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Source: (consider it) Thread: Introducing me. There are no gods or supernatural!
Martin60
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# 368

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God has no choice in the constants of the anthropic universe let alone the laws of physics. So why, in an infinite, eternal multiverse, without a higher uncaused cause would worlds on toast absurdities arise? : the universe (well 4% of it) works in theory quite well. Quantum mechanics is rational and it maps to reality incidentally. It's rational whether there is any reality or not (is delocalization and entanglement irrational?). The correct theory doesn't create the reality. But the reality MUST conform to the theory. There are NO exceptions to quantum theory in reality. No? Everything that could falsify it confirms it. The rationality of quantum mechanics is independent of any mechanic.

So why does the uncaused cause have to be sapient?

(That's a quantum leap that.)

And in Lascaux daubs please, what is wrong with this picture?

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
itsarumdo
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# 18174

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as usual I'm struggling to identify which parts are intended irony, Martin

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"Iti sapis potanda tinone" Lycophron

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Martin60
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# 368

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Me too. Can only a sapient uncaused cause concretize the abstract?

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Me too. Can only a sapient uncaused cause concretize the abstract?

Yes

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Garden. Room. Walk

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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
# 3216

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quote:
IngoB: Indeed, the whole multiverse idea taken as a whole has of course regular causal structure.
That's a rather bold assertion. Based on ... what exactly?

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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Martin60
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# 368

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Based on it NOT being the author of confusion. Apparently only a sapient primum mobile can do this. A non-sapient one MUST come up with human surreal fantasy absurdities. On what irrefutable logic BOTH of these assumptions are so, I cannot infer.

All looks a bit Jungian doesn't it?

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
That's a rather bold assertion. Based on ... what exactly?

On us having those multiverse ideas, obviously. There is no such thing as a non-causal hypothesis, and furthermore physicists proposing a hypothesis will certainly build in many regularities, usually by mathematical structure.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Eliab
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# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Some, in fact, think that there is no objective difference between believing in the claims of Christianity and an imaginary beast. Both are exactly that: imaginary.

The only difference is that, maybe, you've had a long time to create all kinds of complicated structures and theological systems about your belief. But in and of itself, there is nothing more sensible about believing in God than believing in the unicorn. You just don't like the idea of believing in the unicorn.

Are you really asserting that?

I find belief in God to be intellectually, ethically and emotionally satisfying, as well as challenging in all of those areas. It connects me to a living tradition of culture, art and philosophy, and to a community of millions who claim to have personal and life-changing experience of God. Some (numbering at the very least in the hundreds, and more likely, in the hundreds of thousands) assert experience of the miraculous, on grounds which have at least some immediate plausibility. Further, the beliefs associated with my belief in God affirm that which I acknowledge to be good and worthy, rebuke my faults, and encourage me to try to become a better person.

None of that is true, or could be true, of belief in an obviously imagined creature, avowedly conjectured to make a (weak) argumentative point.

I am not putting that forward as a “proof” of God. However if you really are saying that those are not reasons why the existence of God may sensibly be entertained in a way that belief in an obvious invention should not be, I'm not really sure how to reply other than to say that such an assertion appears to me to be self-evidently false. It is strictly and technically correct to say that I “just don't like the idea of believing in” High's unicorn, but to say it misses the (to me) obvious point that no reason whatsoever has ever been proposed for belief in Hugh's unicorn, whereas I have numerous reasons – consistent with and suggestive of truth even if they do not amount to mathematical proof – for taking God seriously. Even if you reject all of my reasons for believing in God, you surely cannot entirely to miss point that they are reasons which are in principle capable of seeming sound to an undeluded human mind, and therefore require at least some work to refute. That is not true of conjectures intended to be obvious nonsense and designed to have no plausibility.

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
# 3216

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quote:
IngoB: On us having those multiverse ideas, obviously. There is no such thing as a non-causal hypothesis
Why not? I can start a thought experiment with "Suppose there is a non-causal multiverse ...", can't I?

And in doing this, I think I've formulated a non-causal hypothesis. Of course, I can't say very much about this multiverse. My language (Dutch, German, English, any of our languages) isn't very helpful here of course. Our minds evolved in our universe, and casuality is very much baked into them. By extension, the same is true for our language: they wouldn't be very useful to describe a non-causal universe (although poetry might come slightly closer).

Our logic (which is just a specific form of language) would be even more useless in this multiverse. We've just defined that casuality (and by extension other forms of logic) don't exist there.

But just because we can't describe it, doesn't mean that it can't exist.

quote:
IngoB: and furthermore physicists proposing a hypothesis will certainly build in many regularities, usually by mathematical structure.
Yes, when physicists postulate a multiverse (for example as a solution to the Schrödinger's Cat paradox), they build in mathematical regularities. But I'm not letting myself be limited by what phycisists are doing.

Suppose there is a non-causal multiverse ... What is going to stop me?

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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itsarumdo
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# 18174

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It gets very interesting...

unless you then propose "There is a non-causal universe, but the particular corner of it that I inhabit is causal... OR a-causality was a property of the early universe, but it isn't now" than you remove causation from the world - so, if you are willing to put up with nothing having the cause that it appears to have and all of causality to be coincidence - AND for unexpected things to pop up at with no notice whatsoever. The emergence of a purple unicorn in your living room would be truly possible, because there would be no need for there to be a cause for that to happen. Frankly, we just don;t see that level of a-causality in our daily life, so then we get back to the initial proposition - that causality doesn;t apply to us, even if it did apply to the original existence from which we emerged... Complex. I generally find Occam's razor a bit of a slasher movie, but in this case I would be happy to invoke Occam and say that too much complexity is required in the initial case.

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"Iti sapis potanda tinone" Lycophron

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Martin60
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# 368

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As good a false dichotomy as ever I did see.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
the uncaused Cause cannot have any structure or regularity imposed on it, or it would not be the endpoint of causation. So there is no extrinsic reason why it would not create true chaos. But it does not do so, it creates order. So we must assume that it has some intrinsic reason for that, and this is is what we call by analogy to ourselves God's intellect and will.

If the Big Bang is the uncaused Cause of the universe, then yes there is no prior or external agency that causes it to produce order rather than chaos. Or matter rather than antimatter.

