• jorndoe
    711
    Here's the kalam/cosmological argument as rendered deductively by Craig (see included links for details):

    1. whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence
    2. the universe began to exist
    3. therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence
    4. it's rational to believe that said cause is God

    Below I'll round up some pros/justification and cons/objections, for your comments and target practice.

    ________

    06rd9gxzjo2nqmj1.png

    Some pros:


    Further, coming to the present moment by traversing an infinite past is worse than counting to positive infinity from zero, because the former cannot even get started. It is like trying to jump out of a bottomless pit. — JP Moreland

    ________

    06rd9gxzjo2nqmj1.png

    Some cons:

    • even if sound, the argument does not suggest anything "divine", sentient, conscious, thinking, caring, loving, warranting worship or prayer, so this amounts to unwarranted or ad hoc personification/anthropomorphization; rather, Craig's conclusion shadows Aquinas' definition in Summa Theologiae, which hence smuggled his God in the backdoor with the baggage; see below
    • if there was a definite earliest time (or "time zero"), then anything that existed at that time, began to exist at that time, and that includes any first causes, gods/God, or whatever else
    • there are viable alternatives to a definite earliest time, including an infinite past duration (which does not imply a contradiction, albeit counter-intuitive), or a no-boundary, "edge-free" universe (which is not infinite in past duration); for the latter see the reference below (Einstein), or Hartle's and Hawking's models
    • item 1 may be questionable or ambiguous, in light of virtual particle pairs, quantum fluctuations, radioactive decay, spacetime foam/turbulence, the "pressure" of vacuum energy, the Casimir effect, Fomin's quantum cosmogenesis, etc; in reference to the expansion of the universe, spatiality is obviously not conserved (not temporally invariant), there's literally more of it by the minute (colloquially), and spatiotemporality appears to be the only prerequisites for mentioned quantum phenomena; additionally see the zero-energy universe hypothesis
    • if gods/God can be atemporal (changeless, "outside of time", or something), assuming that makes sense, then we might suppose any such "origin" of the universe
    • anything that's changeless (or "atemporal") cannot be a mind, in part or whole, since we already know that mind (consciousness, thinking, phenomenological experiences, etc) is strongly temporal, comes and goes, starts and ends, un/consciousness (anesthetic)
    • an "atemporal", "eternal" cause of a universe that has a definite age (like 14 billion years) is incompatible with the principle of sufficient reason, since such a cause leads us to expect an infinite age of the universe - there's no sufficient reason the universe is 14 billion years old and not some other age (yet item 1 is supposedly related to sufficient reason)
    • spacetime is an aspect of the universe, but "before time" is incoherent; causality is temporal, but "a cause of causation" is incoherent
    • dichotomistically:
      1. if some God of theism could create something out of "nothing", as it were, then nihil fit ex nihilo is already violated, and we might as well dispose of the principle, in which case said God is an extraneous hypothesis
      2. if some God of theism created the universe from something already existing, then whatever comprise the universe "always" existed, perhaps "eternally" (to the extent that's meaningful), and we might as well dispose of the extras, i.e. said God
      3. therefore, by Occam's razor, God is neither implied nor necessary, and may be shaved off and flushed

    Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God — Aquinas

    ________
    1. Is the cosmological argument justification for the existence of God? (16 votes)
        Yes
          0%
        No
        75%
        Other (please explain)
        25%
  • Wayfarer
    8.6k
    It seems to me that what's called the 'fine-tuning' or 'anthropic' principle must have some relevance to this argument, which is the observation that the Universe appears to exhibit a small number of attributes which are (a) indispensable for the existence of matter as such and (b) which themselves don't seem to be subject to further explanation. This can be used to argue that these attributes were the consequence of a 'divine plan' without which nothing would have come into existence.

