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Presumption of Atheism

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Language-Gamer

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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2014, 08:11:43 pm »
Yes: I'm well aware of Swinburne's views, but he's not contradicting anything I said.
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H.H.

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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2014, 08:58:34 pm »
Explanation applies to contingent facts. God's existence would be a necessary fact and thus does not need an explanation.

Not according to Dr Craig:

Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause).
Necessity and the Argument from Contingency

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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2014, 09:03:45 pm »
Yes: I'm well aware of Swinburne's views, but he's not contradicting anything I said.

How so?
Richard Swinburne: What Kind of Necessary Being Could God Be? - 78m35s

 He may not be contradicting what you meant to say but it seems apparent that he is contradicting what you did say.

« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 09:31:47 pm by H.H. »
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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2014, 02:41:16 am »
This is probably repeating some of the earlier objections to your OP but hopefully at least nuanced differently.

You start the title of your thread with  "There is at least one impossible fact"

Very confusing. For something to be considered factual (to use the word's ordinary meaning) it is required to be possible, unless the something is itself merely a statement that something else is impossible (and there are very few of those statements which are provably correct).

Then you proceed with:
"....the inescapable reality is that Something exists without a somehow.  That is, something, whether it be God or the physical universe, ultimately has no natural, logical explanation for its existence - it just is. Something that is not merely unexplained as of yet, but something for which there is no explanation at all, not even in principle."

Who said that is an inescapable reality? that it ultimately has no natural logical explanation? Because you don't have one? The premise that because most of us don't have a tested hypothesis for the somehow, does not result in a valid conclusion that the somehow doesn't exist.

next you say:
"It seems to me that something that exists as a brute fact without any underlying physical principle, property, dynamic, or process to account for its existence is the very definition of supernatural".

leaving aside the 'brute fact' debate, again, a faulty conclusion. Because you don't know of a physical principle, property, dynamic, or process to account for something's existence, doesn't mean there isn't one, nor that you can establish its existence as supernatural (although it could be). 

finally:
"At this point any failure or refusal to acknowledge the simple truth that there is at least one supernatural brute fact reeks and smacks of deliberate obtuseness and extreme intellectual dishonesty."

Problem with 'simple truths' is that they look very similar to subjective opinions.

When you can prove your 'one supernatural brute fact' then we naughty atheists might be more persuaded. At present, and somewhat predictably, you have no fact, but a question currently without an answer (natural or otherwise). We've had plenty of these over the course of human history, and they all eventually get one.

In the mean time, as always, we have theism to fill in the gaps.

 
The Spanish Inquisition: The Original Faith Based Initiative

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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2014, 05:27:25 am »
This is probably repeating some of the earlier objections to your OP but hopefully at least nuanced differently.

You start the title of your thread with  "There is at least one impossible fact"

Very confusing. For something to be considered factual (to use the word's ordinary meaning) it is required to be possible, unless the something is itself merely a statement that something else is impossible (and there are very few of those statements which are provably correct).

An impossible fact is a fact that fundamentally defies all reason and logic and yet is. Something that exists in reality but cannot be logically, rationally, naturally, coherently accounted for by any possible means in any possible way. The existence of one impossible fact tells us only that everything and anything is possible, that is, that there are no natural constraints of possibility.
 

Then you proceed with:
"....the inescapable reality is that Something exists without a somehow.  That is, something, whether it be God or the physical universe, ultimately has no natural, logical explanation for its existence - it just is. Something that is not merely unexplained as of yet, but something for which there is no explanation at all, not even in principle."
Who said that is an inescapable reality?

Not a who but a what. That what is known as Logic. If you can come up with an escape from the trilemma of circular causality, infinite regress, or brute fact then I'd love to know it but I'm afraid that there just isn't one.   


that it ultimately has no natural logical explanation?

The something in question can't have a natural explanation because any natural explanation would only serve to further beg the question. If physical principles can account for the something's existence then what accounts for those physical principles?  Can you see where this is going?

It can't have a logical explanation because it must either serve as its own explanation, which is logically incoherent, or it must exist without reason as a brute fact, which is also logically incoherent.

