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Why/why not the cosmological argument works?

Yarely
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11/20/2011 8:32:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Why or why not do you think the cosmological argument is valid
"Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion and liberation of the human body from the coercion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. It stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals""
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000ike
Posts: 11,196
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11/20/2011 8:38:28 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The argument contains a contradiction within its very fibers. Its supposedly impossible for things to exist without cause (an unproved assertion), but then it proceeds to assert that god exists without cause.

You will notice that the Christians on this website are either silent, or the ones that do try to defend their claims are a bit psychotic. Never use intellectual reasoning to defend this religion, its argument suicide.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Rusty
Posts: 2,109
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11/20/2011 8:53:39 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 8:38:28 PM, 000ike wrote:
The argument contains a contradiction within its very fibers. Its supposedly impossible for things to exist without cause (an unproved assertion), but then it proceeds to assert that god exists without cause.

Does any modern rendition of the argument actually contain that premise as you've stated it? I've seen both "every finite and contingent being..." and "whatever begins to exist...", but I don't think I've seen too much of the "everything has a cause."


You will notice that the Christians on this website are either silent, or the ones that do try to defend their claims are a bit psychotic. Never use intellectual reasoning to defend this religion, its argument suicide.

I'm pretty sure that more than one religious person on this website would be capable of slaughtering you in a debate.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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11/20/2011 9:01:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 8:53:39 PM, Rusty wrote:
At 11/20/2011 8:38:28 PM, 000ike wrote:
The argument contains a contradiction within its very fibers. Its supposedly impossible for things to exist without cause (an unproved assertion), but then it proceeds to assert that god exists without cause.

Does any modern rendition of the argument actually contain that premise as you've stated it? I've seen both "every finite and contingent being..." and "whatever begins to exist...", but I don't think I've seen too much of the "everything has a cause."

Wheres the difference, its still a massive unfounded assertion.


You will notice that the Christians on this website are either silent, or the ones that do try to defend their claims are a bit psychotic. Never use intellectual reasoning to defend this religion, its argument suicide.

I'm pretty sure that more than one religious person on this website would be capable of slaughtering you in a debate.

Any atheist or agnostic could annihilate you in a debate. See how easy that was? :)
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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11/20/2011 9:04:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 8:38:28 PM, 000ike wrote:
The argument contains a contradiction within its very fibers. Its supposedly impossible for things to exist without cause (an unproved assertion), but then it proceeds to assert that god exists without cause.

You will notice that the Christians on this website are either silent, or the ones that do try to defend their claims are a bit psychotic. Never use intellectual reasoning to defend this religion, its argument suicide.

I am saddened that you decided to cast dispersion on people's character and mental state than offer a valid refutation.

Why use ad hominem fallacies? Why be like Izbo and C_N?

Once the differences in physical state and metaphysical state of existence is understood it is not hard to understand the difference with the physical universe and a metaphysical being.
CosmicAlfonzo
Posts: 5,955
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11/20/2011 9:06:30 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Another topic on this argument? I swear, there are like 2 or 3 a week.

The universe is defined as, "The whole body of things and phenomena observed or postulated; the totality of everything that exists"

It really doesn't take much thought to see why the cosmological argument is nonsensical.

It makes the assumption for one, that existence began to exist.. Then it claims that God is the only thing that could have caused existence to exist.. However, if this is true, God is outside of existence. If God is outside of existence, God does not exist.

It is a terrible argument, and even when advocates of it attempt to redefine what universe means, the premises themselves are faulty. The universe having a start does not necessarily imply that a God created the universe. At the same time, whether or not the universe had a start or not is unknowable.
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
Rusty
Posts: 2,109
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11/20/2011 9:07:00 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 9:01:02 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 11/20/2011 8:53:39 PM, Rusty wrote:
At 11/20/2011 8:38:28 PM, 000ike wrote:
The argument contains a contradiction within its very fibers. Its supposedly impossible for things to exist without cause (an unproved assertion), but then it proceeds to assert that god exists without cause.

