Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Was the beginning of the universe uncaused?

Quentin Smith thinks so.

370 comments:

1 – 200 of 370   Newer›   Newest»
unkleE said...

Smith's talks of a "vacuum fluctuation" reminds me of a discussion of nothingness on Luke Barnes' excellent blog Letters to Nature.

Doug Benscoter said...

I think there's some promise in a modal kalam argument, which has some weakened Leibnizian principles. Let's take the W-PSR: "Possibly, everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause."

Assuming the truth of W-PSR, we can start with several modest premises: a) that whatever begins to exist is contingent, and b) that the universe possibly began to exist. From (a) and (b), it follows that the universe is possibly contingent.

From the above conclusion, it follows in conjunction with S5 that the universe is contingent. Given the W-PSR, it then follows that the universe is possibly explained by an external cause. This cause could only be a timeless, changeless, immaterial, and very powerful first cause. Since the universe is possibly caused, we can infer that this first cause possibly exists.

Now, if a first cause possibly exists, that cause is either necessary or contingent (by definition). Since it possibly exists, it must also be possibly explained (W-PSR). However, a first cause cannot be caused by anything else, so its explanation must be found in the necessity of its own nature. Hence, the first cause's possible necessity is inferred, and therefore a first cause has necessary existence (S5)

Any thoughts on this?

Papalinton said...

"Any thoughts on this?"

Yes. Theological speculation masquerading as philosophy, with a dash of wishful thinking.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Theological speculation masquerading as philosophy, with a dash of wishful thinking.

OH WHAT A SCHOLAR

Per Ove Stige said...

Edward Faser suggests how to get something out of nothing:

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-are-some-physicists-so-bad-at.html

Per Ove Stige said...

I apologize - Edward Feser.

B. Prokop said...

Yes, I recall learning about these ideas about 10 years ago or so. From a theological standpoint, the problem with the "uncaused" part of this hypothesis is that, whether or not the universe emerged from a vacuum fluctuation (And it very well may have. I think the concept has definite scientific merit.), that is still most emphatically NOT creation ex nihilo. One still has to account for the pre-existence of physical laws that would have made such an event possible.

As the Nicene Creed states, God is Creator of "all things visible and invisible". Those invisible things would include the very laws that allow for a vacuum fluctuation to occur in the first place.

New Atheists love to trot out the (Fallacious) argument, "Then who created God?", as though that hyper-simplistic question was a show stopper. Well, now at least the theist can come back with, "Then what caused the uncaused laws of nature that allowed for the uncaused vacuum fluctuation?"

One Brow said...

Per Ove Stige and B. Prokop,

The laws of physics are not a thing. They are observable patterns of behavior. They only exist when the thing whose behavior they represent exists. So, they can not be a cause for the existence of something, on whose existence they depend.

B. Prokop said...

One Brow,

Sorry, but we're not on the same page here. If the laws of nature are not a "thing", than neither is software.

But in any case, natural laws "exist". They therefore have ens, inadequately translated into English as "being". They are a part of the natural world, and therefore share the same origins as the rest of Creation.

finney said...

Someone should tell Papalinton that Quentin Smith is an atheist.

OneBrow/Bob,
It seems like you're in agreement, ultimately. If laws of physics are descriptions of existing physical events, they presuppose the events that require explanation. If laws of physics are "things" of themselves (which is hard for me to swallow), then they're features of the same events that require explanation.

There are no laws of physics, imo. Just our human models of describing and generalizing patterns in the world. But as such, the laws are a part of the properties that we impute to the world, and are as much a part of the world (or, our models of the world) as anything else.

BenYachov said...

I remember multiple times telling Paps to read Quintin Smith instead of Dawkins and telling him he was an Atheist.

But as per usual it's in one ear out the other.

Typical fundie move shooting your own.

Per Ove Stige said...

OneBrow/Bob/finney

It seems to me that we agree. And since Feser discussed Hawking's sentence
Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,
what you say makes Hawking's sentence even more meaningless to me.

B. Prokop said...

We are in the deepest of Deep Waters here, and I truly despair at being able to sum up my thoughts in a blog post. But here goes:

Down at the smallest levels of existence, an elementary particle (which by definition is the smallest thing there is) "knows" how to respond to an exterior force, such as gravity or a positive or negative charge. But how? Where is this information (and that is what it is) encoded, if there is no finer structure upon which to record it?

C.S. Lewis coined the very useful term "the subnatural" to describe this interface between the smallest elements of nature and whatever it was that acted upon matter at this level.

That is a very intriguing concept, and it has led to some blue-sky speculation on my part as to whether the "supernatural" might be described as how nature is affected at the extreme macro level (larger than the entire physical universe) by an entity outside of the natural realm (such as the Creator).

This is all of course just Thinking Aloud - brainstorming, if you will. Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Papalinton, your comments are intellectually worthless. What are you doing on a blog like Reppert's?

One Brow said...

B. Prokop said...
Sorry, but we're not on the same page here. If the laws of nature are not a "thing", than neither is software.

To extend the metaphor, does software exist without hardware on which it is stored? Can the existence of software precede the hardware?

One Brow said...

Per Ove Stige said...
Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,
what you say makes Hawking's sentence even more meaningless to me.


Only if you interpret Hawking to mean the law of gravity is a prior cause to the universe.

Anonymous said...

"Someone should tell Papalinton that Quentin Smith is an atheist."

Pappy's too busy denying to pick up on things like that.

B. Prokop said...

One Brow,

You can't have it both ways. If the laws of nature cannot exist without a material universe, then you cannot use such laws to explain an uncaused creation. There would exist no laws allowing such a thing to happen, until the event itself. There would thus be no possibility of its ever occurring.

One Brow said...

B. Prokop,

You are presuming that every event must have a cause temporally rior to that event.

B. Prokop said...

No, not temporally. But even in the absence of time, there will still exist a chain of causation. And for a vacuum fluctuation to occur, there must be a prior set set of natural laws in existence (prior in the sense of the causal chain, not in the sense of temporal sequence). So all this theory does is kick the can one link backward in the necessary chain. It in no way eliminates the need for a First Cause.

This is where Steven Hawking went so ludicrously wrong in his public statement some months back that the laws of gravity supposedly made God unnecessary. Mr. Hawking may know a thing or two about physics, but all he did there was show his utter ignorance about the most basic fundamentals of philosophy. He had about as much credibility as an agronomist talking about aircraft design.

One Brow said...

B. Prokop said...
But even in the absence of time, there will still exist a chain of causation.

Hawking's point seems to be that there does not need to be a link in ht echain prior to the creation of the universe.

Crude said...

Hawking's point seems to be that there does not need to be a link in ht echain prior to the creation of the universe.

Temporally prior? Sure, but as has been pointed out, something being 'temporally prior' isn't necessary for the theistic reply. As for the "laws of physics", their nature is up in the air - and Hawking's quote clearly relies on the law of gravity being causal (the 'link in the chain' is the law of gravity - but then...)

Make the "law" merely descriptive, and Hawking's quote becomes vacant.

One Brow said...

Crude said...
Make the "law" merely descriptive, and Hawking's quote becomes vacant.

Instead of vacant, it becomes "something with the properties that include gravity of this nature can come out of nothing, when no gravity is already present".

BenYachov said...

Hawking's theory eliminates a post enlightenment "god" who can be stopped by the Laws of nature.

The Classic view of God laughs at him loudly & with great cruelty.


With a Hartle/Hawkign state the Laws of nature still apply where as in a Hawking/Penrose Singularity the Laws of Physics break down.

Hawking makes a collapsing Wave Function of the Universe as the efficient cause of the Big Bang instead of God.

But he only moves the problem back a step. Who produces the Wave Function and observes it to cause it's collapse? etc..

Forget about Hawking.

Crude said...

Instead of vacant, it becomes "something with the properties that include gravity of this nature can come out of nothing, when no gravity is already present".

I suppose it becomes that, insofar as it can become whatever you damn well please if you insist. Instead of "vacant" it becomes "I think lemon pudding is delicious." There's about as much justification for that interpretation.

You'd be better off saying "Hawking simply misspoke there, he couldn't have meant what he said". Especially since the idea of laws pre-existing the universe isn't an unheard of idea among physicists - Vilenkin explicitly, if briefly, entertains the idea in his multiverse book.

BenYachov said...

I agree with Catholic Physicist Stephen Barr Hawking's theories and views on Quantum Gravity are quiet elegant.

But they are next to useless in eliminating God as God is understood Classically.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jake Elwood XVI said...

Often when I read about the laws of nature being causal I am reminded of Tathagata Buddha, the Father Buddha, who said "With our thoughts, we make the world".

As a child I took this far too simply to mean what type of world as in it's morality. Thinking of laws predating the material and similarly with the observer for a collapsing wave function a more wholistic understanding is required.

Papalinton said...

Oh Dear! Another theo-logical misconstrual of the PSR and Smith.

Nothing could be more so evident than at the following theistic site: http://actualevidence.com/

"... [W]e may say that quantum mechanical considerations like quantum indeterminacy or radioactive decay fail to provide the atheist with a relevant exception to the Principle of Sufficient Reason. Thus, they fail to undercut the theist’s argument that the contingent world requires a Necessarily Existing Being to explain its existence. Worse still, in the event that the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics turns out to be correct, it presents the atheist with a whole new question to deal with: “Who collapses the wave function of the universe?”

You will note the last sentence is predicated with a 'Who'. And to which I add, "Then who made god?" Theists cannot abide by the notion of the 'infinite regress' as it does not accord with or explains the existence of their god. The historical record shows us in stark relief how this god has morphed into "a timeless, changeless, immaterial, and very powerful first cause", from that with which one once had a deeply personal and intimate relationship, just like a father. The story simply does not hang together. How does one have a deeply personal and intimate relationship with something that theists, through the challenges to religion from the sciences, have by necessity been forced to retreat to describing it as 'a timeless, changeless, immaterial, and very powerful first cause". This smacks of contrived wriggle room, called 'deism'. My musing, "Theological speculation masquerading as philosophy, with a dash of wishful thinking", still stands.

Theist forays into QM and particles popping into and out of existence in search of their god is an excruciatingly unproductive activity, rummaging through the entrails of recent scientific findings searching for something, anything, to protect the beloved mythos.

And I also read over Feser's comments supplied by Per Ove Stige. The one and only thing that could be taken away from that comment was, " I hate to pick on Vedral. He seems like a nice fellow, and there is in his book none of the obnoxious condescension toward philosophy and theology one finds in Hawking and Mlodinow." That is Feser's central thesis for objecting to Hawking's 'gravity caused the universe'. The rest is couched in theo-philosophical gobbledegook.

ANC said...

No, it's not the "central thesis" at all. But considering you thought that Quentin Smith's article was "Theological speculation masquerading as philosophy, with a dash of wishful thinking.", it's not a surprise you'd say so.

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

You disappoint me! You write: "the actively social god of past Christianity is now morphing into "a timeless, changeless, immaterial and very powerful first cause"

But there was no "morphing" whatsoever. The very foundational documents of Christianity describe precisely what you claim God has "morphed into".

John: In the beginning was the Word, and ... all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made."

Paul: In Him all things were created, in Heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible ... He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."

No "morphing" here. the understanding of God as First Cause was there "in the beginning"!

As for "timeless", how about This?

Peter: "With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day".

If that ain't timeless, I don't know what is.

As for "changeless, immaterial, and powerful", I won't even waste my time. There are far, far too many source texts to show that these divine attributes were understood perfectly well long before Christ.

And finally, as to "actively social", when did Christians ever stop believing in that? I must have missed that one somehow.

I actually am a great fan of modern physics and cosmology. the more I learn about it, and the more scientists in general learn about these things, the "Case For [the Christian] God" grows only stronger.

B. Prokop said...

By the way, Papalinton, did you see the last two comments I made in your direction on the "Lawsuit" thread? (just saying this, in case you've stopped following that one)

Papalinton said...

Sorry Bob.
"But there was no "morphing" whatsoever. The very foundational documents of Christianity describe precisely what you claim God has "morphed into"."
You are right. God is everything and everyone. Just as the bible says, he is beyond description despite the myriad of descriptions of him/it throughout the 75 booklets. And you are right god is not morphing. I should have been more clear. Of all the descriptions of god, both stated and inferred in the bible, It is his/its description by the faithful that is morphing to the "timeless, changeless, immaterial, and very powerful first cause", the description that best fits their argument and is the most fashionable in the contemporary setting. After all, it is the only one best chance it has of surviving [increasingly being walled in and restricted to the world of philosophy, theology and mythology], given the barrage it faces under scientific scrutiny.
In order to maintain some form of relevance in today's world, as science is simply eating the heartwood out of most of the claims christian once touted as their exclusive provenance, god, of necessity must retreat into the corner of unfalsifiability, to put on his/its 'cloak of invisibility'. Bob,, many of your fellow compatriots say god is unknowable. But the unknowable and the non-existent are indistinguishable.

Quoting from the bible simply doesn't do it for me, Bob, in terms of evidence-based verification. Just because it is noted in the bible does not make it so. As I may have noted in another post: 'In science, a falsified hypothesis gets tossed on the scrap heap; in religion, a falsified hypothesis becomes a metaphor.  And it also suggests that Jesus died for that metaphor'. Quoting or referencing the bible has as much relevance to determining reality as declaring the literal existence of Hogwarts by referencing the Harry Potter series.

Cheers

Crude said...

In order to maintain some form of relevance in today's world, as science is simply eating the heartwood out of most of the claims christian once touted as their exclusive provenance, god, of necessity must retreat into the corner of unfalsifiability, to put on his/its 'cloak of invisibility'.

Again, as Bob noted, the idea of God as an empirically testable hypothesis is dead wrong - it's not as if God's existence was considered subject to scientific scrutiny even millenia ago. There was no "morphing". God as timeless, unchanging, etc was the view of Aquinas, of Augustine, of many others - including those who Bob quoted.

Science has largely been either silent on these issues, or has lent indirect support to the theistic worldview. Atheists, meanwhile, are embracing everything from acausality to infinite multiverses that would have once upon a time been considered supernatural stuff. Ah, how times have changed.

As I may have noted in another post: 'In science, a falsified hypothesis gets tossed on the scrap heap; in religion, a falsified hypothesis becomes a metaphor.

Because we never see scientific hypotheses re-interpreted or revised? Utter nonsense, and indicative of someone whose idea of "science" is downright imaginary.

B. Prokop said...

I wasn't quoting from the Bible to "do it" for you. I did so in order to demonstrate (successfully, I believe) that these divine attributes you claimed were only recently ascribed to God were there from Christianity's first days. the best method I know of to show this is to quote from Christianity's earliest documents.

You weary me with your once again dragging up the mythical "God of the Gaps" notion (who exists only in the atheists' imagination), where you write: "the only one best chance it has of surviving [increasingly being walled in and restricted to the world of philosophy, theology and mythology], given the barrage it faces under scientific scrutiny". Please, we've dealt with this fallacy too many times already for me to go over it yet again. Suffice it to say that no serious Christian believes in such a childish God.

(I can't remember where I first heard this, but a man reputedly once replied to a self-proclaimed atheist, "Describe this God whom you say you don't believe in, because I probably don't believe in him either".)

Ilíon said...

The *only* reason anyone entertains such silly idea as "the universe" coming into being uncaused is that the alternative allows "the divine foot in the door"; and Heavens! that can't be allowed.

Yet, the signal problem with the silly idea that "the universe" came into being uncaused is that it allows “the a-causal foot in the door” – and once you’ve allowed that, you can’t logically get rid of it. If one man is justified in claiming that “the universe” came to be for no cause, then another man is equally justified in claiming that anything at all happened for no cause.

finney said...

Papalinton,
Quit the act. Your "thoughts" on the essay was that it was "theological speculation masquerading as philosophy."

You did not read the essay, because if you did, you would know it's an atheistic argument for an atheistic conclusion written by an atheistic philosopher.

You are not an honest person. Do not pretend to be.

Ilíon said...

"You [Paps] are not an honest person. Do not pretend to be."

True ... but it's so "rude" to point it out. Some folks get far more upset about that than about the worse rudeness of the dishonesty.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"I wasn't quoting from the Bible to "do it" for you. I did so in order to demonstrate (successfully, I believe) that these divine attributes you claimed were only recently ascribed to God were there from Christianity's first days. the best method I know of to show this is to quote from Christianity's earliest documents."

How convenient that the font of all knowledge of the universe, the 'uncaused cause' and the divine attributes ascribed to the christian god, just began , popped up ex nihilo at around the 1stC CE. How theologically convenient that the antecedent Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Geek, Assyrian, Mithraic, and the multitude of other mythologies and legends did not configure and had no bearing or influence in the fabrication of christianity. And just like its god, is the uncaused truth of all human existence, knowledge and information.