So any causal reason is intrinsic; that's what the argument says.

But why assume that there is a causal reason ? And then anthroporphize it as something analogous to human free-willed choice ?

Why not shrug shoulders and admit at that point that we just don't know why anything exists at all, & why there is order rather than chaos ? Maybe if we were the sort of beings who could observe multiple universes, we'd know by experience that that's what Big Bangs do...

Best wishes,

Russ

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Grokesx
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# 17221

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@Itsarumdo
quote:
Cuts both ways - science may be complete bollocks, material descriptions of the universe might be inchoate garbage. Which lens do you choose? Which lens have you already chosen to wear? Which lens have you been using without even realising that you have made a choice?
Of course all this is valid. We do the best we can with what we have, we have no choice. The cause and effect lens has worked very well in pretty much all of the endeavours that are of any use to clever social apes. That doesn't mean it shows us what is actually there.
@ Barnabas62
quote:
Are we not a part of that reality? Are not the societies we have built, at least in part by using reason, a part of that reality.

I'm not a determinist so I think reasoning has probably had some impact on reality in our local corner of the universe. It is different to how it would otherwise have been.

Of course it is easy to overstate the case for the effects of reasoning, but I think you're understating it.

Perhaps you meant those aspects of reality which we regard as macroscopic?

You raise a a valid point, but I was thinking about the reality that metaphysics traditionally tries to understand. You could call it ultimate reality, or frame it as the question, "What is there and what is it like?"
@Ingo

quote:
There is no direct measure of success of an extrapolation,
But in your original comment you said:
quote:
What I do need however is the belief that human reason can extract useful information from observing natural reality, can abstractly analyse "universals" from such concrete data, and can then successfully extrapolate these "universals" by logic to deduce the existence of previously unknown and otherwise not readily accessible entities.
So, what is your criteria for the success? What justifies the belief you have that human reason can do this? Extrapolation relies on the prior knowledge it is based upon. In this case, the universals that you have abstractly analysed from observing natural reality. You have said that the evidence is all around us, at the same time telling us that any evidence we will find in the future is going to be irrelevant.
quote:
And since the means in this case was rational deduction from observations of nature.
Observations we know are incomplete.
quote:
Second, it seems rather convenient to assume our causal deductions hold except for that one point where it leads to consequences you do not like.
Pot. Kettle. According to your argument they hold just far enough to deduce a specially pleaded necessary being. And, the consequences of the argument are neither here nor there for me. I am thoroughly relaxed about the existence of a deist god. Relaxed, but unconvinced.
quote:
More likely would be that the failure in this end can be seen in prior steps somehow - and then you are in the business of doubting the whole enterprise of analysing nature with reason, including modern science.
And we are back to the beginning again, along with this:
quote:
Or so the theory goes. My point - as a working scientist - was that this theory is rather lacking in describing key concerns and behaviour of actual scientists. There is more than just "the data" that drives scientists. There is also "the story". The number of possible explanations for the world is technically infinite, and yet science is rarely done "at random". Scientists operate on overarching explanations, narratives, in order to plan their data gathering and mathematical theory building. For better (most of the time) or worse (sometimes), this very much influences the flow of scientific activity.
Yeah, and so what? The key thing at question is not the theory building, important as it is, but the prediction testing, something you consistently play down to the point of vanishing it off the agenda. You say it is more than just the data that drives scientists, but the logic of your argument requires the data to be completely irrelevant. It's as if you want us to believe that the LHC, the space telescopes, all the paraphernalia of experimentation and observation are not integral to the practice of modern science at all.
quote:
First, this was my analogy, and your use of it here has little to do with how I used the analogy.
The original analogy was mine here. It got mangled by the meta-ness, but I thought we were still on the same page. Obviously not, but I don't see how that is my problem.

quote:
It is rather looking at the Nile that we have discovered on the map we made, and says: all that water must come from somewhere, and judging from the mapped flow, it should come from roughly over there.
An "over there" that is off the edge of the map, in territory we know nothing about other than that there's a river in it. And to make this analogy closer to actuality, we would have good reason to believe the state of our knowledge of all possible river sources was incomplete. Maybe all the rivers we've come across in our analogy came from springs or glaciers and we didn't know about lakes and feeder rivers, but we knew there were many rivers whose source we hadn't yet mapped. This atheist is saying we might conclude that it would be better to admit to ourselves that we don't know enough to say just now and actually toddle off to Africa and have a look. You're saying, nah, fuck that shit, it's a spring. An all knowing, all loving, all powerful spring, let's prostrate ourselves before it.

@Truman you old bastard.
quote:
Nice sound bite, but you need to do a tad more to show how you get to that conclusion.
No I don't. Ingo's argument depends on the causal principle being true and that it will hold no matter what new data is thrown at it in the future. For that to be the case, the onus is on him, as the proposer of the argument, to show that the principle of causation is more than a practical, methodological principle, that it has ontological justification. His question about the consequence undercutting science is neither here nor there. So far all his answers are just one huge argument from adverse consequences. "We can't get our heads around the consequences of this, therefore that."

As for quantum physics, as I said before, I believe most philosophers think that as of now, the causal principle is intact, but in the words of the Stanford article, on the quantum level, the connection between cause and effect, if not entirely broken, is to some extent loosened, and as you say, the full philosophical effects of quantum physics are a long way from being settled. I only brought it up to show that when the data suggests something, even something startling like cause and effect not operating how we think it does, the philosophers need to do some work. Ingo thinks all the work we ever need was done around 800 years ago.

And finally for now @Ingo again:
quote:
Indeed, this proposition is simply unstable.
Well, I doubt if universes get created by stable, serene noble gases mooching about the place. If I were a betting man and could get anyone to take the bet, I'd put my money on a very high degree of instability being a prerequisite. And if the multiverse is just infinite chaos spewing out infinite universes, and as LeRoc says, it doesn't have to play by the rules of our universe, it wouldn't matter that nearly all of them are absolute chaos as well, some wouldn't be. Or maybe just the one.

All this and we haven't got onto necessity and contingency and where the territory to that part of the map is.

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For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. H. L. Mencken

Posts: 373 | From: Derby, UK | Registered: Jul 2012  |  IP: Logged
IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Yet the section you quote seems to state the same point which most people take to be the flaw in Anselm's argument - that existence or being is some kind of secondary characteristic. Implying that non-existent things have the characteristics of their nature... Have I misunderstood ?