Does any modern rendition of the argument actually contain that premise as you've stated it? I've seen both "every finite and contingent being..." and "whatever begins to exist...", but I don't think I've seen too much of the "everything has a cause."

Wheres the difference, its still a massive unfounded assertion.

The difference is that one takes into account contingencies and whatnot, and one is a sweeping statement about, well, everything.



You will notice that the Christians on this website are either silent, or the ones that do try to defend their claims are a bit psychotic. Never use intellectual reasoning to defend this religion, its argument suicide.

I'm pretty sure that more than one religious person on this website would be capable of slaughtering you in a debate.

Any atheist or agnostic could annihilate you in a debate. See how easy that was? :)

Not that easy, considering I'm not the one going around trash-talking the argumentative competency of an entire group of people. See how easy that was?
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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11/20/2011 9:11:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 9:01:02 PM, 000ike wrote:

Any atheist or agnostic could annihilate you in a debate. See how easy that was? :)

The difference is he's not making ridiculous claims like you are.
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Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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11/20/2011 9:11:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 9:06:30 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Another topic on this argument? I swear, there are like 2 or 3 a week.

The universe is defined as, "The whole body of things and phenomena observed or postulated; the totality of everything that exists"

It really doesn't take much thought to see why the cosmological argument is nonsensical.

It makes the assumption for one, that existence began to exist.. Then it claims that God is the only thing that could have caused existence to exist.. However, if this is true, God is outside of existence. If God is outside of existence, God does not exist.

It is a terrible argument, and even when advocates of it attempt to redefine what universe means, the premises themselves are faulty. The universe having a start does not necessarily imply that a God created the universe. At the same time, whether or not the universe had a start or not is unknowable.

Pure symantic. Call it what you want. Call the greater multiverse existence including all things the Yobaby syndrome for all I care.

If you do not get what they mean.....wait what medications are you on again?
Rusty
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11/20/2011 9:12:07 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 9:11:01 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 11/20/2011 9:01:02 PM, 000ike wrote:

Any atheist or agnostic could annihilate you in a debate. See how easy that was? :)

The difference is he's not making ridiculous claims like you are.

What, so you're still granting him that though? ;)
CosmicAlfonzo
Posts: 5,955
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11/20/2011 9:12:32 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The flat out truth of the matter is, if someone convinced you that a supernatural being existed in the past, performed impossible feats, claimed to be God, etc. and you believe this..

You are a schmuck, and the economy flourishes on taking advantage of your kind. I only have sympathy for the indoctrinated young, and have slight sympathy for the drug addicts who came to religion in a compromised state of mind..

However, there comes an age where the only thing keeping a believer from admitting their own stupid mistake is arrogant pride. They call it faith, but their kind of faith is nothing more than sin.

I have no sympathy for the intellectually dishonest, they are the true blasphemers of the holy spirit, and deserve their hell.
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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11/20/2011 9:14:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 9:07:00 PM, Rusty wrote:
At 11/20/2011 9:01:02 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 11/20/2011 8:53:39 PM, Rusty wrote:
At 11/20/2011 8:38:28 PM, 000ike wrote:
The argument contains a contradiction within its very fibers. Its supposedly impossible for things to exist without cause (an unproved assertion), but then it proceeds to assert that god exists without cause.

Does any modern rendition of the argument actually contain that premise as you've stated it? I've seen both "every finite and contingent being..." and "whatever begins to exist...", but I don't think I've seen too much of the "everything has a cause."

Wheres the difference, its still a massive unfounded assertion.

The difference is that one takes into account contingencies and whatnot, and one is a sweeping statement about, well, everything.

Irrelevant. You have still yet to prove or even address how the cosmological argument is not just a highflown assertion of unassessable qualities of the universe. And you have also yet to address its contradictory logic. God exists and therefore must have cause. But he doesn't?



You will notice that the Christians on this website are either silent, or the ones that do try to defend their claims are a bit psychotic. Never use intellectual reasoning to defend this religion, its argument suicide.

I'm pretty sure that more than one religious person on this website would be capable of slaughtering you in a debate.

