Friday, December 23, 2016

Aswedenism

You think that my denial of Sweden is an actual claim of some kind, that it's a belief. But it isn't. It's a non-belief. There's nothing I need to explain–rather, I'm talking about something I lack, namely a belief in Sweden, so I don't need to give any evidence for it.

I don't have to provide evidence for my non-belief in Atlantis, El Dorado, Shangri-La, or the Customer Support Department at American Airlines, and nor need I for my non-belief in Sweden. I'm not making a claim of any kind–in fact, just the opposite: I'm claimingnothing. I'm merely rejecting one your  beliefs, your belief in Sweden. Andy Bannister, The Atheist Who Didn't Exist (Monarch Books, 2015), 31-32.

HT: Steve Hays

470 comments:

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Jo F said...

@ Stardusty

1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in itself, or in an external cause).
2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is the causal activity of God.
3. The universe exists.
4. Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is the causal activity of God.

Which premise(s) do you object to?

Jo F said...

@ Stardusty
See: Hilbert's Hotel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert's_paradox_of_the_Grand_Hotel

1. If the universe has an infinite past, a simultaneous infinity of objects is possible.
2. If a simultaneous infinity of objects is possible, Hilbert's Hotel is possible.
3. Hilbert's Hotel is impossible.
4. So, the universe doesn't have an infinite past.

5. If the universe has a finite past, then the universe began to exist.
6. The universe has a finite past.
7. Therefore, the universe began to exist.

8. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
9. The universe began to exist.
10. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.


Thanks to Dr. Alexander Pruss for blogging about this.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" The Gospels are far more than "a story", and even you know that. And they were hardly written "long after the supposed fact". The earliest Gospel to be written, Matthew, was complete less than 6 years after the Resurrection. Hardly a "long time"."
I know that the gospels are just stories, of course. Just fairy tales.

6 years is a long time to write anything from memory or by rumor and more than enough time to simply lie.


" "Citing billions of people is mere argumentum ad populum."

It is not. It is in refutation to your assertion that accepting the Gospel "requires" one to accept all the competing narratives."
It is logically required irrespective of the illogic of billions of people. Citing billions of people in a logical argument is by definition argumentum ad populum.

Based on your failure to grasp this rudimentary logical principle I question your capacity to form a valid and sound logical argument.


" Since billions of people have not done so, it is obvious that no such requirement exists."
Argumentum ad populum.



"So? Somebody made up a story and added some names, so what?"

" Do you honestly believe that's how the New Testament was composed?"
Of course the NT is fiction loosely set in history. It is like a civil war novel. Yes, there really was a civil war and the author will use a few figures and places from history as a framework for the fiction. That is the genre of the bible.


"given your little story is just as lacking in verifiability as all the rest"

" But you fail to see the essential difference between the Gospels and "all the rest"."
In the verifiability you falsely claimed it is equal, that is, none.

" Christianity is the ONLY religion that rests on actual events that can be placed in specific locations at precise times, with names, dates, and a wealth of (often frankly extraneous) detail completely absent in "all the rest"."
No, actually, other religions can be dated and geographically placed as well. Still no verifiability as you falsely claimed.


" The positive case for the historicity and veracity of the Gospel narrative is overwhelming,"
No, actually it is not. I am completely underwhelmed by the silliness of the bible.

" and (as I have previously posted) there has never been a believable counter-narrative to challenge it, despite 2000 years of trying."
Yes, actually there is.

"It's good enough for me." ... that lack of critical thinking skills

" Au contraire, it was decades of extensive research and very critical thinking"
Sorry, you are not displaying it here.


December 30, 2016 7:15 PM

Jo F said...

@ Stardusty

1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

*note that in this context "objectivity" refers to their being true independent of whether anyone believes it to be or to not be so.

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger Jo F said...

See: Hilbert's Hotel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert's_paradox_of_the_Grand_Hotel

The term "countably infinite" is oxymoronic and shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the concept of infinity.

Indeed, the origin of existence is an ancient unsolved riddle. The speculation of god, besides having no explanatory power, only makes this riddle worse.


December 30, 2016 8:06 PM

Jo F said...

@ Stardusty

You:
The term "countably infinite" is oxymoronic and shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the concept of infinity.

Me:
I await your specific response to the arguments given. Which premise do you reject? For what reason do you think the term "countably infinite" renders the argument from the finitude of the past false?

Jo F said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo F said...

@ Stardusty

You:
"Indeed, the origin of existence is an ancient unsolved riddle. The speculation of god, besides having no explanatory power, only makes this riddle worse."

Me:
Not in light of the arguments given, if they succeed. I think they do, therefore, to defend your position in a convincingly manner you will have to substantiate this claim. And in order to do that you will have to refute one or more of the premises of each of the arguments I have given since 8:03 PM today, December 30th.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
"
@ Stardusty

1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

*note that in this context "objectivity" refers to their being true independent of whether anyone believes it to be or to not be so."

Premise 2. has never been shown to be true in general circulation, and I am convinced it is false. No objective moral value or duty has yet been identified and generally published.

Morals are personal and individual based on our individual sensibilities and thus relative, not absolute or objective.

If you know of an objective moral value or duty by all means please do tell me what it is.


December 30, 2016 8:20 PM

B. Prokop said...

"6 years is a long time to write anything from memory"

In 1960 (57 years ago!) I was at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, watching John F. Kennedy land for a campaign stop during that year's presidential election. I can still remember every detail of that day - where I was standing, what I was wearing, who was next to me, what the weather was, what JFK looked like as he walked across the tarmac. Imagine how much I'd remember if I had witnessed a miracle that day! No, 6 years is nothing.

"Citing billions of people in a logical argument is by definition argumentum ad populum."

No, it is not! It is a refutation of your assertion that it is a requirement that one accept competing narratives. Since so many people have not done so, it is patently obvious that no such requirement exists.

"Based on your failure to grasp this rudimentary logical principle"

I know perfectly well what an argumentum ad populum is. This is not an example of one.

"Yes, actually there is [a believable counter-narrative]."

Really? Let's have it. I have yet to hear one. This ought to be good.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

@ Stardusty

You:
The term "countably infinite" is oxymoronic and shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the concept of infinity.

Me:
I await your specific response to the arguments given. Which premise do you reject? For what reason do you think the term "countably infinite" renders the argument from the finitude of the past false?"
The entire argument is malformed from the outset because it is based on Hilbert Hotel which uses the notion of countably infinite which is an incoherent notion.

Hilbert Hotel might be useful for something, I don't know, but it has no value in considering the origin of existence.

Also, premise 1. conflates an infinity of time with an infinity of objects. Further, and infinity of time is inherently irrational.

Hence the great existential riddle remains unsolved and the speculation of god only makes things worse.


December 30, 2016 8:35 PM

Jo F said...

On the argument from the impossibility of an actual infinite that I presented:

"The entire argument is malformed from the outset because it is based on Hilbert Hotel which uses the notion of countably infinite which is an incoherent notion.”
—Stardusty

Interestingly, you just agreed to the argument’s first conclusion: that a countably infinite set cannot actually exist, as it is an incoherent idea. Therefore, you should agree that the universe is finite in the past.

I assume your confusion comes from your ignorance of what a countably infinite set is. Whether finite or infinite, the elements of a countable set can always be counted one at a time and, although the counting may never finish, every element of the set is associated with a unique natural number.

"Hilbert Hotel might be useful for something, I don't know, but it has no value in considering the origin of existence.”
—Stardusty

The Hilbert Hotel paradox demonstrates the incoherency of the idea of an actually existing infinite series. If you would like to substantiate that claim, go ahead. Merely asserting it does nothing for your case. Please interact with the argument I’ve laid out if you should choose to do so.

“Premise 1 conflates an infinity of time with an infinity of objects."
—Stardusty

I agree that 1 needs an argument showing the relevance. As Dr. Pruss said, "Here it is. If an infinite past is possible, surely it's possible that at infinitely many past times an object came into existence that has not yet ceased to exist. But if that happened, there are now infinitely many objects, a simultaneous infinity.

Still, one might worry. How can we argue for the possibility of an object coming into existence at infinitely past times, given an infinite past? Well, we can imagine a law of nature on which when two particles collide they are annihilated into four particles, with correspondingly smaller individual mass-energy, and we can imagine that these particles by law cannot otherwise disappear. We can then suppose that there have always been such particles, and that during each of a past infinity of years there was at least one collision. Then that very plausibly possible story implies that there is a present infinity of particles."


"Further, an infinity of time is inherently irrational.”
—Stardusty

Then you agree that the universe is finite in the past, as the eternality of the universe would entail the infinitude of time.

Jo F said...

On the moral argument that I presented:

For substantiating presmise 2, I appeal to your moral experience. Everyone knows moral values and duties are objective, though they may disagree on what those values and duties are. Consider: do you believe that brutally torturing a child for fun is wrong regardless of what anyone else thinks? Or more simply, do you believe that the torturer is *evil* for doing what he does, even though he things it is good? If so, then you are perceiving the quality of objectivity in that moral truth.

If you continue to deny that we perceive objective morals, then you inescapably must concede that the child torturer is within his own rights in determining what he believes is good, and therefore cannot say that what he has done is wrong. All you can say is “for me, it is wrong, but for him, if he says so, it is a good thing to torture children.”

A sub argument in defense of the moral argument’s second premise:

A. If moral values and duties are not perceived as being objective, then it is permissible for a person to kill newborn children if he defines this as being morally good.
B. It is not permissible for a person to kill newborn children if he defines this as being morally good.
C. Therefore, moral values and duties are perceived as being objective.

To deny the objectivity of moral values and duties is to deny your own personal experience of their objectivity. Now, then, I have to questions:

do you now agree that we perceive objective moral values and duties? If not, please explain.
do you now agree that this perception of objectivity is actually veridical? If not, please explain.

I still await a response to the argument I gave at 8:03 PM today. If you have the chance, please let me know what you think of this. Thanks again! Hopefully we'll be able to find some common ground.

T said...

God as an uncaused being is something that Aristotle reasoned to, a couple of thousand years ago before the time of Jesus. It's also something that Mortimer J Adler reasoned to, after a career that distinguished him as a great philosopher.

Yet, no one has reasoned to unicorns- uncaused or caused. Why is that, do you think?

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
"
@ Stardusty

1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in itself, or in an external cause).
2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is the causal activity of God.
3. The universe exists.
4. Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is the causal activity of God.

Which premise(s) do you object to?"
Lines 2 and 4 form a begging the question fallacy.

Premise 2 is by itself an ad hoc assertion for which there is at least one counter possibility:
a. the universe is explained in itself ("universe" is defined as all that exists or ever has existed, not merely our big bang, this opens the possibility for an inanimate eternal thing that gave rise directly or indirectly to our big bang, or that matter/energy can be eternal as conservation demands thus the fault is in ourselves not in our stars)

Sorry Jo, no sound logical proof of god has ever been published. Aquinas did a very poor job and Craig's attempts to modernize theistic arguments all fail as well.





December 30, 2016 8:03 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

"Citing billions of people in a logical argument is by definition argumentum ad populum."

" No, it is not! It is a refutation of your assertion that it is a requirement that one accept competing narratives. Since so many people have not done so, it is patently obvious that no such requirement exists."
Again, it is a logical requirement, not a personal requirement. Billions of people are commonly illogical.

Citing billions of people in a logical argument is the very definition of argumentum ad populum





"Based on your failure to grasp this rudimentary logical principle"

" I know perfectly well what an argumentum ad populum is. This is not an example of one."
Quite obviously you do not.



"Yes, actually there is [a believable counter-narrative]."

" Really? Let's have it. I have yet to hear one. This ought to be good."
It is undoubtedly not believable to you but it is rationally believable. Your rationality is clouded in this segment of your thinking, which is not to say you are a generally irrational person, rather, your gross irrationality on this subject is a testament to the highly segmented structure of the brain.

The counter narrative is very simple, the bible is just fiction set in a roughly historical framework.


December 30, 2016 8:51 PM

Jo F said...

@ Stardusty

"Lines 2 and 4 form a begging the question fallacy."
How so?

"Premise 2 is by itself an ad hoc assertion for which there is at least one counter possibility:
a. the universe is explained in itself"
The universe cannot explain itself because there is nothing within the universe to explain its totality. If the universe could explain its own existence, then so could your car. This argument does not rely on the past's being finite. Even if the universe were infinite in the past, the series itself would require an explanation which no member of that series could provide.

Now that I've eliminated this counter-possibility, do you have any others? If not, then the causal activity of God is all you are left with.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Premise 2 is very plausible in its own right. For think of what the universe is: all of space-time reality, including all matter and energy. It follows that if the universe has a cause of its existence, that cause must be a non-physical, immaterial being beyond space and time. Now there are only two sorts of thing that could fit that description: either an abstract object like a number or else an unembodied mind. But abstract objects can’t cause anything. That’s part of what it means to be abstract. The number 7, for example, can’t cause any effects. So the cause of the existence of the universe must be a transcendent Mind, which is what believers understand God to be.

The argument thus proves the existence of a necessary, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal Creator of the universe.

Jo F said...

It would help to add a premise to make things more clear:

1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in itself, or in an external cause).
2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is the causal activity of God.
3. The universe exists.
4. Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence. (from 1 and 3)
5. Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is the causal activity of God. (from 2 and 4)

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger Jo F said...


"Further, an infinity of time is inherently irrational.”
—Stardusty

" Then you agree that the universe is finite in the past, as the eternality of the universe would entail the infinitude of time."
This is the great existential riddle for which the speculation of god has no explanatory power.

Conservation is powerful evidence that matter/energy is eternal by simple logic, but by further logic we find a time sequence of events that is infinite is irrational.

The speculation of god only introduces more riddles about god and thus solves nothing.


December 30, 2016 9:53 PM

Jo F said...

@ Stardusty

"Conservation is powerful evidence that matter/energy is eternal by simple logic,"

You would be hard-pressed to find a single competent scientist who agrees with you on this. Care to substantiate that idle claim?

To do so, you would have to 1. specify and describe which (law(s)/instances/etc.?) of conservation you are referring to, and 2. how it is that from them one can infer the infinitude of the existence of matter/energy--and therefore the infinitude of the past-- "by simple logic".
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"but by further logic we find a time sequence of events that is infinite is irrational."

To deny the infinitude of a temporal series is to agree to the finitude of the past, as there is no other way the past could be infinite. Thus, by a Kalaam cosmological argument, you should believe that God exists.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence

"The speculation of god only introduces more riddles about god and thus solves nothing."

I have not merely speculated that God exists. Rather, I have inferred the existence of an orthodoxly conceived monotheistic God from certain observations of nature. You are coming off as very biased at this point, insisting on that which you have not demonstrated but rather baselessly asserted.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
To my surprise, you have stopped interacting directly with the arguments given. (Considering that they are my arguments, and you disagree with them, you should interact directly with them in order to defend your case.) Have you conceded to their conclusions, then? If not, please explain which premises you reject of each respective argument I gave (I have so far given three independent arguments, aspiring to establish theologically significant conclusions).

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

On the moral argument that I presented:

"For substantiating presmise 2, I appeal to your moral experience."
Thus your argument collapses immediately. You said:
*note that in this context "objectivity" refers to their being true independent of whether anyone believes it to be or to not be so."
Yet now you appeal to my experience. Hopefully you can see your self contradiction clearly.


"Everyone knows moral values and duties are objective, though they may disagree on what those values and duties are."
Another gross argumentation failure. I know just the opposite, that morals are relative, not objective.


" Consider: do you believe that brutally torturing a child for fun is wrong regardless of what anyone else thinks? "
You are confusing commonality of opinion with objective truth.

"Or more simply, do you believe that the torturer is *evil* for doing what he does, even though he things it is good? If so, then you are perceiving the quality of objectivity in that moral truth."
Begging the question.

" If you continue to deny that we perceive objective morals, then you inescapably must concede that the child torturer is within his own rights in determining what he believes is good, and therefore cannot say that what he has done is wrong. "
It is wrong in my moral opinion but not objectively wrong.

"All you can say is “for me, it is wrong, but for him, if he says so, it is a good thing to torture children.”"
He can say it is good and I cannot objectively prove him wrong. That does not bother me or paralyze me. I will pay to have him hunted down, locked up, and possibly executed absent any objective morality and absent any personal angst in the process.



" A sub argument in defense of the moral argument’s second premise:

A. If moral values and duties are not perceived as being objective, then it is permissible for a person to kill newborn children if he defines this as being morally good."
Your use of the masculine pronoun is somewhat misplaced here. Women commonly commit this crime. Each woman who murders her child may or may not consider it good, I don't much care. I will pay for her execution as well.



" B. It is not permissible for a person to kill newborn children if he defines this as being morally good.
C. Therefore, moral values and duties are perceived as being objective."
A malformed argument since "permissible" is ambiguous. The individual gives permission to herself, but we the people deny that permission as a matter of law.


" To deny the objectivity of moral values and duties is to deny your own personal experience of their objectivity."
I have no such personal experience.



" do you now agree that we perceive objective moral values and duties?"
No. I perceive my personal sense of ought.



" I still await a response to the argument I gave at 8:03 PM today. If you have the chance, please let me know what you think of this. Thanks again! Hopefully we'll be able to find some common ground."
I try to go in order. I know you would like me to read down but I find that personally difficult. I think I addressed that after you wrote this but occasionally I make a mistake and skip a post.


December 30, 2016 9:53 PM

grodrigues said...

@Stardusty Psyche:

"The term "countably infinite" is oxymoronic and shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the concept of infinity."

"countably infinite" is a mathematical term with a precise mathematical definition. If you are too stupid and ignorant to know this it is your problem alone; the fundamental lack of understanding is yours alone. Go read a book.

Stardusty Psyche said...

T said...
"
God as an uncaused being is something that Aristotle reasoned to, a couple of thousand years ago before the time of Jesus. It's also something that Mortimer J Adler reasoned to, after a career that distinguished him as a great philosopher.

Yet, no one has reasoned to unicorns- uncaused or caused. Why is that, do you think?"
That is because Aristotle was limited in his thinking and wrong about many things.

I can reason my way to magic unicorns, supercalifragilisticexpialidocousum, the inability of the human brain to comprehend the obvious evidence of conservation for eternal matter/energy, and an unlimited number of speculated creatures or substances that I define ad hoc to solve whatever problems I wish to solve.

I can also apply my reason to show the Christian god as incoherent because it is purported to have mutually exclusive properties.

Descartes tried to build a system of objective knowledge from pure reason. He didn't get far. He was able to strip away all our subjective knowledge thus arriving at cogito ergo sum. But he, and all since, have been able to build upon that solid objective foundation to a generalized system of objective knowledge.

Thus far the great existential riddle has defied all attempts to solve by reason.

I have intentionally chosen a recognizably trivial speculation, magic unicorns, to illustrate that all speculations of unknown substances and beings are equally trivial.


December 30, 2016 10:26 PM

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: “I'm sure you'll reject my reasoning here, but that's what makes sense to me. Pretty much the only game in town, on that front.”

Yes, you are correct — I do not agree with your reasoning. I’ll explain some of my disagreements:

Legion: “Explanations explain, regardless of if they are useful to predict anything else.“

By “explanation” I mean a useful, productive explanation. Explanations can be tested, and they do work for us. I point out that an explanation that doesn’t predict doesn’t seem very useful, and thus not much of an explanation.

Legion: “Why did I draw a circle on a workbench? Nothing more than whimsy in that instance. That is the explanation, but does it have any useful traits, particularly an ability to predict, despite being a true explanation?”

