Tuesday, December 06, 2016

How do we define evidence?

How do we define evidence? How do we define evidence? I maintain the x is evidence for y just in case x is more likely to exist if y is true than if y is not true. And on that assumption, there is lots of evidence on both sides, and we have to decide which side is sufficient. But others define evidence differently. 

192 comments:

Cal Metzger said...

You're like a tired record.

You can use your definition of evidence all you want -- so long as you are clear what you mean by evidence.

But don't expect others to respect your beliefs based on what you define as evidence. And that's the rub, isn't it?

If your definition for evidence leads to all kinds of false beliefs, and another definition of evidence is much more rigorous and tends to act as a filter against false beliefs, then why should you take any pride in adopting the first approach?

Victor Reppert said...

I don't see a clear definition of evidence coming from the typical new atheists except for the idea that whatever could be offered on behalf of religious beliefs just couldn't be evidence at all.

My definition is based on Bayesian probability theory.

Here is a definition of evidence from the Free Dictionary:

a. A thing or set of things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment: The broken window was evidence that a burglary had taken place. Scientists weighed the evidence for and against the hypothesis.

But isn't that exactly what is at issue, what is and is not helpful in forming a conclusion or a judgment. There may be no neutral way to even define this.

Joe Hinman said...

say Cal, what's your definition? Do you ever assert that there's no evidence for God? yes? so what is evidence?

B. Prokop said...

"What is evidence?" Depends on what the evidence is for.

If you're trying to determine whether or not there's a causal link between smoking an cancer, then you need verifiable case studies.

If you wish to ascertain whether or not a politician has a conflict of interest, then you need bank records, tax returns, contracts, meeting notes, etc.

If you want to know whether or not there's an underground ocean on Europa, you need to determine how such a thing would advertise itself, and then look for those signs.

If you're on a jury deciding on the guilt or innocence of a defendant, you need to consider all sorts of things - physical evidence, eyewitness accounts, expert testimony, alibis, character witnesses, etc. They're all evidence.

If you're interested in knowing whether or not Christianity is true, you need to examine the historical record.

So the definition of evidence can change, depending on what you're talking about.

Legion of Logic said...

Evidence is a fact that supports a proposition. My children hugging me could be evidence that they fear me and want to make sure I stay pacified, but that's only if you consider just that one data point in a vacuum. When combined with the full set of data points, it's obvious that my kids hug me because they love me, and not because of fear. Thus once the true explanation is discovered, hugs stopped being evidence for the false explanation.

If the answer to an issue is simply not known, one cannot claim that there is no evidence for a given explanation. One can only weigh the explanations and compare how well the known evidence fits each one.

B. Prokop said...

I would disagree with your use of the term "fact". Is an entry in a Civil War era diary a fact? No, but it is evidence in an historian's study of those times.

Joe Hinman said...

cal, come on how do you define evidence?

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "I don't see a clear definition of evidence coming from the typical new atheists except for the idea that whatever could be offered on behalf of religious beliefs just couldn't be evidence at all."

Atheists are indelibly clear about their determination that there isn't any good evidence to support the various god beliefs. It doesn't take much thought to determine the standard for evidence that atheists are using, now, does it? Is your position that you can't even begin to limn out the standard, despite my observing it being explained to you many times, and despite your running a blog that supposedly entertains this very question?

VR: "My definition is based on Bayesian probability theory."

I imagine you say this because you think that saying "Bayesian" provides you with some kind of intellectual cover. Instead you just reveal that you think that a tool for evaluating probabilities is somehow something that defines probabilities (?).

VR: "Here is a definition of evidence from the Free Dictionary: a. A thing or set of things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment: The broken window was evidence that a burglary had taken place. Scientists weighed the evidence for and against the hypothesis."

This is a better definition (one that is more likely to filter out false conclusions) that the one you say you use. I wonder why you don't adopt that approach.

VR: "But isn't that exactly what is at issue, what is and is not helpful in forming a conclusion or a judgment."

Which is why I said what I said.

VR: " There may be no neutral way to even define this."

If you think that intersubjective determinations have no truck, then you would be correct. But intersubjective determinations are what we're talking about when we discuss evidence, so your attempt to claim indeterminancy is toothless. In other words, once you allow that there IS an external world, then you have allowed that there is a neutral way to define whatever you believe about that external world.

Cal Metzger said...

Should have written: "I imagine you say this because you think that saying "Bayesian" provides you with some kind of intellectual cover. Instead you just reveal that you think that a tool for evaluating probabilities is somehow something that defines EVIDENCE (?).

Joe Hinman said...

Atheists are indelibly clear about their determination that there isn't any good evidence to support the various god beliefs.

merely obfuscation so you don't have to answer the question. Italso illuistrates the bankruptcy of NA because how can you be rehabilitate there is no evidence for God when you don;t knw what constitutes evidence?



It doesn't take much thought to determine the standard for evidence that atheists are using, now, does it?

Not at all, that;s the problem because obviously their standard is if it is for God it's not evidence, If it's against religion it's evidence.

problem because it has nothing to do with truth,



Is your position that you can't even begin to limn out the standard, despite my observing it being explained to you many times, and despite your running a blog that supposedly entertains this very question?

you are apparently incapable of stating it,

B. Prokop said...

"obviously their standard is if it is for God it's not evidence, If it's against religion it's evidence"

As far as Cal, Skeppy, and 99% of internet atheists are concerned, truer words were never posted.

Kudos to Cal, by the way, for using "limn" in a sentence. Up until now, I've only come across it in crossword puzzles.

T said...

I'm still waiting for Cal to give his definition.

Cal Metzger said...

Everyone here: "I'm still waiting for Cal to give his definition."

I've given my definition umpteen times on this blog. Atheists give it every time they explain the problem with theistic beliefs.

My definition for evidence is that which is objective, reliable, and verifiable. That which can be intersubjectively examined, or "checked." Evidence is the body of all relevant information upon which competing explanations are tested.

That's what I mean when describe how I use the term evidence. In no way should this be surprising to anyone here.

But my definition for evidence isn't really your problem, though, is it?

B. Prokop said...

"But my definition for evidence isn't really your problem, though, is it?"

You are correct - it isn't. It's yours. Especially when the definition is as circular as yours is.

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "You are correct - it isn't. It's yours. Especially when the definition is as circular as yours is."

Sure it is.

Cal Metzger said...

This blog: "Those mean atheists won't ever tell us what they mean by evidence."
Me: "No. Atheists explain what they mean by evidence pretty much every time they explain why they are atheists, and every time they ask theists to examine their beliefs."
This blog: "You won't provide us your definition of evidence."
Me: "No. I do it all the time here. Here it is again."
This blog: "Your definition is bad."
Me: "Bad how?"
This blog: "It would prevent us from holding our god beliefs."
Me: "And lots of other beliefs that aren't justified as well -- including a myriad of competing religious and superstitious beliefs. You might want to consider that this is a good thing, even if it makes you uncomfortable at first. I assure you you can get over it."

There will be a pause of hours, days, weeks, and months. Then, eventually:

This blog: "Those mean atheists won't ever tell us what they mean by evidence."

Legion of Logic said...

"Evidence is the body of all relevant information upon which competing explanations are tested."

"Atheists are indelibly clear about their determination that there isn't any good evidence to support the various god beliefs."

So, to transpose:

Atheists are indelibly clear about their determination that there isn't any good body of all relevant information upon which competing explanations are tested, to support the various god beliefs.

So, you're saying that we simply do not have a body of information to test a god belief? Because the body of information that theists use to support god-belief is the same body of information that atheists use to reject it, so you seem to be shooting down atheism as well by claiming there is not a body of information to test with competing explanations (atheism or theism).

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "Atheists are indelibly clear about their determination that there isn't any good body of all relevant information upon which competing explanations are tested, to support the various god beliefs."

Yes. Assuming that agree that "there is no god" is a possible explanation for the evidence under consideration. If not, then I don't think you're talking about evidence (at all).

Legion: "So, you're saying that we simply do not have a body of information to test a god belief?"

Not at all. I'm saying that when we look at the evidence, all of the god hypotheses fail, and the no-god hypothesis wins. I'm amazed once again how this could not be obvious. Do you honestly mean that you (and I mean you, Legion, because I don't think you're daft by any means) are only just now grasping this fact of the atheist position?

Legion: "Because the body of information that theists use to support god-belief is the same body of information that atheists use to reject it, so you seem to be shooting down atheism as well by claiming there is not a body of information to test with competing explanations (atheism or theism)."

The evidence regarding any particular god belief (and all together as well) is better explained by the hypothesis that there is no god (and that humans are creatures whose mental faculties tend to resort to magical or supernatural imaginings based on templates and concepts that are part of how our brains are built and operate). That is all there is to it, really. You are free to disagree, of course, but to not be able to grasp the basic understanding of those who don't share your credulity, now that is something that I can say truly astonishes me.

Legion of Logic said...

From your wording, you seemed to be saying that we didn't even have enough information to consider for there to possibly be evidence to support any form of god-belief.

But, since you are meaning it in the standard "in my opinion the evidence does not support belief in any god" then there's no issue. And I do disagree. :)

B. Prokop said...

Here is a great article on atheists and "evidence". My favorite line? This one (which is, itself, a quotation): "Atheism is never the conclusion of any theory, philosophical or scientific. It is a decision, a free act of choice that antedates all theories. There are indeed philosophies that are atheist in the sense that they are incompatible with faith in God. But they are reached only by a will to atheism. This will, and the affirmation into which it is translated (‘There is no God’), are the inspiration of these philosophies, not a conclusion from them."

But actually, the whole thing is brilliant.

SteveK said...

"My definition for evidence is that which is objective, reliable, and verifiable."

No. Your definition is the definition of facts. Evidence is interpreted facts

T said...

The demand for "objective" evidence is just lazy.

You cannot simply choose to skip the hard and taxing but interesting work of interpretation, analysing etc that inevitably goes into working out what the evidence means when it comes to philosophical questions.

T said...

And Cal, what "objective, reliable and verifiable" relevant information supports your belief that "there is no God"?

Cal Metzger said...

T: "The demand for "objective" evidence is just lazy. "

LOL.

How is my definition, which you demand, itself a demand? Maybe you should look up what role defining terms plays in a discussion. I think you should maybe start there.

Also, how is mentioning objectivity, as part of a definition for evidence, lazy?

T: "You cannot simply choose to skip the hard and taxing but interesting work of interpretation..."

You asked for my definition. I gave it to you. Did you read somewhere that because of my definition for evidence one MUST NOT interpret things? What a piece of work you appear to be.

T: "...analysing etc that inevitably goes into working out what the evidence means when it comes to philosophical questions."

Yeah, you sound like quite the scientist / philosopher. All kinds of important discoveries are what you're about. No doubt.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "But, since you are meaning it in the standard "in my opinion the evidence does not support belief in any god" then there's no issue. And I do disagree. :)"

An opinion is something that we believe but can't support with evidence and argument. But I am prepared to argue that the evidence does not support a belief in any god. So, small point, but calling my determination my "opinion" is incorrect -- it's not just my opinion. My position is an argument that I can make, and one for which I've found no counter. And I've been doing this for a loooong time.

Cal Metzger said...

SteveK: "No. Your definition is the definition of facts. Evidence is interpreted facts"

Right. Like how I can interpret the words you write as evidence that you're a kind of idiot. I never said otherwise.

SteveK said...

Whatever. You may has said it elsewhere but there's no mention of interpretation in the definition I quoted.

bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger

An opinion is something that we believe but can't support with evidence and argument. But I am prepared to argue that the evidence does not support a belief in any god. So, small point, but calling my determination my "opinion" is incorrect -- it's not just my opinion. My position is an argument that I can make, and one for which I've found no counter. And I've been doing this for a loooong time.

Since you've been doing this so long and are prepared to make an argument rather than just offer opinions, I'm interested in your argument to refute Aquinas' First Way.

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "Since you've been doing this so long and are prepared to make an argument rather than just offer opinions, I'm interested in your argument to refute Aquinas' First Way. "

I wrote that" the evidence doesn't support a belief in any god."

What's the evidence for Yahweh in the First Mover argument?

bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger,

I'm interested in your argument to refute Aquinas' First Way which, of course, does not conclude in Yahweh specifically, but does conclude with the existence of God.

Should I conclude that you don't aren't prepared to argue what you stated you were prepared to argue?

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "I'm interested in your argument to refute Aquinas' First Way which, of course, does not conclude in Yahweh specifically, but does conclude with the existence of God."

No it doesn't.

bmiller: "Should I conclude that you don't aren't prepared to argue what you stated you were prepared to argue?

I said, "But I am prepared to argue that the evidence does not support a belief in any god." What is the evidence that you think supports a belief in a god?



Legion of Logic said...

"No it doesn't."

Why not?

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "Why [doesn't the First Way argument from Aquinas conclude with the existence of a god]."

For the same reason that the First Way argument doesn't conclude with the existence of Phil, or magic turtles.

It has numerous other problems as well, but the above is enough.



bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger,

Since you can give no argument for one of the oldest and most famous arguments for the existence of God, I have to conclude from that evidence that you have no argument, and your adherence to atheism is merely an opinion.

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "Since you can give no argument for one of the oldest and most famous arguments for the existence of God, I have to conclude from that evidence that you have no argument, and your adherence to atheism is merely an opinion."

mkay.

B. Prokop said...

bmiller,

You can't squeeze blood from a turnip, and neither can you get Cal to produce a scintilla of evidence, or even an argument, in favor of his atheism. He's been trolling here for months now, and has yet to make the slightest move toward doing so.

bmiller said...

@ B. Prokop,

Yeah, I know, but maybe T hasn't interacted Cal before.
So my request for an argument and evidence from Cal was for T's and possible lurker's education. It will save them some time and frustration.

Legion of Logic said...

"For the same reason that the First Way argument doesn't conclude with the existence of Phil, or magic turtles."

