Author Topic: "Is Faith In God Reasonable?" - streaming NOW!  (Read 17778 times)

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Offline rumborak

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Totally don't see how you could make such a statement with any certainty.
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Offline Ħ

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It follows logically. If you're going to resort to saying that logic doesn't apply outside the universe, then neither the Kalam argument, nor any other arguments or statements about the extrauniversal, are even worth considering because literally everything is on the table, including logical contradictions.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline theseoafs

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Sure. But if you do have a cause of space and time, can you at least admit that the cause must be spaceless and timeless? That doesn't seem like a dastardly metaphysical leap.

If by "spaceless and timeless" you simply mean that the cause doesn't exist in space or time as we understand them, then I think that's a fair thing to say.

Offline Perpetual Change

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H, while this is all interesting, it doesn't do anything the demonstrate the possibility of the Abrahamic God's existence, which is the God people are usually referring to when they talk about having "faith in" something-- just accepting the possible existence of something is not the same. Under the types of arguments you're talking about, the "first cause" might as well be some malevolent being from Star Trek.

Offline rumborak

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And that's the crux really. The topic of the discussion isn't "Is belief in a First Cause reasonable", it's "Is Faith in God reasonable". Without any further specification, that assumes the Christian, or at least Abrahamic God. Craig himself is a Christian apologetic, so that corroborates the interpretation of the question.

I know PC has a similar experience as I have, but I figure it's worth pointing out the experience you get when you travel, or even live in a foreign country with a different belief system. On my trip around the world a while ago I visited tons of churches and temples. First I saw temples for the Christian God; then temples for the Muslim God. Then a month of Hanumans, Ganeshes and Shivas; after that a month of Buddhism and Shinto, and then a ceremony to the god of fire in Japan.
At some point you kinda develop a "let's check out this iteration" attitude. Especially when you hear the all-too-familiar "my version is the correct version" for the 10th time, you have to just chuckle inwards and keep smiling. You just realize that for the most part, the guy in front of you is defending his culture, just like the clothes he's wearing and the language he speaks.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 09:35:20 AM by rumborak »
"I liked when Myung looked like a women's figure skating champion."

Offline Scheavo

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Not at all. Craig leaves open the question of God's specific qualities, and he recognizes that the Kalam argument only tells us some of God's attributes - being timeless, spaceless, immaterial, etc.

But you can't even say that whatever fulfills the Kalam argument is "God," as using the word, "God" comes preloaded with a bunch of terms, conceptions, etc, none of which Craig actually deals with. He commits a fallacy here, because he uses a fact of ignorance to try and shoehorn in some specific idea. That's a formal fallacy right  there.

Besides, the Kalam argument rests on the idea that time is an arrow, that the past precedes the present which precedes the future, etc. But there isn't really any scientific theory that adequately explain our experience of time as an arrow, as actually being something present or necessary in the physical universe. Couple years ago, was reading about a new theory regarding quantum mechanics that posited that the future is affecting the past and the present, and that if we could account for the future, we wouldn't see anything "random" or incoherent about quantum mechanics. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure some tests have been performed which showed that the future can effect the present, as elementary particles couldn't do something now, if they would be in a position in the future that would make the past position impossible (or to put it another way, if you had a time machine, went back in time, and tried to kill your own father, the universe would pretty much make it impossible for you to do so. The gun wouldn't work. The bullet wouldn't fire. Something would happen to prevent you from creating a paradox).

So if the above is true, if the future effects the past and the present (and notice, I'm not saying it does, only that it is a possibility we can't currently deny), then the Kalam argument is wrong not because of anything logical, but because it just isn't how the universe works. Or, to put it otherwise, if the above is true, than the Universe could have made itself exist, according to our conception of time. Something may still need to be responsible for the universe, but it would mean you can't logically conclude the existence of a "God" due to our conception of the arrow of time.

There are many logical theories regarding the Universe that are false because the Universe just doesn't work that way.