I think you are conflating a story with an explanation. Stories simplify complexity. Explanations simplify complexity in ways that can be tested, and that also predict. All explanations contain stories. But not all stories contain explanations. So, really, your above isn’t an explanation. It’s a story.

Legion: “On topic, for sake of argument, say that it is a literal fact that a god created the universe, so that creation is the explanation for why the universe exists.”

If we can’t test what you say above, and if doesn’t predict anything, it’s not an explanation — it’s just a story.

Legion: “What's important to understand about the first (and second) ways is that they aren't based upon sequential events per se. The top card in a house of cards is contingent upon multiple factors existing simultaneously in order for it to exist - it's not just a sequential chain of causes. The universe could very well be eternal and have no beginning - but that does not change the flaw I see in stopping with the universe as a brute fact. Matter and energy are being acted upon and changing states by other forms of matter and energy, and each form is contingent upon something else.”

Well, no. The First Way is indeed based on a sequence of events. If the First Way isn’t about sequential events, then I don’t think anyone knows what the First Way is about.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: “The universe could very well be eternal and have no beginning - but that does not change the flaw I see in stopping with the universe as a brute fact. Matter and energy are being acted upon and changing states by other forms of matter and energy, and each form is contingent upon something else.”

The flaw that you seem to find in the universe (en toto, as existence per se, etc.) as brute fact is the same flaw that we arrive at with a creator of said brute fact. This is so glaring a problem that it seems only those committed to not seeing it can be blind to it. And since the brute fact of existence per se is simpler than the brute facts of a universe PLUS a creator with various and incompatible attributes, there isn’t even a contest for which is more reasonable.

To be clear, the only thing that needs an explanation for theistic stories about creation is why otherwise reasonable people find it at all reasonable.

Legion: “Infinite past is something I can't comprehend regardless of a god or no god in the picture, but I see no possible way for all of reality to consist of nothing but things that are contingent upon other things to exist - that's like a house of cards floating in midair.”

While I agree that the notion of the infinite is incomprehensible (the mind reels, etc.), this problem is not resolved by adding a god, and claiming that the god needs no table upon which to rest. If the universe can’t rest on existence itself, neither can god. Again, this is so glaring a problem that it seems only those committed to not seeing it can be blind to it.

Legion: "On top of that, this first mover has to exist eternally (otherwise it owes its existence to something else and is not the first mover)…”

Which means that existence itself (the brute fact that is the universe) owes its existence to nothing else. If your complex and incomprehensible and contradictory god can exempt himself from your stipulations, existence itself, the container that is the universe in which all events occur, can claim the same exemption. The added benefit being that the universe itself is simpler than the universe plus a complex and contradictory deity.

Legion: “…be incapable of being acted upon to change its nature (otherwise it is contingent and not the first mover)…”

Same as above.

Legion: “…not be made of matter and energy (these are contingent, even if they are literally eternal)…”

Existence itself could contain those things, but not be those things. This seems straightforward.

Legion: “…and must be capable of acting upon and influencing the universe (otherwise it is not a mover and is utterly irrelevant to existence).”

There’s no reason why existence itself must be the same nor constrained by the same forces that govern those things inside it. That’s like saying digestion must be an enzyme itself, or that the set of all even numbers must itself be an even number, etc.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
" The universe cannot explain itself because there is nothing within the universe to explain its totality. "
The evidence we have, and it is extremely voluminous and universally unrefuted evidence, is that conservation holds, always. By this evidence the material stuff of the universe is eternal. But further logic is at odds with this overwhelming evidence.

The stuff of the universe acts in a time sequence of causes and effects. But it is irrational to the human brain to consider an infinite past of causes and effects over time. Hence the great existential riddle.

However, humans are notably limited. In my opinion the most likely explanation is that we just have not figured out the key to this apparent irrationality of infinite past time and events, but that is just my hunch, I make no claim to have solved the riddle definitively.


"If the universe could explain its own existence, then so could your car. "
A car has an identifiable time of human assembly. Unlike a potentially infinitely existing universe a car has an identifiable beginning in the macro sense. However, the stuff of the car, the matter/energy and whatever fundamental stuff matter/energy is composed of does not have an identifiable beginning.

"This argument does not rely on the past's being finite. Even if the universe were infinite in the past, the series itself would require an explanation which no member of that series could provide."
God solves nothing in this case. By this reasoning god requires a god, which in turn requires a god in an infinite regress of gods.

The term "explain itself" is interchangeable with "eternal brute fact". God is speculated as an eternal brute fact and thus merely pushes the problem back a step while introducing unevidenced unknowns so the speculation of god has negative explanatory power.


December 30, 2016 10:56 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
" Premise 2 is very plausible in its own right. For think of what the universe is: all of space-time reality, including all matter and energy. It follows that if the universe has a cause of its existence, that cause must be a non-physical, "
No, why would you assume that? "Physical" is a very broad term. Your god must be physical because it exists, it is a thing, some thing, god is some thing else god is no thing and is absolutely nothing at all.

The notion of a non-physical existent entity is incoherent.

"immaterial"
this term is redundant to "non-physical"

" being"
Ad hoc assumption of agency. Our big bang can be caused by a non-thinking thing like nearly all physical events.


" beyond space and time."
Ad hoc notion with no known example. God fails this because god acts in a time sequence of events in space, and is thus within time and space. The term "beyond space and time" is just a fuzzy undefined word conglomeration.

" Now there are only two sorts of thing that could fit that description: either an abstract object like a number"
"Abstract object" is an oxymoron. If it is abstract it does not exist outside the dynamic process of a brain. If it is an object outside the brain it is not abstract.

" or else an unembodied mind."
You mean like Casper the friendly ghost? This is starting to sound like a grade B science fiction movie. Please show me a recording of the activity of an unembodied mind. I mean, the stuff theists just make up out of pure fantasy...

" But abstract objects can’t cause anything. That’s part of what it means to be abstract. The number 7, for example, can’t cause any effects."
Right, because the term is oxymoronic.

" So the cause of the existence of the universe must be a transcendent Mind, which is what believers understand God to be."
Sorry Jo, your thinking is so muddled on this subject I should not be surprised it leads to such a fantastical conclusion.


" The argument thus proves the existence of a necessary, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal Creator of the universe."
The only thing your argument proves is the poor reasoning theists apply to the riddle of the origin of existence.


December 30, 2016 10:56 PM

SteveK said...

"Magic unicorns is an entirely appropriate alternate speculation to the theistic speculation of god."

If nothing else, this comment alone is proof that Dusty is an ignorant buffoon.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

" It would help to add a premise to make things more clear:"
You are clearly begging the question.

1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in itself, or in an external cause).
2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is the causal activity of God.
3. The universe exists.
4. Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence. (from 1 and 3)
5. Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is the causal activity of God. (from 2 and 4)"

Jo, 2. is an ad hoc assertion that suffers from false dichotomy and is merely a slight rewording of 5.

Premise 2. neglects alternatives and merely states the conclusion as a premise.


December 30, 2016 10:57 PM

B. Prokop said...

"Please show me a recording of the activity of an unembodied mind."

The next thing you know, he'll be asking what is the the color of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony. Or how much does the Gettysburg Address weigh.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
"Conservation is powerful evidence that matter/energy is eternal by simple logic,"

" You would be hard-pressed to find a single competent scientist who agrees with you on this. Care to substantiate that idle claim?"
Matter has necessary existence, for although it undergoes change as manifested in particular bits of matter, the given volume of matter found in the universe persists, and as persisting matter/energy does not have or need a cause. This accords with the Principle of Conservation of Mass-Energy, according to which matter and energy are never lost but rather transmute into each other. As indestructible, matter/energy is the necessary being. Consequently, although the material components of the universe are contingent vis-à-vis their form, they are necessary vis-à-vis their existence. On this reading, there is not one but there are many necessary beings, all internal to the universe. Their particular configurations are contingent, but since matter/energy is conserved it cannot be created or lost.
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmological-argument/

Our equations of physics and chemistry are restatements of conservation.
E=mc^2 is a ridged relationship, there is no poof term, nothing gets in or out.
2H2 + O2 = 2H2O is a simple chemical formula, again, conservation holds.

1. Matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed
2. Matter/energy exists
3. Therefore matter/energy has always existed and will always exist

Permise 1. is fundamental to conservation. All scientific experiments confirm premise 1. Premise 1. is one of the most often confirmed observations in all science. Premise 1. has never suffered a scientifically verifiable counter observation. Premise 1. is a bedrock scientific principle of the most fundamental sort and is intrinsic to a vast array of scientific equations.

Premise 2. is fundamental to anyone who accepts the basic reliability of the human senses. Perhaps I am god, you are a figment of my divine imagination, and my divine structure is not composed of matter/energy. Absent such preposterous speculations premise 2. holds.

The conclusion is obvious, yet incompatible with our notion of the impossibility of an infinity of cause and effect over time. Hence the great existential riddle unsolved.


Legion of Logic said...

Cal,

Believe it or not, I do understand where you are coming from in your responses to me - I simply disagree with your conclusions. But as entertaining as this thread is getting, I'm going to bow out rather than continue addressing point by point. Catch you next time.

grodrigues said...

And now we have Stardusty Psyche showing he is completely ignorant of physics. And of what "necessary being" means.

Astounding.

Stardusty Psyche said...

grodrigues said...

@Stardusty Psyche:

"The term "countably infinite" is oxymoronic and shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the concept of infinity."

" "countably infinite" is a mathematical term with a precise mathematical definition. If you are too stupid and ignorant to know this it is your problem alone; the fundamental lack of understanding is yours alone. Go read a book."
Sets that are defined as countably infinite are not actually countable. You cannot count the set of whole numbers, even though it is said to be countably infinite.

The term "countably infinite" is inherently oxymoronic, irrespective of the technical definition assigned to it and found in reference books.

This distinction is important when attempting to solve the great existential riddle. Far too often people conflate the technical definition of a term with its plain language meaning as it applies to consideration of a realized infinity.

Textbooks are, of course, extremely valuable and generally very thorough and authoritative. However, they sometimes contain technical terms that are at odds with the plain language meaning of the words, and they sometimes contain expediencies that are open to philosophical dispute.


December 31, 2016 5:36 AM

Ilíon said...

grodrigues: "And now we have Stardusty Psyche showing he is completely ignorant of physics. And of what "necessary being" means."

It's not *mere* ignorance, it's *willful* ignorance, which is a species of intellectual dishonesty.

grodrigues: "Astounding."

Par for the course. *Every* God-denier plays that game (*), some just more blatantly than others.

(*) if they were to stop being intellectually dishonest, they'd have to admit that atheism is the false view of reality.

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

"Magic unicorns is an entirely appropriate alternate speculation to the theistic speculation of god."

" If nothing else, this comment alone is proof that Dusty is an ignorant buffoon."
In what way is the speculation of god superior to the speculation of magic unicorns?

Both speculations solve the riddle of existence equally well. It is important to keep in mind that these unicorns are truly magic, they romp about outside of space and time in great herds, and every time one spits a new universe is created without the poor dumb magical beast even realizing it, hence our big bang.

Please demonstrate the rational superiority of the god speculation to the magic unicorns speculation.


December 31, 2016 9:55 AM

Jo F said...

@ stardusty
"The term 'countably infinite' is inherently oxymoronic, irrespective of the technical definition assigned to it and found in reference books."

It's a "countable" set because every member is assigned a number. Of course, the counting may never finish, but that's not enough to say the term should be renamed. It's an extension of the term "countable set" (which is really a countably finite set).

Jo F said...

"Both speculations solve the riddle of existence equally well."

How long will you keep with this straw-man-argument? No one here is saying they're merely speculating that God exists. I could do the same to reduce the entire field of science to unicorns by saying "the speculation of scientific data does nothing to advance our knowledge." This is because we are not speculating scientific data, we infer it. In the same way, no one infers the existence of unicorns from observations of nature, while theists infers the existence of God from observations of the universe.

And no, ""Both speculations solve the riddle of existence equally well" is patently false. The idea of God--an explanatory hypothesis--gets us much closer to answering many questions of the most fundamental data in human experience than the idea of unicorns do. Why? Because God is thought of as designing the cosmos, for example--whereas unicorns are not.

Theism has plausible explanations for everything, the naturalist simply believes that his explanations are more plausible. Now, to say there is no plausibility whatsoever in theistic explanations, that they are not apt at all, can only source from intellectual dishonesty. You don't have to be a theist to acknowledge that theism provides plausible explanations--even if you feel the naturalistic explanations are far more plausible. For example, the idea of a designer making a carpet and the same design seen in the cosmos leaves us a hypothesis that does serve to explain these aesthetic features: that there is another designer, Who designed the cosmos. You don't have to agree that this explanation is the best, or even a good one, but to say it is the exact same as "speculating unicorns" is laughable.

Theism is an explanatory hypothesis for the most fundamental data in human experience, unicorn-ism is not. Theism is much closer to explaining the cosmos than belief in unicorns, by virtue of this hypothesis' ability to make sense of it. Even if theism had no evidence in its favor, it would remain such a stronger hypothesis than your beloved "unicornism" because it would actually explain things. Now, you often respond to these objections in characterizing your unicorns as being virtually the exact same as God, to which I rest my case. And I would contend that theistic explanations are superior to naturalistic explanations, but I'm coming back to that later.

Stardusty Psyche said...

. Prokop said...

"Please show me a recording of the activity of an unembodied mind."

" The next thing you know, he'll be asking what is the the color of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony. Or how much does the Gettysburg Address weigh."
A mind is the artifact of dynamics of a structure, or do you suppose a mind arises from absolutely noting at all?

What does this unembodied mind you speculate arise from? How does it store vastly more information than all the thoughts and memories of all the animals that have ever lived?

A mind as we know it is a brain process and that process is detectable and recordable.

Where is the brain of god? Nowhere? Nothing? What is the structure of god's mind? None at all? If no structure in what sense do you claim it exists?

Have you thought this through at all, at least enough to ask yourself such questions and rationally answer them?


December 31, 2016 10:14 AM"

Stardusty Psyche said...

grodrigues said...

" And now we have Stardusty Psyche showing he is completely ignorant of physics. And of what "necessary being" means.
Astounding."
Interesting. Can you tell me which aspect of physics I am ignorant of that is relevant to the topics of this thread?

"Necessary being" is not my term, rather, it is from the cited quote, apparently you did not understand that. The quote addresses Jo's request.

The word "being" can be ambiguous. I had a short exchange with R.C. Sproul about his equivocation on that term as he attempted to logically prove god. He failed, of course, his argument hinging on the equivocation on the term in one sense as a form of "to be" as in a thing that is or a thing that exists. In the other sense of his equivocation he used the term to mean an individual or person or living thing.

The quote uses the term of a "being" in the sense of a bit of matter/energy. I typically avoid the word because it is so ambiguous but those are the words chosen by the author of the quote.


December 31, 2016 11:16 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Ilíon said...
grodrigues: "And now we have Stardusty Psyche showing he is completely ignorant of physics. And of what "necessary being" means."

" It's not *mere* ignorance, it's *willful* ignorance, which is a species of intellectual dishonesty.
Say there Ilíon, are you god? I think you must be, I mean, how else could you know my will through an internet connection?


" grodrigues: "Astounding."
Par for the course. *Every* God-denier plays that game (*), some just more blatantly than others.
(*) if they were to stop being intellectually dishonest, they'd have to admit that atheism is the false view of reality."
Gee, thanks so much for stopping by, would you be kind enough to enlighten my poor ignorant self?

Especially, please do tell me what physics I am ignorant of that is relevant to the topics of this thread.



December 31, 2016 12:25 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger Jo F said...

@ stardusty
"The term 'countably infinite' is inherently oxymoronic, irrespective of the technical definition assigned to it and found in reference books."

" It's a "countable" set because every member is assigned a number. Of course, the counting may never finish, but that's not enough to say the term should be renamed. It's an extension of the term "countable set" (which is really a countably finite set)."
Yes, I realize that, thank you. The set is not countable, only a limited subset of the set is countable. It is defined as countable because a portion of the set can be counted.

This can lead to the false impression that a countably infinite set could be counted in its entirety, which would solve the great existential riddle. But what is called a countably infinite set cannot actually be counted by any process over time. No matter how long you count there will remain an infinity of members of the set left uncounted.


December 31, 2016 12:33 PM

Cal Metzger said...

@Stardusty, your patience is amazing.

A baffling amount of apologist tropes have been re-animated here in an casserole-like way, and yet you continue to address each with patience and precision. I don't know how long anyone can bother to respond as you have, but you have my admiration for having gone on as long and thoroughly as you have.

Although I agree with everything you've written, the question is what can be done to convince those with whom you've corresponded? Horses, drinking, and all that.

That the next version of this disconnect, I think. It's one thing to be right. It's another entirely to be able to convince those who resist the same processes that convinced you. I look forward to the future uncovering better ways.

grodrigues said...

@Stardusty Psyche:

"The term "countably infinite" is inherently oxymoronic, irrespective of the technical definition assigned to it and found in reference books."

Here is the definition: a set X is countably infinite if there is a bijection N -> X where N is the set of natural numbers.

The only thing you are proving by writing such abysmally stupid things as above is that you are a clueless moron. Go have an education; read a book, but please stop cluttering the combox with your ignorant, inane drivel.

"Especially, please do tell me what physics I am ignorant of that is relevant to the topics of this thread."

Of course you are a clueless about physics. And really, about everything. For one thing because physics is absolutely dependent on mathematics, say calculus, and calculus does not exist without infinitary mathematics. Since you said "The term "countably infinite" is inherently oxymoronic", quite obviously you do not know the first thing about calculus, and therefore physics. But let us quote what you wrote:

"Our equations of physics and chemistry are restatements of conservation.
E=mc^2 is a ridged relationship, there is no poof term, nothing gets in or out.
2H2 + O2 = 2H2O is a simple chemical formula, again, conservation holds."

Neither equations are "restatements of conservation", this is just dumb. Conservation laws are as operative in classical physics as in special relativity, but the first equation is specific to special relativity. The second equation is not even an equation in the technical sense, but a notation for chemical formulas (the use of = is an equivocation).

"1. Matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed
2. Matter/energy exists
3. Therefore matter/energy has always existed and will always exist"

There are several problems with this that show your complete lack of an education in physics. First, it is commonly agreed in the physics community that the universe is finite in the past so 3. is false. Second, conservation laws say that when systems *change* certain quantities remain invariant. They are absolutely mute and have nothing to say about (whole) systems coming out or into existence or whether anything has existed forever. Nothing at all. Third, if you are talking about the whole universe, then you are also talking about the entirety of 4d space-time, and in that case there is no sense about talking of conservation laws because the entirety of the 4d manifold does not change in any meaningful sense (assuming it even makes sense to speak about it). Talk of conservation laws in general relativity is either meaningless or must be construed in some way other than the classical one.

So yes, you are a clueless buffoon; if you want to embarass yourself in this blog, knock yourself out, but that is what you are doing.

grodrigues said...

"Yes, I realize that, thank you. The set is not countable, only a limited subset of the set is countable. It is defined as countable because a portion of the set can be counted.

This can lead to the false impression that a countably infinite set could be counted in its entirety, which would solve the great existential riddle. But what is called a countably infinite set cannot actually be counted by any process over time. No matter how long you count there will remain an infinity of members of the set left uncounted."

And the crank continues to churn out crackpot rubbish.

Please, remain silent about mathematics. And physics. Instead go read a book. Frequent some classes.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

"Both speculations solve the riddle of existence equally well."

