Friday, October 22, 2010

Leibnizian Cosmological Arguments

 
An atheist reader send me this argument for the existence of God: Leibnizian Cosmological Arguments. It's from Alexander R. Pruss of Baylor University in Texas, USA.

Here's the guts of the argument ...
The basic Leibnizian argument has the following steps:
(1) Every contingent fact has an explanation.
(2) There is a contingent fact that includes all other contingent facts.
(3) Therefore, there is an explanation of this fact.
(4) This explanation must involve a necessary being.
(5) This necessary being is God.
My first reaction whenever I see arguments like this is to look for evidence that supports the claim.1 I'm not very interested in arguments that hinge on the definition of words and on things that may or may not be real. What is the actual evidence that this God really exists?

What is a "contingent fact" and why should I believe that every one of them has an explanation? The article by Alexander R. Pruss tries to convince me that this belief is related to something called the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) and that it is self-evident. If it's not self-evident to me, then the author tries to show that my worldview is inconsistent—in fact, I can't even believe in evolution unless I accept the Principle of Sufficient Reason and hence, that every contingent fact has an explanation! Who knew?

To me, this just seems like silly sophistry.

Similarly, I don't see any reason to believe that there is a contingent fact (whatever that is) that contains all other contingent facts. What's the point?

Even if I'm willing to consider steps 1,2, and 3 why should I conclude that something called a "necessary being" is part of the explanation?

The god of the cosmological argument is an imaginary god who exists only in the minds of philosophers. There is no connection between that imaginary "necessary being" and a god who actually does anything. If someone wants to believe in the cosmological "necessary being" then that's fine with me as long as they don't try to attribute anything else to that "necessary being" other than satisfying some unprovable premises about contingent facts.

I don't see any reason why I should believe in this "necessary being." More importantly, I don't see how I could possibly distinguish between people who believe in the cosmological "necessary being" and those who don't, if that's the only difference between them. But let's not kid ourselves. There aren't any living theists who just stop when they get to point #5.

The cosmological arguments are just rhetorical devices for satisfying theists who have acquired a belief in God for entirely different reasons. Nobody, including theists, arrives at a belief in a Christian god—or any other personal god—via the cosmological argument. To a non believer, the entire argument looks silly no matter how much you dress it up in philosophical finery. This is not proof of the existence of god so much as post hoc rationalization for believers.

Here's an example of the kind of reasoning you see in this "sophisticated" essay. Remember that Pruss is trying to convince us that you must accept the Principle of Sufficient Reason and that principle leads automatically to the conclusion that "Every contingent fact has an explanation."
It is morally acceptable to redirect a speeding trolley from a track on which there are five people onto a track with only one person. On the other hand, it is not right to shoot one innocent person to save five. What is the morally relevant difference between the two cases? If we denied the PSR, then we could simply say: “Who cares? Both of these moral facts are just brute facts, with no explanation.” Why, indeed, suppose that there should be some explanation of the difference in moral evaluation if we accept the denial of the PSR, and hence accept that there can be facts with no explanation at all?

Almost all moral theorists accept the supervenience of the moral on the non-moral. But without the PSR, would we really have reason to accept that? We could simply suppose brute contingent facts. In this world, torture is wrong. In that world, exactly alike in every other respect, torture is a duty. Why? No reason, just contingent brute fact.

The denial of the PSR, thus, would bring much philosophical argumentation to a standstill.

An interesting thing about this argument is that it yields a PSR not just for contingent truths but also for necessary ones.
Quite frankly, I have no idea what he's talking about and nothing said here prompts me to try harder to understand the point. He lost me in the second sentence because I think it IS right to shoot one person to save five, if that's the only choice.

I've also seen many institutions and societies that condone torture. There was at least one American President who liked the idea and in the not-too-distant past torture was good sport in the Roman Catholic Church. What has this got to do with the Principle of Sufficient Reason?

