Sunday, September 16, 2012

Give 'Em Hell, Harry!

"Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home--but not for housing. They are strong for labor--but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights. They favor minimum wage--the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all--but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine--for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing--but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it."

Harry S Truman

Now, that was a smart man.
-StBtG


211 comments:

  1. Floyd: "I noticed this problem trying to argue that the KCA is circular, since in examples of 'things beginning to exist' (a chair, a michelangelo statue, whatever) there is no new material created."

    That wouldn't make it circular, Floyd, it would make it a non-sequitur -- *if* your criticism was well founded. As I've pointed out repeatedly, it's not. The primary defense of the causal premise follows from the fact that nothingness is causally inert, not from the fact that our observations confirm it. I've tried to explain all of this to you many times, yet you seem to prefer to persist in your ignorance, for whatever reason.

    Note, this means that you don't understand the KCA, and you don't even understand the logical implications that would obtain if your flawed understanding were indeed the correct one!

    "But a chair or a statue is just a label we put on a part of the universe which has at some point been arranged into what we would call said chair, or statue."

    Right so far. Still, remember that you can't speak about it as a greedy reductionist, for the chair (or whatever) had properties that its parts, in other arrangements, lack. Hence, one is perfectly justified in saying that the chair began to exist. Now no one supposes that the chair came into existence out of nothing, but that's not the point, is it?

    "We cannot say that the universe had the same kind of cause as a chair or a statue since the chair and statue are just rearrangements of some matter which already exists and the conclusion of the KCA claims to cause matter itself to come into existence."

    And no one says that it had the same kind of cause. Theists concede that it lacked a material cause. Now if you have an argument defending the notion that every thing that begins to exist must have a material cause, I'd like to see it; if not, concede that you've got nothing more here than a preexisting commitment to naturalism.

    "Point is that although this is quite simple and obvious, apologists rather like the KCA and will debate away that they can simply and obviously see the exact opposite since that supports their notion that there is indeed a supernatural realm(by which we understand to mean an extra-universal realm, outside of spacetime) which contains at least one supernatural entity with the power to create and manipulate spacetime/matter-energy ex-nihilo!"

    Your point is not simple and obvious, as I've simply and obviously demonstrated; it's merely simply and obviously misconceived. And it's not that the KCA supports the presuppositions of those who defend it that leads them to defend it, but that those who attack it often demonstrate, as in your case, that it's actually much stronger than it at first appears!

    "If theist apologists are arguing that there really is no matter, that it's all a very powerful illusion created by God for our amusement, the KCA fails since premise one appeals to the..."

    I have no idea whom this is directed to, so I'll ignore it.

    "IOW, holding a 'Goddidit' card and not telling us since they know we'd scoff at it. If that's the card they're holding out on us, the debate would take a decidedly scoffing tone, them being the scoffers at us for not realising it's all a silly word game by those 'in the know'."

    Unless by a 'goddidit card' you mean 'the conclusion of the rigorously developed conceptual analysis of an argument,' you manifestly don't understand the argument.

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  2. Such pretty words that hide the truth! As always I stand in awe of you, Oh Prince of Darkness. I can easily see you talking Eve into "just a nibble..."

    ;-)

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  3. We are incapable of understanding your brilliance and the inescapable beauty of Allakazam's Cosmopolitan Arrgggh. Or whatever. You're like a pearl cast before us poor swine and what do we do? Shit on it. I tell you, we're such slobs compared to your lofty magnificence. We grovel in the slime and muck of reality whilst you cast your mind across seas and vistas of self-negating meta-logic that we can but dimly perceive as the purely distilled bovine feces it is. How do you do it? And does it relate to the amount of fiber you consume?

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  4. "Floyd: "I noticed this problem trying to argue that the KCA is circular, since in examples of 'things beginning to exist' (a chair, a michelangelo statue, whatever) there is no new material created."

    That wouldn't make it circular, Floyd, it would make it a non-sequitur -- *if* your criticism was well founded."

    I'm not finished explaining why it's circular here, Eric.

    " As I've pointed out repeatedly, it's not. The primary defense of the causal premise follows from the fact that nothingness is causally inert, not from the fact that our observations confirm it."

    That's not what W.L.Craig says! He blah-blah-blahs about efficient causes as opposed to material causes.

    " I've tried to explain all of this to you many times, yet you seem to prefer to persist in your ignorance, for whatever reason."

    If you'd take what I say in context, instead of isolating and imagining you have defeated, you'd be trying to understand, instead of just trying to one-up.

    "Note, this means that you don't understand the KCA, and you don't even understand the logical implications that would obtain if your flawed understanding were indeed the correct one!"

    Bollocks! And I haven't gotten around to the part where I show why it's circular yet!

    "But a chair or a statue is just a label we put on a part of the universe which has at some point been arranged into what we would call said chair, or statue."

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  5. Of course, back to reality... too bad, that was fun... anyhow, where were we? Something about how an argument that notes that all material things have material causes and then tries to extend that to the very cause of all materiality itself explains the necessity of a creator deity. Yeah. That was stupid.

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  6. "But a chair or a statue is just a label we put on a part of the universe which has at some point been arranged into what we would call said chair, or statue."
    -----------------
    I think even Eric has to admit that such is true.

    And such being true, the only rational conclusion is that re-arranging what's there is a far cry from creating it all at once ex-nihilo. The material was already there. The material was already there. The material was already there. Is thrice enough to get through your anti-logic? The argument is fatally flawed. Crumple crumple crumple toss.

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  7. ""But a chair or a statue is just a label we put on a part of the universe which has at some point been arranged into what we would call said chair, or statue."

    Right so far."

    This is the part where it's circular, where we can speak of parts of the universe 'beginning to exist' separately from other parts which are always evolving if not just in spacetime, then as rearrangements of the matter-energy.

    " Still, remember that you can't speak about it as a greedy reductionist"

    I didn't realise that you made the rules, I thought that you imagined an absurd extra-universal being did that!

    "..for the chair (or whatever) had properties that its parts, in other arrangements, lack. Hence, one is perfectly justified in saying that the chair began to exist."

    Intersubjectively, that is true. Hey we're all humans who know what a chair is, unless we're humans who don't.

    " Now no one supposes that the chair came into existence out of nothing, but that's not the point, is it?"

    Still Eric, whether every intelligent being knows the label we give what the carpenter made and call that a chair, it's still just an arrangement of matter which existed previously.

    You can call this a difference of opinion if you like. You can say that from your perspective this doesn't make the argument circular, but you cannot say that I'm not understanding. From your perspective, there was only ONE thing that 'began to exist', and that's the universe as a whole. Any instance of things, or artifacts, or suns, or frogs, or whatnot, 'beginning to exist' is totally different from the universe 'beginning to exist'.

    It is your opinion that the scientific model called The Big Bang helps your case that everything(excluding God) began from 'nothing'. But I don't believe that scientists are actually defending your case.

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  8. "And no one says that it had the same kind of cause. Theists concede that it lacked a material cause. Now if you have an argument defending the notion that every thing that begins to exist must have a material cause, I'd like to see it; if not, concede that you've got nothing more here than a preexisting commitment to naturalism."

    If premise one doesn't help the conclusion at all, the syllogism falls flat on it's face!

    Some things begin to exist and they have a cause!
    The universe began to exist, with a completely different kind of a cause!
    Therefore, nothing at all, as near as I can figure, Eric, therefore WHAT?

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  9. All the KCA seems to be trying to say is that since a mind can cause some material to be rearranged, which causes an artifact to come into being, then some kind of mind can cause material itself to come into being, which we can demonstrate, using artifacts which minds have caused to come into being!

    Circular!

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  10. "Now no one supposes that the chair came into existence out of nothing, but that's not the point, is it?"
    ------------------
    Pboy, isn't that the *exact* point? If the chair came into existence out of nothing, then it actually WOULD be like the universe coming into existence. But it doesn't. So it isn't.

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  11. "Unless by a 'goddidit card' you mean 'the conclusion of the rigorously developed conceptual analysis of an argument,' you manifestly don't understand the argument."

    It's a three line syllogism where the first premise's definition of cause doesn't match the conclusion's definition of cause.

    In fact the conclusion's definition is the missing ingredient in the first premise, the material, which is why it's circular!

    What could be simpler than that!?

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  12. Now, by the 'godidit' card, I mean that you've all used the KCA to help develop your conception, and analysied away, coming up with the idea that since God caused the universe, as HIS notion, he has to maintain it as a notion of HIS, and without this notion it would all simply vanish, i.e. without God, the universe wouldn't exist!

    Ergo, if God is the CAUSE, God sustains it by willpower, therefore God CAUSED it!

    Kind of like backing in a semi-trailer, with an oversized load(God maintaining his creation) into a mouse hole( the syllogism which invents HIM in the first place)!

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  13. Nevertheless, if we have backed this semi-trailer with the oversized load into the non-existent mouse hole, we can now see, we can clearly see that it doesn't matter if the first premise blows big chunks of elephant come, why Goddidit, how dare you say different! We have the KCA which goes on to let us analyse, with rigor, develop, with rigor and conceptualize, with fucking rigor, and the upshot of all this rigor is that we have our heads firmly stuck up our own assholes!!!

    Is this somehow any more absurd than Camus' absurdity? Not at all! Not at all Eric, fill your boots! Just don't tell me that I have to believe that a microscopic fertilized egg is exactly equivalent to a citizen, 'cos if you do that, you're an asshole!

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  14. It seems that catholic apologists are the ones creating God ex nihilo here. Out of a self-contained circle of reasoning pops Yahweh!

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  15. The problem is all that rigor. It's a great word that tries to mean "we put a fuck-ton of thought into this so you don't stand a chance, pagan!"

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  16. When in reality, it was a lot more about getting the desired conclusion rather than the correct one. All that rigor was because bending the truth takes work.

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  17. "..for the chair (or whatever) had properties that its parts, in other arrangements, lack. Hence, one is perfectly justified in saying that the chair began to exist."
    -----------------
    ...as a chair. It began to exist as a chair. So then following your logic, what was the universe before it changed or was changed into the universe? You can't say 'nothing' because the chair did not come from nothing.
    THE MATERIALS ALREADY EXISTED.
    (sigh)

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  18. At every step backwards along Eric's (Kalaam's) causal chain, there is always prior material/energy that changed or was changed into the material/energy step in question. So logically you can't change that rule and just say of the first cause, "It was magic!" Unless that was your whole goal in the first place in bringing it up of course. Then of course, it had to be magic, and we'll just shoehorn logic into that box.

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  19. "Now if you have an argument defending the notion that every thing that begins to exist must have a material cause, I'd like to see it; if not, concede that you've got nothing more here than a preexisting commitment to naturalism."

    I'd like to see you argue that some material thing came into being without a material cause! Why isn't that implied in your concession that :- " Theists concede that it lacked a material cause."

    If there were material things popping into being, theists would be using those in premise one, isn't that a fact!???

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  20. "Now if you have an argument defending the notion that every thing that begins to exist must have a material cause, I'd like to see it;
    ---------------
    The First Law of Thermodynamics does it just fine, so I'll stand pat on that.

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  21. You can say "everything that begins to exist has a cause" but then all you can say of the initial cause that started the chain is 'but we do not know what caused the initial state of matter and energy being present to create further things out of. nor where said matter and energy came from or out of.'
    That's as far as logic brings you. The next step is pure speculation or even as we've seen, wishful thinking.

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  22. Of course, if all matter and energy are really thought, or consciousness, or a dream state that we interpret as a solid reality, then it makes God the Great Dreamer, the very Mind that is reality.
    Of course, that's more far out than it all just being the natural state of the universe to be a storehouse of consciousness. So back to the poorly named 'Big Brain.'

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  23. I think christians generally believe that reality is a 'solid' one and not some dream state in a vast mind that is God. They believe that God just zapped 'hard matter' into being.

    Interestingly enough science is now telling us that matter is not so hard after all...

    Hey, who knows? (Not the christians, that much is certain!)

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  24. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/16/boy-scouts-face-release-o_n_1888838.html

    Apparently the Boy Scouts are going the way of the Catholic Church. News coming out is that they are rife with sexual perversion and pederasty and just moved the perps around. A winning formula, to be sure.

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  25. They don't want gay scouts but apparently pederast scout masters are hunky-dory.
    Funny how all these organizations that Pride themselves upon their supposed good family values are the filthiest and most evil of all.