Any atheist or agnostic could annihilate you in a debate. See how easy that was? :)

Not that easy, considering I'm not the one going around trash-talking the argumentative competency of an entire group of people. See how easy that was?

I'm sorry, I can't control myself when it comes to arguments that are by nature erroneous beyond any shred of merit.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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11/20/2011 9:23:18 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 9:12:07 PM, Rusty wrote:
At 11/20/2011 9:11:01 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 11/20/2011 9:01:02 PM, 000ike wrote:

Any atheist or agnostic could annihilate you in a debate. See how easy that was? :)

The difference is he's not making ridiculous claims like you are.

What, so you're still granting him that though? ;)

Lol. My bad.
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Rusty
Posts: 2,109
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11/20/2011 9:27:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 9:14:13 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 11/20/2011 9:07:00 PM, Rusty wrote:
At 11/20/2011 9:01:02 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 11/20/2011 8:53:39 PM, Rusty wrote:
At 11/20/2011 8:38:28 PM, 000ike wrote:
The argument contains a contradiction within its very fibers. Its supposedly impossible for things to exist without cause (an unproved assertion), but then it proceeds to assert that god exists without cause.

Does any modern rendition of the argument actually contain that premise as you've stated it? I've seen both "every finite and contingent being..." and "whatever begins to exist...", but I don't think I've seen too much of the "everything has a cause."

Wheres the difference, its still a massive unfounded assertion.

The difference is that one takes into account contingencies and whatnot, and one is a sweeping statement about, well, everything.

Irrelevant. You have still yet to prove or even address how the cosmological argument is not just a highflown assertion of unassessable qualities of the universe. And you have also yet to address its contradictory logic. God exists and therefore must have cause. But he doesn't?

Relevant. Your contradiction quite possible depends on a premise that might not even be used.

P1. [?]
P2. God exists.
C1. Therefore, God must have a cause.

Obviously, if P1 is actually "Everything that begins to exist" or "Every finite and contingent being" instead of just flat-out "Everything has a cause", then you can't come to C1 above with the traditional view of God.




You will notice that the Christians on this website are either silent, or the ones that do try to defend their claims are a bit psychotic. Never use intellectual reasoning to defend this religion, its argument suicide.

I'm pretty sure that more than one religious person on this website would be capable of slaughtering you in a debate.

Any atheist or agnostic could annihilate you in a debate. See how easy that was? :)

Not that easy, considering I'm not the one going around trash-talking the argumentative competency of an entire group of people. See how easy that was?

I'm sorry, I can't control myself when it comes to arguments that are by nature erroneous beyond any shred of merit.

Great.
Chrysippus
Posts: 2,173
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11/20/2011 10:14:03 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 8:38:28 PM, 000ike wrote:

You will notice that the Christians on this website are either silent, or the ones that do try to defend their claims are a bit psychotic. Never use intellectual reasoning to defend this religion, its argument suicide.

The vast majority of these threads are either created specifically to tell the Christians on this website that they are stupid ignoramuses that should just die already, or they quickly become such. I (and I assume many other Christians and assorted theists on here) refuse to be drawn into defending our beliefs to pad the egos of 15-year-olds; especially when many of those highschoolers have no deeper understanding of the issue than a hasty reading of Dawkins.

The various cosmological arguments are not without merit, despite your strawman mockery of it; but arguing this on an internet thread against every junior-high student out to prove that he is smarter than any grandpa and psycho who dares to still believe that there might be a God - well pardon me, but I don't see how this thread will change anything.

*totters off to rejoin the ranks of the silent psychotic has-beens*
Cavete mea inexorabilis legiones mimus!
JustCallMeTarzan
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11/21/2011 5:23:41 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
The CA has two different problems:

If there is a premise - "Every thing that begins to exist has a cause" which of course has the hidden premise that things begin to exist - then concerning God, we arrive at the conclusion that either God is not a thing, or God did not begin to exist.

Clearly, non-things do not exist. And unless something has always existed without beginning, clearly things that did not begin to exist also do not exist.