    But it also ought to be noted that anything like a 'divine plan' can't be understood to exist in the same sense that objects of scientific analysis exist. If it really is the case that the just six numbers are an act of the divine will, it is impossible in principle to ascertain that, as by definition this is something that has occurred prior (in both a logical and temporal sense) to the Big Bang event.
  • jorndoe
    711
    @Wayfarer

    The fine-tuning argument is different, though it might presuppose some kalam/cosmological argument.
    But, as best I can tell, these apologist arguments have to work in tandem to go anywhere at all, if that was your point.

    Quoting "Sorry, the universe wasn't made for you" (Sep 2016):

    This study is hence another demonstration that a chemistry complex enough to support life can arise under circumstances that are not anything like the ones we experience today. — Sabine Hossenfelder

    There may be an element of incredulity in thinking that, what we know of as life (and what we think of as complex), is somehow "ultimate" of what can come about naturally.
  • Wayfarer
    8.6k
    It's not about chemistry, it's about what makes chemistry possible. That is the sense in which it is related to the cosmological argument.

    Scientific accounts of causation are generally confined to what is called 'efficient causes' or causal sequences that can be understood in terms of known physical principles. This is what leads Lawrence Krauss to posit that the universe can 'arise from nothing' in the book of that name.

    But it turns out that what Krauss means by 'nothing' is not actually nothing. It is the 'quantum vacuum' out of which virtual particles can appear and dissappear. But, is the quantum vacuum actually nothing? I think not, because it was discovered on the basis of the analysis of other aspects of quantum field theory, with which it is intertwined. What gives rise to the laws of physics is not something that Krauss attempts to explain - nor, I think, could he explain them.

    So with the cosmological argument, I think it's important to state that it doesn't posit anything like the types of causes that would be considered in a scientific or empirical argument. It concerns the question of what, if anything, caused the laws of physics to be as they are. And that is not, I don't think, a question for physics. (It might not be an intelligible question at all, but that is not the point here.)
  • andrewk
    2.1k
    The argument in lines 1-3 doesn't get anybody anywhere.

    * Some people who believe in God will accept premises 1 and 2, but the argument will make no difference to their life because they believed in God anyway.
    * The rest of the people who believe in God will reject one or both of premises 1 or 2, and hence reject the argument (like that Christian theologian/philosopher Wes Something from a US university that ripped Craig's argument to shreds). But that will make no difference to their life because they believe in God for reasons that have nothing to do with this silly argument.
    * People who don't believe in God will reject one or both of the premises, and hence reject the argument. Why? Because otherwise they'd be convinced by the argument and hence believe in God. By the contrapositive we can conclude that, since they don't believe in God, they must find the argument unsound and hence reject at least one of its premises. So the argument makes no difference to those people either.

    It's theoretically possible that there exists one or more person who disbelieved in God and then changed their mind in response to the Kalam argument. I have never heard of such a person. William Craig certainly wasn't such a person. I seem to recall him telling a story that he first got into Jesus because a cute girl in his class at Uni told him that the reason she smiled so much was because she was into Jesus. Now that is a convincing reason to adopt a new worldview. The urge to go through the motions of procreation is very powerful.

    The fourth line is a bald assertion. It has no logical argument supporting it. There aren't even any premises to consider and decide whether to accept.

    The sole value of the Kalam argument is that it provides good theatre for people that like to watch atheists and Christian apologists doing battle.
  • Wayfarer
    8.6k
    Excellent points. I also recall a blog post I read a few years back to the effect that Aquinas' 'five proofs' were never intended as apologetic arguments, i.e. to convert others to belief in God. They were instead edifying exercises for the faithful. It was during the early modern period that Newton, et al, began to speak of scientific discoveries 'shewing the handiwork of God' (as Karen Armstrong details at length in her 'Case for God'.
  • jorndoe
    711
    @andrewk, right, in practical terms, the opening argument serves mostly as confirmation bias.
  • Marty
    163
    even if sound, the argument does not suggest anything "divine", sentient, conscious, thinking, caring, loving, warranting worship or prayer, so this amounts to unwarranted or ad hocpersonification/anthropomorphization; rather, Craig's conclusion shadows Aquinas' definition inSumma Theologiae, which hence smuggled his God in the backdoor with the baggage

