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Rebuttal to joneszj's article

DakotaKrafick
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3/5/2012 2:12:22 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
joneszj said this in another thread: "If you can give a decent rebuttal to the below article I might actually start taking you seriously.
http://carm.org... "

It was addressed to someone else, but I'd like to give it a shot anyway. At first glance, the article seemed to be full of holes and assumptions, but upon further scrutiny, it's clear that it really is just full of holes and assumptions.

(Henceforth, all italicized text will be direct quotes from the article. Let's see what insight into our universe's origins it can offer us.)

[...] we need to go way back and ask, where did the universe come from? You see, whatever has come into existence was caused to come into existence by something else.

Almost immediately we run into an assumption. It's not totally baseless, as many things we know of have causes. We all know the spiel about paintings and painters and building and builders, et cetera.

But to say EVERYTHING that comes into existence was caused by something else really is extrapolating our limited knowledge to extents it ought not to be. Composition is the fallacy where someone assumes something is true for all of a whole because it's true for some of the whole (ie; all of the women I've ever met have been single; therefore, all women must be single). Strike one for the article.

If the atheist said the universe has always existed, that doesn't work either because that would mean the universe was infinitely old. [...] in order to get to the present in an infinitely old universe, an infinite amount of time would have to be crossed. But, it is impossible to cross an infinite amount of time to get to now.

Did everyone read that? It's important so I'll reiterate what the author is postulating: There can be no such thing as an infinite regress in time. Time cannot be infinitely old, because then it would be impossible for the present to exist (according to this article anyhow).

Moving on...

A rock doesn't suddenly change from being a rock into say an axe head unless acted upon by something else. For matter and energy to change and form something new, they must be acted upon from the outside.

It's true that a rock doesn't shape itself into a perfectly-shaped axe head unless a human does so. Does that mean all changes in matter and energy can only be done by conscious creatures? Of course not, as I'm sure everyone already knows.

Since the universe had a beginning in time, and since matter and energy do not spontaneously change and arrange themselves into something new, then the best explanation for the cause of the universe is an action that was a decision.

Suddenly, the author has changed his stance from "matter and energy do not change form unless acted upon externally" to "matter and energy do not change form unless acted upon externally and unless that act is an intelligent decision made by a sentient being". There is a huge gap between point A and point B of the article, and I wish I could say I quote-mined or something, but I see nothing of substance linking A and B. He gives no reason why this external cause could not be impersonal (other than what he said in the beginning about energy and matter being impossible to have always existed, but that is about to be refuted as well). Strike two.

In other words, a decision to act at a specific time in the past is the best explanation of the existence of the universe. Of course, we Christians would say this decision was made by a personal being who we call God.

Of course you Christians do. What else would you call it? Quantum fluctuations? Nah. Anyway, notice how the author says that this God made a decision to create the universe at some specific time in the past.

But, wait a second... there's something clearly wrong here. I have an objection.

Okay, finally, even though it isn't necessary in this video, I'll deal with one of the standard objections atheists have when this topic comes up. What brought God into existence?

The answer is simple. Nothing brought him into existence. He has always existed.

Okay, thanks, but that isn't my objection. My objection is how did an infinite amount of time pass to get to the point when this God (who always existed) decided to create the universe? You just said it's impossible to have an infinite regression in time.

The author doesn't even try to explain this by saying God exists outside of time (as many theists do). He outright said there was a time when God made this decision. In the words of Phoenix Wright, "That's a contradiction!" Striiiiike three!

Anyone want to go into extra innings or are we done with this article's vacuous conjecture?
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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3/5/2012 2:45:07 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Matt Slick is no William Craig.

"Whatever caused the universe, existed before the universe."

Nope, it accepted by most there is no "time" absent the universe, for something to exist "before" means to exist in a temporal relations. No time absent the universe, means no temporal relations, which means nothing exists "before" the universe, yes including God.

"Since the universe had a beginning in time,"

Did it ? If the universe occupies all the points on the time line then it has "always" existed, thus it did not begin to exist ?

"and since matter and energy do not spontaneously change and arrange themselves into something new, then the best explanation for the cause of the universe is an action that was a decision."

Matter and energy change thus the cause of the change must be personal ? why not non personal ?

"You see? The atheists have nothing to offer us with the important issue of explaining how we got here"

Yeah, atheism couldn't explain lighting either, so we were told, well must be God. God of the gaps.

But if we want to play the explain it to me game, how does a God create a universe from no pre-existing matter ? can you explain that to me ? how does it work ? Don't just tell me God created the universe from nothing cause he has that ability, explain how he did it, can you explain that to me ? well can ya ?

Tide goes in, tides goes out, never a mis-communication
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
joneszj
Posts: 1,202
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3/5/2012 10:36:08 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/5/2012 2:12:22 AM, DakotaKrafick wrote:
joneszj said this in another thread: "If you can give a decent rebuttal to the below article I might actually start taking you seriously.
http://carm.org... "

Thanks :-) I am happy you took the time to give your input!

It was addressed to someone else, but I'd like to give it a shot anyway. At first glance, the article seemed to be full of holes and assumptions, but upon further scrutiny, it's clear that it really is just full of holes and assumptions.