Offline Ħ

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H, while this is all interesting, it doesn't do anything the demonstrate the possibility of the Abrahamic God's existence, which is the God people are usually referring to when they talk about having "faith in" something-- just accepting the possible existence of something is not the same. Under the types of arguments you're talking about, the "first cause" might as well be some malevolent being from Star Trek.
Correct. The Kalam argument is a case for general monotheism, and that's all it purports to be. Craig is a Christian, but he knows that this argument alone doesn't prove Christianity - it's just proves the existence of a cause of the universe that is spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, and personal. That's what it proves, so no one is guilty of overextending their hand here.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Ħ

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Sure. But if you do have a cause of space and time, can you at least admit that the cause must be spaceless and timeless? That doesn't seem like a dastardly metaphysical leap.

If by "spaceless and timeless" you simply mean that the cause doesn't exist in space or time as we understand them, then I think that's a fair thing to say.
Everything that we talk about, we talk about in the way we understand them. So I'm glad to see you agree the cause doesn't exist in space or time. :)
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Ħ

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And that's the crux really. The topic of the discussion isn't "Is belief in a First Cause reasonable", it's "Is Faith in God reasonable". Without any further specification, that assumes the Christian, or at least Abrahamic God. Craig himself is a Christian apologetic, so that corroborates the interpretation of the question.
Again, the Kalam doesn't prove the Abrahamic God. It just proves generic theism.

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I know PC has a similar experience as I have, but I figure it's worth pointing out the experience you get when you travel, or even live in a foreign country with a different belief system. On my trip around the world a while ago I visited tons of churches and temples. First I saw temples for the Christian God; then temples for the Muslim God. Then a month of Hanumans, Ganeshes and Shivas; after that a month of Buddhism and Shinto, and then a ceremony to the god of fire in Japan.
At some point you kinda develop a "let's check out this iteration" attitude. Especially when you hear the all-too-familiar "my version is the correct version" for the 10th time, you have to just chuckle inwards and keep smiling. You just realize that for the most part, the guy in front of you is defending his culture, just like the clothes he's wearing and the language he speaks.
That's not really relevant. You're talking about the psychology of people; we ought to be talking about the arguments themselves. Even if it were true that people just defend their culture out of narcissism, that doesn't mean that what they believe is false. If you want to determine truth and falsehood, you need arguments.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 12:10:47 PM by Ħ »
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Ħ

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Not at all. Craig leaves open the question of God's specific qualities, and he recognizes that the Kalam argument only tells us some of God's attributes - being timeless, spaceless, immaterial, etc.

But you can't even say that whatever fulfills the Kalam argument is "God," as using the word, "God" comes preloaded with a bunch of terms, conceptions, etc, none of which Craig actually deals with. He commits a fallacy here, because he uses a fact of ignorance to try and shoehorn in some specific idea. That's a formal fallacy right  there.
Again, he doesn't overextend his extrapolation with the Kalam. Each of the characteristics of the cause of the universe (immaterial, spaceless, etc.) follows merely from the fact that it caused the universe. No shoving in unwarrented properties here. Craig agrees that nothing in the Kalam indicates that the cause of the universe is omnipresent, omniscient, or the Abrahamic God.


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Besides, the Kalam argument rests on the idea that time is an arrow, that the past precedes the present which precedes the future, etc. But there isn't really any scientific theory that adequately explain our experience of time as an arrow, as actually being something present or necessary in the physical universe. Couple years ago, was reading about a new theory regarding quantum mechanics that posited that the future is affecting the past and the present, and that if we could account for the future, we wouldn't see anything "random" or incoherent about quantum mechanics. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure some tests have been performed which showed that the future can effect the present, as elementary particles couldn't do something now, if they would be in a position in the future that would make the past position impossible (or to put it another way, if you had a time machine, went back in time, and tried to kill your own father, the universe would pretty much make it impossible for you to do so. The gun wouldn't work. The bullet wouldn't fire. Something would happen to prevent you from creating a paradox). So if the above is true, if the future effects the past and the present (and notice, I'm not saying it does, only that it is a possibility we can't currently deny), then the Kalam argument is wrong not because of anything logical, but because it just isn't how the universe works. Or, to put it otherwise, if the above is true, than the Universe could have made itself exist, according to our conception of time. Something may still need to be responsible for the universe, but it would mean you can't logically conclude the existence of a "God" due to our conception of the arrow of time.

