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Craig vs Krauss

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TableForOne

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2013, 06:45:21 pm »
Christians don't believe in nothing -- God is eternal, God is omnipresent. The theist answers the question "How can something come from nothing?" by simply responding "It cannot." But for the naturalist, this question remains unanswered. If there was no God prior to creation and there is no divine origin for existence, then how can something come from nothing- not quantum fields, but no-thing? And if existence is eternal, why does something exist rather than nothing? This isn't a double standard; the supernaturalist has an answer, while the naturalist does not.

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peanutaxis

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2013, 08:52:03 pm »
There's a difference between the ontological reality of abstract concepts and their practical application in formal reasoning. You don't have to be a Platonist to understand why "I've never observed 'nothing,' therefore I cannot talk about it" is a poor train of thought. Again, think of the perfect circle.

I fully confess that I am not that up with the play on abstract objects. Perhaps you could explain a/your view on exactly what these objects are.
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The arbiter here is observation, and observation should inform our views, and so "nothing" should be empirically based, and we never observe the kind of nothing that Craig imagines.
This is simply a package of assertions. Why is empirical observation the "arbiter" for metaphysical questions? Why should we define "nothing" as something?

Well I'm just explaining what I understand to be a/the Naturalism-ists view. (which I DO hold but I don't pretend to have an extremely rigorous defense of, nor understand the many flavours in which I'm sure it comes)
We should use observation for examples of "nothing" for the same reason that we should use observation for examples of "circle". As you point out, no one has observed a perfect circle - they are not real. Unfortunately for Craig-esque positions no one has observed perfect 'nothing' either!

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peanutaxis

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2013, 09:11:09 pm »
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You seem to be saying that we can't trust our senses because they evolved. Let's say that we are all just dancing to our DNA. How does it follow that we therefore can't know/discover what is true?

One could discover truth on this view.  Nevertheless there is no real way to rationally affirm what one believes is the truth, so any real correlation between a claim and the actual truth of matters would be purely coincidental.

I can only assume that it has never occurred to you that what is naturally selected and what is true is related. For instance - I love using this example - birds can count*. As you can probably see natural selection and truth about the [macroscopic] world are extremely related.



*http://www.google.co.nz/#fp=d43543ea8682426e&q=birds+can+count Even if birds are merely estimating the size of a cluster of objects, this is still reflects truths about the real world.

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Stephen

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2013, 09:17:38 pm »
All right, but so what?  How does this go anywhere to show we can know what is true, on this view?

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peanutaxis

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2013, 09:50:48 pm »
All right, but so what?  How does this go anywhere to show we can know what is true, on this view?

I don't get you. Maybe I have misunderstood your point. But it seems to me that evolving equipment (brains) that can know what is true (model the world) is an advantage. So that's what happens.

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Stephen

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2013, 10:00:30 pm »
But that just already assumes we can know what is true, and that's the assumption I am challenging. On this evolution view being purported, we believe/ we get what's essentially given to us by evolution. Evolution, as I understand it, selects for survival value, not necessarily truth value. If this then, we can't possibly rationally affirm the truth value of something, because at bottom, evolution has selected some particular belief for us to have so we can survive, not because it was true. Truth would just be a happy coincidence we'd never truly know about.

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peanutaxis

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2013, 10:38:53 pm »
But that just already assumes we can know what is true, and that's the assumption I am challenging. On this evolution view being purported, we believe/ we get what's essentially given to us by evolution. Evolution, as I understand it, selects for survival value, not necessarily truth value. If this then, we can't possibly rationally affirm the truth value of something, because at bottom, evolution has selected some particular belief for us to have so we can survive, not because it was true. Truth would just be a happy coincidence we'd never truly know about.

So birds can count because it helps them survive and this reflects a truth about the real world. It's not just a happy coincidence that their beliefs about numbers happen to reflect reality.

But also, brains are abstract symbol-shunters. They're not just a simple input-output system like a...bacterium, for instance. So it's not like my brain dictates every single idea or belief I have or every word that comes out of my mouth. I can evaluate things by representing them symbolically and seeing how they fit in with other symbols in my brain. Including this paragraph!  :)

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Stephen

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2013, 07:07:25 am »
But see the salient point here is that you are presuming all this as true, only because evolution has dictated these beliefs (of alleged "truth") to you.  Any affirmation of what you believe things "are," is just an excrescence of biological evolution, not something you have rationally considered and worked through.

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peanutaxis

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2013, 05:48:51 am »
But see the salient point here is that you are presuming all this as true, only because evolution has dictated these beliefs (of alleged "truth") to you.  Any affirmation of what you believe things "are," is just an excrescence of biological evolution, not something you have rationally considered and worked through.

I do see your point, don't get me wrong, but I just disagree with it.

To me it looks very much like minds can indeed consider things rationally. We could entertain all manner of crazy scenarios. Perhaps the world is only 5 minutes old and we have fake memories!

