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Invitation for Atheists to Debate a Christian via Skype
RE: Invitation for Atheists to Debate a Christian via Skype
(June 15, 2019 at 8:03 am)Jehanne Wrote:
(June 14, 2019 at 6:22 pm)Belaqua Wrote: Thank you!

It's all a bit counterintuitive for us moderns, I think. Not because science has disproved it, but because our use of the word "cause" has narrowed over the last 1000 years or so. For Aristotelians, if A is necessary for B to exist, A can be called a cause. Even if it takes no action. 


This is also a tricky part of the argument. 

It's essential for Aristotle that the First Cause takes no action. 

It is eternally unchanging, actus purus, entirely without potential for change. It is called a cause not because it reaches down and pushes something, but because (they argue) it has to be there for even space-time to exist. 

Another way to say it is that the First Cause is existence itself. Not a thing that exists, but existence. Without it -- without existence -- there would obviously be nothing. 

And of course lots of other arguments are necessary if they want to show that the First Cause is also intelligent, good, etc.

It needs to also be pointed out that Aristotle, even though he was an empiricist who believed that heavier objects fall faster than do lighter ones, rejected Aristarchus' model of a moving Earth.  Now, it is possible to detect the motion of the Earth (Foucault pendulum or dropping a ball down into a deep hole near the equator), but no one had done those experiments because they lacked the physics, and hence, any motivation to do the experiments.  In fact, the Greeks universally accept Euclid's parallel postulate, and it was not until the 19th-century that non-Euclidean geometry was discovered:

Wikipedia -- Non-Euclidean geometry

This fact alone should end any and all appeals to "Aristotelian philosophy"; it does not matter what Aristotle thought, rather, only what matters is what modern philosophers and scientists think, and most of those do not believe in a personal God, or for that matter, any god:

Philosopher survey
Nature -- Leading scientists still reject God

Are you claiming one shouldn't accept Aristotle's thoughts because he had only an approximate view of geometry?
Being wrong about one subject doesn't imply automatically that he was wrong about all subjects, you know?
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RE: Invitation for Atheists to Debate a Christian via Skype
(June 15, 2019 at 2:08 pm)pocaracas Wrote:
(June 15, 2019 at 8:03 am)Jehanne Wrote: It needs to also be pointed out that Aristotle, even though he was an empiricist who believed that heavier objects fall faster than do lighter ones, rejected Aristarchus' model of a moving Earth.  Now, it is possible to detect the motion of the Earth (Foucault pendulum or dropping a ball down into a deep hole near the equator), but no one had done those experiments because they lacked the physics, and hence, any motivation to do the experiments.  In fact, the Greeks universally accept Euclid's parallel postulate, and it was not until the 19th-century that non-Euclidean geometry was discovered:

Wikipedia -- Non-Euclidean geometry

This fact alone should end any and all appeals to "Aristotelian philosophy"; it does not matter what Aristotle thought, rather, only what matters is what modern philosophers and scientists think, and most of those do not believe in a personal God, or for that matter, any god:

Philosopher survey
Nature -- Leading scientists still reject God

Are you claiming one shouldn't accept Aristotle's thoughts because he had only an approximate view of geometry?
Being wrong about one subject doesn't imply automatically that he was wrong about all subjects, you know?

It's a question of sifting the wheat from the chaff.
Reply
RE: Invitation for Atheists to Debate a Christian via Skype
(June 15, 2019 at 8:03 am)Jehanne Wrote: it does not matter what Aristotle thought, rather, only what matters is what modern philosophers and scientists think, and most of those do not believe in a personal God, or for that matter, any god:

I would go further and say that when dealing with a particular argument, we should address that argument, and not its age or how many people sign on.
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RE: Invitation for Atheists to Debate a Christian via Skype
(June 14, 2019 at 6:22 pm)Belaqua Wrote:
(June 14, 2019 at 4:39 pm)LadyForCamus Wrote: It’s a good analogy, thank you. 

