Sunday, July 07, 2013

Can You Prove that God(s) Do Not Exist?

Atheists do not believe in any gods. An atheist does not claim to have proof that gods don't exist, although they do claim that most of the evidence for god(s) is wrong.

I really like the way Hemant Mehta explains this on his blog Friendly Atheist.



322 comments :

  1. Great video, Larry. I especially like how he refuted Aquina's Fifth Way and how he demonstrated that Lebnitz' Proof from Necessary Existence is untenable. And his refutation of the Argument from Moral Law was devastating.

    Oh... wait... it was just the usual atheist pinhead atheist gibberish, arguing that because some ordinary guy in a Pentecostal church said something a bit silly or that some devout elderly lady doesn't use theological rigor when talking about the God she has loved all her life that therefore there's no evidence for God's existence.

    It would be like taking the earnest misunderstanding of a high school student about biochemistry and claiming that it disproved the existence of the Krebs Cycle.

    One of Aquinas' most admirable traits is that he always presented his opponents' arguments in their strongest form, before he refuted them. It's a hallmark of an intellectually honest and serious person.

    How do you feel about Aquinas' First Way? Where is the flaw in the argument?

    How about describing in detail your atheist viewpoint about how the universe came to be? I'll take your best argument, you take mine, and we'll talk.

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    1. I'm shocked, shocked to find that Ignor responds with the Courtier's Reply. Never seen that before!

      The Courtier's Reply is the response that up in some Ivory Tower somewhere, we're not sure where, the Sophisticated Theologians [TM] have a proof of God's existence. Strangely, they have never presented that proof to us.

      Sophisticated Theologians [TM] have said many times that God exists and that they have proof of that; thus, it is an intellectual argument, because Sophisticated Theologians said it many times.

      However, we'll have faith in them, the Sophisticated Theologians, and they'll have faith in god for us. Thus, as in the medieval Catholic church, we'll get salvation by proxy: they'll believe in god for us, and we believe in them, a set of humans repeatedly proven to be dishonest Jew-haters and racists.

      When pushed very hard, Sophisticated Theologians will present a list of sentences plastered together with non sequiturs and factual falsehoods. There are no "proofs of God's existence" that merely contain JUST ONE logical fallacy; rather, every single proof of God's existence contains MULTIPLE logical fallacies, non sequiturs, and factual falsehoods. Every single one without exception.

      When this is pointed out to Sophisticated Theologians, they reply that theologiana are allowed to invoke logical fallacies. They have a "use non sequiturs for free" card. Why? The answer given us is:

      1. Everyone has to make a choice, I choose to believe in a genocidal Middle Eastern War Deity. (Anti-rationalism. This is abject surrender; an explicit admission of defeat: they cannot rationally defend their assertions.)

      2. You'll go to hell if you point out my lies and logical fallacies. Ultimately, human nature is (Again, this is an admission of defeat: they are admitting Christian morality is really hedonism, based on the assumption that it is "human nature" to pursue pleasure and avoid pain, and that that which is "natural" is good. The belief that that which is "natural" is good would disgust most pagans; at any rate it's an admission of Christian defeat.)

      3. Moral argument. Unless a genocidal Middle Eastern War Deity exists, who orders genocide, baby murder and rape in the Bible, then there is no objective standard of morality. Society would then have no basis in Christian morality, in which case society would do terrible things, like abolishing slavery, abolishing racial segregation, ceasing to burn heretics and accused witches, and ceasing to murder Jews (note that Christians equated ALL of these social reforms to ATHEISM.)

      (They've got a point on #3: I agree that there is no objective basis for Christianity's pro-slavery, pro-rape genocidal value system.)




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    2. Hei Mr Surgeon, you should answer the questions you ran away from in another thread (as usual). It doesn't fit someone of your "intellectual stature" to be perceived as a coward who runs away when arguments get though to answer with 800 years old philosophy, now does it?

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  2. "It would be like taking the earnest misunderstanding of a high school student about biochemistry and claiming that it disproved the existence of the Krebs Cycle."

    Except that the Krebs Cycle involves molecules that we can see and measure, which are composed of atoms that we can see and measure, and enzymes that we can see, measure, discover codings for. And all of these things fit together within a coherent scholarship.

    So, exactly unlike the Krebs Cycle.

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    1. So only things you can see and measure can be true?

      Can you see and measure atheism?

      Can you see and measure the philosophical assertion that the only things that are true are things you can see and measure?

      I want to see how deep your positivism goes, and whether your it extends to your own views, or just the views of other people.

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    2. Ignor: "So only things you can see and measure can be true?"

      No. But you can attribute hypothetical properties to invisible, hypothetical entities ONLY under these two conditions.

      1. By induction/analogy from past experience. We have much past experience with many entities of type X, and they all have property Y, so by induction, we assert that if there were a hypothetical X, it would have Y.

      2. Hypothesizing that invisible entity Z has property Y produces testable predictions that are confirmed by matching observable quantities.

      Again: reason and logic ONLy permit you to attribute hypothetical properties to invisible, hypothetical entities under these two conditions. Anything else is not logic.

      No property can be attributed to God under conditions 1 OR 2, except for those properties which, if hypothesized, would lead us to conclude that God does not exist. e.g. God is morally good and omnipotent; the universe is fine-tuned to enable or cause natural disasters, hurricanes, plagues, parasites, and human technology with which humans murder many innocents; ==> God does not exist.

      With the exception of those properties which, if hypothesized, would lead us to conclude that God does not exist, NO property can be attributed to God under conditions 1 OR 2, therefore no proof of God's existence can be rational.


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    3. "So only things you can see and measure can be true?
      Can you see and measure atheism?"

      I can see your goalposts shifting, if that helps.

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  3. Larry:

    I know what you're thinking: What the hell is Aquinas' First Way?

    I posted a bit about it a while back [http://egnorance.blogspot.com/2011/08/aquinas-first-way.html]

    What's your explanation for change that occurs in nature? Does it have an ultimate cause? Does change just happen with no ultimate cause?

    Let's see a bit of that atheist reality-based logic.

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    1. 1. According to quantum mechanics, there are indeed uncaused things.

      2. My understanding Aquinas argument, briefly and in modern language, is this:

      a. Every effect needs a cause.
      b. No infinite regress is possible.
      c. Therefore there must be an uncaused cause.

      Is that OK? If so, there's a problem, in that premises a and b are incompatible. If every effect needs a cause there must be an infinite regress. The conclusion, c, violates premise a. A conclusion that violates its premise doesn't make a valid syllogism. Perhaps one could modify premise a to say that every effect needs a cause except for the first one. But of course that assumes what you want to prove.

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    2. Ignor proves for us how Ignorant are the pathetic proofs of God's existence. They invoke an allegedly "universal law" to prove that X exists, and THEN they assert that X is itself immune to that "universal law"!

      Ignoramus! If anything is immune to your alleged "universal law", then your "universal law" is not universal!

      If everything that exists must have a cause, and God exists, then God must have a cause, according to your alleged "universal law". Oh wait, you assert your "universal law" is not universal!

      So your proof is contradictory and self-refuting.

      Besides which, as Harshman points out, in quantum mechanics and chaos theory, there are phenomena with no traceable cause. So premise A is factually false.

      There are no examples in science or reason of invoking a "universal law" to hypothesize any entity, then saying the hypothesized entity is IMMUNE to your universal law! Never happened in the history of science!

      Scientists hypothesized that the neutrino might exist based on calculations that assumed the conservation of energy. But they did not then assert that the neutrino was itself IMMUNE to the law of conservation of energy! That never happened in the history of science!

      Sophisticated Theology is anti-rational theology. Admission of defeat, surrender and embrace of anti-rationalism by Christian apologists.

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    3. @John Harshman:

      [1. According to quantum mechanics, there are indeed uncaused things.]

      I must have missed that theorem of quantum mechanics. Enlighten me.

      [2. My understanding Aquinas argument, briefly and in modern language, is this:

      a. Every effect needs a cause.
      b. No infinite regress is possible.
      c. Therefore there must be an uncaused cause.]

      No. Your argument most closely resembles Lebnitz' Argument from Sufficient Reason.

      Aquinas First Way demonstrates that change in nature requires the existence of a Unmoved Mover. It is very close to Aristotle's argument. It, like each of Aquinas' Five Ways, is a logical argument, not dependent in any way on Christian presumptions.

      The Second Way demonstrates that causation of existence in nature requires an Uncaused Cause. It is not the same argument as the First Way, which deals with change, not causation of existence.

      The Third Way demonstrates the need for a Necessary Existent, which does not depend on anything else for its existence.

      The First and Second Ways are airtight logic and have never been successfully refuted.

      The Third Way contains a premise-- that if the past is infinite and all existents are contingent, then there is a time in the past when nothing existed-- that is debated to this day. The rest of the argument is airtight.

      [Is that OK?]

      No. Aquinas argued that everything that begins to exist has a cause.

      The statement "Every effect needs a cause." is trivial, because "effect" is defined as "that which is caused". It has nothing to do with Aquinas' arguments.

      The statement "infinite regress is impossible" is not true, and was held as false by Aquinas. Infinite regress of accidental causes (scholastic terminology) is possible. Infinite regress of essential causes is not possible. I explain it at the link:[http://egnorance.blogspot.com/2011/08/aquinas-first-way.html]

      The classical arguments for God's existence are meticulously structured logical demonstrations. You can disagree with them, of course. But to do so intelligently requires that you understand them, and that takes time and effort.

      I have never encountered an intelligent discussion of the arguments for God's existence by an atheist. Not once. No atheist I have encountered in my years of debating this has even remotely understood the arguments.

      Ed Feser's Aquinas and The Last Superstition are two great introductions to these arguments, if you're serious.

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    4. I agree Aquinas attempted to fix the obvious flaws in the original Cosmological Theorem (Wikipedia has a good summary), but if you haven't read good rebuttals do a search on it at Jason Rosenhouse's "EvolutionBlog".

      Quantum Mechanics says that any event which satisfies general constraints (such as Conservation of Energy by elementary particles) has some probability of happening, and that no one can predict in advance whether any such event will happen, but can predict the frequency with which it happens. For example, there is a probability that a neutron in an atomic nucleus will split into a proton and an electron, causing the beta form of radioactive decay, which will cause a geiger counter to click. In the Many Worlds model of QM, all possible events happen, but the universe continually splits into different branches in which a particular event did and did not occur. This offers a model of the universe, consistent with all known evidence, in which chains of events can be traced back to an event which had no cause. (Such as the spontaneous tunneling of electrons through transistors in the computer which you are using to access the Internet.)

      Science has come a long way since Acquinas' time. It was not until after Newton's Law of Gravitation was digested that people were willing to accept that there could be action transmitted over a distance except by a train of invisible gear-wheels. Aristotle's physics, which Acquinas relied on, did not understand the concept of friction and stated that nothing could continue to move unless something pushed it. Intuition and anecdote turn out to be poor sources of good data, which is why the scientific method evolved. In my opinion.

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    5. Here mr egnor, go wibble around with this:

      http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/quentin_smith/causation.html

      tl/dr:
      First cause arguments actually entail the impossibility of divine causes - and the nonexistence of god.

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    6. Ignor: I have never encountered an intelligent discussion of the arguments for God's existence by an atheist. Not once. No atheist I have encountered in my years of debating this has even remotely understood the arguments.

      Ignor invokes the real logic of the New Anti-Atheists:

      1. I'm smarter than atheists.
      2. Therefore, God exists.

      There has never been a logical proof of the existence of God that did not contain MULTIPLE logical fallacies and factual falsehoods, and Ignor proves it right here on this thread. Never. Not once.

      And yet, while Ignor presents himself as smarter than atheists, he has ignorantly embraced one hoax and fraud after another-- just recently Egnor promoted the fraud of Eben Alexanader, a surgeon and hero of Egnor's who fraudulently altered his own surgical records, and then made up a story about meeting a hot-looking spook during a Near Death Experience.

      Egnor's ID creationist friends promote one scientific fraud after another, like Dembski and Oller promoting the "vaccines cause autism" fraud, and Johnson and Wells promoting the "HIV don't cause AIDS" hoax.

      If you're so intellectually superior, why don't you DO something with your vast cool superior intellect-- like producing evidence for the existence of your genocidal Middle Eastern war deity? Oh wait, you got none.

      Ignor: Aquinas First Way demonstrates that change in nature requires the existence of a Unmoved Mover. It is very close to Aristotle's argument.

      ...The First and Second Ways are airtight logic and have never been successfully refuted.


      Bullshit. In science there is no such thing as an unmoved mover. In quantum mechanics if particle A interacts with particle B, their quantum wave-functions become entangled.

      This logic is based on a mountain of scientific evidence. No sophisticated theologian has ever refuted it.

      If there were an unmoved mover (which you haven't proven), then there is no reason it needs to be a spook or ghost, a first-century Jewish rabbi returned in zombie form, or a genocidal Middle Eastern war deity.

      There is no reason why an unmoved mover be a spook, or that it need to have intelligence or thoughts or purposes, or anything analogous to human intelligence, or be omnipotent or omniscient, or morally perfect, or immaterial, or outside of time and space. Indeed, such assertions contradict the premises of the argument, so it is self-refuting garbage.


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    7. Ignor: Infinite regress of essential causes is not possible.

      That is a metaphysical ASSUMPTION and does not follow from logic.

      Here Ignor is presupposing there is a "universal law" of causality and then alleging that God is immune to his alleged "universal law", so Ignor thinks his "universal law" is NOT universal!

      I have already refuted this, but Ignor ignored it, on this very thread.

      Thus his assertions that these arguments are airtight and have never been refute is only proof of his dishonesty; he is too stupid to understand the refutations of his "proofs".

      To repeat and repeat what I posted above: There are no examples in science or reason of invoking a "universal law" to hypothesize any entity, then saying the hypothesized entity is IMMUNE to your universal law! Never happened in the history of science!

      Scientists hypothesized that the neutrino might exist based on calculations that assumed the conservation of energy. But they did not then assert that the neutrino was itself IMMUNE to the law of conservation of energy! That never happened in the history of science!

      Sophisticated Theology is anti-rational theology. Admission of defeat, surrender and embrace of anti-rationalism by Christian apologists.

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    8. [1. According to quantum mechanics, there are indeed uncaused things.]

      I must have missed that theorem of quantum mechanics. Enlighten me.


      Have you been enlightened yet? I was going to use the example of nuclear decay, but I see it's already been done. And I'm shocked that anyone who claims to be discussing causality is unfamiliar with this.

      [2. My understanding Aquinas argument, briefly and in modern language, is this:

      a. Every effect needs a cause.
      b. No infinite regress is possible.
      c. Therefore there must be an uncaused cause.]

      No. Your argument most closely resembles Lebnitz' Argument from Sufficient Reason.


      And yet your complaints about it involve trivial features of phrasing rather than any real problems. Premise a just says there is a chain of causation without a beginning, while premise b says that the chain can't be infinite. And the conclusion says that there must be a beginning. Just referring me to web sites elsewhere is a cheap way of ducking the question. Your attempt to wave a hand at distinguishing types of causes also seems barren.

      So your argument does seem to have been fixed in the way I suggested: if everything that begins to exist has a cause, and there can be no infinite regress, then there must be a first cause that didn't begin to exist. That's a neat way of disguising the fact that premise a assumes its conclusion, but that's all it is. You have also failed to present any reasons we should accept premise a or premise b.

      If my argument is stupid you should be better able to explain why. What do you have?

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    9. Jim V:

      [I agree Aquinas attempted to fix the obvious flaws in the original Cosmological Theorem (Wikipedia has a good summary), but if you haven't read good rebuttals do a search on it at Jason Rosenhouse's "EvolutionBlog".]

      I have already dealt with Rosenhouse's rebuttal, which is sub-literate. [http://egnorance.blogspot.com/2011/08/butterfly-on-fesers-wheel-jason.html]

      Rosenhouse's arguments are idiotic. He doesn't even understand the rudiments of the cosmological arguments.

      If you can't do better than that, you have nothing to say on the topic.

      [Quantum Mechanics says that any event which satisfies general constraints (such as Conservation of Energy by elementary particles) has some probability of happening, and that no one can predict in advance whether any such event will happen...]

      Randomness is not the same as lack of causation. You can't predict with certainty whether heads or tails with come up on a coin toss, yet the coin toss itself is caused (by your hand, gravity, air currents, mass distribution in the coin, etc).