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  26. It's that any organization that patterns itself upon the coercive moral system of the religion, is fatally flawed from the start. It's not real morality. It's not about empathy and humility. It's very much about their opposites.

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  27. I'll tell you what is obvious to me. It's that, as to the initial state of this universe or where all the energy and matter came from, we just don't know yet, and do not have enough data to theorize about it in such a way that we would be able to tell if we were even on the right track.
    In science when one reaches that position, one waits for further data to clarify the position.
    Unless one is religious. Then they jump in with both feet and a huge 'goddidit.'

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  28. According to Eric's thoughts, whenever a monkey uses a stick to tease ants out of a nest, the stick just ceased to exist and now an ant-tool has been created.
    "What happened to that stick! It just vanished! Amazing!"

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  29. It stands to reason, obvious reason, that a child molester will hang out where there are kids, just as sure as a fisherman goes fishing where the fish are at!

    I had heard that the Mormons had taken control of the scouts in the USA! There's no way that a Mormon might be a child molester, you know, no more than average for the population at large, is there?

    That's Eric et als' POV. Why there's just as much child molesting in the church as anywhere else!

    Hand-job away Eric, sorry, hand-wave away!

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  30. Wonder if child molesting priests and Mormon bishops get into Heaven? Does sola scriptura kick in? At least they 'believed' while they were fucking over kids' lives, yes?

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  31. Harry Silverdong Truman, 33rd. President of the USA!

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  32. City dwellers KCA

    Everything that begins to exist came in a truck and was unloaded at the back.

    The universe began to exist!

    Therefore the universe came in a truck and was unloaded at the back!

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  33. Furniture makers KCA

    A chair begins to exist

    The universe began to exist

    Therefore the universe is a chair!

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  34. What's the difference between a chair (fashioned of wood by a human) and an ant-tool (fashioned out of a stick by an ape?) Sure the ant-tool still looks like a stick, but the ape likely chewed off any side branches and definitely fashioned it with a purpose in mind other than the 'purpose' of it just being a stick.
    You can still see the wood in a chair, too!

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  35. At what point did christians start to believe that faith in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed to get into heaven, and not good works in the world?
    I totally don't get that part. It's like they hired a lawyer to parse the scriptures and find the loopholes!

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  36. That's Eric et als' POV. Why there's just as much child molesting in the church as anywhere else!
    ----------------
    Totally missing (on purpose!) the point that they're supposed to be the moral authority of the world, god's chosen on earth, and so forth. To find there's no difference in perversity with the general population is like finding out that Brazil's soccer team is no better at soccer than the average people out there in the world.

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  37. We were just arguing the fact that the O.T.God fails any half-assed morality test. The rebuttal is the exact opposite of the excuse made for clergy! Why God has his own morality and who are we to judge HIM?

    The church could easily went that way, and say that clergy aren't judgable(?) by us mere peons, they get judged only by their betters, bishops or cardinals or the Pope himself!

    In fact, it's quite possible that they believe this and just don't want to tell us that since they'd likely lose a few worshippers, aka donors!

    Their church seems to be run like a corporation and if you're an employee, you're impervious to accusations from non-employees, which was, and still is, as far as I can see, the reason for Protestantism, the original protest!

    What do you say Eric? Do you buy a job in the church, in some coin or other? Once you're 'in' are you immune, impervious, to any non-divine(what a laugh) court?

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  38. I am always wondering just how many abusive fathers have used God the Father as their role model. Subconsciously of course, but still, it's an In Your Face role model, the archetypal Bad Dad. He'll beat his women into submission and kill his children if he hears one peep out of them. Praise be unto Him!

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  39. Humans created God in their own image, and they were total assholes in every way. Knowing that, they created a being that can be such an asshole and be praised for it! Takes the heat off of them, you know...

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  40. Eric, how do you reconcile the fact that the OT God is such a huge asshole, amoral and uncaring, unloving and homicidal? If He is good, then what is evil? Fluffy puppies and cute kittehs?

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  41. Seem that the N.T. is circumventing patriotism, citizenship, and free enterprise by using it against non-conformists. The church uses this idea that a Christian is a Christian, first and foremost to claim every land for themselves by the Christians living there.

    The priest is the party member having 'godly' control of his parish, the bishop, control of a number of parishes, and so on up to the president for life, aka the Pope. So, they exert a certain kind of ownership, a very real 'kingdom of god' which interacts with other kinds of ownership, overlaps with other kinds of ownership, kind of like a political party, the Reps. own the farmland only insofar as the people allow them to, but the people are coached from birth to have that perspective!

    Eric can see the power of that hierarchy, how he can be part of it, how he can be a soldier for it, attempting to slay ideas with ideas, yes, a thought-soldier for Catholicism!

    Haven't you already drunk the Kool-aid and rejected the material upon which your organic life depends? After all, aren't we just minds battling for effect? Sure the church is a group of people, flesh and bone, a collection of buildings, brick or stone, but it's control of their minds which binds the sheep, in this top-down system where the objective is to expand, much like a corporation but not like a corporation, through the children of those mind-controlled sheep!

    This is obvious, since you'd never disabuse a Catholic by pointing out their childish reasons why they remain Catholic, it only matters that they are Catholic, isn't that right? Oh, and that they have lots of kids, lots of little Catholics!

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  42. OK, there's a lot here, and I can't respond to it all, so I'll pick out what I take to be the best points.

    "That's not what W.L.Craig says!"

    Craig: "...let me first review three reasons I have given for believing the first premiss of the kalam cosmological argument [i.e. 'whatever begins to exist has a cause']. *First and foremost*, the causal premiss is rooted in the metaphysical intuition that something cannot come into being from nothing. To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is to quit doing serious metaphysics and to resort to magic. Second, if things really could come into being uncaused out of nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything and everything do not come into existence uncaused from nothing. Finally, the first premiss is constantly *confirmed* in our experience, which provides atheists who are scientific naturalists with the strongest of motivations to accept it."

    Note, the causal premise is, as I said, primarily defended on the grounds that nothingness is causally inert. And note, Craig appeals to our experience as *confirmatory* of the premise, not as *establishing* it. (Think about it this way: If I think that Jones stole my wallet, the fact that I've observed Jones steal a number of other wallets doesn't establish that he stole mine, but it would confirm, understood in the sense of 'strengthen', my suspicion that he stole mine.)

    "Bollocks! And I haven't gotten around to the part where I show why it's circular yet!"

    OK, so let's see why you think it's circular...

    "This is the part where it's circular, where we can speak of parts of the universe 'beginning to exist' separately from other parts which are always evolving if not just in spacetime, then as rearrangements of the matter-energy."

    Again, that wouldn't make it circular, Floyd; rather, it would make the argument rest on an equivocation (viz. it would rely upon two distinct senses of 'begins to exist'), which would make it, as I said, a non-sequitur.

    So let's suppose for a moment that you understand this and ask, "Is Craig equivocating here?" Well, no, he isn't. He's very clear about what he means by 'begins to exist':

    Craig: "X begins to exist at T if and only if X exists at T and there is no time prior to T at which X exists."

    Note, this says nothing about whether a material cause is involved, and hence there cannot be an equivocation on those grounds.

    So I hope that that helps to clear up the logical issue, and I hope that the first section of this post has disabused you of your misconception of Craig's defense of the causal premise.

    "Intersubjectively, that is true. Hey we're all humans who know what a chair is, unless we're humans who don't."

    It has nothing to do with subjectivity, Floyd. You have a computer, and that computer is composed of sundry parts, right? Well, does the computer have properties that the parts themselves lack? Clearly, it does. If you disagree, take your computer apart, shuffle all the pieces up in a container, and dump them on your desk. It will then have a very different set of properties from the ones it has now, I assure you! But you know this already, don't you Floyd? You're just doing what you guys always accuse me of doing here, aren't you?


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  43. "From your perspective, there was only ONE thing that 'began to exist', and that's the universe as a whole. Any instance of things, or artifacts, or suns, or frogs, or whatnot, 'beginning to exist' is totally different from the universe 'beginning to exist'."

    Again, you don't understand the argument. This is simply wrong, as I pointed out in my post above: everything that exists at T but did not exist at a time prior to T can be said to begin to exist on Craig's account, and that includes much more than the universe!

    "All the KCA seems to be trying to say is that since a mind can cause some material to be rearranged, which causes an artifact to come into being, then some kind of mind can cause material itself to come into being, which we can demonstrate, using artifacts which minds have caused to come into being!
    Circular!"

    *sigh* You're confusing the conclusion with the premise and then calling the argument circular! If only philosophy were that easy, Floyd.

    Let me restate the argument for you.

    Nothingness has no properties, by definition. But if it has no properties, then it has no potentialities, and hence cannot stand in a causal relationship to anything else. So, whenever we're talking about causal relationships, they have to obtain between or among things that exist.

    Now some things begin to exist -- I haven't existed forever, even if we concede that the parts that compose me have existed forever. Whatever is the case with respect to those parts, I certainly began to exist. After all, I have properties that my pre-existing parts lacked.

    So, if some things begin to exist, and if nothingness is causally inert, then whatever begins to exist must have a cause.

    Now it seems that modern science, coupled with philosophical arguments against the possibility of actual existing infinites, support the premise that the universe began to exist. But if the universe began to exist, and if whatever begins to exist has a cause, then the universe has a cause.

    But what kind of cause could this be? Well, since the universe by definition comprises all space and time, it must be both spaceless and timeless. And since the universe comprises all matter and energy, it must be immaterial. Hence, the universe cannot have a material cause.

    Now since this is the point at issue, we can stop this condensed and simplified line of reasoning here. Note that there is no circularity involved in this line of reasoning, Floyd. You may disagree at several key points with the moves being made, but I'm sorry, the claim that the argument is circular is not a tenable disagreement. You can continue making this claim, but you'll only be misleading those who understand the KCA (and logic) even worse than you do, and you'll sound like an ignoramus to those of us who do understand the argument (and logic). The choice is yours (or not, since you don't think you're free to choose anything!).

    Eric: "Now no one supposes that the chair came into existence out of nothing, but that's not the point, is it?"
    ------------------
    Brian "Pboy, isn't that the *exact* point? If the chair came into existence out of nothing, then it actually WOULD be like the universe coming into existence. But it doesn't. So it isn't."

    Floyd: "Exactamundo!"

    And this would make the argument rest on an equivocation, which would make it a non-sequitur, not a circular argument. Thanks for helping me clarify that, Brian.

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  44. This may explain it all.. ;)

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  45. This is interesting too:

    Craig: "Perhaps it would be helpful here to think of cases where we could have efficient causation without material causation. I’ve been working heavily on the topic of abstract objects like numbers, sets, propositions, and so on. Many philosophers believe that these immaterial objects exist necessarily and eternally. But there are many abstract objects which seem to exist contingently and non-eternally, for example, the equator, the center of mass of the solar system, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and so forth. None of these is a physical object. Tolstoy’s novel, for example, is not identical to any of its printed exemplars, for these could all be destroyed and replaced by new books. Nor can Beethoven’s Fifth be identified with any particular series of ink marks or any performance of the symphony. Now these things all began to exist: the equator, for example, didn’t exist before the earth did. But if they began to exist, did they have a cause or did they come into being out of just nothing? (Notice that it makes sense to ask this question even though these entities are immaterial and so have no material cause.) Many philosophers would say that they did indeed have a cause: it was Tolstoy, for example, who created Anna Karenina. So in cases such as these (and they are legion), we do, indeed, have instances of efficient causation without material causation. You may not agree that such abstract objects really exist; but I think we have to say that the view defended by our philosophical colleagues is a coherent one."


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  46. for the chair (or whatever) had properties that its parts, in other arrangements, lack.

    This is stupid. A fallen log often has all the properties required to be a "chair", but it's not a "chair", no, it's a "log".

    If a tree falls in the forest, it only becomes a "chair" when someone says hey cool, that log looks like a "chair", I think I'll sit down.

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  47. This may explain it all.. ;)

    You need stuff like this, don't you?

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  48. "This is stupid. A fallen log often has all the properties required to be a "chair", but it's not a "chair", no, it's a "log"."

    Um, no, it's not 'stupid,' it's actually very basic mereology. What's stupid is denying these simple and obvious facts.