Thank you!

It's all a bit counterintuitive for us moderns, I think. Not because science has disproved it, but because our use of the word "cause" has narrowed over the last 1000 years or so. For Aristotelians, if A is necessary for B to exist, A can be called a cause. Even if it takes no action. 

Quote:I agree that actions in the absence of space-time would be an interesting topic for discussion.

This is also a tricky part of the argument. 

It's essential for Aristotle that the First Cause takes no action. 

It is eternally unchanging, actus purus, entirely without potential for change. It is called a cause not because it reaches down and pushes something, but because (they argue) it has to be there for even space-time to exist. 

Another way to say it is that the First Cause is existence itself. Not a thing that exists, but existence. Without it -- without existence -- there would obviously be nothing.

You said the First Cause is not a thing, but then you go on to say, “without it.”  What is existence then, if it isn’t a thing? Do you mean to say, ‘without the potential for things to exist?’ If so, what are the preconditions necessary for anything at all to exist? I believe that it is logically contradictory to describe “nothing” as a potential alternative to “something”, because “nothing”, by definition, cannot be.  Not trying to be difficult, I just want to make sure I understand exactly what is meant by the First Cause, and I’m no philosopher, lol.
Nay_Sayer: “Nothing is impossible if you dream big enough, or in this case, nothing is impossible if you use a barrel of KY Jelly and a miniature horse.”

Wiser words were never spoken. 
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RE: Invitation for Atheists to Debate a Christian via Skype
(June 15, 2019 at 11:27 pm)LadyForCamus Wrote: You said the First Cause is not a thing, but then you go on to say, “without it.”  

Yes, reasonable questions. The whole thing goes outside our daily experience of the world, and is hard to picture. And pushes the limits of English.

By thing in that sentence, I mean a tangible, separable object. As if when you see the First Cause and the universe, you're seeing two objects. But the world and the First Cause do not make two. 

Quote:What is existence then, if it isn’t a thing? 

I guess if we say "this cat exists," then we're not talking about a cat and something else. The cat exists. And existence -- the fact that things exist -- is necessary for that cat to exist. And everything else. 

Quote:Do you mean to say, ‘without the potential for things to exist?’ If so, what are the preconditions necessary for anything at all to exist? 

Well, personally, I don't know. Those who argue for a First Cause say that existence per se is necessary for anything at all to exist. And they have elaborate arguments as to why existence itself must be uncaused and unchanging. Things change, but existence itself remains existence. 

When they posit a First Cause, they are hoping to answer your question here: for anything contingent, changing, and tangible to exist, we require the precondition of something non-contingent, unchanging, and intangible -- namely, existence. 

Quote:I believe that it is logically contradictory to describe “nothing” as a potential alternative to “something”, because “nothing”, by definition, cannot be.  

You may not be a philosopher, but here you've stated an important part of the argument as to why there must be a First Cause.

The standard thinking says that if there were absolutely nothing, then existing things couldn't come to be. But obviously some things exist. Therefore there must be something which doesn't need to come to be. 

(And this is tricky because what I say sounds temporal, when it isn't necessarily. Existence itself and the laws of nature, for example, or existence itself and space-time, may well be simultaneous. But existence itself is necessary for the laws of nature. It is logically prior, but not temporally prior.) 

Now I suppose that if science really could prove, somehow, that there really was nothing at some point, and then the universe popped into existence uncaused, then the First Cause argument would be finished. But is that really what anybody argues? Lawrence Krauss, for example, in his book purporting to answer this question, says that given the laws of nature as they are, it is inevitable that things exist. But he doesn't explain why the laws of nature exist. I think that if there are laws of nature floating around waiting for the universe to pop up, it means there was something already. Perhaps not tangible, countable somethings, but laws. And since the standard argument says that the First Cause is not tangible, nothing Krauss says rules out a First Cause.
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RE: Invitation for Atheists to Debate a Christian via Skype
I have posted this on the forum before; it's from Professor David Griffiths' undergraduate textbook on Quantum Mechanics:

[Image: 1BqlmI4.jpg]
Reply
RE: Invitation for Atheists to Debate a Christian via Skype
(June 16, 2019 at 1:43 am)Belaqua Wrote:  I think that if there are laws of nature floating around waiting for the universe to pop up, it means there was something already. Perhaps not tangible, countable somethings, but laws. And since the standard argument says that the First Cause is not tangible, nothing Krauss says rules out a First Cause.

