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

@Stardusty Psyche,

Regarding "Woo Monger".
I have to give credit for a well crafted slur. As long as it's not directed at me of course :-)

SP:"The formula also matches the notion that continued force is needed for continued motion."
OK, I did a google search for "aristotle definition of force" and found the author of the first link using the formula.
He added "(though none of these quantities were unambiguously defined)". I thought you were claiming that Aristotle explicitly gave us that formula.
But I'm trying to get some specific understanding of the objection in your quoted remark.
It seems you are saying something like this:

"Aristotle held that continued *force* is needed to keep an object in continued motion.
Aristotle was wrong on this because Newtonian physics says something different."

What do you think Newtonian physics says is needed to keep an object in continued motion?
Nothing? It moves itself?
Those options would contradict the First Way, but I disagree that Newtonian physics indicates these are possibilities.

Me:" You mentioned what I took to be inertia. Is that where you want to start?"
SP:"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."
Right. Let me try to frame where I'm coming from.
There are certain basic assumptions that all forms of western physics start with from Aristotle to Einstein. The arguments about different physical realizations resulting from these basic assumptions are what are usually in dispute, not the underlying assumptions.
The assumptions include:Things really exist, things really change, things don't just change themselves, the universe is intelligible, logic allows us to understand the universe, etc.
Aristotelian physics as well as Newtonian physics both operate under the same assumptions. Some aspects of both theories were found to be internally inconsistent. Neither intended to violate those basic assumptions.

Whether you realize it or not, in order to refute the First Way, you would have to violate one or more of these basic assumptions. If you think otherwise, let's have that discussion.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" It certainly was not trivial for Pilate. Fine company you keep there."
Guilt by association fallacy.

1. I consider the question of what truth is to be non-trivial.
2. Pilate considered the question of what truth is to be non-trivial.
3. Pilate was a bad man.
4. Therefore, I am a bad man.


January 07, 2017 12:31 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger bmiller said...

" What do you think Newtonian physics says is needed to keep an object in continued motion?
Nothing? It moves itself?"
No additional force is required for a moving object to stay in motion.

The question "Does it move itself?" contains the implicit presupposition that an object requires some sort of force to maintain motion, so if not an external force then it would have to be a force applied by itself, which would be a sort of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, an apparently nonsensical assertion.


" Those options would contradict the First Way, but I disagree that Newtonian physics indicates these are possibilities."
1.Whenever something undergoes change, it is caused to do so by something.
2.Nothing can be the cause of its own change, since something cannot have a quality both potentially and actually at the same time.
3.Whenever something changes, this change must have been brought about by something other than that thing. (follows from 1,2)
4.The chain connecting things which change and things which initiate the changes cannot be infinite.
C.There is a first mover, which initiates change but is not itself changed. (follows from 3,4)

I hit the cue ball with my cue stick. Kinetic energy is transferred to the cue ball as it is accelerated per f=ma. The cue ball hits the 8 ball and kinetic energy is transferred from the cure ball to the 8 ball, accelerating the 8 ball and negatively accelerating the cue ball.

On an ideal billiard table all the balls will keep bouncing around without losing speed due to friction.

So, you might call me the first mover in this limited sense. But the balls do not violate anything in the first way.

Your error seems to be in thinking the cause must be continuously applied from the outside. That was also the error of Aristotle. It is intuitive. Newton showed that notion to be incorrect.


" Right. Let me try to frame where I'm coming from.
There are certain basic assumptions that all forms of western physics start with from Aristotle to Einstein. The arguments about different physical realizations resulting from these basic assumptions are what are usually in dispute, not the underlying assumptions.
The assumptions include:Things really exist, things really change, things don't just change themselves, the universe is intelligible, logic allows us to understand the universe, etc."
In science those are provisional postulates, understood to be unproved and only asserted because they seem reasonable. They are not assumed in the sense of being considered necessarily true.


" Whether you realize it or not, in order to refute the First Way, you would have to violate one or more of these basic assumptions."
So does god, hence the great existential riddle unsolved.

God has no explanatory power in this. God is merely an ad hoc definition of a speculated unknown.


January 07, 2017 12:54 PM

Ilíon said...

"Regarding "Woo Monger".
I have to give credit for a well crafted slur. As long as it's not directed at me of course :-)
"

Derivative

Cal Metzger said...

SteveK: "And that will be my last comment in this thread."

I believe this will be the finest thing you ever write. If only it were true.

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop "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)."

The fact that you think anyone could effectively defend those two statements says all we need to know about your critical thinking skills and your grasp on reality.

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

Me:" What do you think Newtonian physics says is needed to keep an object in continued motion?
Nothing? It moves itself?"
SP:"No additional force is required for a moving object to stay in motion.

The question "Does it move itself?" contains the implicit presupposition that an object requires some sort of force to maintain motion, so if not an external force then it would have to be a force applied by itself, which would be a sort of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, an apparently nonsensical assertion."

"SP:"On an ideal billiard table all the balls will keep bouncing around without losing speed due to friction."

OK, thanks for your example of continuous motion. The examples of someone slogging through water and mud seemed to be irrelevant for continuous motion.

Let me respond to your billiard table example.
First, frictionless ideal pool tables and balls do not actually exist apart from everything else in the universe. But let that pass for now.

Second you seem to think that Newtonian physics say that nothing is responsible for an object's continuous motion after the first destabilizing force is applied and removed. But Newtonian physics say that *inertia* is responsible for that continued motion, not *nothing*. Newton should not be listed among the "Woo Mongers" in my opinion.

So, in both cases, Aristotelian and Newtonian, *something actually existing* is responsible for the motion you are referring to. If inertia was not actually existing, it could not affect anything, right? I've seen you mention something along these lines before regarding a different subject.

The universe as a whole and everything in it is changing this very moment. Nothing changes itself and all things that change require some actual thing to change it. Per se causual series cannot go to infinity (I've seen you agree to this). The only logical solution to terminate the series is in an unchanged changer. This everyone understands to be God.


SP:"In science those are provisional postulates, understood to be unproved and only asserted because they seem reasonable. They are not assumed in the sense of being considered necessarily true."
Hmm. Seems like you're preparing to dump science if it comes up with a conclusion you don't like. That's OK, but it seems that's what you've been accusing others of.

Me:" Whether you realize it or not, in order to refute the First Way, you would have to violate one or more of these basic assumptions."
SP:"So does god, hence the great existential riddle unsolved."

I wasn't expecting the "you're wrong, but I'm not going to tell you why" defense. Would you like to explain why you think the First Way argument is invalid or unsound?

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

@Ilíon,

Ilíon:
""Regarding "Woo Monger".
I have to give credit for a well crafted slur. As long as it's not directed at me of course :-)"

Derivative"

Hey Ilíon I didn't mean to slight your craftsmanship. You're a master :-)

B. Prokop said...

"The fact that you think anyone could effectively defend those two statements says all we need to know about your critical thinking skills and your grasp on reality."

And you are 100 percent correct! It says that I display finely honed critical thinking and have a firm grasp on reality. Yup, that "all [you] need to know".

Thank you for clarifying that. It shows that we can actually agree on something!

Stardusty Psyche said...

Blogger bmiller said...

" Second you seem to think that Newtonian physics say that nothing is responsible for an object's continuous motion after the first destabilizing force is applied and removed. But Newtonian physics say that *inertia* is responsible for that continued motion, not *nothing*."
That remains an open question. Inertia can be thought of as a property of matter, like charge, as opposed to an existent thing unto itself. What the mechanism is for this phenomenon is unclear, but the phenomenon is observed and well defined.