(Henceforth, all italicized text will be direct quotes from the article. Let's see what insight into our universe's origins it can offer us.)

[...] we need to go way back and ask, where did the universe come from? You see, whatever has come into existence was caused to come into existence by something else.

Almost immediately we run into an assumption. It's not totally baseless, as many things we know of have causes. We all know the spiel about paintings and painters and building and builders, et cetera.

But to say EVERYTHING that comes into existence was caused by something else really is extrapolating our limited knowledge to extents it ought not to be. Composition is the fallacy where someone assumes something is true for all of a whole because it's true for some of the whole (ie; all of the women I've ever met have been single; therefore, all women must be single). Strike one for the article.

Can you give me an example of things that happen without a cause? I can understand it being a falacy but that would not make it unreasonable or false. I know of nothing that can cause itself, but am open to possibilities.

If the atheist said the universe has always existed, that doesn't work either because that would mean the universe was infinitely old. [...] in order to get to the present in an infinitely old universe, an infinite amount of time would have to be crossed. But, it is impossible to cross an infinite amount of time to get to now.

Did everyone read that? It's important so I'll reiterate what the author is postulating: There can be no such thing as an infinite regress in time. Time cannot be infinitely old, because then it would be impossible for the present to exist (according to this article anyhow).

Isn't he just pointing out an infinite regressive fallacy?

Moving on...

A rock doesn't suddenly change from being a rock into say an axe head unless acted upon by something else. For matter and energy to change and form something new, they must be acted upon from the outside.

It's true that a rock doesn't shape itself into a perfectly-shaped axe head unless a human does so. Does that mean all changes in matter and energy can only be done by conscious creatures? Of course not, as I'm sure everyone already knows.

I don't think he is arguing that a consciece being can only change matter or energy. I believe he was just using an example to show that if anything happens it originally had a cause.

Since the universe had a beginning in time, and since matter and energy do not spontaneously change and arrange themselves into something new, then the best explanation for the cause of the universe is an action that was a decision.

Suddenly, the author has changed his stance from "matter and energy do not change form unless acted upon externally" to "matter and energy do not change form unless acted upon externally and unless that act is an intelligent decision made by a sentient being". There is a huge gap between point A and point B of the article, and I wish I could say I quote-mined or something, but I see nothing of substance linking A and B. He gives no reason why this external cause could not be impersonal (other than what he said in the beginning about energy and matter being impossible to have always existed, but that is about to be refuted as well). Strike two.

I don't see your refutation below. He does however come to the conlusion that a personal cause of the universe best fits logically because 1) the universe cannot have been in existance an infinite time ago and 2) it could not cause itself.

In other words, a decision to act at a specific time in the past is the best explanation of the existence of the universe. Of course, we Christians would say this decision was made by a personal being who we call God.

Of course you Christians do. What else would you call it? Quantum fluctuations? Nah. Anyway, notice how the author says that this God made a decision to create the universe at some specific time in the past.

To decide implies a person. Nonsentient things do not decide. I suppose to be consistent with his argument when he says 'specific time in the past' he must be referring to the first moment of time.

But, wait a second... there's something clearly wrong here. I have an objection.

Okay, finally, even though it isn't necessary in this video, I'll deal with one of the standard objections atheists have when this topic comes up. What brought God into existence?

The answer is simple. Nothing brought him into existence. He has always existed.

Okay, thanks, but that isn't my objection. My objection is how did an infinite amount of time pass to get to the point when this God (who always existed) decided to create the universe? You just said it's impossible to have an infinite regression in time.

The link I provide below addresses this. It basically says that time did not exist prior to the creation of the universe. "There does not appear to be, therefore, any absurdity in the notion of a beginning of time. The idea of a 'time before time' is a mental construction only, a product of the imagination. In reality there seems to be no impossibility in having time arise concommitantly with the universe ex nihilo. Thus, on a Newtonian view of time, the universe arises in an absolute, undifferentiated time, while on a relational view of time, it comes into existence with time. "

This not something that I can argue very well but most 'apologists' argue that time is a property of matter, that time does not exist if matter does not exist. I have no clue of the validity of the argument but that is what I have heard when asking your question. Here is a link to such an explination: http://www.leaderu.com...

The author doesn't even try to explain this by saying God exists outside of time (as many theists do). He outright said there was a time when God made this decision. In the words of Phoenix Wright, "That's a contradiction!" Striiiiike three!

Matt was not addressing that issue (he has other pages for that). At 21 - 23 the article above attempts to explain God making decisions in eternity (timelessness).

Anyone want to go into extra innings or are we done with this article's vacuous conjecture?

Im willing :) The only theories I have heard that seem to fit the data are quantum fluctuations, multiverse, or a personal creator. QF I am still learning but it still begs the question where did the energy come from and why it 'flux's'. The multiverse theory apparently is loosing credibility. Even more, it is just as likely as the existence of God is and just as unprovable. Ill try to expound more when I can. Job is calling me.
DakotaKrafick
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3/5/2012 5:05:53 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/5/2012 10:36:08 AM, joneszj wrote:
Thanks :-) I am happy you took the time to give your input!