    Re: the log as a chair, are you claiming that a log and a chair have the same properties? Really? No, that's not what you're claiming; indeed, you seem to be confused about how the term 'property' is used. See, the question, 'can a log be used in a manner similar to that in which a chair is used?' is conceptually distinct -- and obviously so -- from the question, 'does a log have the same properties as a chair?'

    Do try to keep up.

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  49. "You need stuff like this, don't you?"

    To play the same tune as I did above, it doesn't establish anything, but it is does seem to confirm...;)

    And please, atheists play the same game all the time. See this, for example.

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  50. are you claiming that a log and a chair have the same properties? Really?

    I'm claiming that a fallen log, or a rock if you like, can have all the properties that would be required for something to be considered a "chair".

    See, the question, 'can a log be used in a manner similar to that in which a chair is used?' is conceptually distinct -- and obviously so -- from the question, 'does a log have the same properties as a chair?'

    No duh...

    Obviously, you can keep adding property requirements until a log can never be a chair, but many chairs wouldn't be chairs, and of course there's the "made-by-a-chairmaker" requirement, but I think even you'd admit that's just mental masturbation at that point.

    As for playing the game, you realize it only works if your audience doesn't already think of you as the ur-Buffoon?

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  51. ""This is the part where it's circular, where we can speak of parts of the universe 'beginning to exist' separately from other parts which are always evolving if not just in spacetime, then as rearrangements of the matter-energy."

    Again, that wouldn't make it circular, Floyd; rather, it would make the argument rest on an equivocation (viz. it would rely upon two distinct senses of 'begins to exist'), which would make it, as I said, a non-sequitur."

    But the universe 'beginning to exist' causes all the matter-energy necessary for parts of it to begin to exist, i.e. allow the rearrangement of the matter. But that is all implied in the first premise!

    The universe is all the matter-energy available, without which there'd be no:-

    "..everything that begins to exist has a cause..", in any sense at all.

    The conclusion, Therefore the universe had a cause is a non-sequitur, but it is what makes the first premise true.

    "So let's suppose for a moment that you understand this and ask, "Is Craig equivocating here?" Well, no, he isn't. He's very clear about what he means by 'begins to exist':

    Craig: "X begins to exist at T if and only if X exists at T and there is no time prior to T at which X exists.""

    Well, he's just overgeneralizing, if he thinks that rearranging matter and creating matter from nothing are the same process, called 'beginning to exist'!

    "Note, this says nothing about whether a material cause is involved, and hence there cannot be an equivocation on those grounds."

    I KNOW, it's stupid, isn't it. Craig is just stupid, imagining that rearranging existing matter is similar in any way to creating matter out of nothing, right?

    I thought you'd never 'get' this, Eric!

    Just kidding Eric, you're just as stupid, aren't you, you just don't get that rearranging matter is absolutely nothing like creating matter?

    Why don't you tell us about how scientists have proven that there was nothing before the Big Bang again! That'll help, won't it?

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  52. But fuck, there is no "chair" property in nature!!! Even a full on, hard core, rocking-chair, after the end of the world, is just sticks, brass and epoxy. Oh, and maybe some varnish...

    Do you believe a chair would continue to be a chair if no humans were around.

    You, in so many ways, confuse "apprehension" with "projection".

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  53. "Finally, the first premiss is constantly *confirmed* in our experience, which provides atheists who are scientific naturalists with the strongest of motivations to accept it."

    I don't think that there is anyone, that there ever was anyone who claimed that things just pop in from 'nowhere', well, except maybe theists, and that was just to say that their god popped it in.

    Where does rain come from?

    Theist answer:- Well, we pray for rain, and God provides it!

    non-theist answer:- Well, we're not sure right now, but we'll figure it out at some point, I'm sure!

    Science explains the water cycle.

    Where does rain come from?

    Theist answer:- Well, we pray for rain, and God provides it!

    non-theist answer:- The water cycle, the Sun and wind evaporates water which forms into clouds, the clouds then precipitate out as rain. Many theists still pray for rain and are happy to believe that, when it rains, that their god provided it for them personally!

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  54. "And note, Craig appeals to our experience as *confirmatory* of the premise, not as *establishing* it."

    That's not how premises work, premises establish truth by which we can confirm, IOW establish, the conclusion.

    This 'confirmatory' nonsense is part of the hand-waving away of the humungous difference between transforming material and creating material, and avoiding the implication that the conclusion is necessary for premise one to be true, it's circularity!

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  55. "Perhaps it would be helpful here to think of cases where we could have efficient causation without material causation."

    Oh my. I'm just glad that I didn't have any food in my mouth when I read this nonsense!

    The equator? Seriously? What a fucking moron.

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  56. "So in cases such as these (and they are legion), we do, indeed, have instances of efficient causation without material causation. You may not agree that such abstract objects really exist; but I think we have to say that the view defended by our philosophical colleagues is a coherent one."

    I'd like to think that Craig and yourself can see that God is exactly like these cases! Did God begin to exist in the same way that 'these cases' exist? Of course HE did! Is God immaterial just like 'these cases'? Of course HE is!

    I don't think that Craig is 'getting it'. If he is equating God with The Equator, with abstract ideas, he's reaching for a definition of 'existence' that there's no 'there' for, it all being in our heads!

    I'm thinking of a tiny blue elephant which survives by eating marshmallows! Does the idea of a tiny blue elephant which survives by eating marshmallows exist?? Will the idea of 'Tiny Blue' survive if the internet goes down and all record of this blog is erased?

    Will the idea of 'Tiny Blue' become non-existent if all record of him, including anyone reading this, by unfortunate accident, is wiped out?

    Can we really say that Tiny Blue exists? If we imagine giving Tiny Blue a marshmallow and asking him to help us win the lottery, would a big win make Tiny Blue any realer to you?

    If I define Tiny Blue as immaterial and in fact, extra-universal, omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent, that he likes to eat marshmallows which we imagine giving to him, who is qualified to deny the supreme existence of Tiny Blue? All hail Tiny Blue!

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  57. Of course, anyone 'hailing' any other tiny elephant of any other color or one enjoying any other kind of food, or saying that Tiny Blue is non-existent, is a heretic!

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  58. but I think even you'd admit that's just mental masturbation at that point.
    -Ryan
    --------------
    Are you fucking kidding? If he were capable of admitting any such thing he couldn't be what he is.
    I mean, look at his arguments. You'd have to be brain damaged to think that a chair is just created like a universe might be. To ignore the fact that in all instances of 'creation' that we have ever witnessed, something was changed into something else, some previously existing matter and/or energy. Matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Why does that sound so familiar? To call the making of a chair 'creation' is being loos with the term, using it like when talking about an artist creating a landscape more than as if you were referring to the creation of the universe. Who can take this kind of thing seriously?
    I'll tell you who. Someone that not only can't admit it when it all becomes 'mental masturbation,' but who deals in that very product as his stock and trade.
    Sorry Eric, don't hate you. But you're a deceiver, and I do hate the lies you propagate to the world. To me, that's what you'd term 'evil.'

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  59. I believe more in Tiny Blue, than in Yahweh.

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  60. And Eric condescends to us that we aren't versed in his chosen terminology, as if it weren't possible to see that it's bullshit just by reading it. C'mon man! Are you that gullible as to believe in the terminology just because it sounds impressive? Or that silly as to believe that we would?
    Who's your real God? I swear you sound just like I was taught that Satan was supposed to sound like. All smooth and turning words to change meanings and deceive with a smile. Don't worry, I don't believe in him either, but man, you do a great impression.

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  61. we do, indeed, have instances of efficient causation without material causation.
    ----------------
    See, in this context "efficient causation" is equated with what?

    The crafting, the 'shaping' of the chair, out of the materials, excluding the materials.

    Which required a consciousness that needed a chair and imagined how to make one.

    Always he tries to sneak God in the back door.

    He is still totally ignoring the impossibility of said chair-maker of making a chair without said materials of course. That wouldn't fit in with his predetermined goal at all.

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  62. Agree wholeheartedly, except the part about fornicating with ducks. That Truman, what a freak.

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  63. Eric said,

    "...if you have an argument defending the notion that every thing that begins to exist must have a material cause, I'd like to see it..."

    That wasn't his argument; he said that everything that we know of BESIDES the universe itself HAS a material cause, not that it MUST have a material cause. The only thing on the table here that appears not to have a material cause is the universe itself, and you can't extrapolate a general rule from a dataset of one.

    " Now no one supposes that the chair came into existence out of nothing, but that's not the point, is it?"

    That's exactly the point. The way chairs "begin to exist" is NOT the same way Craig claims the universe "began to exist".

    "Theists concede that [the universe] lacked a material cause."

    Of course. Theists are preparing a realm for their God to inhabit by conceding this. But no one really knows what the state of the universe was prior to the Planck Epoch, and while the interval is only 1 X 10^-43 seconds, no physics we have developed yet can describe the conditions (see the conclusions from the BGV paper...). Furthermore, time is not separable from space, and both "began to exist" in conjunction with the initial inflation of the early universe. Now, causality is a concept that relies on relationships within spacetime, and thus to say that the universe has a "cause" is a meaningless statement.

    So.

    Premise 1: "Everything that begins to exist has a cause", which actually applies ONLY to things within the observable universe, and

    Premise 2: :The Universe began to exist", which no one can say with any authority, as all possibilities have yet to be explored.

    KCA fails, because both premises are dead in the water.

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  64. Eric also said,

    ...whenever we're talking about causal relationships, they have to obtain between or among things that exist."

    Eric agrees with me. Causality doesn't apply outside spacetime.

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  65. The whole thing is crap. Michelangelo is the efficient cause of the statue David!

    No he's not! Michelangelo is a material cause of the statue David!

    How much do you suppose Michelangelo weighed, Eric? He had hands, feet, the usual arms, legs, all that good stuff? He ate what we materialists like to call food to sustain his life?

    How is it that Michelangelo isn't material?

    Same goes for a furniture maker too, doesn't it?

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  66. Peeb said,

    "In fact the conclusion's definition is the missing ingredient in the first premise, the material, which is why it's circular!"

    Actually, that would make it a non sequitur, not circular. But it's still fallacious reasoning.

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  67. Eric, quoting WLC:

    "*First and foremost*, the causal premiss is rooted in the metaphysical intuition that something cannot come into being from nothing."

    Fallacy! Argument from incredulity.

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  68. More WLC:

    "To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is to quit doing serious metaphysics and to resort to magic. Second, if things really could come into being uncaused out of nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything and everything do not come into existence uncaused from nothing."

    So, we invent an explanation out of thin air, and call it God. Because that's better than magic, or not having an explanation.

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  69. And more:

    Craig: "X begins to exist at T if and only if X exists at T and there is no time prior to T at which X exists."

    Note, this says nothing about whether a material cause is involved, and hence there cannot be an equivocation on those grounds.


    There IS an equivocation there! Not about the cause, but in the two distinctly different ways that "begins to exist" is being used (apply it to the universe, it's creation ex nihilo, apply it to a maple log, and it's transformative as to how it became a chair).

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  70. LOL Ridiculous Romney threw 47% of Americans under the bus!

    "My fellow Americans, and you know I'm not talking to the bums, you know who you are, we certainly do...", LOL

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  71. So anyway, I think now that the problem here is the notion of 'efficient cause'.

    This is the idea that moves causes and effects away from material cause, which theists need to do to make the case for an immaterial cause creating the universe.

    The first premise of the KCA sounds as if it is saying that things begin to exist because they have a cause and points out that they're not talking about the material cause, which is the marble, in the case of Michelangelo's statue, or the wood in the case of a chair.

    No, we're talking an immaterial cause renamed an 'efficient cause'.

    But which part of the making of the chair, or statue, didn't have a material cause? The chisel held by the hand powered by food, guided by the eye powered by food, ultimately guided by the brain process powered by food! All material causes!

    Come on Eric, list some 'efficient causes', let's see if I can't persuade you, or at least make the case, that they're totally material.

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  72. Who is being fooled here Eric?

    Please explain where I'm going wrong here without just saying that I don't understand the intricacies.

    You claim to be giving us your rational basis, your coherent basis for the beliefs you hold, the same beliefs that millions of people hold having no need of such basis.

    We know that you believe (1) in an absurd extra-universal being, the cause and sustainer of the universe, life, in fact the cause of your belief (goto 1).