" How long will you keep with this straw-man-argument? No one here is saying they're merely speculating that God exists. "
But you are merely speculating god exists, even though you attempt to construct logical arguments for the existence of god.

I can do a simple word substitution in your logical arguments. Any place you put the word "god" I substitute "magic unicorns". The arguments that result remain equally valid.

I do this as a pedagogical technique to illustrate the absurdity of god, by substituting a thing that is obviously absurd for the thing you take so seriously and obtaining an equal result.

"I could do the same to reduce the entire field of science to unicorns by saying "the speculation of scientific data does nothing to advance our knowledge.""
Not validly because science does not speculate magic beings as you do.

" This is because we are not speculating scientific data, we infer it. "
We observe scientific data. Magical beings are not inferred in science, so you are making a false comparison.

"In the same way, no one infers the existence of unicorns from observations of nature, while theists infers the existence of God from observations of the universe."
God is magic. Unicorns are magic. If you infer one from nature you can just as validly infer the other. Both are unscientific speculations. They are equally valid inferences from the observation of nature.


"And no, ""Both speculations solve the riddle of existence equally well" is patently false. The idea of God--an explanatory hypothesis--gets us much closer to answering many questions of the most fundamental data in human experience than the idea of unicorns do. Why? Because God is thought of as designing the cosmos, for example--whereas unicorns are not."
Ok, I changed my mind, these are super smart unicorns, they are way smarter than people, so smart they decide to spit in special ways, and our particular unicorn, the unicorn the father, decided to spit out a universe just especially for us.

Gee, making up ad hoc speculations out of my imagination to after the fact fit the requirements of a universe is so much fun, I could make this stuff up all day long!

"Theism has plausible explanations for everything,"
Just like super smart unicorns is a plausible explanation. Of course dumb ones are just as plausible because power to create does not imply desire to create or creation by design, just the capacity to create.

" the naturalist simply believes that his explanations are more plausible. "
I consider observation and the scientific method more plausible than inventing magic beings ad hoc, indeed.

"Now, to say there is no plausibility whatsoever in theistic explanations, that they are not apt at all, can only source from intellectual dishonesty. "
Any particular speculation of magic is infinitesimally plausible.

"You don't have to be a theist to acknowledge that theism provides plausible explanations--even if you feel the naturalistic explanations are far more plausible. For example, the idea of a designer making a carpet and the same design seen in the cosmos leaves us a hypothesis that does serve to explain these aesthetic features: that there is another designer, Who designed the cosmos."
That is primitive mystical thinking in response to observation of order in the universe.

" You don't have to agree that this explanation is the best, or even a good one, but to say it is the exact same as "speculating unicorns" is laughable."
Rationally god and unicorns are of equal merit. Again, in any logical argument the terms are interchangeable.

"Theism is an explanatory hypothesis for the most fundamental data in human experience, unicorn-ism is not."
Yes it is. Any place you put god I can put unicorns with equal rational validity.


December 31, 2016 12:45 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo,
" Theism is much closer to explaining the cosmos than belief in unicorns, by virtue of this hypothesis' ability to make sense of it. "
No more so than unicorns make sense of it.

"Even if theism had no evidence in its favor, it would remain such a stronger hypothesis than your beloved "unicornism" because it would actually explain things. Now, you often respond to these objections in characterizing your unicorns as being virtually the exact same as God, to which I rest my case."
Nope, because I can formulate these unicorns in many different ways and they will each be sufficient to account for the universe we observe.

Jo, you have made a lot of assertions here but you have failed to demonstrate any rational or logical superiority of the speculation of god to the speculation of unicorns. All are mere speculations of magical beings and all can be used to account for the universe we observe and none has more value than the infinitesimal probability we assign to a non-disprovable idle speculation.

December 31, 2016 12:45 PM

grodrigues said...

@Stardusty Psyche:

Oh and I forgot this.

""Necessary being" is not my term, rather, it is from the cited quote, apparently you did not understand that. The quote addresses Jo's request."

I did not miss anything. It is you who does not have the tinyest clue what "necessary being" means. The relevant quote is:

"Matter has necessary existence, for although it undergoes change as manifested in particular bits of matter, the given volume of matter found in the universe persists, and as persisting matter/energy does not have or need a cause."

First the "given volume of matter found in the universe persists" is another astoundingly false and stupid thing to say. But at any arte, you have just given the proof that matter is not a "Necessary being" in the relevant sense to the relevant cosmological arguments, which are not arguments directly concerned with things coming into existence and their would-be causes, but with possibility and necessity.

Legion of Logic said...

"That the next version of this disconnect, I think. It's one thing to be right. It's another entirely to be able to convince those who resist the same processes that convinced you. I look forward to the future uncovering better ways."

Indeed, bad arguments are not going to convince most Christians, as the two of you are demonstrating, so you must come up with a new strategy. Brainwashing, perhaps? Can't wait to find out!

Christians, how do we show Cal and Stardusty that we reject their arguments because those arguments are so bad? How do we separate their opinion of their arguments from the actual weakness of those arguments?

Stardusty Psyche said...

Cal Metzger said...

" @Stardusty, your patience is amazing."
Thanks Cal, but what you perceive as great patience could also be explained as exceptionally ornery mule like stubbornness :-)


" Although I agree with everything you've written, the question is what can be done to convince those with whom you've corresponded? Horses, drinking, and all that."
Engagement has an effect in the aggregate over the long term. Often people become frustrated or angry when somebody does not change in light of an airtight argument. That is unrealistic and not in our human nature. We change incrementally in stages by revisiting our concepts again and again.

Sam Harris put out a podcast lamenting the unwillingness of his debating opponents to admit to their error in real time. As much as I typically enjoy listening to Harris I did post a comment to him saying that is simply unrealistic and keep on keepin on. Only expect gradual change over time.

The proof is in the statistics of people moving away from religion and of individual stories of former theists who are now atheists. Some prominent speakers and bloggers fit this description.


December 31, 2016 2:39 PM

Legion of Logic said...

"But at any arte, you have just given the proof that matter is not a "Necessary being" in the relevant sense to the relevant cosmological arguments, which are not arguments directly concerned with things coming into existence and their would-be causes, but with possibility and necessity."

I've not personally encountered an atheist who actually understood this. 100 percent of them move straight to "What caused God then?" demonstrating their ignorance of the actual argument being made.

"Sam Harris put out a podcast..."

I fail to see how anyone could possibly take Sam Harris seriously. He has a calm, measured approach when spouting nonsense, I'll give him that, but generally speaking he has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to religion.

Stardusty Psyche said...

grodrigues said...

" Of course you are a clueless about physics. And really, about everything. For one thing because physics is absolutely dependent on mathematics, say calculus,"
Actually you have that backwards, mathematics is dependent upon physics, as well as human concepts. Applied math is descriptive, not prescriptive. If the math does not fit observation the math is wrong. The physical universe is never wrong, or right, it simply is what it is.

You probably mean to say that in order to do analytical physics mathematics is an indispensable tool, which is of course true.

However there is not a 1 to 1 correspondence between math and physics. Some physical observations have yet to be fully described mathematically, and a great deal of math has no physical realization outside of a brain process.

" and calculus does not exist without infinitary mathematics. Since you said "The term "countably infinite" is inherently oxymoronic", quite obviously you do not know the first thing about calculus,"
The term is oxymoronic because infinity is not countable, but the technical definition assigned to the term is useful.

" and therefore physics. But let us quote what you wrote:

"Our equations of physics and chemistry are restatements of conservation.
E=mc^2 is a ridged relationship, there is no poof term, nothing gets in or out.
2H2 + O2 = 2H2O is a simple chemical formula, again, conservation holds."

Neither equations are "restatements of conservation", this is just dumb."
Actually they are. Calling something "dumb" is hardly a convincing argument.

" Conservation laws are as operative in classical physics as in special relativity, but the first equation is specific to special relativity. "
That's nice but it is also a restatement of conservation. Matter/energy are conserved. If matter/energy were not conserved we could not validly write E=mc^2 because we would have to have additional terms to account for that lack of conservation. I call those poof terms and they are notably absent because the equation describes the ridged conservation relationship between matter and energy.

"The second equation is not even an equation in the technical sense, but a notation for chemical formulas (the use of = is an equivocation)."
That's nice, and you can call it whatever you want, commonly it is called an equation, but irrespective of the words you choose or if you prefer an arrow to an equal sign one can balance a chemical equation because of conservation, although to be more accurate we would need to note the energy balance as well. I did not intend to provide a chemistry lecture, only an illustration of how central conservation is to the physical sciences.


December 31, 2016 2:44 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

g,
"1. Matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed
2. Matter/energy exists
3. Therefore matter/energy has always existed and will always exist"

" There are several problems with this that show your complete lack of an education in physics. First, it is commonly agreed in the physics community that the universe is finite in the past"
First, you commit the common error of calling our big bang "the universe" in a discussion about the origins of existence. You are further mistaken because nobody knows how the big bang came into being, what preceded the big bang, or if it is valid to speak of the big bang as a beginning or simply a sort of choke point of transition from one process stage to another process stage.



" so 3. is false."
Nope, you just have a very simplistic popularized set of misunderstandings.

" Second, conservation laws say that when systems *change* certain quantities remain invariant. They are absolutely mute and have nothing to say about (whole) systems coming out or into existence"
How silly. Conservation say things don't come into existence, they only change form. Have you ever seen a big bang just pop into existence? Gee, neither have I.

" Third, if you are talking about the whole universe, then you are also talking about the entirety of 4d space-time, and in that case there is no sense about talking of conservation laws because the entirety of the 4d manifold does not change in any meaningful sense (assuming it even makes sense to speak about it). Talk of conservation laws in general relativity is either meaningless or must be construed in some way other than the classical one."
General relativity breaks down under the conditions of the big bang so making grand pronouncements about what it tells us when it is applied to a condition under which it breaks down is one of the most irrational bits of popularization by otherwise brilliant people out there.

" So yes, you are a clueless buffoon;"
Oh my, you are really hurting my feewings now!

" if you want to embarass yourself in this blog, knock yourself out, "
Ok


December 31, 2016 2:44 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

grodrigues said...

"Yes, I realize that, thank you. The set is not countable, only a limited subset of the set is countable. It is defined as countable because a portion of the set can be counted.

This can lead to the false impression that a countably infinite set could be counted in its entirety, which would solve the great existential riddle. But what is called a countably infinite set cannot actually be counted by any process over time. No matter how long you count there will remain an infinity of members of the set left uncounted."

" And the crank continues to churn out crackpot rubbish.

Please, remain silent about mathematics. And physics. Instead go read a book. Frequent some classes."
Thank you for that insightful analysis but I confess I did not notice any actual refutation of the specific words I posted, only ad hominem attacks against me, and the last time I checked (you inspired me to dust off my logic books) ad hominem is a logical fallacy.

Tut tut Mr. Fallacious, you can do better than that, can't you?


December 31, 2016 2:49 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

grodrigues said...
"
@Stardusty Psyche:

Oh and I forgot this.

""Necessary being" is not my term, rather, it is from the cited quote, apparently you did not understand that. The quote addresses Jo's request."

I did not miss anything. It is you who does not have the tinyest clue what "necessary being" means. The relevant quote is:

"Matter has necessary existence, for although it undergoes change as manifested in particular bits of matter, the given volume of matter found in the universe persists, and as persisting matter/energy does not have or need a cause."

First the "given volume of matter found in the universe persists" is another astoundingly false and stupid thing to say. But at any arte, you have just given the proof that matter is not a "Necessary being" in the relevant sense to the relevant cosmological arguments, which are not arguments directly concerned with things coming into existence and their would-be causes, but with possibility and necessity."
I suggest you rewrite the article correcting all those errors and submit it to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for publication to replace the page here:
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmological-argument/

I do have a specific suggestion for you that I am sure will be of great assistance to you having your work published on their site...
Be sure to lace your words with attributions of "astoundingly false and stupid" and similar colorful language you have a well demonstrated penchant for because nothing impresses a university philosophy review quite so much as a string of ad hominems.


December 31, 2016 3:16 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said...

"But at any arte, you have just given the proof that matter is not a "Necessary being" in the relevant sense to the relevant cosmological arguments, which are not arguments directly concerned with things coming into existence and their would-be causes, but with possibility and necessity."

" I've not personally encountered an atheist who actually understood this. 100 percent of them move straight to "What caused God then?" demonstrating their ignorance of the actual argument being made."
Which may or may not be an informed question depending on the theistic setup. If the theistic assertion is that everything needs a cause the question is reasonable.

If the theistic assertion is that everything that begins to exist needs a cause the question is only well informed if it is intended to lead into a further discussion of what can or cannot be eternal.

So, we atheists are not necessarily as poorly informed as you might think!



" I fail to see how anyone could possibly take Sam Harris seriously. "
A lamentable failure on your part indeed :-)

"He has a calm, measured approach when spouting nonsense, I'll give him that, but generally speaking he has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to religion."
Do you have some specific factual errors in mind?


December 31, 2016 4:17 PM

grodrigues said...

"Actually you have that backwards, mathematics is dependent upon physics, as well as human concepts."

No I have nothing backwards. Mathematicians do not need physics for anything, except maybe for inspiration. Everything else you said on this matter is either flat out wrong or irrelevant.

"The term is oxymoronic because infinity is not countable, but the technical definition assigned to the term is useful."

JoF used the term "countable infinity" in the technical sense, which is the relevant sense when talking about things like the Hilbert hotel. Thyat you think na technical term commonly in use is "oxymoronic" only shows your ignorance.

"If matter/energy were not conserved we could not validly write E=mc^2 because we would have to have additional terms to account for that lack of conservation."

And more dumbassery. The equation expresses a mathematical relation between certain universals; not all equations of physics are laws of conservation. There are non-conservative physical systems. Not all physical quantities are conserved, etc. and etc. Stop pretending, you are fooling nobody.

"First, you commit the common error of calling our big bang "the universe" in a discussion about the origins of existence."

I never called the big bang "our universe", I never even mentioned the "big bang" or its putative causes. These are nothing but falsehoods of your invention. What I said, which is exactly true, is that the consensus in the physics community is that our universe is finite in the past.

"How silly. Conservation say things don't come into existence, they only change form. Have you ever seen a big bang just pop into existence?"

Stop pretending you know physics. Everyone here can readily see that you are an ignoramus and a rather dishonest one. Once again I never mentioned "big bang"; never, that is another one of your inventions. What I did say is exactly correct. Conservation laws say that conserved quantities remain constant along the time evolution of a system through the state space. Therefore they only talk about, they can only talk about, *changes* of systems not their coming or going out into existence.

"General relativity breaks down under the conditions of the big bang so making grand pronouncements about what it tells "

And the misreading continues. I never mentioned the big bang or of what happens or does not happen at the big bang. Who are you responding to? The little idiot crouched in the emptyness of your skull?

"I suggest you rewrite the article correcting all those errors and submit it to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for publication to replace the page here"

Nothing I said is inconsistent with what is written there. Once again, it is you that does not have the least clue of what you are talking about.

Since I have little patience for your trolling, exeunt.

Cal Metzger said...

Grod: "Everyone here can readily see that you are an ignoramus and a rather dishonest one."

Actually, seeing as how I'm here, I'll point out that the above is super false.

By super false, I mean it in the technical sense, indicating that your statement is literally incorrect (I am among the everyone here, and you do not speak for me, and my estimation is that you've been getting your hat handed to you with more than the usual panache), but also in the sense that it bizarrely tries to invert the relationship between the nature of your comments and Stardusty's.

Grod: "Since I have little patience for your trolling, exeunt."

Good god, are there more than one of you now?

Cal Metzger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "Christians, how do we show Cal and Stardusty that we reject their arguments because those arguments are so bad? How do we separate their opinion of their arguments from the actual weakness of those arguments?"

Same as with all persuasive arguments. You employ logic, evidence, and avoid inconsistency and fallacies.

Facts are stubborn things, as they say.

Stardusty Psyche said...

grodrigues said...

"Actually you have that backwards, mathematics is dependent upon physics, as well as human concepts."

" No I have nothing backwards. Mathematicians do not need physics for anything, except maybe for inspiration. Everything else you said on this matter is either flat out wrong or irrelevant."
The principles of logic are descriptive of our physical world. The fundamentals of math, arithmetic, are descriptive of the physical world.

Math follow physics, not the other way around. Human beings have extended math beyond merely describing the physical into abstract math, but that too still employs the principles of logic which are descriptive of how the physical world works.

So, you have it backwards. I am kind of embarrassed for you, so cock sure of yourself and so uncouth in the process. You are quite apparently the sort who loudly beats his chest, insulting others while bellowing out your erroneous statements.


"JoF used the term "countable infinity" in the technical sense, which is the relevant sense when talking about things like the Hilbert hotel. Thyat you think na technical term commonly in use is "oxymoronic" only shows your ignorance."
One cannot count to infinity, and in a discussion of the origins of existence all too often technical definitions get conflated with the plain language meaning of the term, which in this case is oxymoroic, because again, infinity is not countable.


"If matter/energy were not conserved we could not validly write E=mc^2 because we would have to have additional terms to account for that lack of conservation."

"And more dumbassery. The equation expresses a mathematical relation between certain universals;"
That relationship is one of conservation. Matter may be converted to energy by a fixed ratio, and energy may be converted to matter by the inverse ratio. No new matter or energy can be created in either process and no matter or energy can be lost in either process. By expressing this ratiometric relationship conservation is implicitly restated.
So in numerical form using m/s units
E/m = 299792458 * 299792458
m/E = 1/(299792458 * 299792458)
We can validly state this only because of conservation, which is required owing to the lack of any poof terms in this simple ratio relationship.


" not all equations of physics are laws of conservation. There are non-conservative physical systems."
No, that would be magic. I suppose for a theist that is easy to accept, but no, you will not find that in your physics text book.

You might be thinking of open systems for which a boundary is defined and the net mass/energy within that boundary can change. If you think that violates conservation I question whether you have ever set up a physics problem with a defined boundary and solved for energy transfer.

With an open system conservation holds because the adjacent system balances the open system under study for a net zero change in matter/energy.


" Not all physical quantities are conserved, etc. and etc. "
No, that would be magic. There is no poof in physics.

"Stop pretending, you are fooling nobody."
You speak as though you have never taken a physics course, have you? If so did you keep your textbook? I have a collection of them and never once in any of them did I read an example where matter/energy was not conserved.

Conservation of matter/energy is a bedrock principle of physics. There is no poof in physics.


January 01, 2017 6:52 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

g,

"First, you commit the common error of calling our big bang "the universe" in a discussion about the origins of existence."

"I never called the big bang "our universe",
Right, you said "the universe". The distinction is quite important but you are sloppy already.

" I never even mentioned the "big bang" or its putative causes. "
You spoke of a supposed consensus that "the universe" had a beginning. Your language is hopelessly sloppy so I am helping you tighten it up.

The consensus you speak of is the combined notion that our big bang is the universe and it had a beginning at t=0. Various timelines are then offered which assert to model conditions at various times such as t=10^-32, t=10^-9, etc.

Those popularized notions suffer from the conceptual defects I have described and you quite obviously do not grasp.


"These are nothing but falsehoods of your invention. What I said, which is exactly true, is that the consensus in the physics community is that our universe is finite in the past."
Ok, now you call it "our universe" which is quite different than "the universe" in a discussion of the origins of existence. The consensus you speak of equates "our universe" with "our big bang" and "the big bang" and "the universe".

