John8904

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In my lecture notes there is a part about called 'Dawkin's Doubts' that I do not understand in the cosmological argument section.

Dawkins says it is wrong to think that God is immune to regress therefore he asks 'Who made God?' forgetting that God by definition is not dependant on anything. Later it says that "the only the alternative to immunity to regress (something a theist expects of God) is not simply to stop ‘with the appearance of the universe itself’ but to believe in infinite regress which is highly implausible.

I do not understand the last paragraph - does it just mean that the universe does not have God like properties? Please give me the meaning of this paragraph within its context.

In Christ,
John

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Way

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2014, 09:27:46 am »
If you can stop infinite regress by defining God as not dependant on anything, you might just as well place some other cosmic origin (like primordial cosmic "chaos") as not dependant on anything and stop the regress there. It is just a matter of definition when you look at the "begin" of the universe. What speaks against the universe beginning naturally by itself without a God hand pushing it prior to that? If you place a supernatural being before the natural universe in a chain of causality, what speaks against some more supernatural or meta-supernatural beings that is the cause of the cause of our universe? Under such consideration, there is either no real end to infinite regress or you just define the end of regress and postulate it as a brute fact at any unspecific position of that chain of causality (if there is one).
Reason and emotion are what make us human. But reason without emotion is cruelty, emotion without reason is stupidity.

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John8904

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2014, 10:41:24 am »
If you ask to borrow a book from me and I say I do not have it but I have a friend that will let me borrow it, and that friend says the same to another friend, and on and on, then it is true that you will never get the book therefore infinite regress is implausible.

1)   By definition, every dependant thing needs something to depend on
2)   The universe (the sum total of dependant things), is a dependant thing
3)   Therefore, the universe needs something to depend upon (i.e. God)

I know no other un-caused caused that is backed up by archaeology and scripture - 5600 new testaments which is more than any other historical secular or other religious writings. Without sounding rude (I do not mean to be rude), does primordial cosmic "chaos" have this with millions of believers across the globe? Thomas Aquinas: If God exists, then He can’t have been created – but the same thing can’t be said of the universe…
even

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2014, 10:54:31 am »
If you ask to borrow a book from me and I say I do not have it but I have a friend that will let me borrow it, and that friend says the same to another friend, and on and on, then it is true that you will never get the book therefore infinite regress is implausible.

1)   By definition, every dependant thing needs something to depend on
2)   The universe (the sum total of dependant things), is a dependant thing
3)   Therefore, the universe needs something to depend upon (i.e. God)

I know no other un-caused caused that is backed up by archaeology and scripture - 5600 new testaments which is more than any other historical secular or other religious writings. Without sounding rude (I do not mean to be rude), does primordial cosmic "chaos" have this with millions of believers across the globe? Thomas Aquinas: If God exists, then He can’t have been created – but the same thing can’t be said of the universe…
even

Call this primordial cosmic "chaos" the hot, dense whatever just before Big Bang or whatever state the universe was in before the Big Bang took place.
Possibly nothing like God exists and anything can be created. Possibly everything is like God and cannot be created. Be careful to what you call "creation", since many things people colloquially call "creation" is in fact just transformation and transference of energy-matter. In fact, it goes against the First Law of Thermodynamics to postulate that energy-matter can be literally created or destroyed. But science is fallible, so is Thomas Aquinas. Who is he to tell if God exists, it cannot be created?
Reason and emotion are what make us human. But reason without emotion is cruelty, emotion without reason is stupidity.

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John8904

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2014, 12:02:18 pm »
What was before the primordial cosmic "chaos" (call it PCI for short)? Infinite regression says an infinite amount of things which makes primordial cosmic "chaos" implausible if there were infinite regress, but infinite regress is implausible therefore PCI is implausible.

"Possibly nothing like God exists and anything can be created."
Does not follow logic because the word 'created' in this context implies intelligence - a property like God.

"Possibly everything is like God and cannot be created. Be careful to what you call "creation", since many things people colloquially call "creation" is in fact just transformation and transference of energy-matter."
Would that be the universe (everything / creation) then but that is dependant as I proved in the post before - validate premises 1 and 2.

"In fact, it goes against the First Law of Thermodynamics to postulate that energy-matter can be literally created or destroyed."
There are two types of creation:
1) ex nihilo which means creation "not out of anything" and is like the explanation of reality - this is what Christians believe about the book of Genesis.
2) Creation out of things that already exist e.g. Eve being made from a rib of Adam or the first law you talked about, or is it the second, not sure?