    No, it's not smuggled - it's basically argued for. The reason why it's a God instead of any other being is i) the being must be simple. Which means it cannot be material as that would be composed of an aggregate of parts that would be conditioned by those parts. As generally parts are contingent entities. ii) The being must be immutable, or else it's conditioned by change. iii) It's unextended, immaterial, and eternal, then since it cannot be conditioned by space and time. It would also have to be omnipotent otherwise it would be conditioned by its limitations. iv) It then follows if it's omnipotent, it's also v) omniscient and vi) omnibenevolent.

    if there was a definite earliest time (or "time zero"), then anything that existed at that time, began to exist at that time, and that includes any first causes, gods/God, or whatever else

    The first cause doesn't have to be temporal. It's an instantaneous cause.

    an "atemporal", "eternal" cause of a universe that has a definite age (like 14 billion years) is incompatible with the principle of sufficient reason, since such a cause leads us to expect an infinite age of the universe - there's no sufficient reason the universe is 14 billion years old and not some other age (yet item 1 is supposedly related to sufficient reason)

    God isn't in time as a duration, or an extension of the universe. He's a pure act. The universe being any age is completely compatible with this, and it holds with the PSR since the PSR states all things have to be given a reason for.

    spacetime is an aspect of the universe, but "before time" is incoherent; causality is temporal, but "a cause of causation" is incoherent

    Nobody in classic theism denies this, though. That's why the first cause isn't temporal.

    Also, I'm not sure of it's very absurdity. Even the transcendentalist would argue for a condition of possibility for causality to exist at all - though as a concept of pure understanding.
  • Hoo
    415
    1. if some God of theism could create something out of "nothing", as it were, then nihil fit ex nihilo is already violated, and we might as well dispose of the principle, in which case said God is an extraneous hypothesisjorndoe

    One might also ask where this God comes from. Did he spring out of nothing. No. That violates nihil fit ex nihilo. Was this God always here?

    if gods/God can be atemporal (changeless, "outside of time", or something), assuming that makes sense, then we might suppose any such "origin" of the universejorndoe

    Exactly.

    I miss LGU at the moment. If God is the sort of object we can reason about this way, he might as well be some superior extraterrestrial lifeform for whom we are seamonkeys. If God is Love, or something like that, then He is already incarnate, already here. Feuerbach comes to mind. I find it implausible that some "pure mind" without anything like human body would we something we could chat with and pray too. I've tried to imagine the disembodied human mind. The problem is that sensation and emotion (and therefore value) are so bodily. A disembodied mind has nothing to do, nowhere to be, no passion driving its thought.
  • Hoo
    415
    It concerns the question of what, if anything, caused the laws of physics to be as they are. ( It might not be an intelligible question at all, but that is not the point here.)Wayfarer

    That makes sense, because I'd expect a physicists to derive the existence of said laws from still more general laws. But the the question might be a pseudo-question is possibly of great relevance here. The whole God-as-cause approach might be flawed from the beginning. If the explanation of X is deduction of X from postulated necessity, then God-as-cause would have the same problem as the most general laws of physics as well as not giving us much to deduce and test against experience. If as if squeezing God into a "scientistic" paradigm is confessing defeat from the first step. If God needs such justification, then such justification is the real God, or something like that.
  • Wayfarer
    8.6k
    But are Newton's laws of motion derived from more general laws? I think not. Certainly it has been found that the classical laws of motion don't apply to the same range of phenomena that relativity does, but the classical laws are not derived from relativity. Laws are 'derived from observation' in one sense, but observation is not the basis of the laws.
  • Hoo
    415

    This is a side point, but it's my understanding that Einstein generalized Newton.
    As Galilean relativity is now considered an approximation of special relativity that is valid for low speeds, special relativity is considered an approximation of general relativity that is valid for weak gravitational fields, i.e. at a sufficiently small scale and in conditions of free fall. — Wiki
    Speeds were low enough and measurement was fuzzy enough so that Newton wasn't seen to be 'wrong.' Instrumentally, Newton was right indeed. He helped us get what we wanted. The "better" equations might have been inconveniently complex and slowed things down practically. I like time separate from space. I suppose we are wired that way.