In this view the totality of existence of all sorts is our big bang, which is the same as the big bang because our big bang is the only big bang so our universe is the only universe. Further this is thought to have had a beginning at t=0. All of this is very limited thinking that persists in simplistic popularizations. If you want to actually expand your conceptual capacities read my words carefully and thoughtfully consider their meaning.


"I suggest you rewrite the article correcting all those errors and submit it to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for publication to replace the page here"

"Nothing I said is inconsistent with what is written there."
You were complaining about the quoted words! You called the quoted words "stupid"!


"Since I have little patience"
Indeed. That is a sign of immaturity, which is fully on display here from you.

When you develop your patience for rational engagement you will open your pathway to learning.


January 01, 2017 6:52 AM

bmiller said...

@ Stardusty Psyche,

grodrigues:"it is commonly agreed in the physics community that the universe is finite in the past"

You disagree with him, but I honestly don't understand exactly what you consider false in that statement.
Is it that you think the consensus in the physics community agrees to something different than "the universe is finite in the past"? Because it looks to me that your complaint is not that he stated a fact, but just that the consensus is wrong.
But even at that, it's not clear to me what you think the consensus is wrong about.

It seems you're focused on the big bang. If you have a theory that that disputes the big bang I'd love to hear it.

Cal Metzger said...

grodrigues:"it is commonly agreed in the physics community that the universe is finite in the past"
bmiller: "You disagree with him, but I honestly don't understand exactly what you consider false in that statement."

He explained it perfectly well.

"Our universe" refers to the universe that we live in, and that began with the big bang.

"The universe" refers to all that our universe may be related to or a product of.

When one says that "our universe" had a beginning, that does not mean that "the universe" had a beginning.

And when physicists discuss physics, they're talking about physics in our universe.

It's actually pretty straightforward stuff, isn't it?

bmiller: "Is it that you think the consensus in the physics community agrees to something different than "the universe is finite in the past"?"

The physics community has no consensus on "the universe", referring to that from which "our universe" may have sprung. The physics community has a consensus on "our universe", up to the point at which classical physics breaks down as it approaches T=0.

This is pretty straightforward.

Legion: "Because it looks to me that your complaint is not that he stated a fact, but just that the consensus is wrong."

Have you read the comments here?

Stardusty has pointed out that Grod is talking out of his ass when it comes to speaking on behalf of the physicist community, and that he has been equivocating on how physics is understood regarding conservation, and on the differences between "our universe" and the "the universe" as they relate to cosmology. Oh, and also that Grod wants everyone to believe that he is too smart for school, and that if he had time he'd go and straighten out how academicians write about cosmology at the Stanford Philosophy website.

bmiller; "But even at that, it's not clear to me what you think the consensus is wrong about."

The problem is that you have misrepresented what Stardusty has written above. Stardusty has represented the consensus of phsyicists, and has shown how Grod equivocates and misrepresents what that consensus is. Imagine my surprise that you would try something like this.

Shocked, really, is what I am.

bmiller said...

Your rant is duly noted Cal.

I'll wait for Stardusty Psyche's opinion on what he meant.

SteveK said...

It's amusing that skeptics are talking about "the universe" (different from "our universe") as if it exists. All that talk about evidence must've been a smokescreen.

B. Prokop said...

Hmm... I wonder if the difference between "our universe" and "the universe" is the atheists' way of distinguishing the natural from the supernatural. Just a thought.

Jo F said...

Thought I'd stop by even though this thread has become too long to keep up with

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/427722/mathematics-of-eternity-prove-the-universe-must-have-had-a-beginning/

Jo F said...

^From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Technology Review website

Jo F said...

By the way (not sure if anyone responded to this, and I don't feel like checking), in case no one informed Stardusty that the laws of conservation have nothing to do with the academic discussion as to our universe's origins, I'd like to note that these laws are derived from observations of nature post whatever beginning may have occurred. All we have observed is that there is an inability for matter to be created or destroyed through whatever natural processes may occur--however, this gives us no evidence in favor of concluding that therefore the matter never originally came into existence somehow. In fact, the evidence in favor of the finitude of the past is overwhelming, making the Kalam's second premise highly plausible. Of course, nothing in science is certain. Of course again, very little in science is described in this way by its most informed contributors: “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” Dr. Alexander Vilenkin. Stardusty, please realize there is only good news in hearing that theism is substantiated. Please take careful consideration of these evidences.

bmiller said...

@Jo F,

I wonder if you've considered that you have given Stardusty too much to respond to in a com-box.

He has been more responsive than I would have been to the enormous amount of challenges he has encountered here. He must have a life.

That is why I waited this long to ask him my questions. I'm concerned that I may not get an answer now.




Jo F said...

Here's another look at a moral argument for monotheism:

Morals are apparently objective. All I need to show that is for you to have a moral disagreement with another person. If moral relativism were true, then there would be no way to say that another person is wrong for something, as it is entitled by moral relativism that each person determines what is right and wrong. When someone says it's okay to murder children for the fun of it, and you feel enraged, it is because you feel that they're wrong for doing that. But if moral relativism were okay, then what he does would be okay. Thus, the atheist cannot hold to moral relativism, but objective moral relativism, in order to enable him to say that someone is wrong for doing what they subjectively apprehend as being objectively evil.

Something is perceived as being objectively evil or good if it is perceived as being good or evil despite the opinion of someone else. I.e. if you believe Adolf Hitler did evil, even though he believed that what he was doing was good, then you are a moral objectivist.

Moral disagreements are inconsistent with moral relativism, and moral relativism stands in stark contrast to our deep belief that some things are wrong and others are good regardless of whether someone disagrees (i.e., you are deeply convicted that it is wrong to kill children for fun, regardless of what anyone else thinks. And so, if someone comes to you and says that torturing children for fun is good, you are likewise deeply convicted that they are wrong--regardless of what *they* think).

The point Stardusty seems to have missed is that moral disagreements are undeniable evidence against moral relativism. His misconception is this: if our moral experience indicates that if there truly is any "relativism" going on, it is our relative and subjective apprehensions of an objective moral realm, in which certain moral values and duties are thought of as being good or evil independent of what other people think.

Now that I've made it this far, my question for Stardusty is this: what evidence for moral relativism do you have? It seems you'll at least have to admit that morals are perceived as being objective (true independent of what anyone else thinks). Now the question is whether or not this perceived objectivity is to be attributed to an evolutionary story (all naturalism has to offer), or a theistic one.

I'll address the naturalistic take later, but for now I want to see whether Stardusty will relinquish his relativism--which I understand to be the denial of even the apparent objectivity of moral values and duties. I'm not asking you to admit whether they are veridical or not--simply that they appear to be so. If you will hold steadfast to moral relativism, then here's my question:

What evidence do you have to show that moral disagreements can be reconciled with the view that there is no apparent objectivity (the characteristic that they are true regardless of what others think, allowing for these disagreements to occur) to moral values and duties--regardless of whether this perceived objectivity is veridical or not?

Jo F said...

This might help:

saying that morals do not appear to be objective is equivalent to saying that people do not disagree with each other about moral what is and is not moral. Saying that morals do not appear to be objective is equivalent to saying that there has never been a case where people were identified as doing something wrong by one or more individuals.

Jo F said...

"That is why I waited this long to ask him my questions. I'm concerned that I may not get an answer now."

Oh, sorry. Stardusty, if you're reading this, please prioritize Bmiller's comments to your convenience. Thank you!

Stardusty Psyche said...

bmiller said...
"
@ Stardusty Psyche,

grodrigues:"it is commonly agreed in the physics community that the universe is finite in the past"

You disagree with him, but I honestly don't understand exactly what you consider false in that statement.
Is it that you think the consensus in the physics community agrees to something different than "the universe is finite in the past"? Because it looks to me that your complaint is not that he stated a fact, but just that the consensus is wrong.
But even at that, it's not clear to me what you think the consensus is wrong about."
I see from a couple more comments by Cal, bmiller, steveK, and prokop that maybe I should clarify a couple terms I am using.

"Our big bang" is unambiguous, meaning the big bang we live in.
"The big bang" is actually the more common term for our big bang but perhaps without realizing it the user of this term is implicitly stating that our big bang is the only big bang that ever existed or that other potential big bangs are not the subject of the discussion at hand.
"The universe" in its broadest sense would mean all existence of every sort. But, our big bang is commonly thought of as all existence so the term "the universe" is often used interchangeably with "the big bang" or "our big bang". Unfortunately, these terms are rather muddled in common usage.
"Our universe" implies that there are other universes, which strictly speaking is a malformed term, since the term "universe" should encompass all there is, so it would make no sense to speak of multiple instances of all there is. But, owing to the fact that some people equate "our big bang" with "our universe" then from time to time we hear a public speaker talking about multiple universes from which the term "multiverse" is derived.

I don't prefer the term "multiverse", rather, I prefer to use "universe" to mean all of existence of every sort and to expand the understanding of what is in the universe as we expand our understanding generally. In this view I would speak of our big bang and potentially other big bangs or other forms of existence within the universe in the broadest sense of that term. But "multiverse" is presently in vogue so I am a bit of a voice in the wilderness on this point of terminology.

So, folks, please believe me, I am not trying to play gotchya with these terms and I cannot lay claim to having the absolutely best or correct terminology on offer. The unfortunate fact is that the progress of change in cosmology and how various popularizations use terms has left the whole terminology situation rather muddled.

So, all I am really trying to do is define a few terms to avoid having arguments about nothing more than criss crossing definitions.


" It seems you're focused on the big bang. If you have a theory that that disputes the big bang I'd love to hear it."
Any discussion of the origins of existence will eventually get around to the big bang. Certainly the scientific evidence for a big bang is very strong.

While the evidence for a big bang is strong we have no actual physics to describe the big bang and its most immediate aftermath, which is very unfortunate because that is the critical part for the topics of this thread.

I really like this article but it is a bit dated with respect to thinking of the big bang as necessarily the beginning of time, and the rather short sighted notion this would negate even asking what came before the big bang, a question that is now a hot topic.
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmological-argument/

But don't bother listening to me because I am a willfully ignorant buffoon only capable of regurgitating dumbassery :-)



January 01, 2017 6:03 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
"
Thought I'd stop by even though this thread has become too long to keep up with

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/427722/mathematics-of-eternity-prove-the-universe-must-have-had-a-beginning/"
Hence the great existential riddle unsolved.

The speculation of god has no explanatory power in this riddle. An infinite god is just as irrational as an infinite past time. Conservation tells us matter/energy have existed infinitely long but an actual infinite is irrational.

The folks at MIT tell us our big bang had a beginning but nobody knows what that beginning was or what caused that beginning. The speculation of god solves nothing in this question.

Thus the riddle remains unsolved.


January 01, 2017 9:43 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

" By the way (not sure if anyone responded to this, and I don't feel like checking), in case no one informed Stardusty that the laws of conservation have nothing to do with the academic discussion as to our universe's origins, I'd like to note that these laws are derived from observations of nature post whatever beginning may have occurred. All we have observed is that there is an inability for matter to be created or destroyed through whatever natural processes may occur--however, this gives us no evidence in favor of concluding that therefore the matter never originally came into existence somehow. "
Yes, actually it does. We don't have to say "somehow" with conservation. Conservation is an observed scientific fact. To assert conservation "somehow" did not hold in the past is magical thinking.

You might just as well say somehow poof happened.


"In fact, the evidence in favor of the finitude of the past is overwhelming,"
Really? What evidence is that?

But let's just suppose that an infinite past is impossible, since it is certainly irrational by our lights, that makes god impossible as well, despite the attempts to merely define god as outside time, in fact the speculation of god has god making decisions and acting in a time sequence of events, placing god inside time after all.

" please realize there is only good news in hearing that theism is substantiated. "
Mere wishful thinking.

God must be a thing, else god is no thing. If an infinitely existing god is some thing then some thing can exist infinitely. If some thing can exist infinitely then an infinite existence of a thing is possible. If a thing can exist infinitely there is no necessity for that thing to be a god. God is therefore not a necessary being.


January 01, 2017 9:54 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

Here's another look at a moral argument for monotheism:

" Morals are apparently objective."
No, they are apparently commonly held by most people in similar ways.


"All I need to show that is for you to have a moral disagreement with another person. If moral relativism were true, then there would be no way to say that another person is wrong for something,"
There is no way to prove another person is objectively morally wrong.


" as it is entitled by moral relativism that each person determines what is right and wrong. When someone says it's okay to murder children for the fun of it, and you feel enraged, it is because you feel that they're wrong for doing that."
Yes, that is my personal sense of ought.


" But if moral relativism were okay, then what he does would be okay. "
Not in my judgement.

"Thus, the atheist cannot hold to moral relativism, but objective moral relativism,"
What? "objective moral relativism" is oxymoronic.


" in order to enable him to say that someone is wrong for doing what they subjectively apprehend as being objectively evil."
Word salad.


" Something is perceived as being objectively evil or good if it is perceived as being good or evil despite the opinion of someone else. I.e. if you believe Adolf Hitler did evil, even though he believed that what he was doing was good, then you are a moral objectivist."
No, I am a relativist who considers the actions of others wrong on my scale even if they think they are right on their scale.


" Moral disagreements are inconsistent with moral relativism, "
Huh? Jo, have you thought this through? If we all agreed on an objective morality then disagreements would end. You have this back to front.


"and moral relativism stands in stark contrast to our deep belief that some things are wrong and others are good regardless of whether someone disagrees (i.e., you are deeply convicted that it is wrong to kill children for fun, regardless of what anyone else thinks."
So? Given that person thinks differently relativism holds.


" And so, if someone comes to you and says that torturing children for fun is good, you are likewise deeply convicted that they are wrong--regardless of what *they* think)."
Yes, which is the hallmark of relativism.



" The point Stardusty seems to have missed is that moral disagreements are undeniable evidence against moral relativism. "
Sorry Jo, you are now officially off the rails.

"His misconception is this: if our moral experience indicates that if there truly is any "relativism" going on, it is our relative and subjective apprehensions of an objective moral realm, in which certain moral values and duties are thought of as being good or evil independent of what other people think."
More word salad.


" Now that I've made it this far, my question for Stardusty is this: what evidence for moral relativism do you have? "
You have unwittingly given a great deal of it already.

No person has ever, and I have asked this of many people, given me a straightforward answer to name an objective moral fact, an absolutely moral act, or absolutely immoral act. Please, just name one.



" What evidence do you have to show that moral disagreements can be reconciled with the view that there is no apparent objectivity (the characteristic that they are true regardless of what others think, allowing for these disagreements to occur) to moral values and duties--regardless of whether this perceived objectivity is veridical or not?"
I confess to being shocked by this question. There is no reconciliation to be made. Disagreements are exactly what we would expect on relativism, of course. Why would different people with different standards agree? The question itself makes no sense.


January 01, 2017 10:25 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
" saying that morals do not appear to be objective is equivalent to saying that people do not disagree with each other about moral what is and is not moral. "
What? On opposite day this makes sense.

"Saying that morals do not appear to be objective is equivalent to saying that there has never been a case where people were identified as doing something wrong by one or more individuals."
???


January 01, 2017 10:29 PM

Jo F said...

"Hence the great existential riddle unsolved. The speculation of god has no explanatory power in this riddle. An infinite god is just as irrational as an infinite past time. Conservation tells us matter/energy have existed infinitely long but an actual infinite is irrational. The folks at MIT tell us our big bang had a beginning but nobody knows what that beginning was or what caused that beginning. The speculation of god solves nothing in this question. Thus the riddle remains unsolved."

Can you please clarify whether you believe the universe did or did not begin to exist? I am not arguing God is of value to this yet, I just want to know whether or not you understand the universe to have existed for an infinite or for a finite amount of time. The explanation for *how* it could have existed for a finite time is for later discussion--but as with the moral argument, I just want to see if you'll take this step: do you believe the universe is finite or infinite in the past? That is all I'm interested in hearing an answer for right now.

It seems to me that you're misunderstanding the implications of the laws of conservation with respect to energy and matter: these laws are only derived from human observations--and humans have only been around to make these observations for so long. Thus, whether matter and energy originated at some point in the past or not is not substantiated one way or another by these observations of what we see now. To say that simply because we've seen the tendency for matter to be conserved now proves it cannot have all begun to exist in the past with the rest of the universe is to make a baseless inductive inference. Saying "mass is conserved" is different than saying "mass never once came to exist at first." We've observed that the universe--post-beginnning--conserves its energy and mass throughout their interactions.

We may see that mass and energy is conserved post-the-universe's-beginning, that it is the case that the universe, only after origination, does not add to or subtract to its own contents.

Thus, the laws of conservation with respect to matter and energy tell us nothing about the universe's origins--only of what matter and energy behaves like at the present time. If we want to consider whether the universe began or not, we must look to cosmology, therefore. And in doing so it is the scientific consensus that the universe began to exist, such that even Lawrence Krauss admitted that the universe most likely had a beginning, and that Alexander Velinkin submitted that "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"In fact, the evidence in favor of the finitude of the past is overwhelming,"
Really? What evidence is that?

Firstly, it's worth looking into the argument from a Hilbert's-Hotel type thought experiment, which aspires to demonstrate the issue with the existence of an actual infinite.

But there is another philosophical argument for the finitude of the past, namely, that there could be no infinite formed through successive addition (or, as with time, through successive events)--by extension, that there could be no present moment if an actual infinite could exist. Here is why: One cannot form an actually infinite collection of things by successively adding one member after another. Since one can always add one more before arriving at infinity, *it is impossible to reach actual infinity*. Sometimes this is called the impossibility of "counting to infinity" or "traversing the infinite." It is important to understand that this impossibility has nothing to do with the amount of time available: it belongs to the nature of infinity that it cannot be so

Jo F said...

... formed. Furthermore, because the present moment represents the end of infinity until another moment occurs to further it, there would always be an end to the infinite series of events--despite the logic of an infinite series of events: that there can be no end. If the universe did not begin to exist a finite time ago, then the present moment could never arrive. But obviously, it has arrived. Therefore, we know that the universe is finite in the past and began to exist.
___________________________________________________________________________
These purely philosophical arguments for the beginning of the universe have received remarkable confirmation from discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics during this century. These confirmations might be summarized under two heads: the confirmation from the expansion of the universe and the confirmation from thermodynamic properties of the universe.

With regard to the first, Hubble's discovery in 1929 of the red-shift in the light from distant galaxies began a revolution in astronomy perhaps as significant as the Copernican revolution. Prior to this time the universe as a whole was conceived to be static; but the conclusion to which Hubble was led was that the red-shift is due to the fact that the universe is in fact expanding. The implication of this fact is that as one traces the expansion back in time, the universe becomes denser and denser until one reaches a point of infinite density from which the universe began to expand. The upshot of Hubble's discovery was that at some point in the finite past-probably around 15 billion years ago-the entire known universe was contracted down to a single mathematical point which marked the origin of the universe. That initial explosion has come to be known as the "Big Bang." Four of the world's most prominent astronomers described that event in these words:

The universe began from a state of infinite density. . . . Space and time were created in that event and so was all the matter in the universe. It is not meaningful to ask what happened before the Big Bang; it is like asking what is north of the North Pole. Similarly, it is not sensible to ask where the Big Bang took place. The point-universe was not an object isolated in space; it was the entire universe, and so the answer can only be that the Big Bang happened everywhere.

This event that marked the beginning of the universe becomes all the more amazing when one reflects on the fact that a state of "infinite density" is synonymous to "nothing." There can be no object that possesses infinite density, for if it had any size at all it could still be even more dense. Therefore, as Cambridge astronomer Fred Hoyle points out, the Big Bang Theory requires the creation of matter from nothing. This is because as one goes back in time, one reaches a point at which, in Hoyle's words, the universe was "shrunk down to nothing at all." Thus, what the Big Bang model of the universe seems to require is that the universe began to exist and was created out of nothing.