I believe the argument shows that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist. What do you find to be the flaws in the argument?

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "You can't squeeze blood from a turnip, and neither can you get Cal to produce a scintilla of evidence, or even an argument, in favor of his atheism."

I can't tell if you are doltish and incapable of understanding a basic concept, or if cognitive dissonance impedes your faculties; either way, your inability to understand the simple observation that: the atheistic hypothesis explains the evidence much, much better than any of the god hypotheses is my (and all atheists') position. So, "evidence for" atheism is like asking for "evidence for" aleprechaunism.

It is astonishing that your subsequent comments will reveal, yet again, that you can't understand the above.

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "Yeah, I know, but maybe T hasn't interacted Cal before. / So my request for an argument and evidence from Cal was for T's and possible lurker's education. It will save them some time and frustration."

See my above to Bob. Drawing attention to your continued inability to understand a mundane position probably doesn't serve your purposes in the ways you imagine.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "I believe the argument shows that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist. What do you find to be the flaws in the argument?"

There are too many flaws with the argument. Honestly, that's a feature of these arguments; there's always more than one problem with them.

But let's start with one of them.

You wrote: "I believe the argument shows that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist."

Where do you read from the argument that a deity (let alone transcendent) must exist. Be specific.

Keep in mind, "I don't know; therefore, God!" is not considered an argument by those of us who enjoy the fruits of argument.

Legion of Logic said...

"There are too many flaws with the argument."

What are these flaws? That's what I've been getting at, I'm curious to see your analysis of the argument, independent of my thoughts on it.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "What are these flaws? That's what I've been getting at, I'm curious to see your analysis of the argument, independent of my thoughts on it."

Let's start with the first one. If we can resolve that, let's move on to the others.

You wrote: "I believe the argument shows that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist."

So, problem 1: Where do you read from the argument that a deity (let alone transcendent) must exist. Be specific.

Keep in mind, "I don't know; therefore, God!" is not considered an argument by those of us who enjoy the fruits of argument.

Legion of Logic said...

My thoughts on the argument aren't relevant to the flaws you perceive in it. I'm just wondering what you find to be flawed about the argument.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: " I'm just wondering what you find to be flawed about the argument."

I think that if your defending an argument that you think shows that a transcendent deity must exist, but the argument doesn't actually show that a transcendent deity must exist, then there's a flaw in that argument.

Legion: "My thoughts on the argument aren't relevant to the flaws you perceive in it."

Another one of the (many) problems with the First Way argument is that it has so many promoters, but no defenders.

Like I said.

SteveK said...

Cal,
You've been asked to point out the flaw in the argument, and all you are doing is arguing over the label assigned to the first mover. Fine. Call it whatever you like. You agree with the conclusion?

"There is a first mover, which initiates change but is not itself changed"

Legion of Logic said...

"I think that if your defending an argument that you think shows that a transcendent deity must exist, but the argument doesn't actually show that a transcendent deity must exist, then there's a flaw in that argument."

You claim, but you don't demonstrate.

"Another one of the (many) problems with the First Way argument is that it has so many promoters, but no defenders."

From what I've seen in this thread, it has no arguments against it. I asked what you believe the flaws are, and you say things without demonstrating that those things are true. The subject is the First Way argument, not my thoughts on the First Way argument. The point isn't me defending the argument, the point is you refuting it with substantive counter-arguments.

Legion of Logic said...

Just to summarize, so as to condense the First Argument discussion:

Part 1

Cal: "My position is an argument that I can make, and one for which I've found no counter. And I've been doing this for a loooong time." (The claim is made that there is an argument that can be made against God/gods, and that no counter is known.)

bmiller: "Since you've been doing this so long and are prepared to make an argument rather than just offer opinions, I'm interested in your argument to refute Aquinas' First Way." (The First Way is offered as a counter to the claim that there is no counter to the "no God/gods" argument.)

Cal: "What's the evidence for Yahweh in the First Mover argument?" (Note: This is not a refutation, this is a question that attempts to take the focus off the one who claimed to be able to refute the First Way - an argument that was claimed to be possible to make. The argument against God/gods has not been made, nor has the First Way been refuted.)

bmiller: "I'm interested in your argument to refute Aquinas' First Way which, of course, does not conclude in Yahweh specifically, but does conclude with the existence of God. Should I conclude that you don't aren't prepared to argue what you stated you were prepared to argue?" (The request to refute the First Way argument is again made, as a counter to the no God/gods argument that has yet to be presented.)

Cal: "No it doesn't." (This is an assertion with no evidence or logical demonstration, thus is not a refutation of the First Way.)

Cal: "I said, "But I am prepared to argue that the evidence does not support a belief in any god." What is the evidence that you think supports a belief in a god?" (This is another attempt to take the focus off the one who claimed to be able to refute the First Way - an argument that was claimed was possible to make. The First Way was offered as a counter, and it has not been refuted.)

Legion (in response to "No it doesn't"): "Why not?" (This is a request for the refutation of the First Way, which has yet to be offered.)

Cal: "For the same reason that the First Way argument doesn't conclude with the existence of Phil, or magic turtles. It has numerous other problems as well, but the above is enough." (This is an assertion without evidence or logical demonstration, thus is not a refutation of the First Way. Numerous other problems are mentioned but not identified, thus they are not refutations, either.)

bmiller: "Since you can give no argument for one of the oldest and most famous arguments for the existence of God, I have to conclude from that evidence that you have no argument, and your adherence to atheism is merely an opinion." (The fact that no arguments have been presented against the First Way is pointed out.)

Cal: "mkay." (The First Way remains unchallenged by evidence or logical demonstration.)

Legion of Logic said...

Legion: "I believe the argument shows that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist. What do you find to be the flaws in the argument?" (Another request for a refutation of the First Way is made.)

Cal: "There are too many flaws with the argument. Honestly, that's a feature of these arguments; there's always more than one problem with them. But let's start with one of them. You wrote: "I believe the argument shows that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist." Where do you read from the argument that a deity (let alone transcendent) must exist. Be specific. Keep in mind, "I don't know; therefore, God!" is not considered an argument by those of us who enjoy the fruits of argument." (Another mention of numerous flaws is made, yet these flaws are not identified. Another attempt is made to take the focus off the one who claimed to be able to refute the First Way - an argument that was claimed was possible to make. The First Way has yet to be refuted.)

Legion: "What are these flaws? That's what I've been getting at, I'm curious to see your analysis of the argument, independent of my thoughts on it." (Yet another request for a refutation of the First Way is made, along with a request to make it about the First Way and not about other posters' thoughts on the First Way - essentially, asking for the focus to remain on the one who asserted that such an argument could be made, but at this point has yet to be made.)

Cal: "Let's start with the first one. If we can resolve that, let's move on to the others. You wrote: "I believe the argument shows that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist." So, problem 1: Where do you read from the argument that a deity (let alone transcendent) must exist. Be specific. Keep in mind, "I don't know; therefore, God!" is not considered an argument by those of us who enjoy the fruits of argument." (Once more, a mention of numerous flaws is made, yet these flaws are not identified in a substantive form. Once more, an attempt is made to take the focus off the one who claimed to be able to refute the First Way - an argument that was claimed was possible to make. The First Way has yet to be refuted.)

Legion: "My thoughts on the argument aren't relevant to the flaws you perceive in it. I'm just wondering what you find to be flawed about the argument." (Yet another request for a refutation of the First Way is made, along with a request to make it about the First Way and not about other posters' thoughts on the First Way - essentially, asking for the focus to remain on the one who asserted that such an argument could be made, but at this point has yet to be made.)

Cal: "I think that if your defending an argument that you think shows that a transcendent deity must exist, but the argument doesn't actually show that a transcendent deity must exist, then there's a flaw in that argument." (This is a claim without evidence or logical demonstration, so it is not a refutation of the First Way.)

Cal: "Another one of the (many) problems with the First Way argument is that it has so many promoters, but no defenders." (Another mention of numerous flaws is made without identifying any of them in a substantive form. The alleged problems have yet to be demonstrated to be true. Another attempt to force others to defend the argument, rather than refuting the argument as was claimed to be possible. The First Way has yet to be refuted.)



So, again, I ask for a refutation of the First Way. If it will help, I can copy/paste it here, so it will be available for reference.

Cal Metzger said...

Me: ""I think that if your defending an argument that you think shows that a transcendent deity must exist, but the argument doesn't actually show that a transcendent deity must exist, then there's a flaw in that argument."
Legion: "You claim, but you don't demonstrate."

But I do demonstrate.

I observe that the classical argument for god doesn't actually show that a deity must exist. I point this out, and ask you, "Where do you read from the argument that a deity (let alone transcendent) must exist. Be specific."

You, as well as the other commenters here, all seem kind of flummoxed by this observation of mine. None of you have done what I ask -- cite the part where the argument shows that a deity must exist.

The inability to show that my observation is incorrect -- that the First Way argument does somewhere show that a deity must exist -- is a demonstration of my claim that the argument doesn't show what others here are trying to claim it does.

Ipso facto.




Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "Cal: "My position is an argument that I can make, and one for which I've found no counter. And I've been doing this for a loooong time." (The claim is made that there is an argument that can be made against God/gods, and that no counter is known.) "

No.

My claim was this: " But I am prepared to argue that the evidence does not support a belief in any god."

Why twist my words into something else when they are so plain and easy to understand?

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: " If it will help, I can copy/paste it here, so it will be available for reference."

Please do so. Also, kindly bold the section where you think it shows that a deity must exist.

bmiller said...

@Legion of Logic,

It's pretty clear that Cal has no clue what arguments are or how they work. Otherwise, he would recognize that he is embarrassing himself by making a bare assertion and insisting it is an argument.

I'm pretty sure if you posted the argument he wouldn't understand it. In fact that is most likely the problem.

SteveK said...

Cal,
The argument is that there is a first mover, which initiates change but is not itself change - and this we call God

You're wrong that the argument does not show that a diety must exist in the argument since first mover = God

Legion of Logic said...

"But I do demonstrate."

You have not demonstrated a single one of your criticisms of the First Way to be true. The First Way is presented as a series of since/then propositions. Please point out where your criticisms illuminate flaws in the argument, by showing which step of the First Way argument fails.

"The inability to show that my observation is incorrect -- that the First Way argument does somewhere show that a deity must exist -- is a demonstration of my claim that the argument doesn't show what others here are trying to claim it does."

No, it's a demonstration of the fact that we are waiting for you to show where the logic fails in the First Way argument via the actual wording of the First Way argument. Asking for proof that the argument works is not a refutation. Don't tell us it doesn't work, SHOW us.

"The claim is made that there is an argument that can be made against God/gods, and that no counter is known."

You don't believe that asserting no/insufficient evidence for any god is an argument against gods?

"Please do so. Also, kindly bold the section where you think it shows that a deity must exist."

I will post it, and kindly ask you to refute the argument, as bmiller asked many posts ago and has been requested numerous times since.

Legion of Logic said...

I'm having difficulty locating a concise version of the argument that is blog-post friendly. Bmiller, do you know of a good succinct version that doesn't lose part of itself in translation? If not, I'll just post the whole thing.

grodrigues said...

@SteveK:

"The argument is that there is a first mover, which initiates change but is not itself change - and this we call God"

Be careful here, the "initiates" verb is a temporal term and has nothing to do with the conclusion of the First Way.

@Legion of Logic:

"I will post it, and kindly ask you to refute the argument, as bmiller asked many posts ago and has been requested numerous times since."

You are going wrong at it.

What you should be asking is for *Cal* to post what he understands the argument to be and then point out the flaws he perceives in it.

Since he is an ignorant moron this will be an occasion for hilarity.

bmiller said...

@Legion of Logic,

grodrigues has it right.

Cal has rather loudly claimed that he was prepared to refute the First Way argument but has produced a big nothing burger. Let him do some research. Maybe he'll learn something.

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "It's pretty clear that Cal has no clue what arguments are or how they work. Otherwise, he would recognize that he is embarrassing himself by making a bare assertion and insisting it is an argument. / I'm pretty sure if you posted the argument he wouldn't understand it. In fact that is most likely the problem."

LOL. Yeah, that must be it.

SteveK said...

Legion,
A summary of the argument (below) taken from here

The First Way: Argument from Motion

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; and this everyone understands to be God.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "You have not demonstrated a single one of your criticisms of the First Way to be true."

Well, to be clear, I just pointed out the First Way doesn't actually show that a deity must exist.

When it was brought up, I suggested that we start with that simple criticism -- the problem that the argument doesn't do what its promoters say it does -- show that a deity must exist. For instance:

Legion: "I believe the argument shows that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist."
Me: "Where do you read from the argument that a deity (let alone transcendent) must exist. Be specific."

Over many comments, Legion (et al.) fail to cite where the argument shows that a deity must exist. Then you offered this:

Legion: " If it will help, I can copy/paste it here, so it will be available for reference."
Me: "Please do so. Also, kindly bold the section where you think it shows that a deity must exist."

After that, you wrote:

Legion: "I'm having difficulty locating a concise version of the argument that is blog-post friendly. Bmiller, do you know of a good succinct version that doesn't lose part of itself in translation? If not, I'll just post the whole thing."

And I'm still waiting to to have my criticism refuted.

So, that's pretty much where it stands.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion:

"8. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God."

So, to be clear, that is the where this great, persuasive argument shows that a deity must exist?

That's it?

SteveK said...

That's it, Cal. You seem surprised - like this is the first time you've seen the argument. Is this the first time? If it's not then don't ask silly questions "to be clear".

We look forward to your refutation

Legion of Logic said...

"And I'm still waiting to to have my criticism refuted."

To offer a similar level refutation of your criticism as you have of the First Way argument: Your criticism fails to show what you say it does. I have successfully refuted your criticism, by your standards, unless you explain where the logic in the First Way argument fails.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "To offer a similar level refutation of your criticism as you have of the First Way argument: Your criticism fails to show what you say it does."