    I agree completely that observation is not the basis of laws. I agree with Popper ("critical rationalist") and Rescher (methodological pragmatist) that we postulate necessity. We dream up a mathematical-conceptual "myth" of how things must behave. Observation is a way to test such a myth. The scientist as "poet" or "myth-maker" is primary. That's my understanding. He just has to be willing to let his dreams die if they don't work. Our theories "do our dying for us." (Popper) The "problem" with God as empirical object is that He would have to be "fleshed out" so that measurements-to-be-expected could be deduced from his nature and compared favorably with actual measurements.

    I think you might like Rescher:
    I recall well how the key ideas of my idealistic theory of natural laws - of “lawfulness as imputation” - came to me in 1968 during work on this project while awaiting the delivery of Arabic manuscripts in the Oriental Reading Room of the British Museum. It struck me that what a law states is a mere generalization, but what marks this generalization as something special in our sight -- and renders it something we see as a genuine law of nature -- is the role that we assign to it in inference. Lawfulness is thus not a matter of what the law-statement says, but how it is used in the systematization of knowledge -- the sort of role we impute to it. These ideas provided an impetus to idealist lines of thought and marked the onset of my commitment to a philosophical idealism which teaches that the mind is itself involved in the conceptual constitution of the objects of our knowledge. — Rescher
  • Michael
    8.1k
    Here's the kalam/cosmological argument as rendered deductively by Craig (see included links for details):

    1. whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence
    2. the universe began to exist
    3. therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence
    4. it's rational to believe that said cause is God
    jorndoe

    As-is the argument isn't valid. 4. is a non-sequitur. However, that's more to do with your paraphrasing than with the actual argument, which instead of 4. has a further argument with 3. as one of its premises:

    3. The universe has a cause of its existence
    4. If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and enormously powerful;
    5. Therefore, an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and enormously powerful.

    He justifies 4. by claiming that "agent causation, volitional action, is the only ontological condition in which an effect can arise in the absence of prior determining conditions" (paraphrased by Wikipedia?) and that Occam's Razor maintains that, in light of no evidence to the contrary, there is only a singular cause.
  • Marty
    163


    But isn't this just simply anthropomorphizing God? That in order for there to be a mind at all, it must relate to something bodily. It just simply could be that God exists as a pure act, and has an intellect. There are other justifications from the theistic camp to basically show how you can have an aspect of the mind is that is non-physical. Namely, James Ross's argument for the immateriality of the mind.

    As for the conclusion in the argument, I think Aquinas basically does give the reason why it's not just simply smuggled in, and has to be a God.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Here's the kalam/cosmological argument as rendered deductively by Craig (see included links for details):

    1. whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence
    2. the universe began to exist
    3. therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence
    4. it's rational to believe that said cause is God

    Below I'll round up some pros/justification and cons/objections, for your comments and target practice.
    jorndoe
    The problem with such arguments are that they are founded on something that is inherently unstable and subject to change - namely the current scientific model of the Universe. I don't understand why anyone bothers. Science will change. What's the point of trying to make up arguments which are based on such fickle considerations? After all ...

    Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also — Matthew 6:19-21

    Maybe tomorrow science will say that the Universe didn't begin to exist - that it was eternal. What then? The argument is finished?! The argument isn't valid anymore? Your faith is thrown down the drain? Impossible!

