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Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

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John Quin

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« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2010, 01:21:42 am »
I'm not sure how someone can seriously consider Determinism as an option and somehow escape epiphenomenalism, nihilism and moral skepticism. It certainly would make this conversation and everything else we do pointless, we are all just leaves blowing in the wind.

However it appears to me that in general you hold to verificationism but don't accept the implication of it's self refuting nature.
I'm not sure I can see how you justify this position.

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2010, 07:40:47 am »
I'm not sure how someone can seriously consider Determinism as an option and somehow escape epiphenomenalism, nihilism and moral skepticism

I do not know what epiphenomenalism, but one does not have to embrace nihilism, if they are a determinist.  There are many other methods of morality.  Also, what it wrong with being skeptical ?

However it appears to me that in general you hold to verificationism but don't accept the implication of it's self refuting nature.
I'm not sure I can see how you justify this position.

I have already explained this. I hold that things that exist in reality, must be verified, and I back this claim up, by saying that everything that we have ever had experience with in reality, can be verified.  I do not hold this statement to cover "everything" unless by everything you mean every thing.  If that is the case, concepts, and abstract ideas, are not things, and it does not follow that the rule should apply.

If I had to make an argument for it, it would be this:

1) From our experience with reality, every thing that exists in reality, has empirical evidence for its existence.
2) God does not have empirical evidence for his existence.
3) Therefore God is not a thing which exists in reality.

You can easily prove this argument to be wrong, if you can point to any thing that exists in reality, that does not have empirical evidence.

You could also answer, that is fine, God does not fit into the category "thing", so the argument does not matter.  And if you were to take that route, we would have to define what "thing" means to each of us.

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John Quin

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« Reply #32 on: August 01, 2010, 08:15:02 am »
We agree to differ. Again I don't think you understand the implications of verificationism. And I it doesn't look like we will resolve this any time soon.
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What abiogenesis needs is a form of life so simple that even Stanley Miller could create it.

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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« Reply #33 on: August 01, 2010, 05:28:39 pm »
Well you may to agree to disagree, but I do not.  If you notice I said that I only hold that things must be verified to say that they exist, not concepts, or abstract things.  

If you said that God exists, as a concept within your mind, then I would have no objection to that.  It is the time where you cross in existing in reality that you require evidence.

Do you have a complaint against my argument, as I presented it ?  Problems with premise 1 or premise 2 ?

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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« Reply #34 on: August 01, 2010, 08:27:15 pm »

Aquinas (Summa Contra Gentiles, III) says “those things are properly called miracles which are done by divine agency beyond the order commonly observed in nature(praeter ordinem communiter observatum in rebus).” A miracle, philosophically speaking, is never a mere coincidence no matter how extraordinary or significant. (If you miss a plane and the plane crashes, that is not a miracle unless God intervened in the natural course of events causing you to miss the flight.) A miracle is a supernaturally (divinely) caused event - an event (ordinarily) different from what would have occurred in the normal (“natural”) course of events. It is a divine overriding of, or interference with, the natural order. As such, it need not be extraordinary, marvelous or significant, and it must be something other than a coincidence, no matter how remarkable — unless the “coincidence” itself is caused by divine intervention (i.e., not really a coincidence at all). Miracles, however, are ordinarily understood to be not just products of divine intervention in the natural order, but extraordinary, marvelous and significant as well. Thus, Aquinas says a miracle is “beyond the order commonly observed;” and Dr. Eric Mascall says that the word “miracle” “signifies in Christian theology a striking interposition of divine power by which the operations of the ordinary course of nature are overruled, suspended, or modified” (Chamber's Encyclopaedia).

The locus classicus for modern and contemporary philosophical discussion of miracles is Chapter X (“Of Miracles”) of David Hume's Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding, first published in 1748. He says “A miracle may accurately be defined, a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent” ( Enquiries, p. 115n). His slightly different definition of a miracle as “a violation of the laws of nature” appears to be central to his argument against justified belief in miracles. “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined” (Enquiries, p. 114).


http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/miracles/

In regards to miracles I side with Hume.


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Joel

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« Reply #35 on: August 01, 2010, 08:45:46 pm »
jbiemans wrote:

I have already explained this. I hold that things that exist in reality, must be verified, and I back this claim up, by saying that everything that we have ever had experience with in reality, can be verified.  