      Unpredictable does not mean uncaused.

      Nothing about quantum mechanics precludes causation of unpredictable events.

      Is that really your argument, or were you just kidding?

      [Science has come a long way since Acquinas' time. It was not until after Newton's Law of Gravitation was digested that people were willing to accept that there could be action transmitted over a distance except by a train of invisible gear-wheels. Aristotle's physics, which Acquinas relied on, did not understand the concept of friction and stated that nothing could continue to move unless something pushed it.]

      Actually, Einstein's theory of gravitation is remarkably Aristotelian. He proposed that objects naturally move through the shortest path in spacetime, which is closer to the Aristotelian notion that things move to their natural place in the cosmos than it is to Newtonian "action at a distance".

      Heisenberg noted that the QM concepts of potential states and collapse of the wavefunction is eerily close to the Aristotelian concept of potency and act. [http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/09/feser_on_heisenberg_on_act_and025451.html]

      Quantum entanglement is more comprehensible in an Aristotelian system of final causation, rather than the 17-19th century notion of isolated efficient causation.

      Your "Aristotle was overthrown by modern science" meme is simplistic nonsense. It's more complex than that, and 20th century physics has a lot of Aristotelian flavor. A branch of philosophy of science-- New Essentialism-- is emerging that recognizes the recent turn to Aristotle and away from simplistic mechanical paradigms.

      [Intuition and anecdote turn out to be poor sources of good data, which is why the scientific method evolved. In my opinion.]

      What does that have to do with proofs of God's existence, which are metaphysical and logical, not "scientific"?

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    10. Whether one talks of change ("motus"), as in Aquinas's "First Way" or causation ("causa"), as in the "Second Way", the structure of the syllogism is identical, the logical flaws are the same and the same objections apply. It all boils down to making God immune to infinite regress by decree.

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    11. Ignor ran away humiliated from this thread at Jeff Shallit's blog.

      Ignor blathered: A non-teleological blog post would be generated by a random letter/punctuation input to a non-deterministic Turing machine in which the state and symbol do not uniquely determine the transition function, which is itself governed by a random letter/punctuation generator. [The 50th thread Ignor ran away from, humiliated]

      Basically, Ignor copied and pasted some jargon words from a Wiki page without knowing what they meant. When Shallit pointed out that, in information theory, what Ignor writes in meaningless arglebargle, and challenged Ignor to explain why he was using jargon incorrectly, Ignor ignored the question and pretended not to hear it.

      At Shallit's blog I asked one question, and then Ignor ran away crying and humiliated:

      Me: Explain to us, Smegnor, why ANY inability to create human language sentences is in any way relevant to observed processes of gains in BIOLOGICAL complexity.

      Suppose Shallit cannot produce English sentences by a Darwinian algorithm. So what?

      There are no English sentences in any biological lifeform. There are no English sentences (or... in any other human language) in the human genome or in the genome of any other species...

      Why do you believe English language sentences are in any way analogous to, or present in, biological structures?

      Give your answer in the form of an EQUATION. That is, write down an equation which takes as input a structure, and returns a property which:

      1. Returns nonzero value when applied to an English sentence

      2. Returns nonzero value when applied to a biological structure, e.g. a genetic sequence

      and

      3. Cannot be increased by already-observed evolutionary processes...

      Write this equation down NOW. I mean in your very next comment on this thread.


      Then Ignor ran away crying and humiliated from that thread, as he has from many other threads.

      When Ignor's blather and hoaxes are exposed, he pretends not to hear what you just said. So we should not care when he lies about there being no refutation of Sophisticated Theologians' non sequiturs about the existence of their genocidal Middle Eastern war deity.

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    12. Ignor: Quantum entanglement is more comprehensible in an Aristotelian system of final causation, rather than the 17-19th century notion of isolated efficient causation.

      Utter bullshit! Quantum entanglement has ZERO to do with final causation. Ignor once again uses jargon without knowing what it means. If everything that can happen actually exists in one eigenvector of a quantum superposition, what the hell is the final cause!? Bullshit!

      Ignor: Unpredictable does not mean uncaused.

      They're indistinguishable in practice. If an event cannot be predicted, you cannot say it had a cause.

      Ignor: Nothing about quantum mechanics precludes causation of unpredictable events.

      Is that really your argument, or were you just kidding?


      Are YOU kidding? In QM you can only predict the PROBABILISTIC average behavior of many systems. You cannot predict the behavior of an individual system. If 10 radioactive atoms have an average half-life of an hour, maybe the atoms that decay will be 2,3,5,6,9.

      What is the cause of the decay of atoms #3 and #9? Ignor insists this has a cause, but it has none in QM.

      Similarly with chaos theory. Why does a metastable system enter a chaotic phase? No one can predict when that will happen.

      That which has no cause cannot be distinguished from that which cannot be predicted. In QM, the existence of "hidden variables" has been ruled out experimentally by tests of Bell's inequality.

      Pathetic Egnoramus knows nothing about quantum mechanics! Run away crying now, like you always do, pussy.

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    13. "Randomness is not the same as lack of causation. You can't predict with certainty whether heads or tails with come up on a coin toss, yet the coin toss itself is caused (by your hand, gravity, air currents, mass distribution in the coin, etc).

      Unpredictable does not mean uncaused.

      Nothing about quantum mechanics precludes causation of unpredictable events."

      And Egnor shows his ignorance yet again. A die is treated as random because it is difficult for practical purposes to know the direction of throw, the force applied, etc, but we are perfectly aware that if we could account for that we could always know for sure the state the die ends up with. What Egnor just doesn't get is that in quantum mechanics there is NO other factors whatsoever. It's a property of quantum mechanics that there is no reason why, say, a certain atomic nucleus decays but not another. This is not a matter of not knowing the causes; it's the theory itself that states that there is no cause to begin with. Necleus A decays and nucleus B doesn't and that's all there is to it.

      Educate yourself, Mr Surgeon.

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    14. "No atheist I have encountered in my years of debating this has even remotely understood the arguments."

      Hi.

      I've read Aquinas. I understand Aquinas. The problem I have in trying to refute you there is that *you* believe that anyone who 'fully understands' Aquinas has no choice but to accept Aquinas. Therefore, in your silly terms, by definition 'an atheist who understands Aquinas' is a contradiction in terms.

      It's trivially easy to dismiss Aquinas.

      First Way: even accepting that there's an unmoved mover - which there's no actual reason to - there's no reason to assume the unmoved mover is a conscious being, it could just as easily be a single particle.

      Second Way: self causation has been observed in quantum objects, backward causation is allowable in modern physics.

      Third Way: matter and energy are dependent, there is no distinction between contingent and necessary there.

      Fourth Way: Your God is perfectly incoherent and perfectly non-existent.

      Fifth Way: Creationism can go fuck itself with a rusty spoon.



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    15. It's always cute to find someone who still thinks metaphysics is a useful means of determining anything factual about the universe.

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    16. This is a nice discussion by Quentin Smith on the nature of causation as it relates to the divine, if any of you might be interested:

      CAUSATION AND THE LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITY OF A DIVINE CAUSE (1996)
      http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/quentin_smith/causation.html

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    17. Smith is an intelligent (ie not New Atheist) critic of the cosmological argument. He generally follows the Kantian critique, that one can make the leap from supernatural agency to natural effect because the definitions of causation (derived primarily from Hume) cannot coherently be applied to supernatural causation. It is a significant argument, but it fails.

      It fails because the First Way deduces the Prime Mover, it does not presume it. It is a valid deduction, and makes no supernatural assumptions.

      The fact that the Prime Mover must be pure act is a straightforward deduction. The association between pure act and divinity is a conclusion drawn after the deduction, not as a part of it or as a predicate to it.

      The Prime Mover is logically deduced by the First Way argument. The identification of the PM with God of Christianity is a much more complex issue. Aquinas addresses it massively (hundreds of pages) in ST and SCG (interconvertability of transcendentials, etc).

      Quine's critique is probably the most important critique of the cosmological argument, but it fails.

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    18. I meant Smith, not Quine in the last sentence.

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    19. It's fit to repeat what Pedro Pereira posted on Sunday, July 07, 2013 2:17:00 PM:

      Hei Mr Surgeon, you should answer the questions you ran away from in another thread (as usual). It doesn't fit someone of your "intellectual stature" to be perceived as a coward who runs away when arguments get though to answer with 800 years old philosophy, now does it?
      ----

      I would point out that Mike "clowning for Jesus" Egnor has no answers to give. Therefore he has no option but to run away the moment his arguments are shown to be mere fallacies. He fears losing face, something a creationist with Mike's particular level of prideful stupidity can't afford.

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    20. Ignor: You bring up irrelevant side issues like Quine and Kant because you're avoiding about 10, TEN, fallacies in your reasoning pointed out by people on this thread.

      You ignore the arguments in this thread because the Prime Mover argument is refuted in this thread.

      Keep changing the subject, dumb fuck... Do you think we'll "forget" we refuted you already?

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    21. mr egnor
      It's all about the premises you feed into your argument.

      How can something which exists, bring something which does not yet exist, into existence ex nihilo?

      Please demonstrate the possibility of this proposition. As in: bring something into existence ex nihilo(from nothing).

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    22. In brief and I hope final response to "Nothing about quantum mechanics precludes causation of unpredictable events." - there are good answers above but since that was addressed to me I'll give my answer:

      There is a fundamental misunderstanding here. Your statement claims an empirical possibility (specifically, that there is some "hidden variables" explanation behind the seemingly random choice of events in QM, similar to the way weight and wind and initial forces and angles determine coin tosses). That possibility has so far been refuted in all experimental tests (see "Bells Theorem"), but it remains a possibility in at least some people's minds. I suppose it therefore is a logical possibility, although not a logical certainty, as needed by Acquinas' argument.

      By the same token, the fact that roughly all of the experts in QM have a model of the universe in which events occur totally randomly, and that model is consistent with all experimental data, means that model must also be considered a logical possibility, by all fair-minded thinkers.

      Acquinas's "proof" depends on it not being a logical possiblity, therefore Acquinas' "First Way" fails. To put it another way, is it inconceivable that events could occur with pure metaphysical randomness? No, because many great minds can and have conceived it. (And lesser minds as well, such as mine.)

      My point about the evolution of science vs. naive intuition and anecdote is that what Acquinas believed was based on the very primitive Aristotelian science of his day. He thought that concepts which disagreed with that world view were logically impossible. It turns out the universe doesn't much care what conclusions we jump to before all the evidence is available.

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    23. JimV,

      "It turns out the universe doesn't much care what conclusions we jump to before all the evidence is available."

      That was beautiful.

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    24. "what Aquinas believed was based on the very primitive Aristotelian science of his day. He thought that concepts which disagreed with that world view were logically impossible."

      It is possible to concede that Aquinas was a brilliant man, bringing a massive intellect to bear on a complex subject, drawing in state-of-the-art knowledge from dozens of different fields to create a work that is staggeringly clever and vital when we look at the history of human thought ...

      ... but which is fundamentally wrong about lots of stuff. A physician from Aquinas' time would get a bunch of things wrong, too. There's no shame in it. Aquinas had a brain that was at least as big as ours and navigated a complex world. He was smarter than anyone here, probably as smart as anyone currently alive. But he was deeply wrong about a lot of things, and there are five year olds alive in 2013 who could school him on some things.

      There's no need to insult Aquinas. But there's no need to defer to him on God any more than we need defer to him on the homunculus theory of fetal development.

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  4. I've always understood atheism to be the belief that God does not exist, as opposed to just not believing that God exists.

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    1. I wish I had a dollar for every non-atheist who told me that I must conform to their notion of what an atheist thinks.

      For me, a-theist is similar to a-symmetry. Asymmetry means something is not symmetrical. Atheist means one is not a theist. A theist is someone who believes in a god who meddles with the universe on behalf of humanity (or something like that). I don't. Hence the famous atheistic saying, "If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby."

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    2. I've always understood atheism to be the belief that God does not exist, as opposed to just not believing that God exists.

      It's both.

      Atheism is a description of the state of not being a theist. Those who think gods do not exist are not theists, but so are those who do not believe that any gods exist. Trying to separate out these two propositions, when the former is actually a subset of the latter, is an exercise in absurdity.

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    3. What do you "atheists" (whatever that means" think of Aquinas' First Way?

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    4. I replied to that above. If you are asking what occurred to me the first time Mario, a Catholic friend, showed me a pamphlet with "Seven Proofs of God", never having previously heard anything about them, they all smelled mathematically fishy to me. My first thought was, if there has to be a first cause, why does it have to be a "god" which always existed, why couldn't the universe (in some changing form) be the thing which always existed? "God" explains nothing, it is just an excuse for not having a good explanation. Better just to tell the truth and say, "I don't know."

      I am not an expert in Quantum Mechanics, but those who are seem quite happy with the notion that down on the sub-microscopic level, there is no way (or need) to assign causes to events such as the radioactive decay of a particular atom, and that causality on the macroscopic level is just the effect of trillions of quantum events combining probabilistically, such that the probability of pushing a marble and having it roll downhill is very close to 100%. That would seem to blow the First Way into a cocked hat.

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    5. You're adding too many steps. Stop one step before the ridiculous idea of "an omnipotent, omniscient mind that can exist in the absense of a physical brain(itself a highly doubtful proposition), outside of time and space(perhaps an even more doubtful proposition because how can something exist "outside" of space and time? How can it be said to be if it has no location or duration? How is unlocated existence different from not existing anywhere, and thus not existing at all?), and which has the capacity/power to will matter, energy, time and space into existence from absolute non-being - by magic".

      How can you convince yourself that these propositions not only make sense, but are believable?

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Your claims are among the grandest imaginable:
      1. Minds can exist in the absense of a physical substrate(brains).
      2. Minds can be omnipotent.
      3. Minds can be omniscient.
      4. Minds can exist outside of time and space.
      5. Minds outside of time and space can WILL matter, time, space and energy into existence from absolute philosophican non-being.

      The evidence erected in support of these LUDICROUS claims: Aquinas "first way".

      mregnor - your case for god is a joke without a punchline. You don't have extraordinary evidence, not mundane evidence, not even circumstantial hints. You have zero but your own endless credulity.

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    6. Hi Jim and Nulli,

      The problem is how to distinguish between atheists and agnostics. How would either of you do that?

      Jim, you have the further task of distinguishing between a deist and an atheist.

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    7. That no thing can change by itself but requires a "changer" to change it, and an infinite regress of changers is unthinkable; therefore, we have no option but to postulate an unchangeable changer as the ultimate source od all change, and identify it with the Christian god? It may have sounded convincing to Aquinas's contemporaries, by why should we take any part of it seriously today?

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    8. There's a nice, but unrelated directly to this discussion, blog post from Alexander Rosenhouse. Here's what philosopher Graham Priest says, on another context, about logic:

      " The simple answer is that orthodox logic, however well entrenched, is just a theory of how logical particles, like negation, work; and there is no a priori guarantee that it is correct. "

      I wonder what Aquinas would of have thought about the lack of causation in so many quantum phenomena. At the end of the day, some of Aquinas arguments are based on a-priori assumptions that, as Diogenes stated, don't spring from any logical argumet but instead set the assumptions of the argument that follows. There is no reason to assume that any of those assumptions are in any way correct or acceptable due to their arbitrary postulation to make a point.

      As for an *intelligent* discussion about arguments for god's existence, I find it difficult to have intelligent discussions about something that lacks any shred of intelligent, solid argumentation behind it, but Egnor may try to read some of these:

      -Logic and Theism: Arguments for and against Beliefs in God, Jordan Howard Sobel

      -The Miracle of Theism: Arguments for and against the Existence of God, J. L. Mackie

      and then go from there.

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    9. Piotr:

      What is the difference between essential and accidental causation?

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    10. Ignor:

      Why did you run away from Jeff Shallit's thread when he asked you to explain why you use jargon-words without knowing what they mean?

      At Shallit's blog I asked one question, and then Ignor ran away crying and humiliated:

      Me: Explain to us, Smegnor, why ANY inability to create human language sentences is in any way relevant to observed processes of gains in BIOLOGICAL complexity.

      Suppose Shallit cannot produce English sentences by a Darwinian algorithm. So what?