    Any argument for God's existence needs to provide reasons to believe which are independent of that which is subject to change - transcendental reasons. Furthermore - it must be clarified what it means for God to exist... how can I argue for God's existence in the same way I argue for the existence of a chair? Much rather, an argument about God's existence is very much like an argument for love's existence. All it can do is encourage one to openness of the soul towards the experience of the transcendent - it can stimulate one's aesthetic faculties to the extent that one is overwhelmed by the beauty of it. Take the story of Jesus Christ - the most beautiful story that can be told - it's just impossible to construct a more heroic, and more beautiful story. This great King who has all the power, all the might, and all the happiness in the world - for whom all people are like nothing, mere scum and dirt, and yet this King loves them - with such love that he gives up everything he has, including his own happiness and self-sufficiency in pursuit of them, and he comes to live amongst them, to be mocked and laughed at, spit on and cursed, neglected and insulted, humiliated and vilified, just so that he may save them from destruction, and show them that he loves them. And while they do all this to Him - He still loves them, so much so that he forgives them for all the harm they have caused Him. Truth? Pf. It doesn't even matter, I'd believe in it even if it was false, that's how beautiful it is. As Socrates said about the afterlife, I will say about this - I may be wrong, but at least I will go to the grave with hope and love in my heart, and if death does indeed end all, what better way to meet it than carrying this beauty in your heart.

    So I said it is the most beautiful story that can be told. That can be proved. A story's beauty comes from the sacrifices that are made in it, in comparison to the strength of the objective reason to make the sacrifices. If a father sacrifices his wealth to save his child - that is beautiful. But now imagine that the one who has all the power, all the knowledge, all the joy, and all the happiness - that this person were to sacrifice everything - for what? For that which is objectively worthless in his eyes. Now if this is not insanity - and a very beautiful kind of insanity - then I don't know what is. A more beautiful story simply cannot be told because there cannot be a greater sacrifice, and a worse reason for making it!
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Now that is a convincing reason to adopt a new worldview. The urge to go through the motions of procreation is very powerful.andrewk
    LOL - he certainly chose one which makes it quite difficult to get to the "motions of procreation"... there are much easier alternatives, you know :) (maybe he loved the girl (interest in procreation being only secondary), in which case it's very good. small L love leads to capital L Love ;) )

    But then in a very crude way you are right. It matters how you get to the motions of procreation - if you get there maimed, humiliated, and broken - or you get there whole - most non-religious people get there in the former category. If you don't plan your journey, don't be surprised you don't arrive... Life is such that some things cannot be undone - so much wiser to err on the safe side.
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    Namely, James Ross's argument for the immateriality of the mind.Marty

    I've been meaning to make a post on Ross's argument. I'm not sure if it is as persuasive as others make it out to be.
  • Marty
    163
    The problem with such arguments are that they are founded on something that is inherently unstable and subject to change - namely the current scientific model of the Universe. I don't understand why anyone bothers. Science will change. What's the point of trying to make up arguments which are based on such fickle considerations? After all ...Agustino
    The Kalam maybe is since it has to state the universe has a beginning. But any cosmological argument is merely going to state that all we need is a contingent world. All the theist needs to argue for the existence of God is to have Being somewhere in our philosophy.

    I've been meaning to make a post on Ross's argument. I'm not sure if it is as persuasive as others make it out to be.darthbarracuda

    It doesn't seem very persuasive to me either, but I haven't seen anyone actually answer it and it's a pretty simple argument:

    (P1) No physical process is determinate.
    (P2) All formal thinking is determinate.
    (C) Therefore no formal thinking is a physical process.

    ...I honestly think the best argument I've seen against the cosmological argument is Kant's.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    The Kalam maybe is since it has to state the universe has a beginning. But any cosmological argument is merely going to state that all we need is a contingent world. All the theist needs to argue for the existence of God is to have Being somewhere in our philosophy.Marty
    I know - I haven't criticised Aquinas's arguments. I think they are valid, but NOT persuasive to an unbeliever. Different arguments must be sought out, as illustrated by Pascal. One has to appeal to the heart and to the will - not to the mind and the intellect.
  • Hoo
    415