There are many logical theories regarding the Universe that are false because the Universe just doesn't work that way.
Suppose time is not an arrow, like you said. Which premise would you reject? The universe still has a beginning, as shown over and over again in modern cosmology. You couldn't reject 2. So no matter what theory of time you adopt, the premises are still true.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Scheavo

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Not at all. Craig leaves open the question of God's specific qualities, and he recognizes that the Kalam argument only tells us some of God's attributes - being timeless, spaceless, immaterial, etc.
But you can't even say that whatever fulfills the Kalam argument is "God," as using the word, "God" comes preloaded with a bunch of terms, conceptions, etc, none of which Craig actually deals with. He commits a fallacy here, because he uses a fact of ignorance to try and shoehorn in some specific idea. That's a formal fallacy right  there.
Again, he doesn't overextend his extrapolation with the Kalam. Each of the characteristics of the cause of the universe (immaterial, spaceless, etc.) follows merely from the fact that it caused the universe. No shoving in unwarrented properties here. Craig agrees that nothing in the Kalam indicates that the cause of the universe is omnipresent, omniscient, or the Abrahamic God.

But the definition of "God" he just "proved" is one where "God" could be something non-sentient, or say, the Universe itself. The argument has devolved to a point where our definitions and understanding of the terms we're using are so poor that it almost becomes impossible to have a rational debate about it. You can't prove anything here, you can only bring up possibilities. Those possibilities can then, maybe, be tested, and then they can maybe proved.


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Besides, the Kalam argument rests on the idea that time is an arrow, that the past precedes the present which precedes the future, etc. But there isn't really any scientific theory that adequately explain our experience of time as an arrow, as actually being something present or necessary in the physical universe. Couple years ago, was reading about a new theory regarding quantum mechanics that posited that the future is affecting the past and the present, and that if we could account for the future, we wouldn't see anything "random" or incoherent about quantum mechanics. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure some tests have been performed which showed that the future can effect the present, as elementary particles couldn't do something now, if they would be in a position in the future that would make the past position impossible (or to put it another way, if you had a time machine, went back in time, and tried to kill your own father, the universe would pretty much make it impossible for you to do so. The gun wouldn't work. The bullet wouldn't fire. Something would happen to prevent you from creating a paradox). So if the above is true, if the future effects the past and the present (and notice, I'm not saying it does, only that it is a possibility we can't currently deny), then the Kalam argument is wrong not because of anything logical, but because it just isn't how the universe works. Or, to put it otherwise, if the above is true, than the Universe could have made itself exist, according to our conception of time. Something may still need to be responsible for the universe, but it would mean you can't logically conclude the existence of a "God" due to our conception of the arrow of time.

There are many logical theories regarding the Universe that are false because the Universe just doesn't work that way.
Suppose time is not an arrow, like you said. Which premise would you reject? The universe still has a beginning, as shown over and over again in modern cosmology. You couldn't reject 2. So no matter what theory of time you adopt, the premises are still true.

No, you just said, "okay time isn't an arrow," but you didn't take the repercussions of that. Our cosmological view would be inaccurate and not "truthful" in the sense you are using it, so the premises are no longer true. If time is completely relative (we already know it is relative), and if our experience of time is nothing but one viewpoint of time and the universe, then our perspective of Big Bang would be like saying the Earth is flat because we can see a horizon.

Again, all hypothetical. Because the definitions are sooo poor, I'm not entirely sure we're not, in the end, talking about the same thing but just disagreeing on the terms to describe them.

« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 10:59:27 AM by Scheavo »

Offline Ħ

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But the definition of "God" he just "proved" is one where "God" could be something non-sentient, or say, the Universe itself. The argument has devolved to a point where our definitions and understanding of the terms we're using are so poor that it almost becomes impossible to have a horribly rational debate about it. You can't prove anything here, you can only bring up possibilities. Those possibilities can then, maybe, be tested, and then they can maybe proved.
You are correct in saying that Craig equates "the timeless, spaceless, nonphysical, powerful, personal cause of the universe" and "God". I don't think that's really a bad move, but if you're unhappy with it, go ahead and use a different term. So long as you recognize that there is, in fact, a timeless, spaceless, nonphysical, powerful, personal cause of the universe, then I'm happy. :)

The CotU could be non-sentient? Perhaps that depends on your definition of sentience. But I doubt it. The CotU needs to be a free agent that actively caused the universe's beginning to exist at t=0. If it wasn't a free agent, then the universe would be infinite in the past (which is not the case).