    Now I use the word 'absurd' since you are trying to have us imagine, you're imagining yourself, that we can divide the meaning of the word existence into material things, material stuff, material entities, and immaterial entities.

    The straightforward notions which separate the material from the immaterial are 'concrete' and 'abstract'.

    So, this is why I say 'absurd' when I consider the notion of God, which I see, which I think that anyone can see, isn't going to be described by you as either 'concrete' or 'abstract', is it?

    Okay, and this is my opinion, correct me if you think I'm wrong, you know, without 'putting it aside' and substituting something more convenient to your case, such as it is.

    We have the notion of cause and effect. We can call something an effect and figure out what caused it. Once again, we can consider a concrete effect and an abstract effect.

    In the KCA this is summarized, and generalized, as, "Whatever begins to exist has a cause!"

    Not only that, we can try to divide the idea of 'cause' into 'material cause' and 'efficient cause'.

    According to the dictionary, the 'efficient cause' is basically the process, and certainly a process is not 'material' as such, so the statue of David has a material cause, the marble, which Michelangelo put through a process, making Michelangelo the 'efficient' cause, or 'better', making Michelangelo's process the 'efficient' cause.

    Still, it's trivial to separate the cause of an effect into material/immaterial then discard the material part as unnecessary!

    Scrambled eggs, made by me. Where'd these delicious scrambled eggs come from?

    1)There were these eggs in the fridge! Someone bought those eggs at the store, the store likely gets them from some middle man who grades them and puts them in dozens, the middle men likely get them from a farmer who collects them from chickens! I could go back through this process further if you like?

    "Right, so this is one of those efficient causes then??"

    Maybe so, but you asked about the scrambled eggs, so,

    2) I put the eggs through a process adding some del, then some ici, and finally some ous coming up with delicious scrambled eggs!

    "So, that's the complete cause of the scrambled eggs including the material cause, those eggs, and the efficient cause, your process, right?"

    Sure, but the idea that a process isn't material, while true, hand-waves away all the material parts of the process, doesn't it?





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  73. So anyway, I think now that the problem here is the notion of 'efficient cause'.
    -------------------------
    No. The problem here is that whatever we say, no matter how logically consistent and in line with actual reality it may be or how well it defeats Eric's argument, he is always going to answer us as if we were the ones that are sadly and pathetically in error, because that is Eric's whole game. So we can just keep running around in circles defining (accurately!) all the ways in which Eric is wrong, and he will always respond as if we'd only just learned to talk and he was our parent. It's the christian way, utter denial of reality. Eric's kind have just taken it several steps further. He's added in "impressive verbosity" to the mix, so that it's not as obvious when he's being an idiot.

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  74. I mean, you have every single thing that has ever been 'created' that has obviously been formed from other material things that have changed or been changed. So all creation that we have experience with is really a creation out of material change. To posit one, and only one incident of 'creation' that did not require that, is tantamount to just pulling the idea out of your ass. And he's smart enough to know that. It's all a game. He would never admit it if he were proven wrong, even if he secretly knew that it were true.

    But I can tell when he is beaten in an argument. It's when he accuses us of not understanding him and he gets all supercilious on us.

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  75. Sure, but the idea that a process isn't material, while true, hand-waves away all the material parts of the process, doesn't it?
    ------------------------
    I'd even disagree with that. The process of 'creating' a chair is done by a material being that desires a chair. It is always a material change, not an actual ex-nihilo event. The agents of the change are also always material agents. We have never even once observed any change or 'creation' event that was not caused by material agents of one kind or another. (Material here includes matter and energy)

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  76. Eric's whole thesis here is that "repurposing" and "ex-nihilo creation" can be the same thing.

    Um, not a chance. Even if ex-nihilo creation were real, you're comparing it to something completely different here to try to prove that.

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  77. I mean, just look at the process, the efficient cause, of eggs being in my fridge! There may be no eggs in my fridge at all right now. Does the process vanish if there aren't any eggs? Are we just taking a process that generally happens and adding a hypothetical?

    'If you go to the store and bring home some eggs, that process will be complete!'

    Followed by:-

    'If you scramble some of those eggs now in the fridge, that'll end that process!

    But if we take away the eggs, there is still a process but we haven't been able to complete said process!

    If all the chickens died, the process would come to a halt, but it wouldn't cause the process to 'vanish'.

    The KCA is describing a conclusion based solely on the efficient cause, which they have placed into your mind, in premise one, the idea that the efficient cause is an agent! There may well be efficient causes which require no intelligent agents, nevertheless the process that is the 'efficient cause' isn't the agent, as above, Michelangelo wasn't the efficient cause, the process he used was! The furnituremaker isn't the efficient cause, the process he uses or even simply describes, is the efficient cause.

    To make this clear, all the conclusion really tells us is that there must have been a process which caused the effect known as the universe!

    Now I don't think that anyone disagrees with this, especially since efficient causes can cause effects which are themselves efficient causes, i.e. the universe is a process!

    Processes by their nature aren't each a material thing, or an even each immaterial thing. A process is a series of steps causing/explaining an effect, in principle. A recipe isn't a cake, Michelangelos idea of how he wanted the statue David to look, isn't the statue of David, and so on.

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  78. Ironically what I'm seeing here is that if you want to trace the entire chain-of-being back to it's roots, then you have to conform to the process you've decided to use as an example. So then since at each and every step we have no ex-nihilo creation but we *do* have a re=purposing or a changing of one or several material things into new things, then you are compelled by the logic of your argument to present the material causes of the first event. What are they? If you can't find any, then the either they do exist and we just aren't in a position to know about them (yet), or they do not exist and we aren't in a position to know what else must have happened (yet.) You can try to squeeze God into it, but that's only one possibility and certainly not a likely one considering that he was not required for all the rest of 'creation.' What you certainly can NOT do, is to try to draw a parallel between mere re-purposing of existing things and the original creation of all things out of (seeming) nothingness and then try to draw the God conclusion out of it.

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  79. To me, this whole argument of tracing the chain-of-being back to it's 'first causes' is flawed due to our limited knowledge. The most logical conclusion that we can draw from it, if we are forced to draw any, would be not that the first cause was God, but that there was no first cause at all, and prior materials were always available *somewhere* for the creation of other universes such as ours. Logically, without more knowledge, this contraindicates the entire concept of a 'first cause.' It points to a never-ending cycle of some kind, and not a beginning point to everything. We just can't know the details yet. But we must be satisfied with that for now; to do otherwise and literally to just 'guess' it patently unintelligent.

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  80. Let's look at two 'un-ponderables."

    Two things that are both impossible to grasp with our minds.

    1. The universe always existed, or is a part of a never-ending cycle of universes that is infinite.

    Or...

    2. The Universe had a beginning point. Before that, there was *no thing* including no space, no time, nothing whatsoever.

    Since both are equally impossible to grasp intuitively and yet one must be true, we can discard our natural predilection to have things 'make sense' to us and admit that the truth, whatever it is, doesn't make sense to us, likely due to some bias we have, which is undoubtedly environmental in nature.

    Now, either way, I see the introduction of a deity into the mix as further un-necessary complexity. It's not needed. Plus if God started it, who started God?

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  81. However, looking back on that last post, we do at least have evidence of a sort; since the whole chain-of-being requires at each and every step prior material causes, chances are that between those two choices, the 'cyclical' one is more likely to be the case.

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  82. I think that Ridiculous Romney's plan is to hire a couple of million people to build a giant bus, the other 10 million will get the job of throwing about half the population of America under that bus!!! LOL

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  83. "I'm claiming that a fallen log, or a rock if you like, can have all the properties that would be required for something to be considered a "chair"."

    To be 'considered' a chair, or to be 'used' as a chair? I sincerely doubt that even you buy the former, though we both concede the latter. And, of course, the latter isn't relevant to any mereological point I was making.

    "But the universe 'beginning to exist' causes all the matter-energy necessary for parts of it to begin to exist, i.e. allow the rearrangement of the matter. But that is all implied in the first premise!"

    No, Floyd, the first premise says nothing about material causation. The first premise merely says that whatever begins to exist has a cause, or for any X, if X begins to exist, which is to say if X exists at time T and there is no time before T at which X existed, then X was caused to exist. In no part of that analysis is the notion of some necessary material causation entailed, implied or even hinted at.

    Now I'm sick of explaining why the argument isn't circular; honestly, it's like explaining over and over again why there are no touchdowns in baseball -- if you think that there are, you don't understand the terms you're using.

    "Well, he's just overgeneralizing, if he thinks that rearranging matter and creating matter from nothing are the same process, called 'beginning to exist'!"

    *sigh* All that's required for X being said to have begun to exist is that X exist at T, and that there be no time prior to T at which X -- not X's parts, but X -- existed. In this sense, yes, both the universe and you begin to exist in the same sense. Now sure, you have a material cause while the universe does not, but that's not at all relevant *here*. You *CAN* argue that Craig's analysis of the conclusion of the KCA, which leads to an immaterial cause of the universe, is incoherent, but that's a very different criticism from any that you have been making. In other words, you're taking a good (and common) criticism and attributing it to all sorts of logical errors that just aren't there. If there's an issue here, it concerns the coherence of the conclusion of the conceptual analysis of the conclusion of the KCA, and has *nothing* to do with circularity, overgeneralizing, etc.

    "Just kidding Eric, you're just as stupid, aren't you, you just don't get that rearranging matter is absolutely nothing like creating matter?"

    Right, which is why everyone who defends the argument carefully distinguishes material and efficient causes, clearly enunciates complex mereological issues, etc.

    Sorry, Floyd, but I have to say it -- you don't understand the argument, and you don't understand basic logic.

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  84. Sorry, Floyd, but I have to say it -- you don't understand the argument, and you don't understand basic logic.
    ------------
    See Pboy? This is as close that you're going to get to 'you win.' When he's in a corner, this is always his way out.

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  85. "Just kidding Eric, you're just as stupid, aren't you, you just don't get that rearranging matter is absolutely nothing like creating matter?"

    Right, which is why everyone who defends the argument carefully distinguishes material and efficient causes, clearly enunciates complex mereological issues, etc
    -------------------
    I agree. That is indeed why those people do that. They have no way to deny the obvious, so they must make it not-obvious.
    Eric, apparently you have no inkling of how very silly you sound. And since you're not even capable of not sounding silly, you will always retain your entertainment value on this blog!

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  86. "That's not how premises work, premises establish truth by which we can confirm, IOW establish, the conclusion."

    Oh, this is rich -- Floyd is going to teach me about logic!

    "This 'confirmatory' nonsense is part of the hand-waving away of the humungous difference between transforming material and creating material, and avoiding the implication that the conclusion is necessary for premise one to be true, it's circularity!"

    And he completely misses the point, yet again. No, the 'confirmatory nonsense' has nothing to do with that; it's the difference between confirmation and support/justification, which any (decent) first semester logic student could easily explain...

    "Oh my. I'm just glad that I didn't have any food in my mouth when I read this nonsense!
    The equator? Seriously? What a fucking moron."

    What a brilliant riposte! You should try to get that published, Floyd!

    "I don't think that Craig is 'getting it'. If he is equating God with The Equator, with abstract ideas, he's reaching for a definition of 'existence' that there's no 'there' for, it all being in our heads!"

    There Floyd goes again showcasing his remarkable ignorance -- um, Floyd, do you realize that the vast majority of the most profound thinkers in Western history, including countless philosophers and scientists today, are *realists* about at least some abstract objects (*especially* mathematical objects)? Now let me explain this to you -- a realist about mathematical objects (like Roger Penrose) thinks that these abstract entities exist *independently* of the human mind, and they adduce some very good reasons for thinking so. The fact that you're completely ignorant of one of the most important issues in the history of Western thought speaks volumes about the content of your rambling, semi-coherent and incredibly uninformed posts. When you combine that with your arrogance, the results are borderline insane...

    "I'm thinking of a tiny blue elephant which survives by eating marshmallows! Does the idea of a tiny blue elephant which survives by eating marshmallows exist??"

    Read Meinong -- he argues that it does, in some sense, exist. Then read Russell, who deflated what he took to be Meining's 'bloated ontology' with his theory of definite descriptions.

    As I said, you're completely ignorant of one of the most important issues in Western thought, yet you have the arrogance to call those who have put in the time and effort required to understand these issues 'stupid.' You're looking even more foolish than usual here, Floyd.