" So, in both cases, Aristotelian and Newtonian, *something actually existing* is responsible for the motion you are referring to. If inertia was not actually existing, it could not affect anything, right? "
Depends what you mean by "exist". An election exists. It has a number of properties including charge, spin, mass, and wavelength. The phenomenon of inertia is associated with the electron's mass. So, of these properties which of them exist? Could there be spin of nothing? That seems absurd. Could charge simply exist on its own? That does not seem reasonable either. We tend to think of objects as existing and possessing a variety of descriptive and behavioral properties but these properties do not exist as independent physical objects themselves.
.

" The universe as a whole and everything in it is changing this very moment. Nothing changes itself and all things that change require some actual thing to change it. Per se causual series cannot go to infinity (I've seen you agree to this). The only logical solution to terminate the series is in an unchanged changer."
Thus the great unsolved existential riddle. Both choices are illogical
1. Change is eternal in the past arising from an infinite regress of change, but an actual infinite is illogical.
2. There is an unchanged changer, but this unchanged changer is now the infinite thing, and it must be an actual existent thing else it is absolutely nothing at all, so we are right back to the same illogic.


" This everyone understands to be God.""
This is literally false because I am somebody and I do not understand this to be god. If there is an eternal thing that can give rise to matter/energy then it need only be an unknown sort of stuff with none of the anthropomorphized qualities of any of the imagined gods.

Else, the evidence of conservation is correct so matter/energy are eternal even though that violates our logic, in which case the fault is in ourselves, not in our stars.

January 07, 2017 3:53 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...


SP:"In science those are provisional postulates, understood to be unproved and only asserted because they seem reasonable. They are not assumed in the sense of being considered necessarily true."
" Hmm. Seems like you're preparing to dump science if it comes up with a conclusion you don't like."
I am prepared to dump any provisional postulate that is shown to be in error, absolutely!!! But that is integral to science, in fact, the essence of science. Scientifically minded people are willing to say "I don't know" and are willing to change when old idea are found to be erroneous.


" Me:" Whether you realize it or not, in order to refute the First Way, you would have to violate one or more of these basic assumptions."
SP:"So does god, hence the great existential riddle unsolved."

I wasn't expecting the "you're wrong, but I'm not going to tell you why" defense. Would you like to explain why you think the First Way argument is invalid or unsound?"
It merely states the riddle without solving it. The last line is an ad-hoc definition and literally a false statement.

" This everyone understands to be God." is one of the ugliest lies and preposterous ad-hoc non-answers out there. Aquinas ends each argument this way. His form is:
State riddle.
Blurt out that there is an invisible magic man in the sky everybody knows solves the riddle.

How absurd.


January 07, 2017 3:53 PM

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

SP:"That remains an open question. Inertia can be thought of as a property of matter, like charge, as opposed to an existent thing unto itself. What the mechanism is for this phenomenon is unclear, but the phenomenon is observed and well defined."

Regardless of how it can be an open question whether something exists or not and "is observed and well defined" Newton considered it *something*. So Newton confirms the first premise of the First Way. Thank you Sir Isaac.

SP:"Thus the great unsolved existential riddle. Both choices are illogical
1. Change is eternal in the past arising from an infinite regress of change, but an actual infinite is illogical."
I think this is another point you are missing about the argument. It has nothing to do with the past. It is about what is happening this very moment. That is what "per se causal series means". I can see that you haven't taken this fact in yet. There is no unsolved riddle and no illogical choices.

Me:" This everyone understands to be God."
SP:"This is literally false because I am somebody and I do not understand this to be god."
Yeah I thought that would catch your attention. In context, Aquinas is instructing graduate Theology students and not just people off the street. So they would know the definition of God. He starts the demonstration with:
"I answer that, The existence of God can be proved in five ways."
and ends the demonstration with:
"and this everyone understands to be God."
You wouldn't have made it to this class. Maybe some day.

B. Prokop said...

"[Stardusty] wouldn't have made it to this class."

True dat.

Legion of Logic said...

I see they still don't understand the First Way argument. You guys have a lot of staying power.

Stardusty Psyche said...

bmiller said...
" Regardless of how it can be an open question whether something exists or not and "is observed and well defined" Newton considered it *something*. So Newton confirms the first premise of the First Way. Thank you Sir Isaac."
Newton is not a scientific authority, there are none. Newton has actually been shown to be wrong about a number of things, but he obviously made some enormous progress.

" SP:"Thus the great unsolved existential riddle. Both choices are illogical
1. Change is eternal in the past arising from an infinite regress of change, but an actual infinite is illogical."
I think this is another point you are missing about the argument. It has nothing to do with the past. It is about what is happening this very moment."
Everything is bouncing around hitting everything else at this very moment, that isn't a problem. The problem is the first mover, what got it all started. That is what calls for an infinite regress of movers, which is illogical.

" There is no unsolved riddle and no illogical choices."
You don't understand the rudiments of the infinite regress problem, quite apparently.


" Me:" This everyone understands to be God."
SP:"This is literally false because I am somebody and I do not understand this to be god."
Yeah I thought that would catch your attention. In context, Aquinas is instructing graduate Theology students and not just people off the street. So they would know the definition of God. He starts the demonstration with:
"I answer that, The existence of God can be proved in five ways."
and ends the demonstration with:
"and this everyone understands to be God."
How absurd, this is mere begging the question.

" You wouldn't have made it to this class. "
I would have stood up and said the emperor has no clothes. This is idiotic.

In the 13th century that was just the state of groupthink. Today that is the reasoning of a child.

All he does is state the problem and blurt out goddunnit. Ludicrous.


January 07, 2017 7:32 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said...

" I see they still don't understand the First Way argument. You guys have a lot of staying power."
Aquinas had no proofs. All he did was state the problem and then blurt out goddunnit.

In that day I suppose that seemed impressive. Today it is preposterous.

No human being has published a solution to the great existential riddle.


January 07, 2017 8:24 PM

Legion of Logic said...

"In that day I suppose that seemed impressive. Today it is preposterous."

I can see how someone who says there is zero evidence for God would think so.

I'm still not convinced you understand the argument, the way you keep harping on the very last part, even though its context was explained to you. The First Mover concept is sound. Nothing in modern science or philosophy has refuted it convincingly.

Agency as a first mover is far more sensible to believe than "justbecause".

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said...

"In that day I suppose that seemed impressive. Today it is preposterous."

" I can see how someone who says there is zero evidence for God would think so."
The "proof" is just a non-sequitur. All Aquinas did was blurt out "goddunnit" after stating the problem. That is what is so preposterous about the "proof". It proves nothing. All it does is state the problem and then slap on an idle speculation at the end.

" I'm still not convinced you understand the argument, the way you keep harping on the very last part,"
That is the key where Aquinas shifts from stating the problem in the form of a well constructed argument to simply slapping on a speculation.


" even though its context was explained to you. "
I know the problem. It can be reworded in various ways. Irrespective of the wording the problem is that an actual infinite is illogical. An infinite regress of causes is illogical. That is the riddle for which god has no explanatory power.


"The First Mover concept is sound. "
No it is not because the first mover is not exempt by definition. Merely defining a magical being that in some unexplained way makes the irrational become rational is not a sound argument.

"Nothing in modern science or philosophy has refuted it convincingly."
The flying spaghetti monster refutes defining god as the first mover. Any equally preposterous speculation refutes god as the first mover. Simply speculating that superstuff created matter/energy refutes god as the first mover.

The very attempt to define god as outside of time refutes itself because god is said to have made a decision to create and a decision is a time sequence event.