The CotU could be the universe itself? That doesn't make sense. In order for the universe to cause the universe's existence, the universe would already need to exist. So that doesn't work.

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No, you just said, "okay time isn't an arrow," but you didn't take the repercussions of that. Our cosmological view would be inaccurate and not "truthful" in the sense you are using it, so the premises are no longer true. If time is completely relative (we already know it is relative), and if our experience of time is nothing but one viewpoint of time and the universe, then our perspective of Big Bang would be like saying the Earth is flat because we can see a horizon.
Actually the Bord-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem shows that no matter what frame of reference you take, the universe began to exist 13.5 billion years ago. There is no reference frame where that is not the case. So I think it's fair to say that the age of the universe is objectively 13.5 billion years old.

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Again, all hypothetical. Because the definitions are sooo poor, I'm not entirely sure we're not, in the end, talking about the same thing but just disagreeing on the terms to describe them.
So long as we fix our definitions, as I've been careful to do, we'll be fine in our discussion.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Scheavo

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But the definition of "God" he just "proved" is one where "God" could be something non-sentient, or say, the Universe itself. The argument has devolved to a point where our definitions and understanding of the terms we're using are so poor that it almost becomes impossible to have a horribly rational debate about it. You can't prove anything here, you can only bring up possibilities. Those possibilities can then, maybe, be tested, and then they can maybe proved.
You are correct in saying that Craig equates "the timeless, spaceless, nonphysical, powerful, personal cause of the universe" and "God". I don't think that's really a bad move, but if you're unhappy with it, go ahead and use a different term. So long as you recognize that there is, in fact, a timeless, spaceless, nonphysical, powerful, personal cause of the universe, then I'm happy. :)

I don't get where you get "personal" out of the Kalam theory. That's the insertion I'm talking about. Nothing in Kalam has anything to do with that.

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The CotU could be non-sentient? Perhaps that depends on your definition of sentience. But I doubt it. The CotU needs to be a free agent that actively caused the universe's beginning to exist at t=0. If it wasn't a free agent, then the universe would be infinite in the past (which is not the case).

It seems to me, that you're equating "Universe" with "what you know about the Universe." And by that, I mean, what we can know about the universe, given our perspective. Which is limited. Or, the current make up of what we see cosmologically can still have a beginning in the big bang, but this does not actually say the Universe, in all it's entirety, whatever that is, began with the big bang. I think you're unnecessarily constricting the definition of Universe, so as to make room for "God."

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The CotU could be the universe itself? That doesn't make sense. In order for the universe to cause the universe's existence, the universe would already need to exist. So that doesn't work.

Again, according to the conception of time as an arrow. And as with the above, you're equating parts of the universe with the whole universe. That's a composition fallacy.

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No, you just said, "okay time isn't an arrow," but you didn't take the repercussions of that. Our cosmological view would be inaccurate and not "truthful" in the sense you are using it, so the premises are no longer true. If time is completely relative (we already know it is relative), and if our experience of time is nothing but one viewpoint of time and the universe, then our perspective of Big Bang would be like saying the Earth is flat because we can see a horizon.
Actually the Bord-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem shows that no matter what frame of reference you take, the universe began to exist 13.5 billion years ago. There is no reference frame where that is not the case. So I think it's fair to say that the age of the universe is objectively 13.5 billion years old.

The Bord-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem, as far as I can tell, considers time as an arrow, implicitly. They don't challenge this conception. So I don't see how that's relevant to the exact given tangent. Even then, after doing a quick Google search, I this video of Vilenkin quickly pointing out it doesn't prove the singularity.

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Again, all hypothetical. Because the definitions are sooo poor, I'm not entirely sure we're not, in the end, talking about the same thing but just disagreeing on the terms to describe them.
So long as we fix our definitions, as I've been careful to do, we'll be fine in our discussion.


