• Philosophim
    2.4k
    Hello Ucarr, I've had some time to look over your reply and I'm going to try to parse down to what is relevant, and what I think has gotten too far off topic. I had planned to go line by line, but honestly a lot of these arguments just aren't important to the overall scope of the discussion, so I think its best to drop them.

    Here are the things which I think are irrelevant to the topic:

    Zero as representing nothing. This is a common understanding in math that we should not debate and I feel misses the true point you're trying to make. What I think you're trying to say is that "Nothing" cannot exist. My definition of nothing is "The absence of something". Feel free to take it from there.

    Quantum mechanics. Your entire point in introducing quantum mechanics seems to be that it has some influence on true randomness. Let me be clear: True randomness cannot be influenced. Meaning no introduction of anything is going to influence it. What you want is to believe that true randomness is not possible. That we can argue. But you're going to have to argue against it from a logical position, as it is purely a logical conclusion, not an empirical one.

    Multiplying null sets. I'm not multiplying a null set by anything in my example. I'm just using a set as an encapsulation of "All causality over time" into a variable. Then I include it in propositional logic. That's it. You seem to be debating that I can do this. I can. I will not be arguing this with you. This is basic logic. I am not going to debate you for pages about basic logic and math.

    What you can argue about is, "If nothing caused an infinite universe to exist, what does that logically entail?" Because that is the scope of this conversation. If you agree an infinite universe is uncaused, which you did in your reply, then all of the above is moot.

    Also a more interesting an viable discussion in my mind is Bob Ross's points. Take a read on those and see if you can back him up.

    I picked a couple of other things out that I thought needed direct addressing. I'll cover these below. If you think I've avoided or missed something pertinent that you would like me to directly cover that doesn't fit into the summaries I've written above, just request it on your next reply and I'll go over them.

    Firstly, infinite causal chains are central to your premise. Is this an admission your premise is therefore flawed? Secondly, I'd like to see you argue against the logical merit of infinity as a concept, thereby simultaneously arguing against the logical merit of your premise.ucarr

    I wanted to clear this up so you understand what's going on here. I'm not debating whether infinity can or cannot exist. You are saying, "Infinity exists" and I'm saying, "Lets say it does," then concluding if it does there must still be a first cause. Having infinity as a concept is the only conceivable way of denying a first cause. You HAVE to have infinity as a viable argument, or that's it, the discussion is a done deal. No one blinks an eye at a finite universe having a first cause. So it behooves you to go with the idea that infinity is a viable concept that can exist in reality.

    I want you to understand, I could make this an argument against infinity being a viable existent reality. Its fairly easy to do. For example, if the universe has existed infinitely, then this means an infinite amount of time has passed before now. An infinite amount of time can never pass, because that would mean there's an end, and thus not an infinite amount of time. BUT, I'm not doing that. I'm saying, "Ok, lets go with it, it doesn't matter". Do you understand now?

    I know you're not persuaded by my logic and I, likewise, am not persuaded by yours. I hope you don't feel obligated to refute my arguments here.ucarr

    This is not about your or my logic or arguments. Its about 'the logic". Your opinion and my opinion are irrelevant at the end of the day. We are nothing. Whether I or you believe in an argument is irrelevant. What we are trying to do is parse out what is logical in as objective a manner as we can. I am not trying to convince you, and you shouldn't be trying to convince me Ucarr. If you present an argument, I'm going to answer it if its relevant to the argument. Your job is to viably attack it without bias, and my job is to viably defend it without bias. And if we both do an honest job, maybe we'll hammer the logic clearly so there's no doubt objectively that it works or does not work. I'm not saying that you or I do not have bias, but we should both try and keep it in check where possible.

    I’m arguing that nothingness cannot support an intersection with somethingness.ucarr

    This is an empirical claim, not a logical claim. There is nothing logical which negates the idea that there was nothing, then something. If an eternal universe is uncaused, then there was nothing which caused it. And if nothing caused it, then it was truly random. This is not a multiplication by zero event and insisting that it is, is a straw man. I would re-read Bob Ross's points again, as I think he has a much more viable argument then what has been listed so far.
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    When you posit that C is the set containing all causes (i.e., contingent events) and that the universe has a cause (i.e., is a contingent event), then the universe is a member of C and NOT C. You are conflating them.Bob Ross

    I'll be more detailed. C = The set of all causes in an eternal universe over time
    What Y -> C? Nothing. There is nothing. There is just C, uncaused by anything else.