Legion, we often find something to agree about on these threads, so I'll offer you this: my refutation of the First Way's "demonstration" that a deity must exist rises to the same high level as the conclusion of the First Way itself.



Legion of Logic said...

The First Way was presented above in eight parts. Do you have no objections to the argument prior to the eighth statement?

grodrigues said...

"And I'm still waiting to to have my criticism refuted."

There is nothing to refute in a groundless claim, with not even the slightest scrap of evidence offered, made by an intellectual fraud.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "The First Way was presented above in eight parts. Do you have no objections to the argument prior to the eighth statement?"

Some objections to some of the premises. It's pretty much garden variety, obvious stuff. Have you truly never encountered modern commentary on the First Way? There are lots of problems with it (although I do like the intuitive appeal and its sequence / progression). I think that most of the problems with it are obvious, but the most glaring one for me has always been the abrupt conclusion -- it's jarringly inelegant (let alone unsupported), and it just seems like someone took the argument and tacked something else on at the end.

If you are genuinely curious I can frame out the 2-5 basic objections with some of the premises if I go back into the argument you provided. But even it was entirely valid and its premises were supported, the conclusion would still be the same side-splitter that it is.

Cal Metzger said...

grod: "There is nothing to refute in a groundless claim, with not even the slightest scrap of evidence offered, made by an intellectual fraud."

Hey, we agree!

bmiller said...

4 days of waiting for any, (any!) argument from Cal.
But I guess one can't provide an argument if one doesn't know what an argument actually is.

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "But I guess one can't provide an argument if one doesn't know what an argument actually is."

Um hmm.

Because when someone thinks that this: "8. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God." is the height of argumentative demonstration, then we can know how coveted his assessment of argument must truly be.

bmiller said...

Looks like we will reach day 5 without an argument from Cal.
I'm not surprised.

Legion of Logic said...

"If you are genuinely curious I can frame out the 2-5 basic objections with some of the premises if I go back into the argument you provided."

Before you do that, I'd like to comment on the conclusion. I'll agree the final conclusion does seem rather abrupt and perhaps unwarranted when read alone. Two points, though. One, the First Way is only part of a larger set of argumemts, the Five Ways, which are themselves part of a larger work, Summa Theologica. So really the First Way is likely not intended to make one slap himself in the forehead and shout "God exists!"

Second point, though, is that the primary (I believe) conclusion of the First Way isn't so much God as it is the concept of the First Mover. The nature of the first mover isn't part of the argument, just its existence.

grodrigues said...

@Legion of Logic:

"Second point, though, is that the primary (I believe) conclusion of the First Way isn't so much God as it is the concept of the First Mover."

This is not quite correct. When Aquinas finishes the summary of the First Way in the ST, he uses the expression "and this everyone understands to be God". Whatever else one thinks that God is, Aquinas (and Aquinas is following Aristotle) clearly thinks that He is the First Mover. And if doubts there are, he then spends hundreds of pages (literally) painstakingly deriving all the standard attributes of divinity -- a summary of which can be found in the One God chapter of the first part of the ST, right after the Five Ways.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "I'll agree the final conclusion does seem rather abrupt and perhaps unwarranted when read alone."

It's abrupt when it's read at the end of the 7 previous premises as well.

It's also easy to refute in that skeptics are among "everyone," and skeptics don't see good reason to believe that something like a god exists.

Legion: " One, the First Way is only part of a larger set of argumemts, the Five Ways, which are themselves part of a larger work, Summa Theologica."

An argument that doesn't demonstrate its claim, but relies on the assurance that it actually makes sense elsewhere, isn't much of an argument, though, is it?

Why would it be so hard to tack on the relevant parts of the Summa Theologica, similar to how you've done for the first 8 premises, and finish off the argument for Aquinas?

Why didn't Aquinas just do that himself in the First Way?

Is it possible that the First way itself isn't really a very good argument for god after all?

Legion of Logic said...

"This is not quite correct. When Aquinas finishes the summary of the First Way in the ST, he uses the expression "and this everyone understands to be God". Whatever else one thinks that God is, Aquinas (and Aquinas is following Aristotle) clearly thinks that He is the First Mover. And if doubts there are, he then spends hundreds of pages (literally) painstakingly deriving all the standard attributes of divinity -- a summary of which can be found in the One God chapter of the first part of the ST, right after the Five Ways."

True, but I would say the First Way is very sound at getting one to the First Mover, but while the concept of God is fully compatible with being the First Mover, I'm not sure that lone argument in of itself could get an open-minded seeker of truth to God per se. I think that's why Aquinas then proceeds to expound further after the Five Ways. I'm no Aquinas expert, though, so mine is not an arms-crossed, line-in-the-sand position.

Cal,

"An argument that doesn't demonstrate its claim, but relies on the assurance that it actually makes sense elsewhere, isn't much of an argument, though, is it?"

Well that depends, do you believe the First Way argument is insufficient to demonstrate the necessity of something that is the first mover?

SteveK said...

All that bluster and still no refutation of the argument itself. Typical.

bmiller said...

The argument establishes an unactualized actualizer.
This being is the ultimate and primary source of all change happening at this very instance in the universe. Without this being's action, no one would live and breathe including the ignorant.

This is merely one of the characteristics of the classic definition of God, the one that Aquinas chose to demonstrate first. He demonstrates the remainder of the characteristics in the rest of Question 2 and Questions 3-16 of the First Part.

Since Aquinas is addressing those who are aware of the classical definition of God, his note at the end of the argument "and this everyone understands to be God." indicates to the student that the demonstration of this particular attribute of God is now complete.

If the ignorant are curious as to how other attributes of God (according to the classical definition) are demonstrated, he would have to do further (or in some cases actually start) reading. He could start by finishing Q2 and moving through Q26 of the first part.
Is there an actual attempt at a refutation in our future?


grodrigues said...

@Legion of Logic:

"True, but I would say the First Way is very sound at getting one to the First Mover, but while the concept of God is fully compatible with being the First Mover, I'm not sure that lone argument in of itself could get an open-minded seeker of truth to God per se."

The only reason why someone can think the First Mover is not God is that they either do not understand what God is or they do not understand what the First Mover is.

The "lone argument" comment is baffling since what is sufficient to convince an "open-minded seeker of truth" depends on the seeker, and in general has little to do with the quality of the arguments themselves. Dialectics is not rhetoric. Furthermore, arguments do not exist in a vacuum, but within a web of ideas and concepts, themselves needing adequate argumentative support. Arguments, or their conclusions, have entailments that need to be made explicit via further argumentation. There is nothing special about this; it is both a perennial predicament of how human knowledge proceeds and an artifact of the exposition of said knowledge.

Legion of Logic said...

"The "lone argument" comment is baffling since what is sufficient to convince an "open-minded seeker of truth" depends on the seeker, and in general has little to do with the quality of the arguments themselves. Dialectics is not rhetoric. Furthermore, arguments do not exist in a vacuum, but within a web of ideas and concepts, themselves needing adequate argumentative support. Arguments, or their conclusions, have entailments that need to be made explicit via further argumentation. There is nothing special about this; it is both a perennial predicament of how human knowledge proceeds and an artifact of the exposition of said knowledge."

But keep in mind, I'm speaking to Cal, so I'm trying to meet him at where he's at. And I don't mean that insultingly, either. You are possibly right, though, that my approach is more damaging than helpful.

SteveK said...

-->>> The only reason why someone can think the First Mover is not God is that they either do not understand what God is or they do not understand what the First Mover is.


^This is true. However, a naturalist (supposedly) knows what is natural. Ask a naturalist to define what is natural and see if the first mover ever comes up. It never does.

Cal Metzger said...

Me: "An argument that doesn't demonstrate its claim, but relies on the assurance that it actually makes sense elsewhere, isn't much of an argument, though, is it?"
Legion: "Well that depends, do you believe the First Way argument is insufficient to demonstrate the necessity of something that is the first mover?"

It really doesn't depend. I was told that the First Way was an argument that shows that a deity must exist.

Do you agree that this is now an overstatement?

Because I've read your summary of the First Way, and now I'm told that the real explanation that shows a deity must exist is somewhere else.

If that's the case, why don't you summarize that argument?

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "If the ignorant are curious as to how other attributes of God (according to the classical definition) are demonstrated, he would have to do further (or in some cases actually start) reading. He could start by finishing Q2 and moving through Q26 of the first part."

Sure. That's the ticket. LIke Scientology, the real revelations that make everything clear are available at the next level, after one has paid for some more courses, and wasted more time, etc. Don't see good answers to basic questions? bmiller assures us that in just a little while, all will be revealed.

Q2 and moving through Q26! Ohymygod, that's where the evidence has been hiding this whole time. If only we had known, the souls we could have saved!

Do you even believe the stuff you write, bmiller?

Legion of Logic said...

"Because I've read your summary of the First Way, and now I'm told that the real explanation that shows a deity must exist is somewhere else."

When I said God, I meant the Christian deity specifically. The First Mover has to be something that isn't matter/energy, since those things do not meet the criteria. A deity is pretty much the only option, if one accepts that the logic in the First Way is sound - which I do.

bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger,

The First Way argument aims to demonstrate the existence of God and it does exactly that.

You have been challenged to refute this single argument and so far all you've provided is: "No it doesn't". Most people realize in fourth grade that this is an inadequate response.

Is your level of education the reason you're bristling with my suggestion that you actually read a book?

SteveK said...

Cal wants to deny what the argument states in plain English, that it's an argument for God.

Priceless!

grodrigues said...

@SteveK:

"Cal wants to deny what the argument states in plain English, that it's an argument for God."

Since Mr. Metzger has never understood, and does not till this day, understand the argument (as he himself implicitly concedes in December 13, 2016 7:54 PM when requesting Legion of Logic to "summarize that argument") what could his denial possibly mean? Or any comment whatsoever for that matter?

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "A deity is pretty much the only option, if one accepts that the logic in the First Way is sound - which I do."

Again, no. The conclusion in 8 is still unattached to the argument (for the First Way) that you've listed.

Even if one were to accept, for the sake of discussion, that each of the premises are valid and supported there is still NO WAY WHATSOEVER that one is compelled to conclude that a deity is the only or even most likely candidate for a first mover.

Other options include:

- Existence itself (a brute fact that is exceptional in the same way a deity is exceptional, with none of the compound attributes that make a deity LESS likely)
- An undiscovered fact of physics (a multiverse that exists outside our discoverable universe)

There are lots of other interesting options to consider as well. If one wants to conform with typical superstitious templates, it could be a being imagined as the deity in the conclusion of the First Way, but one that does not sustain nor is involved in our universe (a guess that has the benefit of being more consistent with what we observe).

i think the First Mover is an interesting intellectual exercise, as it gets us to thinking about the intersection of abstractions with the physical world, but the "must be a deity" conclusion promoted by Aquinas remains what it so obviously is even on first reading -- an ad hoc conclusion tacked on in an attempt to rationalize already held superstitious beliefs.




Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "Is your level of education the reason you're bristling with my suggestion that you actually read a book?"

"You know, people really need to take time and read a book…that's my advice," Travolta said on Good Morning America. "You could read New Slant on Life or Dianetics, and I think if you really read it, you'll understand it. But unless you do, you'll speculate, and I think it's a mistake to do that."

It all depends on the books one reads, I suppose.

grodrigues said...

"Other options include:"

All of the options listed *directly contradict* the argument, so no they are not options.

"i think the First Mover is an interesting intellectual exercise, as it gets us to thinking about the intersection of abstractions with the physical world, but the "must be a deity" conclusion promoted by Aquinas remains what it so obviously is even on first reading -- an ad hoc conclusion tacked on in an attempt to rationalize already held superstitious beliefs."

Mr. Metzger's ignorant opinion of the First Way, or of Aquinas "rationalization" of "already held superstitious beliefs" (when you have nothing else, it is simply de rigueur to insert rank arm-chair psycho-analysis), is completely irrelevant because Mr. Metzger *demonstrably* does not know what he is talking about.

bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger,

You said:
"It all depends on the books one reads, I suppose."

Yes, I see where this would flummox you.

I prefer to understand a position before engaging in criticism of it. That way I minimize my chances of looking foolish.

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "I prefer to understand a position before engaging in criticism of it. That way I minimize my chances of looking foolish."

How's that going for ya?

Cal Metzger said...

grod: "All of the options listed *directly contradict* the argument, so no they are not options."

Nope.

In my first option, Existence is not "a thing," it is all the things -- in the same way that digestion is not organs, or enzymes, or bacteria, it is all the components that are digestion. Existence (the brute fact) remains exempt from the causal links that the ad hoc deity creator remains exempt from, and provides a simpler option.

You simply don't understand this option.

In my second option, the mulitverse itself is not a thing, but that which from all things spring. It remains exempt from the causal links that the ad hoc deity creator remains exempt from, and provides a simpler solution.

You simply don't understand this option, either.

You ability to understand some things, like your understanding of the First Way, seems to have misled you into believing that because you understand something, you understand all the things. This is manifestly untrue.

Or did you suppose that you are the only one who can determine whether or not someone understands something?

grodrigues said...

@Cal Metzger:

"Nope."

It is delightfully charming your throwing back at me the charge that "I do not understand"; it really is. I resolutely refuse to discuss with an ignoramus that *demonstrably* does *NOT* know or understand the argument, or even what Aquinas (or Aristotle before him) means by "First Mover". It is *demonstrably true* that the totality of the created order *CANNOT* be the First Mover; it is *demonstrably true* that a causally disconnected multiverse *CANNOT* be the First Mover. Everyone even the least bit conversant with Aquinas knows this. Period, end of story.