Even then, I think we might be blindly talking about the same thing, fundamentally, in the end.

Offline Ħ

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I don't get where you get "personal" out of the Kalam theory. That's the insertion I'm talking about. Nothing in Kalam has anything to do with that.
By "personal", I mean "free agent". Again, if the CotU was not a free agent, yet was timeless, then the universe would be immediately caused by the existence of its cause and would have existed infinitely in the past - a philosophical impossibility.

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It seems to me, that you're equating "Universe" with "what you know about the Universe." And by that, I mean, what we can know about the universe, given our perspective. Which is limited. Or, the current make up of what we see cosmologically can still have a beginning in the big bang, but this does not actually say the Universe, in all it's entirety, whatever that is, began with the big bang. I think you're unnecessarily constricting the definition of Universe, so as to make room for "God."
You're appealing to ignorance to escape the Kalam. That is no refutation.


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Again, according to the conception of time as an arrow. And as with the above, you're equating parts of the universe with the whole universe. That's a composition fallacy.
Virtually all the evidence points to there being a beginning of the universe. And no - the composition fallacy is to attribute facts about the parts to facts about the whole. That's not what I'm doing here. You just said, "What if the universe itself was the cause of the universe?" We're not talking about parts here. We're talking about the whole universe, through and through. I responded adequately by explaining how the universe causing the universe makes no sense.

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The Bord-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem, as far as I can tell, considers time as an arrow, implicitly. They don't challenge this conception. So I don't see how that's relevant to the exact given tangent. Even then, after doing a quick Google search, I this video of Vilenkin quickly pointing out it doesn't prove the singularity.
The BGV theorem shows that any universe (like ours) that is expanding on average must have had a beginning. Models consistent with the theorem must have a singularity at t=0 before there was any expansion.

Look, you're basically denying the Big Bang to escape the Kalam. That's what you're doing.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline rumborak

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And that's the crux really. The topic of the discussion isn't "Is belief in a First Cause reasonable", it's "Is Faith in God reasonable". Without any further specification, that assumes the Christian, or at least Abrahamic God. Craig himself is a Christian apologetic, so that corroborates the interpretation of the question.
Again, the Kalam doesn't prove the Abrahamic God. It just proves generic theism.

H, I get the impression your argumentation rests on "maybe if nobody notices, I can slip X in". No, Kalam doesn't prove theism. It might be an argument for a first cause. You've at this point backed down from trying to slip in the Abrahamic god; it's the same thing with theism.


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I know PC has a similar experience as I have, but I figure it's worth pointing out the experience you get when you travel, or even live in a foreign country with a different belief system. On my trip around the world a while ago I visited tons of churches and temples. First I saw temples for the Christian God; then temples for the Muslim God. Then a month of Hanumans, Ganeshes and Shivas; after that a month of Buddhism and Shinto, and then a ceremony to the god of fire in Japan.
At some point you kinda develop a "let's check out this iteration" attitude. Especially when you hear the all-too-familiar "my version is the correct version" for the 10th time, you have to just chuckle inwards and keep smiling. You just realize that for the most part, the guy in front of you is defending his culture, just like the clothes he's wearing and the language he speaks.
That's not really relevant. You're talking about the psychology of people; we ought to be talking about the arguments themselves. Even if it were true that people just defend their culture out of narcissism, that doesn't mean that what they believe is false. If you want to determine truth and falsehood, you need arguments.

My statement is relevant to the question "is it reasonable to put faith in (the Christian) God?" Once you start looking around the world, and the multitudes of (often rather bizarre) ideas out there, it puts the Christian/Abrahamic god into perspective. It's just one of the many out there, and thus not exactly reasonable to put all your faith into. Just as it isn't reasonable to put all your faith into a lottery ticket. You might hope its the winning ticket, but that is a very different thing.
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Offline Ħ

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H, I get the impression your argumentation rests on "maybe if nobody notices, I can slip X in". No, Kalam doesn't prove theism. It might be an argument for a first cause. You've at this point backed down from trying to slip in the Abrahamic god; it's the same thing with theism.
I never once indicated that the Kalam argument necessitates the Abrahamic God. I only purported to show that the Kalam necessitates a cause of the universe that has the characteristics of being spaceless, timeless, nonphysical, changeless, powerful, and personal. The Abrahamic God is just one such being that fits that characterization.