But also, there is nothing inherent to evolution that dictates that our faculties are all just delusions. It's entirely possible that evolution could have produced brains/minds that can evaluate and decide.
Most likely you are conflating/smuggling determinism in with 'evolution', but determinism is a whole 'nother story...

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Stephen

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2013, 07:01:45 am »
I agree with you, as well it seems to me the mind can indeed rationally consider things.  It seems to me I am free to work my end towards whatever means I wish, and that not everything I do is necessarily geared towards my survival, much in the way the animal kingdom typically operates.

It's a good point about the conflation of determinism and evolution, though it seems to me to be a distinction without a difference.  On this, while we might think we are able to rationally consider things, nevertheless this exercise is illusory, as evolution is by all accounts, really just an aid to survival.

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NicOfTime

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2013, 11:06:16 am »
But for the naturalist, this question remains unanswered. If there was no God prior to creation and there is no divine origin for existence, then how can something come from nothing- not quantum fields, but no-thing? And if existence is eternal, why does something exist rather than nothing?

No-thing is a circumstance.  Circumstances have effects / consequences -- i.e., circumstances can be causes.

That is, if there is no-thing on the road ahead of you, it affects how you drive on it.

At the most fundamental level, existence is in a tug-of-war with non-existence.  There is no reason at all for anything to exist...but it may be impossible for absolutely nothing to exist.

Why?

Well...look at the properties of everything regarded as "existent".  There are two properties that everything regarded as "existent" have -- take away either of these two properties, and there is not enough left over to be considered "existent".

One property is "persistence".  If something has no persistence whatsoever...not even for the shortest possible period of time...there is no way to detect it.  It's gone before it was even there to begin with.

The other property is, for lack of a better word, is "domain"...where a "domain" is any collection of information that can be potentially labeled as some kind of entity...so that there is something to perist.

If these two properties define what it means to "exist", then the absence of either or both define what "non-existence" is.

In this context, it becomes non-sensical to speak of a domain with no persistence, since the domain is gone even before it's there...and it becomes equally non-sensical to speak of a persistence without a domain...because there is nothing to persist.

But a curious thing happens here...whether this is an entirely semantic construct, or if the semantics are accurately, if symbolically, describing the most fundamental workings of existence itself, I'll put off for now.

The term "absolutely nothing" would be a condition of no domains and no persistences.  But if there were no persistences, then nothing itself could not possibly be persistent.  If it persisted, it would have to become at least some kind of domain in order to have something to persist...i.e., it would have to become something.

So...the proposition here is that there is a logical dilemma at the most fundamental level of existence...two states, existent and non-existent...where it's impossible for both to exist in exactly the same way simultaneously, but one or the other absolutely must exist.

The only option is oscillation between the two states...where each exists only long enough to satisfy the illogical condition it attempts to resolve...and its own existence creates the illogical condition that makes the other state the only remaining logical choice.

This is out of the range of radar of science at the moment...because science is all about detectability / observability / verifiability...and not about logic.  But this logical dilemma has absolutely measureable consequences...and science can observe the consequences without necessarily being able to observe, or at this point even propose, the actual thing that is causing those consequences.

This is the point where philosophy / logic and science begin or meet.  It provides a framework for answering the question why there is something rather than nothing...and, further examination of what can be produced out of this oscillation...and exactly what is oscillating...appears to be entirely consistent with the kinds of things that have already begun to be observed at the quantum level.

So...I wouldn't say that a naturalistic viewpoint has no answer to these questions...but that the answer has not yet been clearly determined.

Science is not complete...it may well be that an element of logic becomes necessary for science to have a comprehensive explanation...but to say these are unanswerable through an entirely naturalistic explanation is, at this point, premature.

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OneCheesyNacho

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2014, 11:52:22 pm »
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but it may be impossible for absolutely nothing to exist.

Of course it is absolutely impossible for absolutely nothing to exist. If it is nothing it is nonexistent. There really was no reason for you to go into detail about that, you can easily just say that nothing wouldn't exist because it refers to nonexistence.

I think what we need to keep in mind here is that by nothing, we don't mean 'something'. Its not as though there was a state of nothingness prior to the origin of the universe and the universe popped into being in that state. We mean that the beginning of the universe was not preceded by anything. So to say that the universe came into being out of nothing, is simply to say the universe came into being without a cause. This is obviously logically absurd.

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Science is not complete...it may well be that an element of logic becomes necessary for science to have a comprehensive explanation...but to say these are unanswerable through an entirely naturalistic explanation is, at this point, premature.

No. Not premature at all.

You said it yourself: "science is all about detectability / observability / verifiability". So in that case Naturalism is all about detectability /observability /verifiability. If something cannot be detected/observed/verified because they are timeless/space-less/immaterial, then they are beyond naturalistic explanations? Wouldn't you agree?

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But this logical dilemma has absolutely measureable consequences...and science can observe the consequences without necessarily being able to observe, or at this point even propose, the actual thing that is causing those consequences.

So here you are assuming that everything has measurable consequences thereby making naturalism true. But not all things have to have measurable consequences, if this is the case, then naturalism holds false.