      There are no English sentences in any biological lifeform. There are no English sentences (or... in any other human language) in the human genome or in the genome of any other species...

      Why do you believe English language sentences are in any way analogous to, or present in, biological structures?

      Give your answer in the form of an EQUATION. That is, write down an equation which takes as input a structure, and returns a property which:

      1. Returns nonzero value when applied to an English sentence

      2. Returns nonzero value when applied to a biological structure, e.g. a genetic sequence

      and

      3. Cannot be increased by already-observed evolutionary processes...

      Write this equation down NOW. I mean in your very next comment on this thread.


      Then Ignor ran away crying and humiliated from that thread, as he has from many other threads.

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    11. Roughly, "accidental causation" involves a temporal sequence of events while "essential causation" involves a logical chain but no flow of time. How is it relevant to the things under discussion?

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    12. @Pitor:

      Nope. You have the flavor, but not the difference.

      If you don't understand the difference, you can't understand the argument.

      Accidental causal chains do not require the simultaneous existence of each cause in the chain.

      Essential causal chains do.

      Accidental causal chains don't need a Prime Mover.

      Essential causal chains do, because potency means non-existence of a property that potentially exists.

      Because essential chains require the simultaneous existence of every link in the chain, there must be a prime cause that is inherently in act, and not in potency, for the motion.

      A cause that is inherently in act, and has no potency, is a Prime Mover.

      Nature inherently is in potency for some properties (the natural world changes). Therefore, the Prime Mover must be outside of nature, because it can have no potency.



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    13. Give me an illustrative example of an essential causal chain that leads to a "prime mover" and can't exist without it.

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    14. Piotr Gasiorowski wrote:
      "...an infinite regress of changers is unthinkable;"

      That's not right. It's at least conceivable, and we know that what is conceivable, must be true? ;)

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    15. @Piotr:

      Hitting a nail with a hammer.

      nail-- hammer-- hand--- muscles--- peripheral nerve-- action potential in peripheral nerve-- cortical action potential-- electrochemical state-- electromagnetic force-- quantum electrodynamic state-- collapse of waveform-- vibrations of strings (whatever undiscovered physics)-- Prime Mover.

      The non-existence of any step stops the chain. The Prime Mover, because it is not in need of elevation of potency to act, is necessary to ground the causal chain.

      Infinite regress in an essentially ordered causal chain is impossible.

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    16. Forget it, Ignor's argument is self-refuting. He has no way to measure "potency to act" and no evidence that change is an "elevation in potency to act", so this is factually false.

      But suppose he did. There's no reason to believe that any ulitmate cause must exist, or that it must have no potency. That statement contradicts the set of observations from which he derives his assertions about causality.

      Ignor: Because essential chains require the simultaneous existence of every link in the chain, there must be a prime cause that is inherently in act, and not in potency, for the motion.

      This is self-refuting, because it contradicts any inference from the set of observations from which he derives his assertions about causality. Even if we pretend that Ignor has an equation to measure "elevation in potency", which he doesn't, in the set of observations from which he derives his assertions about causality, the cause is never a pure act, but always has potency.

      It's self-contradictory to derive an alleged "universal law" about causation from a set of observations, and then assert that it indicates the existence of a hypothetical entity which is immune to that "universal law." Ignor is saying that his "universal law" is NOT universal!

      If your "universal law" is NOT universal, why should we believe that your hypothetical God exists or that you are a sane person?

      Ignor will run away crying and humiliated from this thread as he has from so many others.


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    17. @Piotr:

      An example of an accidentally ordered causal series is a family tree.

      son-- father-- grandfather-- great grandfather--...

      An accidentally ordered causal chain can go to infinite regress (at least logically), because the simultaneous existence of each causal link is not necessary.

      No Prime Mover is needed in an accidental causal series.

      A Prime Mover is needed in an essentially ordered causal series.

      Intelligent (ie not New Atheist) efforts to refute the Prime Mover/First Way argument have focused on denying that essentially ordered series exist-- they assert that all causal series are accidental.

      These refutations have not been successful.

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    18. Ignor: nail-- hammer-- hand--- muscles--- peripheral nerve-- action potential in peripheral nerve-- cortical action potential-- electrochemical state-- electromagnetic force-- quantum electrodynamic state-- collapse of waveform-- vibrations of strings (whatever undiscovered physics)-- Prime Mover.

      Any 10-year-old can see where the non sequitur is!

      Hey Ignor, explain why you told Jeff Shallit:

      Ignor: A non-teleological blog post would be generated by a random letter/punctuation input to a non-deterministic Turing machine in which the state and symbol do not uniquely determine the transition function, which is itself governed by a random letter/punctuation generator.

      Why did you run away crying when Shallit asked you to explain why you were using jargon incorrectly?

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    19. Ignor: These refutations have not been successful.

      Why should would consider your lies to be even relevant? There have already been 10 refutations of Ignor's bullshit on this thread alone, so Ignor has a proven track record of pretending the non-existence of evidence that exposes his stupidity.

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    20. It's still the same thing. You begin with a "universal principle" which, if applied consistently, would lead to infinite regress. So you "ground" it by invoking an ficticious entity immune to your principle. And you mix up levels of description in the process. It's like claiming that the killing of Polonius by Hamlet was "essentially caused" by molecules of ferric tannate in Shakespeare's writing ink.

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    21. [Ignor: nail-- hammer-- hand--- muscles--- peripheral nerve-- action potential in peripheral nerve-- cortical action potential-- electrochemical state-- electromagnetic force-- quantum electrodynamic state-- collapse of waveform-- vibrations of strings (whatever undiscovered physics)-- Prime Mover.

      Any 10-year-old can see where the non sequitur is!]

      I normally don't reply to Diogenes, because he's nuts, but finally makes a coherent point. (Even a stopped clock...)

      He points out that the link-- (whatever undiscovered physics---Prime Mover) could contain an accidental cause, that would obviate the essential chain, and allow us to dispense with a Prime Mover.

      It's a coherent critique, but easily answered.

      Accidental causation is causation that is independent of prior causation. Once the prior cause has done its work, it can disappear and it doesn't matter.

      If there is an accidental cause wedged in (--- whatever undiscovered physics---) then the beginning of the subsequent essential causal chain is uncaused,in the sense that its own cause is irrelevant to the actual exercise of its causal power.

      This, if there is an accidental cause hiding in a series of essential causes, the essential series lacks sufficient reason.

      This violates Lebnitz Principle of Sufficient Reason, that posits that everything has a reason for its state of existence.

      If one is willing to deny the PSR, then science becomes pointless, because we need not invoke scientific explanations for things. They need no reason. They just happen.

      Diogenes single coherent comment is refuted, unsurprisingly.

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    22. Mike "clowning for Jesus" Egnor finally offered the false dichotomy I predicted:

      «This violates Lebnitz Principle of Sufficient Reason, that posits that everything has a reason for its state of existence.»

      Who cares? It could be called Superman's principle of sufficient reason and it would still be some assumption. But the worse of it is what Piotr has been saying all along: why propose that "everything has a reason for its state of existence," only to then turn around and imagine some god who is immune to the proposed principle? Mere stupidity. If something has to be immune to some principle, then it might as well be something in reality. No need to imagine conscious intelligences existing without a reality to be intelligent and conscious about.

      «If one is willing to deny the PSR, then science becomes pointless, because we need not invoke scientific explanations for things. They need no reason. They just happen.»

      Well, that's exactly what you do Mike "clowning for Jesus" Egnor. You say that there's some god who does not go by this principle. Therefore, by your imbecilic logic, science becomes pointless. We need not invoke scientific explanations for things: some god did it. Way to shoot yourself on the foot Mike. Your argument refutes itself and you can't even notice.

      There's no reason why science would have to posit that everything is uncaused when we clearly see that at least some stuff has causes. Therefore, science can continue ignoring the false dichotomy upon which you build your stupid arguments for gods. Just like you are happy to end a series in your god, we can end a series whenever we find it to end, rather than assume a reality where either everything is uncaused, or everything is caused. Your stupidity might not allow you to consider such scenarios unless they include gods, but we have no need to buy into your stupidity (and lots of reasons not to). It's that simple.

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    23. I posted this below, reposting:

      And premise 3 is meaningless arglebargle.

      "3) Potency must be actualized by another, which is itself in act."

      Smegnor has no equation by which to measure potency, so he has no evidence that potency increases or decreases or goes sideways, or "potency must be actualized by another", whatever that arglebargle means.

      It's like saying fazoozle must be frazzled by a frippity.

      This shit is meaningless and cannot be phrased in terms of quantum field theory. Smegnor has no coherent definition of "potency", no equation by which to measure it, no evidence that it "elevates", no evidence that it "must be actualized by another."

      And no evidence that a "pure act" must be a first-century Jewish rabbi who died and came back as a zombie.

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    24. And again, as I posted below:

      Egnor's "chain of essential causes" tends to the increasingly microscopic-- nerve cells, molecules, atoms, quarks, etc.-- the increasingly simple and the increasingly numerous, and with fewer and fewer emergent properties, such as intelligence. It also tends towards tinier particles with more machine-like interactions. The trend is toward the tiny and machine-like, away from the large, emergent and intelligent.

      Thus, if this is proof of Egnor's "God", then to follow his chain to a "pure act" = God, his "God" is tiny, microscopic, machine-like, unintelligent, has no emergent properties, simpler than an atom and consists of trillions of particles smaller than quarks, without intelligence.

      This "prime mover" CANNOT be a first-century Jewish rabbi who died and came back as a zombie, because Egnor's own "chain" requires that the Prime Mover at the end of the chain have no intelligence, no purposes, but instead be tiny, microscopic, machine-like and governed by strange mathematics.

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    25. Ignor: "I normally don't reply to Diogenes, because he's shown me up as a pig-ignorant poser on every thread where I've met him"

      Fixed.

      You don't reply to me because I've kicked your ass and shown you up as an ignoramus at every thread where we've ever met-- like at this Recursivity thread where Ignor idiotically copied some jargon words about information theory from a Wiki page without knowing what they meant, and got shown up as a buffoon by Jeff Shallit, and ran off weeping and pulling his hair when I asked him one simple question.

      Or like at this Sandwalk thread where Ignor humiliated himself by telling Piotr Gasiorowski, a Pole who actually resisted the Polish communist government, that it was Smegnor who freed the Polish people, yes, simply because Ignor, an American, believed in Catholicism and put his trust in Catholic authorities who shuffled molesters from one parist to another, and by this means Ignor in his American church, not Piotr and his friend in Poland, had set the Polish people free, thus Piotr should kiss Ignor's ass in gratitude; and Egnor tried the Hitler was a pagan atheist line there, and got refuted badly by my pile of real Hitler words from Mein Kampf, and again Smegnor ran away weeping and pulling his hair.

      Or this thread at Sandwalk where Smegnor said that statements about science coming atheists should be ignored because they're stupid atheists--and then sanctimoniously said that anyone should be FIRED if he discriminates on the basis of religious belief-- like Michael Egnor boasts he does! I called him on his hypocrisy and he ran away weeping.

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    26. Bilbo says:
      The problem is how to distinguish between atheists and agnostics. How would either of you do that?

      The same way one can distinguish between metaphysics and epistemology, and for the same reason.

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    27. Bilbo said:

      "The problem is how to distinguish between atheists and agnostics. How would either of you do that?

      Jim, you have the further task of distinguishing between a deist and an atheist."

      Like so many other times when labels (especially one-word labels) are involved it's not easy to figure out what people believe/accept or don't believe/accept without adding more words to the labels.

      When looking at definitions of atheist, anti-theist, agnostic, or deist, there are various definitions and some of them apply to the 'degree' of each. It seems like every word in English (and probably most other languages) need a bunch more words just to describe the degree and variables. I often find it very frustrating.

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    28. My reply to Bilbo's question about agnostics and deists is that they are separate and unequal concepts from atheism. One can be an atheist and an agnostic (or not), and an atheist and a deist (but I am also an adeist). Most atheists (Richard Dawkings, for example, as stated in "The God Delusion") are agnostic atheists. (They don't believe in any specific god or in the general concept of gods but don't claim absolute certainty.)

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    29. "If one is willing to deny the PSR, then science becomes pointless, because we need not invoke scientific explanations for things. They need no reason. They just happen."

      If you add "ABRACADABRA" that pretty much sums up ID.

      Anyway, QM pretty much has demonstrated, including experimentally, that not all phenomena has a cause. This is a fundamental aspect of the theory. I hope you're not suggesting that QM isn't science. Your problem, besides your idiotic beliefs, is a complete lack of capability to realize that the day-to-day experience means nothing when it comes to the way fundamental reality works. That's why Science exists and we are not locked anymore into deriving information about reality from nonsensical philosophical arguments like Aquinas' own.

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    30. Above, when Ignor invoked Leibniz's principle of sufficient reason (PSR), Ignor was for the 90th time asserting that his God is immune to the "universal principles" which require his God to exist-- that is, his alleged "universal principle" is not universal. Leibniz's PSR says that everything must have a reason, and for Leibniz reason = cause, but the theist assumes that God has no reason and no cause.

      For the 90th time: the theist is alleging a "universal principle" exists which requires a deity, then says that deity is immune to "universal principle" which requires it to exist-- so his "universal principle" is not universal. This argument is self-contradictory and refutes itself.

      Ignor says: If one is willing to deny the PSR, then science becomes pointless, because we need not invoke scientific explanations for things. They need no reason. They just happen.

      Well, then Christianity destroys science, because the theist denies the PSR applies to his God, because his fag-hatin God [FHG] has no reason and no cause.

      Ignor: If there is an accidental cause wedged in (--- whatever undiscovered physics---) then the beginning of the subsequent essential causal chain is uncaused,in the sense that its own cause is irrelevant to the actual exercise of its causal power.

      Ignor does not realize that he has just described his Prime Mover = God, because Ignor's argument is intended to prove the existence of a deity that is "uncaused,in the sense that its own cause is irrelevant to the actual exercise of its causal power."

      If this is a denial of the PSR, which would (according to Ignor) destroy science, then belief if Ignor's God destroys science.

      Ignor: This, if there is an accidental cause hiding in a series of essential causes, the essential series lacks sufficient reason

      This violates Lebnitz [sic] Principle of Sufficient Reason, that posits that everything has a reason for its state of existence.


      Again, this is Ignor describing his God, which violates Leibniz's PSR and (according to him) destroys science.

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    31. Continuing on Leibniz's Principle of Sufficient Reason: Ignor's invocation of the PSR must be challenged, for four reasons.

      First: above, I pointed out already that Ignor cannot invoke the PSR because it is used to prove the existence of a God which has no cause, thus denying the PSR, so his argument is self-contradictory and refutes itself.

      But I want to point out that certain formulations or applications of the PSR are fallacies for other reasons beyond that.

      When Leibniz said everything must have a reason, for him, and for theists in general, "reason" meant "cause." This is fallacious for three more reasons.

      Second: if the PSR is formulated in the theistic way, "reason" = "cause", it becomes "everything must have a cause", then this is simply question-begging, because it's simply using different words to express the assumption of Aristotle that everything must have a cause. Same assumption, different wording, still not proven, just assumed.

      Third: what science depends upon is NOT the assumption that "everything must have a CAUSE." Rather, science seeks EXPLANATIONS, but the scientific definition of "explanation" is not necessarily "cause" and not equal to the religious definition of "explanation".

      Whenever you argue with theists or creationists, you must challenge their definition of "explanation" or "to explain." When religious people say they have an "explanation", they mean they have an allegation of magical cause. This is "explanation" in the sense of a fairy tale: Why does Snow White come back to life after eating a poisoned apple? Because a prince kissed her. No, that is an allegation of magical cause, which is the religious definition of "explanation", not "explanation" in the scientific sense.

      In science, an observed entity is "explained" if it can be computed or derived by inputting other observed quantities into a mathematical theory that outputs predictions about that observable quantity.

      Science is driven by a search for "explanations" in this sense only. Thus, denying Leibniz's PSR does not deny scientific investigation, IF the PSR is formulated in the religious/theistic way, with "explanation" defined as "allegation of magical cause."

      The process of scientific investigation may involve a search for causes, but it may not; even when science progresses by investigating causes, they may be "essential" or "accidental" in the Aristotelian sense; or, more likely, some other type of cause that defies Aristotle's categories; or the investigation may not involve causation.

