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Understandable, Non-circular Argument for God

proglib
Posts: 391
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12/21/2012 10:09:36 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
As an agnostic I've long been puzzled by the belief in God. While there are some interesting arguments on DDO, including the Kalam cosmological argument, I have a hard time following the discussion much of the time. Though I'm no Wittgenstein, I have more training in logic and philosophy than the average person (or at least the average bear.:)

With this in mind, I pose a (simple?) question:

Can someone on DDO produce a relatively simple--understandable to a normal person--case for the existence of God that is not circular?

I add "not circular" because most of the arguments I hear from my normal friends and relatives are of the type "I believe because I have faith."

Lastly, though this is something of a challenge, in the sense of throwing down a gauntlet, I would like to think that I'm open minded and truly interested in a positive response that I can understand.

That is, I'm as much interested in working with you to produce an answer satisfactory to both of us as I am in being right.

Looking forward hopefully to the discussion.
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.* And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Except in a democracy it might lose you an election.

http://unitedwegovern.org...
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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12/21/2012 10:25:51 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I don't find most arguments for God circular. I don't find any of them cogent either but not because they commit circular reasoning.

I think a lot of people think arguments for God are circular because God so often has to be the exception to one of the premises. (e.g) First cause arguments have to leave God as uncaused. Aquinas's argument from the first mover must have God as the unmoved mover and most of his other arguments are like that too. The design argument exempts God from being designed (see Dawkins objection) and etc...

I don't particularly think those objections are good ones usually, especially Dawkins, because there's usually a reasonable explanation for why God would be exempted. For example, God can transcend time, thus does not need to have a beginning as well as not having to exist infinitely. Plus we know we can't have an infinite regress so something must be uncaused. Dawkins refutation is also just really weak. Most theists believe God is ontologically necessary or something of the sorts, meaning he wouldn't need to be designed. It does push theists into coming up with an explanation for why God exists, but it doesn't matter that he doesn't have to be designed by some greater being.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
1Devilsadvocate
Posts: 1,518
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12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/21/2012 11:24:59 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 10:09:36 AM, proglib wrote:
As an agnostic I've long been puzzled by the belief in God. While there are some interesting arguments on DDO, including the Kalam cosmological argument, I have a hard time following the discussion much of the time. Though I'm no Wittgenstein, I have more training in logic and philosophy than the average person (or at least the average bear.:)

With this in mind, I pose a (simple?) question:

Can someone on DDO produce a relatively simple--understandable to a normal person--case for the existence of God that is not circular?

I add "not circular" because most of the arguments I hear from my normal friends and relatives are of the type "I believe because I have faith."

Lastly, though this is something of a challenge, in the sense of throwing down a gauntlet, I would like to think that I'm open minded and truly interested in a positive response that I can understand.

That is, I'm as much interested in working with you to produce an answer satisfactory to both of us as I am in being right.

Looking forward hopefully to the discussion.


Arguments for god invariably presuppose god or are based on an outdated understanding of physics. I debated a theist on concerning whether or not natural laws proved the existence of god. I claimed that natural laws are descriptive of an objects behavior and do not dictate it. He claimed that objects can't do anything they were not made to do and of course god made them. I see this as circular. I would have to believe that objects can only do what they are made to do and the creator is assumed to be god.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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12/21/2012 11:35:51 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 10:09:36 AM, proglib wrote:
Can someone on DDO produce a relatively simple--understandable to a normal person--case for the existence of God that is not circular?

I'm not clean on what you're asking for because you're already familiar with the KCA, and I don't think it is circular (you haven't said so, anyway). And it seems to me a fairly simple argument.

There are other arguments, of course. There's the argument from contingency, there are the two Thomistic cosmological arguments, there's the moral argument, the argument from design, etc. The argument from design can be pretty complicated, but the rest of them are pretty simple. Especially the moral argument.

1. If there is no god of any kind, then there are no moral statements that are objectively true.
2. There are at least some moral statements that are objectively true.
3. Therefore, there is a god of some kind.

A circular argument is an argument that includes the conclusion either in one of the premises, or in the defense of one of the premises. Or, it's an argument for which the defense of one of the premises includes circular reasoning. I don't see that any of these arguments are circular. Even this one:

I add "not circular" because most of the arguments I hear from my normal friends and relatives are of the type "I believe because I have faith."