" Agency as a first mover is far more sensible to believe than "justbecause"."
Why does god exist? "justbecause". The god speculation solves nothing.

Where does this "agency" reside? "justbecause"
What is the structure of this agency? "justbecause"
Since this thing that gives rise to agency exists it must be some thing, so why is it exempt from the illogic of an infinite regress? "justbecause"


January 08, 2017 5:19 AM

Legion of Logic said...

"No it is not because the first mover is not exempt by definition."

You just proved you don't understand the argument. The rest of your latest post also reflects this.

I'll hop back in, perhaps, once I see some evidence that the argument is understood. So feel free to not respond to this, I'm dropping out for now.

Cal Metzger said...

Stardusty: "This everyone understands to be God." is one of the ugliest lies and preposterous ad-hoc non-answers out there. Aquinas ends each argument this way. His form is: State riddle. Blurt out that there is an invisible magic man in the sky everybody knows solves the riddle. How absurd."

Yup.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "You just proved you don't understand the argument. The rest of your latest post also reflects this. / I'll hop back in, perhaps, once I see some evidence that the argument is understood. So feel free to not respond to this, I'm dropping out for now."

Perhaps you can cut and paste the part of the argument that explains the part of the argument that you think avoids the problem as described?

Doesn't it seem odd that no one seems to ever be able to locate the part where Aquinas gets around the (obvious) problem as described?

Is a possible explanation that it's easier to repeat the claim that Aquinas argues convincingly than it is to find where Aquinas's argument actually avoids its obvious deficiencies? (Ad hoc, false, non sequitur, etc.?)



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

"Aquinas ends each argument this way."

He most certainly does not!

The conclusion of his various arguments ends immediately prior to the words you have quoted. By the time he writes "This everyone understands to be God" he has already stated his conclusion. The sentence is nothing more than an embellishment, comparable to an illuminated capital letter in a Medieval manuscript*, and is in no way to be construed as the final step of any argument.

* Another way of thinking about it would be to compare it to a news anchorman signing off with a familiar phrase, such as Walter Cronkite's "And that's the way it is ..."

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: " By the time he writes "This everyone understands to be God" he has already stated his conclusion."

So you and I agree that the First Way does not conclude that a deity must exist?

If you don't agree, then please copy and paste the part of the argument where this conclusion is, in your words, "already stated."

B. Prokop said...

"So you and I agree"

No, I am simply pointing out that Aquinas has already made that conclusion prior to stating "This everyone understands to be God". The concluding line of the argument is "Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other."

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said...

" "No it is not because the first mover is not exempt by definition."

You just proved you don't understand the argument. The rest of your latest post also reflects this."
Translation, you can't explain the argument in a way that makes sense because it does not make sense, and isn't even an argument, just an ad-hoc assertion on the last line. It is nothing more than a non-sequitur.

The problem is stated well enough by Aquinas, which is nothing unique, since the problem has been stated by many for millennia.

Aquinas offers no solution, which is what you do not understand.


" I'll hop back in, perhaps, once I see some evidence that the argument is understood. "
You don't understand that the problem is easy to state but nobody has found a solution.

You picked up your marbles and went home because you do not have the intellectual courage to face these facts.


January 08, 2017 8:40 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

"So you and I agree"

" No, I am simply pointing out that Aquinas has already made that conclusion prior to stating "This everyone understands to be God". The concluding line of the argument is "Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other.""
Which is of course supercalifragilisticexpialidocousum, which will do just as well then, correct?

Or how about superstuff? Any stuff will do just fine as long as it is ad hoc defined as ultra special stuff that is exempt from logical analysis.

This is superstuff, mind you, not just any old regular stuff. This stuff is eternal but does not suffer from the problem of infinite regress because I say so. Or maybe it is timeless but acts in a sequence of time and that is not self contradictory because I say so.

Gee, inventing irrational things to pretend I solved a riddle is so much fun, let's just call it god and support the original claim, that of proving god exists!


January 08, 2017 10:49 AM

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "No, I am simply pointing out that Aquinas has already made that conclusion prior to stating "This everyone understands to be God". The concluding line of the argument is "Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other."

As has been pointed out earlier, this is not a conclusion for a deity; all Aquinas does there is state the problem, one that is NOT resolved by his preceding premises.

Is a possible explanation that it's easier to repeat the claim that Aquinas argues convincingly than it is to find where Aquinas's argument actually avoids its obvious deficiencies? (Ad hoc, false, non sequitur, etc.?)

Because that's the best explanation I have for those who hand wave, "Aquinas!" without further explication whenever these questions are raised.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

"Aquinas ends each argument this way."

He most certainly does not!

" The conclusion of his various arguments ends immediately prior to the words you have quoted. By the time he writes "This everyone understands to be God" he has already stated his conclusion."
Really? Every online source I have found says the 5 ways are intended to be proofs of the existence of god, but by your lights that is not true! You are not even asserting this as a deistic argument. By your lights Aquinas was only making an argument for an inanimate stuff of some kind that can be a cause but was not itself caused.

Your apologetic is novel indeed.

So let's just re-number what everybody else has gotten so very wrong
1.Our senses prove that some things are in motion.
2,Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion.
3.Only an actual motion can convert a potential motion into an actual motion.
4.Nothing can be at once in both actuality and potentiality in the same respect (i.e., if both actual and potential, it is actual in one respect and potential in another).
5.Therefore nothing can move itself.
6.Therefore each thing in motion is moved by something else.
7.The sequence of motion cannot extend ad infinitum.
8.Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other;
9.and this everyone understands to be God.

The conclusion then is at 8. Line 9 is just an aside, a mere color commentary like the signature signoff line of a TV news anchor.

So, Prokop is an atheist after all! Welcome to our club, bro, and don't forget your instruments of debauchery at our next underground meeting...

Until then was the first mover always at rest or always in motion prior to causing our first motion?

If the first mover was always at rest then line 8 violates line 3 and line 5.
If the first mover was always in motion then line 8 violates line 7.

The argument is thus self contradictory before even getting to the Cronkite signoff throwaway line mentioning that insignificant aspect of Aquinas's writing, god.


January 08, 2017 10:22 AM

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

SP:"Newton is not a scientific authority, there are none. Newton has actually been shown to be wrong about a number of things, but he obviously made some enormous progress."
The challenge was that Newton refuted Aristotle's First Way. In fact he affirmed it. I consider this challenge closed.

SP:"Everything is bouncing around hitting everything else at this very moment, that isn't a problem. The problem is the first mover, what got it all started. That is what calls for an infinite regress of movers, which is illogical."
The argument does not assume that anything "got it all started". Aquinas assumed for the sake of argument that the universe was eternal. It appears you want to argue the Kalam argument. This is not the Kalam argument.

Me:" There is no unsolved riddle and no illogical choices."
SP:"You don't understand the rudiments of the infinite regress problem, quite apparently."
The riddle you are posing simply does not relate to the First Way argument for the reasons I've stated. It may help for you to google "causal series ordered per se" to understand what I'm talking about.

SP:"This is literally false because I am somebody and I do not understand this to be god."
SP:"How absurd, this is mere begging the question."
Doing proofs in geometry class must have been pretty exciting for such students.

B. Prokop said...

"Welcome to our club"

You're too late! If you recall, I've already welcomed you to ours.

Stardusty Psyche said...

bmiller said...
" SP:"Everything is bouncing around hitting everything else at this very moment, that isn't a problem. The problem is the first mover, what got it all started. That is what calls for an infinite regress of movers, which is illogical."
The argument does not assume that anything "got it all started"."
Yes it does, that is the whole point. Aquinas just reformulates the problem of an actual infinite regress in several different wordings, then uses special pleading to assert a special first something.