    "You'd have to be brain damaged to think that a chair is just created like a universe might be. To ignore the fact that in all instances of 'creation' that we have ever witnessed, something was changed into something else, some previously existing matter and/or energy."

    If you think that that point is 'ignored' then you manifestly don't understand the argument.

    "Matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Why does that sound so familiar? To call the making of a chair 'creation' is being loos with the term, using it like when talking about an artist creating a landscape more than as if you were referring to the creation of the universe. Who can take this kind of thing seriously?"

    No one said anything about 'creation'; the phrase is 'begins to exist,' Brian. And honestly, look at the alternative -- either you began to exist, or you have existed as long as the universe has. Where where you during the Cambrian explosion, Brian? Heck, what side did you take during the Civil War? Oh, you didn't exist, did you? Sure, the parts that compose you existed, *but those parts are not the same as you*.

    "And Eric condescends to us that we aren't versed in his chosen terminology..."

    It's not merely a terminological issue -- you guys actually suck at logic. Sorry.

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  87. If I were to be 'mereological,' I would say that, from what we know of Eric, we can deduce that the rest of him is equally incapable of seeing plain logic when it's right in front of him, and then making condescending excuses so that it appears that his audience is the problem.

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  88. Oh, this is rich -- Floyd is going to teach me about logic!
    --------------
    You have a lot to learn about it apparently. You mistake a rhetorical edge with omniscience. You seem to believe that by your words alone, that you can actually 'know.'
    You actually need to learn about PRIDE a lot more than you do logic, though. That's what blinds you to the fact that you're not using good logic to discover anything real, you're only attempting to use logical terminology and philosophical techniques to win an argument that you can't actually win. Then when we don't roll over for you, you have to claim that we're just too dim to see your magnificence.
    And that's just SAD.

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  89. It's not merely a terminological issue -- you guys actually suck at logic. Sorry.
    -------------
    You're incapable of winning an argument without resorting to pedantics and excessive convoluted verbosity. Sorry. If you were *intelligent* rather than *proud* perhaps you'd be capable of making your points without resorting to argumentative techniques rather than simple truth.

    What's it like to be Satan's spawn? I mean, if you aren't the Antichrist, the word has no meaning...

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  90. And honestly, look at the alternative -- either you began to exist, or you have existed as long as the universe has.
    -------------
    YES! Yes! Yes, doofus, I have existed as long as the universe has, OF COURSE! How is it that you can't see what's in front of your face? No energy or matter has ever been created nor destroyed, so that which is me, has existed in other forms for all eternity! OF COURSE IT HAS!
    To think otherwise is to be a foolish person indeed.
    What in the living FUCK is wrong with you?

    ReplyDelete
  91. Eric, you know why you aren't capable of making your points in simpler language, why you can't 'simplify' anything that you believe and have us understand it?
    Because what you believe cannot be simplified without revealing that it is a lie.

    Prove me wrong and explain yourself without any of your pedantry. I fucking DARE YOU.

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  92. "That wasn't his argument; he said that everything that we know of BESIDES the universe itself HAS a material cause, not that it MUST have a material cause."

    Um, no, Floyd is arguing that the notion of efficient causation sans material causation is incoherent.

    "The only thing on the table here that appears not to have a material cause is the universe itself, and you can't extrapolate a general rule from a dataset of one."

    And Ed here demonstrates that he too doesn't understand the argument. For the umpteenth time, the first premise is defended on what follows from the fact that nothingness has no properties, and not on the grounds of causation as we experience it in the world (which merely *confirms* the premise that nothingness is causally inert, since our observations confirm that whatever begins to exist has a cause).

    "The way chairs "begin to exist" is NOT the same way Craig claims the universe "began to exist"."

    Craig is well aware of this criticism, and he defends it in many places, which you'd know if you were, like, actually interested in the truth, and hence in actually researching the issue, instead of seeing how many 'likes' you can accumulate on DC...

    "Theists are preparing a realm for their God to inhabit by conceding this."

    No, it follows from the argument, you nincompoop...

    "Furthermore, time is not separable from space, and both "began to exist" in conjunction with the initial inflation of the early universe."

    Again, this is a point Craig argues from in the KCA, so he's well aware of it. (Incidentally, Craig recently delivered a paper on General Relativity at a philosophy of physics conference he was invited to at the university of St. Andrews in Scotland...how many physics conferences have you been invited to speak at, Ed? You Floyd? So stop acting like you understand the physics better than Craig does because you've read a few popular level books from Barnes and Noble...)

    "Now, causality is a concept that relies on relationships within spacetime, and thus to say that the universe has a "cause" is a meaningless statement."

    This is an assertion; do you have an argument for it? Of course, Craig has heard this objection a million times, and responded to it a million times, but let's not let that stop ignorant Craig critics from making it as if they're the only ones smart enough to come up with it!

    "KCA fails, because both premises are dead in the water."

    Provide me with an argument for any of your political beliefs that has *stronger* premises. Presumably, you hold political beliefs; presumably, you vote for candidates who will enact policies in line with your beliefs, and hence force them on those who disagree with you. Presumably, you know that political beliefs are divisive and lead to violence with at least as much -- and perhaps much more -- frequency than religious beliefs. So let's see that argument, Ed. Either that, or concede that your political beliefs are less well grounded than the conclusions of the KCA, and hence are 'dead in the water.' But you won't even try, will you, Ed?

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    Replies
    1. "...the first premise is defended on what follows from the fact that nothingness has no properties..."

      And what part of "You cannot claim 'nothingness' as an initial state of affairs" did YOU not get?

      Delete
    2. What in the world makes you think that Craig, or anyone, "claims nothingness as an initial state of affairs"?

      Delete
  93. This problem under discussion is adequate to the task.

    You resort to words like 'mereological,' but then refuse to actually judge the whole by its parts that we can see; instead you infer a being into it that does not logically follow from those visible 'parts.'

    Simply now, no terminology, no confusion techniques, in plain speak, as if to a child, explain yourself. Let's go back to the chair. What is it that you feel that makes a chair not related to the wood that it was made from? How do you see it as a creation in the same or even similar sense to how one would assume the universe was created? How can what can only be called a 'transformation' be equivalent in your mind to actual ex-nihilo creation?

    Remember, keep it simple.

    Can't do it? Dismissed.

    ReplyDelete
  94. "Fallacy! Argument from incredulity."

    See, this is what happens when you have a superficial grasp of basic logic. Ed, can you see the difference between saying (1) I can't see how life could come from non-life (an argument from incredulity) and (2) I can see that a prime number can't ride a bicycle (a conclusion that follows self evidently once you understand what a prime number is, and what's involved in riding a bicycle).

    Now (1) and (2) might seem to resemble each other to superficial minds, but anyone who's actually thought for a moment about the issues will understand the difference.



    "YES! Yes! Yes, doofus, I have existed as long as the universe has, OF COURSE!"

    And that, folks, is what we call a 'reductio ad absurdum'...but the absurdity of it isn't apparent to everyone....

    ReplyDelete
  95. Provide me with an argument for any of your political beliefs that has *stronger* premises.
    --------------
    You seek to weaken Ed's argument. You strive to equate an actual physical event with thoughts. This is another pathway to bring "goddidit' back into the mix. You tried equating ex-nihilo creation with a chair; that failed. So now you're going farther out on the limb and seek to equate it with a thought.

    Seek to equate it with nothing else, because if this place were created 'ex-nihilo,' then that event, is like nothing else that we can know. It's nothing like 'creating' a chair for instance... try again?

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  96. And that, folks, is what we call a 'reductio ad absurdum'...but the absurdity of it isn't apparent to everyone....
    ------------------
    You've just said that science is absurd.

    I'm calling this fiasco. You lost.

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  97. "You seek to weaken Ed's argument."

    I'm pointing out his double standard. He has no problem imposing his political opinions on those who disagree with him, and on supporting beliefs that are divisive and have the potential to lead to violence, yet the grounds he has for holding those beliefs are demonstrably weaker than those used to support a conclusion of an argument he has judged to be 'dead in the water.' This has nothing to do with the difference between 'physical events' and 'thoughts' (though I thought that you guys had concluded that all thoughts are physical events...hmmm) -- that's just an obvious red herring, Brian.


    "You've just said that science is absurd.
    I'm calling this fiasco. You lost."

    'Science' decidedly does not say that *you* have existed as long as the universe has because your parts have existed for that long.

    Yet again the self appointed defenders of science shoe conclusively that they don't understand the first thing about it!

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  98. Think about it, Brian -- don't scientists talk all the time about when human being evolved -- what, between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago? Don't they talk about when life began on earth, between 3.5 and 3.9 billion years ago? When the earth was formed, about 4.5 billion years ago? Now how could *you* have existed before the species to which you belong existed, before there was any life on earth, before the planet earth existed? The parts that compose you existed, yes, but it's nonsensical to say, with the scientist, "modern human beings evolved around 200,000 years ago" and, with you, "Brian, a modern human, has existed for 14 billion years."

    See?

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  99. Brian's an iteration of the 14 billion year old particles. You seem to be intentionally misunderstanding.

    ReplyDelete
  100. "Brian's an iteration of the 14 billion year old particles. You seem to be intentionally misunderstanding."

    'Brian,' while *composed* of those particles, cannot be *identified* with any erstwhile state of those particles. Did the particles that compose Brian exist during the Civil War? Certainly, but that's *perfectly* consistent with saying that *Brian* did not exist during the Civil War. Honestly, this isn't controversial at all. The position you guys are hinting at is called 'mereological nihilism' or 'mereological atomism,' and I suggest you look it up to see its logical implications. I understand the issues quite well -- it's you guys who don't seem to understand them at all.

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  101. Look, if you think that the parts that composed Brian existed before he was conceived, but that he didn't exist, then you agree with me. I've said as much in every post so far. But if you think that *Brian* existed before he was conceived, then I have to say that you're simply crazy. This is why the position you guys are defending seems to me to be best understood as mereological nihilism -- we can say that Brian existed then, as we can say that he exists now, because ultimately 'Brian' as a whole does not exist, only his parts do.

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  102. Eric; I think I just have to chalk this up to "the way some people think", but you appear to think "categories" are real things.

    mereological nihilism is probably accurate. It's cute that you appear to have just learned the term "mereology".

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  103. Ryan, um, I've used the term in many past posts on these issues. See, for an insult to work, it has to have at least some basis in the truth, you know.

    ReplyDelete
  104. "Provide me with an argument for any of your political beliefs that has *stronger* premises. Presumably, you hold political beliefs; presumably,... blah, blah, blah...

    Red herring.

    ReplyDelete
  105. "Red herring."

    Ah, then Loftus's OTF is a red herring too, for all I'm asking is if you're consistent in your analysis of arguments, as the OTF does...thanks for conceding that the OTF is a red herring...

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  106. Note, as I predicted, Ed ducked the challenge. Does anyone suppose he would have ducked it if he could adduce such an argument? Of course not.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Ryan, um, I've used the term in many past posts on these issues

    Well, I don't follow as much as I used to, but I don't recall it, and google has no record of you using the term, but if you have, then my apologies...

    Still, you are a douche.

    ReplyDelete
  108. But can you demonstrate that categories are real things?

    ReplyDelete
  109. "Still, you are a douche."

    I've never denied treating douches in a douchey manner. Douches are like ninjas -- only a douche can defeat a douche.

    ReplyDelete
  110. Does anyone suppose he would have ducked it if he could adduce such an argument? Of course not

    I think at this point, any interaction you have here is solely for the amusement of your interlocutor, so don't confuse lack of interest with "ducking"

    ReplyDelete
  111. Fantastic (yet terrible) movie by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  112. "Fantastic (yet terrible) movie by the way."

    Wow, we actually agree! I'd say that this is a great note to end the evening on...

    ReplyDelete
  113. Eric said,

    "I'm pointing out [Ed's] double standard. He has no problem imposing his political opinions on those who disagree with him, and on supporting beliefs that are divisive and have the potential to lead to violence, yet the grounds he has for holding those beliefs are demonstrably weaker than those used to support a conclusion of an argument he has judged to be 'dead in the water.'"

    I initially quoted YOU, chum: "*First and foremost*, the causal premiss is rooted in the metaphysical intuition that something cannot come into being from nothing."

    First: Your *intuition* that "something cannot come into being from nothing" IS an argument from incredulity. Where this appeal to political beliefs that YOU injected into the argument is another red herring.