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So...I wouldn't say that a naturalistic viewpoint has no answer to these questions...but that the answer has not yet been clearly determined.

As I said earlier, you are assuming that all things can be measured/observed/verified. What if something is timeless/space-less/transcendent and cannot be measured/observed/verified, again, Naturalism cannot answer this question so it cannot be determined as per naturalistic explanation because the nature of the entity is not naturalistic.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 12:19:04 am by mclink »

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Lambert

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2014, 02:31:01 am »
Hi all, my first post here.

Interesting topic and I am happy to be here now. Then let me tell you that English is my second language, but as I understand the word "nothing," it means that it is no-thing and thus with no thinginess it has no cause for it to be. This so means that it is without essence to be formed and hence is without substance to be called a thing and therefore is nothing. I think we are talking about causation here wherein essence precedes existence and therefore has no cause to be. If then, essence precedes existence, ex-nihilo creation is the only way.

Such then would also be the universe itself and time as well, which has to be true so that the universe can make room for me, and of course for you, in time for sure, since also time is without essence so that eternity can be. Then if you combine these you end up in infinity where now the finite is needed to make eternity known that exists both in time and in [empty] space that we call the universe, and that now is how infinity is known only because of me and you as the continuity of infinity.   

 And sry, I did not read the argument, but let me just add that there also is no thinginess about this God we know so he can be the universal measure of us all.

Enough said and maybe more than that. Thank you.

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NicOfTime

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2014, 11:32:05 am »
Of course it is absolutely impossible for absolutely nothing to exist. If it is nothing it is nonexistent. There really was no reason for you to go into detail about that, you can easily just say that nothing wouldn't exist because it refers to nonexistence.

Mostly just laying the logical foundation here.  Sometimes adding the obvious is useful.

I think what we need to keep in mind here is that by nothing, we don't mean 'something'. Its not as though there was a state of nothingness prior to the origin of the universe and the universe popped into being in that state. We mean that the beginning of the universe was not preceded by anything. So to say that the universe came into being out of nothing, is simply to say the universe came into being without a cause. This is obviously logically absurd.

Not really.  Nothing is still a circumstance.  And circumstance has consequences.

No. Not premature at all.

Well, yes it is premature.  There is no final answer at this time...the final chapter on this has yet to be written.  Speculation, of course, is not premature...pretty much all scientific propositions start out as some kind of speculation...but it is premature to assert that there can be no naturalistic explanation.  The point has been...and is...that there may be a logical...and not a theological...solution.

You said it yourself: "science is all about detectability / observability / verifiability". So in that case Naturalism is all about detectability /observability /verifiability. If something cannot be detected/observed/verified because they are timeless/space-less/immaterial, then they are beyond naturalistic explanations? Wouldn't you agree?

That's assuming the answer is beyond logic.  But, yes, you're right...anything that is non-detectable in any way, shape, or form will be beyond science...but also beyond anyone's capacity to prove its existence.  The proposition that a logical solution may be at the heart of the matter has scientifically discernable effects (by definition, because the topic here is existence, which is certainly detectable), and it may well be possible to derive specific predictions from the hypothesis that a logical issue may be operating at the most fundamental level of existence itself.

So here you are assuming that everything has measurable consequences thereby making naturalism true. But not all things have to have measurable consequences, if this is the case, then naturalism holds false.

A bit of a mis-read on your part here...I have not assumed that everything has measurable consequences...but it's entirely possible that a logical issue at the most fundamental level of existence will have measurable consequences, and may resolve some of the "spooky" behavior already observed at the quantum level.

As I said earlier, you are assuming that all things can be measured/observed/verified.

No, I never said that, nor do I assume it.  But we clearly have a very observable, measureable existence here.  And we are observing some interesting things at the quantum level that are not inconsistent with the proposition that "nothing" may have measurable consequences.

Anything that cannot be observed / detected in any way, directly or indirectly, is indistinguishable from things that don't exist at all.

What if something is timeless/space-less/transcendent and cannot be measured/observed/verified...

Well, then, you certainly cannot assert that it exists, can you?

again, Naturalism cannot answer this question so it cannot be determined as per naturalistic explanation because the nature of the entity is not naturalistic.

If there's no way to detect, measure, observe, corroborate, verify, validate something, then how do you differentiate that from something that doesn't exist?
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 11:37:36 am by NicOfTime »

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Lambert

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Re: Nothing
« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2014, 12:56:34 pm »
 Hmmm, that's interesting and who is the we in this line?:
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But we clearly have a very observable, measureable existence here.  And we are observing some interesting things at the quantum level that are not inconsistent with the proposition that "nothing" may have measurable consequences.

. . . if we are not existence itself? Kind of like you may have red hair but you are not your hair of which the color is an illusion to give you a hint that also you are, (impersonal always).

And so now do you think beauty is real and truth maybe too? or are we just coal miners trying to keep warm and let somebody else do the dirty work for us while we keep warm. And can you not see the music in this?