So now we have the first abandonment of a premise - God is a thing that did not begin to exist. The causal connection is also abandoned here - things that don't begin to exist are not caused.

The question remains then: If not all things in fact begin to exist, why could not the universe have never begun to exist? And second, if we abandon causality for these things, why bother believing the first premise?

The second problem is quite simple: No CA can deliver any specific god... nor can any of them make a legitimate jump from "first cause" to "that cause was god" and still retain a meaning of "god" that is anything close to how people conceptualize the term.
Cerebral_Narcissist
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11/21/2011 5:36:43 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 9:04:37 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 11/20/2011 8:38:28 PM, 000ike wrote:
The argument contains a contradiction within its very fibers. Its supposedly impossible for things to exist without cause (an unproved assertion), but then it proceeds to assert that god exists without cause.

You will notice that the Christians on this website are either silent, or the ones that do try to defend their claims are a bit psychotic. Never use intellectual reasoning to defend this religion, its argument suicide.

I am saddened that you decided to cast dispersion on people's character and mental state than offer a valid refutation.

Why use ad hominem fallacies? Why be like Izbo and C_N?

I don't use ad hominem fallcies.

I insult out of frustration in the absence of an opposing argument and the mental deficiencies of my opponent.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
CosmicAlfonzo
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11/21/2011 8:23:49 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Things don't really begin to exist anyway. Things don't even exist!
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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11/21/2011 9:00:07 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 8:32:04 PM, Yarely wrote:
Why or why not do you think the cosmological argument is valid

It's valid in the logical sense:

1. All B are C.
2. U is a B.
3. Therefore U is a C.

It's not sound (or, at least, has never been demonstrated to be sound).
Dan4reason
Posts: 1,168
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11/21/2011 9:46:18 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/20/2011 10:14:03 PM, Chrysippus wrote:
At 11/20/2011 8:38:28 PM, 000ike wrote:

You will notice that the Christians on this website are either silent, or the ones that do try to defend their claims are a bit psychotic. Never use intellectual reasoning to defend this religion, its argument suicide.

The vast majority of these threads are either created specifically to tell the Christians on this website that they are stupid ignoramuses that should just die already, or they quickly become such. I (and I assume many other Christians and assorted theists on here) refuse to be drawn into defending our beliefs to pad the egos of 15-year-olds; especially when many of those highschoolers have no deeper understanding of the issue than a hasty reading of Dawkins.

The various cosmological arguments are not without merit, despite your strawman mockery of it; but arguing this on an internet thread against every junior-high student out to prove that he is smarter than any grandpa and psycho who dares to still believe that there might be a God - well pardon me, but I don't see how this thread will change anything.

*totters off to rejoin the ranks of the silent psychotic has-beens*

Richard Dawkins is a smart guy even if he is a little crazy.

The problem with the cosmological argument is the premise that says that the universe began to exist. If we mean the universe as all the exist both within this universe and outside it and time, that statement is baseless.
popculturepooka
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11/21/2011 1:39:23 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Okay, seriously, I think about 95% of the objectors here to any version of the cosmological argument need to read the following article very carefully. It's kind of long but it shouldn't take more than 30 minutes to read and is well worth the read.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...
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popculturepooka
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11/21/2011 1:48:00 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Let's let Feser handle this gem:

At 11/20/2011 8:38:28 PM, 000ike wrote:
The argument contains a contradiction within its very fibers. Its supposedly impossible for things to exist without cause (an unproved assertion), but then it proceeds to assert that god exists without cause.


"1. The argument does NOT rest on the premise that 'Everything has a cause.'

Lots of people – probably most people who have an opinion on the matter – think that the cosmological argument goes like this: Everything has a cause; so the universe has a cause; so God exists. They then have no trouble at all poking holes in it. If everything has a cause, then what caused God? Why assume in the first place that everything has to have a cause? Why assume the cause is God? Etc.

