• Devans99
    1.5k
    If you are acknowledging that a thing can EXIST without a cause...

    ...you have defeated your own argument.
    Frank Apisa

    It is very simple:

    - things in time all need a cause
    - timeless things (IE the first cause) don't need a cause

    Then everything adds up; everything has a cause except the one thing that does not need a cause and there are no (impossible) infinite regresses. It's the only way things can be - I do not believe a valid counter argument is possible - and none have been forthcoming - so maybe I should consider the matter settled and move onto other things.
  • Frank Apisa
    487
    Devans99
    1.4k

    If you are acknowledging that a thing can EXIST without a cause...

    ...you have defeated your own argument. ā€” Frank Apisa


    It is very simple:

    - things in time all need a cause
    - timeless things (IE the first cause) don't need a cause

    Then everything adds up; everything has a cause except the one thing that does not need a cause and there are no (impossible) infinite regresses. It's the only way things can be - I do not believe a valid counter argument is possible - and none have been forthcoming - so maybe I should consider the matter settled and move onto other things.
    Devans99

    Pontification.

    Ya gotta get away from it.
  • Pattern-chaser
    950
    things in time all need a causeDevans99

    What is your justification for this?
  • Devans99
    1.5k
    Inductively, everyday experience says cause and effect hold. In the macroscopic world, we know of no other way than causality, so it seems a sound enough macroscopic axiom. In the microscopic world, things are not so clear, but according to my (admittedly high level) understanding of physics:

    - Quantum fluctuations are temporary only - they respect the conservation of energy - so they do not cause persistent matter to appear. So they should have minimal impact on the macroscopic world.

    - Quantum fluctuations can anyway be thought of as obeying causality in the sense they are caused by excitations of a field, which is caused by 'empty' space, which was caused by the Big Bang.

    I'd argue as far as origins of the universe type questions are concerned, these are macroscopic not microscopic questions - the Big Bang involved at least 10^53 kg of matter - the answer is not some poxy quantum fluctuation IMO.

    So I think cause an effect applying to things in time is a sound assumption for reasoning about origins of the universe. Cause an effect does not apply to the first cause - it is timeless and beyond causality.

    The universe cannot have existed for ever and I cannot see any other way for the universe to get started apart from a timeless first cause?
  • Pattern-chaser
    950
    Inductively, everyday experience says cause and effect hold.Devans99

    And from this, you are happy to assume that every effect has a cause? Reasonable, for sure, but not philosophically rigorous.

    I cannot see any other way for the universe to get started apart from a timeless first cause?Devans99

    You can't see another way, so you leap to the conclusion that you're correct? Again: reasonable, for sure, but not philosophically rigorous.
  • Devans99
    1.5k
    How would you class 'philosophically rigorous'? Is inductive knowledge classified as philosophically rigorous? Maybe it is classed as philosophically rigorous when the certainty level reaches a certain threshold?

    It's not possible to know everything deductively. Even with deduction, we rely on axioms that are themselves inductive. Science often uses the five-nines (99.999% certainty of a finding) as a standard for judging inductive knowledge for example.
  • Pattern-chaser
    950
    Maybe it is classed as philosophically rigorous when the certainty level reaches a certain threshold?Devans99

    There is only one threshold value for certainty: 100% or probability 1. Not 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% and not probability 0.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999. That's what distinguishes certainty from being (say) 'fairly sure'.

    It's not possible to know everything deductively.Devans99

    :up:

    Even with deduction, we rely on axioms that are themselves inductive. Science often uses the five-nines (99.999% certainty of a finding) as a standard for judging inductive knowledge for example.Devans99

    My conclusion from what you have said here is that there is no certainty, in practice, in real life. Yours seems to be that we must assume that some arbitrarily-close approach to truth is actually true. Is that correct?
  • Devans99
    1.5k
    My conclusion from what you have said here is that there is no certainty, in practice, in real life.Pattern-chaser

    Very little certainty. Most of everyday life is based on induction. We cross the road because we were not run down the last time. We eat healthy food because it might statistically help. We do X because someone said Y and we trust them. Etc... Everyone should strictly speaking be agnostic... there is no certainty.

    Yours seems to be that we must assume that some arbitrarily-close approach to truth is actually true. Is that correct?Pattern-chaser

    That is what I think we do, consciously and subconsciously, in everyday decision making. I think thats what we've had to do to make progress. Both evolution and the theory of gravity remain theories only, yet we (nearly) all assume that they hold. This is the strength of the scientific method: the combination of empirical evidence with theoretical support can increases our confidence in a finding greatly.

    There are logical arguments for a first cause, including some that do not use cause and effect. So the theoretical side is covered. I believe that the Big Bang is empirical evidence to support the logical arguments for a first cause. It is sort of hard to derive much more than that in the way of direct empirical evidence for a first cause.

    One counter argument I can think of against a first cause is two or more simultaneous equal-first causes. The fact that time is a singleton seems to rule it out; two separate entities could not conspire to create time (unless they were working together in which case that would count as a single entity).
  • Pattern-chaser
    950
    I believe that the Big Bang is empirical evidence...Devans99

    ? You were there, to record and measure it? That's what empirical evidence is, yes?
  • Devans99
    1.5k
    The empirical evidence is that all the galaxies are moving apart, space is inflating, which suggests everything was colocated once. Everything has a common, singular, ancestry it seems. In addition there is the CMB residue as predicted by the BB theory. So it after the fact empirical evidence for a first cause IMO.
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