Because you don't have one? The premise that because most of us don't have a tested hypothesis for the somehow, does not result in a valid conclusion that the somehow doesn't exist.

Because there isn't one, because there will never be one, because there just can't be... according to reason and logic.


next you say:
"It seems to me that something that exists as a brute fact without any underlying physical principle, property, dynamic, or process to account for its existence is the very definition of supernatural".

leaving aside the 'brute fact' debate, again, a faulty conclusion. Because you don't know of a physical principle, property, dynamic, or process to account for something's existence, doesn't mean there isn't one, nor that you can establish its existence as supernatural (although it could be).
 

If a phenomena cannot be explained in natural terms then by definition it is supernatural - beyond the capacity of nature to produce or account for.

finally:
"At this point any failure or refusal to acknowledge the simple truth that there is at least one supernatural brute fact reeks and smacks of deliberate obtuseness and extreme intellectual dishonesty."

Problem with 'simple truths' is that they look very similar to subjective opinions.

When you can prove your 'one supernatural brute fact' then we naughty atheists might be more persuaded. At present, and somewhat predictably, you have no fact, but a question currently without an answer (natural or otherwise). We've had plenty of these over the course of human history, and they all eventually get one.




You are essentially claiming that there is possibly some natural, logical means of achieving this feat but we just haven't figured it out yet. I claim that what is depicted above is a blatant absurdity, a self-evident logical impossibility.

In the mean time, as always, we have theism to fill in the gaps.

I'm saying that it's all a gap... it's a gap that can never be filled in.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2014, 05:35:24 am by H.H. »
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joppe

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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2014, 10:06:17 am »
Theists would say that God exists based on the necessity of God's existence. Everything that begins to exist has a cause and this would mean that God doesn't need an explanation. An atheist has harder time explaining the cause of the universe when it has a beginning.
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.

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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2014, 02:20:56 pm »
Theists would say that God exists based on the necessity of God's existence.

That is completely incoherent, something cannot be the reason for its own existence. Logic can lead to the conclusion that something must be the reason for its own existence in the same way that logic can lead to the conclusion that something just always existed for no reason or something just spontaneously popped into existence for no reason, but there is absolutely no coherent explanation possible for how or why something must exist because it can't possibly not exist because it's so maximally great that it just must in the same way that there is no coherent explanation for how something just always existed because it just has or for how something just popped into existence out of nothing because it just did - none of these are explanations, they're all just nonsensical gibberish.


If you think I'm wrong then I challenge you to provide a coherent explanation for something exists because it must and is the reason for its own existence - good luck!

Everything that begins to exist has a cause and this would mean that God doesn't need an explanation.

Everything needs an intelligible principle to account for the how and why of its existence. If something exists without some intelligible principle underlying it then it is just a supremely weird brute freaking fact. Now I posit that one supremely weird brute freaking fact must be the case because anything else just begs the question. And since at least one supremely weird brute freaking fact is real that means there are no rational grounds on which one can object to one supremely weird brute freaking fact over any of the other supremely weird brute freaking fact possibilities.

This means that the Theist can no longer object to infinite regress or spontaneous emergence ex nihilo on grounds of absurdity or incoherency because what the Theist is positing is equally absurd and incoherent.

An atheist has harder time explaining the cause of the universe when it has a beginning.

Both Theist and Atheist alike have an impossible time explaining the existence of something rather nothing - because it can't be done because it always comes back to some impossible absurdity or other.
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joppe

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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2014, 03:05:10 pm »
Theists would say that God exists based on the necessity of God's existence.

That is completely incoherent, something cannot be the reason for its own existence.

I don't think you understand what it means that God exists necessarily. Please, read the subject. It doesn't meant that God creates Himself, it means that God always exists. And by always, I don't mean in time. God is timeless.


Quote
If you think I'm wrong then I challenge you to provide a coherent explanation for something exists because it must and is the reason for its own existence - good luck!

Again, many mathematicians believe that numbers exist necessarily. I don't believe that but they do. This doesn't mean that numbers caused themselves.

Everything that begins to exist has a cause and this would mean that God doesn't need an explanation.