There's a lot more here to say, but for now let’s move on to the second scientific confirmation:

As if this were not enough, there is a second scientific confirmation of the beginning of the universe based on the thermodynamic properties of various cosmological models. According to the second law of thermodynamics, processes taking place in a closed system always tend toward a state of equilibrium. Now our interest is in what implications this has when the law is applied to the universe as a whole. For the universe is a gigantic closed system, since it is everything there is and no energy is being fed into it from without. The second law seems to imply that, given enough time, the universe will reach a state of thermodynamic equilibrium, known as the "heat death" of the universe. This death may be hot or cold, depending on ...

Jo F said...

... whether the universe will expand forever or eventually re-contract. On the one hand, if the density of the universe is great enough to overcome the force of the expansion, then the universe will re-contract into what one might call "a hot fireball". As the universe contracts, the stars burn more rapidly until they finally explode or evaporate. As the universe grows denser, the black holes begin to take up everything around them and begin themselves to coalesce until all the black holes finally coalesce into one gigantic black hole which is coextensive with the universe, from which it will never re-emerge. On the other hand, if the density of the universe is insufficient to halt the expansion, as seems more likely, then the galaxies will turn all their gas into stars and the stars will burn out. At 10[30] years the universe will consist of 90% dead stars, 9% supermassive black holes, and l% atomic matter. Elementary particle physics suggests that thereafter protons will decay into electrons and positrons, so that space will be filled with a rarefied gas so thin that the distance between an electron and a positron will be about the size of the present galaxy. At 10[100] years some scientists believe that the black holes themselves will dissipate into radiation and elementary particles. Eventually all the matter in the dark, cold, ever-expanding universe will be reduced to an ultra-thin gas of elementary particles and radiation. Equilibrium will prevail throughout, and the entire universe will be in its final state, from which no change will occur.

Now the question which needs to be asked is this: if, given sufficient time, the universe will reach heat death, then why is it not now in a state of heat death if it has existed for infinite time? If the universe did not begin to exist, then it should now be in a state of equilibrium.

Whatever scenario one selects for the future of the universe, thermodynamics implies that the universe began to exist. According to physicist P.C.W. Davies, the universe must have been created a finite time ago and is in the process of winding down. Prior to the creation, the universe simply did not exist. Therefore, Davies concludes, even though we may not like it, we must conclude that the universe's energy was somehow simply "put in" at the creation as an initial condition.

We therefore have both philosophical argument and scientific confirmation for the beginning of the universe. On this basis I think that we are amply justified in concluding the truth of premiss (2) that the universe began to exist as being very much more plausible than not.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"But let's just suppose that an infinite past is impossible, since it is certainly irrational by our lights, that makes god impossible as well, despite the attempts to merely define god as outside time, in fact the speculation of god has god making decisions and acting in a time sequence of events, placing god inside time after all."

William Lane Craig has done quite a lot of work on God's relationship to time. His model is that, "God exists timelessly without creation and temporally subsequent to creation." So upon deciding to create things, God begins to be temporal. Outside of that, I see no reason to think He couldn't be atemporal.

Let's conduct a thought experiment: imagine that God had refrained from creating the world. Imagine God existing without creation. We can think of a possible world in which God alone exists, solitary, alone, without any universe or created order whatsoever. Would God, in such a world, be temporal? Well, if He had a stream of consciousness, clearly He would be temporal because there would be a temporal series of mental events going on in His mind. But let's...

Jo F said...

... suppose that God exists changelessly in such a state, that He has a single state of consciousness. Would He, in that case, be temporal? Well, I think that's far from obvious. On the contrary, on a relational view of time in which time is a concomitant of events, such a changeless state would be a state of timelessness. So God existing in such a state would, I think, plausibly be timeless.

To know oneself as a self, to have self-awareness and self-consciousness and, hence, intentionality and freedom of the will are often considered part of personhood. But self-consciousness is not an inherently temporal notion. God can simply know all truth in a single intuition of truth without having to learn it or having to come by it through a process. As long as His consciousness does not change, there is no reason to ascribe to God temporality. So there is nothing about a self-conscious life that entails temporality as long as it is a changeless self-consciousness.

As for other properties you may mention, I would say that while these are common properties of human persons (who are, after all, temporal), these are not essential properties of personhood. For example, take deliberation and discursive thinking; this is excluded from God not so much because of His timelessness but because of His omniscience. An omniscient being doesn't need to deliberate because he already knows the conclusions to anything that he might think about. And therefore God's thought life cannot be discursive if He's an omniscient being. He simply knows all truth in a single intuition at a single moment. Similarly, memory and anticipation are not essential to a timeless person because he has nothing to forget and nothing to anticipate if he simply exists timelessly. There is no past and future. So these qualities, though common to human persons, are not essential to personhood, and therefore it seems to me that there is no incoherence in speaking of God as a timeless, personal being.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________" please realize there is only good news in hearing that theism is substantiated. "
Mere wishful thinking.
Well, not if it's truly substantiated, of course. Perhaps atheism is wishful thinking. Who cares for accusations? I want the truth. I hope to get you there, or you get me there. Since motivation was what I was trying to inspire in saying this, I guess I'll now say,
"wouldn't it be great if this wishful thinking turned out to be a reality?" By the very definitions of wishful thinking, I'd say so, and thereafter conclude that you have ample reason to investigate the truth-value of Christian theism.

Jo F said...

"There is no way to prove another person is objectively morally wrong.”
I’m not asking you to prove it, but rather I am asking whether you have the initiative or not that things are wrong or right regardless of what other people think. Recall that I am defining objectivity here as the idea that “presumably a moral fact is such that whether one person disagrees or not does not matter to its truth value to me.” For example, if you believe that it is wrong to slaughter children for fun (or any other reason) regardless of what someone else thinks, then for the purposes of this discussion, you perceive that it is objectively wrong to do so. Now whether this objectivity (the notion that your moral initiative—i.e. that child murder is wrong-- is true/false independent of what other people think) is veridical is a question of theism vs. atheism. And that question comes down to whether morals are simply the product of natural selection (which, in turn, would reduce their objectivity to merely the appearance of objectivity) or theistic creation. All I am trying to get you to understand right now is that it appears that morals are objective--and I only speak of objectivity in the terms that I have defined it. I'll keep belaboring this point until you agree, so let me further articulate it so that hopefully there will be no misunderstanding this time as to what I mean by moral objectivity:

Most everyone believes in moral objectivity in the way that I am defining it, they just might disagree as to what those objective moral values and duties are. However, the objectivity of the moral realm remains in human perception. Again, all I mean by saying that a moral initiative (i.e. that child torture is wrong) is objective is that it is true regardless of what others think (i.e. if someone else says it isn't, and then comes for your children, and you are repulsed with an initiative representing the moral understanding that it is wrong despite his contrary understanding of good and evil).

Jo F said...

@ Stardusty

" Morals are apparently objective."
No, they are apparently commonly held by most people in similar ways.
__________________________________
Perhaps a helpful clarification: By objectivity I do not mean""universality"

Jo F said...

"No person has ever, and I have asked this of many people, given me a straightforward answer to name an objective moral fact, an absolutely moral act, or absolutely immoral act. Please, just name one."

What Hitler did was objectively wrong, by which I mean that-- independent of what Hitler thought--I perceive that he was wrong, and I don't have it within me to say otherwise. If you agree that Hitler was wrong, regardless of what he thought of his own actions, then you also agree with me that we perceive objectivity in morality. And the mass murder of six million people would still be wrong, even if the Nazis had brainwashed everyone into thinking they were right in what they did, or killed those who disagreed.

Now the question would be whether or not this moral experience of objectivity is veridical or not.

So the question I have for you is this: do you have moral intuitions which (i.e. the belief that child mutilation is wrong), independent of what others thought (i.e. Joe advocates child mutilation and you are repulsed and profoundly disagree), you would hold to as being true? If so, then for the purposes of this discussion, you agree to my definition of moral objectivism (also the typical philosophical definition). We may all have our subjective senses of what is the objective moral law, but nevertheless, we carry moral initiatives which we presume to be true regardless of what others think (AKA objective).

Jo F said...

Now, of course, I am not claiming with certainty that infanticide is wrong independent of what other people may say (AKA objectively wrong). There are very few things in life we can be certain of. However, I think it is very plausible to say that this moral value exists, and I by initiative find it to be true rather than false that one should not kill infants. Thus, if you share my experience, then you should ad least be able to admit that we perceive this notion of objectivity with morality.

Jo F said...


Now, of course, I am not claiming with certainty that infanticide is wrong independent of what other people may say (AKA objectively wrong). There are very few things in life we can be certain of. However, I think it is very plausible to say that this moral value exists, and I by initiative find it to be true rather than false that one should not kill infants. Thus, if you share my experience, then you should ad least be able to admit that we perceive this notion of objectivity with morality, in that we find certain moral values to be objectively true. (i.e. that it's true that it is wrong to murder infants regardless of what others think)

Jo F said...

"God must be a thing, else god is no thing. If an infinitely existing god is some thing then some thing can exist infinitely. If some thing can exist infinitely then an infinite existence of a thing is possible. If a thing can exist infinitely there is no necessity for that thing to be a god. God is therefore not a necessary being."

The key to your objection is to understand that the mathematical notion of an actual infinite is a quantitative concept. It concerns a collection of definite and discrete elements that are members of the collection. But when theologians speak of the infinity of God, they are not using the word in a mathematical sense to refer to an aggregate of an infinite number of elements. God's infinity is, as it were, qualitative, not quantitative. It means that God is metaphysically necessary, morally perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, and so on.

Really "infinity" is just a sort of umbrella term used to cover all of God's superlative attributes. If you abstract away all of those attributes, there really isn't any distinct attribute called "infinity" left over. But none of those attributes need involve an infinite number of things.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
" Can you please clarify whether you believe the universe did or did not begin to exist? "
If by "the universe" you mean "our big bang" and if by "begin to exist" you mean the big bang t=0 as an identifiable point in a process, then yes.

If you mean do I think there was absolutely nothing at all and then suddenly existence popped into being then no.

"I am not arguing God is of value to this yet, I just want to know whether or not you understand the universe to have existed for an infinite or for a finite amount of time."
If by "the universe" we now speak of all the stuff of existence of every sort then I lean toward an infinite existence that humans have as of yet failed to comprehend. But that is just a hunch, in fact, this is the great unsolved riddle.


"Thus, whether matter and energy originated at some point in the past or not is not substantiated one way or another by these observations of what we see now. To say that simply because we've seen the tendency for matter to be conserved now proves it cannot have all begun to exist in the past with the rest of the universe is to make a baseless inductive inference. "
Inductive, yes, baseless, no. By your reasoning I can just make up anything about the past and call your god nonsense.

Induction is based on observation in the present. We employ the cosmological principle, not as an absolute proof, but as a postulate that has worked well in science.



"Saying "mass is conserved" is different than saying "mass never once came to exist at first." "
Then mass was not conserved at that time and there is no reason to think that was a special time so mass could just as easily pop into existence now, but that is never observed now."


" Thus, the laws of conservation with respect to matter and energy tell us nothing about the universe's origins"
Then we can never know anything about origins because the past is a one-off free for all of special pleading.

" even Lawrence Krauss admitted that the universe most likely had a beginning,"
Krauss is a woo monger who is peddling an equivocation to the credulous that the riddle has been solved. I would like to think he is simply mistaken but given his expertise a more sinister explanation seems to be the case.

____________________________________________________________________________________

" Firstly, it's worth looking into the argument from a Hilbert's-Hotel type thought experiment, which aspires to demonstrate the issue with the existence of an actual infinite."
That is logic, not material evidence. I can use logic to deduce just the opposite, hence the riddle.


January 02, 2017 12:55 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

" The universe began from a state of infinite density. . . . Space and time were created in that event and so was all the matter in the universe. "
That is an antiquated scenario based on a naive and irrational usage of general relativity at a point where it is known to break down.


"It is not meaningful to ask what happened before the Big Bang; it is like asking what is north of the North Pole. "
More antiquated nonsense.

" There's a lot more here to say, but for now let’s move on to the second scientific confirmation:"
Unfortunately you have been victimized by irrational popularizations by public speaking physicists who have been very poor teachers.

" As if this were not enough, "
Not only is it not enough it is inexcusably irrational.

"there is a second scientific confirmation of the beginning of the universe based on the thermodynamic properties of various cosmological models. According to the second law of thermodynamics, processes taking place in a closed system always tend toward a state of equilibrium. Now our interest is in what implications this has when the law is applied to the universe as a whole."
You are conflating "the universe" with "our big bang" which is very limited thinking.

Jo, I suggest you look into more modern research. Sean Carroll, Brian Green, and many others are taking a much more expansive view than these antiquated ideas you are presenting. Nobody has the definitive solution, but at least many are breaking free of the constricting irrationalities of past popularizations.


January 02, 2017 12:56 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

" Now the question which needs to be asked is this: if, given sufficient time, the universe will reach heat death, then why is it not now in a state of heat death if it has existed for infinite time? If the universe did not begin to exist, then it should now be in a state of equilibrium."
Not if the universe is, as it were, a spring, forever bouncing about.

" Whatever scenario one selects for the future of the universe, thermodynamics implies that the universe began to exist. According to physicist P.C.W. Davies, the universe must have been created a finite time ago and is in the process of winding down."
God solves nothing, again. If a thing that exists must "wind down" then god must wind down since god is some thing else god is no thing.

To merely define god as an exception is just special pleading.


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"But let's just suppose that an infinite past is impossible, since it is certainly irrational by our lights, that makes god impossible as well, despite the attempts to merely define god as outside time, in fact the speculation of god has god making decisions and acting in a time sequence of events, placing god inside time after all."

" William Lane Craig has done quite a lot of work on God's relationship to time. His model is that, "God exists timelessly without creation and temporally subsequent to creation." So upon deciding to create things, God begins to be temporal."
What is the first cause of this change in temporal nature? A decision is a temporal event. To decide to become temporal god must first be temporal.

God can't get here from there.


January 02, 2017 12:57 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

"There is no way to prove another person is objectively morally wrong.”
" Recall that I am defining objectivity here as the idea that “presumably a moral fact is such that whether one person disagrees or not does not matter to its truth value to me.”
That is relative morality, not objective morality. "Value to me" is relative morality. "Absolutely true value" is objective morality.

It will be pretty much impossible to discuss this when your foundational definition is so fundamentally flawed.

"For example, if you believe that it is wrong to slaughter children for fun (or any other reason) regardless of what someone else thinks, then for the purposes of this discussion, you perceive that it is objectively wrong to do so. "
No, it is wrong relative to my personal senses, but right relative to the killer's senses.

So, I am going to kind of stop here. I suggest you consider your definitions more carefully.

" Most everyone believes in moral objectivity in the way that I am defining it,"
Not the case.


January 02, 2017 1:13 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger Jo F said...

"No person has ever, and I have asked this of many people, given me a straightforward answer to name an objective moral fact, an absolutely moral act, or absolutely immoral act. Please, just name one."

" What Hitler did was objectively wrong, by which I mean that-- independent of what Hitler thought--I perceive that he was wrong, and I don't have it within me to say otherwise. "
So it was wrong relative you your judgement and right relative to his judgement. That is not objective, it is relative.

WL Craig sets this up fairly well. He also uses the example of Nazis, forced shark copulation, and other arguments to conclude that on atheism objective morality does not exist. In that respect he is correct.
Here is a quickie, somewhat off the cuff because it is in Q&A, you can find more thorough versions in his prepared statements elsewhere.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR6QD1jxBk4


January 02, 2017 1:25 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

" However, I think it is very plausible to say that this moral value exists, and I by initiative find it to be true rather than false that one should not kill infants. Thus, if you share my experience, then you should ad least be able to admit that we perceive this notion of objectivity with morality."
I think you meant "intuition". In any case, no, this is just what WLC correctly identifies as herd morality.


January 02, 2017 1:51 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

"God must be a thing, else god is no thing. If an infinitely existing god is some thing then some thing can exist infinitely. If some thing can exist infinitely then an infinite existence of a thing is possible. If a thing can exist infinitely there is no necessity for that thing to be a god. God is therefore not a necessary being."

" The key to your objection is to understand that the mathematical notion of an actual infinite is a quantitative concept. It concerns a collection of definite and discrete elements that are members of the collection. "
Which must apply to god because god is some thing, else god is no thing. God must be something, a thing, some sort of thing that exists, else god is absolutely nothing at all.

"But when theologians speak of the infinity of God, they are not using the word in a mathematical sense to refer to an aggregate of an infinite number of elements. God's infinity is, as it were, qualitative, not quantitative. It means that God is metaphysically necessary, morally perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, and so on."
Meaningless nonsense words slapped onto and irrational assertion to try and define ones way out of irrational special pleading for an infinite existence thing, god.


" Really "infinity" is just a sort of umbrella term used to cover all of God's superlative attributes. "
No, god would have to be an actual infinity in order to be the necessary being and is thus just as irrational as any other actual infinity.

"If you abstract away all of those attributes, there really isn't any distinct attribute called "infinity" left over."
God is thus a figment of your imagination only, an abstraction, with no actual realization outside your brain.

" But none of those attributes need involve an infinite number of things."
To be real they need real infinities, which are irrational. As abstractions they are not real outside your brain.


January 02, 2017 1:58 AM

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

Thanks for your response way back there.

I get it that you dislike people saying "the big bang" or "multiverse". But it seems you have further complaints regarding the scientific consensus other than just terminology.

On one hand you say "Certainly the scientific evidence for a big bang is very strong.", but on the other you claim the the standard consensus description of it is wrong.

I'm just trying to understand what you agree with, what you don't and why.

Stardusty Psyche said...

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

" Thanks for your response way back there."
You're welcome, this has gotten pretty long, unexpectedly, but I just enjoy a good conversation, and from my end it isn't much more complicated than that.



" I get it that you dislike people saying "the big bang" or "multiverse". But it seems you have further complaints regarding the scientific consensus other than just terminology."
I disrespect people who bellow out absurd insults while simultaneously using sloppy language that betrays how little they actually know on the subject.

The terms themselves are just symptomatic of the muddled situation we are in at present.


" On one hand you say "Certainly the scientific evidence for a big bang is very strong.", but on the other you claim the the standard consensus description of it is wrong."
Yes, in retrospect that seems contradictory, I realized after posting.

The scientific evidence is very strong that some sort of great expansion, or bang, did happen. The details of its origins and very earliest conditions are unknown.

For a crude analogy, if you had a video of an explosion starting a short time after detonation you would know there had been an explosion of some sort, but you would not necessarily know the explosive material composition, where the explosive material came from, what detonated that material, or the dynamic properties of the explosion say, a microsecond, after detonation.

There has been a popularized belief out there for decades that, by analogy, the explosive materials appeared suddenly out of absolutely nothing at all and the detonation just happened and therefore all time, space, and matter began as a mathematical point and popped into existence spontaneously by no cause with no explanation as to how or why a singularity would suddenly blow up if a singularity is actually a black hole of mutual gravitational collapse.

The inanity of this view has never ceased to amaze me for the decades it has been out there. Fortunately these irrational ideas are fading out of vogue and physicists are exploring alternatives rationally, albeit speculatively.


January 02, 2017 3:34 PM

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

@Stardusty Psyche,

OK, I haven't heard of anyone thinking that the laws of physics don't have problems at the very earliest stage of the big bang. Certainly something must have caused it.