All Aquinas is saying is that the non-existence of a thing is logically prior. Because an existing cheese sandwich is a "step up" from a non-existing cheese sandwich. It is "more" to also exist, in a logical sense. A point that will not be lost on you if you have ever tried to eat a non-existing cheese sandwich. If you think that therefore the ontological argument holds, then it holds. Because that sure is true. But Aquinas thinks that just because you think of something does not mean that it exists, other than in your mind:
quote:
Yet, granted that everyone understands that by this word "God" is signified something than which nothing greater can be thought, nevertheless, it does not therefore follow that he understands that what the word signifies exists actually, but only that it exists mentally. Nor can it be argued that it actually exists, unless it be admitted that there actually exists something than which nothing greater can be thought; and this precisely is not admitted by those who hold that God does not exist.
And that seems fair enough to me.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
If the Big Bang is the uncaused Cause of the universe

The Big Bang is not, and cannot possibly be, an uncaused Cause. It comes into existence, and is contingent, hence requires a cause.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

Posts: 12010 | From: Gone fishing | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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There's no such thing as a non-existing cheese sandwich. All the cheese sandwiches in the world exist. You may have the idea of a cheese sandwich, and your idea may not correspond to any existing cheese sandwich. But your idea is not a non-existing cheese sandwich, it's an idea. There simply are no non-existing cheese sandwiches.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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Martin60
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# 368

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Wrong, wrong, wrong. There are 2.7 and one is not half not toasted.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
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# 1468

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However, Plato Restaurant does serve cheese toast, so it must be some kind of archetype.

And, Neil DeGrasse Tyson said in the reboot of "Cosmos":
quote:
“We hunger for significance, for signs that our personal existence is special and look for it in a grilled cheese sandwich or comet.”
[Two face]

[ 07. April 2015, 07:50: Message edited by: Golden Key ]

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

Posts: 18601 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
There's no such thing as a non-existing cheese sandwich. All the cheese sandwiches in the world exist. You may have the idea of a cheese sandwich, and your idea may not correspond to any existing cheese sandwich. But your idea is not a non-existing cheese sandwich, it's an idea. There simply are no non-existing cheese sandwiches.

That's just an elaborate way of saying that non-existing cheese sandwiches do not exist. We knew that...

The point however is not about what happens in our mind, i.e., that we can imagine cheese sandwiches. The point is that a cheese sandwich before me on a plate could not be there. There is indeed, at least for an Aristotelian, no sense in which that cheese sandwich has a kind of ghostly pre-existence if it does not exist. If it does not exist, it simply does not exist, there is nothing physically or temporally prior (ignoring the process of making a cheese sandwich, this is a philosophical not a culinary point...). However, because that cheese sandwich in front of me could not exist, that contingency of existence is logically prior. As sad as that may be, cheese sandwiches do not have to exist. Hence that I find a cheese sandwich existing on the plate before me is logically an "addition" to the actual state of the world.

[ 07. April 2015, 08:48: Message edited by: IngoB ]

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

Posts: 12010 | From: Gone fishing | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
However, because that cheese sandwich in front of me could not exist, that contingency of existence is logically prior.

Why? How does that make it logically prior?

quote:
As sad as that may be, cheese sandwiches do not have to exist. Hence that I find a cheese sandwich existing on the plate before me is logically an "addition" to the actual state of the world.
Which is to say a world with a cheese sandwich in front of you has one more cheese sandwich with some world in which there is not a cheese sandwich in front of you. (Assuming, one assumes, that somebody didn't just grab your cheese sandwich and put it in front of somebody else.) But so what? YOU brought up non-existing cheese sandwiches. What role do they play, given that you admit they do not exist? And in what way is a non-existing cheese sandwich (whatever the hell that is) different from the idea of a cheese sandwich?

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

Posts: 63536 | From: Washington | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Eliab
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# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
However, because that cheese sandwich in front of me could not exist, that contingency of existence is logically prior.

Why? How does that make it logically prior?
If I understand correctly, right now, there may or may not be a cheese sandwich in front of IngoB. I'm not typing this anywhere near him, so I don't know whether there is one or not, but (assuming that IngoB likes cheese sandwiches) sometimes there will be one, and other times, not. All I can say from here is that any such cheese sandwich that there might be is contingent: it doesn't have to exist - it may not be there at all.

And because I can affirm that to be the case at all times - the times where there's an actual cheese sandwich in front of IngoB, and the times when there isn't, the contingent nature of the particular cheese sandwich that he had for lunch today is logically prior to there having been a cheese sandwich for lunch at all: I can say that it's contingent even if I can't yet say whether it exists.

At least I think that's the point.

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
However, because that cheese sandwich in front of me could not exist, that contingency of existence is logically prior.

Why? How does that make it logically prior?
Before we find out whether IngoB has a cheese sandwich in front of him we have to know that this is a situation in which there might or might not be a cheese sandwich. We cannot work it out from pure mathematics nor is it written in the stars. We need to know that we have to go and look.
Now, if we think that these epistemological considerations track reality or the ontological considerations, then I think one way of expressing the ontological considerations would be to say that the fact that the cheese sandwich is contingent is logically prior to the fact that it's a cheese sandwich.

quote:
YOU brought up non-existing cheese sandwiches. What role do they play, given that you admit they do not exist? And in what way is a non-existing cheese sandwich (whatever the hell that is) different from the idea of a cheese sandwich?
I don't think he did, except perhaps linguistically.
It is really rather hard to talk about this without throwing up linguistic ghosts of incoherent entities. I think it's a version of the question of whether existence is logically prior to essence or not. I can't remember what the Aristotelian or Thomist answer is in the case of created entities. But the line here is I think that existence precedes essence: in order for something to be a cheese sandwich it has to logically be something at all, and as cheese sandwiches are not logically necessary, it has to first be contingent. There aren't a flock of non-existent cheese sandwiches hanging about waiting to become existent.