Everything needs an intelligible principle to account for the how and why of its existence. If something exists without some intelligible principle underlying it then it is just a supremely weird brute freaking fact. Now I posit that one supremely weird brute freaking fact must be the case because anything else just begs the question. And since at least one supremely weird brute freaking fact is real that means there are no rational grounds on which one can object to one supremely weird brute freaking fact over any of the other supremely weird brute freaking fact possibilities.

This means that the Theist can no longer object to infinite regress or spontaneous emergence ex nihilo on grounds of absurdity or incoherency because what the Theist is positing is equally absurd and incoherent.

Again, you don't seem to understand what it means that God exists necessarily.

An atheist has harder time explaining the cause of the universe when it has a beginning.

Both Theist and Atheist alike have an impossible time explaining the existence of something rather nothing - because it can't be done because it always comes back to some impossible absurdity or other.

It doesn't come back to impossible absurdity at least on theism. There will be no infinite regress and there will be no nature creating nature. In theism, the cause of time, space and matter is timeless, spaceless and immaterial. In theism, the cause is personal because if the cause was impersonal, our universe would seem infinite in age. Think about it. If the temperature was below 0 for past eternity, how could water begin to freeze a finite time ago? It would be impossible for the water to begin to freeze a finite time ago. But think about if the cause was personal. A man that has been sitting for past eternity can freely stand up.
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.

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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2014, 08:31:55 pm »

I don't think you understand what it means that God exists necessarily. Please, read the subject. It doesn't meant that God creates Himself, it means that God always exists.


I never claimed it meant that God creates Himself, I said that something cannot be the reason for its own existence. The claim is that God exists necessarily, meaning that the nonexistence of God is some kind of metaphysical contradiction. I say that this claim is completely incoherent, there is nothing that exits necessarily, that exists because it must, because it cannot not exist -

X)God exists because God must exist.

Y)But why must God Exist?

X)Because it is impossible for God to not exist.

Y)But why is it impossible for God to not exist?

X)Because God exists necessarily.

Y)But what necessitates God's existence?

X)The possibility that God exists.




Again, many mathematicians believe that numbers exist necessarily. I don't believe that but they do. This doesn't mean that numbers caused themselves.

Yeah, in some kind of mystical Platonic realm - I don't believe numbers exit anywhere except inside the mind. The claim that numbers exist necessarily is just as incoherent as the claim that God exists in this way.



Again, you don't seem to understand what it means that God exists necessarily.

Well I did say that 'God exists necessarily' is an incoherent statement so it seems you're right - I don't understand it. But neither do you or Dr. Craig, nor does anyone else for that matter because it is completely meaningless nonsense.



It doesn't come back to impossible absurdity at least on theism.

You keep telling yourself that.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2014, 09:44:39 pm by H.H. »
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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2014, 03:32:06 pm »
"So for all these reasons we should regard logical necessity as belonging primarily to human sentences, and only to any other entities as a convenient fiction; and then, I suggest, it follows that God is not a metaphysically necessary being(in the sense analysed in this paper), because it is not logically possible(in my sense) that there be any metaphysically necessary being." - Richard Swinburne - What kind of necessary being could God be?