    Philosophim, you must remember that the stipulation you gave is that C, which can be whatever you want to call it, is a set of infinite elements containing every causeBob Ross

    To be clear, "every cause over time". Once all of causality over time has been encapsulated in CT, there's still a question of causality that does not involve time. "What caused CT to be?" That question and answer is in C. As noted most simply, an eternal God could have caused an eternally existing universe. So C, all of causality, would be G -> CT. Does something eternal causing something eternal sound ridiculous? Sure, but so does an eternally existing universe. The point of the argument is not to point out what is viable as we have no empirical means of proving or disproving any of these proposals. Its to point out that no matter what someone comes up with, in the end we will reach a point in causality where there is nothing which caused the state we're looking at.

    Now, I do want to go a little more meta into the phrase "First cause". When I originally wrote this paper two years ago, it was to gain traction and get the atheists and theists in here together. I was new to the forums, and I understood that taglines needed to be interesting enough to get people to go in and read them. Its a phrase that has a very particular meaning. First cause - The point in causality in which there is nothing which caused a set of existence. If I were to rewrite this today, I would not use the term "First cause", but I would still use the underlying concept. That there is a point in causality that is always reached in which there is no cause for that state in question.

    I mention this, because you may be having an issue with the phrase. If you do, dismiss the phrase. Its the underlying concept that matters. And that if this is the case, we have an instance of true randomness as to why that state exists as there is nothing which would have caused it to be or not be besides the fact that it simply exists. Whether finite or infinite, conscious or unconscious, the inception of the universe 'just happened'.
  • Bob Ross
    1.4k


    If by causality, you really mean temporal causality; then that needs to be clarified in the OP. Your OP clearly, taken literally, is discussing an infinite causality in 6 and not an infinite of temporal causality.

    The issue with making your argument with an infinite of temporal causality is that it affords you no grounds to prove that an infinite of causality leads to a first cause. You are not contending with what you need to (which is all possible options for causality) when you attack an irrelevant (straw man) of the concept of an infinite causality proper.

    You have not negated the possibility of an infinite of causality which does not lead to a first cause; instead, you have now negated the possibility of an infinite of temporal causality not having itself a cause (at best).

    First cause - The point in causality in which there is nothing which caused a set of existence

    This isn’t proven, because you are now shifting your argument to discuss the impossibility of an infinite temporal causality having no cause; well, that’s simply not what one would argue if they are arguing that causality is infinite proper. You have straw manned their position.

    If I were to rewrite this today, I would not use the term "First cause", but I would still use the underlying concept. That there is a point in causality that is always reached in which there is no cause for that state in question.

    If all states are contingent and there is an infinite of them, then they can be represented in a set, C, which has an infinite amount of elements, k. In C, there is absolutely no state, k, which is not contingent (and thusly caused). If C is eternal, it is not eternal analogous to God (to use your example) because positing God posits an external entity to that set of causality; whereas the infinite set of causality is being posited itself as eternal; thusly, there is no first cause. Every cause is a member, k, of C. You haven’t negated this at all, but, rather, posited a subset of C, let’s call it T, which contains every member of C that is temporal.

    I would also like to mention, that one could also posit coherently that T is equal to C because all causes are temporal; and that C/T is eternal and that C/T is not a first cause. In other words, using T instead of C doesn’t help your case, because T being eternal doesn’t make it a first cause.

    Now:

    I mention this, because you may be having an issue with the phrase. If you do, dismiss the phrase.

    Will do. However, if I interpret your idea of “first cause” as merely “something which is no cause”; then this is a vacuously true truth that no one, atheist nor theist, will deny; and has nothing to do with the ordinary idea of a ‘cause’.

    Bob
  • ucarr
    1.2k


    Also a more interesting an viable discussion in my mind is Bob Ross's points.Philosophim

    I acknowledge that of the two of us, Bob Ross has a deeper grounding within sentential logic.

    You've been extraordinarily generous with your time, energy, and patience in the interest of the thoroughness of our dialogue. Your exertions herein have afforded me an ample supply of time and opportunity to practice and develop both my debate strategy and my execution.