Neither can you possibly know or even have any possible reason to claim that a causally disconnected "multiverse" say (to pick one of your options) could be the First Mover as Aquinas conceives him. Simply because you demonstrably do not understand, and do not *even* care to understand the First Way and the ideas surrounding it, as you so frequently concede (e.g. in retorting that reading books about the First Way is as worthless as reading books on dianetics). As evidenced by what you take to be the reasons that "Existence itself" or a "multiverse" could be the First Mover -- they all directly *contradict* the argument and are hopelessly jumbled, as it would predictably happen with someone that does not know the argument and the ideas surrounding it. You are simply throwing crap out there in the hopes that it sticks. It doesn't.

It is your choice what to do with your intellectual life, but let us not pretend that, as far this particular subject goes, you are anything but a crank and a crackpot. Here is a very simple way to prove me wrong: prove by analysis of the relevant arguments and metaphysical ideas (not the confused mumbo-jumbo that you mistake for Aquinas') that indeed, and contrary to what I said, a causally disconnected "multiverse" say (to pick one of your options) could be the First Mover as Aquinas conceives him.

But of course everyone here knows what will happen.

"Or did you suppose that you are the only one who can determine whether or not someone understands something?"

It is the typical mark of a crank and crackpot to be responding to obviously false claims that no one ever made or even so much as suggested. Here is what is true: you do not understand the First Way. Everyone around here knows this, including you.

Cal Metzger said...

grod: "It is the typical mark of a crank and crackpot to be responding to obviously false claims that no one ever made or even so much as suggested."

Tell me about it.

bmiller said...

And Cal, really.

If you can't respond cogently and choose to hurl insults instead, at least give us something better than your standard Pee Wee Herman “I know you are but what am I?"

Try a little creativity man.

SteveK said...

The "I know you are, but what am I" response from an adult is the mark of an intellectual midget.

SteveK said...

Logically speaking, it's impossible to start with anything resembling the First Way argument to a conclusion that is "exempt from the causal links" the argument is predicated on. In other words Cal is imagining some other argument in order to get to his options. What that argument is, only he knows.

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "Is your level of education the reason you're bristling with my suggestion that you actually read a book?"
stevek: "The "I know you are, but what am I" response from an adult is the mark of an intellectual midget."

You two deserve each other. Enjoy yourselves.

Cal Metzger said...

stevek: "Logically speaking, it's impossible to start with anything resembling the First Way argument to a conclusion that is "exempt from the causal links" the argument is predicated on."

Except for a deity, apparently.

grodrigues said...

"Except for a deity, apparently."

Why does Mr. Metzger insist on rubbing everyone's faces with his ignorance? What point does he imagine he is trying to make? Does he enjoy playing the buffoon's role?

Cal Metzger said...

I'll just head off the predictable routine where some of you try and regroup and reassure one another that the problems I've pointed out don't exist, and that so long as you all agree that I'm somehow unpleasant or unfair or obtuse then objective reality can't impede on your beliefs. You're all smart enough not to have ended up here, defending what you defend, but for reasons that I can't know you've ended up as you are.

Regarding my frank assessment of the deficiencies so obvious in the favorite argument I've heard, I'll just post this from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy regarding criticism of Aquinas's Five Ways:

"The Ways are very sketchy, and don't even necessarily conclude to a single being, much less God or the Christian God. In addition, Aquinas claims that God's essence is his existence and that we cannot know His essence, so we cannot know His existence. Aquinas must really intend the Five Ways as less than proofs; they are more like incomplete propaedeutic considerations for thinking adequately about God in Sacred Theology. In effect, Aquinas doesn't think philosophy can in fact demonstrate the existence of God."

I just read the above just now as I looked around, in good faith, for an explanation of what has seemed to me to be so obviously lacking from the First Way argument as explicated here. Turns out I'm not alone. Hmmm.

I wonder: what does it say about an intellectual position when reasonable criticism is mischaracterized as buffoonery? Is that the kind of characterization we see from those who are confident, secure, and capable of defending the reasonableness of their beliefs?

Or is that the kind of stridency we see in cults, where reason and inquiry are subdued (with varying degrees of vehemence) so as to avoid uncomfortable truths?

Cal Metzger said...

Me: "You're all smart enough not to have ended up here,..."

I will also take that back. I suspect that there are at least a couple of you who aren't smart enough to have avoided ending up here. But the rest of you, c'mon man....

SteveK said...

1- "Very sketchy" isn't an argument.
2- We also aren't discussing all 5 Ways, just the First.
3- That particular criticism doesn't support your claim about the conclusion being incorrect.

What does this say about your intellectual position? It ain't flattering.

bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger,

Please, do yourself a favor and just stop digging a deeper hole.

You quoted only a snippet of the article that presented a criticism from someone (don't know who), but the very next paragraph demonstrated how the criticism fails.

"In addition, the objections end up denying what Aquinas writes immediately before the Five Ways—that the existence of a god is “demonstrable.” (Summa Theologiae Ia.2.2) And his introduction of the Five Ways begins by saying that the existence of a god can be “proved” in Five Ways."

I applaud the fact that you were motivated actually read something, but you need to read the entire thing and quote it in context if you want people to take you seriously. I might add that it it also the moral thing to do.

But even that snippet you extracted does not attempt to refute the First Way. If you think it does please explain.


grodrigues said...

@Cal Metzger:

"I wonder: what does it say about an intellectual position when reasonable criticism is mischaracterized as buffoonery? Is that the kind of characterization we see from those who are confident, secure, and capable of defending the reasonableness of their beliefs?"

If this is intended for me, there is no mischaracterization. Contrary to your rank armchair psycho-analysis or the oh so ironic "reason and inquiry are subdued (with varying degrees of vehemence) so as to avoid uncomfortable truths" when it is you that not only does not understand but resolutely refuses to understand (a problem with a tentative diagnosis here), everything I said is amply demonstrated, and can be demonstrated again and again, with ample evidence from a textual analysis of your *own words*.

Legion of Logic said...

"I just read the above just now as I looked around, in good faith, for an explanation of what has seemed to me to be so obviously lacking from the First Way argument as explicated here. Turns out I'm not alone. Hmmm."

Indeed, not all philosophers agree with Aquinas. I'm not aware of a single philosophical position that is universally accepted.

grodrigues said...

"I just read the above just now as I looked around, in good faith, for an explanation of what has seemed to me to be so obviously lacking from the First Way argument as explicated here."

In "good faith"? This whole thread is ample and evident demonstration of Mr. Metzger's intellectual dishonesty. The only reason he "looked around" was not to understand the arguments in "good faith", but to dig up dirt to hurl at St. Thomas. *If* he were in "good faith" he would do what the rest of us did, read up on St. Thomas and his commentators, and the metaphysical background needed to understand him -- not to (necessarily) agree with him, but understand him. But it is oh so much better to impugn others with "reason and inquiry are subdued (with varying degrees of vehemence) so as to avoid uncomfortable truths", right? It has all the advantages of theft over honest intellectual toil.

My second comment in this thread was directed at Legion of Logic, saying that it was Mr. Metzger that should lay out what he took to be Aquinas argument and then point out the flaws. This is the obvious first step in evaluating someone's understanding of another's argument. We all know how that fared. And here we are now, several tens of comments later, Mr. Metzger trying to convince (himself?) that he is in "good faith". Pathetic.

SteveK said...

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. #Cal

Cal Metzger said...

grod: "If this is intended for me, there is no mischaracterization. Contrary to your rank armchair psycho-analysis or the oh so ironic "reason and inquiry are subdued (with varying degrees of vehemence) so as to avoid uncomfortable truths" when it is you that not only does not understand but resolutely refuses to understand (a problem with a tentative diagnosis here), everything I said is amply demonstrated, and can be demonstrated again and again, with ample evidence from a textual analysis of your *own words*."

Blah blah. My point is that the First Way is not persuasive for the obvious reasons that I listed. In response, I was told I didn't understand it, NOT what it was that I didn't understand. So, when I looked around for some version of the First Way that sucked less than the one offered, I see that others have voiced similar criticism (the section I quoted from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) of the First Way in the past. This, of course, explains the current relative obscurity of The First Way. It doesn't really work, and the only ones it seems to convince are (surprise) internet apologists.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "Indeed, not all philosophers agree with Aquinas. I'm not aware of a single philosophical position that is universally accepted."

Then I think it's hardly surprising that I would voice the same obvious criticism by reading it on my own, then, wouldn't you?

In other words, do you really think that only a (still unspecified) lack of understanding among those who don't think much of the First Way is the only reason one can find it unpersuasive?

Cal Metzger said...

Grod: "In "good faith"? This whole thread is ample and evident demonstration of Mr. Metzger's intellectual dishonesty."

Or my staying reasonably engaged with some comments on this thread. Tomato tahmahto, I guess.

Grod: "The only reason he "looked around" was not to understand the arguments in "good faith", but to dig up dirt to hurl at St. Thomas."

If you say so.

Grod: " *If* he were in "good faith" he would do what the rest of us did, read up on St. Thomas and his commentators, and the metaphysical background needed to understand him -- not to (necessarily) agree with him, but understand him."

I think I understand the First Way well enough. I don't think it's a good argument. I've explained some of the reasons. Apparently, this is reason to throw a hissy fit.

Grod: "But it is oh so much better to impugn others with "reason and inquiry are subdued (with varying degrees of vehemence) so as to avoid uncomfortable truths", right? It has all the advantages of theft over honest intellectual toil."

You've heard about pots and kettles, right? What a piece of work you continue to be.

On the plus side, I am starting to more genuinely enjoy reading your little diatribes. So, keep on working yourself up, I guess. Most of the time I don't really see your point, but I have to give you points for committing to some kind of role / performance.

SteveK said...

"Then I think it's hardly surprising that I would voice the same obvious criticism by reading it on my own, then, wouldn't you? "

Same? Obvious? I repeat...

1- "Very sketchy" isn't an argument (or a criticism).
2- We also aren't discussing all 5 Ways, just the First.
3- That particular criticism doesn't support your claim about the conclusion being incorrect. Your criticism is completely different than anything I read on that website.

SteveK said...

"I think I understand the First Way well enough."

You don't demonstrate that you understand it so why should we believe this? We need evidence and right now there is *none*.

grodrigues said...

@Cal Metzger:

"So, when I looked around for some version of the First Way that sucked less than the one offered, I see that others have voiced similar criticism (the section I quoted from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) of the First Way in the past."

In the quoted snippet, and restricting myself to *only* the quoted snippet, there are seven complaints (if I did not missed my count). Two are irrelevant as far as the arguments go, one would be rejected by St Thomas for famous reasons, and, like the other four, is explicitly dealt with by him. This is, once again, fairly common knowledge by *anyone* the least bit conversant with Aquinas -- after all, I am not exactly an expert scholar on St. Thomas.

"I think I understand the First Way well enough. I don't think it's a good argument. I've explained some of the reasons."

We here like our claims to be substantiated with evidence. Your so called reasons for thinking the argument is bad are exactly the reasons why you demonstrably do not understand St. Thomas as I have already pointed out (more precisely, I only pointed it for some of them; as I said previously I have no wish to waste my time). Everyone knows you do not understand the argument or the background, including yourself, which is the reason why you never provided a summary when asked to or explained what the argument was about -- which as I said is the very first step in evaluating someone's understanding of an argument -- and never will, why you relied on the summary SteveK provided, why you committed so many egregious blunders, why you did not and will not disprove any of my claims with any actual evidential and logical analysis, why you retorted to bmiller that it was equally worthless to read books on the First Way as it would be to read "New Slant on Life or Dianetics", and a number of other things, which constitute ample textual evidence that no, you do not understand nor even are you on "good faith" trying to understand.

Cal Metzger said...

Stevek: "Same? Obvious? I repeat..."

Yes, you do repeat.

FYI, I ignore most of your comments because they're usually too stupid (plus kind of snide -- not a real winning combo) to respond to. I doubt you can fix that, but that's the reason.

Stevek: "1- "Very sketchy" isn't an argument (or a criticism)."

"Very sketchy" is a criticism. And not everything has to be an argument -- observations are very often enough.

stevek: "2- We also aren't discussing all 5 Ways, just the First."

I know.

Tell that to Grodrigues, and bmiller, who seem to want me to read all of Aquinas and his commenters before I respond to a request, given here, to explain why I don't find the First Way to be persuasive.

stevek: "3- That particular criticism doesn't support your claim about the conclusion being incorrect. Your criticism is completely different than anything I read on that website."

I cited that section from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy to counter the insinuation that fuller study of Aquinas would reveal that his argument is somehow persuasive. Clearly, many of those who look at his argument (even those who enjoy the luxury of comprehensive philosophical study) do NOT find his argument persuasive. So, I reject the notion that I have to study some never-ending rabbit hole of further archaic musings in order to declare that the First Way, as proposed here, fails to demonstrate that a deity must exist. The problem is (as I've explained) with the argument, not with my understanding of it. If there's a better, different argument, then maybe someone should reference that one, but I think it's pretty clear at this point that the First Way, as offered here, remains the many centuries old dead horse that those who've also encountered it deem it to be.



SteveK said...

"Very sketchy" is a criticism in the same way "come on!" is a criticism. No meat to either one. Empty words, they are. (Yoda, I sound like)

And not everything has to be an argument -- observations are very often enough.

We know about your many opinions, claims and observations. What we lack are your arguments and your rebuttals. We ask. We never get them. Why?

Cal Metzger said...

Grod: "We here like our claims to be substantiated with evidence."

Yeah, that's the problem with you guys. It's ALL THAT EVIDENCE you're constantly providing. Truly, lol, and smh.

Grod: "Your so called reasons for thinking the argument is bad are exactly the reasons why you demonstrably do not understand St. Thomas as I have already pointed out (more precisely, I only pointed it for some of them; as I said previously I have no wish to waste my time)."

So what's stopping you from fixing the argument so that it works?

If the problem with my assessment of the First Way is that I don't understand Aquinas, why don't you just fix the parts of the argument that I (and so many others) don't understand so that the argument works?