http://users.ox.ac.uk/~orie0087/pdf_files/Papers%20from%20Philosophical%20Journals/What%20kind%20of%20necessary%20being%20could%20God%20be%20rev.pdf
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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2014, 01:05:46 pm »
"The special dogmas offered by the various religions (dogmas that often bring them into conflict with science) express, in reality, not supernatural revelations but the endeavour of the human mind to imagine, in a manner agreeable to its categories and methods, what is absolute and infinite: this task is forced upon it by feeling. Now, all these formulæ—be they ever so learned, ingenious, or acute—turn out to be incapable of supporting the analysis. They appear satisfactory so long as we consider them from a poetical and sentimental standpoint, without strictly defining the meaning of words and the connection of ideas. But it is no longer the same when we seek to imagine them and to demonstrate them in a precise fashion.
For instance, let the question be in regard to the origin of the world—one of those questions which religion, in its various forms, usually attempts to solve. If we determine with precision the explanations that this problem allows, we find that they are reduced to three. We may assume, either that the world exists from all eternity, or that it has created itself, or that it has been created by an external power. Now, submitted to philosophical criticism, not one of these three hypotheses is really intelligible: each of the three conceals within itself logical incompatibilities, each is intrinsically contradictory. It is impossible to realise them in thought—to use the forcible English expression. These results have been, according to Herbert Spencer, definitely established through the criticism of Hamilton and of Mansel. Examination of the other determinations that theology claims to impose on primal being—unity, freedom personality, brings us to like conclusions.
That is why the object of religion, the absolute in so far as we try to picture it as existent, is incomprehensible, unthinkable.
What shall we now say about science? Is it not, contrariwise, clear and obvious—from beginning to end—in its principles, in its reasonings, in its results? Not so, in Herbert Spencer's view! Science, in her definitive task of reducing quality to quantity, cannot dispense with such notions as space, time, matter, movement, force, seeing that they are the necessary conditions of quantity. But all these notions, if we attempt to realise them in thought, end, likewise, in contradictions.
Try for instance, to imagine clearly, i.e. to understand with precise and absolute determination, what existence implies, whether space or time. If space and time really exist, there are, with respect to their nature, only three possible hypotheses. They must be either entities, or attributes of entities, or subjective realities. But not one of these three hypotheses can be developed without contradiction. Spencer, once again, adopts the results of Kantian and Scottish criticism.
That which is true of space and of time is equally so of the other primary data of science. Do we endeavour, tracing back the course of universal evolution, to conceive matter as having existed originally in a state of complete diffusion? We find ourselves confronted by the impossibility of imagining how it has reached that state. Do we turn our gaze towards the future? We are debarred from assigning limits to the succession of phenomena spread out before us. If, on the other hand, man looks into himself, he finds that the two ends of the thread of consciousness are beyond his reach. He can only comprehend the production of a state of consciousness after that state has already slipped by; and the disappearance of the conscious into the unconscious eludes him in like manner. The essence, the genesis and the end of all things are hidden from us. All our science leads to mystery in the long run.
There is, then, a resemblance, a bond, between science and religion. Both of these, when we dive into their principles, imply the unknowable, the unthinkable. Religion takes its rise in this unknowable, which it struggles fruitlessly to define. In vain, on its side, would science resolve on establishing itself within the region of the definable and knowable. The greater its progress and demonstration, the more obtrusive becomes that unknowable which it was bent on eliminating. Where religion begins, science ends, They turn their backs on one another, and yet they are reunited."

Herbert Spencer and the Unknowable


"Even aside from its alleged commitment to the ontological argument, Kant has a number of complaints about the cosmological argument. Indeed, according to Kant, the cosmological argument is characterized by an “entire nest of dialectical presumptions” which must be illuminated and “destroyed” (A609/B637). These dialectical presumptions include the attempt to infer from the contingent (within experience) to some cause lying outside the world of sense altogether, an effort involving a transcendental misapplication of the categories. It also includes, Kant claims, the dialectical effort to infer from the conceptual impossibility of an infinite series of causes to some actual first cause outside of sense. Such efforts involve a “false self-satisfaction” according to which reason feels itself to have finally landed on a truly necessary being. Unfortunately, according to Kant, this is only achieved by conflating the merely logical possibility of a concept (that it is not self-contradictory) with the transcendental (real) possibility of a thing. In short, the cosmological argument gets its momentum by confusing rational or subjective necessities with real or objective ones, and thus involves transcendental illusion (cf. A605/B633)."


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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2014, 07:44:57 pm »
"Each new ontological theory, propounded in lieu of previous ones shown to be untenable, has been followed by a new criticism leading to a new scepticism. All possible conceptions have been one by one tried and found wanting; and so the entire field of speculation has been gradually exhausted without positive result: the only result reached being the negative one above stated, that the reality existing behind all appearances is, and must ever be, unknown."

    Pt. I, The Unknowable; Ch. IV, The Relativity of All Knowledge.