Pull the other leg, Bob. Christianity was the god of the gaps then, just as it is the god of the gaps now. The only thing that has changed is the 'interpretation' of this moving feast called christianity.

Crude said...

I love how Papalinton gets exposed as angrily dismissing a link he didn't even read, and when Bob calls him out on the charge that the Christian view of God as an uncaused cause and outside of time 'transformed' due to science, he just seamlessly switches to noise-making which amounts to "Yeah well I don't care I hate Christianity anyway!"

Man, it's one thing to be a troll. It's another thing to be so damn *bad* at it.

Quick Papalinton, react with anger and scorn and outrage and namecalling! ... Poorly, ineffectively. As is your habit. ;)

finney said...

Papalinton,
Quit the act. Your "thoughts" on the essay was that it was "theological speculation masquerading as philosophy."

You did not read the essay, because if you did, you would know it's an atheistic argument for an atheistic conclusion written by an atheistic philosopher.

You are not an honest person. Do not pretend to be.

(Just in case you missed my first reply)

Doug Benscoter said...

Gentlemen, I think Papalinton was referring to my revision of the KCA, and not Smith's essay, when he mentioned "theological speculation masquerading as philosophy." Of course, everyone can decide for themselves whether he was right about that, as well.

Crude said...

Doug,

Hey, you're right! It looks like he was referring to that.

So it looks like he failed to really comprehend or read something entirely other than I suspected. My mistake!

Per Ove Stige said...

What a friendly discussion, folks...

@ One Brow
It seems to me that your point is: Out of nothing the universe came. Out of no laws. No resorces. No possibilitites. Out of nothing that is, nothing that happens.

And into being came anything. Time, space, energy. And just not the universe.

To walk the line to the end: With no rules to start with whatsoever, anything can happen. Rabbits, frozen fire, a God who can create a stone that cannot be lifted. Do I get you right?

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

"How theologically convenient that the antecedent Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Geek, Assyrian, Mithraic, and the multitude of other mythologies and legends did not configure and had no bearing or influence in the fabrication of Christianity."

But Papalinton, no one is claiming that there are no such connections. In fact, the only reason you know of such influences on Christianity in the first place is due to the diligent research of Christian scholars in bringing such facts to light. Your naive notion that believers today might be embarrassed by such antecedents is charming, but nevertheless completely of your own imagination. I literally cannot count the number of books I have read on this subject, all of which were written by Christians (most by Catholics), all of which going to great pains to discover as many such connections as possible.

Once again, you pin your increasingly beleaguered "particular view" (as you termed it on another thread) on pure fabrications, ludicrous distortions, and comfortable strawman arguments. I may have to start scolding you for holding to an "Atheism of the Gaps"

As you yourself wrote (slightly altered here): After all, it is the only one best chance it [atheism] has of surviving (increasingly being walled in and restricted to the world of scientism, amateur philosophy and imaginary strawman alternatives), given the barrage it faces under the learned scrutiny of actual fact and coherent argument.

Anonymous said...

Has John Loftus had his Bankruptcy held up?

Remember, the court requires a listing of ALL assets, which includes the copyrights to his books.

Why did delete all this from his blog.

Inquires can be made at the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Indiana.

Bankrupty Information is public.


The Legal Eagle

Anonymous said...

Has John Loftus had his Bankruptcy held up?

Remember, the court requires a listing of ALL assets, which includes the copyrights to his books.

Why did delete all this from his blog.

Inquires can be made at the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Indiana.

Bankrupty Information is public.


The Legal Eagle

One Brow said...

Crude said...
I suppose it becomes that, insofar as it can become whatever you damn well please ...

It must be frustrating that I don't take your Thomist interpretation of Hawking as the definitive interpretation. However, the notion of the universe, due it's properties, being potentially without prior cause is a metaphysical position, and we all know metaphysical positions can not be refuted.

Especially since the idea of laws pre-existing the universe isn't an unheard of idea among physicists - Vilenkin explicitly, if briefly, entertains the idea in his multiverse book.

What does it mean for a law to pre-exist the universe? What is a law, if not a generalizaiton of forms? What would the forms exist upon?

One Brow said...

Per Ove Stige said...
And into being came anything. Time, space, energy. And just not the universe.

I'm not sure time or space qualify as things. In Thomistic terms, they have no form. Energy is a thing, but the net energy in the universe is zero, accordiong the physicists I've read.

To walk the line to the end: With no rules to start with whatsoever, anything can happen. Rabbits, frozen fire, a God who can create a stone that cannot be lifted. Do I get you right?

That's certainly out of my depth. Is it possible for matter to exist under any set of rules, or the nature of being matter such that the rules we understand are necessary given the existence of matter? I think the latter is quite possible, but certainly have no evidence for it. What do you think?

B. Prokop said...

As to "Laws of Nature", I'm afraid we have a linguistic problem here. In "The Discarded Image", C.S. Lewis pointed out that our contemporary usage of the word Law is equally anthropomorphic as the Medievalists' use of the word Love, in describing the governing principles behind the behavior of matter and energy in nature.

I prefer the hardware/software analogy (It's not mine; I first came across it in a bad science fiction novel.), but again, that imagery is just a product of our times.

But whatever the imagery/analogy, the "law" still must causually (Did I just make that word up? I can't find it anywhere.) precede the event. You can't get around that without abandoning reasoning altogether.

Matteo said...

You are right. God is everything and everyone. Just as the bible says, he is beyond description despite the myriad of descriptions of him/it throughout the 75 booklets.

This seems to be an all too common phenomenon. There are those who seem to say on the one hand, "God is far above our own puny conceptions and comfort level", and on the other hand "I'm uncomfortable with your idea of God. It goes beyond my conceptions of him".

Or to put it more succinctly "God is stranger than we can imagine, and I reject your strange imaginings of him".

Ilíon said...

Matteo: "Or to put it more succinctly "God is stranger than we can imagine, and I reject your strange imaginings of him"."

And, to explicate the soto voce sub-text: "If we/I can't understand *everything* about God, then we/you can't understand *anything* about God."

Really, it's just another way of bitching about how "unfair" it is that one is not God.

Crude said...

OB,

It must be frustrating that I don't take your Thomist interpretation of Hawking as the definitive interpretation.

Heh. It's not a "thomist interpretation" whatsoever. Hawking said plainly that the law of gravity is the reason why you can get something from nothing. Your "interpretation" of him has him saying "something can come from nothing, gravity has absolutely nothing to do with it" basically.

Like I said, you're better off saying he misspoke.

What does it mean for a law to pre-exist the universe? What is a law, if not a generalizaiton of forms? What would the forms exist upon?

Good question. Ask Hawking, or Vilenkin, or Platonists. I'm not arguing that the idea has to make any sense, much less be credible to you personally. I'm disputing your interpretation - the idea of laws pre-existing the universe is an idea some have offered, and it's a far better reading of Hawking than what you're offering up.

Crude said...

Bob,

You can't get around that without abandoning reasoning altogether.

You say that if many self-described skeptics (and non-skeptics, of course) won't drop reason like a hot potato if it leads somewhere they're not a fan of.

Steve Lovell said...

Readers of this thread may (or may not) be interested in the later portion of Chapter 3 or my PhD thesis (pages 51 and following), where I offer a tentative version of the Cosmological Argument based on the necessary limits of the explanatory power of the laws of science.

Amusingly it includes a quote from Hawking which seems much more insightful that his recent contributions on this point.

Steve

One Brow said...

Crude said...
Heh. It's not a "thomist interpretation" whatsoever.

Yet, you betray that it is, later in this same post.

Your "interpretation" of him has him saying "something can come from nothing, gravity has absolutely nothing to do with it" basically.

Not at all. Gravity may well have everything to do with it. Gravity, as we understand it, may even be necessary to the process.

I'm disputing your interpretation - the idea of laws pre-existing the universe is an idea some have offered, and it's a far better reading of Hawking than what you're offering up.

To my knowledge, hawking does not claim the physical laws precede the existence fo the universe. Therefore, your claim that this is a better interpretation seems to reflect that it is an interpretation you are accustomed to. This is why I have said your interpretation is thomist; it assume some prior causal condition.

One Brow said...

B. Prokop said...
But whatever the imagery/analogy, the "law" still must causually (Did I just make that word up? I can't find it anywhere.) precede the event.

I would have thought it was "causally", but I am speaking casually. :)

You can't get around that without abandoning reasoning altogether.

YOu have to adopt a different metaphysics than the AT model, but I don't see that as abandoning reason altogether.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Steve Lovell
I laud and appreciate your very hard work and the long tiring hours that one must invariably endure in developing a well-rounded treatise.
I dips my lid.

There is no question Lewis was a literary genius and had much to offer in the Western literature tradition. As indeed you too, have now done.

But I cannot help note that your thesis, as well as the writings of Lewis [as I understand them], is predicated on an assumption that has yet to be evidentially verified, the existence of supernatural entities. And as you know live [putatively] supernatural entities are the foundation of all mythological and origins literature known and loved by humankind. [I would appreciate your two pennies' worth here, Victor.] Indeed one of the distinctive characteristics that links all mythological and traditional folkloric literature is the central role of extra-natural beings, whether it be today's New Age beliefs, spirit channeling, paganism, Wikkan worship, christianity, mithraism, the resurrected 'savior hero' archetype of Egyptian supernaturalism. All recount the story of the human condition in their respective ways.

As much as the faithful of one particular religious persuasion will aver to the contrary, the boundaries between theology, literature, fiction, philosophy etc within this genre are at best fuzzy and indistinct with little prospect of agreement where the line falls. There remains much variability of perspective and controversy in what constitutes delineated intersections of historical fact, legend, fiction, etc as in the case of the bible narrative. I refer you to the rather excellent work at: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/publications/35-3/fiction-and-truth-in-the-old-testament-wisdom-literature

The article illustrates these blurrings; "It must be acknowledged at the outset that the very notion of fiction is ambiguous. Fiction often refers to what is false, as when one observes that truth is stranger than fiction. Using this sense of the term, many critics draw a clear line between fact and fiction in the Bible. For example, Lemche argues that the Bible makes use of fiction that consciously distorts the most elementary historical facts. From a confessedly evangelical position, Blomberg holds to the same firm antithesis between fact and fiction when he contends that in the Bible “a historical narrative recounts that which actually happened; it is the opposite of fiction.” Similarly, assessing scholarship on the Gospels, Chilton concludes, “The distinction between fact and fiction lies at the heart of the controversy between those who regard the Gospels as historical and those who regard them as mythical.”

So, in respect of the title of this thread, "Was the beginning of the universe uncaused?", theology has only been able to posit an ancient story that papers in that space in the absence of knowledge and testable information yet to be unearthed [pardon the pun] by scientists. You and I both know the answer won't be coming from theology any time soon or ever. Theology has already hammered in its boundary peg, staked its claim and has determined its position predicated on 1st C.CE thinking.

Cheers

Crude said...

Yet, you betray that it is, later in this same post.

Actually, you betray that you have a pretty weak grasp on this whole "Thomism" thing, despite months of words to the contrary. Platonism is not Thomism. Hell, being a realist about universals is not itself Thomism - Bertrand Russell was not a Thomist. Max Tegmark is not a Thomist. Roger Penrose is not a Thomist.

Not at all. Gravity may well have everything to do with it. Gravity, as we understand it, may even be necessary to the process.

Take your pick: Hawking is saying that the law of gravity can bring something from nothing. Either there's something - the law of gravity, in this case - preceding the universe, or truly nothing did, including any 'law of gravity'.

Further, Hawking wasn't lighting up the speculative "may"s in either his book or that quote.

To my knowledge, hawking does not claim the physical laws precede the existence fo the universe.

Of course you have no knowledge of that, if you're willing to take a clear statement of him saying so and interpret it otherwise. ;)

Therefore, your claim that this is a better interpretation seems to reflect that it is an interpretation you are accustomed to.

Right. Because clearly my having sympathies for the Thomist viewpoint means I interpret everything in a 'Thomist' way. Are you even reading yourself?

Look, you clearly haven't learned some pretty basic things about these subjects, so you can stop bluffing. Go read Vilenkin's "Many Worlds in One", particularly right near the end where he briefly discusses the possibility of laws of nature preceding the universe.

Or hell, don't. It's not like considerable evidence to the contrary ever made you rethink your interpretations.

Crude said...

Theology has already hammered in its boundary peg, staked its claim and has determined its position predicated on 1st C.CE thinking.

And yet, earlier in this thread, you were insisting that theology had been changing continuously and rapidly. Nice turnaround! Still wrong!

Man, you're a pierce of work.

Papalinton said...

Now to mop up a few straggling remainders to end the week:

Doug Benscoter: "Gentlemen, I think Papalinton was referring to my revision of the KCA, and not Smith's essay ..."

PapaL: Right on the mark. Crude, finney, Ben Yachov and Ilion only read what they perceive to be the message that best suits their misinformed manner of establishing the 'strawman argument', in which to label one an implied liar, or dishonest, or a failure of comprehension, or without honour. i marvel at the innocent and unwittingly self-generated irony of which these 'expert wordsmiths' are capable.
-------------

Bob
".... In fact, the only reason you know of such influences on Christianity [antecedent mythological origins of christianity] in the first place is due to the diligent research of Christian scholars in bringing such facts to light. "

PapaL: Oh Dear! Not for the reasons you suggest, Bob. That is contra to the two thousand year tradition of Apologetics that waged many a long battle to distinguish and earmark christianity as something completely different, and to posit the christian mythos within a self-inscribed perimeter and to declare it sacrosanct, inviolable, as something, anything, other than myth and superstition. As I say again, in science, a falsified hypothesis gets tossed on the scrap heap; in religion, a falsified hypothesis becomes a metaphor.

----------------

Anonymous
"Has John Loftus had his Bankruptcy held up?"

PapaL: Off topic and irrelevant; your comment signals the pathology of one with the stench of ugly.

-------------------------------
Matteo
"Or to put it more succinctly "God is stranger than we can imagine, and I reject your strange imaginings of him".

PapaL: True, god is stranger than you can imagine him; more germane to the issue though, is that anyone who can imagine a god as real entity of sorts is even a much stranger creature. As for atheists, to imagine any form of live extra-natural unknowable spectral numen is anathema to the natural order of things. And yes unless the goods can be produced, I do reject your strange imaginings of it.

Papalinton said...

Crude
"And yet, earlier in this thread, you were insisting that theology had been changing continuously and rapidly. Nice turnaround! Still wrong!"

No, no, no, no. Christian theology hasn't changed in 2,000 years. Only the interpretation and re-interpretation, the re-working of ancient ideas, the Feserizing and Lewisization of the christian mythos to comport with science and the secular and humanist drivers in our society. This is the moving feast commonly known as christian theology. The milieu of old and new ideas swirling around indistinguishable from one another except for the date stamp of their publication.

Crude, you must discipline yourself from reading your own thoughts in my words.

finney said...

Papalinton:

So when you quoted Vic Reppert's question referring to the Smith essay "Any thoughts on this?", you thought "Any thoughts on this" actually referred to a comment by Doug Benscoter, which was written after the post?

Yeah. Stop trying so hard.

BenYachov said...

Paps,

I was wrong to think you where bashing Quintin Smith.

I have no problem admitting I was wrong. I am sorry.

But of course it's not like you have said anything intelligent here. You are still when all is said and done a Fundamentalist without belief in gods.

Now move over I'm watching Crude tweak One Brow. You are in the way.

Crude said...

Christian theology hasn't changed in 2,000 years. Only the interpretation and re-interpretation, the re-working of ancient ideas, the Feserizing and Lewisization of the christian mythos to comport with science and the secular and humanist drivers in our society. This is the moving feast commonly known as christian theology.

It's all so clear! Theology hasn't changed in 2000 years. Only theology has changed in 2000 years! And what's terrible about religion is that it never changes. But what's terrible about religion is how it's always changing.

Dance, monkey, dance!

Crude, you must discipline yourself from reading your own thoughts in my words.

But Papalinton, if you'd just put some thoughts into your words, other people wouldn't have to put them there for you!

Never stop, Papalinton. Guys like you are the anchors who dragged the Cult of Gnu underwater in the past few years, and God bless you, you'll be keeping them there. It's why the agnostics and irreligious have done their damndest to distance themselves from your lot, and likely why most scientists reject the New Atheist line.

Oh wait, that information merely the report from a scientific study. I know you reject such things. ;)

Crude said...