It is difficult in this area to avoid darkening counsel with words, and I am not sure I have succeeded.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Truman White
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# 17290

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Alright Grokesx? Join me

quote:
Originally posted by Grokesx:

@Truman you old bastard.
quote:
Nice sound bite, but you need to do a tad more to show how you get to that conclusion.
No I don't. Ingo's argument depends on the causal principle being true and that it will hold no matter what new data is thrown at it in the future. For that to be the case, the onus is on him, as the proposer of the argument, to show that the principle of causation is more than a practical, methodological principle, that it has ontological justification. His question about the consequence undercutting science is neither here nor there. So far all his answers are just one huge argument from adverse consequences. "We can't get our heads around the consequences of this, therefore that."


Nearly. Ingo's argument depends on the causal principle being true for the origin of the universe (which is what we're on about). Even saying there are questions about the universality of the causal principle, you still need to show why it doesn't hold true for some stuff whilst holding true for others. I'm assuming, for instance, you didn't fluctuate into existence out of the quantum vacuum.

So you still need to show why it doesn't hold true for universal causation, and come up with something more plausible.

On t'other hand we can get to pretty much the same place by starting with another premise. Turning one of Dafyd's bits of Latin into English we can start with "Everything that exists has a reason for its existence." Arguing the toss over causation doesn't get you away from that.

When you're back from your hols (or trips to other boards) come back with something on that one.

And have one on me in the meantime [Biased]

[code]

[ 07. April 2015, 15:49: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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itsarumdo
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The point about the cheese sandwich is that for ANY cheese sandwich to exist, someone has to have conceived of it, and then through that conception, followed by an act of will, created the cheese sandwich. One could say that the IDEA has to exist before the material can exist.

That is a very good analogy for everything positively created. Obviously it is the case for anything humanly made, but also is the case for everything else. Whether it is human consciousness that "collapses the wave function" (i.e. we perceive what we expect) or whether the wave function is (also) collapsed by other means (i.e. what we perceive has a certain physical reality of its own regardless of human consciousness or expactation) - here we have two alternate versions of the Idealist Universe.

[ 07. April 2015, 16:29: Message edited by: itsarumdo ]

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IngoB

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While I really like the comments of Eliab and Dafyd above, I checked the original quote from Aquinas that I was discussing with Russ. And as far as dealing with that quote goes, I should really be saying that non-existence is logically prior (rather than contingency). It's probably sort of the same statement here, but maybe not quite, so let me re-state what Aquinas' said with more cheese sandwiches, as is right and just:

If I query a cheese sandwich lying before me why it is a cheese sandwich by virtue of being a cheese sandwich, then it can answer (or rather, I will answer for it): it has cheese in the middle, it has two slices of bread, one on top the other on the bottom, it is yummy (accidentally), etc.

But if I query a cheese sandwich lying before me why it exists by virtue of being a cheese sandwich, then I can find no answer. There is nothing in that cheese sandwich that says it must exist because it is a cheese sandwich. Of course, it does exist - it is right there - and does so as a cheese sandwich. But nothing in the cheese sandwich itself says "let there be a cheese sandwich", and nothing in the cheese sandwich itself warrants the consequence "and therefore it was". In fact, I know that the only reason why there is a cheese sandwich now is because I just made it.

So the cheese sandwich, by virtue of being a cheese sandwich, owns being cheesy, and owns being bready, and hopefully owns being yummy. But it does not own actual being. For example, *nom* *nom*, now there is no more actual cheese sandwich here. Clearly, that cheese sandwich did not own existence as part of being a cheese sandwich, or it would still be there. Its existence was given to it (by me making it) and its existence was taken from it (by me eating it). It only had existence because of me, for a while, not because it is a cheese sandwich. There is nothing in a cheese sandwich that says that it has to exist, even if it currently happens to exist.

So non-existence is logically prior in a cheese sandwich, because unless someone makes a cheese sandwich, there sadly is none. In a manner of speaking, a cheese sandwich as cheese sandwich owns non-existence. Because if we just sit there, cheese sandwiches just continue to not exist, no matter how long we wait. Non-existing cheese sandwiches are really good at not existing.

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
And in what way is a non-existing cheese sandwich (whatever the hell that is) different from the idea of a cheese sandwich?

Do you mean "idea" as in Plato, or "idea" as in my head? Anyway, a non-existent cheese sandwich is a cheese sandwich I have not made yet, or one that I have just eaten, or like entities. Clearly, what we can say about that depends on me having that concept in my head. And that makes sense, because that concept exists. But that does not mean that the concept is the non-existing cheese sandwich itself, rather the concept is about it. And it's specific in that sense, for example a non-existing gorilla differs from a non-existing cheese sandwich, even though both are non-existing. Now you can protest that all this is just so much ado about nothing in my mind. And I agree with that. The justification for the conceptual ghost game is the logical analysis: we are using mental placeholders here to make a point concerning real and existing entities. We are analysing a real cheese sandwich by mentally removing its existence and showing that we can do so without destroying what we think of that cheese sandwich. Not in order to fill the world with non-existing cheese sandwiches, but rather to show the logical separation between what something is and that something is, and to show that logically existence is added to things to make them be.

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Martin60
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So the cheese sandwich that isn't there has to be there before it's there, is there in fact, i.e. the cheese sandwich that isn't there is there as opposed to the cheese sandwich that isn't there that isn't, for existence to be added to it?

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Teilhard
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
So the cheese sandwich that isn't there has to be there before it's there, is there in fact, i.e. the cheese sandwich that isn't there is there as opposed to the cheese sandwich that isn't there that isn't, for existence to be added to it?

More amazingly still, the eternal and eternally uncaused cheese sandwich never goes stale or gets moldy ...
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Jack o' the Green
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It is in fact a Buddhist cheese sandwich (made with vegetarian cheese obviously) this must be the case as it has no unchanging, inherent sandwichy self, but is instead a collection of the 3 aggregates; bread, cheese and butter. Its existence is caused by the desires and attachments for cheesy, sandwhichy goodness. If it collects enough positive karma then it can be reborn as a triple decker and possibly appear in an episode of 'Scooby-Doo'. All these truths are taught to us by the Deli Lama.
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
But if I query a cheese sandwich lying before me why it exists by virtue of being a cheese sandwich, then I can find no answer. There is nothing in that cheese sandwich that says it must exist because it is a cheese sandwich.