The problem with this belief is that you are making the claim that Epistemology defines Ontology.  Basically, only things that we know about can exist.  This is fallacious.  Ontology is what is.  There is no requirement that what is must be knowable to, or verifiable by, us.  It's a totally unsupportable position to take.  It's like a blind man claiming that colors do not exist because he has no ability to verify them.

Whether or not God exists is not subject to our ability to verify His existence.  God's existence is not dependent on whether or not a slug, with its meager senses, can detect His existence.  Why should we assume our senses are up to the task?  Because we have better senses that a slug?  Are we the apex of the sensory experience?  Has evolution spat us out such that every thing in the universe that exists is knowable to us?  If so, I'd like you to prove such a claim.  The obvious flaw in the argument is that if there were something that our senses could not detect, there would be no way for us to know it!

An objection to this would be that we can know about things like infrared waves because we can measure them, even though we cannot see them.  But this does not satisfy the objection.  We take a thing and come up with a way to make our five senses apprehend it (like an LCD readout on an IR detector).  We've extended our capabilities, but by no means perfected them.  There may be some alien race as far above us in perception as we are above slugs who have discovered things about the universe that they can empirically measure but we lack the capacity to do so.  Do those things "exist" any less because we cannot detect them?  Did atoms exist prior humanity developing the means to detect them?

Anyway, I think your entire syllogism is rather irrelevant.  Christians claim that God exists and that he exists apart from the universe in such a way that if the universe (all space, time, and energy) ceased to exist He would continue to exist.  That is, He's not made of the same "stuff" we are.  To expect that we should then detect His existence in the same manner we detect everything "in" the universe would be a rather odd expectation.  Nonetheless, I will express my objection to your logic.

jbiemans wrote:
1) From our experience with  reality, every thing that exists in reality, has empirical evidence for  its existence.
2) God does not have empirical evidence for his existence.
3) Therefore God is not a thing which exists  in reality.



I deny premise 1. I believe it to be a tautology.  You define "things that exist in reality" to be only those that have empirical evidence for their existence.  If something did not have empirical evidence for its existence, you would deny it exists.  It's circular logic.  The only things you accept as real are those that empirical evidence, then claim that unless something has empirical evidence it is not real.

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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« Reply #36 on: August 01, 2010, 09:07:32 pm »
The problem with this belief is that you are making the claim that Epistemology defines Ontology.  Basically, only things that we know about can exist.  This is fallacious.  Ontology is what is.  There is no requirement that what is must be knowable to, or verifiable by, us.  It's a totally unsupportable position to take.  It's like a blind man claiming that colors do not exist because he has no ability to verify them.

I am not saying that "the only things that exist"  I am saying that "the only things that we can say that we know exist".  Something could easily exist that we do not know about, but we have no justification in attempting to say anything about it, if we do not even know of its existence yet.

The obvious flaw in the argument is that if there were something that our senses could not detect, there would be no way for us to know it!

Exactly !  If it is beyond our senses and we could not detect it then there would be no way for us to know it!  We also couldn't presume to know anything about it !  If God were beyond our senses, as you say, then we cannot know anything about it.  If it were good or created us, or loved us, etc.  To claim to know something about it, is to claim that it is knowable.

It seems contradictory to me to say that we are slugs in comparison to God, therefore we cannot know anything about him, and then claim to know so much about him.

I deny premise 1. I believe it to be a tautology.  You define "things that exist in reality" to be only those that have empirical evidence for their existence.  If something did not have empirical evidence for its existence, you would deny it exists.  It's circular logic.  The only things you accept as real are those that empirical evidence, then claim that unless something has empirical evidence it is not real.

It is not circular logic.  That is an argument, my premise 1 is the definition, if you deny the definition, then please provide some thing that exists in reality that does not have empirical evidence for its existence.

To show my argument in symbolist form:
E = empirical evidence.

1) Every thing that exists has E
2) G does not have E
3) Therefore G does not exist.

You may argue that this argument is inductive, and you would be correct, but we have no contradictory evidence for premise 1.  I might even go as far and use the same logic that I have seen proponents of the Kalam use. I can say that premise 1 has so much support that I can conceder it to be a metaphysical principle that applies to every thing everywhere.  And I would say that I have more support for my principle then the Kalam proponent has for the causal principle, as not only is it unimaginable, but also, there is nothing that exists that does not have empirical evidence.

Like I said, name one and my argument falls apart.

I guess, if you are going to argue with "I know God exists, even thought I cannot demonstrate it because he is so far above us that it is impossible to demonstrate", then you are right, this discussion will go in circles.  But I would at least ask you this.