Here's the funny thing, though. People who attack this argument never tell you where they got it from. They never quote anyone defending it. There's a reason for that. The reason is that none of the best-known proponents of the cosmological argument in the history of philosophy and theology ever gave this stupid argument. Not Plato, not Aristotle, not al-Ghazali, not Maimonides, not Aquinas, not Duns Scotus, not Leibniz, not Samuel Clarke, not Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, not Mortimer Adler, not William Lane Craig, not Richard Swinburne. And not anyone else either, as far as I know. (Your Pastor Bob doesn't count. I mean no one among prominent philosophers.) And yet it is constantly presented, not only by popular writers but even by some professional philosophers, as if it were 'the' 'basic' version of the cosmological argument, and as if every other version were essentially just a variation on it.

Don't take my word for it. The atheist Robin Le Poidevin, in his book Arguing for Atheism (which my critic Jason Rosenhouse thinks is pretty hot stuff) begins his critique of the cosmological argument by attacking a variation of the silly argument given above – though he admits that 'no-one has defended a cosmological argument of precisely this form'! So what's the point of attacking it? Why not start instead with what some prominent defender of the cosmological argument has actually said?

Suppose some creationist began his attack on Darwinism by assuring his readers that 'the basic' claim of the Darwinian account of human origins is that at some point in the distant past a monkey gave birth to a human baby. Suppose he provided no source for this claim – which, of course, he couldn't have, because no Darwinian has ever said such a thing – and suppose also that he admitted that no one has ever said it. But suppose further that he claimed that 'more sophisticated versions' of Darwinism were really just 'modifications' of this claim. Intellectually speaking, this would be utterly contemptible and sleazy. It would give readers the false impression that anything Darwinians have to say about human origins, however superficially sophisticated, is really just a desperate exercise in patching up a manifestly absurd position. Precisely for that reason, though, such a procedure would, rhetorically speaking, be very effective indeed.

Compare that to Le Poidevin's procedure. Though by his own admission no one has ever actually defended the feeble argument in question, Le Poidevin still calls it the basic' version of the cosmological argument and characterizes the 'more sophisticated versions' he considers later on as 'modifications' of it. Daniel Dennett does something similar in his book Breaking the Spell. He assures us that the lame argument in question is 'the simplest form' of the cosmological argument and falsely insinuates that other versions – that is to say, the ones that philosophers have actually defended, and which Dennett does not bother to discuss – are merely desperate attempts to repair the obvious problems with the 'Everything has a cause' 'version.' As with our imaginary creationist, this procedure is intellectually dishonest and sleazy, but it is rhetorically very effective. It gives the unwary reader the false impression that 'the basic' claim made by Aristotle, Aquinas, Leibniz, et al. is manifestly absurd, that everything else they have to say is merely an attempt to patch up this absurd position, and (therefore) that such writers need not be bothered with further.

And that, I submit, is the reason why the stupid 'Everything has a cause' argument – a complete fabrication, an urban legend, something no philosopher has ever defended – perpetually haunts the debate over the cosmological argument. It gives atheists an easy target, and a way rhetorically to make even their most sophisticated opponents seem silly and not worth bothering with. It‘s a slimy debating trick, nothing more – a shameless exercise in what I have elsewhere called 'meta-sophistry.' (I make no judgment about whether Le Poidevin's or Dennett's sleaziness was deliberate. But that they should know better is beyond question.)

What defenders of the cosmological argument do say is that what comes into existence has a cause, or that what is contingent has a cause. These claims are as different from 'Everything has a cause' as 'Whatever has color is extended' is different from 'Everything is extended.' Defenders of the cosmological argument also provide arguments for these claims about causation. You may disagree with the claims – though if you think they are falsified by modern physics, you are sorely mistaken – but you cannot justly accuse the defender of the cosmological argument either of saying something manifestly silly or of contradicting himself when he goes on to say that God is uncaused.