Cal Metzger said...

Grod: "Everyone knows you do not understand the argument or the background, including yourself, which is the reason why you never provided a summary when asked to or explained what the argument was about -- which as I said is the very first step in evaluating someone's understanding of an argument -- and never will..."

Whoa, whoa, slow down there chief. As I recall, you suggested to Legion that I summarize the argument, but we both seem to have been able to carry on a conversation without playing by your instruction. If this was going to upset you, you could have asked me directly, but your chosen method of discourse seems to be to talk about me all while droning on about how I should be ignored. Honestly, I sometimes just skip over your comments because that's been pretty reliable from you. And, after all, we all only have so much time.

Grod: ".. why you relied on the summary SteveK provided..."

I hear you on SteveK -- that guys is THE WORST. But if it was so wrong, why don't you correct it with your own summary?

Grod: "... why you committed so many egregious blunders, why you did not and will not disprove any of my claims with any actual evidential and logical analysis, why you retorted to bmiller that it was equally worthless to read books on the First Way as it would be to read "New Slant on Life or Dianetics", and a number of other things, which constitute ample textual evidence that no, you do not understand nor even are you on "good faith" trying to understand."

Actually, at this point you seem genuinely upset. I suppose it seems that I'm being deliberately difficult, but I can assure you that my objections are sincere. The First Way, at least as explicated here, doesn't demonstrate what its proponents claim it does (that deity must exist). That's my assessment, as I've explained.

grodrigues said...

@Cal Metzger:

"It's ALL THAT EVIDENCE you're constantly providing."

Yes, contrary to you, I did provide evidence for my claims in this thread as anyone can see for himself. For example, in the very paragraph you quote and that seemingly was an occasion for a chuckle. That you do not have the minimum evidentiary and logical skills to recognize it, is not any problem with my arguments or the evidence itself.

"So what's stopping you from fixing the argument so that it works?"

There is nothing to fix because you have not identified any flaw with the argument needing to be fixed. How could you, if you do not know what the argument is or how it is supposed to work? If you did, you would be able to explain the argument back to us and then proceed to pinpoint its fatal flaws. And then we, or at any rate I, could try and make a genuine effort to respond to them. Or you could simply be intellectually honest and say "Hey, I really do not understand what Aquinas is getting at so I have no informed opinion on the merits of the argument; I have these other independent reasons to believe that there is no God, etc. and etc." You never did; you never will. Your so-called "reasons" fall into 3 general (possibly overlapping) classes: (1) irrelevant for the actual argument (2) borne of resolute ignorance of the argument itself (3) *explicitly* answered by St. Thomas himself, something you *would* know if you were not talking out of your ass. The only proper response to this is RTFM.

"If the problem with my assessment of the First Way is that I don't understand Aquinas, why don't you just fix the parts of the argument that I (and so many others) don't understand so that the argument works?"

This deserves its own special comment. So if per hypothesis you do not understand the argument, it is me that has to "fix" it so that it, the argument, "works"? Is it any wonder that you get a called a moron?

grodrigues said...

@Cal Metzger:

"The First Way, at least as explicated here, doesn't demonstrate what its proponents claim it does (that deity must exist)."

To repeat myself, this logically requires to say that the First Mover is not God, and the only possible way to maintain this is to either not know what God is or not know what St. Thomas (following Aristotle) means by First Mover. In other words, not having a clue about how the argument works or what it purports to establish.

Legion of Logic said...

"In other words, do you really think that only a (still unspecified) lack of understanding among those who don't think much of the First Way is the only reason one can find it unpersuasive?"

In all fairness, I don't believe I've ever made the claim that the only reason one would reject the First Way argument is if one did not understand it. Having had that argument used on me, for example by atheists ("If you understood what our arguments were, you would reject god belief!!") I've never been too impressed with it as a conversational tool or convincing argument. It's possible I said something to that effect, I suppose.

There are also modern philosophers who do believe the First Way is a sound argument, incidentally. Feser comes to mind.

Cal Metzger said...

Grod: "To repeat myself, this logically requires to say that the First Mover is not God, and the only possible way to maintain this is to either not know what God is or not know what St. Thomas (following Aristotle) means by First Mover. In other words, not having a clue about how the argument works or what it purports to establish."

So, the argument works, so long as we assume that god exists before concluding the argument?

Yup. That's some "argument" you got there.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "In all fairness, I don't believe I've ever made the claim that the only reason one would reject the First Way argument is if one did not understand it."

Thanks for clarifying that.

Legion: "Having had that argument used on me, for example by atheists ("If you understood what our arguments were, you would reject god belief!!") I've never been too impressed with it as a conversational tool or convincing argument. It's possible I said something to that effect, I suppose."

Well, to be fair as well, there are instances when it's where a lack of understanding and disbelief are linked. I don't have a well-thought-out approach to distinguishing when one can reasonably blame ignorance for suspended belief, and when one can dismiss the charge. Clearly, there are instances of both. I suppose if something intellectually profitable is to come out of this discussion it would better consideration of how to separate those two instances.

grodrigues said...

@Cal Metzger:

"So, the argument works, so long as we assume that god exists before concluding the argument?"

How one goes from what I said to this crap is a complete mystery which will remain forever unexplained.

Cal Metzger said...

Grod: "How one goes from what I said to this crap is a complete mystery which will remain forever unexplained."

Sounds a lot like the First Way.

bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger,


It's been over a week now that you have been challenged to refute the First Way argument.

Merriam-Webster definition: *refute*
"to prove wrong by argument or evidence"

I still haven't seen anything from you that meets the definition.

Here is the list I have of your responses (feel free to add more if I missed any):

1) No it doesn't.
2) The conclusion is jarring.
3) The First Way could conclude in a brute fact.
4) The First Way could conclude in Multiverses.
5) I found an article that says some criticize the Five Ways.

It seems you're at the point now where you're banking on #5.

Is that it? You've found evidence that Thomism has been criticized.
I'll ask again. How do you think this refutes the First Way.

grodrigues said...

@Cal Metzger:

"Sounds a lot like the First Way."

How would you know, since you demonstrably do not understand the First Way? I take it then that you will not explain how you have gone from what I said to "So, the argument works, so long as we assume that god exists before concluding the argument?". Not surprising, really.

SteveK said...

The arguments for naturalism don't make sense and are very sketchy.
Everyone can now ignore arguments for the truth of naturalism.

You're welcome!

(the logic above is brought to you by Cal)

Cal Metzger said...

Grod: "How would you know, since you demonstrably do not understand the First Way?"

This is getting boring. I explained the first problem I saw with the First Way (the conclusion), and I've heard nothing to dissuade me from believing that I remain correct in that assessment. It's actually kind of pathetic how often apologists commenting here ignore my questions, and pretend that the problems I point out have been resolved somehow if they merely change the topic.

Grod: "I take it then that you will not explain how you have gone from what I said to "So, the argument works, so long as we assume that god exists before concluding the argument?". Not surprising, really."

This is rich seeing as how instead of trying to use this opportunity to defend and explain the First Way you have shrunk up like a tortoise.

Cal Metzger said...

Me: "The First Way, at least as explicated here, doesn't demonstrate what its proponents claim it does (that deity must exist)."
Grod: "To repeat myself, this logically requires to say that the First Mover is not God, and the only possible way to maintain this is to either not know what God is or not know what St. Thomas (following Aristotle) means by First Mover. In other words, not having a clue about how the argument works or what it purports to establish."

So, to break it down:

Grod: ""To repeat myself, this logically requires to say that the First Mover is not God..."

No. I pointed out that a deity is not in fact the only (or best) explanation for the preceding premises (assuming one accepts them). Hence, there are other, and better options, and the conclusion that a deity MUST exist is not demonstrated. This is very simple stuff.

Grod: "...and the only possible way to maintain this is to either not know what God is..."

Knowing what god is means knowing that god exists. Knowing that god exists is the conclusion of the argument. This is called begging the question, or making a circular argument. This is very basic stuff.

Grod: "...or not know what St. Thomas (following Aristotle) means by First Mover."

If St. Thomas means that the First Mover is a deity, he hasn't demonstrated his claim, only asserted it. If St. Thomas means that the First Mover is not a deity, then he agrees with me that the argument doesn't show that deity must exist. Take your pick here.

Grod; "In other words, not having a clue about how the argument works or what it purports to establish."

At this point I am starting to have a clue that you are kind of a charlatan.

bmiller said...

@grodrigues,

You were right. This is hilarious.

"Knowing what god is means knowing that god exists."

Who knew! I know what a multiverse is.
No demonstration necessary, they exist. That was really easy.

I wonder what else I know the definition of that will now pop into existence.

grodrigues said...

@Cal Metzger:

"No. I pointed out that a deity is not in fact the only (or best) explanation for the preceding premises (assuming one accepts them). Hence, there are other, and better options, and the conclusion that a deity MUST exist is not demonstrated."

First, the argument purports to establish that the First Mover exists; to say that the conclusion is *not* that a God (*not* a deity, *God*) exists logically requires that the First Mover is not God as I said. This is perfectly elementary logic, something that quite obviously evades your grasp, so and contrary to what you say, Yes.

Second, as I *already* said, the options you listed *directly* contradict the argument so they *cannot* be options. This once again, follows straightforwardly from how the argument develops and the background metaphysical ideas that make it tick. All of which you resolutely ignore. Here is the way to prove me wrong: explain to us how the argument unfolds, its metaphysical background, and then how your listed options can play the role of First Mover. Of course, since you cannot argue your way out of a paper bag, we all know what will happen -- nothing.

Third, as I keep repeating, St. Thomas quite clearly views the First Mover as God, something in which he is following the Master Philosopher, Aristotle; the beginning Theology students to which the ST was written for, also did, which is why St. Thomas only wrote a sketch of an argument in the ST and left the development of the background ideas to somewhere else -- there was simply no need to answer spurious objections like yours, because everyone knew what they were, spurious. The commentators of St. Thomas likewise do. And once you do understand what God is and the First Mover is, you would also. Here is a very simple way to prove that I am wrong: tells us what God is, what the First Mover is and then the reasoning that the First Mover is not God but can be some of those options. Of course, we all know what will happen -- exactly nothing.

"Knowing what god is means knowing that god exists."

No one has ever maintained this; not in this thread, not anywhere. St. Thomas *explicitly* denies it -- want references? The closest that a Christian philosopher has come to saying something like this, would be the proponents of a-priori arguments like the Ontological argument. But an a-priori argument is still an argument. An argument, by the way, that St. Thomas rejects -- want references? If (extra-mental) existence was contained in the idea of God there would be no need to provide what are a-posteriori arguments for His existence, arguments like the First Way that proceed from effects (motion, causality, possibility and necessity, degrees of being, final causality, etc.) to His existence, since whatever the argument purported to predicate was already logically comprehended in the subject. Quite obviously, an a-posteriori argument reasoning from effects to its cause can have flaws, but circularity is not one.

For the love of God, or whatever you hold sacred, go read a book. This last comment is hilariously pathetic, both in its complete ignorance and utter lack of any argumentative basis. You lack the most basic evidentiary and logical skills, and it is abundantly clear that you are in this with extreme bad faith and intellectually dishonesty. My suggestion if for you to drop it and go do something more productive with your time other than playing the buffoon's role in this blog.

"At this point I am starting to have a clue that you are kind of a charlatan."

Your uninformed opinions are absolutely irrelevant, to me or anyone else here. Although given the source, I will take it as a compliment. If you have any arguments, lay them down on the table. Everything you said has been refuted. But we all know what will happen -- yet more rounds of you digging your heels in extreme bad faith and making even more moronic statements complete devoid of any evidentiary or logical basis.

Cal Metzger said...

Me: “I pointed out that a deity is not in fact the only (or best) explanation for the preceding premises (assuming one accepts them). Hence, there are other, and better options, and the conclusion that a deity MUST exist is not demonstrated.””
Grod: "First, the argument purports to establish that the First Mover exists."

Tell that to Legion, who invited me to look at the argument because he thinks that it does something more — that "It shows that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist. What do you find to be the flaws in the argument?"

I am responding to Legion's inquiry, and his characterization of what he believes the argument shows. Judging from your response, my doing so violates all standards of intellectual decency. Whatever.

Legion suggested that the First Way shows that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist. By attributes of a transcendent deity, I take him to mean (among other things) agency, or personhood, etc.

I explained where the conclusion of the argument fails to show (for reasons I have explained) what Legion suggested.

You are all twisted up about the fact that my response to Legion (re showing that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist) doesn't address what you think the argument shows (that the first mover exists).

Maybe you should be arguing with Legion, and bmiller, and steveK, and when you guys agree on what you think the First Way does show I can look at that version of the argument regarding what you think it demonstrates.

——

Moving on:

Grod: “…to say that the conclusion is *not* that a God (*not* a deity, *God*)….”

You are attacking Legion’s characterization of the argument (“not a deity, “God”) above, not mine. As I said, take it up with him.

Grod: “…to say that the conclusion is *not* that a God (*not* a deity, *God*) exists logically requires that the First Mover is not God as I said. This is perfectly elementary logic, something that quite obviously evades your grasp, so and contrary to what you say, Yes."

Nope. Legion said, and I repeat, [Legion]: “I believe THE ARGUMENT SHOWS that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity MUST EXIST.”

Perfectly elementary logic only requires that I point out that the first mover need not be something with the attributes of a transcendent deity (it could be one of the options I put forth earlier, or any other option that is simpler than one that has the attributes of a deity — Spinoza comes to my mind — etc.), and my criticism of what Legion says the argument shows remains entirely valid.

You are correct that the above is elementary logic, but you are the one who doesn’t seem to understand it. Take a deep breath. Try and understand what I’ve written, and to what I’ve been responding.

The short form is this:
Legion: The argument shows that something with the attributes of a deity must exist.
Me: The existence of something with the attributes of a deity does not follow from the premises of the argument.
Grod: The argument shows that a first mover exists.