He concludes in each formulation that the solution to the problem of an actual infinite regress is a special something that is by definition exempt from the illogic of an actual infinity, the first mover or the uncaused cause or the necessary being.


" Aquinas assumed for the sake of argument that the universe was eternal. It appears you want to argue the Kalam argument. This is not the Kalam argument."
I used the word "everything" because the first 3 asserted proofs of god are just reformulations of the problem of an actual infinity. The argument from contingency is essentially a Kalam argument.

Many people have reformulated the problem and called it many different things. They all boil down to one fundamental logical problem, that of an actual infinite regress.

You can tinker with the terms and the analogies and the formulations all you like, in the end it always comes back to the same unsolved riddle, that of the irrationality of an actual infinite regress in conjuncion with the irrationality of creation ex nihilo.


" Me:" There is no unsolved riddle and no illogical choices."
SP:"You don't understand the rudiments of the infinite regress problem, quite apparently."
The riddle you are posing simply does not relate to the First Way argument for the reasons I've stated."
Of course it does. The first way is just a restatement of the impossibility of an actual infinite regress. See line 7 above.


"It may help for you to google "causal series ordered per se" to understand what I'm talking about."
It would help if you understand that arguing "per se" is just a way of saying "because I said so" or "it just is" or "because I simply define to be" or "it just always was". "Per se" is just special pleading for a super something that can violate the principles of logic.


" SP:"This is literally false because I am somebody and I do not understand this to be god."
SP:"How absurd, this is mere begging the question."
Doing proofs in geometry class must have been pretty exciting for such students."
Lines and polygons and circles and geometric solids are useful idealizations of tangible objects.

God is just a ghost story for the credulous masses and a lame attempt to push the problem back a step and hide it under convoluted obfuscating terminology.


January 08, 2017 2:56 PM

Cal Metzger said...

Apologist, thinking subconsciously: "If Aquinas's argument is actually terrible, then all I'd have to fall back on is the stuff in the bible, and a lot of it is all just kind of crazy and primitive and sort of embarrassing, and that would make me look back on how I've invested a lot of my life in these crazy stories, and I'd have to wonder if I'm really very smart or astute or as valuable and important as I've always identified as being. You know what, that would be DEVASTATING. So, no matter what, do not begin to ever, ever, ever admit that the emperor is not wearing any clothes, I mean, do not ever, ever, ever admit that Aquinas's supposedly sophisticated arguments are really just obviously AWFUL."
The same Apologist, writing Consciously: "You skeptics just don't understand Aquinas's super sophisticated arguments!"

B. Prokop said...

You want to know one reason why I have no fear that Cal, Stardusty, et.al, might be right and Aquinas wrong (besides the fact that Thomas Aquinas is quite possibly the Greatest Intellect ever to grace this planet, while Cal and Stardusty are...)? It's because Thomas speaks of The Lord God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. Cal and company have magic pink unicorns and "superstuff".

People! Is there really any contest here?

I'm done here. See you in newer OPs.

Legion of Logic said...

"Because that's the best explanation I have for those who hand wave, "Aquinas!" without further explication whenever these questions are raised."

It's been pointed out repeatedly that your rejection of the argument is the only hand-waving going on. Our failure to overcome your reluctance or inability to see it does not reflect poorly on Aquinas or us, which leads to this ridiculous post:

"Apologist, thinking subconsciously:....You skeptics just don't understand Aquinas's super sophisticated arguments!"

This embarrasing load of sheer nonsense does not apply to a single person here, and I doubt it applies to anyone in the entire world. I can't believe even you would post something that cringe-worthy.

The argument remains unrefuted despite your claims otherwise, but if you're just going to take your own doubts and project them onto your opponents, then there is literally nothing left to say.

grodrigues said...

@bmiller:

"The argument does not assume that anything "got it all started"."

Not only it does not assume such anywhere, it is as you point out, absolutely irrelevant to the argument itself since the First Way is not concerned with such things as beginnings; furthermore, Aquinas *explicitly argues* in a well known tract that it is impossible to prove by reason alone that the universe had a beginning -- something that anyone the least bit familiar with Aquinas knows.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "It's been pointed out repeatedly that your rejection of the argument is the only hand-waving going on."

Apologists agree it's easier to keep on apologizing. Imagine my surprise.

Legion: "Our failure to overcome your reluctance or inability to see it does not reflect poorly on Aquinas or us, which leads to this ridiculous post:"

What reflects poorly is the inescapable conclusion that apologists would rather pretend that the emperor is wearing clothes rather than admit that, as pointed out in so many ways by so many different people (and thanks to Stardusty for his incredible patience, focus, and relentless acuity here), the emperor is so obviously wearing none.

-----

Do you know what happens in Scientology? New and developing converts are promised that the answers are going to be revealed later, and they're super good, but first one has to prepare to receive this information. After investing countless hours, years, even decades, those who have left Scientology explain that the ultimate answers, the real ones, the good ones, are completely vapid and NOT what they were promised.

I wonder why this occurred to me just now.

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

SP:"Everything is bouncing around hitting everything else at this very moment, that isn't a problem. The problem is the first mover, what got it all started. That is what calls for an infinite regress of movers, which is illogical."
Me:"The argument does not assume that anything "got it all started"."
SP:"Yes it does, that is the whole point. Aquinas just reformulates the problem of an actual infinite regress in several different wordings, then uses special pleading to assert a special first something."
I don't believe I've seen a more clear example of the Straw Man fallacy.
You insist the argument is not "Everything is bouncing around hitting everything else at this very moment," but that is (although your's is a malformed interpretation) precisely what the argument is about. All people who understand the argument, know this fact.
Instead, you insist on attacking a different argument that I have no interest in discussing.

Me:"It may help for you to google "causal series ordered per se" to understand what I'm talking about."
SP:"It would help if you understand that arguing "per se" is just a way of saying "because I said so" or "it just is" or "because I simply define to be" or "it just always was". "Per se" is just special pleading for a super something that can violate the principles of logic."
This response of course indicates that you didn't google the phrase, or the entire phrase, or you didn't use quote marks so as to not get erroneous results. A "casual series order per se" is different from a "casual series ordered per accident". I think you have the second type of series in mind (although I could be wrong) instead of the first type of series which the First Way has in mind.

Me:"Doing proofs in geometry class must have been pretty exciting for such students."
SP:"Lines and polygons and circles and geometric solids are useful idealizations of tangible objects."
It's the structure of the proof that I'm referring to. Philosophical demonstration is the form of proof that Aquinas used. If one understands how the first is structured, one should he able to understand how the second is structured.

SP:"God is just a ghost story for the credulous masses and a lame attempt to push the problem back a step and hide it under convoluted obfuscating terminology."
Here is another ghost story:
Given:
Segment AD bisects segment BC.
Segment BC bisects segment AD.
Prove:
Triangles ABM and DCM are congruent.

OMG! Please stop the spooky obfuscating terminology! Boo!

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger B. Prokop said...

" You want to know one reason why I have no fear that Cal, Stardusty, et.al, might be right and Aquinas wrong (besides the fact that Thomas Aquinas is quite possibly the Greatest Intellect ever to grace this planet, while Cal and Stardusty are...)? It's because Thomas speaks of The Lord God Almighty,"
Red meat for the credulous.

" Creator of Heaven and Earth. Cal and company have magic pink unicorns and "superstuff"."