If he is so far above that he is beyond our detection, how can you say that you know he exists ?

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Joel

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« Reply #37 on: August 01, 2010, 09:55:48 pm »
jbiemans wrote:
The obvious flaw in the argument is that if there were something that our senses could not detect, there would be no way for us to know it!

Exactly !  If it is beyond our senses and we could not detect it then there would be no way for us to know it!  We also couldn't presume to know anything about it !  If God were beyond our senses, as you say, then we cannot know anything about it.


Good, I agree that we cannot know it through verificationist means.   But the only "know" that is getting tossed out the window as it relates to God is empirical knowledge.  We cannot empirically know what is beyond our senses.  But we can logically know what is beyond them.  Additionally we can know about such a being if it communicates to us in ways we understand--that is, specific revelation.  It is on that basis, logical grounds and His specific revelation, that I claim to have knowledge about God.  It is impossible for someone to refute those claims by positing verificationism - saying I can't really know something exists unless it's been measured.

So, it is agreed that we can't measure God.  And it is agreed that things can exist beyond our ability to measure them.  So, what's the beef?

jbiemans wrote: It is not circular logic.  That is an argument, my premise 1 is the definition, if you deny the definition, then please provide some thing that exists in reality that does not have empirical evidence for its existence.

To show my argument in symbolist form:
E = empirical evidence.

1) Every thing that exists has E
2) G does not have E
3) Therefore G does not exist.

...Like I said, name one and my argument falls apart.


Very well.  I'll give it a go.  Tuesdays exist.  Mathematics exists.  The equator exists.  Suffering exists.  Intelligence exists.  Now, I imagine your rebuttal will be "those things don't really exist in the same way a rock or a pumpkin pie exists."  Which then seems to me a "No True Scotsman" fallacy.  You can't except concepts, abstract ideas, and everything that cannot be measured from your syllogism just because you want to.  You must have a valid reason for doing so.  But as I said, this is all quite irrelevant to God.  I don't claim God "exists" in the universe the same way everything else in the universe "exists."  Your conclusion is not that God does not exist, it is that God does not "exist" as a physical entity in the universe like all of the other physical entities in the universe "exist."  That doesn't bother me in the least.

jbiemans wrote: If he is so far above that he is beyond our detection, how can you say that you know he exists ?


Logic, general revelation and specific revelation.

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John Quin

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« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2010, 09:19:49 am »
I'm keen to hear about Determinism. While it seems as though it may not be completely self refuting, it does make you wonder how we came to think about it in the first place. Chance?
In any case how do you get morality out of Determinism?
Unless ofcourse you were just throwing it out there to be bombastic.
Please consider Humes Is-Ought problem with regards to morality.

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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« Reply #39 on: August 02, 2010, 10:04:59 am »
Please consider Humes Is-Ought problem with regards to morality.

In regards to Hume, I was referring to his premise that miracles should only be believed based on witness testimony, only if the falsity of that testimony would be more miracles then the miracle being claimed.

Very well.  I'll give it a go.  Tuesdays exist.  Mathematics exists.  The equator exists.  Suffering exists.  Intelligence exists.  Now, I imagine your rebuttal will be "those things don't really exist in the same way a rock or a pumpkin pie exists."  Which then seems to me a "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

That isn't exactly true.  Those things, you listed, are not the same.  Are you trying to say that mathematics actually exists in the same manner that a tree exists ?  Tuesdays are labels that we give to concepts.

It would be a "no true Scotsman" if all things were equal, but they are not, you are not listing "things" you are listing concepts.  The only thing on your list that may qualify is the equator, but we can empirically study the equator, it is a thing.  The term "exists" is a bad term, so if you notice, my argument said "every thing", not "everything"

So, it is agreed that we can't measure God.  And it is agreed that things can exist beyond our ability to measure them.  So, what's the beef?

Whats the beef you ask ?  Simple, if it is beyond our ability to measure it, then it is beyond everything that is within our ability, which included logic.

As for personal and general revelation, how do you distinguish revelation from hallucination.

I don't claim God "exists" in the universe the same way everything else in the universe "exists."  Your conclusion is not that God does not exist, it is that God does not "exist" as a physical entity in the universe like all of the other physical entities in the universe "exist."  That doesn't bother me in the least.

Actually that wording is not too far off.  But what other kinds of existence are there ?  To my knowledge, there is conceptual existence, and physical existence.

How would you classify God's existence ?