those of supernaturalist
persuasion.

I specifically asked you about your comments relating to MrDibble's lack of belief in events described in the Gospels, not in Exodus.



Our disagreement began when I felt obliged to point out that supernaturalist
belief is a brute fact of utmost significance in the life of the human race,
like it or not. You wish it would go away? Me too. Too bad for us.

Huh? That doesn't make any sense at all. I'm saying that supernaturalism does not reflect the common experience of objective reality we share. I haven't said anything about whether people actually believe in supernaturalism or not (obviously they do or they wouldn't pray.)

Are you responding after having read some of my posts? If so, could you quote the ones you're responding to?

colonial
08-27-2011, 12:04 PM
I specifically asked you about your comments relating to MrDibble's lack of belief in events described in the Gospels, not in Exodus.
Not in your last post you didn’t, but if you had read all my posts with any
care you would not have needed to ask because it is obvious that my
replies pertain to the existence of Christ as well as Moses. Everything
supernatural is by implication addressed.




Huh? That doesn't make any sense at all. I'm saying that supernaturalism does not reflect the common experience of objective reality we share. I haven't said anything about whether people actually believe in supernaturalism or not (obviously they do or they wouldn't pray.)

Are you responding after having read some of my posts? If so, could you quote the ones you're responding to?
Your first reply to this thread, post #7 on page one, affected ignorance of
the topic where the topic was in fact clearly understandable. I feel that such
a potent force, defended in detail by several of the most potent intellects
ever known, should be accorded its full due whether you and me agree with
it or not.

Now, I really am tired of this conversation, and do not intend to pursue it
further. You seem like the kind’ a guy who can’t be happy unless he has the
last word on everything, so go for it, Bubba.

wevets
08-27-2011, 01:09 PM
I see what the problem is, colonial.

You may not be aware of a fallacy of logic known as argumentum ad populum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum), which you can read about, but in short says that just because an idea is popular, does not mean that idea is more likely to be correct.

In all my posts in this thread, I have been discussing the truth value and logical status of supernaturalism vs. naturalism.

That's why I've replied to you that your repeated appeals to the popularity of supernaturalism:

My motivation for entering this thread was only to affirm the importance
of supernatural characters and events in the perception of vast numbers
of people.

All this is true, but it does not present a case against the past and ongoing
importance of the supernatural in the perception of billions of people.

Our disagreement began when I felt obliged to point out that supernaturalist
belief is a brute fact of utmost significance in the life of the human race,
like it or not. You wish it would go away? Me too. Too bad for us.

Are not relevant, because it is an argumentum ad populum, and popularity has nothing to do with truth value. You should re-read the OP; it's not about how popular naturalism or supernaturalism is, it's about logical consistency in the pursuit these philosophies.




Fact of the matter is, I choose not to believe in a historical Jesus (as depicted in the Gospels, I don't care about some hypothetical handyman named JoshuaBenJoseph) because there's no direct evidence for his existence. Plain as that. Just like I choose not to believe in a historical Buddha for the same reason. Or a historical Orpheus.

This specious approach inverses the error committed by scriptural fundamentalists:
rather than believing on faith everything in the Bible even if uncorroborated,
you believe nothing based on faith.

I see no reason to alter my original comment, namely that despite lack of
corroboration the early Jews probably had a leader named Moses.


Not in your last post you didn’t, but if you had read all my posts with any
care you would not have needed to ask because it is obvious that my
replies pertain to the existence of Christ as well as Moses. Everything
supernatural is by implication addressed.

Maybe you missed that the issue is whether Jesus existed as depicted in the Gospels or not? Despite that a lot of people believe in the Gospels, adhering to a Gospel-defined description of Jesus accepts supernatural events that you say you don't believe in, so why accept a Gospel-defined description of Jesus?