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My statement is relevant to the question "is it reasonable to put faith in (the Christian) God?" Once you start looking around the world, and the multitudes of (often rather bizarre) ideas out there, it puts the Christian/Abrahamic god into perspective. It's just one of the many out there, and thus not exactly reasonable to put all your faith into. Just as it isn't reasonable to put all your faith into a lottery ticket. You might hope its the winning ticket, but that is a very different thing.
The biographical facts of human beings are simply irrelevant to the question of whether or not it's reasonable to believe something or not.


In fact, this is your argument:


1) There exist many religions in the world which all claim to be true
2) All religions cannot be true (i.e. "Some must be false")
C: Therefore, no religion is true


Can't you see how obviously fallacious that is?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 01:30:47 PM by Ħ »
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline rumborak

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You can try to sweep it under the rug, but when deciding whether the statement at hand is reasonable or not, one has to acknowledge the possibility that gods might simply be pieces of culture, and nothing more. The fact that they are geographically determined heavily corroborates that notion.
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Offline Ħ

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You can try to sweep it under the rug, but when deciding whether the statement at hand is reasonable or not, one has to acknowledge the possibility that gods might simply be pieces of culture, and nothing more. The fact that they are geographically determined heavily corroborates that notion.
No, you don't. You look to arguments to determine what is true or false, not contingent cultural statistics.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline rumborak

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H, you are still somehow trying to brute-force your way from first principles to Christian god, one attempt after the other. Thousands before you have failed over millennia; given that fact, a reasonable look at the matter has to include the consideration that gods might just be pieces of culture.
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Offline Ħ

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You're the only one here who has tried to squeeze Christianity into the Kalam cosmological argument. You are correct that such an attempt would be futile and uncalled for. I have reiterated this again and again - the Kalam cosmological argument does not prove Christianity. It does not prove the Christian God.

Besides, the Kalam was developed centuries ago by Muslim philosophy, before science could show that the universe had a beginning, in the Middle Ages! The argument from contingency was developed by Leibniz, a contemporary of Isaac Newton. The ontological argument has been developed and refined by St. Anselm, now presented by Alvin Plantinga in what is universally considered to be a valid argument. Far from being failures, these arguments have succeeded in convincing many people of the truth of theism for ages. Not to mention, we have powerful new arguments from fine-tuning and the resurrection of Jesus.

On the other side, the logical problem of evil argument for atheism has been virtually abandoned by philosophers today. The probabilistic problem of evil argument has been adequately answered as well. Simply put - there are no good atheist arguments anymore.

So I think a reasonable look at the matter would show that theism stands head and shoulders above atheism.
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Offline rumborak

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You're the only one here who has tried to squeeze Christianity into the Kalam cosmological argument. [...] Not to mention, we have powerful new arguments from fine-tuning and the resurrection of Jesus.

o_O?

But to the point, again, Kalam addresses first cause. Not theism. Theism is the belief in a deity. First Cause can be anything, even a mathematical formula, or a logical necessity. As others have pointed out, you are far overstating the reach of Kalam.

In fact, the only reason Kalam is still being traded around is because it only addresses such a specific aspect.
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Let me respond emphatically to your constant accusations that I am "brute-forcing my way" to a Christian God. Let me show you the number of times I've reaffirmed that the Kalam does not necessitate the Abrahamic God:

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We're merely committed to the cause being the cause of the universe, and the implications of that.

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Certainly, it doesn't prove every single facet of God. It doesn't prove that He is the Christian God, for example, or if He even cares about human beings. But it does prove those properties I bulleted out earlier. The Kalam cosmological argument is compatible with Christianity, Islam, deism, etc.

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The Christian God is one such being that can be the Kalam's cause of the universe, but I'm happy to concede that the Kalam doesn't necessitate the Christian God. It does allow for other gods. For example, Allah. Or a deist creator of the universe. But it doesn't allow for green unicorns, because a green unicorn is physical - the cause of the universe needs to be nonphysical.

