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The First Cause? Prime Mover Argument
#11
RE: The First Cause? Prime Mover Argument
(May 8, 2015 at 10:34 am)Rhondazvous Wrote: I agree with Alex and Rob.

If the premise everything must have a cause holds true then there can be no first cause. If you allow the first cause to not have a cause, you demolish your initial premise.

Not to speak for the OP, but I think the premise is that "things seen in the universe" obey it and that therefore must be things unseen and outside of this category. Seems more like special pleading. But - if the argument were really sound, one might conclude that either nothing can exist or that there have to be other things which violate the premise, while the hitherto known things don't - which is taken as an empirical insight I suppose.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is a God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Psalm 14, KJV revised edition

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#12
RE: The First Cause? Prime Mover Argument
(May 8, 2015 at 8:54 am)Alex K Wrote: - Individual events at the quantum level don't seem to have a cause. What we know about fundamental physics would suggest that universes like ours can simply occur in the same random fashion in which nuclear decays occur. Your notion of a mover seems to hinge on a classical concept of causality which is not valid any more.
Mybold.


I heartily approve of your use of the word 'seem' in the first sentence but I have to differ with 'suggest' in the second.
If A is random and B is random then they are not linked in any way.  Any association between them is contrived and unsupported.  For QM randomness to 'suggest' universe creation 'seems' to claim knowledge of causality of the universe outside the universe whose unknowability has already been cited elsewhere in this thread.

And as (seems to me) you are the most professional physicist on the forum, I find it troubling that you would use a quote and graphic of Dr. Strangelove for your avatar.  Not only Christians are afraid of people more educated than they are. Rolleyes
So how, exactly, does God know that She's NOT a brain in a vat? Huh
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#13
RE: The First Cause? Prime Mover Argument
(May 8, 2015 at 10:58 am)JuliaL Wrote:
(May 8, 2015 at 8:54 am)Alex K Wrote: - Individual events at the quantum level don't seem to have a cause. What we know about fundamental physics would suggest that universes like ours can simply occur in the same random fashion in which nuclear decays occur. Your notion of a mover seems to hinge on a classical concept of causality which is not valid any more.
Mybold.


I heartily approve of your use of the word 'seem' in the first sentence but I have to differ with 'suggest' in the second.
If A is random and B is random then they are not linked in any way.  Any association between them is contrived and unsupported.  For QM randomness to 'suggest' universe creation 'seems' to claim knowledge of causality of the universe outside the universe whose unknowability has already been cited elsewhere in this thread.
My point wasn't that this somehow proves that the creation of universes is random. It's the other way around - if someone claims that the creation of universes obeys some classical rules of causation, they make a positive claim - usually they try justify it via an inductive conclusion from the things within the universe to the universe as a whole. While this inductive reasoning is in itself specious, you can further undermine it by pointing to the fact that even its premise does not hold. Therefore, we lose any basis of claiming that this "everything is caused" business applies to the universe as a whole. This loss of justification is good enough for me to say "suggests" because it allows us to reject the positive claim and revert to the null hypothesis, but you may substitute a different word if you wish.
Quote:And as (seems to me) you are the most professional physicist on the forum,
I don't know what you mean by most professional. It's my training and I get paid for it.
Quote: I find it troubling that you would use a quote and graphic of Dr. Strangelove for your avatar.  Not only Christians are afraid of people more educated than they are.  Rolleyes
You are a bit too literal-minded then. If a German scientist (an unimportant one, granted) has an avatar alluding to an obvious satire of an irresponsible immoral German scientist, one would usually assume that the person uses it with an ironic self-conscious attitude, and not as an endorsement of the views that are satirized. If I sported an avatar of Wernher von Braun, you would have a point. But then, I wouldn't dare use the image of such an American hero for such worldly purposes.

The fool hath said in his heart, There is a God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Psalm 14, KJV revised edition

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#14
RE: The First Cause? Prime Mover Argument
(May 8, 2015 at 10:38 am)Tonus Wrote: Perhaps the concept of a beginning is a limitation of our own?  Either way you approach it, there must have been something, somewhere, that started everything.  Did a singularity exist forever back in time and suddenly became our universe?  Is it part of a constant and recurring process, where a universe is birthed and dies and is then reborn?  Is it part of a different type of constant process, where universes are churned out of some eternal universe-making factory?  Is it the creation of a sentient being who herself has always just existed?  Either everything must come from something, in which case reality itself seems impossible, or something was somehow borne of nothing, or something was always there and spends eternity spitting out additional somethings.