Notice that up until now I haven't even mentioned the most obvious problem with the cosmological argument; namely, that it doesn't explain anything. If there's really a problem identifying the explanation of everything then what explains god? I know that theists everywhere have elaborate excuses to explain why god falls outside of the original premises of the cosmological argument but isn't it interesting that they never explicitly include them in the argument?

Take the five steps above. There should be another statement along the lines of "(4b) This necessary being does not require an explanation because it isn't a contingent fact. This doesn't violate the Principle of Sufficient Reason because I say so."

Man, those Courtier's of the Emperor sure are clever!


1. Actually that's not quite true. My real first reaction is more like, "Holy shit! Are there really people who believe this nonsense!

33 comments :

  1. A division-by-zero error would at least be more understandable.

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  2. All such arguments for the existence of a god have no more relevance than arguments for the existence of the Higgs boson. At best these arguments demonstrate the existence of a deistic god.

    Connecting such a god with religion is where we get into trouble. As far as I know, there have been no instances of physicists flying airplanes into buildings to demonstrate their belief in the Higgs.

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  3. “I think it is right to shoot one person to save five.”

    But, if you could have been in the right place at the right time: would you have shot Charles Darwin to save five 19th century theologians?

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  4. "I don't see any reason to believe that there is a contingent fact (whatever that is) that contains all other contingent facts."
    If {f_1, …, f_n} is the set of all contingent facts except the contingent fact that contains all other contingent facts, then f_1 and f_2 and … and f_n is a contingent fact that contains all other contingent facts.

    What I don't understand is how a fact can be contingent if it is explained by the existence of a necessary being; it seems to me that this would make the fact itself necessary. Also: I don't see how the PSR could be self-evident, considering that most intelligent people in fact do believe in randomness (i.e. PSR violations).

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  5. Well, he lost me as soon as I got to the word "explanation". Explanations are not things that exist in the physical universe. There are marks on paper, or noises made with the mouth, or configurations of brain synapses, that WE interpret as explanations. And on top of that we often don't even agree about what counts as an explanation of a particular phenomenon.

    Anybody above the age of 5 who takes stuff like this seriously is pathetic.

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  6. anonymous asks,

    But, if you could have been in the right place at the right time: would you have shot Charles Darwin to save five 19th century theologians?

    No, my "morals" are relative. :-)

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  7. Steve LaBonne says,

    Anybody above the age of 5 who takes stuff like this seriously is pathetic.

    I agree with you but this leads to a very serious problem. Philosophy departments are full of Professors and graduate students who take these things seriously. (So are Departments of Religion but we'll ignore those.)

    Is there something wrong with philosophy? We can talk about this among ourselves because John Wilkins is too busy these days to participate. :-)

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  8. Well, I enjoy a good philosophy-bashing session as much as the next scientist, but to be fair I have to say that this particular kind of stupidity is endemic only to philosophy of religion, a subdiscipline not held in high repute by most other philosophers as far as I'm aware. I believe I even recall seeing survey data showing that, again outside the philosphy of religion ghetto, most philosophers are atheists.

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  9. Yes, there is something wrong with philosophy: all the real "heavy lifting" work in the field seems to have already been done, and the rest of it is sifting it into finer and finer bits. Or, to put it another way, philosophy used to be a formalized way of thinking about certain things. Then it became a way of analyzing the way people think about certain things. Then it became a way of formally diagramming the analysis of the way people think about things, and so on... Somewhere along the way, the importance of the actual THINGS fell to the wayside, and philosophy seems to have become a snake eating its own tail.

    If you don't believe me, take a look at these philosophical "arguments" for a "god". They all seem circular, for a start. They are also outrageously self-referencing towards other philosophical arguments rather than referencing things that have an actual existence in the real world. I guess that's fine if you're trying to prove the cleverness of your position, but it gets you absolutely nowhere when it comes to establishing the existence or non-existence of things in the real world.