" People! Is there really any contest here?"
No, there isn't. At least superstuff is a minimum proposal for a speculative solution to the irrationality of an infinite regress. A being is unnecessary fluff, and a Christian god, in addition to being unnecessary fluff is logically incoherent owing to the attribution of mutually exclusive properties.


January 08, 2017 5:30 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said...

" The argument remains unrefuted despite your claims otherwise,"
Actually, I have pointed out how the argument refutes itself January 08, 2017 2:18 PM.

Also, parts of it suffer from false dichotomy.

Perhaps worst of all is the closing line is patently false and merely an ad hoc non-sequitur.

What do you folks have invested in some medieval guy and his terribly constructed arguments?

At least WL Craig has some modern updates and the benefit of formal education in logic and philosophy. He fails ultimately, but to demonstrate his failures one does not have the target rich environment Aquinas provides we skeptics.

I feel like I am debating somebody who still holds to Aristotelian physics. Yes, Aristotle was a great thinker in his day and very likely a damn sight more intelligent than I am. But I can stand on the shoulders of giants and dismantle his arguments with half my brain tied behind my back...

...just like I can with Aquinas.


January 08, 2017 5:45 PM

bmiller said...

@grodrigues,

"furthermore, Aquinas *explicitly argues* in a well known tract that it is impossible to prove by reason alone that the universe had a beginning"
Yes, exactly, thanks.
I'm glad you're following. Please let me know if I'm veering onto the path of dumbassery ;-)

Stardusty Psyche said...

grodrigues said...

" the First Way is not concerned with such things as beginnings; "
How ridiculous
7.The sequence of motion cannot extend ad infinitum.
8.Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other;

***First***

"furthermore, Aquinas *explicitly argues* in a well known tract that it is impossible to prove by reason alone that the universe had a beginning"
In the view of Aquinas our sequence of cause had a beginning, just as our sequence of motion had a beginning.

That beginning was caused by the uncaused cause, according to the arguments of Aquinas.

" -- something that anyone the least bit familiar with Aquinas knows."
Pot, meet kettle.


January 08, 2017 6:29 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger bmiller said...
" A "casual series order per se" is different from a "casual series ordered per accident".
Right, per se is in or of itself. The notion that something just has an intrinsic property. Hence, it is because I said so. It is because I define it to be so.

This is just vapid obfuscation to try to push the problem back a step, rebrand it, and hide it, while declaring a magic something that fixes all the irrationalities.

What do you have so invested in this medieval nonsense?


" Me:"Doing proofs in geometry class must have been pretty exciting for such students."
SP:"Lines and polygons and circles and geometric solids are useful idealizations of tangible objects."
It's the structure of the proof that I'm referring to. Philosophical demonstration is the form of proof that Aquinas used."
Fallaciously.


" SP:"God is just a ghost story for the credulous masses and a lame attempt to push the problem back a step and hide it under convoluted obfuscating terminology."
Here is another ghost story:
Given:
Segment AD bisects segment BC.
Segment BC bisects segment AD.
Prove:
Triangles ABM and DCM are congruent."
That would require the mutual acceptance between us of a number of postulates. In the field of geometry I suspect we are both prepared to provisionally accept the same set of postulates.

So what does this have to do with the obviously malformed arguments of Aquinas?

Why do you cling to this medieval nonsense? I mean, if you must adhere to nonsense wouldn't it be better to update your reference to a modern apologist who has addressed some of the more obvious defects of Aquinas?


January 08, 2017 7:33 PM

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

Me:" A "casual series order per se" is different from a "casual series ordered per accident".
SP:"Right, per se is in or of itself. The notion that something just has an intrinsic property. Hence, it is because I said so. It is because I define it to be so."
OK, that gets the notion entirely gets it wrong.
Let's take your example of you with the pool stick striking the cue ball.
Let's freeze time at that very moment. All other balls on the table are not moving. At that moment, the cue ball is in motion due to the stick which is in motion which is due to your arm which is in motion. All 3 are simultaneously in motion as part of the same act. This is considered a "casual series ordered per se".

The fact that you were caused by your parents who (theoretically) no longer exist who were caused by their parents who (theoretically) no longer exist etc. is considered a "casual series ordered per accident".

Arguing that the phrases *should* mean something else is irrelevant to the argument. Those are the definition of the terms as used.

The First Cause argument considers only what is happening "at this very moment" as I've maintained throughout. The series in question is a "casual series per se" as explained above. In this case, first is not used in a temporal sense as you maintain, but a in an atemporal hierarchical causal sense.

SP:"That would require the mutual acceptance between us of a number of postulates. In the field of geometry I suspect we are both prepared to provisionally accept the same set of postulates."
My point, of course, was that one would have to understand the terms and structure of argument used in the proof. Someone who had not taken geometry may consider the term "bisect" spooky, convoluted maybe even medieval which is especially scary. So criticizing an argument because one doesn't understand the terms is fallacious.

SP:"Why do you cling to this medieval nonsense?"
Geometry is attributed to Euclid who was not medieval.

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger bmiller said...

" Me:" A "casual series order per se" is different from a "casual series ordered per accident".
SP:"Right, per se is in or of itself. The notion that something just has an intrinsic property. Hence, it is because I said so. It is because I define it to be so."
OK, that gets the notion entirely gets it wrong.
Let's take your example of you with the pool stick striking the cue ball.
Let's freeze time at that very moment. All other balls on the table are not moving. At that moment, the cue ball is in motion due to the stick which is in motion which is due to your arm which is in motion. All 3 are simultaneously in motion as part of the same act. This is considered a "casual series ordered per se"."
Then the whole universe is a casual series ordered per se, since everything is in motion and continually colliding with adjacent things and continuously under the mutual force influence of various fields.


" The fact that you were caused by your parents who (theoretically) no longer exist who were caused by their parents who (theoretically) no longer exist etc. is considered a "casual series ordered per accident"."
Distinction without a difference. My parents were composed of particles that were and are part of an unbroken chain of causes and events.

This view is hopelessly simplistic, which is to be expected of a medieval writer.



" The First Cause argument considers only what is happening "at this very moment" as I've maintained throughout. The series in question is a "casual series per se" as explained above. In this case, first is not used in a temporal sense as you maintain, but a in an atemporal hierarchical causal sense."
There is no such thing as atemporal causality except as a fuzzy notion in the mind of a theist or the speculations of a few physicists who have drunk a bit too much kool-aid.


SP:"That would require the mutual acceptance between us of a number of postulates. In the field of geometry I suspect we are both prepared to provisionally accept the same set of postulates."
" My point, of course, was that one would have to understand the terms and structure of argument used in the proof. Someone who had not taken geometry may consider the term "bisect" spooky, convoluted maybe even medieval which is especially scary. So criticizing an argument because one doesn't understand the terms is fallacious."
Ok, your definitions of the terms are inherently defective. It is not that I want to redefine the words, it is that your definitions contain errors.


" SP:"Why do you cling to this medieval nonsense?"
Geometry is attributed to Euclid who was not medieval."
That was in reference to Aquinas, not geometry.


January 09, 2017 8:31 AM

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

SP:"Then the whole universe is a casual series ordered per se, since everything is in motion and continually colliding with adjacent things and continuously under the mutual force influence of various fields."
That's the gist of it. At any particular moment, (picture the example where we freeze time) there is a series of changers being changed by other changers. This series of things changing or being changed cannot go on to infinity. This requires something unchanged yet causing the instrumental causes in the series to change. The universe itself is changing so it cannot be that unchanged changer. Whatever else may be said of God, he is considered the primary and ultimate cause of all change in the universe. The Unchanged Changer.