It wouldn't be a cheese sandwich if it didn't exist, and it wouldn't exist if it weren't a cheese sandwich. Its existence and its cheese sandwichness temporally and logically coincide. There is nothing in the IDEA of a cheese sandwich that says it exists. But this cheese sandwich isn't the idea of a cheese sandwich, it's a cheese sandwich. And there has never in the history of the world been a cheese sandwich that didn't exist, as you yourself have admitted.

quote:
Clearly, that cheese sandwich did not own existence as part of being a cheese sandwich, or it would still be there.
That's nonsensical. It came to be at the same time as it became a cheese sandwich, and it ceased to exist at the exact same time as it ceased to be a cheese sandwich. The only reason that cheese sandwich existed was that it was a cheese sandwich.

quote:
We are analysing a real cheese sandwich by mentally removing its existence and showing that we can do so without destroying what we think of that cheese sandwich.
But we cannot, because once we remove its existence, it is no longer a cheese sandwich. It doesn't destroy our ideas about cheese sandwiches, but we cannot have ideas about THIS cheese sandwich if there is no THIS cheese sandwich to have ideas about.

You're playing with markers, it's a fun game, Wittgenstein would no doubt approve. But it's nonsense in the end. There are cheese sandwiches, and there are people thinking about the concept of cheese sandwiches, perhaps thinking about a real sandwich they ate, or perhaps thinking about making a sandwich in the future. There are recipes for making cheese sandwiches. But that's all. There are no non-existent cheese sandwiches. It's a linguistic con-game to save appearances of somebody's philosophy of language, which shows by the need of such con-games that it's bankrupt as a philosophy of language.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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Lyda*Rose

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I want a cheese sandwich in an existence in which I can eat it (one very close to this me in this universe). Gruyere on sourdough grilled in butter would be very nice.

You two have got me hungry. [Smile]

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Teilhard
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack o' the Green:
It is in fact a Buddhist cheese sandwich (made with vegetarian cheese obviously) this must be the case as it has no unchanging, inherent sandwichy self, but is instead a collection of the 3 aggregates; bread, cheese and butter. Its existence is caused by the desires and attachments for cheesy, sandwhichy goodness. If it collects enough positive karma then it can be reborn as a triple decker and possibly appear in an episode of 'Scooby-Doo'. All these truths are taught to us by the Deli Lama.

Such a (Buddhist) (vegan) "cheese" sandwich would not experience either suffering or desire … It would not be re-in-cheese-ated … but would be released from the illusion of existence ...
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Golden Key
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Jack o' the Green--

[Overused] (deep gassho bow)

And you gave a very insightful explication of the aggregates.

And please tell the Lama, "Hello, Dali!"

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Martin60
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mousethief: 'we cannot have ideas about THIS cheese sandwich if there is no THIS cheese sandwich to have ideas about', isn't an idea then?

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Love wins

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itsarumdo
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what about welsh rarebit?

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Barnabas62
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I've quite enjoyed the Wittgensteinian/Aquinas exploration of cheese sandwiches, the prior idea of cheese sandwiches, etc.

Pace, mousethief, it's not quite nonsense. At least I don't think so. Before there was ever a sandwich, there was the Earl of Sandwich. Britain's greatest contributor to gastronomy?

[But prior to him, there was certainly bread and cheese.]

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Luigi
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Thanks for the discussion - many valuable contributions. Even the cheese sandwich bit was entertaining.

Back to the central dispute between Grokesx and Ingo. Ingo you lay out your position with an incredibly high level of confidence. Almost as if anyone who has enough intelligence to understand your arguments would agree with them.

The problem is that many of the great minds of science are also clearly interested in epistelmology and philosophy (Eistein, Hawking etc) and yet across all the national science academies we don't have polymath after polymath just coming out and saying that the cosmological argument proves there is a God.

My guess is that it is not over the whole 'there must be an uncaused cause' bit. Many would probably agree there. So my question is where is the greatest weakness in your argument in your view?

And why do you think so many aren't presuaded by such a simple (near) water-tight argment? (I include Christian scientists here - many of whom, I'd guess from the few I know, would not be convinced by your confidence).

[ 08. April 2015, 08:34: Message edited by: Luigi ]

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Golden Key
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Presented for your ontological sandwichery consideration:

Ham Sandwich Theorem--Math Fun Facts. And, since the sandwich contains cheese, it can just as easily be the Cheese Sandwich Theorem.

Whereas, at the Halfbakery, they've considered the logical, scientific, mathematical, and pundiferous aspects of sandwiches.
[Biased]

NOTE: at Halfbakery, there's one comment that might be verbally NSFW.

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--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
It wouldn't be a cheese sandwich if it didn't exist, and it wouldn't exist if it weren't a cheese sandwich.

You think of a cheese sandwich that does not exist every time you make one. It is true that such a cheese sandwich exists only as an idea in your mind. The question is however to what extent your mind can correctly grasp what the essence of cheese sandwiches is - by looking at many of them - and hence can have a true idea of a cheese sandwich. Given that you can make one successfully, your idea obviously is true enough. Just as clearly though, however good your idea of a cheese sandwich may become, it never reaches a threshold were it also starts to exist as a real cheese sandwich. There is no limit to how accurate your idea of the cheese sandwich may be. You may know all there is to know about cheese sandwiches, and you may know every single detail about a particular cheese sandwich, down to the atomic composition. But the cheese sandwich does not therefore exist in reality. This shows that reality to the mind falls apart into two distinct things: what something is, and that something is.

Now, you could say "so what? that's just in the mind." True, but so is our entire discussion of reason, causality, etc. You can always say "so what? that's just in the mind." We have to say just how optimistic we are about the powers of the mind. It seems clear that one cannot be too pessimistic, or it would be inexplicable that we stay alive. But I'm admittedly very optimistic about the mind. I think the mind can find truth, I think the concepts that the mind builds accurately reflect the realities of the world.

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Its existence and its cheese sandwichness temporally and logically coincide. There is nothing in the IDEA of a cheese sandwich that says it exists. But this cheese sandwich isn't the idea of a cheese sandwich, it's a cheese sandwich. And there has never in the history of the world been a cheese sandwich that didn't exist, as you yourself have admitted.