Cal Metzger said...

Grod: “Third, as I keep repeating, St. Thomas quite clearly views the First Mover as God, something in which he is following the Master Philosopher, Aristotle; the beginning Theology students to which the ST was written for, also did, which is why St. Thomas only wrote a sketch of an argument in the ST and left the development of the background ideas to somewhere else -- there was simply no need to answer spurious objections like yours, because everyone knew what they were, spurious.”

So St. Thomas makes the argument for the existence of God somewhere else. As I’ve been saying, take it up with the others.

Cal Metzger said...

Me: “Knowing what god is means knowing that god exists."

Grod: “For the love of God, or whatever you hold sacred, go read a book. This last comment is hilariously pathetic, both in its complete ignorance and utter lack of any argumentative basis. You lack the most basic evidentiary and logical skills, and it is abundantly clear that you are in this with extreme bad faith and intellectually dishonesty.”

Basic epistemology holds that knowledge is justified belief.

One can’t know about something that isn’t justified. It shouldn’t surprise you that I don’t think the evidence supports the notion that a god exists. Hence, my position (as stated above).

You’re right; my position requires basic evidentiary and logical skills. You should work on acquiring those. I think it would make discussions way more instructive for you.

grodrigues said...

"I explained where the conclusion of the argument fails to show (for reasons I have explained) what Legion suggested."

As predicted we have yet one more round of Mr. Metzger's show of intellectual buffoonery. Quite obviously he has problems reading elementary English. Here, I will spoonfeed it for him:

(1) The First Way purports to prove the existence of the First Mover.

(2) At the end of the summary as given in the ST, St. Thomas writes "And this everyone understands to be God"; Whatever else one may think that God is, He certainly is the First Mover and nothing that is the First Mover can be other than God. This everyone that reads Aquinas, and what he means by "God" and "First Mover", knows and understands.

(3) So the claim that "it could be one of the options I put forth earlier, or any other option that is simpler than one that has the attributes of a deity", if correct, logically requires that the First Mover is not God. Which is false per (2) above.

(4) Quite apart from (2) and (3), none of the options can play the role of First Mover because they *directly contradict* what the First Way establishes.

(5) All (or virtually all) the objections are *explicitly* addressed and answered by St. Thomas.

(1) to (5) can be objectively evaluated; it is a matter of reading what St. Thomas actually wrote. None of these points, repeated several times, was responded or refuted by any sort of argument or the tinyiest bit of evidence. None of the claims of Mr. Metzger was substantiated with any sort of textual or logical analysis of the argument, which is what is required to know if the argument does what it purports to do. And quite obviously, there will never be any response because Mr. Metzger has no idea what the First Way is about or even what it purports to establish.

SteveK said...

#2 and #3 above was said a long time ago in these comments. Cal continues to deny the reality that there's NO room in the argument for God not being the First Mover. Yet Cal imagines there is room. Cal is arguing against some other argument, not the one put forward by Aquinas.

bmiller said...

As I predicted in the start, it's not just the First Way argument that Cal would fail to understand, but instead the very idea of what an argument consists of and what makes it valid and sound.

This is most recently evident from his latest assertion of saying he was only responding to Legion on Logic and illustrates his inability of understanding the difference between "some" and "all".

His “Knowing what god is means knowing that god exists." howler should have embarrassed any competent person.

I think he should take a community college course in first level logic before posting here again.

Yes, yes, I know I will be accused of moving the goalposts of asking him to refute the First Way argument with argument and evidence by insisting one can't understand how the First Way argument works without understanding how logic works. I do make it impossible for atheists to win that way.



Cal Metzger said...

Grod: "(1) The First Way purports to prove the existence of the First Mover."

I can agree with this.

Grod: "(2) At the end of the summary as given in the ST, St. Thomas writes "And this everyone understands to be God"; Whatever else one may think that God is, He certainly is the First Mover and nothing that is the First Mover can be other than God. This everyone that reads Aquinas, and what he means by "God" and "First Mover", knows and understands."

Mkay. Do you know what I think when people tell me that the answer lies somewhere else, instead of summarizing what that something else is so I can check against it? I think they're pretending.

Grod: "(3) So the claim that "it could be one of the options I put forth earlier, or any other option that is simpler than one that has the attributes of a deity", if correct, logically requires that the First Mover is not God. Which is false per (2) above."

Logic! Actually, to be correct, the above isn't even logical. According to my criticism, God could still be the right conclusion if one were to accept all the premises in the First Way argument provided here. But god isn't the only one, nor the most likely.

Grod: "(4) Quite apart from (2) and (3), none of the options can play the role of First Mover because they *directly contradict* what the First Way establishes."

Except that the Firs Way argument (as offered here) contradicts nothing of the sort. Prove me wrong. (Prediction: you can't.)

Grod: "(5) All (or virtually all) the objections are *explicitly* addressed and answered by St. Thomas."

Pretend pretend pretend.

So long as you promise that all the answers are somewhere else, all we can surmise is that those answers are somehow not good enough to be disclosed here.

Like all the religious claims I know of, this is because it sounds a lot better to say those answers exist somewhere else rather than disclose what those actual answers are.

Hmmmm.


Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "This is most recently evident from his latest assertion of saying he was only responding to Legion on Logic and illustrates his inability of understanding the difference between "some" and "all". "

Explain* your case. I doubt you can.

bmiller: "His “Knowing what god is means knowing that god exists." howler should have embarrassed any competent person."

I actually responded to the shrill reaction. Explain* why my position and the basic epistemological understanding of what it means to "know" something should make you howl. I very much doubt you can.

* By explain, I mean cite your sources, and write out what you understand those citations to mean, and why you think those citations support your assertions. I don't mean repeat yourself.

---------

bmiller: "I think he should take a community college course in first level logic before posting here again."

The fact that you are not well-educated is obvious to someone who is. Grod, for instance, is well-educated. He's wrong about a number of things, but he's not without the benefits of a good education (something that good minds find fairly reliably, but certainly not inevitably).

But to those of us who have been exposed to a very good education (including the benefits of being exposed to well-intentioned people far more gifted and learned than oneself), your little swing-and-a-miss at affecting intellectual superiority regarding my comments here is a kind of embarrassment. I wouldn't bring it up, but you reach for it so often I have to let you know.


SteveK said...

It's strange that someone like Cal - a person who lacks belief in the being God - knows enough about the being God to say that the First Mover isn't *necessarily* that being.

SteveK said...

Feser in his book 'Aquinas':

"To begin at the end [the conclusion of the First Way], someone might immediately object to this argument that whatever else Aquinas has shown, he hasn’t really shown that such a “first mover” would be God, if by God we mean a being that can be said to be all powerful, all knowing, all good, and the like. There are two things to be said in reply. First, what Aquinas is getting at in the last line of the proof is that whatever else God is supposed to be, he is supposed to be the ultimate explanation of why things happen in the world; hence, if it can be proved that there is a being who explains this, it follows that at least to that extent it will have been proved that there is something in reality corresponding to our idea of God. And he is surely right about that much.

Second, while we do of course also want to know why we should regard such a being as all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, and so forth, as I have said before, Aquinas does in fact answer that question in great detail later on in the Summa (and elsewhere)."

grodrigues said...

"Do you know what I think when people tell me that the answer lies somewhere else, instead of summarizing what that something else is so I can check against it? I think they're pretending."

What should we say then about people that refuse *every* single request to summarize and explain the argument they said it was not demonstrative? Intellectual frauds. And what can we say about people that *refuse* to go and read a book everything one asks is explained? Lazy intellectual cowards. What can we say about people that do not give even a single argument for his claims and then turn around and ask others to do the job for them? Intellectual hypocrites. Contrary to Mr. Metzger's innuendos, this can all be demonstrated with evidence from this very thread, by his own words.

"Actually, to be correct, the above isn't even logical."

Sigh. (3) is entirely correct since what (3) said is that Mr. Metzger's claim logically requires that "that the First Mover is not God", which Mr. Metzger himself concedes in the next sentence when he says "But god isn't the only one, nor the most likely". But one could retort that what Mr. Metzger is saying is that First Mover could possibly be God, but could also possibly be something else. I know very well that is what Mr. Metzger says, but to think that this is any sort of response is to get the modalities about God wrong, because it is constitutive of what God is and the properties of identity that if possibly the First Mover is not God, necessarily the First Mover is not God. In other words, since for Mr. Metzger's claim to be correct requires that the First Mover and God have different modal properties, it follows by the indiscernibility of identicals that they are indeed different.

Neither is the argument a probabilistic one, but a metaphysical deductive one, for it to make sense to speak of "most likely".

"Except that the Firs Way argument (as offered here) contradicts nothing of the sort. Prove me wrong. (Prediction: you can't.)"

I have already proved Mr. Metzger wrong. Mr. Metzger cannot even "predict" the past. The argument does not merely establish that something or other exists, it establishes or purports to establish, that the First Mover exists. "First Mover" is not an arbitrary name but has a specific meaning within the context of the argument that rules out those other possibilities he listed. Has he ever given any argument to substantiate his claims? No. Has he ever marshalled the tinyiest bit of relevant evidence regarding his claims? No. And now he has the chutzpah to ask for "proof" as if I had said nothing. This is typical of internet kooks like Mr. Metzger that go around pretending they are committed to evidence and reason. The burden is on his side. I repeat, his claim logically entails that the First Mover is not God, something that quite clearly St. Thomas denies since, well, he explicitly says so. So his claim logically requires that St. Thomas is incorrect about what his own commitments do entail. And this matter can be easily solved by reading St. Thomas. So I ask for proof for his claims and what does he do? Like a mindless parrot, he asks me for proof. You can't make this shit up.

Another point to bear in mind. Notice the parenthetical remark; to this day, Mr. Metzger cannot explain back to any of us the First Way. It was needed SteveK to write up a summary (note: very bad move SteveK, very bad) because he could not bother himself to do that. This whole thread is, among many other things, a gigantic show of Mr. Metzger's pretense to know.

"Pretend pretend pretend."

Again, the infantile Mr. Metzger, which has the intellectual maturity of a 7-year old girl, regressing to his schoolyard taunting days.

Ladies and gentleman, if you ever had any doubts, here is your "open-minded seeker of truth". Pathetic.

grodrigues said...

I should add, for the sake of completion, that in the paragraph starting with "Sigh. (3) is entirely correct" I am assuming a de re reading, especially in the last sentence, which is the natural given what else Mr. Metzger has said. For a de dicto reading, a proof is likewise feasible. Since I wrote more than I ought to or Mr. Metzger deserves, I leave the exercise to the interested reader.

grodrigues said...

@SteveK:

"Cal is arguing against some other argument, not the one put forward by Aquinas."

"Cal is arguing"? Where? I understand what you are trying to say, but let us be rigorous here. He has not made a single argument or marshalled the tinyiest bit of evidence. Since his claim is that the First Mover may well not be God, to adjudicate the claim one has to show that what St. Thomas, following Aristotle, means by "God" and "First Mover" implies that such a possibility is indeed a live one. Since it is a matter of knowing what St. Thomas means, the place to look is his writings. Where are the quotes, the textual analysis? Pulling crap out of your ass does not an argument make. Mr. Metzger could not argue his way out of a paper bag, not even if his life depended on it.

This is also why he raises burden of proof, a standard stalling tactic of clueless idiots who have no arguments. What is under dispute is, among others, Mr. Metzger's claim that the First Mover may well not be God but a causally disconnected multiverse, the entirety of the created order or even something else entirely. But (1) Mr. Metzger has not provided evidence for any of his claims and as a corollary (2) Not only he has flatly refuse to discharge his burden of proof, he has failed to meet any requests at all for us to gauge if he even so much understands the argument. And when you provided a summary, how does the ungrateful snot respond? "I hear you on SteveK -- that guys is THE WORST. But if it was so wrong, why don't you correct it with your own summary?" Now I never said that your summary was "THE WORST", that is yet another egregious misreading of him. But if your summary is so bad, why then does not give us what he thinks the argument is? The answer is so plainly obvious that there is not need to state it.

"open-minded seeker of truth"? Pathetic.

grodrigues said...

And since I have some time to loose, allow me to quote yet another gem of Mr. Metzger. He said to bmiller, in all the serious pompousness of a buffoon:

"The fact that you are not well-educated is obvious to someone who is. Grod, for instance, is well-educated. He's wrong about a number of things, but he's not without the benefits of a good education (something that good minds find fairly reliably, but certainly not inevitably)."

Mr. Metzger "well-educated"? I genuinely laughed out loud reading this. Hilarious, just hilarious.

Mr. Metzger should continue to write such stuff. It is all the entertainment we will ever get out from him.

SteveK said...

With Cal, there's always hope that he will learn something and ultimately use that information to climb out of the hole he has dug for himself. Instead, he takes the information and twists it into a tool that allows him to dig the hole even deeper. On one hand, it's tragic. On the other, it's fascinating to watch - like a slow motion car wreck.

bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger,


"Explain* your case. I doubt you can."

First you were challenged to *refute* the First Way not anything that Legion of Logic posted. To this day you have observably not even attempted to *refute* it. It's clear that you still don't understand the term, after the definition was posted and grodrigues explained why what you've attempted does not meet the definition.

Next, your summary of what you take Legion of Logic to mean by his post:
Cal:"Legion suggested that the First Way shows that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist. By attributes of a transcendent deity, I take him to mean (among other things) agency, or personhood, etc. "

You've created a straw man since although agency and personhood are attributes of God, they are not "all" addressed in the First Way. Only "some" are and no one ever claimed the the things you "take him to mean".
What am I to conclude about your interaction here? I have about 4 choices in mind.


Cal:"I actually responded to the shrill reaction. Explain* why my position and the basic epistemological understanding of what it means to "know" something should make you howl. I very much doubt you can."