SP:"Distinction without a difference. My parents were composed of particles that were and are part of an unbroken chain of causes and events."
There is much to discuss here, but for now, I'm sure would agree that your great-great-great grandfather was a cause of you coming to be, however, not in the sense of right at this very moment like above. That is the distinction between the 2 types of series.

SP:"Ok, your definitions of the terms are inherently defective. It is not that I want to redefine the words, it is that your definitions contain errors."
Which definitions are in error and how?

Me:"Geometry is attributed to Euclid who was not medieval."
SP:"That was in reference to Aquinas, not geometry."
Yes, but if the only reason medieval arguments are bad is because they are old, then Euclid's must be bad too.
The age of the argument is irrelevant to the argument and I'm sure you agree, right? Your logic book should list this type of fallacy as the genetic fallacy. I wish our discussion to remain relevant to the topic don't you?

Stardusty Psyche said...

bmiller said...
" SP:"Then the whole universe is a casual series ordered per se, since everything is in motion and continually colliding with adjacent things and continuously under the mutual force influence of various fields."
That's the gist of it. At any particular moment, (picture the example where we freeze time) there is a series of changers being changed by other changers. This series of things changing or being changed cannot go on to infinity. "
It is illogical but that is the core of the great existential riddle that god does nothing to solve.

Irrespective of the formulation the fundamental problem is the irrationality of an actual infinity. The speculation of god is just as irrational and therefor has no explanatory power.


"This requires something unchanged yet causing the instrumental causes in the series to change. "
Which is also irrational.


"The universe itself is changing so it cannot be that unchanged changer. "
You would first of all have to define "universe". If by "universe" you mean "our big bang" then you have a very limited concept of the word "universe".

"Whatever else may be said of God, he is considered the primary and ultimate cause of all change in the universe. The Unchanged Changer."
I can consider superstuff to be the unchanged changer, so what?


SP:"Distinction without a difference. My parents were composed of particles that were and are part of an unbroken chain of causes and events."
" There is much to discuss here, but for now, I'm sure would agree that your great-great-great grandfather was a cause of you coming to be, however, not in the sense of right at this very moment like above. That is the distinction between the 2 types of series."
You are greatly simplifying the notion of cause and effect by generalizing it to a macro level and conceiving of it in a freeze frame sense and assigning a general causality to whole collections of myriad constituents, such as my past relatives.

In discussing the origins of the very large one immediately must turn to the nature of the underlying reality at the very smallest scale, whatever that is.

Sorry, but your language and your concepts are vastly over simplified and so much so that they lose their analytical utility.



SP:"Ok, your definitions of the terms are inherently defective. It is not that I want to redefine the words, it is that your definitions contain errors."
" Which definitions are in error and how?"
To borrow from your above statement there is much to discuss in that, but for example the notion that a macro object is itself a cause is vastly oversimplified.



Me:"Geometry is attributed to Euclid who was not medieval."
SP:"That was in reference to Aquinas, not geometry."
" Yes, but if the only reason medieval arguments are bad is because they are old, then Euclid's must be bad too."
The reasons medieval theological arguments are so bad are many, but they especially suffer from an acute lack of scientific grounding. That is not an insult to the intelligence of the medieval thinker as we all stand upon the shoulders of those who have come before us and medieval thinkers simply did not have the benefit of science as we know it.


" The age of the argument is irrelevant to the argument and I'm sure you agree, right? "
As a matter of principle, yes, but in practice, no.


January 09, 2017 1:38 PM

Cal Metzger said...

SP: "Sorry, but your language and your concepts are vastly over simplified and so much so that they lose their analytical utility."

I feel like this can't be said enough in these kinds of discussions. It should be deliverable as a hotkey or something.

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

SP:"It is illogical but that is the core of the great existential riddle that god does nothing to solve.

Irrespective of the formulation the fundamental problem is the irrationality of an actual infinity. The speculation of god is just as irrational and therefor has no explanatory power.


"This requires something unchanged yet causing the instrumental causes in the series to change. "
Which is also irrational."
It seems to me that you have almost grasped the argument but not quite. I think that you now understand what is being referred to is a series of things changing and being changed, but you miss that you actually agree with Aquinas that the series cannot be an "actual infinity". Since it cannot be an "actual infinity" it must terminate. The only option to terminate the series is by something causing the change, but not changing itself (otherwise it would just be part of the changing series itself). Hence the Unchanged Changer. The argument is sound and valid.


Me:"The universe itself is changing so it cannot be that unchanged changer. "
SP:"You would first of all have to define "universe". If by "universe" you mean "our big bang" then you have a very limited concept of the word "universe"."
You are not being specific so I can't respond. Way back yonder I asked you what you meant but we got sidetracked. Can you explain how any definition of "universe" you choose causes problems for the argument?

SP:"You are greatly simplifying the notion of cause and effect by generalizing it to a macro level and conceiving of it in a freeze frame sense and assigning a general causality to whole collections of myriad constituents, such as my past relatives."
I can see that the distinction I was trying to communicate was not clear enough. Let me try it this way:
For purposes of this discussion I am referring to 2 different types of casual series. One type of casual series is simultaneous (per the First Way argument) while the other is a casual series ordered sequentially in time (grandparents to you). In the series ordered sequentially in time it is possible that one of the instrumental causes ceased to exist, yet the series can still be considered a casual series. Let me know if you do not see the distinction now.

SP:"In discussing the origins of the very large one immediately must turn to the nature of the underlying reality at the very smallest scale, whatever that is."
The argument does start with observations at the small scale.

Me:" Which definitions are in error and how?"
SP:"To borrow from your above statement there is much to discuss in that, but for example the notion that a macro object is itself a cause is vastly oversimplified."
I was wondering how you considered a definition in error. What you are referring to is not a definition but even at that it's not clear to me what the actual objection is.

Me:"" The age of the argument is irrelevant to the argument and I'm sure you agree, right? "
SP:"As a matter of principle, yes, but in practice, no."
I think you mean that although you realize holding this is a fallacy, nevertheless you choose to hold it. Thanks for being honest.

Stardusty Psyche said...

bmiller said...
" Hence the Unchanged Changer. The argument is sound and valid."
Nope, because this assertion is just as irrational and therefore unsound. This argument is simply special pleading that a thing can magically be irrational.

This asserted magical thing is just that, a thing. If it is irrational for a thing to be actually infinite than this thing is irrational. If a thing can be actually infinite then there is no necessity for the thing you speculate and the fault is in our inadequate conceptual capabilities.

So, the assertion of an unchanged changer is either irrational or unnecessary, thus the argument is unsound.


Me:"The universe itself is changing so it cannot be that unchanged changer. "
SP:"You would first of all have to define "universe". If by "universe" you mean "our big bang" then you have a very limited concept of the word "universe"."
" You are not being specific so I can't respond. "
I am not surprised you do not know what I am talking about. I suggest you free your mind from all ancient concepts of causality, start from a blank slate, review modern physics, and then you will know what I am talking about.


SP:"You are greatly simplifying the notion of cause and effect by generalizing it to a macro level and conceiving of it in a freeze frame sense and assigning a general causality to whole collections of myriad constituents, such as my past relatives."
" I can see that the distinction I was trying to communicate was not clear enough. Let me try it this way:
For purposes of this discussion I am referring to 2 different types of casual series. "
Right, I know that. That is your problem. Free your mind of these ancient and false simplifications and you can begin to expand your mind.

"One type of casual series is simultaneous (per the First Way argument) while the other is a casual series ordered sequentially in time (grandparents to you). "
Considering a grandparent to be a cause is a vastly oversimplified notion of causality that you will free yourself from when you abandon your fallacious terminology.

