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Emuse

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #90 on: March 26, 2020, 07:22:07 am »
I wasn't being confrontational.  Your remark (to which I was replying) had no connection to anything I'd said.  You were talking about a "non-designer God", something I hadn't even proposed because it isn't even coherent.  I had pointed out that God is necessarily a designer in any world in which he and a universe (life permitting or not), are thought to co-exist.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 07:23:50 am by Emuse »

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Harvey

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #91 on: March 26, 2020, 07:25:20 am »
I am not asking for epistemic possibility, but whether God is capable of creating such. If he is, then it is a metaphysical possibility.

That would wholly depend on whether it is within His sovereign will or not. As I mentioned earlier His sovereign will is that which God could do anything within that the guidelines of that will, but it is based on certain factors that undergirds His existence. Certainly if it wasn't part of His sovereign will He might not choose to create universe's which have no purpose. In such a case if God were to do some pointless act it may go against those things that undergoes His existence and He wouldn't and couldn't create such universes.

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Emuse

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #92 on: March 26, 2020, 07:27:13 am »
By definition, nothing undergirds the existence of an ontically non-contingent being.  And trivially, if the constants could have been different then God's sovereign will could have also been different which makes it an acciental property of the metaphysically necessary being.  What you are saying above, whilst true, does nothing to address this.  What God could have done might go against his sovereign will as it is in this world but that's irrelevant and does nothing to address the problem if his sovereign will could have been different.  If the constants could have been different then it follows that God's sovereign will could have been different; not because the constants have some control over God's nature but because the flexibility of God's nature allows for that variation of the constants themselves.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 07:40:22 am by Emuse »

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Emuse

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #93 on: March 26, 2020, 07:38:04 am »
There are two possible worlds ....

W1: [God, life-permitting-universe]
W2: [God, life-denying-universe]

W1 is the actual world, as you believe it to be.  If it is true that the constants could have been different and hostile to life then W2 must be a metaphysically possible world.  It's not the actual world as it is, but it is how the actual world could have been.  If God exists in the actual world then he exists in all metaphysically possible worlds, so he must also be placed in W2.   In W2, he is the creator and designer of the life-denying-universe, by definition.  In W2, creating the life-denying-universe is in accordance with his sovereign will as it is in W2.  We are agree that what he does in W2 is against his sovereign will, as it is in W1 (the world, as you think it is).  So it follows, if W1 and W2 are both metaphysically possible worlds, God's sovereign will could have been different and is thus an accidental property of the metaphysically necessary being.

So God being significantly free entails that he is free with respect to his sovereign will such that his sovereign will is something that is flexible for him.  This is why assuming a metaphysically necessary and significantly free designer does nothing to resolve the high odds pointed out in the fine tuning argument.

On the other hand, if the constants as they are, are metaphysically necessary then that alone is the reason why they are the way they are as opposed to some other conceivable way.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 07:55:13 am by Emuse »

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Paterfamilia

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #94 on: March 26, 2020, 07:56:37 am »
"X is metaphysically necessary" simply means "X exists in all possible worlds" which is simply another way of saying "X exists because it is impossible for X not to exist".  It's an idea that can be applied to numerous different conceivable circumstances; both theistic and non-theistic (God, a naturalistic multiverse and so on).  There are also different strengths of necessity.  In addition, this objection to the fine tuning argument isn't calling God's existence into question.

Thanks.

Anyway, in the case of a self existent MGB, it would be absurd to suppose that any metaphysic would supervene in any way.

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Tom Paine

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #95 on: March 26, 2020, 10:36:52 am »
Hi

I'm looking for a defence of how an unembodied mind could be postulated as the cause of the universe. How does a mind cause anything?? If abstract objects can't, why could an unembodied mind? An embodied mind can act within the physical world, that I understand.

Because any other alternative is incoherent. You do know the method of negative reasoning, right? That is: you can eliminate all that is incoherent, till you arrive at what is coherent.

So far, there have been a very few categorical explanations proposed. It turns out that all the alternatives are begging the question and cannot meaningfully be counted as "ultimate explanation".

For example, if we went to say:

- the universe is eternally self-existent the way it is and needs nothing external to its nature as a cause > but then that begs the question: why the contingency in the universe, then? Why these particular natural laws as opposed to some other?