I don't think that anyone imagines that the laws of the nature were floating around waiting for the universe to pop up.  More to the effect that, because the universe popped up as it did, that constrained what could or would most likely happen in regular ways.  If the universe popped up different, the laws of nature could be different.

In that sense, if our intuition about the potential veracity of first cause arguments is thinking that there must have been something for those laws to essentially wait in, we might be profoundly in error.
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a battle to commence then KPLOW, I hit em with the illness of my quill, Im endowed..with certain unalienable skills....  

-ERB


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RE: Invitation for Atheists to Debate a Christian via Skype
(June 15, 2019 at 11:27 pm)LadyForCamus Wrote:
(June 14, 2019 at 6:22 pm)Belaqua Wrote: Thank you!

It's all a bit counterintuitive for us moderns, I think. Not because science has disproved it, but because our use of the word "cause" has narrowed over the last 1000 years or so. For Aristotelians, if A is necessary for B to exist, A can be called a cause. Even if it takes no action. 


This is also a tricky part of the argument. 

It's essential for Aristotle that the First Cause takes no action. 

It is eternally unchanging, actus purus, entirely without potential for change. It is called a cause not because it reaches down and pushes something, but because (they argue) it has to be there for even space-time to exist. 

Another way to say it is that the First Cause is existence itself. Not a thing that exists, but existence. Without it -- without existence -- there would obviously be nothing.

You said the First Cause is not a thing, but then you go on to say, “without it.”  What is existence then, if it isn’t a thing? Do you mean to say, ‘without the potential for things to exist?’ If so, what are the preconditions necessary for anything at all to exist? I believe that it is logically contradictory to describe “nothing” as a potential alternative to “something”, because “nothing”, by definition, cannot be.  Not trying to be difficult, I just want to make sure I understand exactly what is meant by the First Cause, and I’m no philosopher, lol.

The idea of there being a such thing as something that isn't a thing ... makes zero sense to me. Even people are living things. Numbers are abstract things. "It's a cause not a thing!" ... just seems like nonsense. If it's not a thing then it can't do anything ... including causing stuff. And how could a non-thing interact with things? And isn't a non-thing, well ... nothing?

(June 14, 2019 at 6:22 pm)Belaqua Wrote: Not a thing that exists, but existence. Without it -- without existence -- there would obviously be nothing. 

There's nothing more real than the totality of existence itself. It's more likely that the separation of one thing from another is an illusion* .... than that existence itself isn't a thing. Existence HAS to be a thing ... or it wouldn't exist. It would be nothing.

There are sound reasons to believe in a first cause ... but there are no sound reasons to believe that that first cause has a personality.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monad_(philosophy)

^^^ but without the "divine being" aspect.
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RE: Invitation for Atheists to Debate a Christian via Skype
(June 16, 2019 at 6:11 pm)SenseMaker007 Wrote: There are sound reasons to believe in a first cause

I'm curious about the reasons you find to be sound.
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RE: Invitation for Atheists to Debate a Christian via Skype
(June 16, 2019 at 6:11 pm)SenseMaker007 Wrote: There are sound reasons to believe in a first cause ... but there are no sound reasons to believe that that first cause has a personality.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monad_(philosophy)

^^^ but without the "divine being" aspect.

Is this equivocation I see?

My bold.
It's amazing 'science' always seems to 'find' whatever it is funded for, and never the oppsite. Drich.
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