That's not a circular argument. It's not an argument at all. It's just a statement that the person believes. Granted, it is odd to that that you believe because you have faith given the fact that believing is part of what it means to have faith. But that's not a circular argument. At worst, that's just a tautology.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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12/21/2012 11:40:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

But in that case, isn't gravity the mover? In which case, this doesn't work as an objection to Thomas' argument.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/21/2012 12:46:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 11:40:06 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

But in that case, isn't gravity the mover? In which case, this doesn't work as an objection to Thomas' argument.

Natural laws are descriptive. They describe how things behave under certain circumstances. Two objects in the presence of one another move toward each other. They behave. They are not moved externally. See my post above where I talk about laws of nature being descriptive. We are accustomed to speaking a certain way from habit. People talk about laws being obeyed. In the case of nature laws describe behavior.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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12/21/2012 12:51:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 12:46:02 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:40:06 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

But in that case, isn't gravity the mover? In which case, this doesn't work as an objection to Thomas' argument.

Natural laws are descriptive. They describe how things behave under certain circumstances. Two objects in the presence of one another move toward each other. They behave. They are not moved externally. See my post above where I talk about laws of nature being descriptive. We are accustomed to speaking a certain way from habit. People talk about laws being obeyed. In the case of nature laws describe behavior.

Are you saying there's not really a force of gravity and that it just happens that objects move toward each other?
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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12/21/2012 1:07:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 12:51:18 PM, philochristos wrote:

Are you saying there's not really a force of gravity and that it just happens that objects move toward each other?

Gravity is a force. There exist forces and energy and matter in the universe. Are you saying that this energy/matter is god? If so, I would agree but I just wouldn't define it as "god." I would simply call it energy/matter.
1Devilsadvocate
Posts: 1,518
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12/21/2012 1:15:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 12:54:39 PM, drafterman wrote:
It's a moot point until you establish that the first mover is god.

Most evidence is like that, we observe a phenomena, & provide an explanation for it.

The theory of evolution is based on certain observations,
these observations make up the evidence for evolution.
One could argue that these observations are caused by something else,
but so long as evolution remains the most plausible explanation we stick with it.

If huge human foot prints were found (& it is clearly not a hoax), that would be evidence of "big foot", even though theoretically it could be something else.
We go with the most plausible explanation.

So until an explanation more plausible is found, the evidence for god stands.

It's not absolute proof, but it is a reasonable argument.
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
RationalMadman
Posts: 354
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12/21/2012 1:15:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 10:09:36 AM, proglib wrote:
As an agnostic I've long been puzzled by the belief in God. While there are some interesting arguments on DDO, including the Kalam cosmological argument, I have a hard time following the discussion much of the time. Though I'm no Wittgenstein, I have more training in logic and philosophy than the average person (or at least the average bear.:)

With this in mind, I pose a (simple?) question:

Can someone on DDO produce a relatively simple--understandable to a normal person--case for the existence of God that is not circular?

I add "not circular" because most of the arguments I hear from my normal friends and relatives are of the type "I believe because I have faith."

Lastly, though this is something of a challenge, in the sense of throwing down a gauntlet, I would like to think that I'm open minded and truly interested in a positive response that I can understand.

That is, I'm as much interested in working with you to produce an answer satisfactory to both of us as I am in being right.

Looking forward hopefully to the discussion.


Observe below:

1) Anything exists
2) It was thus created in some way or form
3) Thus a creator of some form is required
4) The only thing we know for sure exists is our realm, namely our 'universe'
5) Thus a creator of the univers eis logically required
6) If the creator exists without a creator is this impossible?
7) Not if it created itself.
8) How it this possible? In the exact same way that the universe generating itself from a singularity is possible.
The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

We didn't fight our way to the top of the food chain to be f***ng vegetarians.
1Devilsadvocate
Posts: 1,518
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12/21/2012 1:21:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

This is true. (I was giving the simplest, not the best. )

However, one could argue if it was just gravity, the big bang should have happened before it did. What was holding it back?
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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12/21/2012 1:22:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 1:15:35 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:54:39 PM, drafterman wrote:
It's a moot point until you establish that the first mover is god.

Most evidence is like that, we observe a phenomena, & provide an explanation for it.

The theory of evolution is based on certain observations,
these observations make up the evidence for evolution.
One could argue that these observations are caused by something else,
but so long as evolution remains the most plausible explanation we stick with it.