Hereafter as heretofore, higher faculty and deeper insight will raise rather than lower this sentiment. At present the most powerful and most instructed intellect has neither the knowledge nor the capacity required for symbolizing in thought the totality of things. Occupied with one or other division of Nature, the man of science usually does not know enough of the other divisions even to rudely conceive the extent and complexity of their phenomena; and, supposing him to have adequate knowledge of each, yet he is unable to think of them as a whole. Wider and more complex intellect may hereafter help him to form a vague consciousness of them in their totality. We may say that just as an undeveloped musical faculty, able only to appreciate a simple melody, can not grasp the variously-entangled passages and harmonies of a symphony, which in the minds of composer and conductor are unified into involved musical effects awakening far greater feeling than is possible to the musically uncultured, so, by future more evolved intelligences, the course of things now apprehensible only in parts may be apprehensible all together, with an accompanying feeling as much beyond that of the present cultured man as his feeling is beyond that of the savage.

And this feeling is not likely to be decreased but increased by that analysis of knowledge which, while forcing him to agnosticism, yet continually prompts him to imagine some solution of the Great Enigma which he knows can not be solved. Especially must this be so when he remembers that the very notions, beginning and end, cause and purpose, are relative notions belonging to human thought, which are probably inapplicable to the ultimate reality transcending human thought, and when, though suspecting that explanation is a word without meaning when applied to this ultimate reality, he yet feels compelled to think there must be an explanation.

But, amid the mysteries which become the more mysterious the more they are thought about, there will remain the one absolute certainty, that he is ever in presence of an Infinite and Eternal Energy, from which all things proceed.
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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2015, 05:44:31 am »
"As I see it, the choice between naturalism and theism comes down to a choice between ultimate brute facts: God or the universe. Which is the more satisfactory terminus of or explanatory chains, the primordial or fundamental features of the universe, on the one hand, or a supernatural being with the omni-predicates attributed by theism? My view is that the former choice is at least as defensible as the latter, and that each choice amounts to the selection of a brutally-factual end-point for our explanatory enterprises.

As for your historical analysis, you are, of course, exactly right. Traditionally, most theists have regarded God as in some sense self-explanatory. Recently, perhaps in response to accumulated skeptical responses to traditional metaphysics, some leading theists seem to be backing away from those claims. My reading of Richard Swinburne is that he concedes that the universe could be the ultimate, uncaused existent, but that theism is the preferred hypothesis because of its allegedly greater simplicity (an argument I challenge in detail in my 1989 book God and the Burden of Proof). Likewise, as I understand William Lane Craig, his argument does not rest on the Principle of Sufficient reason, or any definition of divine necessity, but upon the metaphysical intuition that whatever begins to exist must have a cause. When it comes to things that begin in space and time, I share Craig’s intuition. When it comes to the origin of space/time itself, I do not.

Why think that there could be brute facts? Two reasons: (1) Our ordinary explanatory practices definitely do not require total explanation, and (2) The alternative to brute facts—that anything could be self-explanatory—is highly dubious.

(1) In all of the modes of explanation in natural science and ordinary life, explanation proceeds piecemeal from explanandum to explanans, where the latter, at least temporarily, is left unexplained. There is nothing wrong with this procedure. I can know that the pipes burst because of the freezing temperatures and the fact that ice is less dense than water, even if I do not have detailed knowledge of the structure of the water molecule. In tracing back causes to effects we hope ultimately to come to some set of completely general and basic laws and some set of fundamental entities. Let’s suppose that the Holy Grail of physics is found and a satisfactory TOE is one day established. We will then have some set of ultimate facts for which no deeper explanation exists, and this is precisely what we have hoped all along to find. In explanation, something is always left unexplained, and that this is the case when we reach physical “rock bottom” should neither surprise nor chagrin us. Indeed, there are logically only two alternatives to reaching a brutally-factual explanatory “rock bottom”: Either the explanatory chain proceeds back ad infinitum, or it terminates in something that is not brutally factual but is, in some sense, self-explanatory. As for the first alternative (and pace Prof. Craig), we cannot know a priori that the chain does not extend forever. I am supposing that, in fact, it seems to terminate in a fundamental theory. The second alternative to a brutally-factual explanatory terminus is something that is self-explanatory.