    To be fair, I should note that I'm an engineering major, so anything that doesn't get around to referencing something real, preferably made of shiny bits, I quickly lose interest.

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  10. "Philosophy departments are full of Professors and graduate students who take these things seriously."

    I work at a university. Without wishing to be in any way provocative, is there a single other person who works at a university who'd rather have a Department of Theology or Philosophy than more car parking space? No. I am a moderate accomodationist in this - I wouldn't have them prosecuted for fraud, I'd get them jobs in the new car park.

    The god of theologians is not a god worshiped anywhere. It's a weird omniscient, omnipotent being who is 'perfect', but who somehow exists in an imperfect, cobbled together universe. Go to Prosblogion - those are the *smart* ones.

    The 'necessary being' thing is such rot - even if it's true, it's impossible to connect it to the idea that it has to be the Christian god.

    And it's such rubbish, anyway - all the arguments go:

    1. There's something (X) that's inevitable, it has to happen, everything has to do X, X has to affect everything.
    2. No exceptions.
    3. The whole point is there are no exceptions.
    4. God's an exception.

    It's nonsense. I've changed my mind - don't tell the theology professors you're building that car park, just bulldoze their department with them in it.

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  11. don't tell the theology professors you're building that car park, just bulldoze their department with them in it.

    Of course, outside conservative church colleges like Baylor, a lot of theology professors probably don't believe in any God recognizable as such by the laity of their denominations.

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  12. If anybody is in doubt, a contingent fact is one the might not have been. A contingency. Contrast that with a necessary fact, one that could not have been. For example, my existence is a contingent fact, there's no necessity in it, my typing now is contingent, but for me to be typing, it is a necessary fact that I exist, but I don't necessarily exist, as I said before. ;)
    I should have been a philosopher, Not!

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  13. You all are picking on philosophers too much. As long as there are awful, terrible philosophers, we need good philosophers to spend time taking the arguments of the awful ones apart. You scientists don't seem all too interested in doing it!

    But yeah, I agree that these "proofs of God" are just tautological word games that at absolute best (and I'm being very generous here) would prove a vague "necessary being," and not an old bearded super-ape in the clouds who knocks up virgins and cares about politics and football.

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  14. Anonymous,

    "Without wishing to be in any way provocative, is there a single other person who works at a university who'd rather have a Department of Theology or Philosophy than more car parking space?"

    For philosophy, pretty much everyone doing Cognitive Science, I'd suspect. As well as people interested in morality, since there's at least currently no division of science explicitly devoted to it. That you don't seem to find it of use doesn't make it useless.

    "The 'necessary being' thing is such rot - even if it's true, it's impossible to connect it to the idea that it has to be the Christian god."

    Why would that matter? If you're an atheist, the arguments would establish a god. That would disprove atheism. Seems pretty useful to me ...

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  15. Larry,

    "The cosmological arguments are just rhetorical devices for satisfying theists who have acquired a belief in God for entirely different reasons. Nobody, including theists, arrives at a belief in a Christian god—or any other personal god—via the cosmological argument."

    This is a rather odd objection; almost no one in the real world comes to believe in, say, science by actually running the arguments or doing the experiments, and yet we wouldn't say that because they don't use those arguments we should consider those arguments wrong or useless. If the cosmological argument is correct, a god exists. That most people aren't aware of those proofs isn't a strike against the argument.

    Now, saying that it doesn't get to the sort of god that most people want is, in fact, a valid claim, even if it worked.

    As an aside, this one doesn't work pretty much for a reason that you talk a little about later: there isn't a direct link between facts and a necessary being. The traditional arguments have a closer link, but "having an explanation" doesn't need an explainer, just a process or thing that can be pointed to AS an explanation. We likely still need something with at least default existence, but it doesn't need to be a being or have any intelligence by LCR.

    "He lost me in the second sentence because I think it IS right to shoot one person to save five, if that's the only choice."