    I'm now going to bow out from our dialogue.

    Henceforth, I will follow your dialogue with Bob Ross.
  • Gnomon
    3.6k
    Correct. The series itself is not a first cause. The answer to the question, "What caused the infinite universe to exist?" is the first cause. Its, "Nothing". So once we reach that point, we've found our first cause. The infinite universe as a whole exists without something else causing it.Philosophim
    This is the old "Something-from-Nothing" argument. Raising the old "Why is there something instead of nothing?" head scratcher.

    43 pages and counting. Is there no end to dialogs about First Cause? Can these threads become infinite? We can trace this particular thread back to an Original Post, but the Why Something? question must have pre-existed in human minds all the way back to ancient Greek philosopher's debates on "kinoúmenon"*1. Was that Initial Kinesis a phenomenon (thing) or noumenon (nothing)?

    I don't have anything to add to this no-beginning-never-ending debate, except to give it an outlet to a side issue. I recently began reading Bernardo Kastrup's new book : Science Ideated, in which he defends his Analytic Idealism worldview (Panpsychism ; Cosmopsychism) against rival views, especially Materialism, e.g. "The “hard problem of Consciousness : The impossibility of explaining qualities in terms of quantities". Ironically, all these metaphysical conjectures about What Is Real?, ultimately raise the question about How Reality Began.

    His cogently argued defense of an abstruse concept motivated me to look into Cosmopsychism, as an answer to Chalmer's challenge to Materialism. Thus inspired, I added a post to my blog. It begins with an enigma at the other end of the causal chain : How Does The Brain Create Mind?*2. But the reasoning about Reason eventually followed the logic of evolution back to the Big Bang. At which point Science is stumped, and Philosophy begins.

    The blog post eventually gets back to the foundation of my own personal worldview : "Plato and Aristotle, in wrestling with the same essential questions, postulated several abstract entities : First Cause (creative agency), Logos (mind, reason), Prime Mover (energy, force), Form (design, structure), and Matter (that which receives Form)". So, why not combine all those hypothetical primordial forces into one universal agency of causation : the power to enform?

    If these side-track questions are of interest to posters on this First Cause thread, I might be inspired to start a new thread on tracing Causation from First Spark down the evolutionary trail to the emergence of Inquiring Minds, who ask unverifiable open-ended questions ; taking the risk of sounding stupid or clever on a public forum. :smile:



    *1. Unmoved Mover :
    The unmoved mover (Ancient Greek: ὃ οὐ κινούμενον κινεῖ, romanized: ho ou kinoúmenon kineî, lit. 'that which moves without being moved') or prime mover (Latin: primum movens) is a concept advanced by Aristotle as a primary cause (or first uncaused cause) or "mover" of all the motion in the universe.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unmoved_mover

    *2. How Does the Brain Create Mind? :
    So, the “hard question” for Science is “how does it work?”. What are those special arrangements of matter that produce the experience of Qualia : e.g. Red or Pain? Can we take our experiences & feelings for granted, but deny their phenomenality ─ their knowable substance? What is the essence of experience? How do we produce imagery & feelings from a mechanical material brain?
    http://bothandblog8.enformationism.info/page14.html
    Note -- Click where indicated by a pointer arrow to see hidden images.
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    If by causality, you really mean temporal causality; then that needs to be clarified in the OP. Your OP clearly, taken literally, is discussing an infinite causality in 6 and not an infinite of temporal causality.Bob Ross

    I suppose I thought I didn't need to mention that an infinitely regressive or looped universe would be infinitely causal over time. I'll take a look at it again.

    You have not negated the possibility of an infinite of causality which does not lead to a first cause; instead, you have now negated the possibility of an infinite of temporal causality not having itself a cause (at best).Bob Ross

    Not having BEEN caused. Meaning that the answer to "What caused an infinite universe?" is still "Nothing". Its the same answer as a finite universe.

    First cause - The point in causality in which there is nothing which caused a set of existence

    This isn’t proven, because you are now shifting your argument to discuss the impossibility of an infinite temporal causality having no cause; well, that’s simply not what one would argue if they are arguing that causality is infinite proper.
    Bob Ross

    To be clear, I'm not arguing that its impossible for an infinite temporal causality to have no cause. I'll note this again, if A is an infinite universe, and G (Whatever it is, a God, timey wimey, etc.) -> X, then G caused an infinite universe. Now, G -> X enters into the total causality set of, "What caused G -> X, nothing". But that doesn't deny that X could have incepted without any G either. Whether the time in X has a limit of zero or no limit at all, the logic doesn't change. We will inevitably get to a point in which we encapsulate all of causality into its totality, and we find there is nothing which caused that existence to be.