"But science is fallible, so is Thomas Aquinas. Who is he to tell if God exists, it cannot be created?"
Equally how can you rely on science with this said. We rely on reason and I think I have given good reason for theism and Christianity.

Sorry if this is long.

Something else about infinite regress:
Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli and the reduction absurdum:
There is the hypothesis that everything needs a cause to exist. But caused by what? Beyond everything that is, there can only be nothing. But that is absurd: all of reality is dependant – but dependant on nothing?!?! There must be an un-caused being as this is absurd.





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Soyeong

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2014, 12:50:23 pm »
If every explanation needs an explanation, then talking about anything being the cause of something else will lead to infinite regress.  Rather, I think we can know something about a cause without knowing anything about what caused the cause.  For instance, if we found a strange artifact on the Moon, it would be reasonable to think that it was caused by aliens without know anything about what caused the aliens.

Before Big Bang cosmology, it was a commonly held view by atheists that the universe had an eternal past and therefore didn't have a cause, so the idea is nothing new.  It's incoherent for something with an eternal past to have a cause or a beginning, so by the same logic, God does not need a cause.
"Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it.”

Yeshua answered them, “The reason you go astray is that you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God. - Matthews 22:29 (CJB)

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Way

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2014, 01:03:17 pm »
The simplest solution to the problem of infinte regress is to postulate that the universe as a closed system is uncaused while all other causations, the ones we know of, are merely processes happening immanent to the universe, that is as a whole permanently unchanged. If you believe that the universe itself needs a cause, and thereby start the chain of regress, it suggest that the cause of the cause of the universe also needs a cause. The resulting regress could go on infinitely, unless you postulate that the cause of the universe has no cause. But according to what reason can you assume that the regression ends with the cause of the universe and not the cause of the cause... of the cause of the universe? If you can postulate an end to such a chain of regression only with the argument of necessity of a brute begin, it is much simpler to assume that the universe is uncaused and eternal. In that case the universe is matter in motion due to the necessity of itself instead of due to the will of an external mind.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 01:08:10 pm by Wey »
Reason and emotion are what make us human. But reason without emotion is cruelty, emotion without reason is stupidity.

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John8904

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2014, 01:14:31 pm »
"If every explanation needs an explanation, then talking about anything being the cause of something else will lead to infinite regress."
Not if God was the cause for something and God is not caused therefore the regress stops there.

I've got church now, I'll have a look at your posts when back hopefully or tomorrow (UK).

God sent his one and only son to die for you both folks because he loves you both very very much - imagine giving your loved son or family member away


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Way

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2014, 01:27:32 pm »
Something else about infinite regress:
Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli and the reduction absurdum:
There is the hypothesis that everything needs a cause to exist. But caused by what? Beyond everything that is, there can only be nothing. But that is absurd: all of reality is dependant – but dependant on nothing?!?! There must be an un-caused being as this is absurd.

The existence of an un-caused being is an objection to the premise that everything needs a cause to exist. It demonstrates that not everything needs a cause to exist and un-caused existence is possible, thus denying the premise that the hypothesis is based on. The point is, it is a self-refuting concept.
There also exists an alternative of an existence necessarily or inherently causing itself. But you seem to deny this possibility as you claim that all of reality is dependant. So the only solution left is that something in our reality is independant and uncaused, some call it "God", but why not call it "Universe"? If an un-caused existence is possible, it could just as well be the Universe. Since we have never observed matter-energy being created or destroyed, why can't we postulate that matter-energy exists uncaused by the necessity of itself? It is absurd to imagine that matter-energy just pops up virtually out of nothing at the beck and call of an allpowerful mind, which Christian creation ex nihilo is suggesting.
Reason and emotion are what make us human. But reason without emotion is cruelty, emotion without reason is stupidity.

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jksurfer

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2014, 05:44:23 pm »
The solution to an infinite regress of causation is in the wording of the first premise of the Kalam.  "Whatever begins to exist has a cause."  Current cosmology indicates that the universe did in fact begin to exist.  Time, matter and energy all came into existence at some finite point in the past. 

Further, Dr. Craig has argued that an infinite number of anything (think past moments of time) cannot be arrived at by successive addition (as moments of time are, with one moment arriving after the other).  This is further evidence that the universe cannot be past-infinite, which subjects it to an explanation of its cause.

God's eternity, as understood in orthodox Christianity, is that God existed without the universe, which would make Him non-temporal in the absence of the universe.  As such God did not begin to exist, since a beginning requires a period of time before which something did not exist.  Therefore God is not subject to causation. 
« Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 05:46:12 pm by jksurfer »

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2014, 06:02:11 pm »
The solution to an infinite regress of causation is in the wording of the first premise of the Kalam.  "Whatever begins to exist has a cause."  Current cosmology indicates that the universe did in fact begin to exist.  Time, matter and energy all came into existence at some finite point in the past. 