You haven't told us about the other "big bangs" you believe exist or the multiverse(sorry but I can't think of another word). How come?

B. Prokop said...

" the multiverse (sorry but I can't think of another word)"

How about omniverse?

Ilíon said...

^ How about "invisible-pink-verse" or "imagiverse" or "fairiverse"?

Stardusty Psyche said...

Ilíon said...

" ^ How about "invisible-pink-verse" or "imagiverse" or "fairiverse"?"
A key difference between speculating about other big bangs is that it is a suggestion of more of the same, as opposed to the god speculation which is made up out of whole cloth by speculating that something magical exists out there with vast creative powers yet has no basis in science whatever.

I grew up in the space age. No extra solar planets had yet been discovered. But speculation as to their existence was a reasonable induction of more of the same. We knew for a fact that planets exist so to suggest more of them exist did not require inventing any new kind of thing purely out of imagination.

The speculation of god requires the invention of a new sort of thing out of pure imagination, and is thus no more reasonable than invisible pink things or fairies.

Not so with multiple big bangs. We know a big bang does exist. So suggesting there could be more of them requires no new sort of thing, just more of the same.

This holds out, then, at least the possibility of falsifiability. Since we know the properties of our big bang to a large extent it might be possible to model a structure of existence that has multiple big bangs to see if those other big bangs have any detectable effect on our big bang.

Thus, the suggestion of multiple big bangs is within the realm of science, whereas god is not.


January 03, 2017 11:47 AM

B. Prokop said...

"the suggestion of multiple big bangs is within the realm of science, whereas [G]od is not"

100% Correct!!! The first true thing you've ever posted. Science is confined to the study of the created, natural world. And it's why all the atheist demands for "scientific proof" for the existence of God are bogus, man, bogus (as you have just now here admitted).

SteveK said...

"A key difference between speculating about other big bangs is that it is a suggestion of more of the same"

A key similarity is there's no scientific evidence - something you keep insisting rational people must have.

You believe that there are other 'big bangs' even though there is no scientific evidence. You lack belief in God because there is no scientific evidence, even though you tell us God is not within the realm of science. Hmm...

What's the REAL reason you believe in other 'big bangs' since it isn't because there is scientific evidence?
What's the REAL reason you lack belief in God since it's not because there is no scientific evidence?

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

OK, it makes a difference that you consider those things speculations. I'm concerned some readers would make the assumption you were claiming more than that due to your insistence that others use the word "our" instead of "the".

I'd still like to know what your favorite speculative version is. Is it some sort of cyclic universe, is it more like hidden universes alongside our own or something else entirely?

Jo F said...

@Stardusty

"the suggestion of multiple big bangs is within the realm of science, whereas [G]od is not"

Science is also not within the realm of science, as it, built upon philosophical principles, cannot asses its own truth value through its own methodology. Science has inherent in its methodology a strict naturalism--it's pool of live explanatory options are always naturalistic. Thus, science does not ask, "what is the best explanation of this phenomena," but is instead limited to, "what is the best naturalistic explanation of this phenomena?"

(Hopefully I'll be able to get back to you on your replies later, but I'm a bit busy at the moment. Take care!)

Ilíon said...

some fool: "the suggestion of multiple big bangs is within the realm of science"

B.Joshin': "100% Correct!!!"

Actually, the fool's statement is not correct. Even the (singuler) proposed "Big Bang" is NOT "within the realm of science". Certainly, a singular "Big Bang" may be inferred from the scientific data and theories, but the "Big Bang" itself is inescapably beyond "the realm of science", for science deals only with the time-and-space that is proposed to have resulted from this proposed "Big Bang".

So, call the proposed "Big Bang" scientistic, rather than scientific.

Then, when when the subject/claim is "the suggestion of multiple big bangs" we've move *way* beyond "the realm of science"; such "suggestions" can't even count as scientistic.

B. Prokop said...

My emphasis on the "100% correct" comment was actually on the second half. Folks like Skeppy, et.al., are forever demanding "empirical, scientific evidence" for God, but then here's Stardusty admitting He's not within the scientific realm. So much for scientism's claim that there is no knowledge outside of science. If that were true, then nothing would be outside its realm.

Alternatively, this is just another variation on the ol' "Heads I win; tails you lose!" ploy so beloved by atheists.

Legion of Logic said...

"What's the REAL reason you lack belief in God since it's not because there is no scientific evidence?"

The demand for evidence of God from atheists is typically dishonest, since they are intelligent enough to know that it would be impossible for there to be direct scientific evidence for something outside the universe. Scientism seems to be very seductive for such a fool-producing worldview. Psychological drug, I suppose, that leaves one feeling superior, when quite the opposite is true. But, if you can't show them something so obvious as the glaring problems with scientism as a worldview, how in the world can you convince them that evidence for God exists, indirect though it is? I don't think it's possible through rational discourse, they have to question it for themselves.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

"the suggestion of multiple big bangs is within the realm of science, whereas [G]od is not"

" 100% Correct!!!"
Well, no, actually I made a mistake. I should have said "the speculation of god" as opposed to merely "god". At the moment I was writing I had in mind the supposed existence of something by definition not detectable.

"The first true thing you've ever posted. "
The very first one? Wow, it's about time, eh?


"Science is confined to the study of the created, natural world. And it's why all the atheist demands for "scientific proof" for the existence of God are bogus, man, bogus "
Nope, god is purported to act in our world, therefore god is not entirely out of the natural world. We should be able to detect god's actions in our world, but we do not.

Further, god must be physical, else god is absolutely nothing at all. If god is the original thing, then god is natural.


January 03, 2017 1:11 PM

B. Prokop said...

I was with you, Legion, until you used the word "indirect". Just because you're using another tool in your toolbox other than Science! does not make your evidence indirect. It is still direct, just by other means. You're using an Allen wrench instead of a Phillips head screwdriver. The problem with the scientismists, is they use the same damn tool for everything, whether or not it's appropriate.

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger SteveK said...

"A key difference between speculating about other big bangs is that it is a suggestion of more of the same"

" A key similarity is there's no scientific evidence - something you keep insisting rational people must have."
Multiple big bangs are not a scientific fact, indeed. I don't believe in multiple big bangs, rather, merely suggest them as a field of scientific research.

" You believe that there are other 'big bangs' even though there is no scientific evidence."
No, I never said that. Where did you get that from?

" You lack belief in God because there is no scientific evidence, even though you tell us God is not within the realm of science. Hmm..." The speculation of god as a thing by definition not detectable is outside of science, but god is purported to have great influence on our world, and these purported activities are detectable, yet none demonstrate a god.




" What's the REAL reason you believe in other 'big bangs' since it isn't because there is scientific evidence?"
I don't. You somehow read that into my words.


" What's the REAL reason you lack belief in God since it's not because there is no scientific evidence?"
The Christian god is scientifically testable, and fails miserably. A deistic god is potentially beyond all scientific study, in which case, it is mere speculation.



January 03, 2017 2:19 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Ilíon said...

"but the "Big Bang" itself"
We live inside the big bang. A conventional explosion is not defined solely as the moment of detonation, and neither is the big bang merely the event at t=0.

" is inescapably beyond "the realm of science","
Nope, because the big bang is not merely an infinitesimal time period at t=0.

The conditions of just one billionth of one second after t=0 have been reproduced in the lab, and a great deal of scientific knowledge has been gained about the ongoing process of the big bang.


January 03, 2017 5:16 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said...

"What's the REAL reason you lack belief in God since it's not because there is no scientific evidence?"

" The demand for evidence of God from atheists is typically dishonest,"
You must have amazing mind reading skills.

"since they are intelligent enough to know that it would be impossible for there to be direct scientific evidence for something outside the universe."
But god is purported to act right here on Earth. Just read the Bible, lots of scientifically falsified claims there.


" I suppose, that leaves one feeling superior, when quite the opposite is true."
So you feel superior then. Tut Tut. Pride goeth before the fall.

" how in the world can you convince them that evidence for God exists, indirect though it is?"
By presenting that supposed evidence in a rational manner. Many have tried, all have failed.

" I don't think it's possible through rational discourse,"
You cannot pass off the irrationality of god as rational through rational discourse, true dat.


January 03, 2017 8:41 PM

SteveK said...

Dusty,
"The speculation of god as a thing by definition not detectable is outside of science"

Bingo! Since you think God is something else then every argument you've made here is against a god no Christian believes in. Kinda funny, right?

"but god is purported to have great influence on our world, and these purported activities are detectable, yet none demonstrate a god."

Efficient causes are not God. Science studies efficient causes, not first causes. Your entire argument is against a being I don't believe in. Study the First Way (but not from Cal) and report back.

SteveK said...

Correction: 'efficient cause' should be 'secondary cause'

Ilíon said...

"The problem with the scientismists, is they use the same damn tool for everything, whether or not it's appropriate."

Scientistes (*) use only one tool because they have only one problem ... which is to pretend that they can't see God.


(i) said in the mode of Miss Piggy's 'Artiste'

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

Dusty,
"The speculation of god as a thing by definition not detectable is outside of science"

" Bingo! Since you think God is something else then every argument you've made here is against a god no Christian believes in. Kinda funny, right?"
Humerous indeed. The cosmological argument is at most an argument for a deistic god. It does strike me as funny that Christians somehow think the cosmological argument, if true, would lead to the god Christians believe in, which is a scientifically falsifiable god and also an incoherent assertion of god owing to its assertions of mutually exclusive properties.

"but god is purported to have great influence on our world, and these purported activities are detectable, yet none demonstrate a god."

" Efficient causes are not God. Science studies efficient causes, not first causes."
First cause is what the cosmological argument purports to demonstrate, and that is merely a deistic god. The Christian god is asserted to have also been an efficient cause of physical changes here on Earth in our timeline, and is thus falsifiable scientifically, which of course it has been, necessitating the reclassification of those bible stories as mere metaphor.


" Your entire argument is against a being I don't believe in. "
If you are a Christian then you believe in much more than simply the fairy tale of a deistic god, but also a scientifically falsifiable god who acts in our physical world on our timeline, and also an oxymoronic and therefore incoherent god with mutually exclusive properties.


January 03, 2017 11:17 PM

SteveK said...

Repeating a falsehood doesn't make it true, Dusty.

SteveK said...

Dusty,
You claim God is falsifiable via the scientific method.

a) What would convincing scientific evidence for God look like?

b) List the universities that teach their science students that this experiment can be successfully carried out.

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

"First cause is what the cosmological argument purports to demonstrate, and that is merely a deistic god."

To be precise the Second Way relates to the nature of efficient causes while the First Way relates to motion or change. Both apply to what is happening at this very moment and not some time in the past. In this view our existence is like a piece of music being played rather than a machine that was wound up and set off.
In one case if the musician stops playing the music ceases. In the other if the machinist walks away, the machine keeps on going.
The machinist model is what I would consider deist. Do you agree?

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

" Dusty,
You claim God is falsifiable via the scientific method.

a) What would convincing scientific evidence for God look like?"
Which god? There are so many formulations of this speculation. For awhile the cosmological argument was a topic here, and that at most argues for a deistic god. If you want to speculate that a god somehow poofed things into existence way back in some unobservable past and then disconnected entirely from this creation then that is a non-falsifiable claim.

The closest thing available to being for god is to not be against it. Most specifically science tells us what is false.

The Christian god is purported to have whipped up the universe in 4004BC, and flooded the Earth for a mass extinction event some years after that. Those assertions are scientifically false.

" b) List the universities that teach their science students that this experiment can be successfully carried out."
All of them, except perhaps some creationist crackpot diploma mill.


January 04, 2017 9:13 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

"First cause is what the cosmological argument purports to demonstrate, and that is merely a deistic god."

" To be precise the Second Way relates to the nature of efficient causes while the First Way relates to motion or change. Both apply to what is happening at this very moment and not some time in the past. In this view our existence is like a piece of music being played rather than a machine that was wound up and set off."
How quaint.


" In one case if the musician stops playing the music ceases. "
Sounds like Aristotelian physics. Aristotle was wrong.

"In the other if the machinist walks away, the machine keeps on going.
The machinist model is what I would consider deist. Do you agree?"
I suppose you can put it that way, but to no advantage I can see. The deistic god is a speculation that some sort of god created material existence and then had nothing more to do with it. That speculation solves nothing logically because it simply raises more unanswerable questions about this supposed god.


January 04, 2017 10:01 AM

SteveK said...

Dusty
At best, all you've done is show the recorded date (I don't accept yours) is wrong - nothing can be said about God's existence.

Let me know when you have answers to my 2 questions.

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

Dusty
" At best, all you've done is show the recorded date (I don't accept yours) is wrong - nothing can be said about God's existence."
You are going in circles. Is it the god of the bible or some other god? The bible god is falsified scientifically and logically. If you want to make up some other god go ahead, that is all god ever is, just some made up fantasy.


" Let me know when you have answers to my 2 questions. "
January 04, 2017 11:16 PM

bmiller said...

@ Stardusty Psyche,

Me:"In the other if the machinist walks away, the machine keeps on going.
The machinist model is what I would consider deist. Do you agree?"
SP:"I suppose you can put it that way, but to no advantage I can see. The deistic god is a speculation that some sort of god created material existence and then had nothing more to do with it. That speculation solves nothing logically because it simply raises more unanswerable questions about this supposed god."

I think that things have gotten muddled.
SteveK mentioned the First Way which is part of the classical view of God, somehow that got interpreted to mean The cosmological argument of which there are many variants. I'm not sure exactly which particular line of cosmological argument you are arguing against, but certainly it is not against the classical view.

So since you've indicated that you see the difference between the classical view and the deistic view it's kind of pointless to argue against a deistic view, right?

SP:"How quaint."
CS Lewis fans have now seen a case of *Chronological snobbery* in the wild. Thank you.

SP:"Sounds like Aristotelian physics. Aristotle was wrong."
This sounds like an uniformed opinion but it's too vague for a response.

Stardusty Psyche said...

bmiller said...

@ Stardusty Psyche,

Me:"In the other if the machinist walks away, the machine keeps on going.
The machinist model is what I would consider deist. Do you agree?"
SP:"I suppose you can put it that way, but to no advantage I can see. The deistic god is a speculation that some sort of god created material existence and then had nothing more to do with it. That speculation solves nothing logically because it simply raises more unanswerable questions about this supposed god."

" I think that things have gotten muddled."
I agree. There are many forms of god asserted. All have no explanatory power. The deistic god is not-falsifiable. Other asserted gods are falsifiable.


" SteveK mentioned the First Way which is part of the classical view of God, somehow that got interpreted to mean The cosmological argument of which there are many variants. I'm not sure exactly which particular line of cosmological argument you are arguing against, but certainly it is not against the classical view."
The cosmological god gets one at most to a deistic god. Any assertions of properties beyond that do not follow from the cosmological argument and only serve to make a more complicated god falsifiable and incoherent, such as the Christian god, for example.


" So since you've indicated that you see the difference between the classical view and the deistic view it's kind of pointless to argue against a deistic view, right?"
It is non-falsifiable but also has no explanatory value and is not a necessary conclusion of the cosmological argument, as many claim it is.

" SP:"How quaint."
CS Lewis fans have now seen a case of *Chronological snobbery* in the wild. Thank you."
Ancient ideas are often rather quaint. We can appreciate the intelligence of the ancients for attempting to make sense of the universe, but to continue their views into modernity often deserves ridicule.

" SP:"Sounds like Aristotelian physics. Aristotle was wrong."
This sounds like an uniformed opinion but it's too vague for a response."
Aristotle thought motion naturally stops when force is removed as things go to their natural place. In his view continuous force was required to maintain motion. That is very much what was said so my comparison is appropriate.


January 05, 2017 8:14 AM

B. Prokop said...

For a good exposition of the Cosmological Argument in a contemporary context, see here (about half way down the page).

The author concludes that the argument ends in a draw. In his opinion, neither the believer nor the atheist can claim a knockout blow.

SteveK said...

Dusty,
"The bible god is falsified scientifically and logically."

You keep saying that but have never told anyone how God has been falsified scientifically. What experiment has done this? Showing that a recorded date is incorrect, falsifies the DATE but says nothing about the existence of God. #lol

If you don't have an answer, say so. It's okay to admit you've been lying for science the entire time.

SteveK said...

Dusty is charging hard, real hard, for a young earth interpretation of scripture. Probably explains why he's now a hardcore atheist. Fundamentalism runs deep.

bmiller said...

@ Stardusty Psyche,

SP:"The cosmological god gets one at most to a deistic god."
I really don't know what you mean by "The cosmological god" now. If you indiscriminately lump all lines and types of cosmological arguments together you will end in a muddle. Is this what you prefer?

Me:"So since you've indicated that you see the difference between the classical view and the deistic view it's kind of pointless to argue against a deistic view, right?"
SP:"It is non-falsifiable but also has no explanatory value and is not a necessary conclusion of the cosmological argument, as many claim it is."
Hmm "falsifiable". Let me know when you have a repeatable experiment where nothing in the universe changes.
"Explanatory value": I consider knowing why things move of explanatory value.
"Not a necessary conclusion": Why?


" SP:"How quaint."
Me:"CS Lewis fans have now seen a case of *Chronological snobbery* in the wild. Thank you."
SP:"Ancient ideas are often rather quaint. We can appreciate the intelligence of the ancients for attempting to make sense of the universe, but to continue their views into modernity often deserves ridicule."
Thank you for your opinion on the general topic of what should be ridiculed. What is your opinion on the genetic fallacy?

SP:"Aristotle thought motion naturally stops when force is removed as things go to their natural place. In his view continuous force was required to maintain motion. That is very much what was said so my comparison is appropriate."
OK, first, the Five Ways are from Aquinas and not Aristotle, so if you are talking about projectile motion the views are different. Second, I can't tell if you are saying "Aristotle was wrong on this thing, so he was wrong on everything". Third, is this about inertia? If so, I'll need you to explain what you think the problem is.

Ilíon said...

"SP:"Aristotle thought motion naturally stops when force is removed as things go to their natural place. In his view continuous force was required to maintain motion. That is very much what was said so my comparison is appropriate."
OK, first, the Five Ways are from Aquinas and not Aristotle, so if you are talking about projectile motion the views are different. Second, I can't tell if you are saying "Aristotle was wrong on this thing, so he was wrong on everything". Third, is this about inertia? If so, I'll need you to explain what you think the problem is.
"

ALSO -- this being Present Year, a better English word than "motion" to use to discuss what Aristotle was talking about is "change". And, doing that, we see that the fool is wrong. Again.

bmiller said...

@Ilíon,

You're right. I should have used "change" consistently. Thanks for the catch.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" For a good exposition of the Cosmological Argument in a contemporary context, see here (about half way down the page)."
Any page titled "Atheism: Disproved by Science?" is immediately identifiable as nonsense, but let's just take a look at the silliness enclosed:
The Ontological Argument in Modern Form

By definition, God is the greatest possible being that can be conceived.
God exists as an idea in the mind.
A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind.
Thus, if God exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can conceive something that is greater than God.
But that we can conceive a being greater than the greatest possible being that can be conceived is a contradiction.
Therefore, God exists.

First, this absurd argument is just a convoluted way to affirm the consequent.
Second, I can conceive of you as the sole greatest possible being. I can conceive of your friend as the sole greatest possible being. So both you and your friend must both be the sole greatest possible being. How ridiculous.
Third, the use of the word "possible" is ambiguous and equivocated.

The article does not really make a cosmological argument. All it does is ramble on about what some scientist's simplistic opinion was.