That's very possibly a meaningless question. As I've stated before "Why?" questions are seeking BE CAUSE answers, but there is no CAUSE for an uncaused Universe, and if there is no BECAUSE, then there is no "Why?" It simply is what it is. Something has to be just what it is by NATURE and not by cause, and there's no good reason to think that Nature is not just what it is by Nature. In fact, isn't that why it's called Nature?


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Basically, the ultimate explanation that does not beg the question and explains what we observe - contingency, change, motion, personhood, other minds, order, etc. - is a personal being endowed with a mind that caused all that we observe. It explains why these particular laws as opposed to some others: because He chose this way. It explains why there's contingency: because He is the necessity, thus all created is necessarily contingent. It explains why there's motion: because He decided to move. It explains why there's Personhood and mind: because He is Person, thus He creates some of His Creations in His Image.

Actually it explains nothing. That is, it is the kind of explanation that could explain anything w/o even doing any of the hard work of explanation the way scientific theories at least attempt to do, i.e., explaining the mechanisms, i.e., HOW it all works. It's what I would call a pseudo explanation.

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This is the same methodology through which we establish the truthfulness and existence of logic, or maths, or language, or truth: because to deny its existence leads to incoherence and absurdity. Not because we have observed any ontology that corresponds to "logic". No, there's no logic flying around, or falling down from the sky. Nor has anyone seen "logic causing something". But we believe logic exists and explains. This same way God is shown to be true: because denying Him simply leaves you with a metaphysical and physical picture that makes absolutely no sense and is absurd, to say the least.

That's just not true. There is nothing absurd about naturalism. I suppose you could try and say that proposing that Nature just so happens to have the property of being able to evolve sentient life forms, i.e., just proposing that Nature has whatever properties are necessary to explain the wondrous phenomenon that we observe, especially life and consciousness is no less a pseudo explanation than the God explanation. I'd actually grant that until such a time as naturalism can adequately explain those things, if it ever can, then it's a wash on that count. However, Naturalism is still more parsimonious because it does not require us to posit a whole unknown realms where an uber mysterious disembodied/ timeless mind designs a Universe and creates it out of nothing.  It also doesn't raise the problem of evil. There's no reason to wonder what in Heaven Nature was thinking when it designed all the nasty parasites and pathogens that plague our existence, no need to wonder why Nature made the earth with huge faults in it's crust or put asteroids out in space which periodically wipe out most of the higher life on the planet.

It all just makes so much more sense under naturalism. True, we don't as of yet have naturalistic explanations for everything and perhaps we never will. But at least scientists operating under the discipline of methodological naturalism are trying to come up with real explanations for these things. So, far they've done far more to reveal the way things really work than was ever even dreamed about in all the "holy" books of supposed divine revelation.

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Jabberwock

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #96 on: March 26, 2020, 10:53:42 am »
That would wholly depend on whether it is within His sovereign will or not. As I mentioned earlier His sovereign will is that which God could do anything within that the guidelines of that will, but it is based on certain factors that undergirds His existence. Certainly if it wasn't part of His sovereign will He might not choose to create universe's which have no purpose. In such a case if God were to do some pointless act it may go against those things that undergoes His existence and He wouldn't and couldn't create such universes.

Well, rather obviously in the world in which the quark universe exists, God wills that it exists. So if your objection is that God would not will such worlds, then they are not possible. Which means that a life-permitting universe is necessary, contrary to what you have claimed before.
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Tom Paine

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #97 on: March 26, 2020, 10:57:33 am »
That may be what YOU concluded. I concluded, as I just explained, that it's just a mistake to think that probabilities are pertinent to the problem. Whether it's a priori or a posteriori necessary is just a matter of epistemology not ontology, either way the initial conditions are m.necessary.

Don't you recall this?:

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The problem is all of your reasoning is completely based on a posteriori necessity. Your argument basically is:

1) I exist.
1B) B-theory is true.
2) Thus, if I didn't exist I wouldn't be here to say "I exist."
3) Thus, necessarily I exist.
4) Therefore, my non-existence is logically impossible.
5) L.impossibility entails m.impossibility.
6) Therefore, my non-existence is m.impossible.

Change "my non-existence" for "our OB's non-existence" and "I exist" for "the OB exists."

I added 1B as per above to meet your objection. But, notice how it is m.impossible that you never existed. How is that not constructing the barn to fit the horse? It's completely a just so story to fit the evidence.