If huge human foot prints were found (& it is clearly not a hoax), that would be evidence of "big foot", even though theoretically it could be something else.
We go with the most plausible explanation.

So until an explanation more plausible is found, the evidence for god stands.

It's not absolute proof, but it is a reasonable argument.

You're confusing empiricism with rationalism. With deductive arguments (what is being asked here), a sound argument *is* absolute proof of the conclusion (inasmuch as we accept the premises). The problem is, your conclusion has nothing to do with god. You've proved a first mover. Unless you equate or deduce God from a first mover, you haven't proved god. NOTHING in your argument addresses the god question.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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12/21/2012 1:37:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 1:07:26 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:51:18 PM, philochristos wrote:

Are you saying there's not really a force of gravity and that it just happens that objects move toward each other?

Gravity is a force. There exist forces and energy and matter in the universe. Are you saying that this energy/matter is god? If so, I would agree but I just wouldn't define it as "god." I would simply call it energy/matter.

No, that's not what I'm saying.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/21/2012 1:41:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 12:51:18 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:46:02 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:40:06 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

But in that case, isn't gravity the mover? In which case, this doesn't work as an objection to Thomas' argument.

Natural laws are descriptive. They describe how things behave under certain circumstances. Two objects in the presence of one another move toward each other. They behave. They are not moved externally. See my post above where I talk about laws of nature being descriptive. We are accustomed to speaking a certain way from habit. People talk about laws being obeyed. In the case of nature laws describe behavior.

Are you saying there's not really a force of gravity and that it just happens that objects move toward each other?

Things behave and scientists describe the behavior. The formulas are subject to restatement (see http://www.eftaylor.com... ) and interpretation (see http://en.wikipedia.org...
) These do not change predictions, but have huge metaphysical import.

Classical Mechanics and Relativity Theory can be restated such as objects follow a path that optimizes a quantity. These are called the Principle of Least Action and The Principle of Maximal Aging respectively. The key is the objects follow these paths. This is essentially the case in QM as well, see the first link. It is very compelling that all three theories can be restated in a similar way. Objects follow a path. In the first two theories the path is predictable and in the third it is statistical.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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12/21/2012 1:49:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 1:41:20 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:51:18 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:46:02 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:40:06 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

But in that case, isn't gravity the mover? In which case, this doesn't work as an objection to Thomas' argument.

Natural laws are descriptive. They describe how things behave under certain circumstances. Two objects in the presence of one another move toward each other. They behave. They are not moved externally. See my post above where I talk about laws of nature being descriptive. We are accustomed to speaking a certain way from habit. People talk about laws being obeyed. In the case of nature laws describe behavior.

Are you saying there's not really a force of gravity and that it just happens that objects move toward each other?

Things behave and scientists describe the behavior. The formulas are subject to restatement (see http://www.eftaylor.com... ) and interpretation (see http://en.wikipedia.org...
) These do not change predictions, but have huge metaphysical import.

Classical Mechanics and Relativity Theory can be restated such as objects follow a path that optimizes a quantity. These are called the Principle of Least Action and The Principle of Maximal Aging respectively. The key is the objects follow these paths. This is essentially the case in QM as well, see the first link. It is very compelling that all three theories can be restated in a similar way. Objects follow a path. In the first two theories the path is predictable and in the third it is statistical.

That doesn't answer my question, though. I'm asking if you think there's a force of gravity that causes things to behave the way they do, or if things just happen to behave the way they do.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
proglib
Posts: 391
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12/21/2012 2:04:03 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 11:35:51 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:09:36 AM, proglib wrote:
Can someone on DDO produce a relatively simple--understandable to a normal person--case for the existence of God that is not circular?

I'm not clean on what you're asking for because you're already familiar with the KCA, and I don't think it is circular (you haven't said so, anyway). And it seems to me a fairly simple argument.

There are other arguments, of course. There's the argument from contingency, there are the two Thomistic cosmological arguments, there's the moral argument, the argument from design, etc. The argument from design can be pretty complicated, but the rest of them are pretty simple. Especially the moral argument.

1. If there is no god of any kind, then there are no moral statements that are objectively true.
2. There are at least some moral statements that are objectively true.
3. Therefore, there is a god of some kind.