Ben,

I don't even think I'm tweaking that much. Hawking said what he said (the complete quote even has Hawking talking about the universe 'launching its existence on its own'), and while I could respect - hell, I even offered up - "maybe he misspoke" as a reasonable response, trying to insist that he said something completely other, and also that my reading of him is a Thomist (?) one, is just boggling.

But Hawking strongly suggests he views laws as causal 'things' that make things happen. And this isn't some completely novel view - as I said, Vilenkin mentioned this in his book, Tegmark tools about with Platonic ideas, Penrose is explicitly a platonist, etc. So dismissing it on grounds that amount to 'I don't like that idea I think it's silly, therefore Hawking couldn't have said it' is a helluva thing.

As for Papalinton, don't sweat him too hard. Clearly this is all very personal for him. Maybe he's a Tom Fitz Faith of the Fatherless case. Maybe a million things. But don't expect rational thought from him - he's not just a Gnu cultist, he's a diehard defender of the atheist version of Jim Bakker.

Papalinton said...

finney
"So when you quoted Vic Reppert's question referring to the Smith essay "Any thoughts on this?", you thought "Any thoughts on this" actually referred to a comment by Doug Benscoter, which was written after the post? '

Point me to where Dr Reppert asks the question,"Any thoughts on this?"
Finney, I know it is inordinately difficult not to create a strawman argument, after all it has been an Apologetical literary device mastered over millennia of attempting to fend off genuine criticism of the christian mythos. And I know it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so within a regime that does not now have the supporting imprimatur of the auto-da-fé to back its claims.

But you must, must not put your words into my mouth. I am big enough and ugly enough to do that myself.

Papalinton said...

Did you hear about the two homosexual Irish catholic priests? Michael fitzpatrick and patrick fitzmichael.

Papalinton said...

Ben Yachov
"But of course it's not like you have said anything intelligent here. You are still when all is said and done a Fundamentalist without belief in gods."

As are all your personal and intimate revelations, both sacred[?] and profane, they are to me as water on a duck's back.

Papalinton said...

Crude
"It's why the agnostics and irreligious have done their damndest to distance themselves from your lot, and likely why most scientists reject the New Atheist line."

You wish.
Another fine example of the 'fingers-crossed behind the back with the eyes tightly closed' strategy, of Apologetical origin, more widely known as the christian 'wish list'. It doubles in with the litany of divine cravings throughout the bible for god's free rein to bring mayhem to perfectly good and decent people, much as the divine 'smiting one's enemies with the assbone of a jew". Oops. sorry, an inadvertent spoonerism. I meant, 'smiting one's enemies with the jawbone of an ass'.

Crude, keep pumping out your folklore.

Papalinton said...

Ben Yachov
"Now move over I'm watching Crude tweak One Brow. You are in the way."

Even with the impediment of possessing only one functional brow, all One Brow need do is, but bat an eyelid, and Crude remains bound as the defined caricature he is.

Crude said...

You wish.

No need for wishing here. It's a claim held up in part with scientific data, which you reject because it conflicts with your faith. ;)

That's why you sputter so often, so desperately, isn't it? You know that the Cult of Gnu rose up only to descend into self-parody, with agnostics, irreligious and even other atheists. Look at you now - all you can really do is curse and sputter, as usual. But we've all seen this trick played out time and time again, given how you spend what... 10 hours a day in comment boxes? And for what? To be a lackey carrying water for the Jim Bakker of the New Atheists. And to sate some urge that more and more seems personal, not intellectual, in origin.

So again I say, thanks. The time you invest isn't spent in vain. Theists generally, and Christians particularly, profit from it. And I can just tell you that outright, because we both know you can't stop doing it. You've got a personal itch to scratch, and damn the results of scratching it. ;)

unkleE said...

Doug Benscoter: I thought your modest probabilistic argument was very good. I think it sums up what most people would think if this was a topic that we all didn't have preconceived wishes and fears about.

I think such logical arguments have their use, but the ensuing discussion indicated to me that this argument is so obvious that opponents have to go into damage control rather than admit the obvious, just as would occur on the opposite side if we were discussing the problem of evil.

I think theist-atheist discussions would be far more productive and interesting if both sides would admit that there are indeed probabilistic arguments that are clearly favourable to one side or the other, and then discuss how we each balance those arguments to come to a final conclusion.

Thanks again.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Crude
"And I can just tell you that outright, because we both know you can't stop doing it. You've got a personal itch to scratch, and damn the results of scratching it. ;)"

But it was an itch resulting from a theological infection that continues to blight countless unsuspecting victims throughout the world. It is in epidemic proportions that requires an international effort to control if not overcome the rampant contagion pretty much as has been successfully done against small-pox.

Just a little reminder of the historical context in which this metastatic and virulent organism has left such an an indelible mark:

1. God will kill men, have their children smashed, and have their wives raped [Isaiah 13:16-16]
2. God will punish children for the inequities of their fathers and distant ancestors [Isaiah 14:21
3. God will lay waste to entire cities and make the lands desolate [Jeremiah 4:7]
4. God will set people, animals, and even plants on fire because of his anger [Jeremiah 7:20]
5. God will send so much evil that people would rather be dead than suffer [Jeremiah 8:3]
6. God will give away the property of men, including their wives, to other men [Jeremiah 8:10]
7. God will kill young men, and their children will die from a famine [Jeremiah 11:22
8. God will cause everyone to become drunk so that father and son will kill one another [Jeremiah 13:14]
9. God will make people hungry enough to eat their own children and friends [Jeremiah 19:9]
10. God will burn entire cities with the inhabitants still inside [Jeremiah 50:32
11. God will break people's bones and knock out their teeth with stones [Lamentations 3:1-16]
12. God will force fathers and sons to eat each other and scatter their remembrance [Ezekiel 5:10]
13. God will be comforted by killing everyone with pestilence, plagues, and swords [Ezekiel 5:12-13]
14. God will kill righteous men and forget their good deeds if thy ever turn to sin [Ezekiel 18:24]
15. God will turn daughters into whores and wives into adulterers [Hosea 13:8]
16. God will kill children and unborn fetuses because their parents worship other gods [Hosea 13:16]
17. God will sell children of Israel into slavery in a far away land [Joel 3:8]
18. God will kill inhabitants of entire cities if they have a corrupt government [Micah 3:9-12]
19. God will consume every living thing from the face of the earth [Zephaniah 1:2-3]
20. God will send people to steal Jerusalem, rape the women, and enslave the rest [Zechariah 14:2]
21. God will send plagues on people and animals to rot away their tongues and eyes [Zechariah 14:12-15]

The prophets warn us of the OT god's frightful, futuristic return to the earth, at which point he'll initiate every category of curse imaginable on the people who ignore his commandments, refuse to worship him, or commit acts that he arbitrarily deems evil. It's remarkable that he can dish out such unfathomable punishments for reasons a typical person would consider lacking in foundation, yet he becomes terribly enraged when one of us follow suits.

And remember Jesus did not invalidate any of these with his teachings. They were never to be cast aside. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill the law" [Matthew 5:18]

And remember Crude, this stuff isn't made up. It's all there, in black and white, in the inerrant mystical-breathed words of the Big Canker, itself. I am indebted to Jason Long and his diligent work in producing the list.
As I say, I too was blighted by the bug only to be one of the very fortunate one's to escape its trajectory. i therefore have a civil and humanitarian responsibility to put forward the case that one can do good for goodness sake alone, unconditionally, without the overarching requirement for an imaginary overseer, and that theism does not have and has never had an exclusive franchise on living the good life.

Papalinton said...

Crude
PapaL concludes: "As I say, I too was blighted by the bug only to be one of the very fortunate one's to escape its trajectory. i therefore have a civil and humanitarian responsibility to put forward the case that one can do good for goodness sake alone, unconditionally, without the overarching requirement for an imaginary overseer, and that theism does not have and has never had an exclusive franchise on living the good life."

And I am happy to note you too, are beginning to mellow somewhat by your offering the USA Today article and the Eckland survey as a concession to acknowledging that atheism ain't so bad in the scheme of things.

Of course, we have had to drag the bellicose religiose kicking and screaming into the 21st C. And the Dennetts, Dawkins, Hitchens et al have done a marvelous job by vigorously challenging the drivel that agglomerates under the rubric of christian theology. And there is much work yet to be done to put the YECs on notice, and to expose the Discovery institutes and fundamentalist organisations that are the antithesis of flourishing diverse societies and good civic governance and robust evidence-based science. But we are making our mark against the moribund mindset of the literalist christian acolyte, despite your bluster, Crude.

Per Ove Stige said...

@ One Brow

One Brow said: I'm not sure time or space qualify as things. In Thomistic terms, they have no form.

Per Ove says: All right. 'Anything' was not the best word.

One Brow said: Energy is a thing, but the net energy in the universe is zero, accordiong the physicists I've read.

Per Ove says: Here I am interested in author, title and pages.

The very first comment points to the blog Letters to Nature and Luke Barnes' (Institute for Astronomy, Zurich) article on Of nothing. Barnes writes in part two of the article:

It is not true that if the universe is flat then it has zero total energy. This idea relies on a Newtonian calculation of the gravitational potential energy of an expanding universe. However, such a calculation simply cannot be performed in general relativity (and even the Newtonian calculation is suspect because the Poisson equation has no solution for a uniform unbounded fluid. See Rindler 1977, pg 199).

And he writes much more about it. Enjoy.

One Brow said: Is it possible for matter to exist under any set of rules, or the nature of being matter such that the rules we understand are necessary given the existence of matter? I think the latter is quite possible, but certainly have no evidence for it. What do you think?

Per Ove says: If the rules we understand are necessary, this points to a structure in reality which tells me we that do not start with absolutely nothing. And since I do struggle with the belief that not just some quasi-nothing is the origin of our universe but absolutely nil and nix is the origin, I probably agree with you about the latter.

Ilíon said...

uncleE: "I think such logical arguments have their use, but the ensuing discussion indicated to me that this argument is so obvious that opponents have to go into damage control rather than admit the obvious, just as would occur on the opposite side if we were discussing the problem of evil."

What "problem of evil" would that be? The one that *most* people refuse to understand has never been a problem for "religion" -- that, in fact, it is a problem for atheism -- because understanding the problem and the solution isn't emotionally gratifying to them? The so-called "problem of evil" is a problem only because the vast majority of humans refuse to reason, refuse to rule their emotions, and refuse to grow up.

Steve Lovell said...

I think the discussion here would benefit from some clarity on what might be meant by "law of nature".

As far as I understand things, there are two main schools of thought.

(1) Laws of nature are high-level generalisations. They describe how things behave, they do not prescribe how things behave.
(2) Laws of nature have some degree of modal status, and state not just how things of certain kinds happen to behave but how things of those kinds must behave.

There are various ways these two general approaches can be filled out, but in terms of this discussion I doubt those details make much difference.

If law are descriptive they have no reality independent of the things whose behaviour they describe. This would mean that laws certainly couldn't "explain" the origin of the universe in any meaningful sense.

If laws are prescriptive then they do have some degree of independance. (However, this is only an independance from particular things and not from the physical universe as a whole ... unless we think the laws exist in a more Platonic form). But while this account of laws of nature gets around the issue above, it's still not going to allow the laws to generate a universe. Even here it describes how things must behave. If there are no things, then there is nothing for the laws to apply to, so they can't get started. More in my PhD thesis (pp.51ff) linked above.

Steve

B. Prokop said...

Wow. This is now twice in one month that I find myself in agreement with Ilion. (Hold that thought while I go outside and check to see whether the Moon has fallen out of the sky... Nope, still there.)

Yes, the "Problem of Evil" seems to exist only for the atheist. Now its up to good evangelizing Christians to show them why it is not an (intellectual) problem for the faithful.

And as for Papalinton's list of dire events, I fail to see his point. All of these awful things did actually happen, right? So their occurrence is certainly no argument against the prophets.

Steve Lovell said...

Papa,

Thanks for your kind words about my efforts.

However once you finish with the kind words, the remainder of your comment is basically irrelevant. The point of my post was to invite readers to look at a particular portion of my thesis of relevance to the current discussion ... none of which you have commented upon.

Just sayin'

Steve

BenYachov said...

How cute Paps is making an appeal to the "plain" meaning of scripture to Catholics, persons who don't believe the Scripture is plain or perspicuous in the first place.

How intelligent......not!

Epic Fail!

One Brow said...

Crude said...
Actually, you betray that you have a pretty weak grasp on this whole "Thomism" thing, despite months of words to the contrary.

I've never claimed to have anything other than a weak grasp on it. Any "words to the contrary" are a fiction of your mind.

Platonism is not Thomism. Hell, being a realist about universals is not itself Thomism - Bertrand Russell was not a Thomist. Max Tegmark is not a Thomist. Roger Penrose is not a Thomist.

Your point being?

Take your pick: Hawking is saying that the law of gravity can bring something from nothing. Either there's something - the law of gravity, in this case - preceding the universe, or truly nothing did, including any 'law of gravity'.

It's quite possible nothing preceded the universe. This does not contradict the law of gravity bringing something from nothing.

Further, Hawking wasn't lighting up the speculative "may"s in either his book or that quote.

This quote, presumably:
Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,


Of course you have no knowledge of that, if you're willing to take a clear statement of him saying so and interpret it otherwise. ;)

If you are referring to some quote other than the offered quote, I would like to see it.

If you are referring to the offered quote, then your interpretation of it as a clear statement that the law of gravity preceded the universe is wrong; no such impolication exists in that statement. The only reason I can conceive of you putting it in there is some AT notion causes activating potentials.

Right. Because clearly my having sympathies for the Thomist viewpoint means I interpret everything in a 'Thomist' way.

I don't know about "everything", but as for hawking's quote, yes.

Look, you clearly haven't learned some pretty basic things about these subjects, so you can stop bluffing.

You get so cute when you're flustered.

Go read Vilenkin's "Many Worlds in One", particularly right near the end where he briefly discusses the possibility of laws of nature preceding the universe.

I've read up on these notions, and they are alternate ideas to Hawkings theories, from what I can tell, as opposed to being the same idea. I'm sure Vilenkin appeals to you more.

It's not like considerable evidence to the contrary ever made you rethink your interpretations.

When you bring considerable evidence, you'll offer me reason to reconsider. It's happened many times in the past. You have failed to alter my opinions because you don't meet the standard of having considerable evidence.

BenYachov said...

One Brow you are doing to Crude right now what you always do to me.

You say one thing reverse yourself then claim your critic isn't understanding you.

I don't think at this point you are even aware you are doing it.

Hawking either misspoke or he really believes the Law of Gravity brought the Universe into being which of course is incoherent.

If he means something other than what he said then he is using English in a manner inconsistent with how modern men speak it.

We are not reading a translation of Hawkings' words from some obscure Semitic language & literary genre from thousands of years ago.

Either he misspoke or he is incoherent.

One Brow said...

Per Ove Stige said...
One Brow said: Energy is a thing, but the net energy in the universe is zero, accordiong the physicists I've read.

Per Ove says: Here I am interested in author, title and pages.


I'm sorry, but I don't have those at hand. Feel free to ignore what I said, if you desire.

The very first comment points to the blog Letters to Nature and Luke Barnes' (Institute for Astronomy, Zurich) article on Of nothing.

Barnes certainly has more credentials than I do. On the other hand, he says things like "The equivalence principle says that one can always find a local coordinate system in which gravity, and thus any concept of gravitational energy, vanishes.", which overlooks the importance of using inertial coordinate systems, and even then, just gbecause you can use a coordinate system where gravity is not relevant in a cubic femtometer of space does not mean you can remove it's influence on lareger scales. I'm not ignoring him, but I'm also not goingt o treat him as definitive.

"Worse still, if something could come out of nothing at the beginning of the universe, then something could come out of nothing now."

I was unaware that the universe currently hade a location where there was nothing, as Barnes refers to it.

Enjoy.

I did.

Per Ove says: If the rules we understand are necessary, this points to a structure in reality which tells me we that do not start with absolutely nothing.

Why?

BenYachov said...

>It's quite possible nothing preceded the universe. This does not contradict the law of gravity bringing something from nothing.

Newton's law of universal gravitation states that every point mass in the universe attracts every other point mass with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

How does this happen when no mass or matter or energy exists?

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
One Brow you are doing to Crude right now what you always do to me.

You say one thing reverse yourself then claim your critic isn't understanding you.


I would expect nothing less than empty accusations from you, and once again you do not disappoint.

Hawking either misspoke or he really believes the Law of Gravity brought the Universe into being which of course is incoherent.

You first clause is wrong (Hawking seems to have chosen his words to reflect his beliefs). Your second clause is wrong, AFAICT (nothing about Hawkihng statements says the law of gravity precedes the universe). As usual, that makes you just plain wrong.