This gives us what I regard as 'the basic' test for determining whether an atheist is informed and intellectually honest. If he thinks that the cosmological argument rests on the claim that 'everything has a cause,' then he is simply ignorant of the basic facts. If he persists in asserting that it rests on this claim after being informed otherwise, then he is intellectually dishonest. And if he is an academic philosopher like Le Poidevin or Dennett who is professionally obligated to know these things and to eschew cheap debating tricks, then… well, you do the math."

edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/07/so-you-think-you-understand.html
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izbo10
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11/21/2011 1:48:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
so easily destroyed here http://wiki.ironchariots.org...
DDO's marketing strategy has certainly paid off just not sure I agree with the target market: http://tinypic.com...
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popculturepooka
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11/21/2011 2:00:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Let's let Feser handle this one as well:

At 11/21/2011 5:23:41 AM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
The CA has two different problems:

If there is a premise - "Every thing that begins to exist has a cause" which of course has the hidden premise that things begin to exist - then concerning God, we arrive at the conclusion that either God is not a thing, or God did not begin to exist.

Clearly, non-things do not exist. And unless something has always existed without beginning, clearly things that did not begin to exist also do not exist.

So now we have the first abandonment of a premise - God is a thing that did not begin to exist. The causal connection is also abandoned here - things that don't begin to exist are not caused.


Pretty much already dealt with by the earlier Feser quote.

The question remains then: If not all things in fact begin to exist, why could not the universe have never begun to exist? And second, if we abandon causality for these things, why bother believing the first premise?


"3. "Why assume that the universe had a beginning?" is not a serious objection to the argument.

The reason this is not a serious objection is that no version of the cosmological argument assumes this at all. Of course, the kalām cosmological argument does claim that the universe had a beginning, but it doesn't merely assume it. Rather, the whole point of that version of the cosmological argument is to establish through detailed argument that the universe must have had a beginning. You can try to rebut those arguments, but to pretend that one can dismiss the argument merely by raising the possibility of an infinite series of universes (say) is to miss the whole point.

The main reason this is a bad objection, though, is that most versions of the cosmological argument do not even claim that the universe had a beginning. Aristotelian, Neo-Platonic, Thomistic, and Leibnizian cosmological arguments are all concerned to show that there must be an uncaused cause even if the universe has always existed. Of course, Aquinas did believe that the world had a beginning, but (as all Aquinas scholars know) that is not a claim that plays any role in his versions of the cosmological argument. When he argues there that there must be a First Cause, he doesn't mean "first" in the order of events extending backwards into the past. What he means is that there must be a most fundamental cause of things which keeps them in existence at every moment, whether or not the series of moments extends backwards into the past without a beginning.

In fact, Aquinas rather famously rejected what is now known as the kalām argument. He did not think that the claim that the universe had a beginning could be established through philosophical arguments. He thought it could be known only via divine revelation, and thus was not suitable for use in trying to establish God's existence. (Here, by the way, is another basic test of competence to speak on this subject. Any critic of the Five Ways who claims that Aquinas was trying to show that the universe had a beginning and that God caused that beginning – as Richard Dawkins does in his comments on the Third Way in The God Delusion – infallibly demonstrates thereby that he simply doesn't know what he is talking about.)"

The second problem is quite simple: No CA can deliver any specific god... nor can any of them make a legitimate jump from "first cause" to "that cause was god" and still retain a meaning of "god" that is anything close to how people conceptualize the term.

"4. "No one has given any reason to think that the First Cause is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, etc." is not a serious objection to the argument.

People who make this claim – like, again, Dawkins in The God Delusion – show thereby that they haven't actually read the writers they are criticizing. They are typically relying on what other uninformed people have said about the argument, or at most relying on excerpts ripped from context and stuck into some anthology (as Aquinas's Five Ways so often are). Aquinas in fact devotes hundreds of pages across various works to showing that a First Cause of things would have to be all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, and so on and so forth. Other Scholastic writers and modern writers like Leibniz and Samuel Clarke also devote detailed argumentation to establishing that the First Cause would have to have the various divine attributes.

Of course, an atheist might try to rebut these various arguments. But to pretend that they don't exist – that is to say, to pretend, as so many do, that defenders of the cosmological argument typically make an undefended leap from "There is a First Cause" to "There is a cause of the world that is all-powerful, all-knowing, etc." – is, once again, simply to show that one doesn't know what one is talking about."