    ReplyDelete
  114. "Fallacy! Argument from incredulity."
    "First: Your *intuition* that "something cannot come into being from nothing" IS an argument from incredulity."

    Let me quote from my earlier response:

    See, this is what happens when you have a superficial grasp of basic logic. Ed, can you see the difference between saying (1) I can't see how life could come from non-life (an argument from incredulity) and (2) I can see that a prime number can't ride a bicycle (a conclusion that follows self evidently once you understand what a prime number is, and what's involved in riding a bicycle).

    Now (1) and (2) might seem to resemble each other to superficial minds, but anyone who's actually thought for a moment about the issues will understand the difference.

    ReplyDelete
  115. Ah, then Loftus's OTF is a red herring too, for all I'm asking is if you're consistent in your analysis of arguments, as the OTF does...thanks for conceding that the OTF is a red herring...

    What in the wide world of sports does Loftus' OTF have to do with this discussion? NOTHING.

    About the OTF: It's a special tool designed to address a special problem. Just as a harmonic balancer puller is useful, but only for pulling harmonic balancers (and it would be ridiculous to suggest that a harmonic balancer puller would NOT be useful if it didn't work on other harmonic balancer pullers!...), the OTF only has usefulness when applied to the problem of why people blindly accept their culturally-inherited beliefs while blindly rejecting alternate belief systems as false. Maybe YOU don't do this, but not everyone that calls herself a Christian has a PhD, nor is required to have one in order to "believe". Furthermore, if a PhD cannot present uncontroversial evidence that supports her theistic and religious claims,...

    why should we listen to her?

    ReplyDelete
  116. ".. um, Floyd, do you realize that the vast majority of the most profound thinkers in Western history, including countless philosophers and scientists today, are *realists* about at least some abstract objects (*especially* mathematical objects)? Now let me explain this to you -- a realist about mathematical objects (like Roger Penrose) thinks that these abstract entities exist *independently* of the human mind, and they adduce some very good reasons for thinking so."

    Let's say, for the sake of argument that the number 2 is an abstract entity that exists independently of the human mind!

    I throw down to cents and we can count three independent entities, two coins and the number 2?

    What if I throw down another cent, did the number 2 vanish from the table to be replaced by another entity?

    It's a bit 'perspective' related, you must admit, and it has nothing to do with the existence of God since no one is claiming that the number 2, the concept 'two' lives eternally outside spacetime!

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  117. No, numbers are meaningless without intelligent observers, and what are the only intelligent observers we know about? Earthlings! Organic beings! Non-abstract organic beings!

    And simply because Penrose makes a case for mathematical objects existing(in some fashion) independently, according to his philosophical bent, doesn't make that an independently existing abstract notion!

    But still I'm interested to know what the difference, to you, between a process and an efficient cause?

    The cause of an effect being broken down to it's efficient cause and it's material cause, is exactly saying that a material effect is some material that has gone through some process of rearrangement.

    I think that it is absolutely ludicrous to imagine that mathematical concepts exist independently of being conceptual tools, for the same reason that a dictionary doesn't make the rest of our language exist independently of being conceptual tools.

    Differential calculus with the notion of limits, being in principle a concept which could and likely was invented by both Newton and Leibnitz, doesn't make the calculus an independent thing to be discovered at all.

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  118. Think about it, Brian -- don't scientists talk all the time about when human being evolved -- what, between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago? Don't they talk about when life began on earth, between 3.5 and 3.9 billion years ago? When the earth was formed, about 4.5 billion years ago? Now how could *you* have existed before the species to which you belong existed, before there was any life on earth, before the planet earth existed? The parts that compose you existed, yes, but it's nonsensical to say, with the scientist, "modern human beings evolved around 200,000 years ago" and, with you, "Brian, a modern human, has existed for 14 billion years."
    --------------
    Why are you so silly? Stop it with the games.

    don't scientists talk all the time about when human being evolved -- what, between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago?
    -Yes, from other primates. Not ex nihilo.


    Don't they talk about when life began on earth, between 3.5 and 3.9 billion years ago?
    -Yes, from constituent nutrients in a primeval ocean full of them. Not ex nihilo.


    When the earth was formed, about 4.5 billion years ago?
    -Yes, from existing materials, likely the result of a first generation star's death. Not ex nihilo.

    Stop proving my point and trying to claim it for your own. It makes you look bad.

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  119. You sir, are intentionally conflating varied meanings of one word: Create.

    Stop it.

    I didn't exist as this body a million years ago, but the matter and energy that eventually made me, did. And that is the whole crux of your problem. You are equating that kind of a 'creation' with the First Cause as thought of in your philosophy. But that first cause, had nothing to work with. My particles were here and so I could be 'created' from them, like a cake from ingredients. Your cake has no ingredients, so it is you that is half-baked.

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  120. Look, if you think that the parts that composed Brian existed before he was conceived, but that he didn't exist, then you agree with me. I've said as much in every post so far. But if you think that *Brian* existed before he was conceived...
    --------------------
    My existence as an individual has no bearing on the chain of being of my component parts, since my being arises out of those parts. Of course I as a person did not exist before my conception, but since my parts did, it still counts as existence in this context. Period.

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  121. Patterns of life arise from matter, not the other way around, Eric. My personal existence as a human being arose from a very old pattern of evolution extending all the way back, unbroken, to what today we would call 'inanimate matter.' Without that, I could have not arisen. I think you're assuming that I believe that I have a soul. Not so. I can't know that, so I'm uncommitted. In all likelihood I do not, at least as you define one, nor do you. As far as we can tell, all that we are has arisen from dead matter, that wasn't as 'dead' as we like to think of it. So sure you can say that I, Brian, was created when I was conceived. But as to creation as the word is meant in the idea of God creating the universe ex nihilo, that is not even slightly comparable to the re-arrangement of particles that caused my consciousness and body to come into being. They were already here for my use. I was not created ex-nihilo. And that's the kind of creation that you're trying to explain here.

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  122. This is just like if we said 'one plus one is two' and you vehemently disagreed. It makes you look irrational. This is easy stuff to understand here. It's not rocket science, Eric.

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  123. The "creation" of me:

    Existing materials----> Me



    The creation of the universe:

    Absolutely Fucking Nothing At all----> Absolutely EVERYTHING there is or ever will be!


    Are you waking up yet, Eric?

    Well, pleasant dreams then.

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  124. "You've just said that science is absurd.
    I'm calling this fiasco. You lost."
    -Me

    'Science' decidedly does not say that *you* have existed as long as the universe has because your parts have existed for that long.
    -Eric
    -------------------
    I am not referring to my personal existence since it does not pertain to the existence (and ultimate creation-source) of the actual matter that goes to making me up. I literally just assumed that any sane, rational being would see that, so of course since apparently you are not one of those, I must tell you that I personally did not exist at the dawn of time. My constituent parts did, though, and that is all that matters in this context of the word 'create.' We are, after all, talking about the creation of the universe, which is (would have to be) a creation of undifferentiated matter and energy in simple, high-entropy form. Therefore if we then refer to my personal 'creation' *in that context,* it must be my actual, physical creation and not the "creation" (actually more accurately the arising out of other pre-existing substances) of my personality and body that I identify with and as myself. So I literally answered you as if you were being rational. My bad.

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  125. "How can you worship leeks and onions? we shall suppose a SORBONNIST to say to a priest of SAIS. If we worship them, replies the latter; at least, we do not, at the same time, eat them.* But what strange objects of adoration are cats and monkies? says the learned doctor. They are at least as good as the relics or rotten bones of martyrs, answers his no less learned antagonist. Are you not mad, insists the Catholic, to cut one another's throat about the preference of a cabbage or a cucumber? Yes, says the pagan; I allow it, if you will confess, that those are still madder, who fight about the preference among volumes of sophistry, ten thousand of which are not equal in value to one cabbage or cucumber."

    *This is a reference to the doctrine that in communion, the bread literally becomes the body of Jesus, whom Christians worship, putting them in the position of eating their god.

    ReplyDelete
  126. "Eat of my Body and drink of my Blood..."

    A mistranslation. He actually said 'Bite me... you guys suck..'

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  127. Well now that we've answered Eric more than adequately and have patiently illustrated the error of his ways, he likely will come back here and apologize to us for insulting our intelligence, and then go away for a while to meditate upon what he's learned about his faith.

    YEAH, THAT MIGHT HAPPEN!!!! HAH HAH HAH HAH!

    More likely the Devil will suddenly take communion.

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  128. The Romney campaign is taking on more water than if they parked their boat under Niagra Falls.

    Niiiiiiiiiiccccce! Always good to see Evil take a beating.

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  129. Well, I'm genuinely trying to understand why it is that Eric imagines he can talk God into existence using the idea of 'things beginning to exist' and so on, especially since he places God outside of 'Everything', the universe.

    Nothing comes from nothing, a fine sentiment, matter can neither be created nor destroyed, another one, both of which are telling us that the scientific method for understanding the universe is sound.

    Whatever it was that was 'there' pre-universe, changed into the universe, but there's nothing to indicate that there's some kind of consciousness except humans' penchant for anthropomorphizing, otherwise it's a scientific question.

    Seems to me that scolastic philosophers are confident that science will never be able to explain that, so they're safe as far as their talking God into existence goes.

    Now I'm not taking Penrose's ideas about independently existing abstract notions, or his idea that the brain(or mind) works on the quantum level, seriously!!

    Honestly, I give not a shit about anything else he's done.

    I, similarly don't give a shit about some of Newton's ideas either.

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  130. Sorry, not clear.. I meant, it doesn't matter to me what other things Penrose has done.

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  131. Here's why I think that the KCA is circular.

    Imagine we're inside on a giant ship looking at the berths.

    Premise one.. each and every berth, built by WhiteStar Shipping, floats (we look out the window and see the sea, we're floating on it)

    Premise two ..The whole ship was built by WhiteStar Shipping


    Conclusion..Therefore the whole ship floats!

    But.. but the parts of the ship float because the whole ship floats.

    If premise one is true, it's because the conclusion is true.

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  132. so they're safe as far as their talking God into existence goes.

    That's exactly right. Reminds me of something I saw on Victor Reppert's blog about abiogenesis. A theist declared it impossible for lift to come from non-life, and gave a half-hearted defense of his position in that "metaphysical definitions" of life and non-life make it impossible.

    My first thought was how would you know it's actually impossible, second I'd love to see all the revisions to "metaphysics" since Aristotle and third and most importantly, I got the distinct impression that this person would be prepared to argue, if "life arose from non-life" in a lab, that it didn't prove anything since it doesn't demonstrate how life historically arose on earth.

    So basically, you are right, they are pretty much safe to believe whatever they want since it's constructed in unfalsifiable way.

    As intelligent as Eric, and they guy at Victors are, this position is really no different than Ken Ham yelling "You cant proVe Noah didnt save all the dinsaurs and microbs!!!!!11!!one!?!!!"

    And of course Ken's right, but that's really not even the point.

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  133. "It's a bit 'perspective' related, you must admit, and it has nothing to do with the existence of God since no one is claiming that the number 2, the concept 'two' lives eternally outside spacetime!"

    Actually, that's pretty much what some realists about abstract objects say!

    "No, numbers are meaningless without intelligent observers, and what are the only intelligent observers we know about? Earthlings! Organic beings! Non-abstract organic beings!"

    You're confusing how we apprehend something with whether something exists. Sure, all those who defend realism about abstract objects would say that abstract objects can only be apprehended by intelligent beings, but so what? Material objects can only be apprehended by beings with functioning kinisthetic, visual etc. modalities -- does it follow that if there were no such beings, material objects wouldn't exist? Of course not. In the same way, it doesn't follow that because abstract objects are apprehended by intelligent beings, they only exist if intelligent beings exist.

    "And simply because Penrose makes a case for mathematical objects existing(in some fashion) independently, according to his philosophical bent, doesn't make that an independently existing abstract notion!"

    Oh, I agree, of course. Penrose's case may suck. I only referenced Penrose to show that some scientific heavyweights sign up to realism about abstract objects, i.e. to show that it's not endemic to the works of Christian apologetics.
    Stop it.

    "I didn't exist as this body a million years ago, but the matter and energy that eventually made me, did. And that is the whole crux of your problem.'

    Um, how is it my problem if I said the same thing over and over again?