If he means something other than what he said then he is using English in a manner inconsistent with how modern men speak it.

Thank goodness Ben Yachov is here to show us how to properly speak English.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
How does this happen when no mass or matter or energy exists?

It doesn't, and that's part of my point.

Per Ove Stige said...

One Brow said: I'm sorry, but I don't have those at hand. Feel free to ignore what I said, if you desire.

Per Ove says: I will.

One Brow said: Barnes certainly has more credentials than I do. On the other hand, he says things like ...

Per Ove says: I will maintain that when this topic is discussed, the challenge is to be good at both physics and philosophy. Barnes obviously knows his physics. What you are doing, I think, is to question his philosopy.

Barnes wrote:
if something can come out of nothing, then anything and everything can and should come out of nothing at all times and places.

Like you, I question the last part
at all times and places.
On the other hand
if something can come out of nothing, then anything and everything can and should come out of nothing
makes sense.

Per Ove said: If the rules we understand are necessary, this points to a structure in reality which tells me we that do not start with absolutely nothing.

One Brow asked: Why?

Per Ove says: That's pretty obvious to me, if you say that it is possible for matter to exist only under under some sets of rules. Or if you say that matter can come into being, but not non-matter like gods or fairies or whatever.

BenYachov said...

You are pointless One Brow.

>It doesn't, and that's part of my point.

What point? Hawkings means something other than what he said? Which I grant is possible but I have no reason to think this is the case. You have not given me any evidence or reason to think otherwise and you are true to form making bald unsubstantiated assertions while demanding everyone else has to back up their's to the N'th degree.

What is the point of you One Brow?

BenYachov said...

Anyway thanks at least for answering my evolution questions on Feser's blog.

But you have a problem with arguing coherently.

Big problem and if you can't see it I can't help. At best I can insult you but that hasn't worked so I just leave you to it.

B. Prokop said...

Ben,

You are correct, as to Papalinton's idiosyncratic use of scripture. Two points:

1) No True Scotsman (Christian) uses a single line (or list of passages) from scripture to prove a point, without first examining it in context with scripture as a whole (and for Catholics, without checking one's personal interpretation against the Magisterium and the voice of Tradition),

and 2) Paplinton is guilty of the cardinal sin/capital crime of "cherry picking" - going after whatever verses suit his own predetermined viewpoint, and ignoring any passage that might refute it. Funny thing about that, because that is precisely what he so often accuses Christians of doing when it comes to scientific knowledge.

Doug Benscoter said...

Thanks for the kind words, unkleE. I think we've gotten away from the topic of Vic's post - whether the universe's beginning is caused or uncaused - and Smith's subsequent argument. Although I disagree with Smith, I think he's a first-rate philosopher. On the other hand, I also think we can accept the possibility of an uncaused beginning to the universe (for the sake of argument) and still arrive at a sound argument for God's existence based on the sheer possibility of the universe's being caused.

BenYachov said...

Our Lady be with you Bob.

B. Prokop said...

Doug,

Maybe it's just me, but there are times I can't accept something, even "for the sake of argument". An uncaused event is so fundamentally contrary to all reason that the very basis for further argument becomes impossible. You've abandoned all hope of intelligently discussing the topic.

B. Prokop said...

See, we can get along!

Papalinton said...

Steve Lovell
"However once you finish with the kind words, the remainder of your comment is basically irrelevant. The point of my post was to invite readers to look at a particular portion of my thesis of relevance to the current discussion ... none of which you have commented upon."

Yes that's true, in relation to that part of your thesis you draw attention to. And true, nor did I comment on your thesis component. But the remainder of my comment, while having none to do with your thesis, is nonetheless, particularly germane to the discussion on this thread. The elephant in the room in any discussion about christian theology, your thesis included, Steve, is predicated on the very large assumption that an extra-natural non-human entity exists, an entity for all intents and purposes that is unknowable, as christians have reminded us since time immemorial. Christians say that their god is unknowable. But the unknowable and the non-existent are indistinguishable. And that excited flush of endorphins and dopamine flooding the brain in the moment one experience a transcendent or cathartic episode, is of itself not an indicator of being in communion with a deity. All humans experience these moments, in varying intensities; it is perfectly natural occurrence. Hell, even I have experienced them many times over and I'm not even a god-botherer, though I was once. And the intensity and duration of these experiences have not diminished since shelving all the supernatural malarkey.

BenYachov said...

I pretty much agree with Bob at this point on "Uncaused" creation from "nothing".

I respect Quintin Smith's argument much more than the pablum pop New Atheist horse excrement arguments against the existence of God (Dawkins' Ultimate Boeing argument? N'Word Plueez!).

But I do think it renders reality incoherent and irrational.

Per Ove Stige said...

Before going off-line for some days, I'll show you an article by physicist Stephen Barr.

One of his points is that 'zero' is not the same as 'nothing'. If you, like Barr in his article Much Ado About “Nothing", imagine a bank account:

Even if your checking account happens to be in the zero-dollar state one day, the checking account is nevertheless still something definite and real—not “nothing.” It presupposes a bank, a monetary system, a contract between you and that bank—all being governed by various systems of rules

Systems of rules for what can happen - is this an analogy you find meaningful in our discussion?

One Brow said...

Per Ove Stige said...
Per Ove says: I will maintain that when this topic is discussed, the challenge is to be good at both physics and philosophy. Barnes obviously knows his physics. What you are doing, I think, is to question his philosopy.

Well, I think impropriety of translating a local property into a global property is actually physics.

On the other hand if something can come out of nothing, then anything and everything can and should come out of nothing makes sense.

Again, it depends on whether the somethings that can come out of nothing have necessary properties.

One Brow asked: Why?

Per Ove says: That's pretty obvious to me, if you say that it is possible for matter to exist only under under some sets of rules. Or if you say that matter can come into being, but not non-matter like gods or fairies or whatever.


Obvious as in unexplainable, or so simple you don't think it needs to be dumbed down? If the latter, please dumb it down for me.

Doug Benscoter said...

Bob, I agree that something coming from nothing is fundamentally absurd. However, I think the value of weakening our premises is that while someone like Smith may reject even our modest causal premises, we still have hope of convincing him that God exists based on even more modest premises. I've seen it happen before, so I wouldn't lose hope.

Ilíon said...

"On the other hand, I also think we can accept the possibility of an uncaused beginning to the universe (for the sake of argument) and still arrive at a sound argument for God's existence based on the sheer possibility of the universe's being caused."

Does "sheer possibility" ever tell us anything more significant that that the possible thing isn't wholly improbable?

Wouldn't it be better to recognize, as I have pointed out above, that asserting (or granting) an uncaused beginning of "the universe" is also to assert (or grant) uncaused events, states, conditions, etc *within* "the universe"? Wouldn't it be better to recognize that asserting (or granting) an uncaused beginning of "the universe" must logically lead to the absurdity of asserting (or granting) that *all* events, states, conditions, etc *within* "the universe" are uncaused?

Ilíon said...

D.Benscoter: "Bob, I agree that something coming from nothing is fundamentally absurd. However, I think the value of weakening our premises is that while someone like Smith may reject even our modest causal premises, we still have hope of convincing him that God exists based on even more modest premises. I've seen it happen before, so I wouldn't lose hope."

Most of them will not acknowledge that God is even though the denial that God is generates continuous absurdities.

Much as Joe Biden is the Gaff-o-Matic, atheism is the Absurd-o-Matic. But, rather than acknowledge that the absurdities inescapably generated by atheism prove that atheism itself is absurd, and thus that it is false and seen to be false, must so-called atheists will instead 'argue' that it is logic and reason which are suspect.

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop -- once again demonstrating his intellectual dishonesty: "Maybe it's just me, but there are times I can't accept something, even "for the sake of argument". An uncaused event is so fundamentally contrary to all reason that the very basis for further argument becomes impossible. You've abandoned all hope of intelligently discussing the topic."

What Prokop says here is true. Yet, while it is true, his saying of it also demonstrates his intellectual dishonesty -- his hypocrisy with respect to reason and argument -- for, he continuously asserts that *I* may not point out (which is not the same as merely asserting) the absurdities, whether rational or moral, of the leftist positions he embraces, and by reason of those absurdities, denegrate his prefered politics.

B. Prokop said...

Knowing full well that I am about to call down upon my head a chorus of denials from certain posters to this website, I still feel compelled to state the following:

The eagerness with which certain atheists will embrace a patently absurd concept such as an "uncaused creation event" demonstrates the pathetic lengths they will go to, in an attempt to avoid by any means necessary (even to the abandonment of reason itself) the necessity of acknowledging God.

Please, they seem to be saying, "I'll accept anything rather than that! I'll bow down in worship to the Law of Gravity, if that's what it takes! At least I can rest assured that Gravity will make no ethical demands on me, nor will I ever have to answer to it for whatever I may or may not have done/said/thought."

So a reason-defying, self-actuating gravitational law can explain everything, and we can safely put away fears of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the Magic Orbiting Teakettle, or the Big Sky Daddy... while forgetting that Christians don't worship any of those, but rather Jesus, whose feet were most emphatically on the ground (and will be again).

So, Doug, while I would be the last to discount the value of a purely intellectual conversion, I don't really see that as the problem here. Because, in Dante's wonderful phrase, we are dealing with those who have "lost the good of the intellect". The real problem is that the atheist (or at least the ones posting here) will bob, weave, and dodge... anything, anything to not have to say, as St. Thomas finally did when confronted with incontestable evidence, "My Lord and my God!"

Anthony Fleming said...

Wow. In my non-scholarly and Christian delusional opinioin Doug left a very good logical argument. I agree with both him and UnkleE that we should be able to admit the probabilities of both sides.

Is anyone going to give a complete rebuttal to Doug's argument?

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

Let's confine political speech to other threads, OK? this discussion is too good to muck it up with such. Besides, I'll gladly spar with you on politics any time, after you answer my challenge on the "Lawsuit" thread, (Comment 145). Till then, I'm gonna ignore you.

Crude said...

OB,

I've never claimed to have anything other than a weak grasp on it. Any "words to the contrary" are a fiction of your mind.

Sure they are, OB. ;) Glad to see you plainly admit the weak grasp, though.

Your point being?

I point out that a platonist is not a thomist, I give multiple examples of platonists who aren't thomists, and you ask what my point is?

How about 'that being a platonist does not make you a thomist'?

It's quite possible nothing preceded the universe. This does not contradict the law of gravity bringing something from nothing.

If I say that the law of gravity is the reason that something came out of nothing, if I appeal to laws as causing the transition from nothing to something, then yes, the obvious reading of me is that laws preceded the universe.

The only reason I can conceive of you putting it in there is some AT notion causes activating potentials.

I know - the points about Platonism not being Thomism, the reference to Vilenkin, the idea that the idea of objective platonic 'laws' pre-existing the material universe not being, thomism... it's all so confusing to you. Which would be fine, if you'd just admit you were confused and not quite grasping things here. You already admitted a weak grasp in one area - expand it.

I gave the references. I supported my point. You either don't understand them, or are ignoring them. Do as you will.

You get so cute when you're flustered.

I'm always cute, OB. Especially when you're flailing. It makes me all giddy, like a kitty-cat. ;)

I've read up on these notions, and they are alternate ideas to Hawkings theories, from what I can tell, as opposed to being the same idea. I'm sure Vilenkin appeals to you more.

It's not a matter of Vilenkin "appealing" to me, doubly so since Vilenkin doesn't endorse the idea - he simply mentions it. Which you'd know if you read the reference.

It's a matter of pointing out that laws pre-existing the physical universe isn't even some entirely novel idea, contrary to what you implied earlier. You initially appealed that Hawking could not be read in the obvious way in part because you insisted that laws were not the sort of thing that could have existence, and some apparent ignorance of anyone holding those views. Then you started confusing Platonism and realism with Thomism, so in came another correction.

You made a mistake. It happens.

You have failed to alter my opinions because you don't meet the standard of having considerable evidence.

Nah, you're just being stubborn, probably encouraged by my being goading, which doesn't make admitting wrong easy. Do what you will, but the evidence remains. Maybe you'll admit it once you've had some cool-off time.

Crude said...

In defense of Doug's idea, let me say this.

I can entirely understand his point, which I think is that there can be utility in giving up points - maybe even fundamental points, such as re: causality - in order to show that you can give up those points and still make other arguments that may persuade someone. That said, I also think that at no point should we pretend that the absurdity we'd be granting is anything but absurdity - which I think speaks to the criticisms of Doug's idea. There's something to be said for refusing to entertain extreme claims like sacrificing causality.

But as far as Doug's point goes and seems to have been meant to go, I see the value of his approach. And I think Ben, Doug, myself, and Bob (no doubt among others) are in agreement about the idea of giving up causality.

Crude said...

And just to add on - I also endorse Bob's point in the following:

So, Doug, while I would be the last to discount the value of a purely intellectual conversion, I don't really see that as the problem here.

I would add that these topics are tied up with, especially with regards the Cult of Gnu, political and social aims. Intellectual considerations aren't very central.

I still think Doug's approach has value and merit, but I'm also very much a realist about these things.

BenYachov said...

>there can be utility in giving up points - maybe even fundamental points,

Even Feser when discussing the Classic Theism vs Theistic Personalism uses the absurd example of God committing suicide or going out of existence(& the Universe going with Him) to emphasize how in the Classic view creation is depended on God for it's continuous existence. As opposed to a Theistic Personalist God who can create walk away, commit Cosmic Suicide ant the universe goes on without him/it.

Of course Feser would never claim it is coherent, logical or possible for God to cease to exist or commit suicide.

So I get it.

B. Prokop said...

Hmmm... I see what you guys are getting at.

I'm minded of the poem "At Dawn" by one of my favorite writers, Charles Williams - an account of the rejoicing in Hell after a decisive victory over Heaven, with New Jerusalem in flames, Michael the Archangel defeated, and God Himself fled into exile.

The whole point of this deliberately absurd thesis is to make us really think about why what we believe as The Truth is actually The Necessary Truth.

One Brow said...

Crude said...

Sure they are, OB. ;) Glad to see you plainly admit the weak grasp, though.

Glad to see you admitting your delusions, as well.

I point out that a platonist is not a thomist, I give multiple examples of platonists who aren't thomists, and you ask what my point is?

How about 'that being a platonist does not make you a thomist'?


Well, I was hoping for something relevant to the thread. Far be it from me to stop you from rambling on, if that was your point.

If I say that the law of gravity is the reason that something came out of nothing, if I appeal to laws as causing the transition from nothing to something, then yes, the obvious reading of me is that laws preceded the universe.

I am aware that is the obvious reading to you, although the Hawking quote does not use "cause". Perhaps you have another quote where he does? Otherwise, it's just evidence you need to read cause where it is not meant, typical of ATers.

... it's all so confusing to you.

None of what you mentioned was confusing.

I gave the references. I supported my point.

What you have not supported is the notion that Hawking thinks gravity is a cause of the universe's creation, nor do I expect one. You just don't roll that way. However, maybe you'll lecture me on some other random Greek philosophy and how it differs from Thomism. You're good at that.

It's not a matter of Vilenkin "appealing" to me, doubly so since Vilenkin doesn't endorse the idea - he simply mentions it. Which you'd know if you read the reference.

Well, I do wish I had time to read more.

It's a matter of pointing out that laws pre-existing the physical universe isn't even some entirely novel idea, contrary to what you implied earlier.

I also wish you would accurately implicaitons of what people write.

You initially appealed that Hawking could not be read in the obvious way ...

For example, you seem to confuse "could not be read" out of "Only if you interpret" and "seems to read". Meanwhile, you are the one tossing around phrases like "clearly relies". It's fairly obvious you are projecting your own certainty into my words, just as you project your own understanding into other people's words regularly. It makes you amusing, but not really worth a serious conversation. The rest of your summary was similarly inapt.

... probably encouraged by my being goading, which doesn't make admitting wrong easy.

Well, I've admitted error in a converstion with Ben Yachov, and even with all your flaws you are not Ben Yachov. If you can manage to make a good point, I will have no trouble admitting it.

One Brow said...

Crude said...
I would add that these topics are tied up with, especially with regards the Cult of Gnu, political and social aims.

Atheists are pretty divgerse, politically. Outside of of church/state and similar issues where one side has a primarily religious bias, I don't think you can find many issues on which atheists are united.

Jake Elwood XVI said...

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,”

Does any one have a another version of the Hawking quote.
Lets look at the words he choses to use
Because - for the reason that
law - Steve Lovell's suggestions seem to be good
there - used in the sense of the existence of something
universe - all existing matter and space considered as a whole
can - used in the sense of being able to
will - expressing facts about ability or capacity
create - cause something to come into existence
nothing - not anything, no single thing

So its not the 'law like gravity' that creates the universe its the universe which creates itself.