"In the series ordered sequentially in time it is possible that one of the instrumental causes ceased to exist, yet the series can still be considered a casual series. Let me know if you do not see the distinction now."
I see so much more than you it is in part humorous and in part sad that you think you are presenting and educating argument to me of any sort.


Me:"" The age of the argument is irrelevant to the argument and I'm sure you agree, right? "
SP:"As a matter of principle, yes, but in practice, no."
I think you mean that although you realize holding this is a fallacy, nevertheless you choose to hold it. "
Again, I am so far beyond you that you don't even know what you do not know.

Ancient ideas are not wrong because they are ancient. But most ancient ideas relating to physics, causality, and the nature of reality have no validity, so in practice, ancient ideas on these subjects turn out to be wrong in nearly every respect.


January 10, 2017 9:26 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

I will help you out now.

Consider the standard model. I will simplify it by only considiering the up quark, down quark, electron, and nutrino as particles. Further I will for this time limit myself to the electromagnetic force, gravity, strong nuclear force, and weak nuclear force as fields.

These notions of particles and fields are not all that are now known, and there is a great deal of reason to think they are not even fundamental, but in terms of causality such things change the notions of causality only by degrees of complexity, not qualitatively.

I urge you to consider the view of John Bell, who had a disdain for the word "measurement". There is no such thing as measurement on the fundamental scale. There are only interacting systems. To "measure" a thing we must bounce something off of it or pass something through it and try to somehow detect certain changes. Yet this act of colliding one thing with another changes both things therefore making the distinction between cause and effect arbitrary, and the "measurement" is uncertain owing to the wavelength of the things we are colliding.

Everything is continually or continuously interacting with other things. Existence progresses temporally as a vastly complex seething stew of interactions in which cause and effect are arbitrary.

To understand the very largest thing we know of scientifically, the observable universe, our big bang, we must immediately study the very smallest things we know of, I as I have mentioned a subset of above. That is because reality is only these very smallest of things, all else being the aggregate structure of these smallest things and wholly dependent upon them and therefore fully defined by them.

Unfortunately, these small entities are so vast in number, so hard to detect and quantify, and even in principle impossible to quantify precisely in whole, that we are forced into a large number of macro approximations.

Critically, to begin to understand reality, we must bear in mind at all times that all our macro approximations are just that, not accurate descriptions of the true process of the interacting systems we wish to analyze.


January 10, 2017 9:26 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

But I will help you with a more classical example, say the cause and effect of 2 balls. Suppose ball A at some velocity smacks into ball B which is stationary which causes ball B to move in some direction at some velocity. So, the classicist might say, ball A is the cause of the motion of ball B.

Further, the classicist can apply the language of per se and per accidens to this situation in an attempt to analyze and make sense of it. To no actual benefit.

In Newtonian mechanics we could study the collision. As A contacts B a force is applied to B by A. Both balls compress so this collision continues as a temporal process. The greater the compression the more the force. Force applied to mass yields acceleration. Force applied over distance equates to energy. Thus, by integrating over time we can model the temporal transfer of kinetic energy from A to B and calculate the change in velocity of each.

Was A the cause or was B the cause? The choice is arbitrary. In truth the terms cause and effect as applied to these objects is a personification of them, an anthropormorphization of them, in the sense that each of us feels we cause things to happen are we as being are "a cause" in some sense. An object is issued the title of "a cause".

In truth, at the macro approximation scale of Newtonian mechanics, a temporal energy transfer occurred. B caused the kinetic energy and velocity of A to change just as surely as A caused B to change. The assignment of cause and effect is arbitrary.

But that, of course, is not the true description of the even either. We can consider all the molecules in each ball and all their changes in this interaction, but still not have it right. To get to the truth of the matter we would have to know all the details of all the most fundamental particles and fields in the whole system, which of course we cannot know.

So, when I heard a lecture by WL Craig about a ball on a pillow, and in his view the ball is the cause of the depression in the pillow, and therefore cause and effect can exist simultaneously, and therefore cause and effect can be timeless, and therefore there can be a timeless cause or our timeline of causes...

What a profoundly ignorant man WL Craig is. How preposterous these theistic muddled concepts are.

So, again, I warmly invite you to wipe the slate clean, clear your mind of these notions from a past of ignorance. Expand your mind to conceive of reality as you perhaps did not even consider in your lifetime.


January 10, 2017 9:26 AM

Chris said...

As I've always said, fundies are all cut from the same cloth. Fascinating.

Cal Metzger said...

SP (to bmiller) "I see so much more than you it is in part humorous and in part sad that you think you are presenting and educating argument to me of any sort."

It's funny because it's true.

Legion of Logic said...

bmiller: "In the series ordered sequentially in time it is possible that one of the instrumental causes ceased to exist, yet the series can still be considered a casual series. Let me know if you do not see the distinction now."

SD: "I see so much more than you it is in part humorous and in part sad that you think you are presenting and educating argument to me of any sort."

Cal: "It's funny because it's true."

Bmiller, in a way I admire your ability to confront this asinine behavior without losing your temper, but I have to question if you believe you will actually achieve anything. They are either blinded by their own arrogance or they are trolling at this point, but either way they are not interested in learning the truth. You can tell all they want is to score points, due to the sheer number of insults given, which again could be either arrogance or trolling.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "You can tell all they want is to score points, due to the sheer number of insults given, which again could be either arrogance or trolling."

Hysterical.

Would love to add up the number of insults offered by apologists comments here, compared to those offered by skeptics.

You are truly blinded.

bmiller said...

@Legion of Logic,

LOL:"but I have to question if you believe you will actually achieve anything. They are either blinded by their own arrogance or they are trolling at this point, but either way they are not interested in learning the truth. You can tell all they want is to score points, due to the sheer number of insults given, which again could be either arrogance or trolling."

I think maybe I have achieved my goal with SP at least. My goal was for him to just understand the argument rather than a straw man. It would have been less time consuming and less painful if he had just read the link JoF had suggested last year, but I did have some time on my hands. Not so much anymore.

Maybe one more response to conclude.

Legion of Logic said...

"You are truly blinded."

The very first sentence you posted in this thread was an insult - and yes, telling someone they don't understand how rational beliefs are formed is in fact an insult, unless you could explain how it was in any way helpful to discussion - even if it was true?

Indeed, insults have flown both ways, but I wonder how the thread would go if a couple certain nonbelievers didn't pretend to know what they didn't know and act so consistently condescending? We will likely never know.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "The very first sentence you posted in this thread was an insult..."

In a discussion where people disagree, it's customary to start out by indicating with what you disagree. If you can't handle blunt speak in a discussion, then I don't suppose you and your cherished beliefs are ready for adult discussion.

Was that insulting? I wouldn't find the sentiment above insulting -- I would agree with it.

Legion: "... - and yes, telling someone they don't understand how rational beliefs are formed is in fact an insult, unless you could explain how it was in any way helpful to discussion - even if it was true?"

I explained how it was true in the rest of my first comment. Why would you ignore that fact?

Legion: "Indeed, insults have flown both ways..."

You take offense at the insults of those with whom you disagree, and pardon the preponderance of insults on the side with whom you disagree. This would only be inconsistent of you, but seeing as how the petty behavior almost always starts with apologists here (grod, bmiller, JoF , yourself, etc.) I think your position goes all the way to hypocrisy.

Legion: "...but I wonder how the thread would go if a couple certain nonbelievers didn't pretend to know what they didn't know and act so consistently condescending? We will likely never know."