A circular argument is an argument that includes the conclusion either in one of the premises, or in the defense of one of the premises. Or, it's an argument for which the defense of one of the premises includes circular reasoning. I don't see that any of these arguments are circular. Even this one:

I add "not circular" because most of the arguments I hear from my normal friends and relatives are of the type "I believe because I have faith."

That's not a circular argument. It's not an argument at all. It's just a statement that the person believes. Granted, it is odd to that that you believe because you have faith given the fact that believing is part of what it means to have faith. But that's not a circular argument. At worst, that's just a tautology.

Thanks for your thoughtful response philochristos.

My question is admittedly naive, and probably unfair, since I say I'm looking for an "understandable" argument--by definition understandable to me, which hamstrings responses quite a bit, LOL!

[We are getting on a plane, so I have to cut my response short, but will respond to both your point on KCA and your moral argument over the next couple days.]

Cheers
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.* And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Except in a democracy it might lose you an election.

http://unitedwegovern.org...
1Devilsadvocate
Posts: 1,518
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12/21/2012 2:09:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 1:22:43 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:15:35 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:54:39 PM, drafterman wrote:
It's a moot point until you establish that the first mover is god.

Most evidence is like that, we observe a phenomena, & provide an explanation for it.

The theory of evolution is based on certain observations,
these observations make up the evidence for evolution.
One could argue that these observations are caused by something else,
but so long as evolution remains the most plausible explanation we stick with it.

If huge human foot prints were found (& it is clearly not a hoax), that would be evidence of "big foot", even though theoretically it could be something else.
We go with the most plausible explanation.

So until an explanation more plausible is found, the evidence for god stands.

It's not absolute proof, but it is a reasonable argument.

You're confusing empiricism with rationalism. With deductive arguments (what is being asked here), a sound argument *is* absolute proof of the conclusion (inasmuch as we accept the premises). The problem is, your conclusion has nothing to do with god. You've proved a first mover. Unless you equate or deduce God from a first mover, you haven't proved god. NOTHING in your argument addresses the god question.

I'm not so sure that's what he was asking for.

Anyway why couldn't one just add the premises

That 1st mover is god. or something like that.
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/21/2012 2:56:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 1:49:11 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:41:20 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:51:18 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:46:02 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:40:06 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

But in that case, isn't gravity the mover? In which case, this doesn't work as an objection to Thomas' argument.

Natural laws are descriptive. They describe how things behave under certain circumstances. Two objects in the presence of one another move toward each other. They behave. They are not moved externally. See my post above where I talk about laws of nature being descriptive. We are accustomed to speaking a certain way from habit. People talk about laws being obeyed. In the case of nature laws describe behavior.

Are you saying there's not really a force of gravity and that it just happens that objects move toward each other?

Things behave and scientists describe the behavior. The formulas are subject to restatement (see http://www.eftaylor.com... ) and interpretation (see http://en.wikipedia.org...
) These do not change predictions, but have huge metaphysical import.

Classical Mechanics and Relativity Theory can be restated such as objects follow a path that optimizes a quantity. These are called the Principle of Least Action and The Principle of Maximal Aging respectively. The key is the objects follow these paths. This is essentially the case in QM as well, see the first link. It is very compelling that all three theories can be restated in a similar way. Objects follow a path. In the first two theories the path is predictable and in the third it is statistical.

That doesn't answer my question, though. I'm asking if you think there's a force of gravity that causes things to behave the way they do, or if things just happen to behave the way they do.

According to Einstein, gravity is explained by objects warping space and objects following the path of maximal aging. You have your causation backwards. There are no rubber bands pulling things together.
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/21/2012 3:02:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 2:09:43 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:22:43 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:15:35 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:54:39 PM, drafterman wrote:
It's a moot point until you establish that the first mover is god.

Most evidence is like that, we observe a phenomena, & provide an explanation for it.

The theory of evolution is based on certain observations,
these observations make up the evidence for evolution.
One could argue that these observations are caused by something else,
but so long as evolution remains the most plausible explanation we stick with it.

If huge human foot prints were found (& it is clearly not a hoax), that would be evidence of "big foot", even though theoretically it could be something else.
We go with the most plausible explanation.

So until an explanation more plausible is found, the evidence for god stands.

It's not absolute proof, but it is a reasonable argument.