      Fourth: Leibniz's PSR does not apply to axioms within a mathematical system. If, for example, quantum field theory takes the fundamental particle fields as axiomatic, then the PSR need not apply to the existence of particle fields, within quantum field theory. It can only apply, if it does, outside the context of quantum field theory.

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    32. "I normally don't reply to Diogenes, because he's shown me up as a pig-ignorant poser on every thread where I've met him"

      He didn't "show you", he "exposed you". You don't reply to him because you don't have any valid arguments. You drop some nonsense in a thread, and then when things get hot you run away or cherry pick what you answer to, like some kind of guerilla tactics, because you can't do any better, just like the rest of the IDiots.

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    33. Like, when you accused Moran of not answering your questions, then when he did and asked a few things back, you ran away from the thread.

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  5. All of you little Aristotles seem to have trouble understanding the First Way argument. Since clicking on links that explain things is hard, I'll give the First Way argument here:


    1) Change in nature is elevation of potency to act.


    2) Potency cannot actualize itself, because it does not exist actually.


    3) Potency must be actualized by another, which is itself in act.


    4) Essentially ordered series of causes (elevations of potency to act) exist in nature.


    5) An essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act cannot be in infinite regress, because the series must be actualized by something that is itself in act without the need for elevation from potency.


    6) The ground of an essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act must be pure act with respect to the casual series.


    7) This Pure Act-- Prime Mover-- is what we call God.

    If you don't understand the words, go to the link, which explains them succinctly. http://egnorance.blogspot.com/2011/08/aquinas-first-way.html

    Before you go to the link that explains them, make note that if you don't understand the words, then you don't have an opinion on the argument.

    You merely have an opinion on your misunderstanding of the argument.

    Thinking is hard.

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    1. Toto, I've a feeling we are not in the twenty-first century any more.

      Delete
    2. Smegnor: Thinking is hard.

      How the fuck would you know? Let's see if Smegnor has ever given thought to anything.

      Let's start with "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife" by fraudster Eben Alexander. When that book came out, the fraud was trumpeted by Smegnor as proof of the existence of spooks and the spirit world at Evolution News and Views.

      Alexander, an unethical and crooked surgeon, had a "Near Death Experience." He later told Michael Shermer that his hallucination happened "took place not while [his] cortex was malfunctioning, but while it was simply off.” However, in fact he was in a medically induced coma, not a natural coma, during which he was conscious but hallucinating according to his doctor.

      Over at Evolution Snooze and Abuse, Smegnor was aroused by Alexander's bosomy vision of the afterlife:

      [Alexander]: "...someone else was with me. A woman.
      She was young, and I remember what she looked like in complete detail. She had high cheekbones and deep-blue eyes. Golden brown tresses framed her lovely face."

      One woman!? Just one? I thought you religious types believed you deserved 72.

      So. A crooked and unethical surgeon has a wet dream about a hot-looking spook, and Smegnor thinks it proves spooks exists.

      If Smegnor found a cum-stain in Alexander's underpants, he'd announce it was proof of Jesus, the Holy Ghost, all the Prophets, and that Balaam son of Beor really did have a conversation with his talkin' donkey, like it says in Smegnor's Bible [Numbers 22:28].

      Now what do we find over here at Esquire? Editor Luke Dittrich checked the facts on Alexander's wet dream and surprise surprise, every fact that could be checked had been hoaxed up by Alexander! We’re shocked. Plus, he's crooked and falsifies records of his surgeries.

      "The Esquire article also accuses Alexander of falsifying medical records to cover up the fact that he’d operated at the wrong site on a patient’s spine when working as a neurosurgeon." [ Daily Mail]

      A crooked surgeon. Never seen one of those before!

      The Esquire article is behind a paywall but you can read a summary of Alexander's fraud at the Daily Mail.

      He even changed the weather to invent a "perfect rainbow"! Do you idiots think there are no records of past WEATHER!?

      Hey Smegnor, do you promote only frauds that support your sect of Christianity, or do you support all kinds of fraud equally?

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    3. Piotr:

      [Toto, I've a feeling we are not in the twenty-first century any more.]

      Aristotle made this argument in 340 B.C.

      You 're not even up to the third century before Christ, let alone the 21st century.

      You've got some catching up to do.

      If you don't understand these arguments, you have no actual rebuttals or critiques of the arguments.

      You may not believe that God exists, but not because you have detected any flaws in the arguments for his existence.

      "Oh, but the proofs are so old!) isn't an argument.

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    4. Ignor: Change in nature is elevation of potency to act.

      It is not. There is no equation for "potency to act" by which such "elevation" may be quantified.

      Your statement implies you have an equation by which you may measure "potency to act". No one has any such equation, so you are a fraud. Therefore you have no way to say whether potency goes up, down, or sideways. You don't know if potency increases, decreases, or turns purple.

      Ignor: Heisenberg noted that the QM concepts of potential states and collapse of the wavefunction is eerily close to the Aristotelian concept of potency and act. [http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/09/feser_on_heisenberg_on_act_and025451.html]

      But there is no equation by which to measure "potency to act", so there is no "elevation of potency". You have no way to say whether potency goes up, down, or sideways, or whether it turns spicy or purple.

      I repeat: If there were a "pure act with respect to the casual series" (which you haven't proven), then there is no reason it needs to be a spook or ghost, a first-century Jewish rabbi returned in zombie form, or a genocidal Middle Eastern war deity.

      If there were a "ground of an essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act must be pure act with respect to the casual series" (which you haven't proven), then there is no reason it needs to be a spook or ghost, a first-century Jewish rabbi returned in zombie form, or a genocidal Middle Eastern war deity.

      There is no reason why your "pure act" needs to be a spook, or that it need to have intelligence or thoughts or purposes, or anything analogous to human intelligence, or be omnipotent or omniscient, or morally perfect, or immaterial, or outside of time and space. Indeed, such assertions contradict the premises of the argument, so it is self-refuting garbage.

      If Heisenberg or Aristotle or anyone else had an equation to measure "potency to act" and increases therein, then you could copy in that equation. You did because the equation does not exist.

      I would ask you write down the equation for "potency to act", but you never will because Christian apologetics is a hoax. Smegnor's inability to write down any equation or describe any means of measuring "potency to act" is because Christian apologetics is a fraud. Fraud-- like Smegnor's surgeon hero and medical record falsifier, Alexander.

      Delete
    5. Ignor: write down the equation by which "potency to act" may be measured, and by which it may be demonstrated that "potency to act" gets elevated-- or else run away crying from this thread as you have from so many others.

      Delete
    6. Smegnor: Thinking is hard.

      I can fix that.

      Smegnor: Lying takes a lot of effort.

      Fixed!

      Hey Ignor, explain why you told Jeff Shallit:

      Ignor: A non-teleological blog post would be generated by a random letter/punctuation input to a non-deterministic Turing machine in which the state and symbol do not uniquely determine the transition function, which is itself governed by a random letter/punctuation generator.

      Why did you run away crying when Shallit asked you to explain why you were using jargon incorrectly?

      Delete
    7. Michael "clowning for Jesus" Egnor,

      «1) Change in nature is elevation of potency to act.»

      Because you say so. Man, if you have to start with an unwarranted assumption this won;t go too well as proof for "God's" existence.

      «2) Potency cannot actualize itself, because it does not exist actually.»

      Because you say so. Ha! Second unwarranted assumption. Truly not going well for your god to be even slightly argued for.

      «3) Potency must be actualized by another, which is itself in act.»

      Because you say so! Man, truly this is the best you have? Mere assertions about things being the way some guy in ignorant times thought had to be the case? Not going well at all.

      «4) Essentially ordered series of causes (elevations of potency to act) exist in nature.»

      Because you say so! Holy shit. Why should we bother to continue? Shouldn't we have stopped by the first assumption?

      «5) An essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act cannot be in infinite regress, because the series must be actualized by something that is itself in act without the need for elevation from potency.»

      A conclusions built upon a series of unwarranted assumptions brought to you by your friendly neighbourhood Mike "clowning for Jesus" Egnor the imbecile who lives in the first century.

      «6) The ground of an essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act must be pure act with respect to the casual series.»

      Because, of course, you say so!

      «7) This Pure Act-- Prime Mover-- is what we call God.»

      Yet again, because you say so.

      Not much of a proof for god. much more of a series of unwarranted assumptions leading to some god just because the author wanted to be lead to some god.

      Do you truly believe that this shit is irrefutable? It does not even get to start! What's the need to refute this argument if it has nothing going for it?

      I disagree with Diogenes here. You don't need equations yet,. You need to first establish at the very least that all of your assumptions have some foundations in reality. But ignorantly stating al that crap and assume that they are irrefutable? What a clown you are Egnor (for Jesus, of course).

      Delete
    8. premise 5 is just question begging. Give us a reason to accept it.

      Delete
    9. Sebastian's right. Premise 5 is bullshit and there's no reason to accept it.

      To mention just five flaws:

      A. Premise 5 is a non sequitur.

      B. There is no equation or means by which to measure "potency" or "elevation of potency" so there is no evidence that change or causation involves elevation of ANYTHING. Potency might not increase or decrease; it could be purple or orange, or spicy or sweet.

      C. Egnor assumes there is a "Universal Law" of causation, then asserts that God is immune to his "Universal Law", so it's not universal. Thus his argument is self-contradictory and refutes itself.

      D. There is no reason to believe a Prime Mover or "pure act" exists, and no reason to believe it is a spook or spirit, ghost or god, witch or a first-century Jewish rabbi come back as a zombie, or a genocidal Middle Eastern war deity, or any intelligent being with any emergent properties.

      E. Egnor's "chain of essential causes" tends to the increasingly microscopic-- nerve cells, molecules, atoms, quarks, etc.-- the increasingly simple and the increasingly numerous, and with fewer and fewer emergent properties, such as intelligence. Thus, if this is proof of Egnor's "God", his "God" is unintelligent, has no emergent properties, simpler than an atom and consists of trillions of particles smaller than quarks, without intelligence.

      More later, that's enough for now. Egnor can run away crying now, like he did at every other thread.

      Delete
    10. And premise 3 is meaningless arglebargle.

      "3) Potency must be actualized by another, which is itself in act."

      Smegnor has no equation by which to measure potency, so he has no evidence that potency increases or decreases or goes sideways, or must be actualized by another, whatever that arglebargle means.

      This shit is meaningless and cannot be phrased in terms of quantum field theory.

      Delete
    11. This is Aquinas' First Way:

      1) Change in nature is elevation of potency to act.


      2) Potency cannot actualize itself, because it does not exist actually.


      3) Potency must be actualized by another, which is itself in act.


      This is just an overly-jargon-rich variant of the usual "everything has a cause" concept.

      4) Essentially ordered series of causes (elevations of potency to act) exist in nature.

      No, as far as I can tell, they do not exist. The concept seems to be based on an outdated concept of how the world works. (Hint: if a philosopher talks about something being "essential", you can be pretty certain it doesn't correspond to any part of physical reality. As for the stack of books and the family tree, both are high-level concepts. And both are based on exactly the same low-level interactions. There is no fundamental difference between the two.)

      5) An essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act cannot be in infinite regress, because the series must be actualized by something that is itself in act without the need for elevation from potency.

      That is certainly not obvious. What is obvious is that intuitions about infinities are more likely to be wrong than right.

      6) The ground of an essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act must be pure act with respect to the casual series.

      That is only true if the previous point is true, which is not clear. (And in any case, both are irrelevant because step 4 is wrong.)

      7) This Pure Act-- Prime Mover-- is what we call God.

      I'm pretty certain if there is any such thing, I'd call it some variant of "natural law" and not "god"; I'm pretty certain it wouldn't be recognizable as anything like typical historical concepts of "god", let alone a specific one. (Possibly the deistic version, but then that one is anything but typical, and I'm not convinced even that would be reasonable.)

      Delete
    12. "1. A clearly defined god can be disproved in the informal sense of that word just as much as as any other clearly defined proposition."

      We can disprove specific testable claims made for any of the gods. Often trivially easily.

      Which is why theists resort to formulations like 'if you truly understood Aquinas, you'd have no choice but to accept the existence of God'.

      By an odd coincidence, every Christian internet commentator, however pigfuckingly stupid they may appear, 'understands Aquinas', has all the nuances of medieval theology straight and even though they'd struggle to explain which one's a proton, they understand the exact nature of the early universe; but somehow every atheist, whatever their qualifications and life experience, however versed they are in logic, philosophy, the Middle Ages, physics or whatever just reads the words and gets hopelessly muddled.

      At some point, an honest Christian will concede that actually, no, you need faith to get to God. If God exists, you can't logic your way there. We're human beings. We're flawed and limited biologically, linguistically and temporally. There is absolutely no way that we humans can distinguish between Actual God and a being that's Nearly God but which isn't far off. Nearly God might even truly believe itself to be God. Nearly God could pass every test we set it. Part seas, resurrect the dead, appear in a taco.

      So theists have to have faith.

      Aquinas is an honest Christian: "Hence, it is necessary that some inception of this supernatural cognition should come to exist in us. And this inception comes through faith, which on the basis of an infused light holds fast to things that by nature exceed our cognition."

      Creationists bang on about the nature of Noah's Ark and what it was made of and where all the poo went and what everything ate ... and then they go 'and anything we can't explain, God did a miracle'.

      Aquinas pulls the same trick in that line. We can get to God by logic ... oh, but we can't get to God by logic, by the way, we get to God because God wants us to get to him and gave us magic God-knowing faculties.

      Theology is a denial of service attack on the human intellect.




      Delete
    13. Egnor, it seems you missed something:

      You're adding too many steps. Stop one step before the ridculous idea of
      1. An omnipotent, omniscient mind that can exist in the absense of a physical brain(itself a highly doubtful proposition)
      2. - is/exists outside of time and space
      (perhaps an even more doubtful proposition, because how can something exist "outside" of space and time? How can it be said to be if it has no location or duration? How is unlocated existence different from not existing anywhere, and thus not existing at all?)
      3. - and which has the capacity/power to will matter, energy, time and space into existence from absolute non-being - by magic.

      How can you convince yourself that these propositions not only make sense, but are believable? That we should believe in the possibilities of these propositions simply on the basis of a "first cause" argument.

      I'm afraid, mr Egnor, that Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Your claims are among the grandest imaginable:
      1. Minds can exist in the absense of a physical substrate(brains).
      2. Minds can be omnipotent.
      3. Minds can be omniscient.
      4. Minds can exist outside of time and space(have no location or duration, therfore literally not be anywhere).
      5. Minds outside of time and space can WILL matter, time, space and energy into existence from absolute philosophican non-being.

      The evidence erected in support of these LUDICROUS claims: None. No evidence is given to support any of this. We're supposed to simply believe it all because of some weak appeal to everyday intuitions about causality.

      Mr Egnor - your case for god is a joke without a punchline. You don't have extraordinary evidence, not mundane evidence, not even circumstantial hints. You have zero but your own endless credulity.

      There's nothing in any of Aquinas "ways" that justify believing in these propositions.

      Delete
    14. That's an awesome definition of theology, Jem. Gotta make a mental note.

      Delete
    15. I'm amazed I managed to post something about faith and it's twelve hours later and no theist has tried the 'you need more faith to be an atheist' line, or it's slightly smarter cousin 'atheists also hold faith positions'.

      But if you ever find yourself in an argument with a theologian or a theologian's non-union internet equivalent, then just check at the outset that their 'purely logical' argument for God doesn't also require faith. Aquinas' do. Aquinas says they do. In Aquinas' terms, there's nothing wrong with that, rather the opposite.

      And what that means is that however elegant the argument is, it's a circle. It accepts as axiomatic - and beyond reason - the thing it seeks to establish.

      Aquinas does have a few arguments that are surprisingly difficult to knock over, mainly because of the way they are formulated. But theologians want it both ways: you have to have read 'hundreds of pages' of Aquinas to see how the unmoved mover is also the gay-sex-and-abortion-obsessed being that priests say is God, but you're not allowed to point out that part of that 'natural order' Aquinas derives is slavery being just or that Aquinas doesn't think life begins at conception, he thinks it's 40 or 60 days (depending if it's a boy or a girl).

      I've read and understood Summa Theologica. It is an interesting and important historical document, and important in the history of thought. It's about as useful and relevant now as the manual for your first printer.