" The author concludes that the argument ends in a draw. In his opinion, "
Given the poor structure of the article his opinion is not of any notable merit.


January 05, 2017 8:53 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

Dusty,
"The bible god is falsified scientifically and logically."

" You keep saying that but have never told anyone how God has been falsified scientifically."
Which speculation of god are you talking about?
The deistic god is unfalsifiable.
The Christian god in its fundamentalist form is falsifiable.
The Christian god in its liberalized form is a moving the goalposts god. Every time science falsifies an aspect of the fundamentalist Christian god that aspect of god is crossed off the list by the Bishop of Rome as metaphorical to preserve god as unfalsifiable.


"What experiment has done this? Showing that a recorded date is incorrect, falsifies the DATE but says nothing about the existence of God. #lol"
It falsified that speculation of god.

" If you don't have an answer, say so. It's okay to admit you've been lying for science the entire time."
#lol


January 05, 2017 10:20 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

bmiller said...

@ Stardusty Psyche,

SP:"The cosmological god gets one at most to a deistic god."
" I really don't know what you mean by "The cosmological god" now. If you indiscriminately lump all lines and types of cosmological arguments together you will end in a muddle. Is this what you prefer?"
Sorry, the word "god" in that sentence should have been "argument".

" Me:"So since you've indicated that you see the difference between the classical view and the deistic view it's kind of pointless to argue against a deistic view, right?"
SP:"It is non-falsifiable but also has no explanatory value and is not a necessary conclusion of the cosmological argument, as many claim it is."
Hmm "falsifiable". Let me know when you have a repeatable experiment where nothing in the universe changes."
??? Are you saying the fact there is change in the universe tells us something about a speculated god?


" "Explanatory value": I consider knowing why things move of explanatory value.
"Not a necessary conclusion": Why?"
Because there are alternatives. If you say god exists eternally then some thing can exist eternally that can give rise to matter/energy. If god is not some thing then god is no thing. If a thing can exist eternally and give rise to matter/energy there is no need for it to be a god, just a thing of some sort, as we see one thing give rise to another thing continually all around us.


" " SP:"How quaint."
Me:"CS Lewis fans have now seen a case of *Chronological snobbery* in the wild. Thank you."
SP:"Ancient ideas are often rather quaint. We can appreciate the intelligence of the ancients for attempting to make sense of the universe, but to continue their views into modernity often deserves ridicule."
Thank you for your opinion on the general topic of what should be ridiculed. What is your opinion on the genetic fallacy?"
The views of the ancients are often wrong, not because they are ancient, but on their own lack of merit.


" SP:"Aristotle thought motion naturally stops when force is removed as things go to their natural place. In his view continuous force was required to maintain motion. That is very much what was said so my comparison is appropriate."
OK, first, the Five Ways are from Aquinas and not Aristotle, "
That is obvious, but the argument was analogous to Aristotelian physics:
" if the musician stops playing the music ceases."
That is what Aristotle thought about motion. He was wrong.

" Second, I can't tell if you are saying "Aristotle was wrong on this thing, so he was wrong on everything"."
No, of course not, that would be a fallacious argument.

" Third, is this about inertia? If so, I'll need you to explain what you think the problem is."
Some people think a god is needed to keep everything moving. In that concept force must be continuously applied to maintain motion, which is an ancient and mistaken notion.


January 05, 2017 1:14 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger Ilíon said...

" "SP:"Aristotle thought motion naturally stops when force is removed as things go to their natural place. In his view continuous force was required to maintain motion.

ALSO -- this being Present Year, a better English word than "motion" to use to discuss what Aristotle was talking about is "change". And, doing that, we see that the fool is wrong. Again."
"Motion" is actually quite accurate. Aristotle had the idea that a continuous force was needed to keep an object in motion. He did not understand inertia and friction. Newton built on the work of Galileo many centuries later to show how Aristotle was wrong.

Change in position is motion and requires no addition of force for a moving object. "Change" can mean many things in various contexts, so you would have to clarify your language to make a meaningful statement.


January 06, 2017 5:19 AM

SteveK said...

Dusty
On the other hand, it follows from your logic, that when science verifies something recorded in the Bible - something that God did - then that is scientific confirmation of "that speculation of God". By your logic, science has both falsified and confirmed that God exists.



Cal Metzger said...

It's around this point that I imagine Stardusty thinking to himself, "Has no one here ever taken a basic science class? No one?"

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

" Dusty
On the other hand, it follows from your logic, that when science verifies something recorded in the Bible - something that God did - then that is scientific confirmation of "that speculation of God". By your logic, science has both falsified and confirmed that God exists."
Nope, that is afirming the consequent, a logical fallacy.
1.The bible says god made the Earth.
2.The Earth exists.
3.Therefore god exists.

Really? Is your logic that bad?

1.The bible says god made the Earth in 4004BC.
2.Science tells us the Earth is 4.6 billion years old.
3.Therefore science tells us the god as described in the bible does not exist.

If you say god still might exist in some way other than how the bible describes, ok, that is another discussion. But the god as described in the bible is scientifically falsifiable, and has in fact been scientifically falsified.


January 06, 2017 10:54 AM

SteveK said...

If you change the date in #1 to 4.6 billion years ago then what happens?

SteveK said...

What happens is God has not been falsified. So just by changing one variable in this so-called scientific experiment, the date, science will either falsify or fail to falsify God's existence.

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

SP:"Sorry, the word "god" in that sentence should have been "argument"."
Regardless, I've given you an argument that does not "get(s) one at most to a deistic god".
Please try not to conflate 2 (or more) different arguments.

SP:"??? Are you saying the fact there is change in the universe tells us something about a speculated god?"
Finally! However, change requires the Unactualized Actualizer. This everyone understands to be God.
The more accurate translation for the English word "motion" in the First Way is "change" as Ilion pointed out.

Me:" Third, is this about inertia? If so, I'll need you to explain what you think the problem is."
SP:"Some people think a god is needed to keep everything moving. In that concept force must be continuously applied to maintain motion, which is an ancient and mistaken notion."
You use the term force, which of course has a specific technical meaning now, so it is wrong to use the word in that sense when referring to the physics of Aquinas' time. If you mean that the "ancient notion" held that *something* other than the moved was actually required to maintain motion then that is correct.
Do you think the modern notion is that *nothing* is required for something to maintain motion.

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger SteveK said...

" If you change the date in #1 to 4.6 billion years ago then what happens?"
Then we get an indication that the authors of the bible had access to scientific knowledge far in advance of its day.

But the bible says 6 days for creation, not billions of years.

The bible says there was a global flood extinction event in historical times, which is preposterous.

A visitation from space aliens is a vastly more plausible explanation, in the event of early revelation of otherwise unknowable scientific facts, than any god would be. We know for a fact that intelligent life and space travel are physically possible, so a visitation from space aliens, although speculative, at least requires no invention of any fundamentally new sort of existence, as god does.


January 06, 2017 1:11 PM

SteveK said...

1) My friend Ted ate the pizza in the conference room today at noon

2) Science confirms the pizza was eaten at 5pm

Has science falsified the existence of my friend Ted. No.

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

" 1) My friend Ted ate the pizza in the conference room today at noon

2) Science confirms the pizza was eaten at 5pm

Has science falsified the existence of my friend Ted. No."
Science has falsified the existence of your friend Ted as described. Maybe some other sort of friend Ted exists, but not the sort as described.

The god described in the bible is scientifically falsified by scientific facts. If you still want a god you will have to invent a different god to replace him because he has scientifically been shown to not exist as described.


January 06, 2017 1:37 PM

SteveK said...

Falsified as described is a pretty narrow statement, a unique conditional statement.

God invented the iPhone has also been falsified as described. Take that you Christian's! Atheism rocks.

Okay, God has been falsified as described. Yawn. I'm not describing God that way - you are, the rabid YEC is - so we're right back where we started. You've got nothing.

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

" Falsified as described is a pretty narrow statement, a unique conditional statement."
I like my statements to be true.

" God invented the iPhone has also been falsified as described. Take that you Christian's! Atheism rocks."
If you have a book that is purported to be the infallible word of an infallible being and parts of that book are falsified then you have a credibility problem.


" Okay, God has been falsified as described. Yawn. I'm not describing God that way - you are,"
Nope, the bible is.

" the rabid YEC"
Most Christians for most of history are in this catagory. Liberalized move-the-goalposts Christians are an historically recent development.

" is - so we're right back where we started. You've got nothing."
I've got that the god as described in the bible is scientifically false.

The god in the bible is also incoherent, owing to the oxymoronic set of qualities ascribed to it.

For example, god cannot logically be omniscient and either possess or impart free will. So now you will have to move the goalposts again. Is free will an illusion or is the knowledge of god limited? You can't logically have it both ways.



January 06, 2017 2:50 PM

B. Prokop said...

"Most Christians for most of history are in this catagory. Liberalized move-the-goalposts Christians are an historically recent development."

Where does Stardusty get this garbage from? The above statement has it exactly backwards. Orthodox Christian (and Jewish) scriptural interpretation was traditionally highly allegorical and interpretive since Apostolic times. It wasn't until until the late 19th Century in the United States that a fundamentalist, literalist reading of The Bible arose as a recent development, and even today is held by only an insignificant minority of Christians worldwide. The Catholic Church (1.3 billion members today) has never espoused such a methodology. Neither have the Orthodox Churches (approx. 400 million members). Only a minority of Protestants entertain such notions (at most 10 percent of 800 million members).

The statement is a perfect example of how irrelevant facts are to most anything Stardusty has to say.

SteveK said...

1) Gravity made the apple fall on Friday
2) Science confirms the apple fell on Saturday

Science has falsified the existence of gravity as described. Maybe some other sort of gravity exists, but not the sort as described.

You're a genius, Dusty!

SteveK said...

"Where does Stardusty get this garbage from?"

From the voices in his head.

SteveK said...

Dusty,
I'll reduce my 2 questions down to the first. Stop evading and answer.

a) What would convincing scientific evidence for God look like?

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" "Most Christians for most of history are in this catagory. Liberalized move-the-goalposts Christians are an historically recent development."

Where does Stardusty get this garbage from? The above statement has it exactly backwards. Orthodox Christian (and Jewish) scriptural interpretation was traditionally highly allegorical and interpretive since Apostolic times."
Interesting. Please provide some references to billion year creation, billion year age of the Earth, a non-literal flood story interpretation, and biological evolution from lower forms...any pre-18th century Christian scholars will do, but a preponderance of them would be appreciated.


" It wasn't until until the late 19th Century in the United States that a fundamentalist, literalist reading of The Bible arose as a recent development,"
I see, so Adam and Eve were not considered to be literal people prior to even the 19th century. I am indeed ignorant of this assertion, it seems entirely fantastical to me. You have a truly fantastic imagination.

" and even today is held by only an insignificant minority of Christians worldwide. The Catholic Church (1.3 billion members today) has never espoused such a methodology. "
So, no bishop of Rome has held that Adam and Ever were literal people, or that Noah's party literally floated in a boat as the sole human survivors of a global flood, or that the Earth stood still as the sun revolved around it. Again, I am entirely ignorant of this amazing assertion. I mean, exactly what are you pulling this out of?

" The statement is a perfect example of how irrelevant facts are to most anything Stardusty has to say."
Oh, please do provide some historical references to cure me of the above admitted ignorances.


January 06, 2017 3:48 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

" Dusty,
I'll reduce my 2 questions down to the first. Stop evading and answer.

a) What would convincing scientific evidence for God look like?"
Scientifically falsifying a particular formulation of god is a very different thing from scientifically demonstrating the existence of some sort of god.

I am sure that an omnipotent being could provide such evidence, else it is not omnipotent by definition.

A demonstration of unique powers is evidence for those particular powers. If you define god as a being who can create matter from nothing and we observe a being who on command creates matter from nothing then that is evidence for that limited formulation of god. Such a demonstration would say nothing about any asserted omniscience, omnipotence, moral perfection, or immortality, only that a particular being has a particular power.






January 06, 2017 4:21 PM

B. Prokop said...

"I mean, exactly what are you pulling this out of?"

From where? Well, for example, from In the Beginning... by no less than Pope Benedict XVI. (I think he qualifies as a Bishop of Rome, even for Stardusty.) It's a short book, Stardusty, only 100 pages, and written in quite easy to understand language (which might put you off, thinking it was for that reason "infantile"). Nevertheless, you might just find it profitable to read.

In it, Pope Benedict writes that the story of Adam and Eve was a commentary on the situation extant in post-exilic Judea after the end of the Babylonian Captivity (587-538 B.C.)

Now may I ask you, Stardusty, where you got your completely a-historical account of Biblical exegesis from?

"Again, I am entirely ignorant of this amazing assertion."

Yes, you are. As you show with every comment you post here, you are ignorant of a great many things.

B. Prokop said...

"A demonstration of unique powers is evidence..."

Oh, I got it! Stardusty is asking for a "God of the Gaps" argument. Then, when you present one, he'll crow, "Aha! God of the Gaps! We'll just wait until science solves that one!"

In other words, "Heads I win; tails you lose."

Oh, and (changing subject here) for the record, I now accept Adam and Eve to be historical figures. Five years ago, I would have given a quite different answer, but further recent study (prompted largely by a discussion with Ben Yakov on this very site) has caused me to change my mind. (See, all you professional skeptics out there, we believers are capable of learning and admitting past error. Try it sometime - it's liberating.)

SteveK said...

"If you define god as a being who can create matter from nothing and we observe a being who on command creates matter from nothing then that is evidence for that limited formulation of god."

Explain why this is evidence for a supernatural being, God, and not evidence for a very unique *natural* being that is not actually God. If it could be evidence for either, then how is this convincing scientific evidence for God?

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" In it, Pope Benedict writes that the story of Adam and Eve was a commentary on the situation extant in post-exilic Judea after the end of the Babylonian Captivity (587-538 B.C.)"
That's pretty funny. What a conveniently vague statement.

Here is something much more specific, and scientifically false, yet held even in the 20th century by the "infallible" pope.

"In an encyclical issued in 1950 Pope Pius XII stated,

When there is a question of another conjectural opinion, namely, of polygenism so-called, then the sons of the Church in no way enjoy such freedom. For the faithful in Christ cannot accept this view, which holds either that after Adam there existed men on this earth who did not receive their origin by natural generation from him, the first parent of all, or that Adam signifies some kind of multiple first parents; for it is by no means apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with what the sources of revealed truth and the acts of the magisterium of the Church teaches about original sin, which proceeds from a sin truly committed by one Adam, and which is transmitted to all by generation, and exists in each one as his own. (Humani Generis 37)"

In other words, even as late as 1950 Catholics "in no way enjoy such freedom" as to deny that all human beings are descendant from a single father, Adam.

January 06, 2017 5:11 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" "A demonstration of unique powers is evidence..."

Oh, I got it! Stardusty is asking for a "God of the Gaps" argument. Then, when you present one, he'll crow, "Aha! God of the Gaps! We'll just wait until science solves that one!""
No, you failed to understand anything in the writing.

A demonstration of unique powers is evidence that a being has those powers. If I throw a baseball and a radar measures its speed at 90mph that demonstrates I can throw at 90mph and says nothing about my moral goodness or a variety of other things.

" Oh, and (changing subject here) for the record, I now accept Adam and Eve to be historical figures."
I am not surprised.


January 06, 2017 5:19 PM

Cal Metzger said...

Stardusty: "In other words, even as late as 1950 Catholics "in no way enjoy such freedom" as to deny that all human beings are descendant from a single father, Adam."

I sometimes think of things this way:

How does one know that Prokop is typing something entirely false?

His fingers are moving.

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

"If you define god as a being who can create matter from nothing and we observe a being who on command creates matter from nothing then that is evidence for that limited formulation of god."

" Explain why this is evidence for a supernatural being,"
It's not.

" God, and not evidence for a very unique *natural* being that is not actually God."
I said "If you define god as a being who can create matter from nothing". That is a very limited definition of god.


" If it could be evidence for either, then how is this convincing scientific evidence for God?"
It is not scientific evidence for a generalized god.

You apparently did not read the post of January 06, 2017 5:04 PM

January 06, 2017 5:28 PM

B. Prokop said...

"In an encyclical issued in 1950 Pope Pius XII stated..."

And he is correct. That encyclical is one of the things I studied on the path to changing my mind about the historicity of Adam. Nothing Pope Pius XII wrote contradicts anything I posted above. He is in no way whatsoever advocating a woodenly literalist reading of the Scriptures. If you cannot understand that, then there is really no dealing with you. You need to master the most basic tools of reasoning before you can hope to sit at the adults' table in any serious discussion about these matters.

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger Cal Metzger said...
" How does one know that Prokop is typing something entirely false?

His fingers are moving."
I honestly did not see this one coming. I mean, the idea that Genesis has somehow been considered allegorical until modern Christian fundamentalism? Whaaaat???

A strange thing is he has a lot of historical info on his blog
http://celestialpilgrimage.blogspot.com/
so it is kind of weird that the folks are trying to pass off this bit of nonsense.


January 06, 2017 6:26 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" "In an encyclical issued in 1950 Pope Pius XII stated..."

And he is correct. That encyclical is one of the things I studied on the path to changing my mind about the historicity of Adam. Nothing Pope Pius XII wrote contradicts anything I posted above. He is in no way whatsoever advocating a woodenly literalist reading of the Scriptures."
More vague backpedaling. Adam is said to literally be the father of human kind. This is scientifically false. There is no single man from whom all of us are descendant.

The bible god as specified is thus scientifically falsified.


January 06, 2017 6:36 PM

Cal Metzger said...

Stardusty: "...so it is kind of weird that the folks are trying to pass off this bit of nonsense."

What you call "weird" is meat and potatoes around here, my friend.

SteveK said...

Dusty,
Let me rephrase your statement in your 5:04pm post and you tell me if this is a legitimate setup.

A demonstration of unique powers is evidence for those particular powers. If you define god as a being who can run 100 meters in 9.58 seconds and we observe a being who on command runs 100 meters in 9.58 seconds then that is evidence for that limited formulation of god.

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

SP:"More vague backpedaling. Adam is said to literally be the father of human kind. This is scientifically false. There is no single man from whom all of us are descendant."

Are you saying that science declares that it was literally impossible for the human race to have begun from a single couple? I've heard it was improbable, but not literally impossible. That would be news! Do you have a link?


Also I appreciate the discussion we've had on the other fork of this thread.

I can wait for the answer to this, but I'm hoping for a response:
Me:" Third, is this about inertia? If so, I'll need you to explain what you think the problem is."
SP:"Some people think a god is needed to keep everything moving. In that concept force must be continuously applied to maintain motion, which is an ancient and mistaken notion."
You use the term force, which of course has a specific technical meaning now, so it is wrong to use the word in that sense when referring to the physics of Aquinas' time. If you mean that the "ancient notion" held that *something* other than the moved was actually required to maintain motion then that is correct.
Do you think the modern notion is that *nothing* is required for something to maintain motion.


B. Prokop said...

"A strange thing is he has a lot of historical info on his blog"

Ought not to be surprising. I was a professional historian and cartographer for the Defense Intelligence Agency for many years. I was the lead researcher for a number of studies on Balkan and North African history for the Department of Defense, and am the author of the most authoritative account of the US invasion of Morocco, 1942 (GOALPOST, The Battle for Port Lyautey) ever assembled. (I later self-published an abridged version of the study after retirement.) In the 1980s, I authored the definitive NATO training course on Soviet combat river crossings (which covered actions going all the way back to 1943), and in the early 90s, I was co-author of a manual on counter theater ballistic missile defense that was (and for all I know still is) in use by US deployed forces worldwide. It was yours truly who mapped the final demarcation line between the warring parties in Bosnia (the "Dayton Line"). I organized all the data concerning Gulf War Syndrome for the Pentagon in the mid-90s. My little finger has probably forgotten more about historical methodology than your entire body has ever known.