    He gets the trolley case wrong, but that is actually based on psychological testing. While the majority of people think it moral to switch to the track that will kill one instead of five, when the example is to push a heavy enough person in front of the train -- sacrificing one to save five -- the majority think that unacceptable. So, you're arguing against an empirical result here.

    As for you, you seem to be a relativist. How do you support relativism against someone like me who thinks there are moral facts? Appealing to disagreement is obviously insufficient, since it can be countered with "People still disagree about whether the world is round, or whether evolution is true. Does that mean that there is no fact of the matter?"

    I can't see any way to settle debates about morality without appealing to philosophy. Some philosophy is better, some is worse. You probably should give as much attention to that as I give to science and evolution if you care to discuss morality ...

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  16. verbosestoic syas,

    So, you're arguing against an empirical result here.

    No I'm not. I'm well aware of the fact that most people would never actively kill someone to save five others.

    All I'm saying is that I would (in theory) because it makes logical sense. The point is that there doesn't seem to be any Moral Law here. Surely you don't advocate a "Moral Law" based on majority rule?

    As for you, you seem to be a relativist. How do you support relativism against someone like me who thinks there are moral facts?

    Easy. I just ask you to identify the moral facts as they existed in Greece in the 3rd century BCE or those that exist today in Saudi Arabia. Then I ask you to tell me the "moral facts" concerning capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, public nudity, vegetarianism, homosexuality, incest, universal health care, pornography, polygamy, cloning humans, torture, surrogate motherhood, divorce, prostitution, legalization of marihuana, war, and the existence of God.

    Appealing to disagreement is obviously insufficient, since it can be countered with "People still disagree about whether the world is round, or whether evolution is true. Does that mean that there is no fact of the matter?"

    Of course not. When it comes to actual facts they are, well ... facts. When it comes to human opinions about how to behave those opinions can be all over the map. As a general rule, the current ethical standards in a society are decided by consensus. Or, in some cases, imposed by force. Either way, what we call "moral" is nothing more than those current ethical standards. They change over time, although some forms of behavior are so obviously anti-social that they will always be prohibited.

    I can't see any way to settle debates about morality without appealing to philosophy.

    I'm not a philosopher and we seem to be having a reasonable debate on the topic. Sam Harris has just published a book (The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values) that tries to eliminate philosophy. Maybe it's time we realized that philosophers haven't been very successful at explaining morality and neither has religion. Should we let someone else have a try?

    Some philosophy is better, some is worse. You probably should give as much attention to that as I give to science and evolution if you care to discuss morality ...

    I don't want to be seen as anti-philosophy in spite of the fact that I've been complaining about it for the past few days. As a matter of fact, I think every single university student should be required to take two semesters of philosophy in their first year. The emphasis on those courses should be on logic and critical thinking. The existence of God should be a major topic and so should ethics and morality. Every student should be forced to think intelligently about the things we're discussing here and if they cant' do it they don't graduate.

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  17. "If you're an atheist, the arguments would establish a god."

    They wouldn't, though, not unless you take the entirely circular position 'we call the first cause God'.

    The first cause doesn't have to be a being, it doesn't have to be anything complicated. And a complicated being that starts the universe doesn't have to be a God. It certainly doesn't have to be the same God who sent his only son (if Mormon: one of his sons) to Earth to blah blah.

    And, OK - fine. If you can demonstrate the 'first cause', you prove me wrong and Christianity right?

    Go on, then. Go for it. Prove it.

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  18. "How do you support relativism against someone like me who thinks there are moral facts?"

    A multiple choice question:

    If you believed God wanted you to rape children, would you?

    a) Yes. I believe there are moral facts.

    b) No. If I thought God was telling me things, I'd be crazy and ... oh shit, there goes my argument.

    c) No. I would disobey God, because I believe that would be evil. There are moral facts, but they don't come from God and ... oh shit, there goes my argument.

    d) No. God would never do that, there's nothing in the Bible where he gets anyone to do anything mean, and people in positions of power in religions never do anything like that except ... oh shit, there goes my argument.

    e) Waffle waffle, atheists can't have a moral code, avoid avoid.