No, in an actual cheese sandwich, existence and "cheese sandwichness" temporally coincide, but precisely not logically. Exactly because nothing in the idea of a cheese sandwich says that it also exists, these two do not logically coincide. Logically - and logic does happen in the mind - it is a separate issue whether there is a real object on the plate that corresponds to my idea of a cheese sandwich, or not. And the whole point of saying that "non-existence" of a cheese sandwich is logically prior is simply to say that thinking of cheese sandwiches, no matter how perfectly, does not make cheese sandwiches.

Let me put it this way: say we make an exhaustive list of properties of some particular cheese sandwich. So you have pictures of the cheese sandwich, details on the cheese and it consistency, etc. Now, among those descriptors we find one that says "Existed at 2 pm, at this address, on a plate on a table." Now, if we strike out this descriptor, does the rest remain comprehensible? Do we still know that we are talking about a cheese sandwich? We certainly do. We have a very accurate idea there of a cheese sandwich, a cheese sandwich specifically, not say a rubber ball or a tax bill. Now do it the other way around. Strike out everything but the existence descriptor. Do we know what we are talking about? No, we don't. Something existed at a particular time and place, but we do not know what. It could be a cheese sandwich, sure, but it could also be a rubber ball or a tax bill. We have no idea. Hence logically the first case, where we have all the information that makes us say "cheese sandwich" but no indication whether there is one or not, is prior. That is already an idea of a cheese sandwich, even though we do not know whether there actually is one. The other way around that does not work. The existence descriptor gives us no clue about cheese sandwiches.

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
It came to be at the same time as it became a cheese sandwich, and it ceased to exist at the exact same time as it ceased to be a cheese sandwich. The only reason that cheese sandwich existed was that it was a cheese sandwich.

The last sentence is obviously false. Being a cheese sandwich is no reason for existing as cheese sandwich. The reason why a cheese sandwich exists might rather be that you made it, for example. It is trivially true that a cheese sandwich only exists as a cheese sandwich - but that's a data point, it isn't an explanation. And this really is important. No matter how extensively and accurately we describe some thing, it does not therefore come into being. The whatness of things is no reason for the thatness of things. I cannot explain existence by listing the properties of what exists.

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
But we cannot, because once we remove its existence, it is no longer a cheese sandwich. It doesn't destroy our ideas about cheese sandwiches, but we cannot have ideas about THIS cheese sandwich if there is no THIS cheese sandwich to have ideas about.

Yes, precisely. Once more you demonstrate yourself that the issue of what is (namely a cheese sandwich) and that it is (namely this cheese sandwich here) are logically separate. Any actual cheese sandwich necessarily has both the features and the existence, of course. Actual existence is defined by the temporal and spatial concurrence of whatness and thatness. But logically, they are distinct.

And if one is optimistic about the mind, and I am, then this means that this difference correspond to reality. Real things really have aspects of whatness and thatness. Now, I don't mean this simplistically, as if there is some kind of "existence button" attached to every thing, that needs to be pressed in order for a thing to be. What I mean is that if the mind now starts to work on conclusions from this, then these deductions in turn correspond to reality somehow. So if I say that since the "whatness" of a cheese sandwich does not explain its "thatness", and then conclude that something or someone must be the reason for "thatness", I'm making a true conclusion. I have successfully reasoned that somebody must have made that cheese sandwich, if it is actual.

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
There are no non-existent cheese sandwiches. It's a linguistic con-game to save appearances of somebody's philosophy of language, which shows by the need of such con-games that it's bankrupt as a philosophy of language.

That is basically just trash talk.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Truman White
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quote:
Originally posted by Luigi:
Thanks for the discussion - many valuable contributions. Even the cheese sandwich bit was entertaining.

Back to the central dispute between Grokesx and Ingo. Ingo you lay out your position with an incredibly high level of confidence. Almost as if anyone who has enough intelligence to understand your arguments would agree with them.

The problem is that many of the great minds of science are also clearly interested in epistelmology and philosophy (Eistein, Hawking etc) and yet across all the national science academies we don't have polymath after polymath just coming out and saying that the cosmological argument proves there is a God.

My guess is that it is not over the whole 'there must be an uncaused cause' bit. Many would probably agree there. So my question is where is the greatest weakness in your argument in your view?

And why do you think so many aren't presuaded by such a simple (near) water-tight argment? (I include Christian scientists here - many of whom, I'd guess from the few I know, would not be convinced by your confidence).

Buongiorno il mio vecchio amico,

Be interested in what Ingo reckons to this. As a logical argument it's pretty watertight. The boy Hawking didn't like it because he prefers not to have God in the equation. To that end he came up with this nonsense (quoted from the Guardian)

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

He doesn't seem to know what "nothing" is. If there is a "law" that's not nothing. Nothingness has no creative properties - in fact it ain't got any properties since it's the antithesis of thingness, so is defined entirely by it's absence of properties. To make his theory of the origin of the universe work he made up some figures to get his equations to balance "imaginary time."

Don't know if his problem is an intellectual one or an emotional one. Belief in God has consequences.

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
Why not? I can start a thought experiment with "Suppose there is a non-causal multiverse ...", can't I?

Well, yes, you can. But then you also have to finish it with "... therefore we can say nothing about it." And really, that's not even a thought experiment. Because you are not actually thinking about that multiverse. You are simply looking at the word "non-causal", and then you give up. The multiverse is accidental to that.

quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
Suppose there is a non-causal multiverse ... What is going to stop me?

I think one may be able to demonstrate that this is incoherent, i.e., that you can say the words but that you cannot actually mean anything by them. At any rate, the universe I find myself in is decidedly causal, so these speculations seem rather idle?

--------------------
They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Luigi
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So Truman, Hawking reads your second to last paragraph and he goes "ahh I hadn't noticed what nothing really means." As do all the other members of the national academies who don't buy the cosmological argument who all immediately become theists. I think you may be underestimating them.

My guess is that they would just counter it with: no you have failed to understand our position. Your view is that what operates for this universe at this point in time (sic) must operate even pre-big bang (sic again) etc.

They would carry on with: you have built a fair number of suppositions into your thinking that we don't know are true across all universes etc.

You see although Ingo seems pretty confident he seems to acknowledge at other times how easily destroyed the Christian faith is. He talks of the importance not to question the Christian faith and not drilling down into the pearl of faith to see what is beneath the surface. This ironically suggests that maybe an argument can appear pretty water-tight and logical (there are a number - some of which no doubt you would reject) and yet it can be actually pretty flimsy, because it always has to be approached from the same direction!