Further, Dr. Craig has argued that an infinite number of anything (think past moments of time) cannot be arrived at by successive addition (as moments of time are, with one moment arriving after the other).  This is further evidence that the universe cannot be past-infinite, which subjects it to an explanation of its cause.

God's eternity, as understood in orthodox Christianity, is that God existed without the universe, which would make Him non-temporal in the absence of the universe.  As such God did not begin to exist, since a beginning requires a period of time before which something did not exist.  Therefore God is not subject to causation.

But the wording of "Whatever begins to exist has a cause" is rather begging the question. How do you know that the existence of the Universe has a begin, while the existence of God has no begin? I think by simply defining God as a beginningless being while defining the Universe as a finite being is unconvincing and insufficient to prove the point. Afterall, time could be inherent to the subjective human perception of the Universe and our own mortality by using our subjective "now" as the point of reference for the sake of our pragmatic measurements, whereas an eternal Universe is by itself timeless.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 06:08:51 pm by Wey »
Reason and emotion are what make us human. But reason without emotion is cruelty, emotion without reason is stupidity.

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Rob Heusdens

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2014, 10:46:14 am »
The simplest solution to the problem of infinte regress is to postulate that the universe as a closed system is uncaused while all other causations, the ones we know of, are merely processes happening immanent to the universe, that is as a whole permanently unchanged. If you believe that the universe itself needs a cause, and thereby start the chain of regress, it suggest that the cause of the cause of the universe also needs a cause. The resulting regress could go on infinitely, unless you postulate that the cause of the universe has no cause. But according to what reason can you assume that the regression ends with the cause of the universe and not the cause of the cause... of the cause of the universe? If you can postulate an end to such a chain of regression only with the argument of necessity of a brute begin, it is much simpler to assume that the universe is uncaused and eternal. In that case the universe is matter in motion due to the necessity of itself instead of due to the will of an external mind.

Why would the universe need to be 'closed'? I don't think one can say that. The terms open or closed only apply to (finite) subsystems. Closed is that it has no thermal contact with the rest of the universe, open means it has.

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Rob Heusdens

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2014, 10:48:55 am »
If you can stop infinite regress by defining God as not dependant on anything, you might just as well place some other cosmic origin (like primordial cosmic "chaos") as not dependant on anything and stop the regress there. It is just a matter of definition when you look at the "begin" of the universe. What speaks against the universe beginning naturally by itself without a God hand pushing it prior to that? If you place a supernatural being before the natural universe in a chain of causality, what speaks against some more supernatural or meta-supernatural beings that is the cause of the cause of our universe? Under such consideration, there is either no real end to infinite regress or you just define the end of regress and postulate it as a brute fact at any unspecific position of that chain of causality (if there is one).

I think what is realy meant to say 'final cause' is to say what ultimate kind of substance (either material or consiousness) is the world based on. A theist argues for and assumes that ultimately the primary substane would be consciousness. A materialist would argue for and assume that in primary sense the world is material, with consciousness only being a secondary feature of material developent in complex material (organic) structures.

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Rob Heusdens

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2014, 04:03:43 am »
If you ask to borrow a book from me and I say I do not have it but I have a friend that will let me borrow it, and that friend says the same to another friend, and on and on, then it is true that you will never get the book therefore infinite regress is implausible.

1)   By definition, every dependant thing needs something to depend on
2)   The universe (the sum total of dependant things), is a dependant thing
3)   Therefore, the universe needs something to depend upon (i.e. God)

I know no other un-caused caused that is backed up by archaeology and scripture - 5600 new testaments which is more than any other historical secular or other religious writings. Without sounding rude (I do not mean to be rude), does primordial cosmic "chaos" have this with millions of believers across the globe? Thomas Aquinas: If God exists, then He can’t have been created – but the same thing can’t be said of the universe…
even

The universe 'depends' on the existence of matter. Matter is eternal and not created or destroyed,

God is dependent on human consciousness. Without the believer there is no belief.

Matter is primary to consciousness. The brain acts before our consciousness graps it.


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joppe

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Re: Understanding my lecture notes - Dawkins asks 'Who made God?'
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2014, 06:57:00 am »
Dawkins is a biologist. He is talking about things he is not specialized. His question assumes that God must be made by someone and he never gives any arguments to support his claim.
Saying you 'merely lack belief' in God while arguing for naturalism is the same as saying you 'don't have a political opinion' while praising a political party.