You're confusing empiricism with rationalism. With deductive arguments (what is being asked here), a sound argument *is* absolute proof of the conclusion (inasmuch as we accept the premises). The problem is, your conclusion has nothing to do with god. You've proved a first mover. Unless you equate or deduce God from a first mover, you haven't proved god. NOTHING in your argument addresses the god question.

I'm not so sure that's what he was asking for.

Anyway why couldn't one just add the premises

That 1st mover is god. or something like that.

Because even in the metaphysics of 2000 years ago it is not even remotely obvious why the first mover has to be a who. It could be a what.
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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12/21/2012 4:09:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 2:09:43 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:22:43 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:15:35 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:54:39 PM, drafterman wrote:
It's a moot point until you establish that the first mover is god.

Most evidence is like that, we observe a phenomena, & provide an explanation for it.

The theory of evolution is based on certain observations,
these observations make up the evidence for evolution.
One could argue that these observations are caused by something else,
but so long as evolution remains the most plausible explanation we stick with it.

If huge human foot prints were found (& it is clearly not a hoax), that would be evidence of "big foot", even though theoretically it could be something else.
We go with the most plausible explanation.

So until an explanation more plausible is found, the evidence for god stands.

It's not absolute proof, but it is a reasonable argument.

You're confusing empiricism with rationalism. With deductive arguments (what is being asked here), a sound argument *is* absolute proof of the conclusion (inasmuch as we accept the premises). The problem is, your conclusion has nothing to do with god. You've proved a first mover. Unless you equate or deduce God from a first mover, you haven't proved god. NOTHING in your argument addresses the god question.

I'm not so sure that's what he was asking for.

How can you not be sure? He explicitly asked for an argument for God.


Anyway why couldn't one just add the premises

That 1st mover is god. or something like that.

Ok, and why should we accept that premise?
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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12/21/2012 5:21:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 2:56:40 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:49:11 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:41:20 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:51:18 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:46:02 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:40:06 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

But in that case, isn't gravity the mover? In which case, this doesn't work as an objection to Thomas' argument.

Natural laws are descriptive. They describe how things behave under certain circumstances. Two objects in the presence of one another move toward each other. They behave. They are not moved externally. See my post above where I talk about laws of nature being descriptive. We are accustomed to speaking a certain way from habit. People talk about laws being obeyed. In the case of nature laws describe behavior.

Are you saying there's not really a force of gravity and that it just happens that objects move toward each other?

Things behave and scientists describe the behavior. The formulas are subject to restatement (see http://www.eftaylor.com... ) and interpretation (see http://en.wikipedia.org...
) These do not change predictions, but have huge metaphysical import.

Classical Mechanics and Relativity Theory can be restated such as objects follow a path that optimizes a quantity. These are called the Principle of Least Action and The Principle of Maximal Aging respectively. The key is the objects follow these paths. This is essentially the case in QM as well, see the first link. It is very compelling that all three theories can be restated in a similar way. Objects follow a path. In the first two theories the path is predictable and in the third it is statistical.

That doesn't answer my question, though. I'm asking if you think there's a force of gravity that causes things to behave the way they do, or if things just happen to behave the way they do.

According to Einstein, gravity is explained by objects warping space and objects following the path of maximal aging. You have your causation backwards. There are no rubber bands pulling things together.

In that case, objects are the movers. They move space, and the bending of space moves other objects. So we're finally back to the beginning of our conversation.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/21/2012 6:38:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 5:21:30 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 2:56:40 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:49:11 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:41:20 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:51:18 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:46:02 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:40:06 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

But in that case, isn't gravity the mover? In which case, this doesn't work as an objection to Thomas' argument.

Natural laws are descriptive. They describe how things behave under certain circumstances. Two objects in the presence of one another move toward each other. They behave. They are not moved externally. See my post above where I talk about laws of nature being descriptive. We are accustomed to speaking a certain way from habit. People talk about laws being obeyed. In the case of nature laws describe behavior.

Are you saying there's not really a force of gravity and that it just happens that objects move toward each other?

Things behave and scientists describe the behavior. The formulas are subject to restatement (see http://www.eftaylor.com... ) and interpretation (see http://en.wikipedia.org...
) These do not change predictions, but have huge metaphysical import.

Classical Mechanics and Relativity Theory can be restated such as objects follow a path that optimizes a quantity. These are called the Principle of Least Action and The Principle of Maximal Aging respectively. The key is the objects follow these paths. This is essentially the case in QM as well, see the first link. It is very compelling that all three theories can be restated in a similar way. Objects follow a path. In the first two theories the path is predictable and in the third it is statistical.