All these arguments tell us about is the wriggle room that language and the amount that we still don't know - invariably give us.

[ 08. April 2015, 12:24: Message edited by: Luigi ]

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Martin60
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And again, why does the uncaused cause have to be sapient?

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Love wins

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Luigi:
My guess is that they would just counter it with: no you have failed to understand our position. Your view is that what operates for this universe at this point in time (sic) must operate even pre-big bang (sic again) etc.

The cosmological argument as it's being made here is not an answer to any particular alternative position. It's a self supporting one, built from first principles. If valid, it's valid whichever physical theory of origins is on the table. It works, for example, as well for an eternal universal with no temporal beginning as it does for one with a definite starting point.

The argument does not suppose any "pre-big bang" events at all. Asserting that there was a pre-big bang as an answer to the cosmological argument takes you in one of two directions: either the big bang is an event which happened for some reason that could in principle be known by a sufficiently capable mind, even if we don't yet know it (in which case its an event with a cause that we could enquire into, like any other); or it happened for no reason that any mind could ever comprehend, even in principle. The first of these still leaves us looking for explanations - we haven't hit metaphysical bedrock yet - so it doesn't refute an argument that there is an ultimate explanation. Only the second alternative actually answers the cosmological argument, by asserting "no-reason" as the last word on existence.

I doubt that it's possible to refute the "no-reason" assertion. Some might find it a more plausible and satisfying an account of existence than "God". I don't - and I don't think that it's yet been demonstrated that I ought to.

--------------------
"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by Luigi:
My guess is that it is not over the whole 'there must be an uncaused cause' bit. Many would probably agree there. So my question is where is the greatest weakness in your argument in your view?

Hmm. If many of them would agree with that, then I don't see how my argument can be weak? For the most part I have simply argued here that there must be an uncaused Cause. Full stop. I think that gets you "God", if only in the sense that no normal thing can fill that spot and you might as well call what does "God". It certainly does not get you the Christian God though. I think the most defensible "intellectual default position" is some kind of deism. We can know that a coherent description of reality is not possible with materialism / naturalism alone. But we cannot know much more than that.

quote:
Originally posted by Luigi:
And why do you think so many aren't presuaded by such a simple (near) water-tight argment? (I include Christian scientists here - many of whom, I'd guess from the few I know, would not be convinced by your confidence).

Frankly, I think most scientists these days are uncomfortable with proofs of God, and religion in general, for exactly the same reason that most scientists used to be comfortably (and often enthusiastically) religious in the past. People go with the cultural flow to a much greater extent than they realise, and massive brain power cannot only be used to find the truth, but also to rationalise whatever convictions one happens to have. I think Newton spending much of his time on religious speculations tells me about as much as Dawkins spending much of his time on atheistic speculations: not a whole lot.

A more interesting question is why the surrounding culture has detached itself so much from religion. I can speculate, but I'm not much of a historian / sociologist. The only thing I would say is that I would be wary of "over-intellectualising" such an analysis. Yes, maybe Ockham's nominalism paved the way for this or that in the realm of ideas. Yes, maybe technological progress made it easier to imagine that mankind could control its own destiny. Etc. But personally I would look at things like the Thirty Years War. Religion brought people misery and death, in spades. People don't like misery and death. I think a lot of cultural change is worked at that kind of visceral level.

As for other Christians, whether scientists or not, I think they are often uncomfortable with these metaphysical analyses because they don't paint a picture of the kind of God they do (and would like to) believe in. It's a bit like proving that a crystal exists, when they believe in a lion. Now, Aquinas et al. do a decent job of creating a crystal lion. It's very difficult to fault them intellectually. But that doesn't mean that people emotionally connect to the crystal lion. Personally, I come from the other end. I can believe in the crystal, I find the lion questionable. So for me Aquinas et al. provide a kind of bridge into all that lion stuff, they make it possible for me to intellectually move from a "default position" of deism to a Christian God. And this in turn allows me to relax on the experiential / emotional side of things.

But that's me, that's perhaps not most people. I think one reason why we don't see much of the cosmological argument in practice is that those who ought to be proposing it, the Christians, do not really like it themselves. It's really only the occasional apologist who drags it out for some philosophical fisticuffs. Is the uncaused Cause the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Well, one cannot show that He isn't, but that's perhaps not the ringing endorsement followers of that living God are looking for...

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

Posts: 12010 | From: Gone fishing | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
And again, why does the uncaused cause have to be sapient?

We have reason to believe that given how the universe exists, there must be an uncaused Cause. We have no reason to believe though that this uncaused Cause had to cause, that does not follow from the observable universe. So the uncaused Cause is really an uncaused Entity, which happens to cause (and we see the result thereof). Why does this uncaused Entity cause? We can find no reason for that external to the uncaused Entity. Because if someone or something told the uncaused Entity to make the universes, then it would be a caused Entity, a contradiction in terms. So we have here an Entity, which does something it does not have to do, and does so for internal reasons, not due to external reasons imposed on it. This kind of motion into action we know from ourselves as "free will".

Furthermore, we notice that the universe is shot through with order and regularity. Far from being "chaotic" in a fundamental sense (not in a deterministic chaos sense), the universe appears to have a comprehensive and detailed structure that undergirds all it is. Both finding such underlying structure in nature, and imposing structure on nature (as in technology, craft, art, ...) are in us functions of the intellect. We understand the world. While in us the intellect is "passive" when dealing with the structure of nature (recognising), and "active" only when creating artefacts (inventing), we know from experience that these are two sides of the same coin. Now, the uncaused Entity has somehow imposed all the structure of nature on the entire universe. This then corresponds in us to a massive exercise of "active intellect".

So we find that the uncaused Cause can be described - in analogy to us - as having free will and an (active) intellect. But that is just what we would call "sapient". So the uncaused Cause is analogically sapient.