And a related response to what JCMT has similarly said in the past:

"5. "The argument doesn't prove that Christianity is true" is not a serious objection to the argument.

No one claims that the cosmological argument by itself suffices to show that Christianity is true, that Jesus of Nazareth was God Incarnate, etc. That's not what it is intended to do. It is intended to establish only what Christians, Jews, Muslims, philosophical theists, and other monotheists hold in common, viz. the view that there is a divine cause of the universe. Establishing the truth of specifically Christian claims about this divine cause requires separate arguments, and no one has ever pretended otherwise.

It would also obviously be rather silly for an atheist to pretend that unless the argument gets you all the way to proving the truth of Christianity, specifically, then there is no point in considering it. For if the argument works, that would suffice all by itself to refute atheism. It would show that the real debate is not between atheism and theism, but between the various brands of theism. "

edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/07/so-you-think-you-understand.html
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
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Zetsubou
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11/21/2011 2:21:05 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I was going fine until this rubbish came up:

The cosmological argument in its historically most influential versions is not concerned to show that there is a cause of things which just happens not to have a cause. It is not interested in "brute facts" – if it were, then yes, positing the world as the ultimate brute fact might arguably be as defensible as taking God to be. On the contrary, the cosmological argument – again, at least as its most prominent defenders (Aristotle, Aquinas, Leibniz, et al.) present it – is concerned with trying to show that not everything can be a "brute fact." What it seeks to show is that if there is to be an ultimate explanation of things, then there must be a cause of everything else which not only happens to exist, but which could not even in principle have failed to exist. And that is why it is said to be uncaused – not because it is an arbitrary exception to a general rule, not because it merely happens to be uncaused, but rather because it is not the sort of thing that can even in principle be said to have had a cause, precisely because it could not even in principle have failed to exist in the first place. And the argument doesn't merely assume or stipulate that the first cause is like this; on the contrary, the whole point of the argument is to try to show that there must be something like this.

Different versions of the cosmological argument approach this task in different ways. Aristotelian versions argue that change – the actualization of the potentials inherent in things – cannot in principle occur unless there is a cause that is "pure actuality," and thus can actualize other things without itself having to be actualized. Neo-Platonic versions argue that composite things cannot in principle exist unless there is a cause of things that is absolutely unified or non-composite. Thomists not only defend the Aristotelian versions, but also argue that whatever has an essence or nature distinct from its existence – so that it must derive existence from something outside it – must ultimately be caused by something whose essence just is existence, and which qua existence or being itself need not derive its existence from another. Leibnizian versions argue that whatever does not have the sufficient reason for its existence in itself must ultimately derive its existence from something which does have within itself a sufficient reason for its existence, and which is in that sense necessary rather than contingent. And so forth. (Note that I am not defending or even stating the arguments here, but merely giving single sentence summaries of the general approach several versions of the arguments take.)

So, to ask "What caused God?" really amounts to asking "What caused the thing that cannot in principle have had a cause?"

It's one garrulous non sequitur.
'sup DDO -- july 2013
popculturepooka
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11/21/2011 2:24:19 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/21/2011 2:21:05 PM, Zetsubou wrote:
I was going fine until this rubbish came up:

The cosmological argument in its historically most influential versions is not concerned to show that there is a cause of things which just happens not to have a cause. It is not interested in "brute facts" – if it were, then yes, positing the world as the ultimate brute fact might arguably be as defensible as taking God to be. On the contrary, the cosmological argument – again, at least as its most prominent defenders (Aristotle, Aquinas, Leibniz, et al.) present it – is concerned with trying to show that not everything can be a "brute fact." What it seeks to show is that if there is to be an ultimate explanation of things, then there must be a cause of everything else which not only happens to exist, but which could not even in principle have failed to exist. And that is why it is said to be uncaused – not because it is an arbitrary exception to a general rule, not because it merely happens to be uncaused, but rather because it is not the sort of thing that can even in principle be said to have had a cause, precisely because it could not even in principle have failed to exist in the first place. And the argument doesn't merely assume or stipulate that the first cause is like this; on the contrary, the whole point of the argument is to try to show that there must be something like this.