      Delete
    16. Aquinas' premises are not just faith-based axioms. They are actually refuted by modern physics. In particular, his argument is based on the existence of local causation. However, quantum mechanics demonstrates that our universe does not operate that way:

      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/bell-theorem/

      An atheist has no obligation to address Aquinas', admittedly brilliantly conceived, but now quaint and irrelevant teachings. Rather, it is incumbent upon the modern Thomist to understand current physics and somehow try to reconcile this with his metaphysical thoughts. i.e. To refute quantum mechanics. So, hey, good luck with that.

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    17. @luitesuite

      Aquinas' premises-- Aristotle's hylemorphism and four causes-- have nothing to do with "local causation".

      Quantum mechanics is actually more Aristotelian/Thomist than it is of the mechanical philosophy of Descartes and Newton.

      [An atheist has no obligation to address Aquinas']

      If you want to intelligently participate in this discussion you do.

      Delete
    18. @Jem:

      And your critique of Aquinas' First Way was...?

      Delete
    19. "And your critique of Aquinas' First Way was...?"

      Set out on Sunday, July 07, 2013 8:32:00 PM

      Delete
    20. "Quantum mechanics is actually more Aristotelian/Thomist than it is of the mechanical philosophy of Descartes and Newton."

      ... in the sense that amateur theologians talk a lot of bullshit about both.

      Delete
    21. "If you want to intelligently participate in this discussion you do."

      What theists have to understand is that their gods are not the targets of science, they're collateral damage. By exploring and modelling the universe, science is not *seeking* to discredit fairytales, nor does it have any obligation to reconcile itself to them. Sorry if Aquinas doesn't match reality, that's not reality's problem, it's yours.

      Delete
    22. @Jem:

      [Set out on Sunday, July 07, 2013 8:32:00 PM]

      Explains why you comment anonymously.

      Delete
    23. "Explains why you comment anonymously."

      Fantastic command of the facts there. You name me, then say I comment anonymously. My name's Jem. Jemima Cole.

      Delete
    24. Aquinas' premises-- Aristotle's hylemorphism and four causes-- have nothing to do with "local causation".

      The point is that causality is much more complicated than Aquinas, in the naivity of the historical epoch he inhabited, presumed. Causation can be simultaneous, or backwards (effect precedes cause) or non-existent. To then speak of a "first cause" is meaningless. The universe does not operate as the nice, neat, linear sequence of events that Aquinas' argument requires.

      Delete
    25. There is no theist intelligent enough to understand the refutations of their "proofs" of God.

      Ignor says: "Quantum mechanics is actually more Aristotelian/Thomist than it is of the mechanical philosophy of Descartes and Newton."

      No, Ignor is bluffing and does not understand quantum mechanics-- or, more importantly, quantum field theory. Ignor has done this before, like at Jeff Shallit's blog where Ignor copied jargon words from a Wiki page without knowing what they meant.

      There is nothing in quantum mechanics about infinite chains of "essential causes", and in QM effects do not necessarily need "essential causes". On the contrary, in quantum field theory some particles are simply fundamental, have ZERO radius, and have no "essential cause".

      Advances come in field theory not by tracing the "essential cause" of this or that fundamental particle, by instead by trying to unify separate fields in a way that allows you to, for example, compute the coupling constants which describe the strengths of force fields.

      Above, Ignor asserted that QM was somehow proved Aristotle was right by allegedly proving the duality between potency and act.
      But any analogy to QM actually REFUTES Aristotle's assumptions!

      Why? If you equate potency = quantum uncertainty (a superposition of quantum states with different eigenvalues of an observable quantity), then that actually REFUTES Aristotle's assumption that an effect must be an elevation of potency to act resulting from an essential cause.

      Here's real QM: if particle A is in a superposition of quantum states, and if particle B is ALSO in a superposition of quantum states, when they interact, the result is an entangled two-particle state. It is incorrect to say one caused something in the other; the quantum states of each are affected, and correlated with the other. It's like going from one function f_1(x1) and another function f_2(x2) to a correlated two-dimensional function f_12(x1,x2).

      If Aristotelian "potency" = quantum superposition, then both particles have "potency" in the initial state, and the entangled two-particle state f12(x1,x2) has EVEN MORE potency in the final state. There isn't any "elevation of potency to act", so Aristotle's physics is just arglebargle.

      Any attempt to say that quantum physics is "Thomist" or "Aristotelian" only proves that the speaker is ignorant of physics, like Egnor.

      Delete
    26. 'Any attempt to say that quantum physics is "Thomist" or "Aristotelian" only proves that the speaker is ignorant of physics, like Egnor.'

      I don't think you need to get that far, do you? If God's omniscient, then there's no such thing as a waveform that hasn't colla-

      Here's the problem. We're down their stupid rabbithole here. It's not up to science to make itself compatible with the Bible, the Book of Mormon or the fucking Smurfs movie.

      The endgame here is not a final, devastating argument that delivers a blow to the very concept of theism. It's not some war which ends with the last priest, mullah and lama holed up together in the world's most ironic foxhole.

      There wasn't a moment where the last worshiper of Thor died valiantly. A god dies in some old people's home when the last person who can be bothered to believe in him keels over. Then that god just becomes a silly story, something for picture books for imaginative children.




      Delete
    27. "If you want to intelligently participate in this discussion you do."

      Here's the problem you have. I'll try to keep it simple for you:

      1. For sake of argument, let's say there is an Unmoved Mover.
      2. People here who've never so much as encountered the concept, after a few seconds' thought, come up with the obvious objection: 'well, it needn't be the Christian God'
      3. This, obviously, did occur to Aquinas. Aquinas then spent many, many, many words explaining why there could only be one Unmoved Mover, why it had to be the Christian God and so on. He came up with a whole system to explain it.
      4. But you cherrypick from that system. You have to. Otherwise you think the Sun goes round the Earth; slavery is a natural state of affairs; that women contribute nothing to a baby during pregnancy except being a nice place for - I shit you not - a tiny, alive dwarf that used to live in the father's balls, to grow big enough for a soul to fit in it; that saints gain the sweetest pleasure seeing people tortured ... and so on.

      What you're doing is a common theist tactic. You're taking the conclusion, you're appealing to the intricacies of the argument ... but feeling free to discard any intricacy of the argument that doesn't suit you.

      It's the same as a physicist saying that their model's perfect and beautiful ... but you don't need protons and electromagnetism. Or a mathematician who says numbers are awesome, except there isn't a 3,8 or 15.

      You get to pick one of two options: either Aquinas' full argument is necessary to understand why the Unmoved Mover and God are synonymous or it isn't.

      Aquinas' argument is not beautiful except for all the wacky shit - Aquinas' argument *is* the wacky shit.

      Delete
    28. Let's sum up our objections to Aristotle's First Way. No theist has ever refuted the objections designated A-K below -- never, not even once, ever-- and no theist is intelligent enough to even understand them. Egnor will just pretend that he hasn't heard these objections and he'll pretend they don't refute his "proof" of God.

      "3) Potency must be actualized by another, which is itself in act."

      A. This is a fancy way of saying every effect must have a cause. There is no reason to believe this is true in general, and we know experimentally it is NOT true in quantum mechanics and chaos theory, wherein one may compute the probabilistic behavior of many systems (a probabilistic behavior that resembles classical causality at macroscopic scales), but individual quantum or chaotic events may have no computable cause and may not be "acts" in this sense. There is no reason to believe that every event must have an essential cause, or that an essential cause must itself have an essential cause, ad infinitum.

      B. In quantum field theory, the fields of elementary particles are axiomatic to the theory, and do not need an essential cause. Here the theist may not invoke Leibniz's Principle of Sufficient Reason, because 1. the PSR does not apply to axioms in a mathematical system, and elementary fields are axiomatic in field theory, and 2. the theist denies the PSR applies to God, thus the theist himself asserts the PSR is not universal nor necessary; and 3. if the PSR is formulated as "everything has a reason" where "reason = cause", then this is question-begging, restating Aristotle's assumptions about causality in different words.

      C. In QM, if "potency" is equated to a superposition of quantum states, as Egnor has asserted, then this actually REFUTES the Aristotelian assumptions, because a superposition of quantum states (= potency?) may itself interact with other superpositions, which would mean potencies cause other potencies, with no act involved; thus DISPROVING Aristotle's assertion that change is an "elevation from potency to act", at least in the context of any attempted quantum mechanical interpretation.

      "4) Essentially ordered series of causes (elevations of potency to act) exist in nature"

      Maybe or maybe not, but this is no reason to believe that every event must have an essential cause, or that an essential cause must in turn have another essential cause, etc. See objections A and B.

      5) An essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act cannot be in infinite regress, [to be cont'd]

      D. No, the rule against an infinite regress is an assumption, not proven by observation or math. The misunderstanding here is the assumption that an infinite series requires a "starting point" and then discussing its necessary properties-- but an infinite series does not have a real "starting point." The distance (number of steps) between any two events would always be FINITE, there is NO infinite number of steps between any two real events; because the imagined "starting point" is not real, it would not exist in an infinite series, so there's no point discussing it properties.

      5) [continued] because the series must be actualized by something that is itself in act without the need for elevation from potency.

      E. No, this is begging the question: here Aristotle has simple expressed his hypothesis about "essential causation" in different words. We've already seen this idea, worded differently, and we've seen it doesn't need to be true in general, and is known experimentally to NOT be true in QM or chaos theory, etc.

      To be continued.

      Delete
    29. "6) The ground of an essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act must be pure act with respect to the casual series"

      F. This assumed the preceding statements, which were shown to be false; see also objections A and B.

      G. This is self-refuting because the theist has alleged the existence of a "universal principle" of essential causes, and then the theist contradicts himself, asserting there is "a ground of an essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act" which is immune to the "universal principle" he just alleged. If a "ground" or god exists that is immune to the theist's alleged "universal law", then his law is not universal. The theistic argument is self-contradictory and refutes itself.

      H. This is also refuted by Egnor's attempt to assert that potency = a quantum superposition. If potency = a quantum superposition, the "ground" can in fact be "potency" not act, because in QM, quantum superpositions can interact with other quantum superpositions.

      "7) This Pure Act-- Prime Mover-- is what we call God."

      I. Tautology. There is no reason to believe the "Pure Act" must be a spook or spirit, be an intelligent being, have purposes or emotions, be immaterial, or exist outside of time or space. In fact this line of reasoning makes it virtually impossible for the "Pure Act" to be an intelligent being; see objection K.

      There is no reason to equate a "Pure Act" with a first-century Jewish rabbi who died and came back as a zombie, or a genocidal Middle Eastern war deity, or to ANY intelligent being, material or immaterial.

      J. The "Pure Act" = God defined in this tautology cannot be immaterial nor exist outside of space-time, because the "universal laws" of causality alleged here were allegedly derived from a set of observations that ALWAYS consisted of material causes within space-time interacting by material mechanisms to yield material effects. To allege a cause that is IMMATERIAL or outside of space-time contradicts other equally valid "universal laws" (namely, that causes must be material and must exist in space-time and must interact by material means) which are every bit as valid as the alleged "universal law" of causality, and follow equally well from the exact same set of observations.

      K. If we trace back the alleged chain of essential causes, they get more and more microscopic, more numerous, more machine-like, less intelligent, less conscious, mathematically simpler and stranger, and less predictable. This chain of essential causes, if it continued, would lead not to a single Prime Mover or God, but to quintillions of godicles, each smaller than quarks, with machine-like interactions, no emergent properties, no intelligence and no consciousness.

      If the theist attempts to argue that the progression of the chain of essential causes (from large, complex and emergent to microscopic, numerous, unintelligent and unconscious) does not apply to God, then the theistic argument is self-contradictory and refutes itself, because it alleges a "universal law" then it says that God is immune to this "universal law" which, the theist tells us, is universal but not universal. Gobbledygook.

      Again: No theist has ever refuted the objections A-K above -- never, not even once, ever-- and no theist is intelligent enough to even understand them.

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    30. @Jem

      Here's the problem. We're down their stupid rabbithole here. It's not up to science to make itself compatible with the Bible, the Book of Mormon or the fucking Smurfs movie.

      The endgame here is not a final, devastating argument that delivers a blow to the very concept of theism. It's not some war which ends with the last priest, mullah and lama holed up together in the world's most ironic foxhole.


      Yes, that's really the main point. I mean, it's fun and all to play metaphysical games and see who can trip who up, but in the end it amounts to no more than a game. How seriously should one take an argument that says "How could an infinite causal series actually exist? The idea is absurd! Obviously, the causal series terminates with an immaterial, changeless, timeless mind that impregnates Bronze Age virgins and doesn't want you to use a condom."

      Delete
    31. LS: ""How could an infinite causal series actually exist? The idea is absurd! Obviously, the causal series terminates with an immaterial, changeless, timeless mind that impregnates Bronze Age virgins and doesn't want you to use a condom."

      Very funny, but it's Iron Age virgins.

      Delete
    32. I'm an atheist who studied theology - in a highly amateur capacity, but I spent two years reading pretty much nothing but, in correspondence with theologians and so on. What can I say, I had some spare time.

      I did take the charge seriously that atheism derides what it doesn't know. There are places - homeopathy, Scientology, Mormonism - where swift mockery is appropriate. But there were, historically, a lot of smart men who were theologians. Catholicism, say, has a vast library of knowledge. So I read up.

      My conclusion is that theology is a parlor game. Quite a fun one at times, there are some mindbenders in there, but:

      1. The 'God' theologians talk about is not the one Christians worship, it's more of a thought experiment 'what would a perfect being be like, what does "perfect" even mean?'.

      2. It's irrelevant to religious practice, even of theologians. You need faith to get to God. If you haven't got faith, you can't logic your way to God, only away from God. This renders the entire exercise utterly pointless from a 'does God exist?' point of view (a topic they barely touch on).

      3. This has been discussed. Every possible argument you come up with has been discussed endlessly. All 'new' arguments are syntheses of old ones. It's a deeply dead field. So why are there so many theologians on payrolls now? My conclusion was this: so religions can say 'lots of smart people spend all day thinking about this stuff'. It's the gambit we see from mregnor: 'it's all in Aquinas, you are ignorant'. It's basically stuffing the battlements with dead men and scarecrows to make it look like the empty castle is well defended.

      At the end of the day, it's not up to people who are describing observations of empirical reality to reconcile their findings with myths and beliefs. The Earth goes round the Sun. If someone believes a story that involves the Sun going round the Earth, there are a number of ways to deal, but it's incumbent on the believer to do the reconciling.


      Delete
    33. Well said Jem.

      There is a double standard at play here that is easy to miss: Theists like Dr. Egnor insist that one cannot commit to atheism unless one has fully investigated and understood the entire history of theological thought. Yet they never seem to raise the same objection to those who believe in God without learning theology.

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    34. What theists have to understand is that their gods are not the targets of science, they're collateral damage. By exploring and modelling the universe, science is not *seeking* to discredit fairytales, nor does it have any obligation to reconcile itself to them.

      The endgame here is not a final, devastating argument that delivers a blow to the very concept of theism. It's not some war which ends with the last priest, mullah and lama holed up together in the world's most ironic foxhole.

      I know its not your intention to be a quote machine, but I keep a collection of what I view as great quotations. I had to add yours to this collection.

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    35. @SRM ... I have no objection to being a quote machine :-)

      Delete
    36. "Yet they never seem to raise the same objection to those who believe in God without learning theology."

      I've recently been a general internet nuisance on Mark Shea's blog at the National Catholic Register. He was very patient with me, and strikes me as a good sort.

      What's very evident from commentators there (and the Pew survey) is that most Catholics have some *astonishingly* wrong ideas about basic Catholic doctrine and moral positions. Many think the Vatican's pro-death penalty and teaches that the Eucharist is symbolic, that priests have no special authority or powers and so on.

      You can 'be a Catholic believer' while holding a set of beliefs that's basically the opposite of Catholicism. And not on the nitpicky stuff, on the absolute core stuff.

      There's a massive double standard. An atheist can't understand unless they've read Aquinas ... so what percentage of Catholics have read Aquinas? Doesn't matter, they're already on side. Well ... OK. I know the Church teaching and they don't, so ... well, yes, but they're on side.

      There's the basic problem all theists have with atheism: they assume we're atheists because we *haven't* engaged with the material, they don't understand that a lot of the time we're atheists because we *have*.