You claimed that the First Way argument was circular because Aquinas knows the definition of what it is that he is setting out to prove.

Perhaps you worded it poorly the first time by proclaiming positively that if one knows something therefore it exists. But it appears you still hold that the First Way is circular.

If I set out to prove Socrates has a beard, I would know what it was that I set out to prove.
But according to Cal-logic, any such proof would be fallacious since knowing what one is setting out to prove means that it is already true. In this Cal-world all syllogisms are fallacious and nothing can be learned from using reason.

Did someone in your internet searches of "ways to refute the First Way" really come up with that one?

Finally, my suggestion that you take a class was meant to help you, not to mock you.
You apparently can't see what everyone else here sees with respect to your ability to carry on reasonable discussions.

Cal Metzger said...

Me, upthread: "I'll just head off the predictable routine where some of you try and regroup and reassure one another that the problems I've pointed out don't exist, and that so long as you all agree that I'm somehow unpleasant or unfair or obtuse then objective reality can't impede on your beliefs. "

The lot of you: Sic.



Cal Metzger said...

SteveK (quoting Feser): "Second, while we do of course also want to know why we should regard such a being as all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, and so forth, as I have said before, Aquinas does in fact answer that question in great detail later on in the Summa (and elsewhere)."

Thanks for quoting this. It is my point exactly. Feser and I apparently agree that the First Way DOES NOT show that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist. Let that sink in.

Feser and I agree that if one wants to identify the first mover as a being with the attributes of the deity defined in classical theism, one has to look outside the First Way.

THIS HAS BEEN MY CRITICISM OF THE FIRST WAY, PER LEGION'S CHARACTERIZATION, FROM THE START.

The shrill reaction here to my stating what is not only obvious, but is affirmed by someone you all presumably agree with, is kind of telling. It makes me wonder what everyone is so frightened of.

Hmmmmm.

SteveK said...

Cal conveniently ignores Feser's first point that the First Way *alone* concludes with God as the "ultimate explanation of why things happen in the world".

There is nothing more ultimate than God, Cal. Let that sink in.

SteveK said...

Cal
You're either incapable of grasping this or you are dishonest. Either way, seek help soon.

Cal Metzger said...

SteveK: "Cal conveniently ignores Feser's first point that the First Way *alone* concludes with God as the "ultimate explanation of why things happen in the world". "

THIS IS WHAT YOU QUOTED FROM FESER: ""To begin at the end [the conclusion of the First Way], someone might immediately object to this argument that whatever else Aquinas has shown, he hasn’t really shown that such a “first mover” would be God, if by God we mean a being that can be said to be all powerful, all knowing, all good, and the like. There are two things to be said in reply. First, what Aquinas is getting at in the last line of the proof is that whatever else God is supposed to be, he is supposed to be the ultimate explanation of why things happen in the world; hence, if it can be proved that there is a being who explains this, it follows that at least to that extent it will have been proved that there is something in reality corresponding to our idea of God. And he is surely right about that much. "

I know that you're so intellectually insecure that you can't bring yourself to admit that you've somehow unwittingly presented more support that my criticism is correct, and that you don't understand the argument or my criticism of it, but that's what you've done. You are, indeed, splendid.


SteveK said...

I can read

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "First you were challenged to *refute* the First Way not anything that Legion of Logic posted."

Lie much?

See the full exchange above, with my asking about what needed to be refuted in the First Way. To which Legion (to his credit), replied:

Legion: "I believe the argument shows that something with the attributes of a transcendent deity must exist. What do you find to be the flaws in the argument?"

-----

Why do you suppose you try to mischaracterize my positions?

Do you all suppose that you seem more confident, and unified, and correct if you repeat what is verifiably false?

Who do you think you're fooling?

grodrigues said...

"The shrill reaction here to my stating what is not only obvious, but is affirmed by someone you all presumably agree with, is kind of telling. It makes me wonder what everyone is so frightened of."

"Shrill reaction"? This is why Mr. Metzger screamed with caps lock on?

Anyway, Mr. Metzger's objection is spurious and was *already answered*. Several times. Here is one example by me, in connection with the snippet Mr. Metzger quoted from the Stanford Encyclopedia:

"In the quoted snippet, and restricting myself to *only* the quoted snippet, there are seven complaints (if I did not missed my count). Two are irrelevant as far as the arguments go, one would be rejected by St Thomas for famous reasons, and, like the other four, is explicitly dealt with by him. This is, once again, fairly common knowledge by *anyone* the least bit conversant with Aquinas -- after all, I am not exactly an expert scholar on St. Thomas."

In other words, Mr. Metzger just has to go RTFM. And I should add, to preempt a possible objection, these objections are answered taking the First Way (or functionally similar arguments) as having established God as First Mover, not by using wholly foreign premises and assumptions. And as SteveK points out, the argument does establish that "what everyone understands by God" exists -- I am not inventing, this literally is the classical conception of God, inherited from the Greek tradition and shared by Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc. and etc. And it is in direct contradiction with other remarkably ignorant things Mr. Metzger has said, such as that the First Mover could as well be a causally disconnected multiverse, the entirety of the created order, etc.

So Mr. Metzger's beef is that a summary (and deliberately so) of an argument does not answer all possible questions one could have? Ladies and gentleman, let *that* sink in. Pathetic.

grodrigues said...

In regards to this:

"And I should add, to preempt a possible objection, these objections are answered taking the First Way (or functionally similar arguments) as having established God as First Mover, not by using wholly foreign premises and assumptions."

A less clunky and contorted way to express the same thing: these objections are answered via corollaries to the First Way (or functionally similar arguments).

bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger,

Cal:"bmiller: "First you were challenged to *refute* the First Way not anything that Legion of Logic posted."
Cal:"Lie much?"

Me:"Since you've been doing this so long and are prepared to make an argument rather than just offer opinions, I'm interested in your argument to refute Aquinas' First Way."

That was my first post on this thread from December 08, 2016 8:36.

I deserve an apology.

SteveK said...

SteveK: "Cal conveniently ignores Feser's first point that the First Way *alone* concludes with God as the "ultimate explanation of why things happen in the world". "

Feser: "First, what Aquinas is getting at in the last line of the proof is that whatever else God is supposed to be, he is supposed to be the ultimate explanation of why things happen in the world; hence, if it can be proved that there is a being who explains this, it follows that at least to that extent it will have been proved that there is something in reality corresponding to our idea of God."


1) God is the *only* ultimate explanation of why things happen in the world. There is nothing more ultimate than God.

2) Can the necessity of the "ultimate explanation of why things happen" be proven by the First Way alone? Yes. Follow the logic until you reach the conclusion that the First Mover necessarily exists.

3) Cal is either incapable of grasping this or he is dishonest. Either way, Cal needs to seek help soon.

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "This is most recently evident from his latest assertion of saying he was only responding to Legion on Logic and illustrates his inability of understanding the difference between "some" and "all". "
Me: "Explain* your case. I doubt you can. "
bmiller: "First you were challenged to *refute* the First Way not anything that Legion of Logic posted."
Me: "Lie much?"

I take the above exchange to insinuate that my comments here had ever been directed toward your invitation to refute the First Way --an open-ended, vague invitation,and one that I pointed out is not relevant to actual my claim that all the evidence does not support belief in a god -- instead of being directed toward Legion's tractable consideration of what he thinks the argument shows. That is what my comments here have been responding to.

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

bmiller: "I think [Cal] should take a community college course in first level logic before posting here again."
bmiller: "I deserve an apology."

That about sums you up, doesn't it?


Cal Metzger said...

Since no one seems capable of quoting from Aquinas's work pertaining to the answer to my criticisms, I'll just start posting excerpts from the Summa Theologica. Let me know if any of these are what you guys were thinking responds to my prior criticism about what the First Way demonstrates, or, better yet, maybe one of you could quote the part that you think actually responds to the criticisms that have been raised.

Aquinas (from the ST): "In the present state of life human contemplation is impossible without phantasms, because it is connatural to man to see the intelligible species in the phantasms, as the Philosopher states (De Anima iii, 7). Yet intellectual knowledge does not consist in the phantasms themselves, but in our contemplating in them the purity of the intelligible truth: and this not only in natural knowledge, but also in that which we obtain by revelation. For Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. i) that "the Divine glory shows us the angelic hierarchies under certain symbolic figures, and by its power we are brought back to the single ray of light," i.e. to the simple knowledge of the intelligible truth. It is in this sense that we must understand the statement of Gregory that "contemplatives do not carry along with them the shadows of things corporeal," since their contemplation is not fixed on them, but on the consideration of the intelligible truth."

Cal Metzger said...

Or maybe it's this one?

Aquinas (from the ST): "Wherefore Dionysius assigns the "circular" movement of the angels to the fact that their intuition of God is uniform and unceasing, having neither beginning nor end: even as a circular movement having neither beginning nor end is uniformly around the one same center. But on the part of the soul, ere it arrive at this uniformity, its twofold lack of uniformity needs to be removed. First, that which arises from the variety of external things: this is removed by the soul withdrawing from externals, and so the first thing he mentions regarding the circular movement of the soul is "the soul's withdrawal into itself from external objects." Secondly, another lack of uniformity requires to be removed from the soul, and this is owing to the discoursing of reason. This is done by directing all the soul's operations to the simple contemplation of the intelligible truth, and this is indicated by his saying in the second place that "the soul's intellectual powers must be uniformly concentrated," in other words that discoursing must be laid aside and the soul's gaze fixed on the contemplation of the one simple truth. In this operation of the soul there is no error, even as there is clearly no error in the understanding of first principles which we know by simple intuition. Afterwards these two things being done, he mentions thirdly the uniformity which is like that of the angels, for then all things being laid aside, the soul continues in the contemplation of God alone. This he expresses by saying: "Then being thus made uniform unitedly," i.e. conformably, "by the union of its powers, it is conducted to the good and the beautiful." The "straight" movement of the angel cannot apply to his proceeding from one thing to another by considering them, but only to the order of his providence, namely to the fact that the higher angel enlightens the lower angels through the angels that are intermediate. He indicates this when he says: "The angel's movement takes a straight line when he proceeds to the care of things subject to him, taking in his course whatever things are direct," i.e. in keeping with the dispositions of the direct order. Whereas he ascribes the "straight" movement in the soul to the soul's proceeding from exterior sensibles to the knowledge of intelligible objects. The "oblique" movement in the angels he describes as being composed of the straight and circular movements, inasmuch as their care for those beneath them is in accordance with their contemplation of God: while the "oblique" movement in the soul he also declares to be partly straight and partly circular, in so far as in reasoning it makes use of the light received from God."

SteveK said...

The "I'll just post irrelevant stuff to distract everyone from the fact that I've made claims I cannot support" tactic isn't gonna work.

bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger,

Cal:"I take the above exchange to insinuate that my comments here had ever been directed toward your invitation to refute the First Way --an open-ended, vague invitation,and one that I pointed out is not relevant to actual my claim that all the evidence does not support belief in a god -- instead of being directed toward Legion's tractable consideration of what he thinks the argument shows. That is what my comments here have been responding to."

I did not insinuate anything. I stated the fact that I had challenged you to refute the First Way. That is what started the entire discussion wrt the First Way.
You called me a liar.
I showed you explicit evidence that what I stated was the truth.
You were wrong. Your next response will indicate what type of person you are.

Yes, I think you should take a class and read a book. That is the truth and my opinion. I also don't think you know how arguments work which is why I have that opinion.
I'm not asking you to apologize for any opinions you have or even your snark. Just for you stating that I lied when I demonstrably did not.

Cal Metzger said...

@bmiller, I'll explain it one more time:

bmiller: "First you were challenged to *refute* the First Way not anything that Legion of Logic posted. To this day you have observably not even attempted to *refute* it.

I understand your first sentence to include the assertion that I was not asked to refute anything that Legion of Logic posted. This is observably false. I call that a lie.

I also understand your second sentence to be observably false, as my criticisms (which I maintain are entirely valid) are indeed refutations of the First Way's conclusion -- which is where I began my criticism. Even if you were to claim that my criticism are not valid, there's no conceivable way one could claim they are not attempts to show the errors in the argument.

Merriam Webster on Refutation:
1: to prove wrong by argument or evidence : show to be false or erroneous
2: to deny the truth or accuracy of

So, you remain a liar.

Should I expect your apology now?



SteveK said...

bmiller
What Cal is saying is he has refuted some things, but not the First Way. Cal is saying that his assertion below remains unsupported.

---------

bmiller: "I'm interested in your argument to refute Aquinas' First Way which, of course, does not conclude in Yahweh specifically, but does conclude with the existence of God."

Cal: "No it doesn't."

Cal Metzger said...

Is this the section from the Summa Theologica that you guys think answers my criticism?

Saint Thomas Aquinas: "Under this head there are eight points of inquiry:
(1) Whether all the angels belong to one hierarchy?
(2) Whether in one hierarchy there is only one order?
(3) Whether in one order there are many angels?
(4) Whether the distinction of hierarchies and orders is natural?
(5) Of the names and properties of each order.
(6) Of the comparison of the orders to one another.
(7) Whether the orders will outlast the Day of Judgment?
(8) Whether men are taken up into the angelic orders?"

Lmk.

Cal Metzger said...

Maybe it's this?

Saint Thomas Aquinas: "The inferior angel is superior to the highest man of our hierarchy, according to the words, "He that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven, is greater than he"---namely, John the Baptist, than whom "there hath not risen a greater among them that are born of women" (Mt. 11:11). Hence the lesser angel of the heavenly hierarchy can not only cleanse, but also enlighten and perfect, and in a higher way than can the orders of our hierarchy. Thus the heavenly orders are not distinguished by reason of these, but by reason of other different acts."

Cal Metzger said...

Possibly this is the point in the Summa Theological where Saint Thomas Aquinas responds to my criticism?