That doesn't answer my question, though. I'm asking if you think there's a force of gravity that causes things to behave the way they do, or if things just happen to behave the way they do.

According to Einstein, gravity is explained by objects warping space and objects following the path of maximal aging. You have your causation backwards. There are no rubber bands pulling things together.

In that case, objects are the movers. They move space, and the bending of space moves other objects. So we're finally back to the beginning of our conversation.

The warping of space-time does not move other objects. Objects follow the path of maximal aging. The warping of space-time changes the path of maximal aging and the objects follow the new POMA. Space-time does not tug on the object.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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12/21/2012 7:15:34 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 6:38:20 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 5:21:30 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 2:56:40 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:49:11 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:41:20 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:51:18 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:46:02 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:40:06 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

But in that case, isn't gravity the mover? In which case, this doesn't work as an objection to Thomas' argument.

Natural laws are descriptive. They describe how things behave under certain circumstances. Two objects in the presence of one another move toward each other. They behave. They are not moved externally. See my post above where I talk about laws of nature being descriptive. We are accustomed to speaking a certain way from habit. People talk about laws being obeyed. In the case of nature laws describe behavior.

Are you saying there's not really a force of gravity and that it just happens that objects move toward each other?

Things behave and scientists describe the behavior. The formulas are subject to restatement (see http://www.eftaylor.com... ) and interpretation (see http://en.wikipedia.org...
) These do not change predictions, but have huge metaphysical import.

Classical Mechanics and Relativity Theory can be restated such as objects follow a path that optimizes a quantity. These are called the Principle of Least Action and The Principle of Maximal Aging respectively. The key is the objects follow these paths. This is essentially the case in QM as well, see the first link. It is very compelling that all three theories can be restated in a similar way. Objects follow a path. In the first two theories the path is predictable and in the third it is statistical.

That doesn't answer my question, though. I'm asking if you think there's a force of gravity that causes things to behave the way they do, or if things just happen to behave the way they do.

According to Einstein, gravity is explained by objects warping space and objects following the path of maximal aging. You have your causation backwards. There are no rubber bands pulling things together.

In that case, objects are the movers. They move space, and the bending of space moves other objects. So we're finally back to the beginning of our conversation.

The warping of space-time does not move other objects. Objects follow the path of maximal aging. The warping of space-time changes the path of maximal aging and the objects follow the new POMA. Space-time does not tug on the object.

Really? So if I jump out of an airplane, I won't actually move toward the earth? What do you mean by "follow the path" if it doesn't entail moving?
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/22/2012 3:46:49 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 7:15:34 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 6:38:20 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 5:21:30 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 2:56:40 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:49:11 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:41:20 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:51:18 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 12:46:02 PM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:40:06 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

But in that case, isn't gravity the mover? In which case, this doesn't work as an objection to Thomas' argument.

Natural laws are descriptive. They describe how things behave under certain circumstances. Two objects in the presence of one another move toward each other. They behave. They are not moved externally. See my post above where I talk about laws of nature being descriptive. We are accustomed to speaking a certain way from habit. People talk about laws being obeyed. In the case of nature laws describe behavior.

Are you saying there's not really a force of gravity and that it just happens that objects move toward each other?

Things behave and scientists describe the behavior. The formulas are subject to restatement (see http://www.eftaylor.com... ) and interpretation (see http://en.wikipedia.org...
) These do not change predictions, but have huge metaphysical import.

Classical Mechanics and Relativity Theory can be restated such as objects follow a path that optimizes a quantity. These are called the Principle of Least Action and The Principle of Maximal Aging respectively. The key is the objects follow these paths. This is essentially the case in QM as well, see the first link. It is very compelling that all three theories can be restated in a similar way. Objects follow a path. In the first two theories the path is predictable and in the third it is statistical.

That doesn't answer my question, though. I'm asking if you think there's a force of gravity that causes things to behave the way they do, or if things just happen to behave the way they do.

According to Einstein, gravity is explained by objects warping space and objects following the path of maximal aging. You have your causation backwards. There are no rubber bands pulling things together.

In that case, objects are the movers. They move space, and the bending of space moves other objects. So we're finally back to the beginning of our conversation.