It is quite true that this analogy is highly stretched. For example, we experience our intellect as changeable, given to ratiocination, plodding through sequential thoughts. There is nothing of that sort in the uncaused Cause. So if we say that God is sapient, we do not say that God is a kind of super-human. We are merely saying that God has in some sense chosen to create (He did not have to), and what He has chosen to create is ordered in a specific way He has "thought up" (for the want of a better word), since we cannot see other reason why it had to be ordered that way.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

Posts: 12010 | From: Gone fishing | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
# 3216

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quote:
IngoB: Well, yes, you can. But then you also have to finish it with "... therefore we can say nothing about it." And really, that's not even a thought experiment. Because you are not actually thinking about that multiverse.
Yes I am. Just because I can't say much about a non-casual multiverse (because of the restrictions of language), it doesn't necessarily mean that I can't think it. Obviously, language is an important part of our thinking. But it isn't all there is to it.

One thing I can do, is take a universe that is a little bit different from ours, then take another universe that is a little more different still ... and see where it gets me. Of course, I won't be able to follow this through until the end, because language will break down at some point, but at an intuitive level I can still grasp the idea that this sequence will go on, asymptotically so to speak.

Science fiction does this often of course. It speaks a lot about parallel universes, in fact there is a thread in Heaven at this moment about this.

There is a Dutch science fiction book series for children, it is called Euro·5. It is about a space ship, operated by the European Economic Community — we're talking the eighties here. (In fact, there is one character in this series who is German, speaks impeccable English and has an exagerrated sense of logic. Sometimes he reminds me of someone [Smile] )

One of the books in this series is called Stuurloos in een vreemd heelal ('Adrift in a strange universe'). In this book, the Euro·5 space ship enters a black hole and ends up in another universe where all laws of nature and logic are different.

The writer of this book, Bert Benson, can't portray this very well, so he says that in this universe, darkness is orange, whereas the stars shine black. This is rather silly of course, although I suppose it is enough to give a sense of awe to pre-adolescent boys. The writer just changed two colours, and that's it.

Most serious science fiction writers go further than that. They make changes to the laws of physics. They introduce a universe where magic works. Or they do strange things with causality, especially in stories that involve time travel. I read one science fiction where wherever a character enters a parallel universe, the writing changes to poetic semi-gibberish.

There is a line here, towards ever-stranger universes. And even if I can't follow this line to the end (because language will break down at a certain point) I can imagine this line going on and on, including towards non-casual universes. And sometimes, omewhere at the edge of my mind I even fool myself into thinking I can have a vague idea about them.

You can't look inside my head. You can't say that I can't imagine something like this, just because you can't.

And another thing, just because I can't say much about it, it doesn't mean that I can't say anything about it.

For example I can try to look at it epistemologically. Suppose there exists a universe H (I hope the reason why I chose this letter will become clear to you). It isn't entirely non-casual, but it comes close. In fact, it obeys two rules:
  1. We cannot make definite logical statements about this universe (except these two rules). Anyhing logical we say about H (or the 'things' 'inside' it) might be valid, or it might not be.
  2. Our language doesn't work very well to describe things 'inside' H. However, for 'some' 'things' 'inside' universe H, there are things in English that are a nearest equivalent. I will try to express this by putting the words between scare quotes.
This is enough for my thought experiment. My reasoning goes like this:
  • In our universe, everything needs to have a cause.
  • Our universe doesn't have a cause, but it 'exists' 'inside' H.
  • We cannot say "everything in H needs to have a cause", because that would break rule number 1.
Our universe might have a 'cause' though. However, I'm not allowed to apply logic to this 'cause'. I'm not allowed to say "This 'cause' needs to fulfill certain properties". Buzz! Rule 1 breach.

But I might want to call this 'cause' God.

quote:
IngoB: I think one may be able to demonstrate that this is incoherent, i.e., that you can say the words but that you cannot actually mean anything by them.
Bring it on.

quote:
IngoB: At any rate, the universe I find myself in is decidedly causal, so these speculations seem rather idle?
I don't think they are. In fact, they break down your argument.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

Posts: 9474 | From: Brazil / Africa | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Truman White
Shipmate
# 17290

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quote:
Originally posted by Luigi:
So Truman, Hawking reads your second to last paragraph and he goes "ahh I hadn't noticed what nothing really means." As do all the other members of the national academies who don't buy the cosmological argument who all immediately become theists. I think you may be underestimating them.

Infatti me ol' china, I reckon you might be over-estimating them. My criticism of Stevie boy is the same one made not only by philosophers, but also other scientists. Have a gander at this.

What you've got here is a scientist straying into philosophy without knowing he's doing it and looking a bit of a burke in the process. Hawking's not that bothered about trying Le Roc's trick of making up alternative realities to avoid God - he reckons all the answers he needs are in this universe with its current laws.

Le Roc - you're whole (sorry to be blunt mate) slightly dippy argument comes to a dead end when you replace "cause" with "explanation." Our universe has an explanation of its existence - even if your own multiverse theory has any milage and we're within a bigger universe, you still need to explain how we got there.

Posts: 476 | Registered: Aug 2012  |  IP: Logged
Truman White
Shipmate
# 17290

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
And again, why does the uncaused cause have to be sapient?

Fair question that one. Think of the relationships between causes and effects. When air gets to a certain temperature, water freezes. When the cause applies the effect follows automatically. The universe began at a finite point in the past. If by the universe we mean all matter and all energy, then your uncaused cause has be something which is neither of those. Since this cause exists in some sense prior to the universe the effect of causation that it produces can't be automatic or the universe would exist as long as the cause exists. That suggests that our cause makes some kind of decision as to when the effect of its causal power is actualised. If you fancied putting it like this, the cause exists timelessly with an eternal intention to create the universe.
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Dafyd
Shipmate
# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Truman White:
That suggests that our cause makes some kind of decision as to when the effect of its causal power is actualised.

No it doesn't. Time doesn't exist before the universe exists; therefore, the cause or explanation of the universe cannot be temporally prior to the universe (since there is no time prior to the universe), nor can it decide when to create the universe since until there's a universe there is no time for there to be a when in.
I refer you to IngoB's answer to Martin's question, which avoids the trap of thinking that time has anything to do with the matter. (Also to my answer several pages back.)

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

Posts: 10567 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Dafyd
Shipmate
# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
However, I'm not allowed to apply logic to this 'cause'.

In which case you may apply logic to it.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

Posts: 10567 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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So time has nothing to do with the multiverse?

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged



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