Saint Thomas Aquinas: "So we must consider that in the angelic orders all spiritual perfections are common to all the angels, and that they are all more excellently in the superior than in the inferior angels. Further, as in these perfections there are grades, the superior perfection belongs to the superior order as its property, whereas it belongs to the inferior by participation; and conversely the inferior perfection belongs to the inferior order as its property, and to the superior by way of excess; and thus the superior order is denominated from the superior perfection."

Cal Metzger said...

Grod: "(5) All (or virtually all) the objections are *explicitly* addressed and answered by St. Thomas."

Really? I keep on looking through the Summa Theologica, and quoting from it, and I can't see where he addresses it.

Can you please quote the passages you have in mind?

bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger,

Regarding sentence 1.
bmiller: "First you were challenged to *refute* the First Way not anything that Legion of Logic posted.
Cal"I understand your first sentence to include the assertion that I was not asked to refute anything that Legion of Logic posted. This is observably false. I call that a lie."

I've shown you the post where I challenged you. It did not contain "anything that Legion of Logic posted".
That you claim you cannot understand the English sentence, even now, after clarification does not make me a liar, but says loads about you.

Regarding sentence 2.
bmiller:"To this day you have observably not even attempted to *refute* it."

Cal:"I also understand your second sentence to be observably false, as my criticisms (which I maintain are entirely valid) are indeed refutations of the First Way's conclusion -- which is where I began my criticism. Even if you were to claim that my criticism are not valid, there's no conceivable way one could claim they are not attempts to show the errors in the argument.

Merriam Webster on Refutation:
1: to prove wrong by argument or evidence : show to be false or erroneous
2: to deny the truth or accuracy of "

Dec 16: Me"
Merriam-Webster definition: *refute*
"to prove wrong by argument or evidence"

I still haven't seen anything from you that meets the definition."

It's clear to English speakers what the operative definition of *refute* is in this discussion. 2 does not apply.

Criticisms are not refutations. They do not "prove wrong by argument or evidence". They do not even "show to be false or erroneous".

Here is a clue for the clueless.
Look up synonyms for *refutation* and *criticism* in Merriam-Webster. An extra hint: click on Thesaurus.

Do you still think I owe you an apology?


bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger,

Regarding angel rants:
Please take your meds if you have a prescription (in the prescribed dose).
Please stop taking meds that are not prescribed.

I'll say a prayer for you.

Cal Metzger said...

@bmiller, here's your problem:

You wrote (bmiller): "First you were challenged to *refute* the First Way not anything that Legion of Logic posted. To this day you have observably not even attempted to *refute* it. It's clear that you still don't understand the term, after the definition was posted and grodrigues explained why what you've attempted does not meet the definition. / Next, your summary of what you take Legion of Logic to mean by his post..."

I read your comment as being a progression -- "First... next..."

So, I read:
bmiller: 1: you were challenged to *refute* the First Way not anything that Legion of Logic posted...
Next:. your summary...

So, you meant it one way, but I (reasonably) read it another way. That you protest it as meaning something else makes sense to me, so in that instance I withdraw calling you a liar.

Still, this makes you a liar:

bmiller: "o this day you have observably not even ATTEMPTED to *refute* it..."

As I pointed out upthread already, the above is enough to justify the observation that you have lied here.

Who cares?

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "Regarding angel rants: / Please take your meds if you have a prescription (in the prescribed dose). / Please stop taking meds that are not prescribed."

So, nothing from St. Thomas Aquinas that you can direct me to regarding my criticism of the First Way?

Do you think that St. Thomas took meds to write what he wrote?

Cal Metzger said...

Maybe this is the section from the Summa Theologica from St. Thomas Aquinas that addresses my criticism?

St. Thomas Aquinas: "The execution of the angelic ministrations consists in announcing Divine things. Now in the execution of any action there are beginners and leaders; as in singing, the precentors; and in war, generals and officers; this belongs to the "Principalities." There are others who simply execute what is to be done; and these are the "Angels." Others hold a middle place; and these are the "Archangels," as above explained. This explanation of the orders is quite a reasonable one. For the highest in an inferior order always has affinity to the lowest in the higher order; as the lowest animals are near to the plants. Now the first order is that of the Divine Persons, which terminates in the Holy Ghost, Who is Love proceeding, with Whom the highest order of the first hierarchy has affinity, denominated as it is from the fire of love. The lowest order of the first hierarchy is that of the "Thrones," who in their own order are akin to the "Dominations"; for the "Thrones," according to Gregory (Hom. xxiv in Ev.), are so called "because through them God accomplishes His judgments," since they are enlightened by Him in a manner adapted to the immediate enlightening of the second hierarchy, to which belongs the disposition of the Divine ministrations."

bmiller said...

"So, you meant it one way, but I (reasonably) read it another way. That you protest it as meaning something else makes sense to me, so in that instance I withdraw calling you a liar."

Apology accepted.

Cal:"Still, this makes you a liar:

bmiller: "o this day you have observably not even ATTEMPTED to *refute* it..."

As I pointed out upthread already, the above is enough to justify the observation that you have lied here."

Me: "Criticisms are not refutations."

You, yourself, claimed that what you were doing was criticism. I did not dispute. You now understand that criticism is different than refutation.

And I am lying by agreeing with you?
Please just stop digging deeper.

Cal: "Who cares?
I guess you and I do or we wouldn't keep this up right?
I know why I do. What's your reason?

bmiller said...

@Cal,

Regarding angels again:

At this point I'm guessing you're intoxicated.
Good night.

Cal Metzger said...

Grod: "It is your choice what to do with your intellectual life, but let us not pretend that, as far this particular subject goes, you are anything but a crank and a crackpot. Here is a very simple way to prove me wrong: prove by analysis of the relevant arguments and metaphysical ideas (not the confused mumbo-jumbo that you mistake for Aquinas') that indeed, and contrary to what I said, a causally disconnected "multiverse" say (to pick one of your options) could be the First Mover as Aquinas conceives him."

Me, quoting confused mumbo jumbo from Aquinas: " "The execution of the angelic ministrations consists in announcing Divine things. Now in the execution of any action there are beginners and leaders; as in singing, the precentors; and in war, generals and officers; this belongs to the "Principalities." There are others who simply execute what is to be done; and these are the "Angels." Others hold a middle place; and these are the "Archangels," as above explained. This explanation of the orders is quite a reasonable one. For the highest in an inferior order always has affinity to the lowest in the higher order; as the lowest animals are near to the plants. Now the first order is that of the Divine Persons, which terminates in the Holy Ghost, Who is Love proceeding, with Whom the highest order of the first hierarchy has affinity, denominated as it is from the fire of love. The lowest order of the first hierarchy is that of the "Thrones," who in their own order are akin to the "Dominations"; for the "Thrones," according to Gregory (Hom. xxiv in Ev.), are so called "because through them God accomplishes His judgments," since they are enlightened by Him in a manner adapted to the immediate enlightening of the second hierarchy, to which belongs the disposition of the Divine ministrations."

bmiller: "At this point I'm guessing you're intoxicated."

Mumbo jumbo? Intoxicated?

I thought we were talking about St. Aquinas's sophisticated analysis as put forth in the Summa Theologica?

grodrigues said...

"I keep on looking through the Summa Theologica, and quoting from it, and I can't see where he addresses it."

Mr. Metzger is not looking anything whatsoever; he is lying -- actually I think Mr. Metzger is not so much a liar but what Harry Frankfurt termed a bullshitter, he simply does not care about the truth, but I leave that analysis for another day. He certainly is a complete moron. He is just quoting random portions of the ST (seemingly, his criterion of choice is to quote the portions that look the more stupid to him) and that are completely irrelevant to the question of God -- which he *full* well knows -- portions having to do with cognition, how cognition works in angels or to use the Scholastic term, separate intellectual substances, and angelology. One look at the index would show him what questions St. Thomas directly addresses in the ST. Other questions are addressed elsewhere (e.g. in the SCG). But he is not in the least interested in the truth; he has shoved his head his head so far up his ass by now, that it would take preternatural moral and intellectual courage to back out.

Ladies and gentleman, here is your "open-minded seeker of truth". Pathetic.

Cal Metzger said...

Grod [complaining about Cal]: "But it is oh so much better to impugn others with "reason and inquiry are subdued (with varying degrees of vehemence) so as to avoid uncomfortable truths", right? It has all the advantages of theft over honest intellectual toil."

Grod: "You lack the most basic evidentiary and logical skills, and it is abundantly clear that you are in this with extreme bad faith and intellectually dishonesty."

St. Thomas Aquinas (who is apparently the most esteemed by Grod for his use of evidentiary and logical skills), from the Summa Theologica: "In the Sacred Scripture, however, the names of some orders, as of Seraphim and Thrones, are not attributed to demons; since they are derived from the ardor of love and from God's indwelling, which are not consistent with mortal sin. Yet the names of Cherubim, Powers, and Principalities are attributed to them; because these names are derived from knowledge and from power, which can be common to both good and bad.

Grod: "But [Cal] is not in the least interested in the truth; he has shoved his head his head so far up his ass by now, that it would take preternatural moral and intellectual courage to back out."

Um hmmm.

grodrigues said...

And we are graced with yet another seemingly random quote from the ST, this time about divine theology and angelology. When a visit to the index would give him all the answers he "seeks" (pause for laughter). But what exactly is Mr. Metzger's point? Who can fathom the dark emptyness of his skull?

Ladies and gentleman, take a close gander at this "open-minded seeker of truth". He stands as a sober warning to us all lest, out of our numerous imperfections, we fall in the same holes, if we are not already there; that "but for the Grace of God there go I".

Mr. Metzger can have the last word; let him believe what he will.

SteveK said...

Cal reads the ST

Cal ignores the part in the ST that concludes God, as First Mover, is the ultimate explanation of why things happen in the world.

Cal relies on his ignorance to make stupid claims about the First Way

Cal continues to look like a fool

Cal Metzger said...

Grod: "And we are graced with yet another seemingly random quote from the ST, this time about divine theology and angelology. When a visit to the index would give him all the answers he "seeks" (pause for laughter). But what exactly is Mr. Metzger's point? Who can fathom the dark emptyness of his skull?"

"Angelology"?

My point is that, despite lots of other chatter, no one seems to be able to cut and paste the adequate response from the ST that answers my objection adequately. Everyone seems to want me to be content with the assurance that it's in there in the ST, somewhere. But apparently everyone here is too busy to just cut and paste that answer.

It shouldn't be hard. For instance, if one has this objection, regarding the proportion of angels who sinned: "Further, the angels are distinguished according to persons and orders. Therefore if more angelic persons stood firm, it would appear that those who sinned were not from all the orders."

One could just cut and past the response from Saint Thomas that's in the ST (from Article 9): "According to those who hold that the chief devil belonged to the lower order of the angels, who are set over earthly affairs, it is evident that some of every order did not fall, but only those of the lowest order. According to those who maintain that the chief devil was of the highest order, it is probable that some fell of every order; just as men are taken up into every order to supply for the angelic ruin. In this view the liberty of free-will is more established; which in every degree of creature can be turned to evil. In the Sacred Scripture, however, the names of some orders, as of Seraphim and Thrones, are not attributed to demons; since they are derived from the ardor of love and from God's indwelling, which are not consistent with mortal sin. Yet the names of Cherubim, Powers, and Principalities are attributed to them; because these names are derived from knowledge and from power, which can be common to both good and bad."

That's how I'd do it, anyway, if I was convinced that St. Thomas hadn't adequately answered the question of what proportion of angels had sinned.

I don't know why that would be so difficult for you all to do regarding the criticism I raised. It's almost as if you're not as enthusiastic about the content of the ST as you all seemed to be.

SteveK said...

But apparently everyone here is too busy to just cut and paste that answer.

We're actually busy trying to get you to do your homework.

A summary of the First Way was cut/pasted for you. A snippet of commentary by Feser was cut/pasted for you. Stop being a victim and keep reading.

bmiller said...

@Cal,

If you think posting random unrelated quotes from the Summa somehow makes you look smart or even rational, you need to stop smoking whatever it is you're smoking.

No one even knows what "objection" you think is unanswered. Are these posts meant to taunt the voices in your head?



Cal Metzger said...

At this point I think it should be obvious that Aquinas's Summa Theologica is supposed to be the work where superstitious belief is intellectually justified EXCEPT that no one wants to actually explore what the Summa Theologica says, or provide citations from it.

I think the reason is that the Summa Theologica is kind of embarrassing when you have to defend everything it actually contains.

It sounds way better when talked about in the abstract; in the concrete, actual, direct, relevant quoting kind of way -- not so much.

Angelology. That's a word that was introduced in the comments here, as I was being lectured on not understanding evidence.

Yup.

bmiller said...

OK.

I can see this is getting unhealthy for Cal. He needs the last word.

Cal, it's all yours.



Cal Metzger said...

Merry Christmas everybody.

bmiller said...

Merry Christmas Cal.

Cal Metzger said...

Okay, as a recap, here's what so obvious to me:

1. Despite my asking for it who-knows-how-many-times, no one will cite where it is that Aquinas uses the First Way to actually demonstrate that the Christian god exists.
2. No one will even try because it doesn't seem to be in Aquinas's Summa Theologica or wherever (despite vague promises that it is), and everyone seems too afraid to even try citing from Aquinas for fear of getting it wrong and having Grod yell at them for not doing it right.

What does it say if what Christians consider to be one of "the oldest and most famous arguments for the existence of God" doesn't actually show that any deity, let alone the Christian god, exists, and if no one can cite the relevant parts from the work that supposedly shows this?

Is that the kind of thing that we see in rational beliefs?

Or is that the kind of thing we see in cultish groups, where hierarchy and belonging are predicated on affirming a set of beliefs that belong to the group, but don't hold up to scrutiny when observed from those who aren't invested in those beliefs?

SteveK said...

Find someone who's willing to teach you, Cal. It's obvious that you don't understand.