    Eric: "Now some things begin to exist -- I haven't existed forever, even if we concede that the parts that compose me have existed forever. Whatever is the case with respect to those parts, I certainly began to exist."

    Eric: "No one said anything about 'creation'; the phrase is 'begins to exist,' Brian. And honestly, look at the alternative -- either you began to exist, or you have existed as long as the universe has. Where where you during the Cambrian explosion, Brian? Heck, what side did you take during the Civil War? Oh, you didn't exist, did you? Sure, the parts that compose you existed, *but those parts are not the same as you*."

    Eric: "The parts that compose you existed, yes, but it's nonsensical to say, with the scientist, "modern human beings evolved around 200,000 years ago" and, with you, "Brian, a modern human, has existed for 14 billion years.""

    Eric: "'Brian,' while *composed* of those particles, cannot be *identified* with any erstwhile state of those particles. Did the particles that compose Brian exist during the Civil War? Certainly, but that's *perfectly* consistent with saying that *Brian* did not exist during the Civil War."

    Now Brian, you have now said *exactly* what I said -- yet you still insist on portraying this as some disagreement between us out of fear, I suppose, of granting a premise you're loath to grant.

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  134. "The "creation" of me:
    Existing materials----> Me"

    Yes, I agree.

    "The creation of the universe:
    Absolutely Fucking Nothing At all----> Absolutely EVERYTHING there is or ever will be!"

    No, that's precisely what the KCA denies the possibility of! Remember, the KCA *denies* that you can get *ANYTHING* from "absolutely fucking nothing at all." Rather, it would go like this:

    The creation of the universe:

    God ----> the universe

    "Well now that we've answered Eric more than adequately and have patiently illustrated the error of his ways, he likely will come back here and apologize to us for insulting our intelligence, and then go away for a while to meditate upon what he's learned about his faith.
    YEAH, THAT MIGHT HAPPEN!!!! HAH HAH HAH HAH!"

    Now that I've shown conclusively that you *agree* with me, will you concede the point and apologize for not having read my posts before responding to them?

    "Well, I'm genuinely trying to understand why it is that Eric imagines he can talk God into existence using the idea of 'things beginning to exist' and so on, especially since he places God outside of 'Everything', the universe."

    Your first problem is supposing that I'm trying to talk anything into existence. Either god exists or not; I'm merely working with arguments that purport to show that god exists.

    "Whatever it was that was 'there' pre-universe, changed into the universe, but there's nothing to indicate that there's some kind of consciousness except humans' penchant for anthropomorphizing, otherwise it's a scientific question."

    That's not true. Craig has an argument that follows from an analysis of the conclusion of the KCA (viz. the universe has a cause) that purports to show that the cause of the universe is plausibly a mind. (I'm personally not sure about this particular move in Craig's argument, but that's not relevant: the point is that he adduces a reason for concluding that the cause is a mind that has nothing whatsoever to do with 'the human penchant for anthropomorphizing.')

    "Seems to me that scolastic philosophers are confident that science will never be able to explain that, so they're safe as far as their talking God into existence goes."

    While Craig's KCA is dependent on the future course of scientific discovery, the arguments of the scholastic philosophers in general are not, since they make use of basic observations and of metaphysical principles that *any* science must presuppose. Craig is not, strictly speaking, a scholastic philosopher, by the way.

    "That's exactly right. Reminds me of something I saw on Victor Reppert's blog about abiogenesis. A theist declared it impossible for lift to come from non-life, and gave a half-hearted defense of his position in that "metaphysical definitions" of life and non-life make it impossible."

    I actually agree with you here, Ryan. Philosophers have to be very careful not to confuse metaphysical claims with claims that some possible future science could address. And if you think that someone is making this sort of move, you should call him on it. But let's not ignore the converse, for it seems to me that scientists just as frequently confuse scientific claims with metaphysical ones, and we must take them to task as well when they make this sort of move (heck, just look at Ed's link!).

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  135. "".. no one is claiming that the number 2, the concept 'two' lives eternally outside spacetime!"

    Actually, that's pretty much what some realists about abstract objects say!"

    And the other words in the dictionary, not connected to ciphers, they live outside spacetime too?

    How about irrational numbers? The square root of two 'exists' independently yet cannot 'exist' since it is infinite!

    My spidey-senses are detecting a rumbling which I suspect is the independently existing abstract explosion blowing these independently existing abstract concepts out of non-spacetime itself!

    Or have they reconciled the impossibility of the infinite with this other 'possibility' of the infinite?

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  136. ...for it seems to me that scientists just as frequently confuse scientific claims with metaphysical ones...

    I'm sure it happens, but in general, metaphysics is a lesser tool than science and it must demure to science, as we've seen happen over and over. It's not that metaphysics is the screw driver and science is the hand-plane, it's that metaphysics is the screw driver and science is the power drill with option of taking a phillips head bit.

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  137. Philosophy seems to be a good hypothesis generating tool, but (and I'm genuinely curious) can we think of any examples of where science has had to revise itself due to philosophical/metaphysical/theological advances? I can think of numerous examples where the contrary was the case.

    "Oh shit, WLC says the ultimate cause could be a mind, better revise the numbers boys..."

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  138. "I'm sure it happens, but in general, metaphysics is a lesser tool than science and it must demure to science, as we've seen happen over and over."

    I don't think that metaphysics is the 'lesser' tool; rather, properly metaphysical issues are not amenable to the sorts of solutions that properly scientific issues are, given their respective domains of inquiry. I don't think that science as much resolves metaphysical questions as it helps us clarify what is and isn't a metaphysical question (namely by solving some supposedly metaphysical question scientifically). In other words, if an issue can be resolved using scientific methodologies (yes, that's intentionally plural), then it isn't the case that a metaphysical issue has been resolved scientifically, but rather that science has shown that it never was a metaphysical issue to begin with.

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  139. hen it isn't the case that a metaphysical issue has been resolved scientifically, but rather that science has shown that it never was a metaphysical issue to begin with.

    And Ian's not a real Scotsman either.

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  140. "Philosophy seems to be a good hypothesis generating tool, but (and I'm genuinely curious) can we think of any examples of where science has had to revise itself due to philosophical/metaphysical/theological advances? I can think of numerous examples where the contrary was the case."

    Well, yes. Think about the influence that Descartes and Locke had on science through Newton, and hence on mechanistic physics in general, via the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, or that Hume had on how scientists understand causal relations and induction, or on how Popper helped weaken or overthrow (depending on whom you talk to) the notion of 'verification' in science. There are many other examples one could adduce, to be sure, but philosophy of science is not an area that I specialize in. Still, philosophy has caused *many* revisions in how science itself is understood by practicing scientists.

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  141. "And Ian's not a real Scotsman either."

    Cute, but once you reflect on what a NTS fallacy involves, you see that it just isn't what's going on here.

    A NTS fallacy is committed when you take non-essential properties as essential. So, to take the case for which the fallacy is named, it's not an essential property of a Scotsman that he not be guilty of such and such a crime, and so you can't say that a Scotsman who has committed the crime isn't a true Scotsman. So far so good, right?

    Well, is it essential to Q being a metaphysical question that it not be resolvable by the methods of the natural sciences?

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  142. Wait, what crime did I commit, and when did Q get into it? No fair bringing Q in, we're going to need a star-ship captain to defeat him!

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  143. "The creation of the universe:
    Absolutely Fucking Nothing At all----> Absolutely EVERYTHING there is or ever will be!"

    No, that's precisely what the KCA denies the possibility of! Remember, the KCA *denies* that you can get *ANYTHING* from "absolutely fucking nothing at all." Rather, it would go like this:

    The creation of the universe:

    God ----> the universe
    ----------------------------
    Ha ha ha ha... no seriously.

    It's God---->absolutely fucking nothing at all (His building materials)---->The Universe

    A difference that makes no difference, IS NO DIFFERENCE.

    You live in the crannies between facts and truths. Without those spaces you'd cease to exist.

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  144. The point being, I assumed God in your equation, in your side, and phrased it accordingly. So I omitted the actual word "God." You corrected me as if you had a point other than on top of your head. And yet, none appeared. Other than that somehow I am wrong and you are right and heck, I'm even on the wrong page here, because I omitted your deity and only implied him.
    You are such an incredible bullshitter, I've never seen the like in all my life except for Dinesh. Guess I need to get out more...

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  145. "You're confusing how we apprehend something with whether something exists."

    You mean apprehending two of something? I'm confusing that with whether two of something exist?

    Or am I confusing how I apprehend that 2 represents 1 and 1 with whether the squiggle '2' exists and that it represents double what '1'(which we're looking at) represents?

    This is so silly.

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  146. So anyways, metaphysics seems to be the art of parsing stuff to suit your preconceived ideas.

    Cause, split into efficient and material varieties, pure nonsense.

    "..does it follow that if there were no such beings, material objects wouldn't exist?"

    It means that material objects wouldn't exist for us!

    These supposed independently existing abstract 'things' are intersubjective abstract concepts, and humming and hawing that objective material reality is the same kind of thing is bullshit!

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  147. ...or on how Popper helped weaken or overthrow (depending on whom you talk to) the notion of 'verification' in science.

    Refining what science actually is through the philosophy of science, which is really it's own animal anyway, is not exactly what I meant, but I see where you would have gotten that from my original question.

    Can you "adduce many other examples" of where science has had to revise itself in light of theology?

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  148. "Can you "adduce many other examples" of where science has had to revise itself in light of theology?"

    Actually, according to many historians of science, theology's contribution to science is much more important, for it (arguably) is responsible for putting in place the 'worldview' conditions that made science possible in the first place. Before you can do science, you need to believe (1) that the world is not itself divine (so you can test it an experiment on it), (2) that the world operates according to set laws, (3) that those laws are rationally intelligible and (4) that human intelligence is capable of finding those laws out. All four conditions are satisfied by Christian theology, but not by many, many other worldviews (which is why, according to the historians, science developed in the West rather than in, say, China, which was much more technologically advanced than we were).

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  149. Apparently theism was responsible for putting the conditions in place for science to arise, and then science proceeded to systematically (and unintentionally!) destroy every major tenet of said theism.
    Cool. Just like how life arose from primeval slime.

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  150. About a hundred words, with zero content that pertains to the answer of Ryan's question. A work of art. If that art is painting with feces. Too funny.... Eric needs to do stand-up.

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  151. (3) that those laws are rationally intelligible and (4) that human intelligence is capable of finding those laws out.
    ---------------
    (3) is identical to (4)
    Rationally intelligible means that human intelligence is capable of finding these laws out.

    Filler material. What happened, you needed to hit a hundred words?

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  152. Hell, I'll even buy into it for the sake of the discussion. Why not? Sure, christianity enabled science to arise. The rational arose from the irrational. Seems reasonable to me.
    But there is no thing that science ever had to correct itself for that came from religion. Not one. Religion against science, always loses. Sometimes so badly that in retrospect it's very funny.

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  153. The philosophical beginning of a refreshing breakfast beverage.

    "My, this IS quite refreshing, how did it come to be?"

    "I adduced a few oranges."

    (Coincidentally, the philosophical beginning of 'a groaner' too)

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  154. One has to play fast and loose to adduce a juice.

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  155. Here's what religion is good for: Deep denial.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/steven-munoz-citadel-santorum-romney_n_1897473.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

    Apparently one of Rick Santorum's campaign workers stands accused of feeling up other cadets in military school... Male cadets of course.

    Now that's what I call perfect. If it were Santorum himself it would be 'fucking perfect.' Cause if he isn't a flamer in denial I don't know who is... (I suppose Marcus Bachmann is even more overt, so...)

    That which they deny and hate about themselves, they seek to make illegal.
    I guess to prove to others that they aren't gay, they try to look like they hate it and want it banned. A misdirection.
    They really, really hate themselves.

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  156. Or it could be that people who think like this hate themselves, and feel that their religious indoctrination is how they realise it is wrong.

    The non-religiosly indoctrinated succumb to their desires since they do not hate themselves, and it is up to those who realise that the behaviour is wrong to criminalize it, helping stamp it out! He himself is being allowed to suffer in this sin for that purpose, and once it has been officially(through common law) demonized, this burden will be supernaturally lifted from him!

