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« Alan’s Trip to Lebanon | Main | How Do We Make Apologetics Accessible to Everyday Christians? »

September 06, 2014

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1) Physics insists that the deed to the house no longer belongs to the stuff of Time nor the stuff of Material/ Energy in any intelligible way.

2) The Landlord is the stuff of Timelessness, the stuff of Immaterial.

3) No system is "magically immune" by self-containment. Any descriptive of any X unwilling to dive into the Landlord's stuff will always - eventually - be revealed as a half-truth at best, a cheat at worst.

4) Time is real. Time is not past-eternal.

5) Non-stasis will, eventually, prove fatal to naturalism as it will be ever unintelligible thereby.

6) Cosmic Intention will survive all paradigms moving forward.

7) Theism - the stuff of God - always knew the Contingent's illusion never stood a chance - always knew Necessity never could be some lesser thing.

Dear friends at STR, et al,

I'm waiting for the theist to explore the following angle with the problem of evil in the next theism v naturalism debate I hear.

1) Assume naturalism and no creator.

2) Therefore, all life forms arose from those which arose before which arose from minerals, weather, and time.

3) So, is it evil when the ants eat a beetle, when a frog eats a fly? A bird eats a worm? A monkey eats a lizard? A lion eats a zebra? A bear eats a fish (my favorite)? Those things never come up; they bother no one.

4) So given naturalism, then why would anyone think it unnatural if a man eats a neighbor's child? If a male of any kind wants to procreate with a certain nearby female, would it not be just like any animals? If a a female chose to take and keep for herself the child of another, smaller female, would that not be just plain old every day natural occurances within the nature of naturalism? Whence cometh in moral evil?

5) Or is it always evil when "naturalism" says it is?

:-)

the universe is very much a quantum event

I have always wondered about the statement that "something can not come from nothing". Isn't this a complete refutation of the ex nihilo creation? If something can not be created from nothing, there can not be a created universe since there is nothing to create from. Adding "magic" or "supernatural" to the equation does not solve anything since "magic" is by definition doing something impossible.

However, if for any reason we assume God can create something indeed out of nothing, then the premise "something can not come from nothing" is false. So we are back to the "complexity" problem: is the universe simple enough not to need a creator and where would the complexity needed in a creator come from?

The problem with the Mercedes analogy is that a Mercedes is a not a "thing": in fact a Mercedes really does come from "nothing" since no individual part of the Mercedes is in itself a Mercedes car, but the sum of all parts used to make one put together in a precise, working fashion is a Mercedes. What we call "stuff", that is matter, is not even remotely the same kind of thing that abstract concept is.

The stuff of mind's eternal abstractions are the necessary and sufficient cause of all non-eternal and contingent X's. Cosmic intention unties all necessary actualization. What just must be a static hologram wrapped around what just must be a static sphere will fail, eventually, and thus not save us from such. Unintelligibility merges with the philosophical as semantic paradigms ever morph to the Theist's satisfaction. Atop all this come yet more vectors from abstraction's lines as mind's first person wherewithal ever dissolves all third person descriptives, as Ought, like Time, finds itself inside of contingency's Non-Delusional.

Whence comes Ought? The Atheist's failure to be amoral borrows from he knows not whence - else he believes the delusion as he shakes his fist's ought-nots. Void of Immutable Love: Once we get past all the semantic equivocation, all the false identity claims, all the blind axiom and all the circular deaths, Man must be either Amoral-Rational, or, Moral-Irrational. Roman Coliseum blood sports house no evil. Just ask them. Taste buds ebb and flow, normative's rationality void of commitments, ever amoral. Ought, like Time, like Contingency, like Mind's I, cracks the sky.

Jamo Hutcho,

I am taken will the irony that your post invokes. In light of the up-coming next debate of theism versus naturalism, your first point declares a non-debate. All points yielded to naturalism. Then you refer the issue of the problem of evil as resolved by naturalism resulting in humankind embracing genocide, cannibalism,and kidnapping.

I can't decide whether this is a covert argument for theism inserted through the backdoor or a blithe assertion of the naturalism juggernaut that rumbles ahead only to come to a clunky stop a few feet from its starting point.

It's still a little early this morning, so I'm still a little fuzzy on the up-take. ;)

Good quote supplied, scblhrm. I found one particular part to highlight what I think is the most serious challenge, no impossible challenge any non Christian theist has:

"We may be tempted to imagine that a materialist approach to reality is the soundest default position we have, because supposedly it can be grounded in empirical experience: of the material order, after all, we assume we have an immediate knowledge, while of any more transcendental reality we can form only conjectures or fantasies; and what is nature except matter in motion? But this is wrong, both in fact and in principle. For one thing, we do not actually have an immediate knowledge of the material order in itself but know only its phenomenal aspects, by which our minds organize our sensory experiences"
Even among the various theistic paradigms, none accounts for knowledge and knowing truth comprehensively except the Christian worldview...even Jusaism fails without the full revelation for support.