    I would also like to mention, that one could also posit coherently that T is equal to C because all causes are temporal; and that C/T is eternal and that C/T is not a first cause. In other words, using T instead of C doesn’t help your case, because T being eternal doesn’t make it a first cause.Bob Ross

    Oh! This is good! :) Its not that T is eternal, T just represents the number of 'time ticks' that we place into the equation. Also, if G creates X, G creates X at a particular time (or continuous). G is not outside of time either.

    Example : The below is the entirety of C, or the first cause.
    "What caused an infinite eternal universe? Answer: An infinite universe was caused by a God at time tick 5.
    G at T (where T = 5) -> 2T + infinity where T = sum of all Ts (infinity)

    The major problem is we're talking about a situation in which practically anything is possible. Because we're in the realm of infinity and time being malleable, we can come up with some crazy stuff that may or may not be empirically true. The point of this argument is literally to note: "Come up with whatever crazy idea of universal origin you want. It doesn't matter. It will always inevitably end up here."

    No matter what we create, we eventually always reach an end. Lets go with the craziest of crazy setups. There are an infinite of infinites causes which cause an infinite set of eternally existing universes. So infinity Y -> Infinity X -> (continues). At the end, we can still take that entire idea and pop it into a variable X then asked, "What caused X?" And the answer is: Nothing. That's the proof Bob. The specifics do not matter. It is impossible to create causality which never ceases because all of causality will arrive at the last question: "You've laid the entirety of causality out, but what caused that?" And the answer is always the same: Nothing.

    Will do. However, if I interpret your idea of “first cause” as merely “something which is no cause”; then this is a vacuously true truth that no one, atheist nor theist, will denyBob Ross

    It is not something which is no cause. No, a first cause is part of causality. It is the moment in the causal chain that will eventually be reached in which we ask, "What caused X?" and the answer will be nothing. It is logically necessary that all questions of causality will arrive at this point.
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    You've been extraordinarily generous with your time, energy, and patience in the interest of the thoroughness of our dialogue.ucarr

    You as well Ucarr! You kept a level head, worked tirelessly, and really thought deeply about the issue. You have my full respect!

    Your exertions herein have afforded me an ample supply of time and opportunity to practice and develop both my debate strategy and my execution.ucarr

    I am glad that you had a positive experience with the conversation and that you enjoyed it. At the end of the day it is merely an idea to discuss.

    I'm now going to bow out from our dialogue.ucarr

    Well I bow back. :) You were a wonderful conversation partner Ucarr. I respect your intellect and honest engagement throughout the discussion. I look forward to further discussions with you in the future, and feel free to jump back in any time.
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    Is there no end to dialogs about First Cause? Can these threads become infinite?Gnomon

    Ha ha! Its good to have a sense of humor about this. Always appreciate your contributions Gnomon.

    If these side-track questions are of interest to posters on this First Cause thread, I might be inspired to start a new thread on tracing Causation from First Spark down the evolutionary trail to the emergence of Inquiring Minds, who ask unverifiable open-ended questions ; taking the risk of sounding stupid or clever on a public forum. :smile:Gnomon

    If you feel like there's something valuable in doing so, why not? No one will reach cleverness without first finding their footing on the stumbling blocks of stupidity. Show your light to the world even if its an odd color. :D
  • Bob Ross
    1.4k


    I don't think you are fully appreciating yet what I am offering here. So, to get right to the point, here's what I would like to address:

    "Come up with whatever crazy idea of universal origin you want. It doesn't matter. It will always inevitably end up here."

    For the sake of the argument, I am going to step up and respond with "My 'crazy' idea of reality is that it is an infinite series of atemporal and temporal causes, and this doesn't lead to there being a first cause".

    By your admission in the quote above, you are arguing that somehow my claim here does end with a first cause. So, how does it?
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    For the sake of the argument, I am going to step up and respond with "My 'crazy' idea of reality is that it is an infinite series of atemporal and temporal causes, and this doesn't lead to there being a first cause".