Different versions of the cosmological argument approach this task in different ways. Aristotelian versions argue that change – the actualization of the potentials inherent in things – cannot in principle occur unless there is a cause that is "pure actuality," and thus can actualize other things without itself having to be actualized. Neo-Platonic versions argue that composite things cannot in principle exist unless there is a cause of things that is absolutely unified or non-composite. Thomists not only defend the Aristotelian versions, but also argue that whatever has an essence or nature distinct from its existence – so that it must derive existence from something outside it – must ultimately be caused by something whose essence just is existence, and which qua existence or being itself need not derive its existence from another. Leibnizian versions argue that whatever does not have the sufficient reason for its existence in itself must ultimately derive its existence from something which does have within itself a sufficient reason for its existence, and which is in that sense necessary rather than contingent. And so forth. (Note that I am not defending or even stating the arguments here, but merely giving single sentence summaries of the general approach several versions of the arguments take.)

So, to ask "What caused God?" really amounts to asking "What caused the thing that cannot in principle have had a cause?"

It's one garrulous non sequitur.

And how do you support that claim?
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
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Zetsubou
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11/21/2011 2:25:41 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
And finally, this:
Other Scholastic writers and modern writers like Leibniz and Samuel Clarke also devote detailed argumentation to establishing that the First Cause would have to have the various divine attributes.

So... how?
'sup DDO -- july 2013
popculturepooka
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11/21/2011 2:26:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/21/2011 2:25:41 PM, Zetsubou wrote:
And finally, this:
Other Scholastic writers and modern writers like Leibniz and Samuel Clarke also devote detailed argumentation to establishing that the First Cause would have to have the various divine attributes.

So... how?

How about you read their work?
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
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Zetsubou
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11/21/2011 2:34:34 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/21/2011 2:26:37 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 11/21/2011 2:25:41 PM, Zetsubou wrote:
So... how?

How about you read their work?
Sure, I guess I could read page after page of antiquated prose but why should I when the genius himself is here on DDO? I trust that you're more than able to reiterate all that wisdom so that my little mind may understand.

Sharing for others, a comment on his blog:
I count fifty-some-odd paragraphs explaining the ridiculous ways in which various less-gifted folks have misunderstood a simple argument.

Perhaps Feser could just present the argument?

The smarter you are, the harder you have to work to believe.
'sup DDO -- july 2013
popculturepooka
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11/21/2011 2:47:48 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/21/2011 2:34:34 PM, Zetsubou wrote:
At 11/21/2011 2:26:37 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 11/21/2011 2:25:41 PM, Zetsubou wrote:
So... how?

How about you read their work?
Sure, I guess I could read page after page of antiquated prose but why should I when the genius himself is here on DDO? I trust that you're more than able to reiterate all that wisdom so that my little mind may understand.


There's more modern translations of their work. And you should because it's best to get the arguments from the horses mouth if you're so doubtful about them. And, no, I don't feel like it (in the case of Leibiniz) and in some cases I don't know their work too well to feel I am representing them correctly (in the case of Clarke).

Sharing for others, a comment on his blog:
I count fifty-some-odd paragraphs explaining the ridiculous ways in which various less-gifted folks have misunderstood a simple argument.

Perhaps Feser could just present the argument?

The smarter you are, the harder you have to work to believe.

He has presented the argument in two of his books. If you want to know you should just read the books.

As he said:

"I'm not going to present and defend any version of the cosmological argument here. I've done that at length in my books Aquinas and The Last Superstition, and it needs to be done at length rather than in the context of a blog post. The reason is that, while the basic structure of the main versions of the argument is fairly simple, the background metaphysics necessary to a proper understanding of the key terms and inferences is not. It needs some spelling out, which is why Aquinas and The Last Superstition each devote a long chapter to general metaphysics before addressing the question of God's existence. The serious objections to the argument can in my view all be answered, but that too can properly be done only after the background ideas have been set out. And that too is a task carried out in the books."
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!