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  19. Why would that matter? If you're an atheist, the arguments would establish a god. That would disprove atheism. Seems pretty useful to me ...


    Not really. If the argument worked, it would prove that something was necessary. That something may or may not be a god. You could call it a god, but you could call any number of mundane things god. There have been cultures that called the sun and the moon gods.

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  20. If you subscribe to certain variants of the copenhagen interpretation of QM, then there must be some kind of observer to collapse the wave function for what we would consider as the objective universe. A fundamental dualism. Self observation would be insufficient (in that context).

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  21. I'm with Larry on this (if I've understood where he's coming from, apologies if not).

    If god(s) existed there'd be more substantial evidence than the logodiarrhoeaic ramblings of a bunch of wankers playing philosophical sudoku with a dictionary.

    If word play is the only evidence for an all-powerful entity, that some dubious abuse of definitions in a dictionary isn't very all-powerful!

    At least holy books make some sorts of interesting claims for the super-powers. Interesting, but wrong.

    Shame too much philosophical disputation starts with a variant of "let's assume some implausible bollocks...". My attention drifts at that point.

    And why do some philosophers have to assume that because it's possible to be trapped by a bit of clever word play, they have uncovered something interesting? Personally I don't fret about how exactly many people I would kill to save how many other people from (a) probable or (b) certain death, I just try to act decently.

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  22. Larry,

    "No I'm not. I'm well aware of the fact that most people would never actively kill someone to save five others. "

    Well, that isn't actually proven by the trolley experiment, since most people seem to accept that killing someone who is, say, going to trigger a bomb that will kill five people is moral. The trolley case is the case where the person you're pushing in front of the train is innocent. And there are tons of variations on it that indicate various things.

    Ultimately, cases like the trolley cases are good examples of the attempts to use science, psychology, and empirical study to determine what morality really is. It sounds like both of us are skeptical about it (for different reasons) but they do reflect attempts by philosophers to get out in the real world and see what counts as moral, and why.

    "Easy. I just ask you to identify the moral facts as they existed in Greece in the 3rd century BCE or those that exist today in Saudi Arabia. "

    My reply? The same as there are today. There are moral facts about the matter about whether 3rd century BCE Greece or current Saudi Arabia or our current society are truly moral or are even more moral than each other. And the things you listed are either immoral or they are not. About as far as I'll go is that I don't know what those moral facts are, but I see major problems with denying that they exist. There may be no facts of the matter wrt morality, but the jury's still out on both sides.

    "As a general rule, the current ethical standards in a society are decided by consensus. Or, in some cases, imposed by force. Either way, what we call "moral" is nothing more than those current ethical standards. "

    This reveals the interesting tension in human behaviour towards morality. There is a push for exactly the position you describe: no one agrees, so it's just a matter of opinion, determined by consensus. On the other hand, when we take other things that are just opinion and compare them to morality, we treat them differently. Take etiquette. We will follow etiquette and take it seriously, but there's no thought of claiming that one set of rules of etiquette is objectively better than another. We don't really think that etiquette rules have improved or declined over the years. But we do strongly think that about morality. We treat moral principles as things that can be right or wrong, and that some moral views can be objectively better or worse than others. Like, for example, views about slavery.

    So when we look at what humans actually do think, there's some support for it being opinion ... but also some support for it being fact. So the question is: who's right?

    "I'm not a philosopher and we seem to be having a reasonable debate on the topic."

    True ... but I'd also argue that we ARE doing philosophy.

    I've read (and reviewed on my blog) Harris' book, and he does claim that he's making a philosophical argument on page 179 (quote available if desired). I was shocked, too, but he is doing philosophy as well. Not well, but he's trying [grin].