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  157. Dunno... The do seem to hate themselves, but because of that they deny that they are even slightly gay... to the point of being hilarious. Statements like 'God loves the person that resists the temptation to be gay even more than he loves it when the person doesn't feel any temptation.' (I've actually heard a young republican say this!)
    So they feel tempted by other men, but they aren't gay. And if they accidentally have sex with one of them, they are sincerely sorry for their sin to God and it goes away, so they're not gay. Apparently the act of gay sex, or the desire, is not enough for them to consider themselves gay. For many of them, nothing is. I bet even Ted Haggard is absolutely convinced that he's straight. I know that Larry Craig does.

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  158. So I guess the thing is, they WOULD hate themselves if they ever ADMITTED it to themselves. So I suppose at some level some of them might have an *inkling* that they're leaning toward gay, but they immediately put it right out of their minds.

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  159. Denial isn't just a word that sounds a lot like the name of a river in Egypt, you know. It's also the standard christian mind set.

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  160. Also, there are a lot of reasons why "science" as we know it developed in the west, and the Pyrenees, Alps, Caucuses, Danube, Rhine, English Channel, etc... all have more to do with it than Christian Theology.

    And not for nothing, the lack of natural borders in China probably had a lot to do with why it didn't develop in some similar form there.

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  161. Interesting thought... Makes sense. You need enclaves for that sort of thing.

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  162. The political and economic competition. Plus, saying "christian theology is responsible for "science" is almost like saying, "I was in this terrible, abusive relationship and once I got out of it, my life turned around, so I guess I have my abusive ex-spouse to thank for all the positives now"?

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  163. Think of it this way, there was no Chinese Columbus because after they lost their fleet in the 15th c. because the central government said "no more ships!" and they could enforce it.

    The real Columbus didn't get what he needed from Italy, so he went to Spain...

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  164. "christian theology is responsible for "science""

    Remember that almost every scientific advance was driven by requests for better weapons, torture devices and if Christianity has the balls to claim THIS, then I might be tempted to listen...

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  165. Oh, yeah... and land grabs. Almost forgot about that one.

    Thanks, Ryan.

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  166. Plus, let's not forget that any tenet of theism that science destroys will of course have turned out to not a true tenet of theism, because, um... a true tenet of theism cannot... um be destroyed by science?

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  167. LOL. And we can see how the U.S.A. just laps up that science while adjusting their religion to suit.

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  168. "(3) is identical to (4)
    Rationally intelligible means that human intelligence is capable of finding these laws out.
    Filler material. What happened, you needed to hit a hundred words?"

    Not quite. That's what's called, after a famous error in John Stuart Mill's work 'Utilitarianism,' the '-ible/-able' fallacy. The laws could be rationally intelligible *and* we could not be capable of understanding them, just as there are perfectly *intelligible* computations *we* could never be *capable* of working out because they'd require a computer the size of the known universe.

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  169. The dumbest people on earth, are sadly more than dumb enough to be convinced that they are smarter than the smartest people on earth. All it takes is a bunch of leaders with no morals and no scruples to spend a couple of millennia making sure that they stay at least that dumb.
    People like Eric help that along, making idiocy sound as impressive as astrophysics. To a religious cretin, even imagining that Eric is not right, must be impossible. Hell, he used to make me doubt myself sometimes. Before I learned that that's what he's all about, and that's what he's specially trained to do.

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  170. "(3) is identical to (4)
    Rationally intelligible means that human intelligence is capable of finding these laws out.
    Filler material. What happened, you needed to hit a hundred words?"

    Not quite. That's what's called, after a famous error in John Stuart Mill's work 'Utilitarianism,' the '-ible/-able' fallacy. The laws could be rationally intelligible *and* we could not be capable of understanding them, just as there are perfectly *intelligible* computations *we* could never be *capable* of working out because they'd require a computer the size of the known universe.
    ------------------
    Rationally intelligible by humans was not implied? Are you serious?
    You like to be out of context so much it's like you think it's something good. Intelligible means understandable, so maybe there are rationally correct things that we cannot understand without said supercomputer, but then you can't call the program 'intelligible,' can you?
    I'm sure you can, but normal people, not so much.
    Still if you want the win here on a technicality, it's yours. I still say it's filler material.

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  171. All of your 'wins' are on a technicality, btw. Usually the technicality is that I grew tired of the whole deal and stopped typing.

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  172. Sorry Eric, I know I'm always so down on you. It's not being very nice. Your philosophy contradicts mine. But I should strive to be more polite. You continue to amaze me, not always in good ways, but still, I give you credit for being interesting, and I hope you never take my anger as a reason to just tell me to fuck off and never be heard from again. I value your point of view, and not only that but I suspect that others here value it even more so. I may hate your philosophy, but you yourself are not unpleasant. (If one were to discount raw, naked pride on display and superciliousness)(shit, did I just say that?)
    So anyhow, don't take it too personally, is my point.
    This in no way is a promise not to flame you out in the future. What it is, is me saying that I don't hate you even though I disagree with practically everything that you stand for and strongly feel that, either with you knowing it or not, you are less than an honest person.
    But hey, that's just me. I'd rather talk to you than MI. What I don't really get is, how is someone like you, basically on her side and not mine?

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  173. Besides, even though I've basically called you the Antichrist, you must remember that as an atheist, I am not so averse to having a conversation with The Adversary as most Christians likely are. Let's face it, between Yahweh and Satan, you don't want to piss off either one, and neither one is particularly merciful when one looks to actions and not words, so I figure, one can learn from both sides. Incidentally, Yahweh called and left a message for you: "All is forgiven; Please come home"
    Not sure what that means, but hopefully you can make sense of it.

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  174. Just out of curiosity and because I'm in such a good mood, I was wondering something, a non-technical point that is much simpler than most we discuss:
    Do you personally believe that unbelievers such as myself, are influenced by Satan? In any way?

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  175. Brian, to speak of the world's rational intelligibility, as I was using the phrase, is to refer to the fact that its operations are such that it's *possible* for rational beings to understand it. Whether there are in fact rational beings capable of understanding those operations is another issue. After all, our species has existed for 200,000 years or so, right? Well, was the world rationally intelligible in itself before we began to understand it 2500 years ago? I don't think so. It seems to me that it had to be rationally intelligible *before* we could understand it, since that's a precondition of our understanding it! So see, the categories are in fact distinct.

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  176. "Do you personally believe that unbelievers such as myself, are influenced by Satan? In any way?"

    Sure, but so am I. Indeed, I may succumb to his influence in many more ways, and in ways much worse, than you do.

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  177. Correction: "Well, was the world rationally UNintelligible in itself before we began to understand it 2500 years ago? I don't think so."

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  178. Sure, but so am I. Indeed, I may succumb to his influence in many more ways, and in ways much worse, than you do.
    -------------
    Why is that? That doesn't sound logical to me. I'm the atheist. I mean, sure, I have a better moral system, but you can't mean that, since you don't believe in that fact in the first place, so what can it be, I wonder? Why you more so than me?

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  179. Of course you know that a grown man (I assume) that believes in Satan sounds cartoonish to me, and even more so when said man is capable of conjugating verbs and such. But I figured that you had to, right? How would you avoid that, right?
    Why you more so than me, that's what I'm wondering. Can it be that you're more of a 'prize?' And thus conversely, I'm already 'his?' Is that the rationale?

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  180. "Why you more so than me?"

    I said *may*; as far as I know, you, as an atheist, are a much more moral person than I am. Heck, Satan himself believes...

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  181. "Of course you know that a grown man (I assume) that believes in Satan sounds cartoonish to me..."

    Well, perhaps your conception of Satan, angels, etc. is cartoonish.

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  182. I have to tell you, and keep in mind I haven't had your answer yet, but still, it seems to me that even saying that Satan is more likely to get to you than he is me, sounds like a statement based in Pride. (Note the caps) Sure it sounds humble at a glance but really it sounds more like you believe that you're of more value to him somehow.

    How would you know, Eric, how would you know IF Satan had already gotten to you? Do you think it would be something that you could even tell? If he's that good a liar, why, he might be the very inspiration that caused you to become a philosophy student and apologist in the first place....
    He may be the very reason that you're so sure that you're right.

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  183. Well, perhaps your conception of Satan, angels, etc. is cartoonish.
    -------------------
    My conception of your whole belief system is cartoonish, my friend, and Satan is a very nasty cartoon. So is Yahweh. Hard to tell which is worse. I'd even say that they're particularly childishly drawn cartoons. Caricatures even.
    But you know this.... I'm more into you and your beliefs right now.

    "Heck, Satan himself believes..."
    By this I take it you mean, Satan is a theist. Still, wouldn't the unbelievers be like, Satan's best work, making some people not even believe in him, never mind God?

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  184. I'm not getting how KCA proponents/supporters can reasonably split a cause into 'material cause' and 'efficient cause'.

    Let's use the example of marble as the material cause of the statue of David and Michelangelo as the efficient cause.

    But Michelangelo was a material being, who used material objects, chisel, hammer, some kind of sanding/polishing tool, who expended energy, a form of matter(wonder what Aristotle would have thought of that?), which he obtained from the food, which ultimately can be traced to energy from the Sun.

    Seems to me that the efficient cause thing is a way of not describing the process which is itself a series of material causes, but instead casting it as an immaterial cause, separate from 'the material cause'.

    But if we're not trying to imagine that great thinkers through time, even though they didn't understand the relationship of energy to mass, the equivalence of energy to mass, not trying to imagine that their reasoning was flawed on this modern understanding that E = MC^2, seeing a process as half the cause, non-material, then surely we can see that the reasoning of premise one of the KCA is flawed.

    I understand that you can try to overrule this by saying Craig's reasoning says nothing about material, only about things 'beginning to exist', but Craig needs to give us examples which don't equivocate between material things and immaterial things, such as processes, the steps(causes) of which are material.

    Michelangelo and his statue of David, A furniture maker and his chair, don't cut it. They may well have sounded reasonable at the time of Aristotle and Aquinas, but not post-Einstein.

    Leaving 'things beginning to exist' as vague as possible but hinting that there is an immaterial cause partly involved, the details of which we leave to the philosopher who is ignoring the equivalence of energy and matter, makes Craig, at the very least 'sound' disingenuous.

    To say, "But there's a whole raft of metaphysics that Craig can't cover here!", doesn't cut it if his examples don't hold water, and the statue and chair examples definitely do not.

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  185. Who's your favorite angel? I've always favored Sandalaphon. Some say he's really another version of Metatron on the lower arc of Malkuth, but I think he's his own man... er angel...
    Of course Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel are the Big Four, but there are so many others... I've read a bit of the book of Ratziel... there's one you don't hear about so much...
    How do you think of evil? The traditional way, or do you know of the qlippoth? I like that take on it better... the cast off shells...

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  186. I do find it odd that the very highest angel has a greek name rather than a hebrew one. Don't you?

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  187. Angels and Demons..... the part of christianity that looks like Batman. The super-heros and the villains. What's more cartoonish than that? It's a comic book.
    The Justice League of Judea...

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  188. Oh dear, it just came to me that the KCA is a design argument in disguise! What with the syllogism pointing away to 'existing' and old ideas about immaterial causes separate from material causes, a series of material causes cast as a process, an immaterial cause, this is a distraction from the main idea, that things are designed, hence the examples, a design is an immaterial concept!

    But of course Craig knows this, right? The design of the chair and the statue are the only parts of the causes which we might say are immaterial, but we aren't allowed to imagine it's just another design argument.

    So Eric the philosophy student, who will not come straight out and say such things, which ought to be obvious to a student of philosophy, needs to maintain the disguise, never suggesting that 'efficient cause' = = 'design'.

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  189. The argument for satan and angels is incredibly circular and shows how intelligent people with the ability to construct rational arguments are hamstrung by their commitment to ancient myths.

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  190. I said *may*; as far as I know, you, as an atheist, are a much more moral person than I am.
    ------------
    Sounds humble, but I don't know... likely pride in disguise again? Anyhow, why should that be? If an atheist can be more moral than you, then what is the advantage of your belief system at all?
    And more pertinently, if you may succumb to him in many more ways than I, because I may be more moral than you, how do you investigate that for yourself? How can you tell if I'm more moral than you? Because I assume that you'd want to know if I am, and want to find out in what ways, and perhaps even seek to emulate them. You can't just be satisfied to think about it and do nothing, can you? Because hey, what if I am? That makes all your efforts in philosophy and apologetics in vain. Heck, those very things might be the reason!

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