The warping of space-time does not move other objects. Objects follow the path of maximal aging. The warping of space-time changes the path of maximal aging and the objects follow the new POMA. Space-time does not tug on the object.

Really? So if I jump out of an airplane, I won't actually move toward the earth? What do you mean by "follow the path" if it doesn't entail moving?

You will most certainly fall toward the Earth. Every particle in your body will be following the path of maximal aging which is toward the Earth.
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/22/2012 6:16:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 1:21:15 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

This is true. (I was giving the simplest, not the best. )

However, one could argue if it was just gravity, the big bang should have happened before it did. What was holding it back?

There was no time before the big bang. This is like asking what is north of the north pole. Time is a ray, not a line. Space-time is a cone. The point of the cone is the singularity.
proglib
Posts: 391
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12/22/2012 1:02:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 6:16:34 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 1:21:15 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:04:47 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:27:03 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Lets try this one:

The Thomistic Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
2. There exist beings in motion.
3. There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
4. Therefore, there must be a first mover.

The problem here is that it is based on an understanding of physics that goes back 2000 years and has been refuted. Two bodies at rest will begin to move simultaneously because of gravity. No one had to shove them.

This is true. (I was giving the simplest, not the best. )

However, one could argue if it was just gravity, the big bang should have happened before it did. What was holding it back?

There was no time before the big bang. This is like asking what is north of the north pole. Time is a ray, not a line. Space-time is a cone. The point of the cone is the singularity.

Thanks DA and SL for the discussion. You two are now well beyond me. :)

Though it takes the discussion back, here is my (almost) normal person response to TCA:

My difficulty with the Thomistic Cosmological Argument is similar to my difficulties with the KCA. While I respect that people use them for their belief in god, they both seem to me to do two things that don't help me believe in God:

1. They presume knowledge that to me seems unknowable to my finite brain, and;
2. they both seem to me to contradict themselves.

For TCA it looks like:
1. Whatever is in motion is moved by another;
EXCEPT
4. the first mover, which moves everything else.

Also, I don't see how an infinite being that is the first mover is any more possible, or perhaps understandable, than an infinite regression of moved things. Both are inconceivable to me.

Furthermore, all of the cosmological arguments don't seem sufficient to prove the existence of an infinitely intelligent, infinitely moral, infinitely powerful being. They just entail a first cause or first mover.

Thanks, again.
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.* And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Except in a democracy it might lose you an election.

http://unitedwegovern.org...
proglib
Posts: 391
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12/22/2012 1:24:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 11:35:51 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/21/2012 10:09:36 AM, proglib wrote:
Can someone on DDO produce a relatively simple--understandable to a normal person--case for the existence of God that is not circular?

I'm not clean on what you're asking for because you're already familiar with the KCA, and I don't think it is circular (you haven't said so, anyway). And it seems to me a fairly simple argument.

There are other arguments, of course. There's the argument from contingency, there are the two Thomistic cosmological arguments, there's the moral argument, the argument from design, etc. The argument from design can be pretty complicated, but the rest of them are pretty simple. Especially the moral argument.

1. If there is no god of any kind, then there are no moral statements that are objectively true.
2. There are at least some moral statements that are objectively true.
3. Therefore, there is a god of some kind.

A circular argument is an argument that includes the conclusion either in one of the premises, or in the defense of one of the premises. Or, it's an argument for which the defense of one of the premises includes circular reasoning. I don't see that any of these arguments are circular. Even this one:

I add "not circular" because most of the arguments I hear from my normal friends and relatives are of the type "I believe because I have faith."

That's not a circular argument. It's not an argument at all. It's just a statement that the person believes. Granted, it is odd to that that you believe because you have faith given the fact that believing is part of what it means to have faith. But that's not a circular argument. At worst, that's just a tautology.

Thanks again philochristos.

I'm not sure as an almost "normal" person I accept either of your premises as obvious. I would think to get further in the discussion, we would take the second one first:

"2. There are at least some moral statements that are objectively true."

What makes a moral statement objectively true?

If we agree on that, we could probably agree on some moral statements that are objectively true. However, that is a big "if" I think.

Even if we agree on 2, however, I've got a feeling that a normal person who does not already believe in God, would not necessarily agree with 1.

Cheers. I look forward to the discussion. (Hopefully it is not on too basic a level to be interesting.)
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.* And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Except in a democracy it might lose you an election.

http://unitedwegovern.org...