      We also have the problem that they're trying to fix a leaky boat. All the religions, particularly Catholicism, face the problem of retaining the people they have. All their rhetoric faces that way. The border guards in East Berlin were not too worried about keeping people *out*, you know?


      Delete
    37. Jem,

      Do you have a reference for the Pew survey you cite?

      Delete
    38. "There wasn't a moment where the last worshiper of Thor died valiantly. A god dies in some old people's home when the last person who can be bothered to believe in him keels over."

      Other people in thread are right; you make some great quotes.


      "[...] a tiny, alive dwarf that used to live in the father's balls, to grow big enough for a soul to fit in it[...]"

      I hope Mr Brain Surgeon doesn't inadvertently cut someone's soul down during his surgical interventions.

      I wonder if Egnor ever tried to measure the weight of the soul when it leaves the body upon death, like that other idiot did.

      Delete
    39. That Pew Survey -

      http://www.pewforum.org/U-S-Religious-Knowledge-Survey-Who-Knows-What-About-Religion.aspx

      - from memory, about half of *practicing* Catholics think the Church teaches the Eucharist is symbolic.

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    40. LOL, Protestants don't seem to know much about Protestantism either:

      Just 46% of those polled correctly identify Martin Luther (1483-1546) as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant reformation. Familiarity with Martin Luther is highest among Jews (70%), atheists/agnostics (68%) and Mormons (61%). About half of all Protestants (47%) answer this question correctly.

      Delete
    41. There are various other polls and surveys and they all come to the same conclusion: 'believers' are often very unclear or actively wrong about what their priests teach, and their personal beliefs and behaviors are often wildly at variance with that of their religions.

      It's not about being able to pass a trivia quiz - which is what the Pew thing is, really - it cuts to the core of what religion is meant to be. OK - we could probably expose vast areas of ignorance about scientific facts, too. But in what sense is someone 'a believer' in something if the belief they hold is the *opposite* of the position they profess to hold?


      Delete
  6. mregnor said:

    "You may not believe that God exists, but not because you have detected any flaws in the arguments for his existence."

    Well, actually there are nothing but "flaws" in the arguments for "his" existence.

    I have some serious questions for you:

    Which "God", of the thousands that people have thought up, and how do you know that the "God" you believe in is the one and only true "God"?

    You said "his", as though you believe that "God" is male. Does "God" have a gender, and how do you know?

    If there is a "prime mover", why can't it be Fifi the pink unicorn god, or the FSM, or Zeus, or Odin, or trillions of snake-like entities from the 37th dimension, or Ceiling Cat, or Vishnu?

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  7. Do not have the time at the moment to read through the entire comment thread so maybe I am only repeating what others have already said, but here are my thoughts:

    1. A clearly defined god can be disproved in the informal sense of that word just as much as as any other clearly defined proposition. That means: beyond reasonable doubt, not a logical disproof, but nobody demands the latter in other circumstances and demanding it for god is merely special pleading.

    For illustration, we can disprove a creator god with reference to facts from evolutionary biology, palaeontology and astrophysics. The only remaining response is something on the lines of Last Thursdayism which is immune to evidence by definition and thus keeps the logical possibility of god's existence alive. But that is not seen as a reasonable answer in all other discussions either. The same theist who advances that argument would presumably consider the color of the sky settled once he has shown the sky to me, and get annoyed when I point out that this does not constitute proof because we could share a hallucination.

    2. There are indeed hard atheists who think that god is decisively disproved even in the logical sense. Can't find the link now but PZ Myers once wrote that he was to be counted among them. The logic is as follows: Is your god omnipotent? Yes - that leads to internal contradictions and is thus literally impossible, try again. No - a non-omnipotent being does not deserve the name god, it is merely a very highly developed extraterrestrial intelligence.

    I don't agree with that because it appears dishonest to win an argument by default by redefining the gods of every polytheist or animist religion as "not gods" but the point is this: It is wrong to claim that "no atheist believes that god is positively disproved, we are all weak atheists".

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  8. "Lebnitz' Proof from Necessary Existence is untenable"

    Awesome spelling.

    This is that argument in full. Atheists: be aware, I'm not being sarcastic or abbreviating:

    1. Everything that exists has an explanation.
    2. The universe exists.
    3. The explanation is God.

    So, to spare you the three seconds' thought needed to kill this one:

    1. 'Universe' is the (loose) term we use to mean "all the things that exist".
    2. Things exist.
    3. Therefore a universe exists.

    The explanation is definitional. It's like asking how cats can be feline. It's a spectacular example of the theist error of putting the cart before the horse.

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    1. Or "All things that exist, exist"

      Or "The explanation for the universe does not exist"

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    2. Egnor misspelled Leibniz three times.

      Is your name really Jemima Cole? Sounds like a hero in a Louis L'Amour novel.

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    3. "the Argument from Moral Law"

      Again, this is one of those weak beer arguments that only a true believer can think is a strong one. I find myself having to state again this is the argument, not me parodying it or paraphrasing:

      1. A human experience of morality is observed.
      2. God is seen to be the best or only explanation for this moral experience.
      3. Therefore, God exists

      OK. Even most theists dismiss the idea of *specific* moral norms that apply universally. Killing is bad ... but there are exceptions. And so on.

      What they're claiming is that the *concept* of morality points to God. Not any specific laws or rules or norms. The argument basically goes:

      1. We have a sense of right and wrong.
      2. And there's no persuasive scientific or otherwise 'rational' reason for that.

      This is a little less circular. But the problem is that once you concede that the lists of 'universally right' and 'universally wrong' actions is unpopulated, the whole idea falls apart.

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  9. @Jem:

    "This is that argument in full.

    1. Everything that exists has an explanation.
    2. The universe exists.
    3. The explanation is God.

    So, to spare you the three seconds' thought needed to kill this one...The explanation is definitional. It's like asking how cats can be feline."

    Yea. Leibnitz, co-inventor of the calculus and of the notation we use to this day, prominent mathematician, philosopher, physicist, inventor, legal scholar, ethicist, historian and philologist, so botched his proof of God's existence that it took Jem three seconds to dismantle.

    Heh.

    Here's Leibnitz' Proof from Sufficient Reason, succinctly:

    Leibnitz asked: "why is there something, rather than nothing?" He proposed that there must be an answer to this question, because "nothing happens without a sufficient reason."

    Leibnitz proposed his Principle of Sufficient Reason, which holds that there is a reason or a rational explanation for the existence of each thing or state of affairs in nature. That does not mean that we yet understand the reason for everything, but that a reason does exist. Everything has a reason for existence. That reason is either in itself, or imparted by another. But all things in the universe, and thus the universe itself, are contingent. The do not necessarily exist, and once did not exist. Thus, they cannot have the reason for their existence in themselves, because if they did, they would need to have always existed. The fact that they once did not exist, and exist now, means that the reason for their existence is imparted to them by something other then themselves.

    Leibnitz pointed out that prior causes of things in nature cannot be the ultimate explanation for existence either, for each prior cause is itself contingent, and in need of explanation.

    Leibnitz offered the example of geometry books, copied to the present day from an eternity in the past. If you ask "how did these books come to be", answering that they were copies of prior books is not an acceptable answer.

    Infinite regress of causes is an inadequate explanation for existence.

    Even an eternal universe needs a reason for its existence that is outside of the universe (cf-the analogy to geometry books).

    The cause for the existence of the universe must be a supernatural being whose existence is self-contained.

    Now, the only coherent critique of the Proof from Sufficient Reason is the assertion that not everything has sufficient reason for existence. Perhaps, as Hume mused, the universe is the ground for existence, and has no sufficient reason to exist. It just exists, for no reason.

    The problem with the denial of the Principle of Sufficient Reason is that it is the denial of logic and science, indeed the denial of reason itself. If the universe can exist for no reason, then parts of the universe-- objects of scientific study, for example-- can exist for no reason. So why bother to formulate a theory of evolution by natural selection, if it is perfectly permissible to posit that species just started to exist, without reason, just like the universe? Why propose any causal relations at all in nature. Things can just happen,without reason.

    After all, since the universe happened without reason,why presume anything has a reason?

    Without the PSR, science, logic-- all fields of human inquiry-- lose their grounding. "Shit happens" becomes a valid hypothesis.

    There's a lot more to the PSR and Leibnitz' proof of God's existence than Jem understands. If you deny PSR, you deny any coherent understanding of nature.

    If you accept PSR, you accept Leibnitz's proof for God's existence.

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    1. Above I just complained that Ignor misspelled "Leibniz" three times; the count is now 11.

      Ignor has not responded to any of the many refutations of the First Way on this thread because no Christian apologist has ever been intelligent enough to understand these refutations, ever, not once, in 2,000 years. No Christian apologist has ever been honest enough to admit that valid refutations of their logical proofs of God exist, never, not once, ever.

      Above I detailed 12 logical fallacies and factual falsehoods, designated A to K, but Ignor is not intelligent enough to understand them.

      Ignor proves the intellectual inferiority of Christian apologists by pretending he's deaf and ignoring the refutations on this very thread, instead changing the subject and misspelling "Leibniz" over and over.

      In particular I already refuted his invocation of Leibniz's PSR above. Ignor was not intelligent enough to understand this refutation so he pretended he was deaf and didn't hear it.

      To repeat: Above, when Ignor invoked Leibniz's principle of sufficient reason (PSR), Ignor was for the 90th time asserting that his God is immune to the "universal principles" which require his God to exist-- that is, his alleged "universal principle" is not universal. Leibniz's PSR says that everything must have a reason, and for Leibniz reason = cause, but the theist assumes that God has no reason and no cause.

      For the 90th time: the theist is alleging a "universal principle" exists which requires a deity, then says that deity is immune to "universal principle" which requires it to exist-- so his "universal principle" is not universal. This argument is self-contradictory and refutes itself.

      Ignor says: If one is willing to deny the PSR, then science becomes pointless, because we need not invoke scientific explanations for things. They need no reason. They just happen.

      Well, then Christianity destroys science, because the theist denies the PSR applies to his God, because his fag-hatin God [FHG] has no reason and no cause.

      Ignor: If there is an accidental cause wedged in (--- whatever undiscovered physics---) then the beginning of the subsequent essential causal chain is uncaused,in the sense that its own cause is irrelevant to the actual exercise of its causal power.

      Ignor does not realize that he has just described his Prime Mover = God, because Ignor's argument is intended to prove the existence of a deity that is "uncaused,in the sense that its own cause is irrelevant to the actual exercise of its causal power."

      If this is a denial of the PSR, which would (according to Ignor) destroy science, then belief if Ignor's God destroys science.

      Ignor: This, if there is an accidental cause hiding in a series of essential causes, the essential series lacks sufficient reason

      This violates Lebnitz [sic] Principle of Sufficient Reason, that posits that everything has a reason for its state of existence.


      Again, this is Ignor describing his God, which violates Leibniz's PSR and (according to him) destroys science.

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    2. Continuing on Leibniz's Principle of Sufficient Reason: Ignor's invocation of the PSR must be challenged, for four reasons.

      First: above, I pointed out already that Ignor cannot invoke the PSR because it is used to prove the existence of a God which has no cause, thus denying the PSR, so his argument is self-contradictory and refutes itself.

      But I want to point out that certain formulations or applications of the PSR are fallacies for other reasons beyond that.

      When Leibniz said everything must have a reason, for him, and for theists in general, "reason" meant "cause." This is fallacious for three more reasons.

      Second: if the PSR is formulated in the theistic way, "reason" = "cause", it becomes "everything must have a cause", then this is simply question-begging, because it's simply using different words to express the assumption of Aristotle that everything must have a cause. Same assumption, different wording, still not proven, just assumed.

      Third: what science depends upon is NOT the assumption that "everything must have a CAUSE."

      Rather, science seeks EXPLANATIONS, but the scientific definition of "explanation" is not necessarily "magical cause" and not equal to the religious definition of "explanation".

      Whenever you argue with theists or creationists, you must challenge their definition of "explanation" or "to explain." When religious people say they have an "explanation", they mean they have an allegation of magical cause. This is "explanation" in the sense of a fairy tale: Why does Snow White come back to life after eating a poisoned apple? Because a prince kissed her. No, that is an allegation of magical cause, which is the religious definition of "explanation", not "explanation" in the scientific sense.

      In science, an observed entity is "explained" if it can be computed or derived by inputting other observed quantities into a mathematical theory that outputs predictions about that observable quantity.

      Science is driven by a search for "explanations" in this sense only. Thus, denying Leibniz's PSR does not deny scientific investigation, IF the PSR is formulated in the religious/theistic way, with "explanation" defined as "allegation of magical cause."

      The process of scientific investigation may involve a search for causes, but it may not; even when science progresses by investigating causes, they may be "essential" or "accidental" in the Aristotelian sense; or, more likely, some other type of cause that defies Aristotle's categories; or the investigation may not involve causation.

      Fourth: Leibniz's PSR does not apply to axioms within a mathematical system. If, for example, quantum field theory takes the fundamental particle fields as axiomatic, then the PSR need not apply to the existence of particle fields, within quantum field theory. It can only apply, if it does, outside the context of quantum field theory.

      No Christian apologist has ever been intelligent enough to understand the infantile logical fallacies and factual falsehoods in their logical "proofs" of God.

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    3. Leibnitz (sic) asked: "why is there something, rather than nothing?" He proposed that there must be an answer to this question, because "nothing happens without a sufficient reason."

      This presumes that the existence of "nothing" is more probable than that of "something." How did Leibniz justify that presumption? Or did he just overlook that step?

      The problem with the denial of the Principle of Sufficient Reason is that it is the denial of logic and science, indeed the denial of reason itself. If the universe can exist for no reason, then parts of the universe-- objects of scientific study, for example-- can exist for no reason. So why bother to formulate a theory of evolution by natural selection, if it is perfectly permissible to posit that species just started to exist, without reason, just like the universe? Why propose any causal relations at all in nature. Things can just happen,without reason.

      Only if you insist on thinking of scientific practice in metaphysical terms. If you understand metaphysics for what it is, a mere amusement, then you can simply accept that the scientific approach requires no justification beyond its practical utility.

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    4. Ignor: The problem with the denial of the Principle of Sufficient Reason is that it is the denial of logic and science

      Ignor: you assert that your God is immune to the PSR, so by your own logic, Christianity is opposed to all science. You yourself deny the PSR while invoking it. Your argument is self-contradictory and refutes itself.

      Ignor: indeed the denial of reason itself. If the universe can exist for no reason, then parts of the universe-- objects of scientific study, for example-- can exist for no reason.

      But your God exists for no reason, so Christianity is against science.

      Ignor: So why bother to formulate a theory of evolution by natural selection, if it is perfectly permissible to posit that species just started to exist, without reason, just like the universe?

      Why formulate laws of planetary motion, or the heliocentric theory, if planets can just move for no reason, like your God?

      Again I repeat: the PSR does not apply to axioms within a mathematic system. If quantum fields are axiomatic in quantum field theory, the PSR does not apply to their existence.

      No Christian apologist is intelligent enough to understand the infantile fallacies and factual falsehoods in their logical "proofs" of God.

      Delete
    5. Again: Above I detailed 12 logical fallacies and factual falsehoods, designated A to K, but Ignor is not intelligent enough to understand even the most infantile fallacies.

      Delete
    6. ""Leibnitz asked: "why is there something, rather than nothing?""

      And I ask "How can there be nothing instead of something?"

      A clear case of arbitrarily setting the problem so that you obtain the answer you want. Invert the question and the problem disappears.


      ""Leibnitz proposed his Principle of Sufficient Reason, which holds that there is a reason or a rational explanation for the existence of each thing or state of affairs in nature.""


      More arbitrary assumptions.



      ""That does not mean that we yet understand the reason for everything, but that a reason does exist. Everything has a reason for existence.""


      Because you say so.


      ""That reason is either in itself, or imparted by another. But all things in the universe, and thus the universe itself, are contingent. They do not necessarily exist, and once did not exist.""

      Neither you nor anyone can state that the Universe does not necessarily exist. This is another arbitrary argument based on nothing that you and others pulled out of their asses.