My pleasure.

Can you give me an example of things that happen without a cause? I can understand it being a falacy but that would not make it unreasonable or false. I know of nothing that can cause itself, but am open to possibilities.

To say you are open to the possibility that things which we don't yet know have causes (like the Big Bang) might not necessarily have one is to admit the entire article's banter is unsubstantiated at its very core.

While committing the fallacy doesn't necessarily mean the conclusion is false, it certainly doesn't help to support the validity of the method used to reach said conclusion.

Personally, I don't know whether the Big Bang had a cause or not, but the question is one for science, not philosophy unfortunately. The best we philosophers can do at this point is infer that believing the Big Bang must have had a cause, or must not have had a cause, are both unwarranted.

Isn't he just pointing out an infinite regressive fallacy?

The problem is he claims God has always existed, thus contradicting his own precious contention that infinite time cannot exist. I realize you (and many other theists) claim God exists outside of all time, but the author of the article never said anything of the sort; he seemed to make it quite clear that God made the decision to create the universe at a certain point in time.

I don't think he is arguing that a consciece being can only change matter or energy. I believe he was just using an example to show that if anything happens it originally had a cause.

I didn't mean to imply he was arguing that a conscious being must always be the cause of a change in matter and/or energy; I was merely making a clarification that the author seemed to find unnecessary.

I'm sure everyone, including the author, knows natural phenomena can cause a change in matter and energy, but he later seems to forget this as he expounds on his example of a human making an axe head by saying "because matter and energy don't spontaneously change themselves, the best explanation for the universe is an action that was a decision". He might as well have said "because matter and energy don't spontaneously change themselves, the best explanation for a volcano erupting is an action is a decision".

I don't see your refutation below. He does however come to the conlusion that a personal cause of the universe best fits logically because 1) the universe cannot have been in existance an infinite time ago and 2) it could not cause itself.

As previously mentioned, we can't say for certain it even had a cause. That's not to say the universe always existed, but that the Big Bang might have not had a cause.

To decide implies a person. Nonsentient things do not decide. I suppose to be consistent with his argument when he says 'specific time in the past' he must be referring to the first moment of time.

So it was the first moment of our universe's time that God decided to create the universe? I think God would have to decide to create the universe before the universe exists.

The link I provide below addresses this. It basically says that time did not exist prior to the creation of the universe. "There does not appear to be, therefore, any absurdity in the notion of a beginning of time. The idea of a 'time before time' is a mental construction only, a product of the imagination. In reality there seems to be no impossibility in having time arise concommitantly with the universe ex nihilo. Thus, on a Newtonian view of time, the universe arises in an absolute, undifferentiated time, while on a relational view of time, it comes into existence with time. "

This not something that I can argue very well but most 'apologists' argue that time is a property of matter, that time does not exist if matter does not exist. I have no clue of the validity of the argument but that is what I have heard when asking your question. Here is a link to such an explination: http://www.leaderu.com...

At least when theists say God exists in eternity, we can infer that claim means God has always existed. But when a theist says God exists in timelessness, or outside of time, then all I can infer from that is God never existed. And that there was no time for Him to ever make a decision or do anything.

For example, when a year passes in our universe, how much time will have passed in God's realm of timelessness? What about when ten years pass in our universe, or a million years, or a hundred-trillion years? How much time will have passed in a realm void of time? None of course: zero seconds, because seconds don't even exist. Nothing can ever happen or change in such a realm as actions and change necessitate time.

"A exists in the past" is to say that A at one point in time existed, and may or may not anymore.
"A exists in the present" is to say that A exists right now.
"A exists in the future" is to say that A will exist at some point in time from now.
"A exists in eternity" is to say A exists at all points in the past, present, and future.
"A exists in timelessness" is to say A exists at no points in the past, present, or future. That it never existed, doesn't exist, and never will exist. At least, that's what it means to me.

Matt was not addressing that issue (he has other pages for that). At 21 - 23 the article above attempts to explain God making decisions in eternity (timelessness).

If he, in another article, claims God exists in timelessness, then he still has contradicted himself, since he said God made the decision to create the universe at a specific point in time.

Im willing :) The only theories I have heard that seem to fit the data are quantum fluctuations, multiverse, or a personal creator. QF I am still learning but it still begs the question where did the energy come from and why it 'flux's'. The multiverse theory apparently is loosing credibility. Even more, it is just as likely as the existence of God is and just as unprovable. Ill try to expound more when I can. Job is calling me.

I know more about QF than multiverse, but both less than claims of God. Multiverse (or any claim of something existing outside of our own universe) seems to be, and probably can be, nothing more than pure speculation.

Even if we accept that QF don't perfectly illustrate the origins of the universe, in that some questions are still left unanswered, I don't see the problem in saying "I don't know why that is, and will continue to not know until further evidence is discovered".

Of course, we shouldn't necessarily be satisfied to say "I don't know" and end it at that (we should always continue to look for answers), but as I've said, these questions are for scientists, not philosophers. And when an answer is unknown, it is better to say "I don't know" until a later time than to assume.