    The answer to your comment about giving someone else a try: with philosophy, there's never a conflict. When philosophers are saying that science can't do morality they aren't saying that because it would be science and not them doing the work, but because they've looked at science before and it doesn't get them what they think they need (normativity, usually). Naturalized -- read scientific -- philosophies have been tossed around for many years, and the descriptive/normative question raised. The new empirically minded approaches might bring science back in. Essentially, philosophy is willing to give science a chance, but are skeptical if it can work based on arguments, not on disciplinary prejudice.

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  23. Anonymous,

    "A multiple choice question:

    If you believed God wanted you to rape children, would you?"

    Why are you tieing the philosophical thesis about whether there are moral facts to theism explicitly, and thus insisting that I, who is taking the philosophical tack, has to base my idea of moral facts on God?

    Since I don't do that, your question is irrelevant to my position.

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  24. Anoynmous,

    "And, OK - fine. If you can demonstrate the 'first cause', you prove me wrong and Christianity right? "

    No. My point is that if the argument establishes a necessary creator being, atheism is false, since such a being would be, for all intents and purposes, a god. I explicitly pointed out that that argument doesn't do that, and I never claimed it would prove which god existed, thus your demand does not address my actual position.

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  25. (1) is the big issue here. Where's the evidence, as opposed to Pruss' appeals to consequences? I take it that (2) means that you can take all facts and squash them into one big conjunctive fact, i.e.:

    BCF) The universe exists and grass is green and Pluto isn't a planet and...

    Which would itself be contingent. And that the theistic explanation for this conjunctive fact is: Tada!

    (4) Is also dubious. Why bring beings into this? Just as a fact can be explained by appealing to other facts, why not appeal to some necessary fact to explain the BCF?

    Also, (5) should read:

    5) This necessary being is, by definition, God.

    That's the only way to derive (5) from (4) without adding extra premises. I take it that most theists mean more by "God" than just "a necessary being", and so the argument, even if sound, doesn't prove what the theist would want it to.

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  26. "Since I don't do that, your question is irrelevant to my position."

    Or '(e)', in other words.

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  27. "I never claimed it would prove which god existed"

    Well, first things first. Let's not worship any gods for the time being, you prove a god created the universe, and then and only then we'll worry about which one. Deal?

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  28. "Why are you tieing the philosophical thesis about whether there are moral facts to theism explicitly, and thus insisting that I, who is taking the philosophical tack, has to base my idea of moral facts on God?"

    Because 'moral facts' is as theistic a concept as 'guardian angel'. It's like asking 'come on, atheists, answer the question: what color do you think God's hair is?'.

    What would the atheistic basis for 'moral fact' be? 'Moral consensus', sure, but as I say 'magic is real' and 'slavery is justified' were about as universal as 'moral facts' got in pretty much every human society.

    But this is just theist debating tactic #2 - 'I don't personally believe what I've been arguing for a week, now'. Tactic #1 is 'there are no exceptions to this rule, none, that's utterly impossible. PS: God's an exception'.

    If you'd like to state for the record that you don't believe the basis of moral fact isn't God, please do.

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  29. As has been pointed out, the first premise is a statement of hard determinism. It is far from self-evident. Indeed most theists would reject it since it denies the libertarian free will that theodicies frequently rely on. In fact it denies such free will even to God, a bitter pill indeed.

    It is also hard to see how the existence of some necessary entity could be considered adequate as a proof of God, since it is only necessary that it it have causal powers, not intelligence or will.

    However, if you do accept the argument you have the choice of either accepting an infinite regress of contingent facts (a possibility not adequately dealt with in the argument) or accepting what amounts to a mindless clockwork universe where everything happens because it must, and not even God has any other choice.