The whole quote is just horrible, so we have a 'law like gravity' while not existing before causally or temporally (if we take One Brow's view) is the reason why the universe can and will cause it self to come into existence. And as such this spontaneous creation, a self creation is the reason why there is something rather then nothing.

So then why is there spontaneous creation because of a 'law like gravity'? Why is there a 'law like gravity'? Becuase? This is how they must happen or this is how they do happen?

And what is this 'law like gravity'? What is the 'like' Dr Hawking is using here? Is it like as in 'synonymous with' or 'for example'?

Crude said...

Glad to see you admitting your delusions, as well.

Man, with reading skills like those, it's no wonder you have trouble with Hawking. ;)

Well, I was hoping for something relevant to the thread.

The relevancy was that it showed there was no "thomist interpretation" in play - because the idea of laws preceding the universe is not "thomist". If you want to call your nonsense on that front irrelevant, go ahead - but you can hardly fault me for pointing out your mistake.

I am aware that is the obvious reading to you, although the Hawking quote does not use "cause".

First, 'because' strongly implies the "cause" you're asking for here.

But if you'd like another quote: "The question is: is the way the universe began chosen by God for reasons we can't understand, or was it determined by a law of science? I believe the second. If you like, you can call the laws of science 'God', but it wouldn't be a personal God that you could meet, and ask questions."

So we have Hawking saying that the universe had a beginning. And what 'determined' it? The laws (or a law) of science, according to Hawking.

But go ahead, insist that Hawking couldn't have possibly meant that the laws determine anything.

However, maybe you'll lecture me on some other random Greek philosophy and how it differs from Thomism. You're good at that.

Yet more evidence provided, and yes, I am good at that. Not an expert, but I actually make an effort to understand the stuff I talk about. Wait, let me guess: That's just some crazy thomist thing. ;)

I also wish you would accurately implicaitons of what people write.

If you were capable of doing that, this conversation wouldn't have begun. Though at least there's some comedy in saying it with that quote.

Meanwhile, you are the one tossing around phrases like "clearly relies". It's fairly obvious you are projecting your own certainty into my words, just as you project your own understanding into other people's words regularly.

"Certainty"? I started this conversation giving you a far more viable route: "Hawking couldn't have meant that. Maybe he misspoke." I've argued for what the best reading of Hawking is given the context, but granted he could have misspoke. Far less viable is the interpretive la-la land you've gone off to.

Atheists are pretty divgerse, politically. Outside of of church/state and similar issues where one side has a primarily religious bias, I don't think you can find many issues on which atheists are united.

The Cult of Gnu is not "atheists". It's a particular group of atheists, and I even pointed out that other atheists reject them. I'm sure there's divisions even within the Cult, but they're bound together by some considerable political and social aims.

and even with all your flaws you are not Ben Yachov.

Ben's animated, but even in his wilder moments he's five cuts above Papalinton and equivalent. Plus he's got a sense of humor, always a plus.

Papalinton said...

Per Ove Stige
That bank account analogy is brilliant. I really do like it.

But having read that excerpt from Barr, I cannot help note that he really didn't make the case for a creator, but rather substituted Hawking's 'quantum gravity' with a god [or from a theist's point of view, Hawking substituted god with gravity]. God only exists on the basis of faith and belief. For Hawking, at least he is utilizing known facts and predictable effects such as gravity, the discovery of matter observably popping in and out of existence at the quantum level and is attempting use what rules are known to extrapolate to the cosmic level.

As one of the commenters observed, "Throughout the history of scientific inquiry, people have used "God" as shorthand for "There is no explanation (yet)." "

At the very least, Hawking is thinking outside the theological box, as are the very many genuine physicists and cosmologists, exploring the universe through the new and fresh eyes of science, basing their theories on known scientific principles and facts, and not on the old and tired premise, 'In the beginning ....'.

It is unfortunate that Barr seems incapable of appreciating Hawking's altogether fresh and different thinking, and reverts to the age-old christian default, 'if science is yet unable to satisfy me personally with a scientific perspective, then the 'goddidit' frame remains unchallenged. Barr can only see science through the lens of theism, a conditioning not unknown throughout history [Bruno, Galileo, et]. And the inordinate indoctrinative power of theism continues to be a speed bump to human progress and understanding of the natural world.

Papalinton said...
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Papalinton said...

Bob
" .. while forgetting that Christians don't worship any of those, but rather Jesus, whose feet were most emphatically on the ground (and will be again)."

Sorry bob, you're legendizing again. Just because all your answers are in the bible, don't make it necessarily so.

" ...So a reason-defying, self-actuating gravitational law can explain everything, ..."

Bob you are anthropomorphising again, describing gravity as if it acts with conscious teleological intention. Nothing could be further from the truth. Invoking consciousness into 'gravitational law' ['reason', a state of active conceptualization, and 'actuating', an implied deliberative movement that only live, conscious entities can accomplish]

Of course, theism is inextricably reliant on teleology. After all, how else can a 'timeless, changeless, immaterial, and very powerful first cause' exist without consciousness and intent. Bob, science tells us our brain developed as an 'agency detection' device as a function of our survival strategy. We imagine and suspect agents and entities everywhere. The practice of theism is the classic exemplar of our continued fascination with and dabbling in that primeval genetic predisposition.

The 'goddidit' response to the question, ""Was the beginning of the universe uncaused?" was our first attempt at some form of explanation about humankind, the environment, the world and the universe. The explanatory baton has now been passed from theology to science, just as alchemy moved on to chemistry and astrology passed to astronomy. That doesn't mean the end of religion. Heaven's no. There are people who still work with the ancient art of alchemy, just as there are many people who still set their fortunes in the star of astrology.

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton, you never cease to amaze me. "That God did it" was never, as you say "our first attempt at some form of explanation about humankind, the environment, the world and the universe." In ALL primitive mythologies, the world was most emphatically NOT created by God, but it was rather the other way around. Believe me, I know this very well indeed, and you are dead wrong on this point. I will not weary you with a book length exposition going through each and every creation mythos, but the earliest ones are unanimous in regarding God or the Gods as arising out of a pre-existing cosmos. At most, an early generation of deities would set things (Chaos, in Greek mythology) to order, but the idea of God as the First Cause is a quite late, and specifically Christian, development.

We can actually see hints of this earliest conception in the first Genesis account of Creation. The standard English translation runs, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth", but a more accurate rendering of the original Hebrew would run "In earliest times, as God was creating [etc.]". William Tyndale, the man responsible for the standard English rendering, was apparently overly influenced by his own more sophisticated understanding of Creation when he made his translation.

It's not until the New Testament that we finally see the crystal clarity of the statements by John and Paul that I quoted in an earlier posting (the one concerning which you objected so strongly to my quoting scripture, although I now see that you yourself have no objection to doing so, when it suits your purpose), where Christ is explicitly declared to have existed "before all things" and "through Him all things were made."

I don't know where you get all your misinformation from, but you've got to start reading more competent sources than Wikipedia and atheist blogs, if you're at all serious about competing with the Big Dogs. As Joe Sheffer used to say, "The opposite of good theology is not no theology - it's bad theology."

Papalinton said...
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Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Bob
"I don't know where you get all your misinformation from, but you've got to start reading more competent sources than Wikipedia and atheist blogs, if you're at all serious about competing with the Big Dogs."

You really need to see my library. Hell, I've got books as diverse as Stephen Prothero's "God Is Not One", and John Lennox's "God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?", or Max Wallace's "The Purple Economy: Supernatural Charities, Tax and the State" ['For the first time someone has dared to ask questions about this parallel universe in our society.'], or Marci A Hamilton's "God vs The Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law". As I have pretty much maintained throughout my life, reading widely a diverse range of topics, [and remember I was once a god-botherer, with all the books and indoctrinatory paraphernalia usually associated with mythos support which formed the basis of my once-held worldview], my library is reasonably OK.

So your atheist blog and Wiki reference really is a pouting low-level swipe, characteristically a product of a feeling of frustration and impotence. But then you weren't to know.

Your recount of "all'' primitive mythologies did not invoke a creator-god of the universe, is just plain wrong. And your statement, "At most, an early generation of deities would set things (Chaos, in Greek mythology) to order, but the idea of God as the First Cause is a quite late, and specifically Christian, development" conveniently forgets it too, is a direct result and product of the tens or hundreds of thousands [even millions] of years of religious development and evolution, concomitant with humans gradual and incremental evolution over time to the present day's species. The 'uncaused cause god' concept is simply the latest [and the one currently fashionable] of a long line of, and built on the tradition of previous and diverse range of creation stories that have intrigued and fascinated humankind since the evolutionary emergence of self-awareness and becoming painfully aware of our own mortality and tenuous existence.

To suggest that suddenly, by some form of divine revelation, christianity is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, while all other past and present religions are false, is a hugely imaginative stretch taken too far. Such a view is acontextual and meaningless given the tens of thousands of religions extant.

You note: "As Joe Sheffer used to say, "The opposite of good theology is not no theology - it's bad theology."
I say, true. But theology is not cosmology. Theology has a far greater pedigree and an appreciably closer relationship and evolutionary lineage to mythology than to science.

BenYachov said...

Crude vs One Brow

I predict in a few posts One Brow is going to deny he claimed Hawkings didn't believe the Laws of Gravity brought about the Universe and claim
Crude was just misreading him.

Since it seems Hawking does believe the Laws of Nature create the Universe.

Matteo said...

God only exists on the basis of faith and belief.

Until you allow yourself to accept that he can be known to exist on the basis of reason, you won't ever see that he can.

As one of the commenters observed, "Throughout the history of scientific inquiry, people have used "God" as shorthand for "There is no explanation (yet)." "

Oh. You mean sort of like that talisman known as "Natural Selection".

To suggest that suddenly, by some form of divine revelation, christianity is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, while all other past and present religions are false, is a hugely imaginative stretch taken too far. Such a view is acontextual and meaningless given the tens of thousands of religions extant.

Are you saying, in effect, that to the extent that religions disagree then that is reason to regard them all as incorrect? For the sake of consistency, doesn't that also mean that to the extent that they agree on something, then that something should be regarded as true?

I think that just about all religions would agree that atheist materialism is flat out wrong. Does that mean it is wrong, or is your principle just a form of inconsistently applied special pleading?

Steve Lovell said...

Here's an older and wiser quote from Hawking

[The laws of science are] only a set of equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to govern? Is the ultimate unified theory so compelling that it brings about its own existence? Although science may solve the problem of how the universe began, it cannot answer the question: Why does the universe bother to exist? I don’t know the answer to that. (from "The Origin of the Universe" 1987)

For me, the most one of the most sensible things ever written about the cosmological argument is this from Chesterton:

[I]t is absurd for the [atheist] to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing; and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything. (from his St Thomas Aquinas 1933)

Steve

Steve Lovell said...

Papa,

I guess you didn't mean to say that "the elephant in the room ... is predicated on the very large assumption ..." Which is what the normal rules of English would suggest. ;-)

My hunch is that you mean rather "Any discussion about Christian Theology is predicated on the very large assumption that an extra-natural non-human entity exists."

Is this what you mean? Because if it is, the the claim is clearly false. After all, many discussions about Christian Theology are precicely discussions about the truth of that proposition ("assumption"), and can hardly begin by assuming it. Indeed, many atheists contribute to these discussions ... any they making the same assumption?

Moreover, if you look at the argument I was pointing you towards you'll see that it has a conclusion "Therefore, either naturalism is untrue or nature is unnatural." This conclusion is supported by a deductively valid argument. I'd like to invite you to show me where that argument assumes the existence of an "extra-natural non-human entity". You may think certain premises are false but that's a different issue. It's pretty clear to me that the argument makes no such assumption as the one you are suggesting.

Steve

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

There's a lot to reply to in your latest post, but I'm really busy this morning, so I'll stick to one line. You write: "[you] conveniently forget that [Christianity] too, is a direct result and product of the tens or hundreds of thousands [even millions] of years of religious development and evolution".

What? Did you not even READ my post? That is exactly what I was talking about! I started with early mythology, proceeded to the Genesis account, and ended up with the New Testament. So not only did I not forget such development, I was the one to bring it up. Indeed, it was what I was talking about.

I try, I really try, to have a serious discussion with you, but most of the time it's like attempting to nail jello to the wall. You pay zero attention to what anyone else is saying, and come back with the most ridiculous statements imaginable.

And it's probably pointless to start comparing the size and diversity of each other's libraries. I also have somehow ended up with an improbably diverse set of books on my shelves (the Catholic Catechism is right next to Jerry Rubin's "Do It!", which in turn butts up against the Mahabharata, which shares space with Bresson's "Notes on the Cinematographer" (hugely worth reading, by the way), which is then alongside an autographed copy of Mao's Little Red Book, etc.) I just hope you've read your collection with more than the zero comprehension you generally read other peoples' postings on this site.

Sorry to be so purposefully rude, but there are times (and now is one of them) when I wonder whether there is any point in carrying on a discussion with someone who is just not paying any attention.

B. Prokop said...

Oh, and by the way: "To suggest that suddenly, by some form of divine revelation, christianity is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth"... that's exactly what I am saying.

That "sudden form of divine revelation" you refer to is called the Incarnation. And yes, the Logos, the Verbum, the Word, is in fact "the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth".

I'm not in the least expecting you to acknowledge this (at any rate, not soon), but surely you have to realize by now that I am not "suggesting" such, but rather proclaiming it.

And yes, I too have studied (deeply) most of the major world religions, and have genuine admiration for many of them. I particularly believe there is tremendous wisdom in Daoism (everyone could profit by reading its scriptures!), and I regard Hinduism as the most beautiful of all religions (including my own). Having been raised in Arizona, I also hold the indigenous Hopi religion with deep respect. I have stood in the great stone circles to be found all over the British Isles, and recognized them as Holy Ground.

Doug Benscoter said...

Hi Ilion,

Does "sheer possibility" ever tell us anything more significant that that the possible thing isn't wholly improbable?

In this context, the claim is that the possibility of an entity's having an explanation is at least not wholly improbable. If this weren't true, then stronger versions of the PSR couldn't be true.

Wouldn't it be better to recognize . . . ?

I don't think we have to choose one or the other. If someone rejects the PSR, he may still be inclined to accept the W-PSR. If this is the case, then there is hope that they will be convinced that God exists based on arguments that utilize the W-PSR. Don't you agree?

Papalinton said...

Bob
I'm sorry for your frustration. The point of your argument has yet to be articulated. Yes, you do show a flow from ancient mythologies through to early christianity, but where is the evidence for the claim that the uniquely christian concept of an 'uncaused cause' was a leap from mythology to cosmology. All I can derive about your perspective from that which you have presented so far, is that somehow, and I assumed, through divine revelation [as most things christian are revealed], that christianity suddenly ceased being mythology at some determinable point and became factual literal history of the creation of the universe.

You exasperation is not with me Bob, your exasperation stems from attempting to sell christian cosmology as being scientifically plausible. If that is the case, if indeed science has to account for the universe being made by a creator, then we may as well throw science out the window. We can't continue discovering new scientific information and facts, and then as a prescriptive afterthought, have to add a postscript about how marvelously god has made it all, simply to please the personal beliefs of the religiose. Such a worldview is anathema to science.

More importantly Bob, you have glossed over the substance of my conclusion; 'To suggest that suddenly, by some form of divine revelation, christianity is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, while all other past and present religions are false, is a hugely imaginative stretch taken too far. Such a view is acontextual and meaningless given the tens of thousands of religions extant. ..... Theology has a far greater pedigree and an appreciably closer relationship and evolutionary lineage to mythology than to science."

I can but reiterate, cosmology [explanation of the beginning of the universe] through theology has its roots embedded deep in mythology; cosmology [explanation of the beginning of the universe] through physics. Indeed much of today's cosmology is a multi-disciplinary field that seeks to merge many seemingly disparate areas of research in physics, including particle physics experiments and theory, as well as string theory, astrophysics, general relativity, and plasma physics. Cosmology explores the physics of the largest structures in the universe with the physics of the smallest structures in the universe.

The christian cosmology of the 'uncaused cause' is ostensibly a philosophical construct and as such, is only of limited meaningfulness, and only when framed within its parochial theological setting.

Bob, for most of human history, cosmology was a branch of metaphysics and religion. Today, and it is a somewhat unfortunate circumstance, Physical Cosmology continues to suffer from the vestigial remnants of that earlier relationship.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"That "sudden form of divine revelation" you refer to is called the Incarnation. And yes, the Logos, the Verbum, the Word, is in fact "the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth"."