Well, no, my argument is not basically that. You always have this way of reformulating my arguments in ways that I don't even recognize and then claiming they are absurd.  I never made any such argument.

Please find an absurdity in my actual argument, or forget it. 

Basically the problem here is there is no equivalence to my existence which is contingent on the existence of the Universe, which is contingent on the existence of an OB and the existence of an OB which is not contingent on anything but on which the existence of all else is contingent.

If you want to differentiate between that sense of factual necessity (the definition given in the wikipedia article) and metaphysical necessity (in the sense in which a metaphysical realm is ontically prior to the physical, which would beg the question) then fine. You'd be begging the question and I'd just say that on that definition m.necessity and naturalism, m.necessity is rendered meaningless.

I've explained to you though that I'm using the possible world semantics definition which simply means existence in all possible worlds.  There's nothing in that definition that requires the existence of a metaphysical realm ontically prior to the physical. As, I said to insist on such a definition is just begging the question. The first/uncaused cause argument holds whether or not a metaphysical realm exists. The WHOLE POINT of naturalism is the presupposition that no metaphysical realm exists. A naturalistic OB is a physical entity, but it is still metaphysically necessary according to the possible worlds definition.

Are you simply incapable of wrapping your head around these points, or what? On naturalism metaphysics is an area of epistemology, not ontology.  On naturalism, when I say "metaphysically necessary" I just mean "existing (or true) in all possible worlds,"  it does not in anyway entail any sort of ontological "necessitation".

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Tom Paine

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #98 on: March 26, 2020, 11:10:05 am »
You miss the point of Emuse's objection.

Let us suppose that X is the number of possible worlds that can arise naturally. The FT argument is that if the number of life permitting worlds is L, then L/X is so low that it is very unlikely to be in such world.

Emuse's point (if I understand it correctly) is that God can create each of the world that can arise naturally. So the proportion is exactly the same: L/X.

That's exactly it.

This argument doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Isn't the whole point of the theistic argument that God can prefer certain initial conditions, presumably life permitting ones, and that therefore God is a good explanation for why we have life permitting conditions despite the supposedly vanishingly small probability? That seems like a good argument as far as it goes. Sure God could have created a non life permitting universe, but supposedly he favors the life permitting one(s) and as such the die is loaded so to speak.

Of course, you know that I don't subscribe to this belief. I just don't think the Emuse's die argument is a convincing counter.

The argument I'd make, among other is that the question "How could we be so lucky that the initial conditions of the universe just so happened to be life permitting?" is no more valid than asking "How could we be so lucky that God just happens to be the kind of God that favors life permitting universes?" As always seems to be the case, positing a God, just pushes the problem back one un parsimonious step.

Or was that the point all along an I just missed it?

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Tom Paine

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #99 on: March 26, 2020, 11:22:52 am »
Only God could decide what type of universe He wants to create, but it's a very reasonable position to hold that a conscious being would have more interest in making a universe with conscious beings. Hence, c is far more likely.

If the constants are metaphysically necessary then by definition, they exist because it is impossible for them not to.  By definition, if something is metaphysically necessary, God has no choice over whether it exists or not.  Suggesting that God can decide such things is as silly as me suggesting that God can decide whether he exists or not.


Unless metaphysical necessity is grounded in God.  Which it is.

You'r egregiously begging the question. This would be same as me just asserting that your argument is invalid because metaphysical necessity is grounded in the quantum ground state (QGS), which it is!

Of course, that is sort of what I am doing. But I'm not claiming that this proves anything. It's an unproven counter hypothesis.

The main advantage I see to the naturalistic hypothesis is that it is more parsimonious. It solves the same problems (for the most part) that the theistic hypothesis does, but it does so w/o having to posit any unknown and IMO questionably coherent entities, such as a disembodied person and/or timeless mind.

My point is you can't refute our argument by just asserting a presupposition of your own worldview.  I don't think any of us are claiming to refute theism. Theism very well may be coherent on it's own terms. The point is that there is nothing incoherent about naturalism and it has the IMO BIG advantage of not unnecessarily positing any unknown and possibly incoherent entities...as just explained.