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "My little finger has probably forgotten more about historical methodology than your entire body has ever known."

The statement above loses its grasp for authority when its accompanied by another statement Prokop made earlier on this thread:

Prokop): "We have libraries full of evidence of the veracity and historicity of the Gospels, and not one shred of evidence against them."

I can assure you that the statement above shows that you don't know enough about History to pass a decent college History course.

Authority on methodology indeed.




B. Prokop said...

"you don't know enough about History to pass a decent college History course"

Hmm.. True, it was wa-a-a-y back in the 1970s at Arizona State, but I did take and pass several such courses. 2 Semesters Medieval History, 2 semesters 19th Century European History, and 2 semesters Russian History. Oh, and I got "A"s in all of them.

There may have been others (I was not a History major), but those are all I can think of off the top of my head.

So much for what you think my statements show.

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger SteveK said...

" Dusty,
Let me rephrase your statement in your 5:04pm post and you tell me if this is a legitimate setup.

A demonstration of unique powers is evidence for those particular powers. If you define god as a being who can run 100 meters in 9.58 seconds and we observe a being who on command runs 100 meters in 9.58 seconds then that is evidence for that limited formulation of god."
By definition that is literally correct.

However I know of no actual person who defines any god merely by running skill. Typically the notion of a god is some sort of being with powers not known to be possessed by any human being.

In polytheism each god might be imagined to be fairly limited in power. In monotheism god is typically imagined to have a whole range of powers, is a time traveler, and inhabits some other sort of dimension.

I do not have the power of reading your mind to know what you are imagining god to be, so I try to be as specific as possible.


January 06, 2017 7:36 PM

SteveK said...

Since that setup is correct, we have scientific evidence for god and atheism is not a rational position to hold.

Stardusty Psyche said...

bmiller said...

" @Stardusty Psyche,

SP:"More vague backpedaling. Adam is said to literally be the father of human kind. This is scientifically false. There is no single man from whom all of us are descendant."

Are you saying that science declares that it was literally impossible for the human race to have begun from a single couple? I've heard it was improbable, but not literally impossible. That would be news! Do you have a link?"
All science is provisional. Science doesn't do proof.

But by all means, if you think you can show that Genesis is scientifically plausible not only in the Adam and Eve story, but the flood and all the rest you can have fun with all the folks on the YEC circuit. They have lots of links that always turn out to be junk science.

" Also I appreciate the discussion we've had on the other fork of this thread.

I can wait for the answer to this, but I'm hoping for a response:
Me:" Third, is this about inertia? If so, I'll need you to explain what you think the problem is."
SP:"Some people think a god is needed to keep everything moving. In that concept force must be continuously applied to maintain motion, which is an ancient and mistaken notion."
You use the term force, which of course has a specific technical meaning now, so it is wrong to use the word in that sense when referring to the physics of Aquinas' time. If you mean that the "ancient notion" held that *something* other than the moved was actually required to maintain motion then that is correct."
Call it what you want, but Aristotelian notions of motion are that "continuation of motion depends on continued action of a force", or force=resistance×speed.


" Do you think the modern notion is that *nothing* is required for something to maintain motion."
Ideally motion continues in a vacuum. For example, the planets in our solar system have been orbiting the sun for over 4 billion years, although their orbits decay due to some slowing, because the system is not ideal.

A vacuum is not nothing, despite the absurd equivocations of Krauss and company.

Or maybe you are not referring to the medium of travel, rather some other aspect of motion, not sure...


January 06, 2017 7:53 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

"A strange thing is he has a lot of historical info on his blog"
" My little finger has probably forgotten more about historical methodology than your entire body has ever known."
More's the pity, then, that you are partaking in this revisionist notion of Genesis as somehow not a literal story until the advent of modern fundamentalism.

Just preposterous, really, Mr. Historian. Newton, Kepler, and many others got nearly the same chronology as Ussher. This chronology was in annotations of the King James and Scofield Reference bibles.

The dates and events from Genesis as literal occurrences have been mainstream throughout Christianity and they have been scientifically falsified.


January 06, 2017 8:01 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

" Since that setup is correct, we have scientific evidence for god and atheism is not a rational position to hold."
Sure, now that you have me started up on your sort of thinking, I define myself to be god so the only rational thing for you to do is worship me.


January 06, 2017 10:19 PM

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

Me:"Are you saying that science declares that it was literally impossible for the human race to have begun from a single couple? I've heard it was improbable, but not literally impossible. That would be news! Do you have a link?"
SP:All science is provisional. Science doesn't do proof."
OK, thanks for the clarification.

SP:" Do you think the modern notion is that *nothing* is required for something to maintain motion."
Ideally motion continues in a vacuum. For example, the planets in our solar system have been orbiting the sun for over 4 billion years, although their orbits decay due to some slowing, because the system is not ideal.

A vacuum is not nothing, despite the absurd equivocations of Krauss and company.

Or maybe you are not referring to the medium of travel, rather some other aspect of motion, not sure..."
Excellent. Thank you much for the explanation of where you are coming from. I hope to explain where I'm coming from. Many useless disagreements start with definitions that both sides do not agree with.

I agree with you that when Krauss says that *nothing* is really *something* he is wrong. "Woo Monger"...I like that, but not given to colorful insults I would refrain from expressing that sentiment.

I can tell from our exchange that we have a disconnect on what you think "ancients" are saying as opposed to what "moderns" are saying.

For instance:
SP:"Call it what you want, but Aristotelian notions of motion are that "continuation of motion depends on continued action of a force", or force=resistance×speed."
I'm really confused by what you mean by this. Newtonian physics state that F=ma, Did you find something that asserted that Aristotelian physics state that force=resistance×speed?

Regardless. My question is why you think that anything at all in modern physics refutes any thing at all in Thomist metaphysics? You mentioned what I took to be inertia. Is that where you want to start?

Stardusty Psyche said...

bmiller said...
" "Woo Monger"...I like that, but not given to colorful insults I would refrain from expressing that sentiment."
Well, just when I was starting to feel useless at least my services as a hatchet man are appreciated by someone!

" SP:"Call it what you want, but Aristotelian notions of motion are that "continuation of motion depends on continued action of a force", or force=resistance×speed."
I'm really confused by what you mean by this. Newtonian physics state that F=ma, Did you find something that asserted that Aristotelian physics state that force=resistance×speed?"
I am not a Greek speaker or authority, but yes, from the history of science I have studied that is right. It is not a stupid idea at all since it seems to be supported by our observations of the real world and his ideas lasted some 2 millennia. Push something through sand or mud or water and you will find that formula pretty much holds up. The formula also matches the notion that continued force is needed for continued motion.

Wade through water, to increase speed you must increase force. Try the same in mud, which offers more resistance, so you will go slower for the same force, or have to push harder to go the same speed. It all pretty much works so I respect that these were not stupid or arbitrary ideas. It just turns out to not be as good of a model as Newton came up with many centuries later.


" Regardless. My question is why you think that anything at all in modern physics refutes any thing at all in Thomist metaphysics?"
Uhm, kind of everything. Actually, I have not done a study of Aquinas in detail to find all the flaws because every survey of his principles I have read is so poorly expressed and reasoned by modern standards that Aquinas seems like just a waste of time to me.

This is different than asserting he was stupid or unintelligent. He produced a huge body of work that at the time seemed to be profoundly reasoned. In modern terms it seems pretty worthless except for its historical value.

" You mentioned what I took to be inertia. Is that where you want to start?"
Sorry, I don't know what you mean. Newtonian mechanics is the model used by engineers to build almost every mechanical technological system we have. Ultimately it is also wrong but it works elegantly and accurately for nearly all practical purposes.


January 06, 2017 11:47 PM

Ilíon said...

"you don't know enough about History to pass a decent college History course"

"Hmm.. True, it was wa-a-a-y back in the 1970s at Arizona State, but I did take and pass several such courses. 2 Semesters Medieval History, 2 semesters 19th Century European History, and 2 semesters Russian History. ... There may have been others (I was not a History major)"

My senior year, I took a 500-level course in Byzantine history as an elective. Being what it was, everyone else in the class was a history major ... and I suspect that I knew more about Byzantine history going into the course than many of them did coming out. As I recall, the professor (who was Greek, with the accent and everything) really liked me as a student, because I was interested in and engaged with his topic, unlike most of the rest of the class.

Ilíon said...

some intellectually dishonest troll: "More vague backpedaling. Adam is said to literally be the father of human kind. This is scientifically false. There is no single man from whom all of us are descendant."

bmiller: "Are you saying that science declares that it was literally impossible for the human race to have begun from a single couple? I've heard it was improbable, but not literally impossible. That would be news! Do you have a link?"

The most important claim of 'modern evolutionary theory' (aka Darwinism) -- and the whole reason there is an entire intellectual industry dedicated to propping up the wizened thing -- is that mankind is directly biologically descended from apes ... and that ergo, God did not create us.

Of course, that ergo does not follow in actual logic, but only in DarLogic, which is a special blend of anti-logic.

But, here is the interesting thing about this claim of central importance ... even in DarLogic, the entire human race must be directly biologically descended from one single individual.

The other interesting thing about this claim is that in actual logic, rather than in DarLogic, the biology to get from there (apes) to here (humans) doesn't work absent intelligent knowledgeable intervention to get around the infertility problem.

B. Prokop said...

There's a pattern with Cal's denigration of others' credentials. First (over on another conversation), he belittles Dr. Reppert's academic standing. Then he says I couldn't possibly have passed a college level history class. But that's not the really interesting part of his attitude here. It's what he bases his judgements on.

For Cal, anyone who has concluded (even after exhaustive study) that the New Testament is an accurate account of real world events, then he must be some kind of ignoramus by definition. For Dr. Reppert to conclude that ID may just have a point, even considering that notion is grounds (in Cal's worldview) to label him incompetent to teach anyone about anything.

So it's not really about knowledge, or methodology, or credentials, or one's achievements... it's about ideology. If you're an atheist, then you're intelligent. (I'm surprised Cal isn't trying to revive that laughable term "Brights".) If you're a Christian, you must be a rube.

SteveK said...

"Sure, now that you have me started up on your sort of thinking,"

It's not my way of thinking, it's yours. The setup is legitimate, you said. Don't ever say there's no scientific evidence for god. Whether you remain an atheist is up to you, but lacking belief in god is dumb at this point.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Ilíon said...

" The most important claim of 'modern evolutionary theory' (aka Darwinism) -- and the whole reason there is an entire intellectual industry dedicated to propping up the wizened thing -- is that mankind is directly biologically descended from apes ... and that ergo, God did not create us."
Ergo, rather, the bible story is scientifically false.

" Of course, that ergo does not follow in actual logic, but only in DarLogic, which is a special blend of anti-logic."
You can still speculate a god pushes molecules about every time an ape had sex to nudge evolution in his preferred way, if that makes you feel any better somehow.

" But, here is the interesting thing about this claim of central importance ... even in DarLogic, the entire human race must be directly biologically descended from one single individual."
You obviously do not understand the basics of how populations evolve. You have it back to front.


" The other interesting thing about this claim is that in actual logic, rather than in DarLogic, "
I am sensing that you reject Darwinian evolution? Oh geeze, we have a live one!

"the biology to get from there (apes) to here (humans) doesn't work absent intelligent knowledgeable intervention to get around the infertility problem."
What, did you pick up "infertility problem" from some creationist site? Ok, hang on, google me up Scotty...

...darn, didn't find anything on the term. Is it on AIG by any chance? Just wondering.


January 07, 2017 5:22 AM

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "For Cal, anyone who has concluded (even after exhaustive study) that the New Testament is an accurate account of real world events, then he must be some kind of ignoramus by definition."

I'd say it's more a function of biased thinking.

Prokop: "So it's not really about knowledge, or methodology, or credentials, or one's achievements... it's about ideology. If you're an atheist, then you're intelligent. (I'm surprised Cal isn't trying to revive that laughable term "Brights".) If you're a Christian, you must be a rube."

False. It really is about methodology. It's about consistency, avoiding hypocrisy, and adopting skepticism, intellectual humility, and constantly testing what one knows against real-world experience. It's both that hard and that simple.

So, for instance, when one tries to pass off a laughably false claim:

Prokop: "Orthodox Christian (and Jewish) scriptural interpretation was traditionally highly allegorical and interpretive since Apostolic times. It wasn't until until the late 19th Century in the United States that a fundamentalist, literalist reading of The Bible arose as a recent development, and even today is held by only an insignificant minority of Christians worldwide."

and then that person resorts to claims of authority in order to pass off this claim:

Prokop: "My little finger has probably forgotten more about historical methodology than your entire body has ever known."

then pointing out the holes in the claims of this supposed authority is entirely appropriate.

Btw, it not only seems possible, but likely, that you have forgotten what you learned so long ago about historical methodology. Which is why my point still stands -- that if you tried to hold to your claim below as part of a historical analysis, any decent History teacher would fail you. The fact that you have possibly forgotten all this doesn't make you like any more of a historical authority; it shows that you have exempted yourself from being taken seriously as one.

Prokop: "We have libraries full of evidence of the veracity and historicity of the Gospels, and not one shred of evidence against them."



Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" So it's not really about knowledge, or methodology, or credentials, or one's achievements... it's about ideology. If you're an atheist, then you're intelligent. "
By strict definition a baby is an atheist but in adults atheism and intelligence are positively correlated, yes.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201005/the-real-reason-atheists-have-higher-iqs

"( If you're a Christian, you must be a rube."
If you are a Christian a segment of your brain is more prone to irrationality than if you were and atheist. That does not make you generally a rube necessarily, but there is a correlation.


January 07, 2017 6:57 AM

B. Prokop said...

Me: "Orthodox Christian (and Jewish) scriptural interpretation was traditionally highly allegorical and interpretive since Apostolic times. ... We have libraries full of evidence of the veracity and historicity of the Gospels, and not one shred of evidence against them."

I stand by every word of both those statements, and am ready, willing, and able to defend them (and their corollaries).

You: "If you are a Christian a segment of your brain is more prone to irrationality than if you were and atheist."

Thank you for providing me with a good laugh on this otherwise dreary, snow/rain/"wintry mix" morning.

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

"Sure, now that you have me started up on your sort of thinking,"

" It's not my way of thinking, it's yours. The setup is legitimate, you said. Don't ever say there's no scientific evidence for god. Whether you remain an atheist is up to you, but lacking belief in god is dumb at this point."
Which god? That is why I try to be specific. There is no scientific evidence for a deistic god. Various bible stories are scientifically false, making that description of god scientifically false. There is no scientific evidence for god as described by virtually all people who call themselves theists.

I can define a block of sugar to be salt and then say salt tastes sweet but to what benefit? There is your scientifically evidenced god, a mere inversion of words.


January 07, 2017 7:35 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger B. Prokop said...

" Me: "Orthodox Christian (and Jewish) scriptural interpretation was traditionally highly allegorical and interpretive since Apostolic times. ... We have libraries full of evidence of the veracity and historicity of the Gospels, and not one shred of evidence against them."

I stand by every word of both those statements, and am ready, willing, and able to defend them (and their corollaries)."
It's just a vague, off topic, generalization. A smokescreen. A diversion. An irrelevancy.

I provided specific examples of aspects of the bible that have been taken literally throughout Christianity and are scientifically false.

All you are doing is blowing smoke.


January 07, 2017 10:08 AM

SteveK said...

Dusty
"Which god?"

The one identified in the set up you said was legitimate. Are you really that dense?
The main takeaway here is that no atheist can say there is no scientific evidence for god, except the ignorant and dishonest atheists.

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

" Dusty
"Which god?"

The one identified in the set up you said was legitimate. Are you really that dense?"
Ok, that puts you in an minority of 1 in your definition of god. If that somehow makes you feel like you have made some kind of valuable point then you can mutter that to yourself inside your little echo chamber.

There is no scientific evidence for god as defined by virtually all people who consider themselves to be theists.


January 07, 2017 10:51 AM

B. Prokop said...

"There is no scientific evidence for [G]od"

So? You yourself posted earlier that God was outside the realm of science. That being the case, one ought not expect there to be "scientific evidence" for (or against) Him.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" "There is no scientific evidence for [G]od"

So?"
So now SteveK is on about this silly definitional slight of hand, as though it adds something of merit to the discussion, which clearly it does not.


"You yourself posted earlier that God was outside the realm of science."
With respect to the cosmological argument, yes, that sort of deistic god is just idle speculation constructed to be non-falsifiable.

I clarified that because "god" is a highly ambiguous word. If one wishes to discuss it rationally then the details of the particular speculation need to be enumerated or the discussion goes haywire due to a mismatch in definitions.

If I mean one thing by "god" and you mean something else by "god" the conversation cannot converge on a solution even in principle. Hence, I try to define terms at the outset or clarify them later, so sue me.

" That being the case, one ought not expect there to be "scientific evidence" for (or against) Him."
For Yahweh that is not true. Yahweh is purported to have acted in the physical world on our timeline. Maybe he is out there bouncing around some other dimension or something but he is described in the bible as having done some major stuff right here on Earth, and at some very specific times.

That puts Yahweh in the realm of science, and science has falsified Yahweh as described in the bible. The god of the bible is scientifically false.


January 07, 2017 11:40 AM

Ilíon said...

I wonder whether people's heads would explode if they ever tried to wrap their minds around the fact, and its implications, that science doesn't deal in truth.

SteveK said...

Dusty
The relevant point for you is that there is scientific evidence for god, which means atheism is untenable.

The interesting question going forward is will you stop identifying as an atheist, or will you continue to deny the scientific facts?

Cal Metzger said...

stevek: "The relevant point for you is that there is scientific evidence for god..."

Sure there is.

SteveK said...

And that will be my last comment in this thread. I'm actually quite surprised that Dusty didn't try to weasel out somehow. I won't be replying to any new comments here.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Ilíon said...

" I wonder whether people's heads would explode if they ever tried to wrap their minds around the fact, and its implications, that science doesn't deal in truth."
It has often been said that science does not tell us what is true, rather, it tells us what is false.

But then, what is truth? A non-trivial question.


January 07, 2017 11:56 AM

B. Prokop said...

It certainly was not trivial for Pilate. Fine company you keep there.

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

" Dusty
The relevant point for you is that there is scientific evidence for god, "
Which god? Some silly physical object you have simply labeled "god"

Ok, I have a fairy doll, so there is scientific evidence for fairies and to deny fairies is untenable because I define that doll to be a fairy and there is scientific evidence for that doll.

How absurd.

" The interesting question going forward is will you stop identifying as an atheist,"
Will you stop identifying as an afairyest in stark contrast to the scientific facts? Tick tock.


January 07, 2017 11:59 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...
" I'm actually quite surprised that Dusty didn't try to weasel out somehow."
Why is that surprising? I argue on the merits.

Joe H wanted to debate me. If by "debate" he means a contest where the object is to convince the audience of who can score the most points in a short period of time wherein the technique of intentionally smuggling in fallacies is considered admirable, then no, not interested.

I proposed that if he had a format in mind that would allow for the thoughtful exchange of ideas with the intent of arriving at truth using sound arguments then I would consider it.

I heard nothing back from him thereafter so I it seems he is interested in the former, not the latter.


January 07, 2017 12:11 PM

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