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Not at all. Craig leaves open the question of God's specific qualities, and he recognizes that the Kalam argument only tells us some of God's attributes - being timeless, spaceless, immaterial, etc.

Obviously, you can't deduce from the Kalam alone that the Christian God exists. Or that God is all-loving or all-good. That information isn't necessitated by the Kalam's conclusion.

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he Kalam argument is a case for general monotheism, and that's all it purports to be. Craig is a Christian, but he knows that this argument alone doesn't prove Christianity - it's just proves the existence of a cause of the universe that is spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, and personal. That's what it proves, so no one is guilty of overextending their hand here.

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Again, the Kalam doesn't prove the Abrahamic God. It just proves generic theism.

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Again, he doesn't overextend his extrapolation with the Kalam. Each of the characteristics of the cause of the universe (immaterial, spaceless, etc.) follows merely from the fact that it caused the universe. No shoving in unwarrented properties here. Craig agrees that nothing in the Kalam indicates that the cause of the universe is omnipresent, omniscient, or the Abrahamic God.

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I never once indicated that the Kalam argument necessitates the Abrahamic God. I only purported to show that the Kalam necessitates a cause of the universe that has the characteristics of being spaceless, timeless, nonphysical, changeless, powerful, and personal. The Abrahamic God is just one such being that fits that characterization.

So I'll ask you, please stop accusing me of that. It just tells me that you aren't paying attention.
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Offline rumborak

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H, what is your point of bringing up Kalam then? The thread is framed around the Christian god since that is the OP topic. I am simply assuming that you try to use Kalam to finally arrive at the Christian god.
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The Kalam, if successful, logically commits the following to your ontology: a timeless, spaceless, nonphysical, changeless, powerful, personal creator of the universe. If you don't want to call that "theism", then go right ahead. But I think any honest person would call that "theism."


The Kalam is used in conjunction with other arguments, like the argument from the resurrection of Jesus, to move you from general theism to Christian theism. The Kalam never purports to be able to do that by itself.
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Offline rumborak

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The Kalam, if successful, logically commits the following to your ontology:
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a timeless,
Nope. A First Cause could be embedded in time. How would we know?!
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spaceless,
Nope. Same as time, see above.
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nonphysical,
Nope. See above.
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changeless,
Nope. If is embedded in time (see above), it can experience change.
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powerful,
Definitely not. We know jack shit about what it takes to generate a universe. In fact, it could have taken no power at all.
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personal
Even less!


Assumptions, assumptions, assumptions, dude.
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The First Cause brought the universe (which encompasses all space and time) into existence. Yes? That is what the Kalam requires you to say: "The universe has a cause for its beginning to exist."
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Offline rumborak

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The universe could have begat itself. Thus, being both in space and time, and creating a universe.
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The universe could have begat itself.
That is utterly ridiculous. In order to create itself, it would already need to exist.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline rumborak

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Interesting that it's a permissible argument when it comes to your god, but not for the universe. Double standards, much?
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So you concede that the universe cannot create itself?

And I don't think that God created Himself. That would be ridiculous too.

Look at premise 1 of the argument.

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

Do you know why I don't have to give you a cause of God? Because He never began to exist, and is thus exempt from requiring a cause, according to the Kalam's premises.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline rumborak

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And .... why can't the universe be that uncaused thing? Why does there need to be that placedholder called "God"?

The universe is uncaused and eternal. There you go, problem solved. No god necessary.
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Offline Scheavo

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I don't get where you get "personal" out of the Kalam theory. That's the insertion I'm talking about. Nothing in Kalam has anything to do with that.
By "personal", I mean "free agent". Again, if the CotU was not a free agent, yet was timeless, then the universe would be immediately caused by the existence of its cause and would have existed infinitely in the past - a philosophical impossibility.

I fail to see how that follows, and let's not talk about timelessness as if we know it.