    Thanks for the feedback. For the most part it seems that most theists want an anthropomorphic God. He should think and love, just as we think and love, but do it better. I can understand that metaphysically inclined thinkers may focus on God as a solution to an intellectual problem. When I was religious many years, I looked toward God for both reasons. I could talk to an infinite, benevolent intelligence directly, and I has a kosmos that made sense in human terms (God's love, which could only mean something to me in terms of human love).
    I do think there are reasonable ways to believe in God. Some theists are maybe erroneously disrespected because it is assumed that they are making empirical assertions or doing metaphysics. Sure, maybe they are in a secondary way while primarily concerning themselves with a feeling that things are fundamentally good. I myself like to invoke "the gods" lyrically, such as in "the laughter of the gods."
  • Hoo
    415
    Pf. It doesn't even matter, I'd believe in it even if it was false, that's how beautiful it is. As Socrates said about the afterlife, I will say about this - I may be wrong, but at least I will go to the grave with hope and love in my heart, and if death does indeed end all, what better way to meet it than carrying this beauty in your heart.Agustino

    I respect this approach. I think we are "seduced" by narratives and find "reasons" when we meet others seduced by other narratives. Or that's a narrative I find seductive. Perhaps you'll agree that "proofs" of God shift the conversation away from the power of the narrative of JC and toward the narrative of logic or pure reason as the king of kings instead.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I respect this approach.Hoo
    Thank you :)
  • Marty
    163


    I mean, that's fair. I agree with Pascal that the matter is one of disposition and not proposition, but then it becomes a matter of motivation and surrounding oneself in a environment which can't really be addressed philosophically. And I'm not sure if a person with the disposition to cast a blind eye to God will be convinced in any way. I'm not sure if I blame them, though, but the misunderstandings of the cosmological argument are so prominent.

    I always took God on a leap of faith.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I always took God on a leap of faith.Marty
    Exactly - I think most believers have. It's not possible to come to belief in God by argument, by pure reason.

    There is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't. — Blaise Pascal
  • Marty
    163
    For the most part it seems that most theists want an anthropomorphic God. He should think and love, just as we think and love, but do it better. I can understand that metaphysically inclined thinkers may focus on God as a solution to an intellectual problem. When I was religious many years, I looked toward God for both reasons. I could talk to an infinite, benevolent intelligence directly, and I has a kosmos that made sense in human terms (God's love, which could only mean something to me in terms of human love).Hoo
    I'm honestly inclined to think this isn't true within my experience, and always offered some level of charity. So time to time I asked people how they viewed God - mostly because I go to a catholic church sometimes - and one-hundred percent of the time I generally get a God of three O's. (Or at least one.) Nobody's anthropomorphizing God unless by that we mean that he has a divine intellect. But then, it seems like the only way to have a teleological world is for the world to have purpose and reason, but that can't be done without an intellectual agent. So, God can't be extended or Earthly, but he can certainly be given a disembodied intellect.

    Most of the attributes of God in the scholastic traditions seemed to be defined negatively - by what God is not.
  • Hoo
    415
    Nobody's anthropomorphizing God unless by that we mean that he has a divine intellect.Marty

    Respectfully, what is the use of prayer then? Why should God send his only son to die? If we take human-like motives away from God, I can't see how he's not only the way to have a teleological world. Even then, don't we need desire of some sort? Why create the world in 7 days? If physical explanation is postulation of necessity, then the explanation of actions tends to be in terms of feelings. So I'm sort of stuck here. But then I might be called a correlationist. "The trail of the human serpent is over all."
  • Marty
    163
    These are theological questions, though, not philosophical. This argument is to simply argue for God simpliciter.

    Though, again, having a divine intellect and being good would mean that he does have some attributes that we can appeal to. So there is homogeneity between us and God - as there would have to be in classic theism - but it doesn't get us further into anthropomorphizing God into a material, bodily, or finite entity because Aquinas works negatively to show how these properties are all contingent.

