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s2dbaker
s2dbaker
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December 25th, 2013 at 8:24:25 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

A spiritual reality can by its definition exist eternally uncreated, for the universe of created matter to exist eternally would be a unique exception to what we know about it. I do not see how it makes any logical or scientific sense to believe in a universe that simply exists eternally uncreated.

Let us reverse those two statements.
Quote: Paraphrased

The universe of created matter to exist eternally would be a unique exception to what we know about it. I do not see how it makes any logical or scientific sense to believe in a universe that simply exists eternally uncreated however, a spiritual reality can by its definition exist eternally uncreated.

To simplify, a creator existed before creation. So here's the problem. What did the creator do before he created the universe? Time is a measure of change and without a universe full of measurable change, there is no time and by definition, no "before".

I would say that if you carve out an "uncreation" exception for the creator, then you have to carve out the exact same exception for creation. If you're doing that, then you may as well toss the superfluous creator.
Someday, joor goin' to see the name of Googie Gomez in lights and joor goin' to say to joorself, "Was that her?" and then joor goin' to answer to joorself, "That was her!" But you know somethin' mister? I was always her yuss nobody knows it! - Googie Gomez
FrGamble
FrGamble
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December 25th, 2013 at 8:28:25 PM permalink
Quote: Twirdman

I don't argue such a being doesn't exist based on experience there are some philosophical arguments based on logical truths that I think disprove God but that is quite different from saying I don't think a spiritual being exist so it doesn't. Also why would the universe or specifically the matter and energy that constitute it existing eternally be an exception to what we know. Energy and matter are not created or destroyed merely changed. Again though even if you claimed the universe had a beginning and an "unmoved mover" you can say nothing about it. Specifically you can't even say it has a mind and if it doesn't have a mind its meaningless to say it is God.

Also if divine revelation is credible simply because people believe it than all religions are true. Not just all currently existing religions but all religions that have ever existed. Odin, Zeus, Vishnu, and plenty of others have all been believed at one time or another. Even if you go with historical figures both Jesus and Mohammed are beings who most likely existed even if you doubt the historicity of many of their stories. Both have roughly a billion followers+ and both are celebrated figures claiming divine revelation. So fits exactly what you want. Christianity claims that there is a Trinitarian God and Jesus was the divine son of God Islam rejects both of these. How can you choose which is right with any measure of certainty. And thats just citing 2 Abrahamic faiths which agree on multiple fronts. Then you have Buddhism, Shinto, Hinduism, and countless others which have fairly large followings and completely disagree with the teachings of Christianity. So again the only way to say that divine revelation proofs Christianity right is to presuppose Christianity is right.



That is a very good point about matter and energy not being created or destroyed. However, I think you underestimate the importance in acknowledging the universe had a beginning and an "unmoved mover" even if that mover does not have any of the attributes or even resemble "God" as we commonly understand the term. Recognizing this fact breaks the tyranny of science. So many people have fallen under its spell and think that all knowledge has to come at the end of a telescope or microscope. In our more honest moments we realize that science does not hold a monopoly on knowledge but we are addicted like fundamentalists to the black and white facts it presents. We are willing to accept these truths as the height of all truth and dream that these facts can one day explain everything even the questions that begin with why. Recognizing that there is a real limit to the realm of science that the observable world had a beginning and was created out of nothing, even if by an impersonal force, frees us to have a real discussion about deeper truths than the material world.

Divine revelation is credible not simply because people believe it. It needs to have a credible and real history, it needs to be internally coherent, it helps to have supernatural or unexplainable phenomenon supporting it, but most importantly it has to move the human heart and answer the questions we all long to know. How can you chose which is right with any measure of certanity? Examine those different religions and ask how does Zeus, Vishnu, Mohammed, Siddhartha, Jesus Christ truly help me to understand and deal with the reality of suffering? What is the conception of God in these various religions and what is God's relationship with human beings? Does he/she/it seem to truly care or love humanity? How is this manifested? What is the reason for hope in their belief system? My advice if you are truly and openly searching is to not presuppose anything and let God lead you to the truth.
24Bingo
24Bingo
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January 3rd, 2014 at 1:20:09 AM permalink
I meant to get to this earlier, but I was putting it off - sorry.

Quote: FrGamble

I do think I need to define what I understand by "accident" better. I'm content with accidental existence referring to creation with or without intent. The key word is creation. I think it is a huge step when people acknowledge that all matter, the universe and all it contains, needs to be created. No matter what we call the creator or even if people ascribe creation to an impersonal force without purpose or intent it is a huge victory of pure logic and honest reason to reach this point. It is amazing to me the links some atheists will go to avoid the fairly benign and neutral point that the universe was created. As with Twirdman many people get very scared of Dr. Craig's cosmological argument and instead of conceding this point invent all kinds of parallel universes, wormholes, eternal matter, and become cozy with an infinite regress.