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It seems to me, that you're equating "Universe" with "what you know about the Universe." And by that, I mean, what we can know about the universe, given our perspective. Which is limited. Or, the current make up of what we see cosmologically can still have a beginning in the big bang, but this does not actually say the Universe, in all it's entirety, whatever that is, began with the big bang. I think you're unnecessarily constricting the definition of Universe, so as to make room for "God."
You're appealing to ignorance to escape the Kalam. That is no refutation.

I'm appealing to ignorance by appealing to ignorance then. I'm saying, the topic is outside your ability to form one conclusion answer. I'm saying we can't know what is right, on anything, so I'm not inserting this other premise as true. Therefore, it doesn't follow the formal fallacy of appealing to ignorance.

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Again, according to the conception of time as an arrow. And as with the above, you're equating parts of the universe with the whole universe. That's a composition fallacy.
Virtually all the evidence points to there being a beginning of the universe. And no - the composition fallacy is to attribute facts about the parts to facts about the whole. That's not what I'm doing here. You just said, "What if the universe itself was the cause of the universe?" We're not talking about parts here. We're talking about the whole universe, through and through. I responded adequately by explaining how the universe causing the universe makes no sense.

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The Bord-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem, as far as I can tell, considers time as an arrow, implicitly. They don't challenge this conception. So I don't see how that's relevant to the exact given tangent. Even then, after doing a quick Google search, I this video of Vilenkin quickly pointing out it doesn't prove the singularity.
The BGV theorem shows that any universe (like ours) that is expanding on average must have had a beginning. Models consistent with the theorem must have a singularity at t=0 before there was any expansion.

Look, you're basically denying the Big Bang to escape the Kalam. That's what you're doing.
[/quote]"

I'm not "denying" the Big Bang theory, I'm just pointing out that something had to "blow up," and that this event didn't come from nowhere (which, you notice, is the Kalam argument). Instead of calling this "other thing" "God" as you are doing, I am calling it the "Universe" because it's still, as far as I care, part of existence and therefore part of the Universe.

I feel as if you're misunderstanding a lot of what that physics professor said. It was all much more theoretical than you are giving it credit for. It's a theorem, based upon other assumptions that can be false, or slightly wrong, which would all invalidate this theorem - it is not a scientific theory with reproducible evidence to support itself, nor does it prove that the singularity occurred or that there was indeed a big bang. It's not prove of anything other than if Time is arrow like, than what we observe around us had to of started, according to the rules of physics as we currently understand them. That I don't deny, and I can accept that.

But you are using that to say that our universe definitely started. The thing about science is, it's always finding problems with previously "settled" notions and conceptions. Einstein did it 100 years ago, Quantum Mechanics did too. Newtonian physics was a settled matter. Pointing this history out, and taking a skeptical position is scientific, and it's hardly fallacious. I've seen a lot of theories about what time really is, a lot of different theories than the idea that time is an arrow. It's not a settled debate, and you can't use your conception of time as proof just because it's the common sense and dogmatic way of looking at things.

And remember, I'm not arguing for a strict position that God doesn't exist. I'm just arguing for a position of ignorance because we can't know for sure some of the things necessary to utterly prove the matter. Coherent theories can be drawn for the support of a religion; coherent theories can be drawn for the support of what you call "atheism." For the question at hand, "is it reasonable to believe in God?" requires that we define reasonable. And I think that's where a big difference lies, and it's one reason why this debate doesn't and maybe can't move forward.


Offline Ħ

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The universe is uncaused and eternal. There you go, problem solved. No god necessary.
Sure, that would be fine and dandy, and the argument wouldn't work in that case. But all astrophysical evidence points to the universe beginning to exist. Plus, a past infinity has absurd metaphysical consequences and is seen by many philosophers of time to be impossible.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Jaffa

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For the question at hand, "is it reasonable to believe in God?" requires that we define reasonable. And I think that's where a big difference lies, and it's one reason why this debate doesn't and maybe can't move forward.

If there is no way of knowing anything for certain, as you yourself suggest, then isn't it reasonable to use the available evidence to come to the best conclusion you can? 
Sincerely,
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Offline rumborak

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H, all we know is that the universe was a very small point a long time ago. That's the state of our knowledge.
And, whatever supposed contradiction you will bring up here, it all applies to God too.
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