Then if christianity is the complete truth and used to be everywhere and anywhere throughout the whole Middle East, into Iran, Iraq and beyond, and right across North Africa and into Sth Spain, then what is the explanation for the tremendous rise of Islam, which, by divine revelation some 600 years later, swept the whole region of christianity into obscurity? Surely if it was "the Incarnation ... the Logos, the Verbum, the Word, .... "the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth", then how is it that another and much more powerful truth emerged?

Bob, you know and I know, the one answer to that question can only be accessed outside the christian box.

I always thought that once you had the 'truth', it was universal, you had it forever, and that it was self-evident. Somehow, nobody seemed to have told the Muslims that. And while Muslims acknowledge jesus as a prophet, his being the 'Incarnation ... the Logos, the Verbum, the Word, .... "the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth"', is just a whole lot of malarkey to them, and it doesn't accord with their 'truth'.

Give me an explanation that is not Apologetical.

B. Prokop said...

No, no, no, no, NO! I am NOT trying "to sell Christian cosmology as being scientifically plausible"!!!

Although I most emphatically reject the "Two Truths" heresy (one religious, and the other scientific - such a notion was dealt a death blow by St. Thomas Aquinas), I DO maintain with absolute firmness that whatever can be explained solely by the scientific method is not evidence of the supernatural and its interactions with the physical world. By definition, knowledge gained by the scientific method (invented by Catholics, by the way) is knowledge of the natural world. The supernatural is unknowable to Man other than by reason and revelation.

(I am so grateful to One Brow for teaching me how to bold and italicize.)

Anonymous said...

So Paps, are you now going to embrace Islam?

Papalinton said...

Bob
"I have stood in the great stone circles to be found all over the British Isles, and recognized them as Holy Ground.'

And that is fine and decent. But your recognizing them as Holy Ground does not make the ground any holier than any other portion of adjoining ground. Your recognition is only an emotional response. For those who do not have anywhere near the emotional connection to that ground as you do are perfectly entitled to their non-arousal of emotional response and may simply see the area as only of historical interest and hold absolutely no element of reverence for it. And that is perfectly normal too.

Papalinton said...

Anonymous
"So Paps, are you now going to embrace Islam?"

Oh! Shi'ite no. Not a snowball's chance in hell.

Papalinton said...

Corrigendum:
"I can but reiterate, cosmology [explanation of the beginning of the universe] through theology has its roots embedded deep in mythology; cosmology [explanation of the beginning of the universe] through physics.'

should have read:

I can but reiterate, cosmology [explanation of the beginning of the universe] through theology has its roots embedded deep in mythology; cosmology [explanation of the beginning of the universe] through physics has its roots embedded deeply in known facts and laws of physics.

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

(I am gladdened by your response to "anonymous")

I actually have zero intellectual problem with the existence of Islam. It is simply the greatest and most successful of the early Christian heresies (the 7th Century is still relatively early in Christian history). Remember, the Church has always existed as an entity under siege in this world, under incessant attack from Pagan Rome, Arianism, Islam, the Norsemen, Calvinism, atheistic Communism, and currently from soulless consumerism and Ayn Randian Objectivism.

And in any case, the rise of Islam was predicted by no less than Saint Paul, in his Letter to the Galatians: "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed." (That "angel from Heaven" sure sounds a lot like Mohammed's Gabriel, or even Joseph Smith's Moroni.)

So to sum up, although I regret the existence of Islam (and Mormonism), I am not troubled by it/them. No more than I am by militant atheism.

Ilíon said...

D.Benscoter: On the other hand, I also think we can accept the possibility of an uncaused beginning to the universe (for the sake of argument) and still arrive at a sound argument for God's existence based on the sheer possibility of the universe's being caused.

Ilíon: Does "sheer possibility" ever tell us anything more significant that that the possible thing isn't wholly improbable?

D.Benscoter:In this context, the claim is that the possibility of an entity's having an explanation is at least not wholly improbable. If this weren't true, then stronger versions of the PSR couldn't be true.

First you were taking about ‘possibility’, which at least makes sense in this context. NOW, you’re thinking of your argument in terms of ‘probabilities’? Or were you always, but just had phrased it in terms of ‘possibility’?

God’s “probability” is either 1 or 0 – God is not something to which one can rationally assign probabilities.


Ilíon: Wouldn't it be better to recognize …

D.Benscoter:I don't think we have to choose one or the other.

Did I say anything about either-or? I said that a “sheer possibility” argument (while it does tell us one very important thing, it doesn’t) tell us much about the question for which we’re trying to get answers. And, I asked whether, if there is a different approach, which does answer the Big Question we’re trying to get at (and there is such an approach), it wouldn’t be better (you know, more fruitful) to take that approach.

D.Benscoter:If someone rejects the PSR, he may still be inclined to accept the W-PSR. If this is the case, then there is hope that they will be convinced that God exists based on arguments that utilize the W-PSR. Don't you agree?

No, I don’t agree. As I pointed out in a different comment on one of your comments: “ Most of them will not acknowledge that God is even though the denial that God is generates continuous absurdities.

People who *will not* acknowledge that the belief-system – the metaphysics – that they wish to believe is the truth about the nature of reality generates absurdities have “gone beyond” reason. And they cannot be persuaded to the opposing metaphysics by reason, for it was not on the basis of reason that they chose the unreasonable metaphysics in the first place.

Reason works only with reasonable persons; to reach unreasonable persons, one must use some other tool. As far as I can tell, only God has the tool-kit to reach such persons.

One Brow said...

Crude said...
Man, with reading skills like those, it's no wonder you have trouble with Hawking. ;)

I apologize for ever saying you might admit an error.

The relevancy was that it showed there was no "thomist interpretation" in play - because the idea of laws preceding the universe is not "thomist".

Had I been talking about the specific notion of laws preceding the universe being Thomist, then your points might have been relevant.

However, I specifically said "However, the notion of the universe, due it's properties, being potentially without prior cause ...", and the notion that every action has a prior cause is Thomist.

If you want to call your nonsense ...

Since you have not addressed my point, your referring to the point your misreading created as nonsense is meaningless to me.

... you can hardly fault me for pointing out your mistake.

I would never fault a person for pointing out my mistakes. Many of my favorite on-line moments come from people correcting my mistakes. However, if you want to correct my mistakes, the first thing you will have to do is read what I post carefully enough to understand what I post, so that you can identify my mistakes. So far, you have given little evidence that you read my posts accurately. I make no judgement whether the lack is due to ability, maliciousness, Morton's demon, or negligence, nor do I care.

First, 'because' strongly implies the "cause" you're asking for here.

"Because" does not imply a prior causal connection, despite the simlarity of names. It works equally well if two objects are linked by a third cause, for example.

But if you'd like another quote: "The question is: is the way the universe began chosen by God for reasons we can't understand, or was it determined by a law of science? I believe the second. If you like, you can call the laws of science 'God', but it wouldn't be a personal God that you could meet, and ask questions."

So we have Hawking saying that the universe had a beginning. And what 'determined' it? The laws (or a law) of science, according to Hawking.

But go ahead, insist that Hawking couldn't have possibly meant that the laws determine anything.


1) Despite my pointing out that I am not insisting on anything, and offering quotes to demonstrate it, you keep referring to me as insisting on something? It that plain dishonesty on your part?

2) The way the universe began could be directed by the law of gravity without the law of gravity being either prior to or controlling of the begining of the universe, as long as gravity comes into being with the universe and the universe behaves according to it's principles. So, your quote offers no support for your position that Hawking means gravity in some form pre-existed the universe. You have misread Hawking. Given your history, I am unsurprised.

One Brow said...

Yet more evidence provided,

Your evidence did not support your positon.

and yes, I am good at that.

Maybe you should stick to what your good at.

Not an expert, but I actually make an effort to understand the stuff I talk about.

Maybe you should stick to what your good at.

If you were capable of doing that, this conversation wouldn't have begun.

Feel free to pull out actual misinterpretations (as opposed to those in your imagination).

Though at least there's some comedy in saying it with that quote.

Pure negligence on my part.

"Certainty"? I started this conversation giving you a far more viable route: "Hawking couldn't have meant that. "

Yes, certainty. "couldn't". could not. Not "might not".

Far less viable is the interpretive la-la land you've gone off to.

Feel free to bring in evidence where Hawking says gravity would have preceded the universe, then.

The Cult of Gnu is not "atheists". It's a particular group of atheists,

If you define the "cult" in a manner that includes both Dawkins and Hitchens, you are already including some very diverse politics. Of course, since you can define the "cult" with any membership you please, you can make your own statement self-fulfilling.

... but they're bound together by some considerable political and social aims.

I specified some of the characteristics that identified the issues on which they are united.

I suspect the diference between our relative rankings of Ben Yachov and Papalinton depend in part on partisanship.

BenYachov said...

I wrote:

>I predict in a few posts One Brow is going to deny he claimed Hawkings didn't believe the Laws of Gravity brought about the Universe and claim
Crude was just misreading him.

I so called that one!


Had I been talking about the specific notion of laws preceding the universe being Thomist, then your points might have been relevant...

Since you have not addressed my point, your referring to the point your misreading created as nonsense is meaningless to me.....

Despite my pointing out that I am not insisting on anything, and offering quotes to demonstrate it, you keep referring to me as insisting on something? It that plain dishonesty on your part?...
?

(For someone not insisting on anything you sure argue about it quite forcefully)

One Brow you are a first class bullshit artist. You should have gone into politics you would rival Bill Clintion.

>I suspect the diference between our relative rankings of Ben Yachov and Papalinton depend in part on partisanship.

Not really. I can't imagine Crude thinking I was smarter than BDK or Jesse or even you in the area of Math or Evolution(not philosophy you are pure rubish in that area I'm afraid & your read comprehention skills are non-existent). Paps is just a fundie without god belief. His Atheism is not intellectually challenging & I suspect when he was a "god botherer" his Theism wasn't all that sophisticated either.

Ilíon said...

"So Paps, are you now going to embrace Islam?"

Not today, surely. But someday.

Ilíon said...

Steve Lovell: "Moreover, if you look at the argument I was pointing you towards you'll see that it has a conclusion "Therefore, either naturalism is untrue or nature is unnatural." This conclusion is supported by a deductively valid argument. I'd like to invite you to show me where that argument assumes the existence of an "extra-natural non-human entity". You may think certain premises are false but that's a different issue. It's pretty clear to me that the argument makes no such assumption as the one you are suggesting."

First, a criticism directed at what you said: he isn't "suggesting" anything, he is asserting something. The something happens to be false; but pussyfooting around to turn the assertion into a "suggestion" is also false.

Then, to the heart of the matter: his assertion that the argument assumes its conclusion was not made in good faith -- almost nothing that Evangelical Atheists say is said in good faith -- so, of course, he cannot rationally defend his assertion: it's patently false and indefensible. The truth is this: he and his sort are engaging in psychological projection -- *he* assumes his "conclusion" (that God is not) and then he "reasons" from that assumption that any argument showing otherwise cannot possibly be correct ... ergo, such an argument must also be assuming its own conclusion.

If its any consolation, all sorts of humans "reason" like this; while the Evangelical Atheists may be the most obnoxious at it, they're not the only ones.

Ilíon said...

BenYachov: "Even Feser when discussing the Classic Theism vs Theistic Personalism uses the absurd example of God committing suicide or going out of existence(& the Universe going with Him) to emphasize how in the Classic view creation is depended on God for it's continuous existence. As opposed to a Theistic Personalist God who can create walk away, commit Cosmic Suicide ant the universe goes on without him/it."

There are two main things about "fundies" (*):
1) they misrepresent "the enemy" position (and, not infrequently, their own);
2) their effort is directed at shielding their metaphysics, and their "conclusions", from rational evaluation; they assert a privileged position for their “arguments”.

(*) Whether said "fundies" are:
1) Evangelical Atheists, such as one finds just about anywhere on the internet, who will not reason when reasoning gets uncomfortably close to revealing the falseness of atheism; and who refuse to see that their own behavior consistently demonstrates that they themselves don't believe their own position and assertions about human nature;
2) nominal Catholics, who are always banging on about "Classical Theism" -- which never existed, and of which no one would give a damn even if it did exist -- and who are always banging on about fundamentalists (i.e. those branches of Protestantism that can give Catholicism a serious run for the money) … just as some foolish bishops of a century ago told them to do, despite that the secularists now lump Catholicism in with those terrible “fundies”;
3) internet Calvinists, who refuse to see that their own behavior consistently demonstrates that they themselves don't believe their own position and assertions about human nature; and who will not reason when reasoning gets uncomfortably close to revealing the self-contradictory nature of their claimed position.

BenYachov: "Even Feser when discussing the Classic Theism vs Theistic Personalism ..."

Gos *is* personal -- we can know that via reason, and we can know it via the Judeo-Christian Revelation. You and Feser are just going to deal with the fact. There is no such thing as "Classical Theism", and there never was: there is Christianity, and there is God-enmity. Take your pick.

BenYachov: "Even Feser when discussing the Classic Theism vs Theistic Personalism uses the absurd example of God committing suicide or going out of existence(& the Universe going with Him) to emphasize how in the Classic view creation is depended on God for it's continuous existence. As opposed to a Theistic Personalist God who can create walk away, commit Cosmic Suicide ant the universe goes on without him/it."

According to certain foolish persons, both referenced above, I am one of those dreaded “Theistic Personalists” … yet, I do not say that “The Universe” does or can exist independently of God. Quite the opposite, in fact.

BenYachov: "Of course Feser would never claim it is coherent, logical or possible for God to cease to exist or commit suicide."

At the same time, I quite understand that Feser is merely channeling a baptized neo-Platonism, rather than having reasoned soundly either from what we can know about God via reason or what we can know about God via the Christian Revelation.

IF one were to reason soundly from what the Christian Revelation tells us about God, then one would understand that IF Christianity is true, THEN God can, indeed, “commit suicide”.

Ilíon said...

"Let's confine political speech to other threads, OK? this discussion is too good to muck it up with such. ..."

What a damnable hypocrite (and passive-aggressive, at that) you are.

"Besides, I'll gladly spar with you on politics any time, after you answer my challenge on the "Lawsuit" thread, (Comment 145). Till then, I'm gonna ignore you."

I ignore "challenges" ... and I especially ignore ignorant and/or dishonest ones like that.

And, in any event, to claim to be willing to "spar" implies an intention of honesty. Apparently, you're also a humorist.

Ilíon said...

My goodness! Quite a number of persons are accusing Papalinton and One Brow of intellectual dishonesty.

What is one to make of all this?

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "Wow. This is now twice in one month that I find myself in agreement with Ilion. (Hold that thought while I go outside and check to see whether the Moon has fallen out of the sky... Nope, still there.)"

If you ever decide to take off those rose-cglasses (red being the preferred color of leftism), you may finally figure out that if I say something, the odds are strong that it is correct.

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "I love ALL my fellow human beings! It's Ilion's views, as well as his manner of expressing them, that I hate."

Translation: I love mankind ... it's people I can't stand. I hate that Ilíon speaks truth (and I'm not all that crazy about truth, in any event), and I hate that he either will not or cannot tickle my ears when he speaks truth I don't wish anyone to hear.

BenYachov said...

It seems Ilíon is representative of the low brow fundie Christianity Paps once held too with vigor.

>nominal Catholics, who are always banging on about "Classical Theism" -- which never existed,

I'm a Vatican II Traditionalist Catholic. I certainly am not a Catholic in name only. I believe all the dogmas of the Catholic Church moral and theological and I reject all the novelties & human traditions of the so called "reformation".

Classic Theism is the biblical & ancient view and the original view of the main so called Reformers. Theistic Personalism is a johnny come lately version. See either Brian Davies or Norman Geisler for details.

>Gos *is* personal -- we can know that via reason, and we can know it via the Judeo-Christian Revelation.

Where does the Bible teach Sola Scriptura? It's doesn't so I don't see why Luther's man made standard should apply to ancient Christianity? We need Tradition (2 Thes 3:6) & Church (1 Tim 3:15-17). God is personal in that He has Intellect and Will analogous to how humans have such. He certainly is not unequivocally compared to human persons. The OT says God is not a man.

>At the same time, I quite understand that Feser is merely channeling a baptized neo-Platonism,

Try Aristotelian and traditional Thomism. You are as thick as Paps.

>rather than having reasoned soundly either from what we can know about God via reason or what we can know about God via the Christian Revelation.