(2) What could it possibly mean to say that something is self-explanatory? I know that, as you note above, Ed, many philosophers have made suggestions here. I find these to be very obscure. They sound to me like verbal formulas devised to obviate a problem rather than solve it. I am not even sure that it is coherent to say that “God is pure actuality” or “God is his own sufficient reason.” I would have to ask for a very careful unpacking of these phrases before I would concede that they are meaningful.

In the meantime, it seems to me that the most obvious way for something to be self-explanatory would be for its existence to be logically necessary. But this option leads us into all the notorious problems associated with the ontological argument. How can there be a concept that guarantees its own instantiation? It can never be contradictory to deny the exemplification of a concept, because that denial does not contradict any of the content of that concept, but only denies that such content is instantiated in extra-conceptual reality. “The non-existent necessarily existent being,” is, of course, a contradictory concept. However, there is, and can be, no contradiction in saying “The concept of the necessarily existent being is not instantiated.” In fact, as has long been known since Russell’s famous example of “the present King of France,” to deny that concept is exemplified is merely to say “There is no x such that x exemplifies predicates P1, P2, P3…Pn.” Such a statement in no way contradicts the mentioned concept, whatever its content.

In what other way, other than by being logically necessary, could an entity be self-explanatory? Well, it could be metaphysically rather than logically necessary. As far as I know, the best candidate for specifying a notion of metaphysical necessity is the PSR, which we may express as: “Nothing exists or is what it is unless there is a sufficient reason for its existence and its nature.” But why should we accept the PSR? As I say above, our ordinary explanatory practices do not presuppose it. Is it intuitively obvious, as I think that Leibniz held that it was? Not to me. On the contrary, with Hume, my intuition is that there very well could be something that exists without any explanation. As curious creatures we may hanker for an explanation for, literally, everything, but I can see no a priori basis for thinking that reality owes us such satisfaction.

The upshot is that if there are no indisputable principles requiring either a logically or metaphysically necessary being, then it is eminently rational to posit brute facts." - Keith M. Parsons  University of Houston--Clear Lake,  Professor of Philosophy

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/02/28/reply-to-prof-fesers-fourth-question/
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H.H.

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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2015, 11:50:42 pm »
"My intuition demands an explanation for every fact, but we shouldn't be too quick to accept the dictates of our intuition. In any case, there is no solution to the apparent paradox of ultimate origins that does not offend my intuition in one way or another. Unexplainable fact, infinite regress, self-explaining fact: they're all unappealing. But the last of these (self-explaining fact) seems the worst of all to me, because I haven't the slightest idea what that could possibly mean. It seems like a strange concoction of words with only the most superficial appearance of meaning.

 Logically, our explanatory regresses must (1) continue ad infinitum, (2) be circular, (3) terminate in a brute fact, or (4) terminate in something self-explanatory. As you note, each of these seems counter-intuitive. However, the brute-fact option seems by far the most reasonable to me."
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Re: There is at least one impossible fact
« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2015, 12:07:37 am »
Good OP. Kudos. It's hardly a new idea, though, and I've been hammered by atheists for saying essentially same thing and taking it to the next logical step and ask, "What must be in order for what is to be as it is?" That, and not accepting "I don't know" or "chance" as being legitimate answers.

In his 1899 book, Essay on the Bases of the Mystic Knowledge, Edouard Récéjac tackles the problem head on. The excerpt below is from the first page of the introduction:

Quote
MUST we believe that Mysticism is like"some vast ocean, the empire of illusion" where adventurous thinkers go astray, or is it a state of direct intuition which may be claimed by right, as divinely imparted?

The question presents itself to us with this alternative: either Mysticism contains a negation of thought worse than Scepticism, or it is the most perfect activity of the mind. If it be that Mysticism is only obstinate persistence to know the unknowable, we shall have to accept the first conclusion. The pursuit of the impossible perverts our faculties and makes them unfit for their natural use. But, should Mysticism prove to be an experience distinct from what we understand by the word "knowing," it would be worth our while to inquire if something new is introduced into the consciousness, and in what ways.

Reason is in possession of too much light to be able to remain quite at ease in the region of clear ideas, but not enough to know first principles of actual knowledge. In this penumbra who can trace the exact limit of perceptions and say where the true disappears in the probable, where the probable vanishes in illusion?
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