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Paterfamilia

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #100 on: March 26, 2020, 12:32:46 pm »
Only God could decide what type of universe He wants to create, but it's a very reasonable position to hold that a conscious being would have more interest in making a universe with conscious beings. Hence, c is far more likely.

If the constants are metaphysically necessary then by definition, they exist because it is impossible for them not to.  By definition, if something is metaphysically necessary, God has no choice over whether it exists or not.  Suggesting that God can decide such things is as silly as me suggesting that God can decide whether he exists or not.


Unless metaphysical necessity is grounded in God.  Which it is.

You'r egregiously begging the question. This would be same as me just asserting that your argument is invalid because metaphysical necessity is grounded in the quantum ground state (QGS), which it is!

Of course, that is sort of what I am doing. But I'm not claiming that this proves anything. It's an unproven counter hypothesis.

The main advantage I see to the naturalistic hypothesis is that it is more parsimonious. It solves the same problems (for the most part) that the theistic hypothesis does, but it does so w/o having to posit any unknown and IMO questionably coherent entities, such as a disembodied person and/or timeless mind.

My point is you can't refute our argument by just asserting a presupposition of your own worldview.  I don't think any of us are claiming to refute theism. Theism very well may be coherent on it's own terms. The point is that there is nothing incoherent about naturalism and it has the IMO BIG advantage of not unnecessarily positing any unknown and possibly incoherent entities...as just explained.


Not “sort of” what you are doing.  “It is what it is” is a perfectly incoherent foundation, especially so on naturalism.

We can compare our boatloads of epistemic warrant ad infinitum, and you may feel satisfied with your conclusions.  But isn’t it a little unsettling that on naturalism, there are plainly existent a number of key points of “impossibility” at which a natural explanation fails, and you opt for third rail explanations?  I say third rail because they rely on all non-empirical guess work or fallacies (unfalsifiable, question begging, just so, etc).  Isn’t that verboten on naturalism?

Do you see the difference?  Can you cite any examples of Christian explanations that rely on natural realities?  One that comes to my mind is a writer trying out his theodicy chops (in an actual published book that people buy) wherein he said that God CAN’T stop that child from running into the street and getting killed by a truck because He doesn’t have any arms.  A perfectly natural explanation.  But laughable considering the context.

In like manner, naturalists rely on FAITH in unfalsifiable, question begging, just so explanations, or faulty logic, to fill in the gaping gaps in their worldview.

And I think you’re misapplying parsimony.  Sort of like calling a human brain “gray matter”.  Describing a cell as composed of “a wall, jelly, and a dark spot in the middle”.  I don’t personally give a lot of weight to parsimony.

Anyway, it seems much more problematic to me that naturalists rely on their own little magical episodes, and then decry faith in God as non-empirical.

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Jabberwock

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #101 on: March 26, 2020, 01:44:43 pm »
This argument doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Isn't the whole point of the theistic argument that God can prefer certain initial conditions, presumably life permitting ones, and that therefore God is a good explanation for why we have life permitting conditions despite the supposedly vanishingly small probability? That seems like a good argument as far as it goes. Sure God could have created a non life permitting universe, but supposedly he favors the life permitting one(s) and as such the die is loaded so to speak.

The exact problem is that God cannot prefer certain solutions, as there would be possible worlds in which he ends up with a less preferred solution, which God would not have it. If God exists, then each possible world is exactly as good.as all the others.
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Paterfamilia

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #102 on: March 26, 2020, 02:12:02 pm »
This argument doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Isn't the whole point of the theistic argument that God can prefer certain initial conditions, presumably life permitting ones, and that therefore God is a good explanation for why we have life permitting conditions despite the supposedly vanishingly small probability? That seems like a good argument as far as it goes. Sure God could have created a non life permitting universe, but supposedly he favors the life permitting one(s) and as such the die is loaded so to speak.

The exact problem is that God cannot prefer certain solutions, as there would be possible worlds in which he ends up with a less preferred solution, which God would not have it. If God exists, then each possible world is exactly as good.as all the others.


An example of faulty logic, based on false premises about God.

It is absurd to think that any of us can legitimately place logical limits on God except in the broadest terms.  God cannot do evil, and He cannot deny Himself.  I think we can perhaps say that we would expect that God would provide the perfect solution to each of His purposes; in that sense I could agree with you, with reservations. 