      Plus, the question of what happened in the Big Bang and what was "there" before the event is a complete blank for physics, at least until we have a quantum theory of gravity. The Big Bang itself does not require creation ex nihilo. This is just another arbitrary statement pulled out of the ass of idiots. That Leibniz believed so I can understand, the same way I can understand Aquinas. That anyone in the 21st century can fail to see the flaws in these (non)arguments is inexcusable and either you have a religious agenda or you're completely unable to use more than two neurons at the same time.


      ""Thus, they cannot have the reason for their existence in themselves, because if they did, they would need to have always existed. ""

      Once you start with nonsensical premises only nonsensical conclusions can follow, I guess.

      ""The fact that they once did not exist, and exist now, means that the reason for their existence is imparted to them by something other then themselves.""


      There is no such fact.



      ""Leibnitz pointed out that prior causes of things in nature cannot be the ultimate explanation for existence either, for each prior cause is itself contingent, and in need of explanation.""

      The question of "causes" has already been dealt with countless times in this thread. Nature doesn't care about your ineptitude to break away from your day-to-day experience.


      Delete
    7. "Infinite regress of causes is an inadequate explanation for existence.

      Even an eternal universe needs a reason for its existence that is outside of the universe (cf-the analogy to geometry books)."

      Fallacy of blind assertion. "The universe" is not a thing. "The universe" is nothing more than its parts. And if each part is explained, so is "the universe". Get dunked son.

      Delete
    8. "(cf-the analogy to geometry books"... False analogy. The reason that an infinite regress of books ain't an adequate explanation is because we know how books come to be but that ain't the case with regards to the universe so again; get dunked son.

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  12. @lutesuite:

    [This presumes that the existence of "nothing" is more probable than that of "something."]

    It has nothing to do with "probablities". Leibnitz (it's an alternate spelling-[http://www.maths.tcd.ie/pub/HistMath/People/Leibniz/RouseBall/RB_Leibnitz.html] Leibnitz merely proposed that everything that exists has sufficient reason for its existence.

    Do you disagree?

    [Only if you insist on thinking of scientific practice in metaphysical terms.]

    All endeavor presupposes metaphysical assumptions. You may not know what you're presupposing, but you are presupposing. Your personal lack of insight isn't a philosophy of science. It's just ignorance.

    [If you understand metaphysics for what it is, a mere amusement, then you can simply accept that the scientific approach requires no justification beyond its practical utility.]

    That's a metaphysical assertion, asshole.

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    1. Ignor: All endeavor presupposes metaphysical assumptions.

      That's a metaphysical ASSUMPTION, asshole. There's no evidence for it-- it's just assumed.

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    2. Ignor: how come you can spell "asshole" but can't spell "Leibniz"?

      Delete
    3. It has nothing to do with "probablities". Leibnitz merely proposed that everything that exists has sufficient reason for its existence.

      So what explanation did he provide for the existence of the "nothing" that, he believed, preceded the existence of "something"? Or did he overlook that step?

      All endeavor presupposes metaphysical assumptions. You may not know what you're presupposing, but you are presupposing. Your personal lack of insight isn't a philosophy of science. It's just ignorance.

      Ah, so you admit your arguments are based on presupposed metaphysical assumptions. Good. We're making progress here.

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    4. @lutesuite:

      [So what explanation did he provide for the existence of the "nothing" that, he believed, preceded the existence of "something"?]

      "Existence of nothing" is gibberish. If you have a question, formulate it intelligibly.

      [Ah, so you admit your arguments are based on presupposed metaphysical assumptions.]

      Obviously they are, moron.

      [Good. We're making progress here.]

      What are your metaphysical assumptions?

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    5. Ignor: how come you can spell "moron" but can't spell "Leibniz"?

      What evidence do you have for your assumption that "All endeavor presupposes metaphysical assumptions"?

      Again: Above I detailed 12 logical fallacies and factual falsehoods, designated A to K, in Ignor's "proof" of God's existence, but Ignor is not intelligent enough to understand even the most infantile fallacies.

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    7. Ignor: isn't your claim that "All endeavor presupposes metaphysical assumptions" based on metaphysical assumptions?

      What are your metaphysical assumptions behind your claim that "All endeavor presupposes metaphysical assumptions"?

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    8. it's an alternate spelling

      Perhaps, and it was sometimes used in print even during Leibniz's lifetime, but Leibniz left us many documents signed with his own name, and it's always "(G.W.v.) Leibniz" there, except for the occasional Latinisation "(G.G.) Leibnitius". His personal preference is quite clear. But what did Leibniz know about the spelling of his name that you don't know better?

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    9. What are your metaphysical assumptions?

      That metaphysical argument is an entertaining way to spend some time, and nothing more.

      It's even more entertaining when the person with whom you are arguing actually thinks it is something more than that.

      Delete
    10. Smegnor: isn't your claim that "it's an alternate spelling" based on metaphysical assumptions, asshole?

      What are the metaphysical assumptions behind your claim that "it's an alternate spelling", you stupid asshole?

      You spelled it "Lebnitz" three times-- forgot that, Smegnor?-- in this thread alone, not counting the other threads.

      How come you know how to spell "asshole" and "moron" but don't know how to spell "Leibniz"?

      Again: isn't your claim that "All endeavor presupposes metaphysical assumptions" based on metaphysical assumptions too?

      What are the metaphysical assumptions behind your inability to understand that Aristotle's First Way has been refuted as a proof of God?

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    11. Smegnor: what are the metaphysical assumptions behind your terrified avoidance of the refutations of Aristotle's First Way?

      Aristotle's First Way was presented by you as pretty damned important just yesterday. Now today, you act like it's trivial and unimportant. Not so important anymore? What changed, Smegnor?

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    12. But what did Leibniz know about the spelling of his name that you don't know better?

      Well, mregnor is apparently privy to the inner state of the mind of Aquinas, so why not Leibniz as well ?

      It's sort of like the Mormon's baptising dead non Mormons, there's no dead philosopher or scientist to who mregnor doesn't have privileged and exclusive access.

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    13. @mregnor

      "Existence of nothing" is gibberish. If you have a question, formulate it intelligibly.

      Ah, excellent. Yet more progress. You are learning, Grasshopper. Since the the "existence of nothing" is a major plank of your argument, what does it mean that you have now dismissed it as "gibberish"?

      Exactly why is it "gibberish"? Is it also gibberish to ask "What is the circumference of a straight line?" It might just be, might it not? And why would it be gibberish? Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster have to fly around and remove the circumference from every single straight line? Or is it just inherent in the concept of a "straight line" that it does not possess a circumference, and no supernatural beings are required as the explanation?

      And yet you seem to think a supernatural being is needed as an explanation for the non-existence of nothing. Why is that, Grasshopper?

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    1. Diogenes:

      Keep removing your comments. It improves your arguments.

      Delete
    2. mregnor,

      I think it's cute when you respond to deleted comments.

      It really wouldn't matter what was in the comment, would it ?

      Your response would be the same, enraged bile and spleen but no actual content.

      Delete
    3. Ignor: Aristotle's First Way was presented by you as pretty damned important just yesterday. Now today, you act like it's trivial and irrelevant unimportant. Not so important anymore, huh? What changed, Ignor?

      Delete
  14. "What are your metaphysical assumptions?"

    'The existence of God is possible, but not axiomatic'

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  15. "so botched his proof of God's existence that it took Jem three seconds to dismantle."

    Yes.

    He started from a false premise. The whole point of logic is that not even the smartest person in the world can make a sound argument from an unsound premise.

    It's so simple even you should understand it: the universe is the name we give to everything that exists. So *by definition* things in it exist.

    It's like having a list of famous Italians. By definition, they are Italians. If you were to ask 'why are they all Italian?' someone would reply 'because it is a list of Italians'.











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  16. "But all things in the universe, and thus the universe itself, are contingent."

    ... and there's your (and Leibniz's [sic]) error. You've shifted from 'universe' to 'things in the universe' and back without even noticing.



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    1. Is the Principle of Sufficient Reason true or false?

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    2. Who bloody cares if it doesn't have to be true? But it isn't true anyway. As you have been told time and time again, there's no particular reason why an unstable atomic nucleus undergoes radioactive decay at time t1 rather than t2. And since hidden variables are ruled out, it isn't just a question of our observational limitation. Some things just happen without a reason.

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    3. "But all things in the universe, and thus the universe itself, are contingent."

      ... and there's your (and Leibniz's [sic]) error. You've shifted from 'universe' to 'things in the universe' and back without even noticing.


      There's even a name for that error, Dr. Egnor: The fallacy of composition.

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    4. "Is the Principle of Sufficient Reason true or false?"

      False, because it has a false premise.

      Ultimately, it's trying to explain why items in a list of 'things that exist' all have the property of existing. This is not something that requires an explanation.

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    5. [As you have been told time and time again, there's no particular reason why an unstable atomic nucleus undergoes radioactive decay at time t1 rather than t2.]

      In case you haven't noticed, I don't take your instruction well.

      There is a fair consensus that beta decay is random and is uncaused by local hidden variables. Causation by non-local hidden variables remains an open question.

      "Some things just happen without a reason"

      You confuse randomness and causation and reason.

      Random things can be caused (a coin flip).

      Uncaused things (if they exist) still have reasons. If the universe began with a fluctuation in the vacuum state of the quantum field, and if quantum fluctuations are uncaused, it is still true that the reason for the beginning of the universe is a fluctuation in the vacuum state of the quantum field.

      If there were genuinely no reason, then quantum mechanics would have no relevance to the event.

      In fact, the Principle of Sufficient Reason is strengthened by the quantum mechanical hypothesis that some events at the quantum level are uncaused. QM demonstrates that even a random uncaused event has a reason. The dynamics of the vacuum field is the reason for the random uncaused event.

      If there is no reason for random uncaused radioactive decay, then QM is irrelevant to it.

      I repeat: if you deny PSR, you deny science.

      PSR 1. Piotr 0.

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    6. No, seriously, are you as dull as that, or just clowning? I case you haven't noticed, I didn't claim there was no reason for a decay event to happen. I even mentioned the reason (the instability of the nucleus as a quantum system, and that's something that can in principle be computed together with the predicted half-life). But there's no reason why the nucleus should "choose" any particular time to decay, and no way you can get round it with your anachronistic sophistry. QM does not postulate a reason for it. Quite the opposite, it says clearly the moment is perfectly nad fundamentally random.

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    7. ""
      If there were genuinely no reason, then quantum mechanics would have no relevance to the event.

      In fact, the Principle of Sufficient Reason is strengthened by the quantum mechanical hypothesis that some events at the quantum level are uncaused. QM demonstrates that even a random uncaused event has a reason. The dynamics of the vacuum field is the reason for the random uncaused event.

      If there is no reason for random uncaused radioactive decay, then QM is irrelevant to it.

      I repeat: if you deny PSR, you deny science. ""

      Lol. A friend of mine who is a quantum physicist and was just passing by my office took a look at this post and almost spilt his cofee.

      I think you'll provide some fun at his department during cofee break today.

      Delete
    8. ""Uncaused things (if they exist) still have reasons. If the universe began with a fluctuation in the vacuum state of the quantum field, and if quantum fluctuations are uncaused, it is still true that the reason for the beginning of the universe is a fluctuation in the vacuum state of the quantum field.""

      I hope you realize that a quantum field is not "nothing", right? The only thing you could possibly say is that the "state" of the universe as we see it today was caused by a quantum fluctuation. I hope you don't think that vacuum equals nothing.

      To put it in another way, there is nothing in physics that states that there was "nothing" and then "something", because a vacuum and quantum fields demands space (in the physical sense) and therefore something. For all we know, there was always "something", but with different states (and maybe laws).

      This besacially means that existence, in whatever form, simply is, period. It makes as much sense to ask "why is there something instead of nothing" as it makes to ask "how could there be nothing instead of something".

      The universe (which means "all that exists") is simply there, and it doesn't care if you like that answer or not, or if it fits your Iron Age theological beliefs.

      Delete
  17. "False, because it has a false premise."

    To clarify: it's false when applied to 'the universe', because the premise is a tautology. It seeks to 'explain' why everything in the set 'things that exist' exist. This is not something that requires explanation.

    'At least one thing exists' is also, to put it fucking mildly, generally felt to be axiomatic. As it's axiomatic, PSR can't be invoked.



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    1. Everything is in no less need of explanation than something.

      To put it fucking mildly.

      ['At least one thing exists' is also, to put it fucking mildly, generally felt to be axiomatic. As it's axiomatic, PSR can't be invoked.]

      Premises can be axioms.

      Where did you learn logic?

      As I have pointed out repeatedly, if you deny PSR, you deny science. If things can obtain without reason, there is no need to investigate reasons.

      Why study evolution, if species can happen without reason?

      Delete
    2. Ignor: "As I have pointed out repeatedly, if you deny PSR, you deny science. If things can obtain without reason, there is no need to investigate reasons."

      As I have pointed out a dozen times, you think spooks do not need a reason. So you deny the PSR and you are against science. You are the one against science, you stupid creationist.

      Jesus tap dancing Christ you're stupid. Your First Way was trivially easily shown to be full of ~12 infantile fallacies but you're too freaking stupid to detect ANY logical fallacies no matter how infantile! You are dumber than a box of hammers. Forrest Gump has to tell you when it's safe to cross the street. Gomer Pyle talks to you slow. Elmer Fudd has to tie your shoelaces for you. You are fucking STUPID. You are not a scientist-- evolutionists do scientific research, evolutionists discover things, evolutionists invent things, you're not a scientist, you wouldn't know what scientific research looked like if it sent you a selfie from its iPhone.

      PSR does not apply to your god, so YOU are against acience. As we knew already, you being a creationist know-nothing. Jesus tap dancing Christ you are STUPID.

      Delete
    3. Where did you learn logic?

      Where did you learn logic?

      As I have pointed out repeatedly, if you deny PSR, you deny science. If things can obtain without reason, there is no need to investigate reasons.

      False, because there are lots of things that do happen for a reason and lend themselves to investigation.

      Why study evolution, if species can happen without reason?

      No such thing follows from the fact that PSR = BS.

      Delete
    4. Diogenes: PSR does not apply to your god, so YOU are against acience.

      Logically, Egnor should be against theology in the first place.

      Delete
  18. Quid pro quo, Dr Regnor:

    True or false: for a human being to hold that God exists requires an act of faith.

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    1. For a human being to hold any belief requires many acts of faith.

      My belief that I am an adult man requires faith in the definition of "adult man", faith that the image in my mirror is me, faith that my memory of my life and station is reliable, etc.

      Science requires enormous faith. The uniformity of natural laws, the continued applicability of mathematics to nature, the predictability of nature, the work of other scientists (how many aspects of science have you personally validated in their entirety?)

      Belief that your spouse loves you requires faith (that she actually exists and is not an illusion, that she genuinely loves you and isn't just making it up, that she didn't stop loving you a second ago, etc)

      Belief in God requires faith as well.

      As with all faith in all aspects of life, belief in God is a consequence of evidence, intuition, faith, emotion, etc.

      It's kind of like getting to know a Person, through His effects and in an ineffable way, without sensing His physical presence as one would a physical object.

      Delete
    2. mregnor said:

      "As with all faith in all aspects of life, belief in God is a consequence of evidence, intuition, faith, emotion, etc."

      What "evidence" can you provide to show that the "God" (yhwh) you believe in exists?

      Is yhwh as described in the bible? Which version/interpretation of the bible is correct?

      Is the "God" you believe in the real thing, and are all other 'Gods' that people have ever thought up false/nonexistent?

      Do you believe that a man can live inside a fish for a few days and survive? Do you believe that a woman can be turned into a pillar of salt? Do you believe that babies should be dashed against rocks by command from "God"? Do you believe that corpses that have been dead for days or longer can free themselves from their graves and walk around and mingle with living people? Do you believe that a snake could talk and that a man and a woman named adam and eve existed and were the specially created parents of all other humans? Do you believe that the biblical flood story is true?

      Delete
    3. Ignor: "For a human being to hold any belief requires many acts of faith"

      If true, then you believe the above assertion is based on your faith-- thus, not supported by any evidence nor logic.Thus you have no proof of this assertion, and since your pompous shit is not proven, a person on the contrary may hold a belief WITHOUT FAITH.

      Jesus tapdancing Christ you are STUPID. Creationists are so freaking STUPID. You make Homer Simpson look like Albert Einstein.

      Delete
    4. Egnor says:
      For a human being to hold any belief requires many acts of faith.
      Demonstrably incorrect. I have no faith, in anything.