    Or perhaps even the latter is not an option. We must consider the question of what sort of necessity is involved. If this necessary being were logically necessary we might have no need of further explanation. However, this is highly implausible, simply from the nature of logic. But if it is not logically necessary then it's necessity must itself be contingent and require explanation. Thus there is no viable escape from the infinite regress other than accepting the existence of at least one brute fact, in contradiction to the first premise.

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  30. aah, shit larry. come on. you know thinking makes your head hurt.

    THAT'S why you're an atheist. Come on now, cough it up.

    Oh, and atheism means you don't have to make long distance fone calls with silence on the other end.

    Dreadful.

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  31. Anonymous,

    "Because 'moral facts' is as theistic a concept as 'guardian angel'. "

    There are a large number of secular and atheistic moral philosophers who disagree with you on that. You seem to have bought into the theistic idea that there can't be any moral facts without God, and so you reject the idea of moral facts. That's as bad a way to go as the theistic argument.

    "What would the atheistic basis for 'moral fact' be? 'Moral consensus', sure, "

    Most of those philosophers don't use moral consensus as an argument for moral fact, though some do. There are a large number of ways of settling this. Perhaps the most pertinent is the one from at least somewhat atheistic philosophers, the Stoics, who argued that all morality derived from reason directly, and thus moral facts are accordance with reason. Nicely atheistic, and you aren't going to argue against reason, are you [grin]?

    "If you'd like to state for the record that you don't believe the basis of moral fact isn't God, please do."

    I think that moral facts relate to knowledge, and thus are independent of God, at least in the sense that we can know them without God telling us about them. I believe that I could justify that theologically if I had to. I reject the idea that something is moral only because God says so. Anything else you need?

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  32. Proof for God's existence. derived by 666

    1) All things in existence require an explanation for their existence.
    2) I exist (support, I think therefore I am - Descartes 1644)
    3) I began to exist (I was born, June 6, 1966 - just kidding)
    4) The ultimate cause of my existence, was either
    4i) An infinite set of cause and events, or
    4ii) An uncaused, eternal causal entity invoking a finite set of cause and events, or
    4ii) An uncaused, eternal causal enttity co-existing with an infinite set of cause and events, in an instantenous co-existing asymetric causal relationship.
    5) Therefore there is a 66.6% chance an uncasued, eternal causal entity exists - vs. a 33.3% an uncaused causal entity does not exist, in explanation of "I".
    6) It is more reasonalbe to posit existence of an uncaused, eternal creator than not.
    7) No.. my appologies - posit 4i violates premise 1!!, as the proposed infinite set of cause and events has no supplied explanation.
    8) There is a 100% chance an uncaused, eternal causal entity exists - in explanation for existance of "I"
    9) My condolances for those routing for 666!


    Cheers

    Andrew

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  33. Adapted Cosmological Argument

    1) Time is infinite in the past (support: time could not have been "caused" to begin - as causation yielding a change of state is a temporal phenonemum)
    2) Our universe/multiverse of interacting forces, energy and matter is not infinately old (support: our universe has not reached completion yet - the deep freeze, per modern scientific perspective).
    3) There was therefore a delay from an eternity past to allow provision, or at least first interaction of said forces, energy and matter to begin the universe/multiverse as we know it.
    4) The delay mechanism must have
    4i) traversed an infinite time a priori hence exhibiting a characteristic of transcendence over time, and
    4 ii) demonstrated a property of selectivity, which implies intelligence and/or purpose.
    5) The delay mechanism can be postulated as the creator of our physical universe/multiverse, with a characteristic of agency transcendent of time with suggested intelligence or purpose.
    6) The creator of our physical universe has characteristics highly consistent with a theist deity - or God.
    7) If a substantially non-equivalent scientific or philosphic alternative cannot be postulated or even imagined to explain the delay mechanism posited in (3 - 4), it is reasonalble to believe in a God until/if such alternative can be imagined or hypothesized (support: it is reasonable to place belief in a best, or only reasonable hypothesis/ theory in explanation of a phenonemum).

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