Like Paps you have the art of argument by ridicule down but you can't keep pace with giving actual reasons. Besides you are a Protestant. You define Christian Revelation as the Bible Alone. Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Jews don't define revelation in that manner.
Leaving that bit out is more than a bit disingenuous. James White would at least be up front about it.

BenYachov said...

>IF one were to reason soundly from what the Christian Revelation tells us about God, then one would understand that IF Christianity is true, THEN God can, indeed, “commit suicide”.

Only if we believe in the Monophysite heresy. Jesus' human soul which was united to the Divine Nature via the Hypostatic Union separated from his Body which was also united to the Divine Nature via the Hypostatic Union. While Christ Soul was separated from His Body both where still united to the Divine nature till they where brought back together for the resurrection.

At no time did God the Word's Divine nature cease to exist or separate from anything.

This is all elementary even historical Protestantism believes this sans a few obscure modern backwater Oneness Pentacostal sects and house churches.

BenYachov said...

>According to certain foolish persons, both referenced above, I am one of those dreaded “Theistic Personalists” … yet, I do not say that “The Universe” does or can exist independently of God. Quite the opposite, in fact.

One Brow...I mean Paps...no I mean IIion (like there is a freakin difference at this point) you are the one who out of the blue snapped at me for singing the praises of Classic Theism and dissing Theistic Personalism. You identified yourself as a Theistic Personalist.

I would have been happy to assume you where a Classic Theist till proven otherwise.

I don't believe you know or understand the difference.

But I don't know I think it's because I am friendly to BDK whom you despise & a big fan of Feser whom you have taken a set against that you out of the blue decided to be hostel to me.

Yes that's it. Oh & for the record I am a political conservative too so Bob's politics from what I seen don't do it for me. Go tea party!

Tedious.

BenYachov said...

Anyway people Victor has posted an Essay from an intelligent Atheist who is a cut above Dick to the Dawk.

Can we all get back to discussing that?

This tit for tat shit is getting old.

Ilíon said...

Classical Fundie: "Even Feser when discussing the Classic Theism vs Theistic Personalism uses the absurd example of God committing suicide or going out of existence(& the Universe going with Him) to emphasize how in the Classic view creation is depended on God for it's continuous existence. As opposed to a Theistic Personalist God who can create walk away, commit Cosmic Suicide ant the universe goes on without him/it."
Ilíon: "IF one were to reason soundly from what the Christian Revelation tells us about God, then one would understand that IF Christianity is true, THEN God can, indeed, “commit suicide”."

Classical Fundie: "... blah, blah, Monophysite heresy, blah, blah, Hypostatic Union, blah, blah ... Look! If I cross my eyes, I can turn you into a heretic! ..."

Was God playing Tiddlywinks with the Incarnation, or was there something real at stake? Was Christ -- the Second Person of the Godhead -- really "tempted as all men are tempted", or was the writer who asserted that engaging in hyperbole or perhaps even dishonesty? If Christ was tempted, was the temptation really tempting to him, or was someone seriously misusing the word 'tempation'? If Christ was really tempted, was it really possible for him to succumb to the temptation? And, if it was not, then in what sense of the words 'really' and 'temptation' did Christ really face temptation? If Christ was really tempted, was he really free to choose to succumb to the temptation? And, if he was not, then in what sense of the words 'really' and 'free' and 'choose' and 'person' is Christ really a person?

So: Christianity asserts that the man Jesus, called the Christ, is both a human person of male sex and the Second Person of the One God Who is Three-Persons-in-One-Being. Christianity asserts that Jesus, the Christ, was tempted to sin; that is, that certain sins presented to him as being within his ability to commit were, indeed, within his ability to commit and that the idea of commiting these sins was to him a real temptation.

When one takes one's hands away from one's eyes, one understands that Christianity asserts that Jesus, the Christ -- the Second Person of the Godhead -- *might* have sinned: that sinning was within his capacity and that he was free to have chosen to sin.

Now, Jesus the Christ being God, and being free to choose to sin, and being offered the opportunity to sin, what would it mean had Christ chosen to sin? What would it mean for Truth Himself to lie? What would it mean for "the ground of all being" to contradict himself?

Was the Incarnation just a mummer's play, or was God doing something real there, something that goes merely redeeming human beings from the death-that-is-sin?

Ilíon said...

Ilíon: "IF one were to reason soundly from what the Christian Revelation tells us about God, then one would understand that IF Christianity is true, THEN God can, indeed, “commit suicide”.

Classical Fundie: "Only if we believe in the Monophysite heresy. ..."

Hell! You can't even properly phrase your denial of what I said ... I expect that this is because you have great difficulty in reasoning correctly or with rigor. Speak sloppily, reason sloppily; reason sloppily, speak sloppily -- I'm sure it's a vicious cycle.

Truth does not follow from our beliefs; one's beliefs ought to follow from knowing the truth.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Bob
"It is simply the greatest and most successful of the early Christian heresies (the 7th Century is still relatively early in Christian history)."

Bob, I asked for something other than an Apologetical explanation. A picture immediately sprang into my mind of a number of boats lazily positioned in a crooked circle on placid water, filled with Ayatollah-dressed men, replete with turbans. A number of the men, with oars in hand, are prodding at a man [the last christian, perhaps Ratzi himself] in the water in the middle. And as his slowly sinks below he is claiming, "Don't think you have won. This is only another successful christian heresy."

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Bob
"By definition, knowledge gained by the scientific method (invented by Catholics, by the way) is knowledge of the natural world. The supernatural is unknowable to Man other than by reason and revelation."

Then, how do we know about the supernatural in the first place if it is unknowable? It seems a bit circular, and a whole lot of Catch-22, to me. How is it that we know about the existence of the unknowable while at the same time we are told that the unknowable is unknowable? Who told them that the unknowable was unknowable?

Through my own very deep and personal revelation and through diligence and reason using logic, it was revealed to me that there is no such parallel universe known as the 'supernatural'. It was also revealed to me that gods, evil spirits, ghosts, and walking on water are figments of my overactive brain, all of them memetic creations that will die when I die. I am humble enough to know that I am not particularly special or selfish or so ego-centric to wish for eternal life [and all the indicators suggest no heaven is indeed the case]. That is all it remains, a wish.

BenYachov said...

@Ilíon,

>Was Christ -- the Second Person of the Godhead -- really "tempted as all men are tempted", or was the writer who asserted that engaging in hyperbole or perhaps even dishonesty?

Of course he was! Get a clue!

Theology teaches us there are three stages to temptation. In the first stage the human will and the soul feels and or suffers the pressure to do evil from the temptation. There is no sin at this stage since there is no consent. Stage two, sin proper begins as the intellect ponders or imagines committing the sin though at this stage the sin is likely only venial. Stage three is when the will gives in and chooses to do the evil and thus sins mortally.

Christ in His human nature only in His human will and soul certainly endured stage one but stage two & three where out of the question since His human Soul beheld the Beatific Vision and thus His human Will couldn't even conceive of going to stage two & three.

All this has been thought of before by greater minds then either of us and more righteous persons than either your or I.

Ilion you know about as much theology and philosophical theology as Paps.

It's not impressive.

So blah blah blah yourself.

The Classical God is the Only True God. Live with it.

BenYachov said...

>that certain sins presented to him as being within his ability to commit were, indeed, within his ability to commit and that the idea of commiting these sins was to him a real temptation.

HERESY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jesus could never sin period! He could endure the pain of being tempted but He could never contemplate doing evil much less will it.

This view contradicts even the teachings of the so called Reformers.

I automatically hate it forever.

This is what Theistic Personalism gets you. I want none of it.

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

You ask: "Then, how do we know about the supernatural in the first place if it is unknowable?

Once again, you're not reading what I wrote, because I already said: "The supernatural is unknowable to Man other than by reason and revelation."

So the answer to your question is: by way of reason and revelation. But I already wrote that.

Anonymous said...

"Then, how do we know about the supernatural in the first place if it is unknowable? It seems a bit circular, and a whole lot of Catch-22, to me."

Because you're pretty sh*tty at reading and missed the part where Bob said the supernatural is known by reason and revelation as opposed to science. Da-hoy.

"Through my own very deep and personal revelation and through diligence and reason using logic, it was revealed to me that there is no such parallel universe known as the 'supernatural'."

You're really, really bad at reasoning and logic as can be seen in the threads you take part in so this testimony isn't very great. The supernatural is not supposed to be a parallel universe. Again, da-hoy.

And memetics is to science what phrenology is to science. :-)

Papalinton said...

Aw Shucks! you silly boofhead, Anon.
Of course I read the bit from Bob about reason and revelation as the porthole to the supernatural.

And I go on in the same combox to note that I too used the exact same tools or processes, reason and revelation, and it was revealed to me a very different story, that the supernatural is a whole lot of hooey. It was also by revelation and squishing my eyes closed harder than usual, I was told that revelation is indistinguishable to thinking.

And Aw Shucks!, we all know that the supernatural is not a parallel universe, you silly 'banana-head', because the supernatural is nothing at all. I was being ironic and I now realize I shouldn't have done so, because it was wasted on you. You know that I know that he knows that we know that they know that the unknowable is indistinguishable from the non-existent.

Anonymous said...

"And I go on in the same combox to note that I too used the exact same tools or processes, reason and revelation,"

You use logic and reason the way a fish uses a bicycle. :-)

"I was being ironic and I now realize I shouldn't have done so, because it was wasted on you."

Ironic? Yeah people usually insist they were joking when they get caught making a real big mistake like that. So much for logic and reason. lol!

Doug Benscoter said...

Ilion: First you were taking about ‘possibility’, which at least makes sense in this context. NOW, you’re thinking of your argument in terms of ‘probabilities’? Or were you always, but just had phrased it in terms of ‘possibility’?

You had mentioned "possibility" as being "not wholly improbable," so I was just replying to that. My first comment to Vic's post involved a modal argument, and not just an inductive/probabilistic one.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said ...
Since it seems Hawking does believe the Laws of Nature create the Universe.

Perhaps you can offer a quote to support that?

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
>I predict in a few posts One Brow is going to deny he claimed Hawkings didn't believe the Laws of Gravity brought about the Universe and claim
Crude was just misreading him.

I so called that one!


In what fashion? You blew it completely. I firmly maintain that Hawking did not mean the law of gravity was a cause of the universe. It doesn't exist without the universe for it to exist in. Nothing Hawking said indicated otherwise.

(For someone not insisting on anything you sure argue about it quite forcefully)

I often forcefully insist that people who make claims have a reason for doing so.

One Brow you are a first class bullshit artist.

Ben Yachov, you seem to be unintelligent and highly partisan.

your read comprehention skills are non-existent

The irony is thick with this one.

Paps is just a fundie without god belief.

As opposed to a fundie with Catholic belief.

One Brow said...

B. Prokop said...
Please, they seem to be saying, "I'll accept anything rather than that! "

I'm perfectly willing to accept no thing (i.e., there is no evidence for any particular thing, so no thing has a reason to be believed). If gravity makes sense as reason for the universe to self-create, fine, if it does not, fine.

One Brow said...

Matteo said...
Until you allow yourself to accept that he can be known to exist on the basis of reason, you won't ever see that he can.

Reason can only prove what is inherent in the assumptions. Thus, you can prove God through reason without using assumptions that equate to God's existence, even if worded differently.

BenYachov said...

>Perhaps you can offer a quote to support that?

What good would that do? Crude has already offered one & you ignored it.

If I offer one you can just dismiss it's plain meaning & read into it a meaning other then what it literally says like you did with the first quote.

You are an excellent bullshit artist One Brow & on topics which you are familiar like Math and general Science you are informative. But outside of that you are sophistical rubbish.

Nothing more. So from now on we should use for what you are good for and ignore the rest.

BenYachov said...

I would add in principle Hawkings could have meant what he said in a non-literal way but we would need reasons for that interpretation other then your preferences.

BenYachov said...

One Brow's first claim:

"I firmly maintain that Hawking did not mean the law of gravity was a cause of the universe. It doesn't exist without the universe for it to exist in. Nothing Hawking said indicated otherwise."

Rebutted by Crude:

"The question is: is the way the universe began chosen by God for reasons we can't understand, or was it determined by a law of science? I believe the second. If you like, you can call the laws of science 'God', but it wouldn't be a personal God that you could meet, and ask questions."

One Brow reverses himself:

1) Despite my pointing out that I am not insisting on anything,

So he is making arguments he doesn't really mean? That would explain a lot.

>and offering quotes to demonstrate it, you keep referring to me as insisting on something? It that plain dishonesty on your part?

Is this English? I thought my Grammar and syntax sucked but wow!
It's nay saying not a rebuttal.


>2) The way the universe began could be directed by the law of gravity without the law of gravity being either prior to or controlling of the begining of the universe, as long as gravity comes into being with the universe and the universe behaves according to it's principles.

I reply: Yes this is a good reason why what Hawkings says is bullshit.

>So, your quote offers no support for your position that Hawking means gravity in some form pre-existed the universe. You have misread Hawking. Given your history, I am unsurprised.

I reply: If you ignore what Hawking plainly literally says and pretend with One Brow his statement was somehow allegorical or metaphorical not literal.

But we have no quotes from One Brow to back up this claim. He wants us to do all the heavy lifting in providing quotes. He will never ever take on the burden of proof.

Master bullshit artist! I salute your Bullshit One Brow. It's a heck of a lot more sophisticated then anything Paps could even dream of.

Well done.

BenYachov said...

One Brow vs One Brow

"I firmly maintain that Hawking did not mean the law of gravity was a cause of the universe."

vs

"Despite my pointing out that I am not insisting on anything,
and offering quotes to demonstrate it,
you keep referring to me as insisting on something?"

Does this blather make sense to anyone here other than One Brow?

Anybody?

PS I so called this......

Papalinton said...

That which was once claimed as literal fact and physical truth have now been reduced to metaphor. The bible is now replete with metaphor, more than it was once thought possible, at the time of the writing of the various booklets of the that ancient anthology.

As science develops, common sense and people's understanding about the nature of things grows, the literalness of the bible shrinks. Even the Exodus will be reduced to metaphor as theists begrudgingly acknowledge that archeological evidence has demonstrated unequivocally there was no movement of 600,000+ people from Egypt that wandered the desert for 40 years and took over Canaan by force. Not one shred of evidence.

The process is inexorable. We can historically trace the transition of the status of the bible; from literal to literary to metaphor.

In science, a falsified hypothesis gets tossed on the scrap heap; in religion, a falsified hypothesis becomes a metaphor.

To illustrate how religion differs greatly from religion in addressing questions such as "Was the beginning of the universe uncaused?", the Guardian’s science section, writer Alom Shaha points out why the “Faster than light story highlights the difference between science and religion.” It’s all about doubt, replication, and hesitancy, of course: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2011/sep/28/faster-than-light-science-religion

"But the recent fuss over the possible existence of faster-than-light neutrinos illustrates precisely how different science and religion are when it comes to questions of “belief” or “knowledge”. . .
One of the things that appeals to me about science is that, unlike religion, science is not dogmatic. It does not say: “This is the way things are, and it can be no other way.” Instead it says something like: “Based on the evidence we have so far, this is how things probably are; if clear and solid evidence is discovered that shows this is not how things are, then we will need to change our minds.”
Science can seem rather weak in comparison to the certainties religion offers. But it is this very “weakness”, this refusal to issue absolute statements of truth, that allows science to progress, and to come up with increasingly better ways of explaining the world.
It’s the usual stuff, but the public can’t hear this too often.  Religion not only offers no certainties, but offers no knowledge, either."

And it is good thing that interpretation of the bible is following a similar path to truth, by skeptically questioning the once-held absolutes and redefining them as metaphor.

BenYachov said...

Paps you have said all this crap before.

>That which was once claimed as literal fact and physical truth have now been reduced to metaphor.

Accept the allegorical interpretation is the oldest one. Philo said Genesis One should be understood allegorically & that the allegorical interpretation is the primary method of interpreting holy writ.

Philo, Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Alcuin, Scotus Eriugena etc many took Genesis allegorically. Others took the 6 days as thousand year periods. There was no evolution, old Earth geology or Heliocentracism breathing down these people's necks.

So what do you do with that? I'm sorry Paps but you are just going to have to except whatever you learned from ANSWERS IN GENESIS or the CREATION INTITUTE was not the original Christian belief. Indeed there is no uniform concordant interpretation of Genesis. Fr Stanley Jaki documented that. I have his book.

Also your modern concept of "literal" doesn't fit ancient linguistic genres. Based on taking Genesis 2:4 literally Augustine concluded creation was instantaneous.

Hawking is a contemporary to us & he writes using the modern genre. Still as I already said it's not impossible he is speaking metaphorically but one should be able to demonstraght that with other quotes. We all wait with baited breath for One Brow to for once in his life take up the burden of proof. But for some reason he believes he is "I am not insisting on anything" while at the same time "I firmly maintaining".