But I don’t see a practical application that we can confidently grasp, since He doesn’t routinely ask us for advice on how to achieve His purposes.  We aren’t made privy to them.  Assigning relative goodness is therefore difficult, if that’s what you meant.



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kravarnik

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #103 on: March 26, 2020, 02:12:20 pm »
Basically, the ultimate explanation that does not beg the question and explains what we observe - contingency, change, motion, personhood, other minds, order, etc. - is a personal being endowed with a mind that caused all that we observe.
You're "ultimate explanation" is as question begging as the alternatives. Why did there happen to exist a god that would create the world as it is?

Hey, Fred.


I think you're committing a categorical error here. Are you seriously trying to undercut my notion of why God is necessary to explain why there's existence as we experience it, by asking then "why is there God?"? You literally commit a categorical error. Because that, which is postulated as a final explanation, you ask FURTHER explanation of.


Your objection seems to be:

- your explanation is not final, because I can ask questions!

Well, not really. If we postulate God as a final explanation, then the regress of explanations stop at this point. Besides, as I said, when your response to God being postulated as necessary for any kind of coherency to explain why something exist contains "then why does God exist?" is to then simply presume that God cannot be an ultimate explanation without any actual argument, but just by postulating a question.

At a fundamental metaphysical level you get circularity. That's pretty clear to anyone, who has tried to think about something beyond physics. The point of my previous post is to show that at this level of circularity, the most coherent and least incoherent notion you can get is: God. With God, you have one mystery: why does Person and Mind exist inexplicably? Mystery is fine, as long as it explains. However, the mystery that skeptics have to make their bed with is: matter is all there is > then why is there contingency(btw, God explains why there's contingency); why is there motion(btw, God explains why there's motion); why is there order(btw, God explains why there's order); why is there personhood and mind(btw, God explains why there's personhood and mind); why there's morality(btw, God explains why there's morality); why is there logic(btw, God explains why there's logic).


In short, with God there's only one mystery at bottom level: why is God that kind of being? We don't know, because no finite mind can actually comprehend questions at such level of depth. However, with materialism every single component and property of existence is mystery. Everything at a metaphysical level, as Hume says, becomes brute fact: things are the way they are, becuase they are the way they are.


With God you have: things are the way they are, because God is the way He is. Why God is the way He is, then, is a mystery, because now we're delving into realms of metaphysics that we simply cannot comprehend. However, that much we comprehend: things cannot simply exist for no reason as brute facts.
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kravarnik

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Re: The contingency argument
« Reply #104 on: March 26, 2020, 02:25:06 pm »
I think it must be obvious by now that God is the metaphysical and physical determinant. God literally defines what is possible and impossible within the Christian paradigm.


Thus why to ask "what makes God possible and/or actual" is to miss the mark on the entire metaphysical picture presented. That's why Hume found problems with naturalism and advocated "brute facts", because in naturalism you cannot have a determinant of metaphysics and physics. Nothing makes physics to be the way they are: they just are the way they are: brute facts, that is.


Hume even critiqued other naturalists for being inconsistent: for they denied metaphysics, but were constantly using metaphysical language and explanations. But if you deny metaphysics: for naturalism/materialism claim there's nothing beyond physics, then you cannot use metaphysics. You literally have no determinant of possible and impossible and no final explanation.

"Things pull up and/or down, due to the law of gravity". Good, but why is there a law of gravity(=a regulation that imposes particular order and patterns of relations)? For the law could have been in some other way, or not exist to begin with. So? Well, that's the way it is, man.


For if you had to answer beyond "the law of gravity(which in and of itself is a metaphiscal notion... but let's grant it that it exists materially somehow: the law, that is)", then you'd have to get into the realm of the immaterial and spiritual and metaphysical.


So, when I see a skeptic asking "why God?!?!" as in the case of Fred, or Tom here toward Patter, then you really haven't gotten the gist of what God really is supposed to be. The One, who decides. The One, who defines. The Law Himself, Who isn't under any laws. God is the ultimate metaphysical explanation for why we find ourselves in the reality we experience and observe: the contingency, the order, the existence of person and mind, the motion, the design, the morality and so on.
"And even if you crush my body and drain it 'til the last drop - you can never touch my spirit, you can never touch my soul. No matter how bleak or how hopeless, no matter how hard or how far - you can never break my conation. Tear the will apart from desire." Insomnium - Weather the storm