I think the concept of a beginning is definitely a limitation we've received from being naturally selected as organisms that exist in our physical frame of reference.  We evolved to cling to the classical concept of cause and effect, because that's what allowed us to survive.  But little did we know, the whole time the underlying mechanisms of the universe were acting on entirely contradictory principles.  I think to ask "how did reality begin" is to ask "where does the circle begin and where does it end?" or trying to comprehend a 2D plane with only one side. I don't think we're equipped to understand the answers.
Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cozy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor of their own - Bertrand Russell
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#15
RE: The First Cause? Prime Mover Argument
(May 8, 2015 at 11:23 am)Faith No More Wrote:  I don't think we're equipped to understand the answers.

Indeed we're not. If spacetime is quantized, what is left of our intuitions once time itself stops being this illusion of a smooth continuum and becomes grainy and a tangle of topological madness? No one really understands this, but one thing is for sure - it is a far cry from naive 18th century notions of causation.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is a God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Psalm 14, KJV revised edition

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#16
RE: The First Cause? Prime Mover Argument
Alex K Wrote:But then, I wouldn't dare use the image of such an American hero for such worldly purpose

Ha!  I lol'd.
Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cozy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor of their own - Bertrand Russell
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#17
RE: The First Cause? Prime Mover Argument
To the OP...to what type of cause do you refer?
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#18
RE: The First Cause? Prime Mover Argument
(May 8, 2015 at 8:03 am)reasonablerob Wrote: The argument that swayed me is very simple:
Premise 1) Everything in the Universe is either impermanent, or depends upon something else for its existence. (things are born and they die, the universe tends towards entropy, nothing within the Universe lasts forever)

Here's the problem: let's assume this is entirely factually correct. What you have here is a fallacy of composition: you cannot assume that what is true within the universe (especially within the extremely small visible portion of the universe we have access to!) is true of the universe as a whole, or of things beyond or before the universe. It's an unjustified leap of reasoning and also, I might add, a poor reason to stop being an atheist and to start being a deist, because even taking your entire argument as true there is nothing within it that establishes that your first cause is even conscious, which is kinda necessary for a god of any stripe.
"YOU take the hard look in the mirror. You are everything that is wrong with this world. The only thing important to you, is you." - ronedee

Want to see more of my writing? Check out my (safe for work!) site, Unprotected Sects!
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#19
RE: The First Cause? Prime Mover Argument
(May 8, 2015 at 11:11 am)Alex K Wrote: You are a bit too literal-minded then. If a German scientist (an unimportant one, granted) has an avatar alluding to an obvious satire of an irresponsible immoral German scientist, one would usually assume that the person uses it with an ironic self-conscious attitude, and not as an endorsement of the views that are satirized. If I sported an avatar of Wernher von Braun, you would have a point. But then, I wouldn't dare use the image of such an American hero for such worldly purposes.

Please accept my apology for dissing your avatar.  You took me too literally and in opposition to the emoticon I included to indicate I was less than serious in my criticism.
I have used a similar graphic ironically

Winner of the 1973 Nobel Peace prize
And given Braun's history of design of randomly aimed, indescriminate terror weaponry Vergeltungswaffe and the cynical cold war realpolitik Operation Paperclip run by the OSS (soon to become the CIA) I'm not too impressed as an American by his hero status.
So how, exactly, does God know that She's NOT a brain in a vat? Huh
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#20
RE: The First Cause? Prime Mover Argument
Apology shmapology, let me gripe around a bit will you! Big Grin

(May 8, 2015 at 11:50 am)JuliaL Wrote: And given Braun's history of design of randomly aimed, indescriminate terror weaponry Vergeltungswaffe

Yes, it was randomly aimed. It killed a huge amount of people, but only some of them when it exploded.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is a God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Psalm 14, KJV revised edition

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