      My belief that I am an adult man requires faith in the definition of "adult man"
      No, it requires merely understanding of the definition, and understanding that your properties fits this definition. No faith required.

      I see, however, that you're working under an extremely specious definition of "faith". This'll be fun.

      faith that the image in my mirror is me
      That's an evidentially derived conclusion. You can even get independent confirmation. It's not faith if there's evidence.

      faith that my memory of my life and station is reliable, etc.
      Still evidentially derived conclusions, many of which you can get independent corroboration for. Again, it's not faith if there's evidence to support it.

      Science requires enormous faith.
      I could ask for no better evidence that you don't understand science than that statement. Science abhors faith intrinsically. Science is all about deriving conclusions from observation and only holding them tentatively in proportion to the strength and reliability of the evidence.

      This is diametrically opposite to faith.

      *ULTR ULTRA FACEPALM*

      The uniformity of natural laws
      Evidentially derived conclusion. The acceptance of this is held in proportion to centuries of observation that confirms it. It's not faith if it's evidentially supported you moron.

      *facepalm*

      the continued applicability of mathematics to nature
      Same as above. We don't need to have faith in this, we need only to test it and find out. Does mathematics, in point of fact, apply to nature today, as it did yesterday? Well shit, turns out it does. Not faith then. Idioit.

      *facepalm*

      the predictability of nature
      Exactly the same as above. Test it, confirm it or discard it, no need to have faith.

      the work of other scientists (how many aspects of science have you personally validated in their entirety?)
      Since the work of a lot of science is build on previous science, the fact that it works is evidence that previously done science is approximately correct. No faith required, evidence is right there before us. You computer works, turns out Nikola Tesla had some pretty good ideas about electricity.

      *facepalm*

      Belief that your spouse loves you requires faith
      Maybe for you. Don't know what kind of relationship you are in.

      For me: evidentially derived conclusion. It's not faith if there's evidence.

      (that she actually exists and is not an illusion, that she genuinely loves you and isn't just making it up, that she didn't stop loving you a second ago, etc)
      All evidentially derived conclusions. No faith required. PS: see a psychiatrist.

      Delete
  19. "As I have pointed out repeatedly, if you deny PSR, you deny science."

    Objection anticipated and countered. It's so easy, I don't even have to wait for your involvement.

    But, go on, let's make you punch *yourself* in the face. That'll be funny to watch.

    1. Define 'universe'.

    2. Now describe a 'universe' consistent with your definition in (1) that has no objects in it.

    3. Or fuck off.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. @increasingly frustrated Jem:

      If you deny the PSR, why do you insist that I provide reasons for my assertion that the PSR is true?

      You assert that it can be true without reason.

      Delete
  20. mregnor said:

    "The cause for the existence of the universe must be a supernatural being whose existence is self-contained."

    So the supernatural being is a motorhome?

    ReplyDelete
  21. "Science requires enormous faith."

    Tee hee ... ah, it's going to be a long concession speech. I'll wait ...

    "The unifo-

    bored. snip.

    -lief in God requires faith as well."

    Thank your team, Mr Romney, then smile and step off the stage. We'll graciously pretend you ran a great campaign for the two remaining minutes we remember you exist.

    'Intellectual honesty' with any 'proof' of God is admitting that you have to make a leap of faith. That there are no purely logical, deductive or empirical processes that get there. That you have to assume the conclusion to hold it.

    Dishonesty is in equating that bizarre behavior with the practical need for humans to occasionally trust each other.



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    1. The belief that all existence is without cause is bizarre behavior, of a high order.

      Delete
    2. You think god exists but has no cause. Freaking hypocrite. Jesus tap dancing Christ you are STUPID. No wonder creationists contribute zero to science.

      Delete
    3. ""The belief that all existence is without cause is bizarre behavior, of a high order.""

      The Argument from Incredulity (TM). You IDiots must have the Guiness record for its use. Unfortunately it's as useless as Aquinas' arguments.

      Delete
  22. "@increasingly frustrated Jem"

    I'm not increasingly frustrated. I'm laughing.

    Go on. Instead of getting my mood wrong, answer my question and get that wrong instead.

    'why do you insist that I provide reasons for my assertion that the PSR is true?'

    Because I have no interest in the PSR, but every interest in seeing you squirm and make a fool of yourself. The guys and gals here have already worked out that you're wrong and how you're wrong. We get you. I'm hoping, but not betting, that now we can show *you* you're wrong. That you'll get you.

    These are your options, now:

    1. Run.
    2. Make a fool of yourself.
    3. Realize.

    And I don't give a shit which, I'm laughing at you any way. Intellectually, I suppose I should want (3). But for comedy value (2). Keep going.

    Answer my question.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh, Mike "clowning for Jesus" Egnor knows that he's wrong. The moment things become unanswerable for him he runs to another set of comments where he feels safer. It's not about making him realize that he's wrong, for him it's all about saving face. Otherwise he loses his modus vivendi.

      Delete
  23. @Jem whose mood I get wrong:

    "Because I have no interest in the PSR..."

    Heh.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "Heh"

      1. Define 'universe'.

      2. Now describe a 'universe' consistent with your definition in (1) that has no objects in it.

      Delete
    2. "Heh."

      Ladies and gents, another sound argument from the one and only Mr Surgeon.

      Delete
  24. Shall we institute a 'three strikes' rule? If you don't answer the question three times, you've conceded the point?

    "You assert that it can be true without reason."

    Strike One.

    "The belief that all existence is without cause is bizarre behavior, of a high order."

    Strike Two.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Jem with a Three-Strikes-Rule

      1) Universe: All that exists, except that for which essence is existence.

      2) All that exists, without objects.

      I must admit that I am impressed with your perseverance, Jem.

      You bring to mind the tenacity of the Black Knight.

      [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eMkth8FWno]

      Delete
    2. You bring to mind Brave Sir Robin: "He runs, runs, runs away, Brave Sir Robin"

      Delete
  25. 'The belief that all existence is without cause is bizarre behavior'

    And, as predicted he punches himself in the face, and spectacularly. In an unforced error, he describes the universe as 'all existence'. Definitionally, he is describing objects with the property of existing.

    "The cause for the existence of the universe must be a supernatural being"

    And, um, so you're excluding God from your list of 'all existence'. God is not on the list of things that exist.

    Killshot.

    God non existent. Time of death 9.52 7/9/13.






    ReplyDelete
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    1. [God is not on the list of things that exist.]

      God isn't a thing.

      Don't worry. It's only a flesh wound. Keep fighting.

      Delete
    2. Kill shot. Your god's as dead as Trayvon Martin.

      Jesus tap dancing Christ you are STUPID.

      Delete
    3. mregnor said:

      "God isn't a thing."

      But don't you believe that "God" is a "being"? A being is a "thing".

      Delete
    4. 'But don't you believe that "God" is a "being"? A being is a "thing".'

      Exactly. We're back to a ridiculous double standard where 'existing' is something beyond the capabilities of a supposedly 'omnipotent' God.

      The standard for 'existing' is a pretty low hurdle. Tinkles the Toilet Cat - http://dealnews.com/Tinkles-the-Toilet-Cat-for-9-3-s-h/313185.html - for example, exists. In mregnor's argument, God doesn't.

      And it's an absurdity. Christians believe God created the universe, wiped out all but a handful of people when he flooded the world and (in an act much emulated by his priesthood) had non consensual sex with a teenager. We're in Python paraphrasing mode, so in that spirit, in the almost words of Mandy, Mother of Brian, 'how much more existent can you get?'.

      Does this disprove the existence of all gods everywhere, ever? No, of course not. Have we just managed to crowdsource proof God doesn't exist once and for all in an internet combox? Of course not. But it shows just how silly mregnor's argument is.

      That's the pattern. When you hold up the arguments for Gods to the light - even ones formulated by brilliant men that have endured - they just melt. 'Does God exist?'. It's not a complicated question to start with, but look at what we're actually asking, which is 'mregnor, does God (as you define it) exist (in the terms you define existing) as a being, object or thing (terms as vague and all inclusive as possible using language)' and the answer *he* gives is still 'no'.

      In the end, this is a sideshow. Gods go away when people realize that they can just get on with life without them. But many vaguely Christian people still assume that the monks and priests and philosophers have it all worked out. 'Hey,' they say, 'I don't know how my car's engine works, either. Leave it to the experts'. Open up the hood of theology and it's cobwebs and dead raccoons.

      These are not good arguments. They're talismans. It's important we understand that. There are smarter people than mregnor deploying these arguments, but it doesn't make the argument smarter, it just means they're far more cunning when it comes to hiding the cracks.

      Remember: ask them if their argument is persuasive without an act of faith at any point; let *them* define terms like 'exists', but *make* them define terms; shout out when they switch arguments or definitions on the fly.

      They have a special codeword they deploy which means 'shit, I've lost this argument' and that's 'eugenics'. The moment they mention eugenics, they know the game's up and they're running for the lifeboat. Pounce. Tear the little fucker apart. Don't feel tempted to show them mercy, because they'll process that as them 'winning'.

      God, as defined by mregnor, does not exist in the terms he establishes for existence. He lost this one.

      Delete
    5. Open up the hood of theology and it's cobwebs and dead raccoons.

      Jem, such sayings can make one's day. :)

      Delete
    6. ""God isn't a thing.""

      So what is your definition of "thing"?

      I see a parallel between Theology, Metaphysics and Politics here. In the immortal words of Bill Clinton: "Oral sex isn't sex".

      Delete
  26. Ignored admitted his god doesn't exist.

    Now let's have some more fun. Ignor agreed to the Three Strikes Rule. If he doesn't"t answer a question in three attempts, he conceded.

    1. Ignor: isn't your claim that "All endeavor presupposes metaphysical assumptions" based on metaphysical assumptions?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Here's some more fun. Again, Ignor agreed to the Three Strikes Rule. If he doesn't answer a question in three attempts, he concedes.

    1. What's the reason for the PSR of Leibniz (not Lebnitz)?

    Note that Egnor MUST answer this question for his theology to be self-consistent. If Ignor cannot answer, his claim is self-contradictory and refutes itself.

    ReplyDelete
  28. You agreed to three strikes, Ignor.

    1. Doesn't your claim that "For a human being to hold any belief requires many acts of faith" itself require faith-- so you admit you can't prove it's true?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Declaring that everything requires faith, as "clowning for Jesus" Egnor did, is what's called "going nuclear." He knows that he lost many times already here, so he rather makes at attempt to destroy the whole thing. He prefers nothing to be true than admitting defeat. It's a classic of creationism. As much a classic as mentioning "eugenics" as Jem explained above.

      Delete
    2. Exactly. The claim made for Aquinas - not one Aquinas makes himself, he says the opposite, oh wait I know that because I've actually read him - is that it's this brilliant logical equation that requires no special pleading, atheists read it and are left either spluttering impotently or applying to join seminaries. And *obviously* it's not.

      We have to accept that we take a lot on trust. Scientists trust the peer review process, their instruments and so on and so on. But the idea that a working assumption that a given paper is honest is in any way the same 'faith' that imagines that every stone that fell was guided there by the will of the Supreme Pixie ... no. It's just not the same, is it?

      Delete
  29. If you folks are going to debate classical cosmological arguments, you need to understand the rudiments of the metaphysics on which the arguments are based. You don't even understand your own metaphysics, so it's asking a lot to have you understand the metaphysical basis of the arguments.

    In the hylemorphic view, 'things' are composite. They are, generally speaking, acts of existence joined to matter and form. Things can also be pure forms, joined to acts of existence.

    God is not a thing. He is not a composite, and is not a part of the universe. He is metaphysically simple, and his essense is existence. Loosely speaking, He does not have existence-- He is existence. He is Being.

    Classical cosmological proofs and classical theology depend on these metaphysical concepts.

    You may disagree with the concepts, but disagreement presupposes understanding, which you obviously lack.

    You have a long way to go before you can debate these proofs. The only thing you're debating how is your ignorance of the proofs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ignored admitted his god doesn't exist. "God is no thing." We know. God is a belief you assert but cannot prove. You're agreeing with us, but you don't know it. We agree your god is no thing.

      Ignor agreed to the Three Strikes Rule. If he doesn't"t answer a question in three attempts, he conceded.

      2. Ignor: isn't your claim that "All endeavor presupposes metaphysical assumptions" based on metaphysical assumptions? Since you just ASSUME this shit, you can't prove it, do why should we care?

      Delete
    2. You agreed to three strikes, Ignor.

      2. Doesn't your claim that "For a human being to hold any belief requires many acts of faith" itself require faith-- so you admit you can never, ever, prove it's true? Why should we care about things you admitted you can't prove?

      You said your god is no thing. Christianity is Nihilism. You worship no thing. You have blind faith in no thing.

      Delete
    3. Again, Ignor agreed to the Three Strikes Rule. If he doesn't answer a question in three attempts, he concedes.

      2. What caused the PSR of Leibniz (not Lebnitz)?

      Note that Egnor MUST answer this question for his theology to be self-consistent. If Ignor cannot answer, his theology is self-contradictory and refutes itself.

      Ignored admitted his god is no thing and does not exist.To have total faith in no thing is pathetic nihilism.

      Delete
  30. "Classical cosmological proofs and classical theology depend on these metaphysical concepts."

    They cower behind a tissue-thin excuse. Hardly the same thing.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Ignor: "You have a long way to go before you can debate these proofs. The only thing you're debating how is your ignorance of the proofs."

    WHAT proofs!!? You admitted all beliefs are based on faith.

    So you admit you never had proof, and ANY proof is impossible EVEN IN PRINCIPLE so you admit will never get proof. It's impossible to prove, according to you. You said it was faith.

    ReplyDelete
  32. "In the hylemorphic view - "

    OK. Let's shoot this one in the head, too.

    Do you accept mass-energy equivalence?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Ignor admits his god does not exist: "He does not have existence". We know. We agree.

    ReplyDelete
  34. "Ignor admits his god does not exist: "He does not have existence". We know. We agree."

    We've dismantled his explanations back down to ancient Greece, now. He's abandoned Aquinas' version of hylomorphism (note spelling) and we're down to Aristotle's version.

    Basically the argument goes something like this: if you have a gold statue of, say, Kermit the Frog, then it's two things. It's the matter - the gold with a certain shape and so on - but it's also a form - basically 'the concept of a statue of Kermit the Frog'. There's a sort of underlying essence to it that's not made of matter.

    If you were to melt it down and make a statue of Fozzie Bear, it would be the same matter, but the form would have been swapped out for another one.

    And this is to be taken literally. It's two things welded together - the matter and the form.

    Yeah, I know.

    The problem with this nonsense is that the Catholic church glued themselves to it. It's how bodies and souls are meant to work. Don't ask them how matter and form are 'attached' by the way, or you'll be there all day. As we've seen, they (basically, push them too hard they retreat) say God is pure form.

    Crucially, it's how the Eucharist is meant to work. The *matter* of the wafer stays the same. But during the 'miracle' of the Eucharist, the *form* changes from wafer stuff to God. So while it looks, tastes, scientifically tests and so on as a wafer, it's *actually* not a wafer any more.

    This is the central rite of the Catholic faith. Week after week, this is direct contact between human beings and God. So they're kind of committed at this point to taking it seriously.

    This was Galileo's crime - not saying 'the Earth goes round the Sun', but, in doing so, revealing that Aristotle's whole cosmology, on which the Eucharist depends, is false. It wasn't the church being anti-science. What the theologians realized was that if Galileo's right, the central ritual of Catholic doctrine is made of purest made-upium. (Spoiler alert: the Earth goes round the Sun).

    Basically, if Aristotle's idea of matter and form is false, Catholicism's false. So this is basically the last ditch. If we can somehow come up with a purely scientific formula that demonstrates how a 'thing' can meaningfully become 'another thing' without leaving science and entering metaphysics, that's game over for Egnor's particular brand of theism. Catholicism's false. Anglicanism's fine, by the way - they just think it's a wafer.

    Can anyone think of a scientific formula that states, say, that there's some kind of ... ooh, I don't know ... fixed relationship between the matter and energy in any given object or system? Bonus points if you can lock it to, say, some scientifically measurable universal constant.

    If you can, you've just committed deicide on the Catholic God. Don't be alarmed: deicide's a victimless crime.




    ReplyDelete