jbejon wrote: So, on your view, the laws of logic could be completely different from the way they are -- and the same is true of God's character, e.g. his being loving and just and the like?
James wrote: So, on your view, the laws of logic could be completely different from the way they are.
James wrote: . . .and the same is true of God's character, e.g. his being loving and just and the like?
If reality is a tree, we see that the trunk of that tree is rooted in what lies in the Absolute. God, logic, possibility, truth, causality, definition, meaning, extension, wholeness, being, becoming, etc. extend from the Absolute and is the tree. It is without cause and without necessity.
[I think most cosmologists believe that the laws of physics (or rules) are responsible for the universe being here.]
I do not think so. I think most scientists correctly understand that laws of physics only describe the universe. The laws of physics outside of the universe would be meaningless as they are only a description of our known universe.
It sounds nonsensical for me to hear someone to say that the laws of physics caused the universe because that is like saying the universe caused the universe.
[The hope is that with very minimal assumptions and very plausible assumptions, that we can explain the universe.]
I agree. Occam's razor will certainly shave off the improbable and leave only the most succinct intact. In fact, I believe this is exactly Dawkins' intentions with this argument. Notice he is not trying to build up an atheistic theory, but rather trying to show that God is less likely than a multi-verse or steady state universe. The question is which one best explains the beginning of the universe in the simplest terms. The problem is that current atheistic theories are more improbable and require more faith than the belief in God.
[Which is simpler, basic mathematical symmetries existing or an advanced intelligent designer who first acts in time creating a universe with all kinds of pain and suffering?]
The prevailing scientific view is that nothing existed prior to the big bang. Nothing encompasses a whole lot of stuff such as time, matter, space and even mathematical symmetries. Since mathematical symmetries could not have existed prior to the universe that leaves me with only one option left to choose.
Btw, Do you think that humans can or will in the future be able to design something that is more complex (complex by Dawkins' definition) than themselves? If no, why not?
jbejon wrote: If reality is a tree, we see that the trunk of that tree is rooted in what lies in the Absolute. God, logic, possibility, truth, causality, definition, meaning, extension, wholeness, being, becoming, etc. extend from the Absolute and is the tree. It is without cause and without necessity.I don't quite get this. What is "without cause and without necessity"? And what is "the Absolute" exactly -- i.e. what kinds of things does it consist of?
James wrote: (P.S. Is it me, or do you change your metaphysical views on a fairly regular basis? I feel like I've talked to you about a fair bit of stuff, but I never seem to get much of a handle on what you actually believe about anything. You'd make a great politician you know )
Jelly_Donut wrote: "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" - Sherlock Holmes
Careful elimination is the key to this whole thing, JD. The problem I have with so many theist conceptions of God is that it is based on a human being-like God that exists for no reason, and this is somehow taken to be the best eliminative approach to the matter. Neoplatonism is just one example of a better approach. As far as I know, neoplatonism is the only cosmological philosophy invented by Christians. Yet, the conservative evangelical community seems to consider this viable philosophy to be a heresy.
jbejon wrote: Harvey, I'm afraid I don't really get this giant-red-spot-tree-thing you're describing (though it does sound kind of intriguing). However, you mention an "absolute". And it seems to me that the very concept of an absolute involves the concept of something that is uncaused yet necessary the way it is, wouldn't you say?
"Necessary" means that something is not possibly false. How is the Absolute not possibly false when it has properties of contingency? I would accept that the Absolute is contingently necessary. Meaning that it is necessary that it is possibly true and possibly false. But this is not what is traditionally meant by a necessary thing--which means that it necessarily exists or necessarily does not exist.
Jelly_Donut wrote: Yet, the conservative evangelical community seems to consider this viable philosophy to be a heresy.The belief that God exists? No The exact nature of God? Yes
Yet, the conservative evangelical community seems to consider this viable philosophy to be a heresy.
"Necessary" means that something is not possibly false. How is the Absolute not possibly false when it has properties of contingency?
(2) If [something is] uncaused, then [it's] a contingent being (that is, it exists for no causal or logical reason)
jbejon wrote: I didn't realise your "Absolute" was contingent. In that case, it doesn't sound very absolute to me.
jbejon wrote: Your premise (2) reads:(2) If [something is] uncaused, then [it's] a contingent being (that is, it exists for no causal or logical reason)Why do you think something can't be uncaused yet necessarily the way it is? -- i.e. why can't it be the way it is because of its own nature?
[I'm not so sure that we can break it down based on existence and nature, JD.]
I think that we can and let me try to give an illustration. You would agree that for all intents and purposes, I exist, that is, I hold a place in space, time, and matter within our universe. That is a demonstrable fact, I exist. Now does my nature determine whether I exist or not? My nature can be good, evil, or any other flavor in between yet I still exist. My existence is not dependent on my nature rather my nature is dependent upon my existence. Do you see my point? When an atheist argues that God does not exist because they find his nature objectionable; that in itself does not prove that God does not exist.
[To me there are many gods that are not justifiable because of their nature, so I don't say put the existence of a god or gods as primary, and then discuss the nature of such a being or beings.]
Yes, but for one to actually look at different gods as a possible live options for the creation of the universe is significant. To do so one must believe that there is at least a possibility that a god or gods could have created the universe.
[To me, to discuss the existence of something is also to discuss the nature of something.] Is it possible for someone to determine that I exist, yet not know my nature (i.e. values, morals, origin)?
[If the nature that is being proposed looks improbable given a simple beginning, then the existence of such a being is also improbable.]
To ask the question whether a beingâ€™s nature is probable or improbable indicates that one at least acknowledges that there is a probability that a being exists in the first place.
For example letâ€™s say that while walking down the beach we see a toy truck laying in the sand. Wondering where it came from we look up and see a family consisting of a man, a woman, and a small boy. Out of the three people, whoâ€™s toy does it most probably belong to? Wait one moment! Before we can even ask that question we must first believe that the family exists before we can correctly guess who is the toyâ€™s owner.