Erkki S.,
Your logic is off.
“Isn’t this a complete refutation of the ex nihilo creation?”
It is not. Creation ex nihilo is not a claim that something came from nothing. Creation ex nihilo is that someone, specifically God, without the assistance of prior material, created all of material existence. God is not no thing, the absence of any thing.
“’magic’ is by definition doing something impossible.”
That is a non-standard definition of magic. The only manner in which “magic” is directly linked to “something impossible” is if you assert that “supernatural” and “impossible” are identical. In the context of a debate regarding a supernatural entity, specifically God, this would be known as begging the question or circular reasoning.
“is the universe simple enough not to need a creator”
Simplicity is irrelevant to the question of whether or not something needs a cause. The cosmological argument, in its various forms, doesn’t care whether the question is something as “simple” as a paper clip or as “complex” as an SR-71, (or as “simple” as a crystalline structure or as “complex” as a termite hive). The issue is not simplicity, but the universal observation of cause and effect. It does not matter how “simple” the effect is. Existence, metaphysically speaking, has two possible modes, either something is contingent (it is an effect) or something is necessary. There is evidence that the universe is contingent (the video mentions the big bang). Therefore there must be something the universe is contingent upon that is separate from the universe itself. Whether it needs a “creator” per se is addressed in other concerns, but as a contingent thing it needs a cause.
“and where would the complexity needed in a creator come from?”
If the creator exists necessarily, the question about where it “came from” would be a category mistake. As the God posited by Christians is understood as a necessary being to pose this question in that context is to commit that category mistake.
“The problem with the Mercedes analogy is that a Mercedes is a not a ‘thing’”
If “a Mercedes” is not a “thing,” what is it? How does applying the indefinite article “a” to the word “Mercedes” make any sense if it is not a “thing”? How, precisely, do you come to the conclusion that a motor-vehicle of the brand “Mercedes” is not a thing? Are you claiming that brand “Mercedes” is not a thing? (Then what is a brand if not a thing?) If so, it’s irrelevant, because the context of the video is referencing the motor-vehicle. Basically, whatever way I approach your sentence, it either ends up breaking the foundational rules of the English language or completely disregarding the context of the usage of the word in the video.
“Mercedes really does come from ‘nothing’ since no individual part of the Mercedes is in itself a Mercedes car”
There’s two major issues with this.
First, this is a non-standard understanding of “nothing.” Nothing, generally understood, means no thing or not any thing. The individual parts of the vehicle are indeed separate things, and because of that, the vehicle does not come from nothing. (Not to mention the machines and humans involved in assembling the parts.)
Second, what exactly would it mean for a “Mercedes” to come from “a Mercedes car”? You claim that because there was not a whole and complete Mercedes before there was a whole and complete Mercedes, that logically entails that the whole and complete Mercedes came from nothing. I must say that this seems to fit your definition of “magic,” i.e. what you are attempting to claim would be required for everything to not come from nothing is impossible.
“What we call ‘stuff’, that is matter, is not even remotely the same kind of thing that abstract concept is.”
Equivocation. The concern was not that there was an “abstract concept of a Mercedes car” sitting in the garage. But rather that there was the physical object that the abstract concept of Mercedes car has as its referent.

Erkki, something doesn’t come out of nothing by nothing. But God is not nothing, He is something. A Creator can create. A nothing is nothing and does nothing.

You said, “If something can not be created from nothing,” but you’ve slipped something in there that doesn’t belong in your view: “be created.” What Greg is saying is that nothing comes out of nothing. Nothing gives rise to nothing. That doesn’t mean that a something can’t create without any prior existing materials. Again, God is not nothing, He’s something. He’s someone who has the power to create something completely new.

Nothing has no such creative power since it’s a lack of existence of everything. There is no Person to form ideas, there is no Person to create, there’s not even material to randomly morph into something new. There’s nothing. And nothing—a complete lack of everything—is an eternal state that can’t change because there is absolutely no force or substance that can effect a change.

Can you see the difference now?

    You said, “If something can not be created from nothing,” but you’ve slipped something in there that doesn’t belong in your view: “be created.”

"The storm created a massive amount of flooding"

"The water in this cave has created magnificent stalactites."

Now you are just getting hung up on expression instead trying to understand the concept. There is no reason why things could not be "created" by unguided, impersonal forces, and this is not really even a controversial issue.

    That doesn’t mean that a something can’t create without any prior existing materials.

This in an interesting assumption but as far as physics is concerned, matter can not be created out of nothing (or even that there is "nothing") and there is no evidence that this is possible. Making matter out of nothing would revolutionize all physics.

The theist can obviously handwave this issue by simply stating that God has supernatural and magical means, or that current understanding of physics is simply wrong. But the issue here is the claim that God has better explanatory power compared to alternative theories. However, if the explanation is unprovable, or is against generally known facts it is usually mark of a bad explanation.

Erkki, you've missed the point. Of course things can be "created" (as you're using the word) by unguided forces, but that requires forces. In other words, something has to do the creating. If there's nothing, there's nothing there to create.

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