Go figure?

>The bible is now replete with metaphor, more than it was once thought possible, at the time of the writing of the various booklets of the that ancient anthology.

The Bible is simply not absolutely perspicuous. It was never treated as such again you are just going to have to get over the fact Evangelicalism wasn't the ancient form of Christianity.

Besides the burden of proof is on you Paps to show that it is dogma to believe the Creation happened in literally 144 hours. When & how did the Church teach that? Yeh good luck with that.

>that archeological evidence has demonstrated unequivocally there was no movement of 600,000+ people from Egypt that wandered the desert for 40 years and took over Canaan by force. Not one shred of evidence.

But linguistic evidence shows the Hebrew word Aleph can be translated as thousand. It can also be translated military unit(also Chieftain, officer etc) so 600 military units of people left Egypt. About 30 or 40 thousand and Kenneth Kitchen talks about it at length.

>In science, a falsified hypothesis gets tossed on the scrap heap; in religion, a falsified hypothesis becomes a metaphor.

Which religion? Your fallacy of the hasty generalization betrays your New Atheist tendency to equivocate between any and all religions. You have a one size fits all polemic you learned from the Gnu’s which intelligent Atheists like Smith wouldn’t be caught dead using. Plus after all this time you still clearly reject philosophy and equate it with religion.

You are just sad Paps. Nobody bags on you for being an Atheist. We bag on you for being a kneejerk anti-intellectual dogmatic about it.

Like I said sad.

BenYachov said...

>http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2011/sep/28/faster-than-light-science-religion

The above article has no substance or philosophical depth. It makes the hasty generalization fallacy.

Still if I want to be cheeky one of the reasons we reject a Young Earth Model of creation is if the Universe is only 5,000 years old how is it we see Andromeda (i.e. the Galaxy Scientism obsessed Gnu'toids can't find under their microscope) which is 2,000,000 million light years away.

If the Speed of light is not an absolute constant according to SCIENCE then what of that objection? How can I know the Universe is Billions of years old?

Best fix that before I start seriously thinking YEC is possible again(I don't but this is fun).

BenYachov said...

>The process is inexorable. We can historically trace the transition of the status of the bible; from literal to literary to metaphor.

Then why is the allegorical interpretation the oldest? Why did Philo writes:

“It is quite foolish to think that the world was created in the space of six days or in a space of time at all.”

BenYachov said...

>The process is inexorable. We can historically trace the transition of the status of the bible; from literal to literary to metaphor.


I can't take your simplistic Atheist Apologetics seriously Paps.

>http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1256&letter=A

Really go read some Smith and concentrate your polemics on philosophical arguments for Atheism. Defenses of Materialism or Metaphysical Naturalism.

Because the Bible thing is not helping yah. Why not knock God off his throne then the rest falls with Him?

Now I will leave you to it to say something stupid.

Maybe Bob will have the patience to answer you.

BenYachov said...

Bob your a nice guy you take over.

Papalinton said...

Ben
"Accept the allegorical interpretation is the oldest one. Philo said Genesis One should be understood allegorically & that the allegorical interpretation is the primary method of interpreting holy writ."

I just love the way the religiose cherry pick the bible [Note: Genesis ONE. All of a sudden, the old switcheroo. Did Philo also include Adam and Eve and the Garden Of Eden in that overall allegorical interpretation of Genesis? Who determined Adam and Eve to be fact and not allegorical? Because if Adam and Eve were real live people in an actual existent patch of the Earth called the Garden of Eden, and all this is factual, then why introduce a bloody talking snake in a real live setting? Christian logic is in the swamp, no doubt about it. Anyone who thinks otherwise is simply in denial. [I hear all the christians on the site jump up in pious indignation and yell, "NO I'm not!" .......... I rest my case]

And then I hear them yell out," The snake wasn't a true talking snake, it was Satan disguised as a snake tempting Adam and Eve, and it is supposed to be read allegorically." So it was Satan that actually talked to Eve, not a snake. It was Satan dressed up as a snake that talked, which must be taken as an allegory, that talked to the real Adam and Eve. So Adam and Eve conversed with an allegory.

Oh! Give me a break. This is theo-logic at its most ludicrous.

Papalinton said...

Ben
"Indeed there is no uniform concordant interpretation of Genesis. Fr Stanley Jaki documented that. I have his book. "

I know all that. Why are you telling me? I've been hammering on about it for years. It's not only Genesis One, but the whole bible that is allegorical, a story born out of the myths and legends of our primitive ancestors.

Papalinton said...

Ben Yachov
"Besides the burden of proof is on you Paps to show that it is dogma to believe the Creation happened in literally 144 hours. When & how did the Church teach that? Yeh good luck with that."

No it's not. Whether allegory or literal, my years of study and scholarship into the christian mythos shows the christian creation story as just a whole bunch of malarkey. The catholic church is based purely on catholic malarkey and the protestant church is based on protestant malarkey. It is the unadulterated stupidity of christians that makes then unable and unwilling to resolve issues of dogma. And not so long ago idiot catholics and idiot protestants literally killed each other for their different forms of malarkey.

If creation occurred over billions of years, and the creation story was revealed by god himself, then why didn't he just tell them to write it as taking billions of years? No amount of Apologetic surmising is going to make the story any more palatable to swallow. It was myth back then and it's myth today. Period.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Ben Yachov
"Still if I want to be cheeky one of the reasons we reject a Young Earth Model of creation is if the Universe is only 5,000 years old how is it we see Andromeda (i.e. the Galaxy Scientism obsessed Gnu'toids can't find under their microscope) which is 2,000,000 million light years away."

Why are you telling me? I know all that. Go tell it to your compatriot christian dunderheads. Talk some sense into them. It's the same bible they read as you. It's the same god and the same jesus they pray to as you. Why haven't you found out why or exerted your superior catholic intellect, or pointed them to the catholic font of all self-evident christian truth you keep hammering on about, or waved your 'inviolable truth' magic catholic wand to get them to see the errors of their ways. They are christians just like you. Their brand of christianity is just as balmy as your brand. I am just an atheist, for christsake.


You ask: "If the Speed of light is not an absolute constant according to SCIENCE then what of that objection? How can I know the Universe is Billions of years old?"

The speed of light hasn't changed, you dork. The absolute speed that photons travel at hasn't changed, and that in turn hasn't changed the calculations for determining the age of the universe. It's neutrinos that seem to have the capacity to travel faster than the speed of light. Dummy. And the last time I checked, we don't measure anything against the speed of neutrinos.

BenYachov said...

That is the best you can do Paps?

Repeating yourself? Because you are just saying the same crap you said before.

>It's neutrinos that seem to have the capacity to travel faster than the speed of light. Dummy. And the last time I checked, we don't measure anything against the speed of neutrinos.

That doesn't really deal with the brute fact the Speed of light is not the absolute speed limit of the Universe. So one will have to revise one's anti-YEC polemic. Not that I believe in YEC I'm not a kneejerk Fundie unlike some of us.

>If creation occurred over billions of years, and the creation story was revealed by god himself, then why didn't he just tell them to write it as taking billions of years?

If the Bible gave that bit of detail what is to stop the New Atheist yahoo from claiming it was scientific knowledge passed down by an earlier human civilization? After all it is mere natural knowledge why does God need to tell us something we will figure out ourselves one day?

You have such a brain dead Fundie view of religion it's pathetic.

As TOF once said of Gnu's in general your knowledge of Christianity extends no further then Bill & Ted's excellent Bible Shack Fire Baptized Church which was founded last Tuesday. You don't know ancient Christianity from a hole in the Head.

Why don't you read some real Atheists. Philosophers instead of the Pop Atheist bullcrap you subsist on? I might take you seriously.

Good night!

BenYachov said...

>Philo also include Adam and Eve and the Garden Of Eden.

So what? I believe in Adam and Eve. I just believe God gave a Hominid a soul 50 to 150 thousand years ago. I believe their ofspring mated with the unsouled Hominid contemporaries.

It's in Jewish Tradition.

http://www.aish.com/tp/i/moha/48931772.html

Really keep up.

You are only fit to argue with YEC's your personal Atheism is no more sophisticated then that.

Anonymous said...

"Whether allegory or literal, my years of study and scholarship into the christian mythos shows the christian creation story as just a whole bunch of malarkey."

ROFL. Commenting obsessively on christian blogs doesnt constitute years of study. Maybe you meant that your years of study were allegorical. Like genesis 1 except your years of study were really six days. :-)

No offense to Benyachov Papalinton but when Ben is able to kick your commenting butt so easily its maybe time to call it a night. Go back to what you're good at, which is being a cheerleader at third rate atheist blogs.

I take it back. You aren't all that good at that either. :-)

B. Prokop said...

Ben,

(Been real busy last coupla days - no time to read weblogs, or do much posting.)

You're doing just fine unaided. You don't need my help on this one. Papalinton's shattered imaginary history and anti-logic has been thoroughly trounced by your last 5 or 6 posts.

Good on ya'!

(And by the way, Papalinton. I still think your heart's in the right place. It's your head that's...)

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
What good would that do? Crude has already offered one & you ignored it.

Crude offered a quote, and I responded to it by addressing why it did not support the contention that Hawking thinks the law of gravity existed before the universe.

If I offer one you can just dismiss it's plain meaning & read into it a meaning

You are assuming you can read the passage and draw an accurate, plain meaning from it. I have no confidence you are capable of such.

So from now on we should use for what you are good for and ignore the rest.

Trolls can never manage to do what you suggest people do.

I would add in principle Hawkings could have meant what he said in a non-literal way ...

I'm quite happy ot take the quotes offered as literal.

>2) The way the universe began could be directed by the law of gravity without the law of gravity being either prior to or controlling of the begining of the universe, as long as gravity comes into being with the universe and the universe behaves according to it's principles.

I reply: Yes this is a good reason why what Hawkings says is bullshit.


Because you disagree with 2) as a possibility, or because you don't realize that 2) is likely what Hawking means?

But we have no quotes from One Brow to back up this claim. He wants us to do all the heavy lifting in providing quotes. He will never ever take on the burden of proof.

I'll take on the burden of proof when I need to show something not already demonstrated by the quotes offered by my opponents.

One Brow vs One Brow

"I firmly maintain that Hawking did not mean the law of gravity was a cause of the universe."

vs

"Despite my pointing out that I am not insisting on anything,
and offering quotes to demonstrate it, you keep referring to me as insisting on something?"

Does this blather make sense to anyone here other than One Brow?


I acknowledge that discrepancy as confusing. The first refers to an offered quote by Hawking, the second refe3rs to Hawking's overall position. I don't pretend to know exacftly what Hawking thinks. If you can offer a quote where he says the law of gravity presedes the universe, or something similar, I'll accept it. However, all that has been offered so far is a statement that a universe with a property like gravity can originate uncaused.

I really need to start ignoring the trolls. I'll try to stop here.

Papalinton said...

"So what? I believe in Adam and Eve. I just believe God gave a Hominid a soul 50 to 150 thousand years ago. I believe their ofspring mated with the unsouled Hominid contemporaries.
It's in Jewish Tradition."

That's exactly what it is. Tradition. Nothing but Tradition. It is not history, not science, not politics, not good governance. It is tradition

What a sham of a garbled story. And you know for a fact that this hominid's name was Adam, right? And then god stuck his hand into Adam, tore out a rib and went poof! Eve existed. The real life Adam and Eve. Two real hominids, one made from dust, the other from a rib. And you want us to believe this is all fact, historically verified?

Yeah. Right. Your reality is a fraud, right along with the fraud of classic catholic tripe you bang on about. And this fraud is perpetuated by the lowest morality bar ever set within humankind; catholic morality. How do I know? It hasn't been out of the news for the last decade. Depraved catholic hominids masquerading as priests, not only apparently endowed with a soul, but inducted into the hallowed priesthood with a very special grand commission from jesus himself, buggering little children knowing full well that they would be protected by Ratzi. God told Ratzi that pedophilia and child abuse was not a crime against humanity but only a sin under Canon Law. So he just had the priestly violators say a few prayers, a bit of confession, a few hail marys, a slap on the wrist and then transferred them to another diocese full of innocent potential victims and unsuspecting parents.

Yachov, you are the monumental hypocrite on this blog. Why would your catholic god create a Mother Church only to have young innocent people's lives and bodies, the most vulnerable in our society, our children, for whom the Mother Church was ordained to minister pastoral care, destroyed by its god-sanctioned officer class of clergy reprobates. Why would this monster of a god sit on his arse and let these young kids suffer terrible pain, physical injury and injustice at the hands of those christian priests, with the honour title of Father, or Brother, or Mother? And why would god allow Ratzi and the cardinals and the archbishops permit such crimes against humanity under such two-faced sanctimonious self-righteousness. And remember, this was not a few isolated incidents, but tens of thousands, perhaps 100s of thousands of of young people, a global, systemic and catastrophic market failure caused completely by the hierarchy of the catholic organisation. systematic

And moreover, the treatment of the victims by the church leaving their lives in tatters, with Ratzi blaming fallible humans, or Satan, blaming everything, anything and everyone, except himself and his beloved idol, the Mother Church; and more often than not, putting the responsibility right back on to victims themselves. This behaviour of official catholic policy, as has been so gruesomely revealed in the FOUR reports into child sex and abuse in Ireland. This behaviour can only be described as psychopathic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sexual_abuse_scandal_in_Ireland
"In February 2002, 18 religious orders agreed to provide more than €128 million in compensation to the victims of child abuse. Most of the money was raised from church property transfers to the State. The agreement stipulated that all those who accepted the monetary settlements had to waive their right to sue both the church and the government. The identities of the abusers was also to be kept secret."

Weep in shame catholics.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-07-13-ireland-catholic-abuse_n.htm

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30838320/ns/world_news-europe/t/catholic-church-shamed-irish-abuse-report/

http://shockwaveplasma.blogspot.com/2011/07/even-more-reports-on-catholic-child.html

Weep in shame.

Anyone who thinks this universe was created by this catholic monster, is utterly morally and spiritually bankrupt.

BenYachov said...

One Brow

>I don't pretend to know exacftly what Hawking thinks.

Then your argument with Crude has been a waste of Time since it is evident Crude reads Hawking & you do not & thus your claims about him are meaningless.


>I really need to start ignoring the trolls. I'll try to stop here.

Yes we really shouldn't argue with people who don't know what they are talking about, admit grave ignorance yet insist dogmatically their views are default correct while demanding proof they can with ease dismiss.


Go away One Brow till you actually read Hawking and can come back informed.

BenYachov said...

Paps,

Whenever I corner a Fundamentalist on Sola Scriptura or show the Biblical basis of the Papacy they always have a meltdown & scream something to the effect of "Well what about the Inquisition!"

They never rebute my arguments.

So what your response? Something to the effect of "I'm too f***ing stupid to read anything more sophisticated then Loftus, Dawkins or Harris in the world of Atheist Apologetics. Plus I don't know religious history from my own arsehole so I am going to jump up and down screaming Pedophillia! Yeh that might works!".

PLUEEZ kangaroo boy you can't BS a native New Yorker.

The secular public schools here have an even worst record of Pedophilla than the Church. They have a Public Sector Union protecting them.

I'd rather take on the Vatican.

That is all ya got loser?

Seriously?

B. Prokop said...

Paplinton,

I have to go with Ben on this one. The pedophilia scandal is disgusting, appalling, and inexcusable. But really, it's Catholic morality that these criminals have violated. Without acknowledging the authority of that morality, no one has a leg to stand on with any condemnation of the Church's actions/lack of actions.

And as for there being scandals and sinners in the Church - heck, complaints about such things can be found in St. Paul's letters themselves. So it's right there in the New Testament! One doesn't have to wait for any modern scandal to prove the obvious - that the Church is made up of fallible human beings, who on occasion do perfectly awful things.

So how on Earth can acknowledging the very morality that you point out has been so horribly violated make one "utterly morally and spiritually bankrupt"? That doesn't even make sense!!!

BenYachov said...

>That's exactly what it is. Tradition. Nothing but Tradition. It is not history,

What is the difference?

Besides even if I don't accept the Jewish Tradition and being of divine origin or historical it still shows the idea Adam & Eve & their offspring mating with other humanoids is not against Genesis.

Plus it shows Jews didn't hold your Sola Scriptura/perspicuous view you stole from the Protestants.

So you should stop using it on Catholics and get a clue.

Steve Lovell said...

On such issues as these I am reminded of Chesterton's comment that the evidence for the flood is not evidence against the existence of the Ark.

Steve

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