Without misrepresenting, name cite where Stardusty and I have pretended to know what we don't know.

Then ask which side is pretending about knowing the answer to enduring riddles, the kind of evidence they really have, and the practical value of things like "angelology."

Opposite world much?

bmiller said...

@Stardusty Psyche,

Man you must be retired to have so much time for this! I’m not so I can’t keep this up.
It seems that we’ve reached a point where there is a transition of topics, so it’s a pretty good place to stop. I’ll make this final post and you can have the last word.

Regarding post of January 10, 2017 9:59 PM.

SP:"So, the assertion of an unchanged changer is either irrational or unnecessary, thus the argument is unsound."
The argument is sound and valid.
Your response makes sense only if one assumes that all that exists is extended in space, which of course is a materialist position and so begs the question against one holding hylomorphism. It is an entirely different discussion. The topic of the infinity of God is discussed ST Part 1, Question 7 FYI.

SP:"I am not surprised you do not know what I am talking about. I suggest you free your mind from all ancient concepts of causality, start from a blank slate, review modern physics, and then you will know what I am talking about."
Still nothing specific. Just not feeling the "Woo".

I got it that you don't like these 2 types of series. Something about “fallacious terminology”. Opinion noted.

SP:"Ancient ideas are not wrong because they are ancient. But most ancient ideas relating to physics, causality, and the nature of reality have no validity, so in practice, ancient ideas on these subjects turn out to be wrong in nearly every respect."
The only specific example we examined proved the exactly the opposite.


Regarding posts of January 10, 2017 10:01 PM and January 10, 2017 10:02 PM


Let me start with a fictitious story”(The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious..etc)

>>>Start of story<<<<

My cousin Vinny:
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury.
"Although I, do not dispute the facts of the case that I was indeed caught with a hatchet in my hand buried deep in the dead skull of Billy Millis I will dispute that a heinous crime was committed."

First, Newtonian physics is unclear on the matter. Was hand-hatchet-skull the cause or was skull-hatchet-hand the cause? The choice is arbitrary. The assignment of cause and effect is arbitrary. Perhaps I should sue Billy Millis for injury to my hand!

But second, let’s look at this at a deeper level: Quantum Physics.
It is well known that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle tells us that we can never measure all aspects of an interaction with precision. This means cause and effect are arbitrary (somehow) at a really, really small scale also.
Also, because reality is only these very smallest of things we at a macro level do not actually experience reality. Therefore, was Billy Millis actually real? Who’s to say?

Finally, Quarks! Electrons! Neutrinos!

Therefore it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that a heinous crime was committed.
I rest my case.
>>>End of story<<<<

This thread has gone on a long time and is rolling off the front page. The topic seems to have shifted to whether science, the system based on assuming cause and effect and that the universe is intelligible, has proven itself incoherent using it’s own system of inquiry. It’s an interesting topic, but let’s take it up next time. OK?

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "Man you must be retired....but let’s take it up next time. OK?"

Pretend pretend pretend.

Legion of Logic said...


"Pretend pretend pretend."

Ridiculous taunts like this only work in Back to the Future movies. "Chicken!" There is literally no reason to assume that bmiller was being dishonest, but if he was, it's no doubt fatigue at dealing with bad arguments presented with certainty.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "Ridiculous taunts like this only work in Back to the Future movies. "Chicken!" There is literally no reason to assume that bmiller was being dishonest, but if he was, it's no doubt fatigue at dealing with bad arguments presented with certainty."

bmiller has been pretending that Aquinas's arguments are not only relevant, but persuasive. (They are not.)

bmiller has been pretending for some time that he understand basic science and its philosophical underpinnings. (He does not.)

bmiller has been pretending for some time that he has something to teach Stardusty. (He does not.)

bmiller has been pretending that in his discussion the fuzzy terms, equivocation, and inability to focus on a coherent topic are a result of Stardusty's comments. (They are not.)

So, I stand corrected. Four pretends. (At least.)

-----

Insult away, I really don't care.

The facts are the facts, and I have summarized them correctly. If you guys want to lie in the mess you've made in the last 400 some odd comments, well, then, treat yo' selves!





Stardusty Psyche said...


Legion of Logic said...
" they are not interested in learning the truth. "
By all means, please do point out the specific errors in my posts of
January 10, 2017 10:01 PM
January 10, 2017 10:02 PM


"You can tell all they want is to score points, due to the sheer number of insults given, "
Insults directed at who exactly?

"which again could be either arrogance or trolling."
It is called an education. Those of use who have studied at university have certain rational advantages. But, perhaps you are also an educated individual, fine, then I am sure you can point out the specific analytical errors in my posts.

Or are you only here to cast ad hominems such as "arrogant" and "troll"?


January 11, 2017 7:39 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger bmiller said...


" Finally, Quarks! Electrons! Neutrinos!"
Indeed, these particles, at this time the most fundamental we know of, do not know or care about blood, a hatchet, human life, or our notions of right and wrong. At that level cause and effect are arbitrary.

That is the level one must analyze in order to understand the origins of our big bang, and to further consider the origins of existence.

I am sorry you have yet to gain the conceptual depth needed to understand this rational analysis.


" Therefore it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that a heinous crime was committed."
A heinous crime is an assignment of evil or wrong on our macro scale of human sensibilities. It tells us nothing about the origins of existence.


" This thread has gone on a long time and is rolling off the front page. The topic seems to have shifted to whether science, the system based on assuming cause and effect and that the universe is intelligible, has proven itself incoherent using it’s own system of inquiry. It’s an interesting topic, but let’s take it up next time. OK?"
Dodge.

When you clear you mind of your muddled concepts that conflate macro approximations with fundamental interactions, and obfuscating terminology, you will have a chance at expanding your mind to begin to think rationally about the origins of existence.


January 11, 2017 1:07 PM

Legion of Logic said...

"Dodge"

I already pointed out to Cal that childish taunts - and in this case, baseless accusations - do not work. There is not one reason to suspect that bmiller did anything but get overloaded by the size of those posts. He likely got tired of having to read and respond to hundreds of words of foolishness and arrogance multiple times a day.

Open your mind and use clear thinking, and you might be able to comprehend reality. "Dodge" and "pretend" are delusional fantasies based on groundless arrogance.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said...

"Dodge"

" I already pointed out to Cal that childish taunts - and in this case, baseless accusations - do not work. There is not one reason to suspect that bmiller did anything but get overloaded by the size of those posts."
The dodge was one of mischaracterizing the subject and not addressing the actual points made.

He created a straw man and then asserted he has no interest in the straw man. That is a dodge.

You are the one issuing the ad hominems:
"childish"
"troll"
"arrogant"

Yet you are unable to find specific logical or factual errors in my posts, which is typical of a person who only issues ad hominems.

But again, by all means, please do point out the specific errors in my posts of
January 10, 2017 10:01 PM
January 10, 2017 10:02 PM


January 12, 2017 12:53 AM

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "...they are not interested in learning the truth. "
Stardusty: "By all means, please do point out the specific errors in my posts of January 10, 2017 10:01 PM / January 10, 2017 10:02 PM"

Legion: "I already pointed out to Cal that childish taunts - and in this case, baseless accusations - do not work."

So, despite requests from Stardusty and me to cite on what you base your accusations (above), you go on to accusing us of (wait for it) making baseless accusations.

What's that word again?

Oh, that's right.

Hypocrisy.

It's called hypocrisy.

----

Do you think that when readers come across the comments here they see how you imagine yourself to be, or do they just see your words?

I ask because I think it's the second one, and the best explanation I have for your comments is that you think it's the first.




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