The thing is, the cosmological argument - for which Craig is an odd source, rather than say, Avicenna or Thomas Aquinas - rests on an intuitive notion of causality. It reminds me of an argument I once got from a philosophy major that space must be infinite since one can always travel away from an agreed-upon origin; I think most of this board can see that this argument implicitly makes the unfounded assumption of a geometry of space in which it's valid, but since most of us on some level have difficulty imagining it as anything but "benign and neutral" Euclidean, one shape it certainly isn't (well... I guess there are some caveats to this, but basically), it doesn't necessarily set off warning bells. Because the nature of causality isn't as well understood, it's even less obvious in this case, but nonetheless it's become quite clear that time and causality don't match our intuition, so unless more is known, the idea that "everything that begins to exist has a cause" is, while not necessarily wrong, unfounded. For this reason, an acausal universe can't be immediately dismissed as a possibility, and if it is to be, "inventing" explanations more parsimonious and more fitting to what's observed than anything resembling a godhead is hardly "scared." Nor is there reason to dismiss the idea of infinite regress, since the classical arguments dismissing it rest on a primitive notion of infinity that would lead to us throwing out the bulk of modern math.


Quote: FrGamble

N.B. I recognize you do not believe in a personal God, you don't need to in order to recognize all of creation had a beginning. If we can agree with this it would save you and us from a what I must say is a very poor job of exegesis of the Hebrew Scriptures.



The catch is, in addition to the question of whether there indeed must be a first cause, that here you jump straight from "beginning" to "creation." "Create" implies conscious agency, and even if a distinction is to be made between conscious agency and personhood, it's hard to come up with an idea of consciousness in which the universe functions as well as it does. You just in the very last sentence scoffed at the idea of the first cause coming from a metaverse or from the intrinsic properties of matter - clearly these are not acceptable answers, even though they're hardly logically inconsistent with the idea of a first cause.

Quote: FrGamble

In my understanding "inference" is not strictly science. Inference for me is knowledge that is gained by examining facts (from scientific experiments or experience) and extrapolating from them the discovery of other truths you can trust in. For example it is the use of inference that allows us to eat a meal at a restaurant. We have learned what foods are safe and what bad food looks like or smells like. We also have learned from experience that people do not poison your food at restaurants, but we also know how to recognize a dive or dangerous place to be on our guard. So we enjoy the food set before us. All this happens in an instant, it is how we live our lives. To use science to enjoy that meal we would have to break out the beakers and microscope test the food, examine and watch the cooks who made it to be sure without a doubt that the food was safe to eat, by that time it would be cold. Life is cold under a microscope.



Beakers and microscopes again. What do you think those beakers and microscopes are being used for? Since you've given no indication of what's actually being sought in the meal, I'm left with the impression you think they're only there to waste everyone's time. Granted, science is defined by rigor, but rigor doesn't necessarily mean precision. Sometimes it's impractical to be too precise, and then a less precise result is worked out, and provided a cautious account is taken of its imprecision, that's no less scientific. Sometimes we take a less rigorous approach, and that is not scientific, but the only difference is the lack of rigor; in any objective matter, the more caution one takes in one's methodology, the more closely it will approach the scientific method. Only in religion and superstition is this approach actively resisted.

But also consider that you're comparing the very nature of the universe to a matter of personal taste.
The trick to poker is learning not to beat yourself up for your mistakes too much, and certainly not too little, but just the right amount.
FrGamble
FrGamble
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March 8th, 2014 at 9:56:39 AM permalink
Quote: 24Bingo

I meant to get to this earlier, but I was putting it off - sorry.



Sometimes we take a less rigorous approach, and that is not scientific, but the only difference is the lack of rigor; in any objective matter, the more caution one takes in one's methodology, the more closely it will approach the scientific method. Only in religion and superstition is this approach actively resisted.



Sorry I also meant to respond to this very good post from 24Bingo awhile ago but I forgot about it. Most of the post is the standard and good responses to the questions raised regarding the Universe having a beginning. They don't really warrant a response because they are just stating the other possibilities to creation calling upon other understandings of the nature of time, causality, infinity, etc. They effectively sow doubt into the understanding of the origin of the universe and rather than proving the idea of creation is wrong, show it is not necessarily the case.

What I do take issue with is the biased idea that religion resists the scientific method. We should remember the historical connection between Christian Theism and the Scientific Method and shouldn't ignore that Roger Bacon, a Franciscan Friar, is often considered the Father of the modern Scientific Method. That being said, I think the biggest mistake Bingo makes is trying to equate any knowledge about an objective matter to science. As if science and its method is the only way to obtain knowledge. Going back before Bacon, yum, it was philosophy that gave us the structure for the scientific method. Religion, theology, and philosophy don't resist the rigors of scientific methodology, which they invited and promoted, rather they spur it on to establish objective facts from which we could use our brains to discover deeper and higher truths that cannot be found with beakers and microscopes.

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