    I'm not sure if a physical explanation is a postulation of necessity? The very claim made by classic theism is that it's not so. I've always thought, though I may be wrong, that physicalism always leads to a type of naturalism.
  • Hoo
    415

    So you are coming more from a philosophical defense of a radically simple God? That's a fascinating idea. I think it's a respectable position. I just can't enjoy it myself as an explanation. I experience it as an implicit giving up on explanation. I do think that existence as a whole ("the totality") is necessarily inexplicable, since I see explanation as deduction from postulate necessary relationships, and there's nothing to put the totality in relation to. I'd be tempted to identity this totality with God. Though I totally reject that the scientific image is this totality. Instead, it would just be one more part. From this "pantheistic" perspective, there is nothing that is outside of God, that is not God. I find this poetic, but it doesn't have much use morally. It just associates "God" with the grandest conception I know, namely reality without an ounce subtracted or pronounced unreal. Practically, of course, we need the notion of objective or physical reality. But this is a useful reduction of the totality, in my view. And for me any other notion of God would be swallowed up in this God as Totality.

    On the second point, I more or less identity with a generalized instrumentalism. I don't like scientism and I don't really believe in the metaphysical quest. We forge "mind-tools" and use "mind-tools." So it's a vision of man's intellect as an evolving system of myths. We keep the visions-of-reality as tools when they work for us. We try to fix them or change them when they stop making us happy. (By this light, everything I've said here is just itself as vision-of-reality as tool, and my theory of adaptive myths is itself an adaptive myth, an instrument or a meta-instrument.)
  • Marty
    163

    Well, I actually normally wouldn't defend a Thomistic God, as that's a God that's both, in my opinion, transcendent and immanent. The God that I would generally defend is a radically transcendent one, a God that's radically Other - with philosophers like Kierkegaard and Levinas. I also don't think the cosmological argument works because of the explanation Kant gave, but it's hard to say because the there's an on-going feud I'm sure. I just think people in general don't go really far into what the Thomistic tradition has to say. In which case, I don't really think anyone has really addressed people like Feser and Oderberg that I know of.

    But anyway, I think saying that the universe - if that's what you mean by world - is the totality of everything then this would simply be question-begging for a Thomistic philosopher. That the world, (as both God and the universe he created as a whole is taken to account) then it follows the universe does have a purpose that follows the original and divine plan of God that set it into motion.

    Reasons are just explanations for things, which can be merely casual. It follows the PSR, and if that's true, then all things need a reason for their being. Such as a red ball that's in the middle of a forest needs an explanation, or as something as vast as the sun needing a reason for being there casually and contingently. Even if we don't know the epistemological reason for why things are why they are, and how they got there, the fact remains that they must have a reason - the opposite would mean it's reasonless. Which to the Thomistic is absurd. For if everything in the world was reasonless, this would also include the mind, but if the mind is reasonless, then it follows everything you posit as a reason would be self-defeating.
  • andrewk
    2.1k
    It matters how you get to the motions of procreation - if you get there maimed, humiliated, and broken - or you get there whole - most non-religious people get there in the former category.Agustino
    That's an interesting claim. It is the exact opposite of my own impression, although I would not seek to elevate my impression to a claim.
    Perhaps you have a source for your claim?
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Perhaps you have a source for your claim?andrewk
    Yes - it's called (1) keeping my eyes open :P (take this as a joke) and (2) understanding that without the necessary support structures, all human arrangements are very unstable. For example - you take two atheists. They form a couple. What will hold them together? Chance? Then take two Christians, schooled in the virtues, raised up in the faith, and committed first to God and second to each other. What will hold them together? Well let's see - because they are schooled in the virtues, they will practice a sexual morality which will not encourage violent emotions amongst each like - like cheating, looking after other women, etc. They will respect each other, and care for each other spiritually, not just on the emotional and the physical level, another bind between them. Furthermore, because their commitment to God comes first, they understand that their love can only flourish within the world which is limited and guided by the virtues, and thus they will be more likely to respect them.

    But the atheist on the other hand - he is likely, just statistically, to have had quite a few sexual partners. What will happen? Their loved one will not be as special. They will also not trust each other as much - because very likely they had been deceived in the past. They will look at other women lustfully, because they already have that habit. They will be tempted to cheat, and nothing will stand in the way. In other words, they will willingly head to destruction - like sheep.

    God and divine justice - that is the only principle by which men have ever lived in order and by which they will ever live in order.
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