    By your admission in the quote above, you are arguing that somehow my claim here does end with a first cause. So, how does it?
    Bob Ross

    Something detailed in the later discussions but not mentioned in the OP for brevity was that it is there is 'at least' one first cause. I'm assuming that your atemporal things are also not caused correct? Those are first causes. There is no limit that only one first cause happens. Its a first cause in a causal chain, not the first cause in a universe.

    So I don't see anything against what I've said here. As you noted though, I might be missing what you're saying. Can you go into more detail if this did not cover it?
  • Gnomon
    3.6k
    Is there no end to dialogs about First Cause? Can these threads become infinite? — Gnomon
    Ha ha! Its good to have a sense of humor about this. Always appreciate your contributions Gnomon.
    Philosophim
    Ho, ho, ho! Apparently, the answer to my rhetorical endless-dialog weary-query is "?". Some philosophical questions, once borne into being, just won't go away. I just found a new thread*1, on the same old timeless subject --- the beginning of beginnings --- asserting that the emergence of cause & effect space-time from Nothing (i.e. no space, no time) is logically impossible. But others take issue with that inductive*2 assumption, which Hume destructed. Some seem to postulate that the idea of "eternity-infinity" is thinkable, therefore logically plausible. So, brandishing our ironic swords, back to the cyclical-beginning we go again, once more, encore!

    Since the assumption of incessant causation is of interest to posters on this forum, why not do like the astronomers in the 1950s did : from repeated observations of expanding space, they traced the evidence back to a point of no-further-evidence, leaving the Original Cause of expansion as an open question for feckless philosophers to waste spare-time on. So "once more unto the breach!", let's work backwards from the current observation of expanding-natural-sentience-into-artificial-intelligence, keeping our rational eyes peeled for evidence of the elusive space-time origin of thinking beings, from whatever source. Who wants to go first? :grin:

    PS___I'm proposing a new thread with similar implications but different presumptions : a First Cause implies a Final Cause, produced by the operations of an Efficient Cause, working in the medium of a Material Cause. What could we call it? The First Concept? The god-who-shall-not-be-named inquiry?

    *1. Creation from nothing is not possible :
    This means that {in space-time} time is required for the act of creation. There is no time in nothing therefore the creation from nothing is impossible. {my bracket}
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/14998/creation-from-nothing-is-not-possible

    *2. Induction :
    "assumes that the future will resemble the past"
    Philosophy Magazine, Feb-Mar 2024

  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    PS___I'm proposing a new thread with similar implications but different presumptions : a First Cause implies a Final Cause, produced by the operations of an Efficient Cause, working in the medium of a Material Cause. What could we call it? The First Concept? The god-who-shall-not-be-named inquiry?Gnomon

    I do like the idea of a first cause also being a final cause. There is no more to question after you arrive at it after all. But you know the crux of your discussion, so I'm sure it will be named appropriately. I'll keep an eye out for it Gnomon. Even if I don't contribute (as I don't want to derail or lead back to this thread) I'll at least give it a read. :)
  • Bob Ross
    1.4k


    I am talking about an infinite series of atemporal and temporal causes (i.e., the sum of all causes). In this series, there may be atemporal causes (as I am at least, in principle, allowing their existence)--i.e., there are things which exist contingently but are not subject to time.

    If you don't like the idea of atemporal causes, then I am talking about an infinite series of temporal causes and there are no other causes that are not in that infinite series.

    The series, conceptually, can be represented as a set which I will call C.

    C itself has no cause, because it is the series of all causes.

    You are claiming either the series C is not infinite, or that C itself leads to a first cause. Neither can be true, so I am not following your argument for this part.
  • ucarr
    1.2k


    ...leaving the Original Cause of expansion as an open question for feckless philosophers to waste spare-time on.Gnomon

    Did you commit a typo? Perhaps you were intending to write: space-time?

    I'm proposing a new thread with similar implications but different presumptions : a First Cause implies a Final Cause, produced by the operations of an Efficient Cause, working in the medium of a Material Cause. What could we call it?Gnomon

    And now, before the next round of beer and peanuts, a title pitch from the chronically gassy, Dept. of Crabby Chyrons : How Set Theory Got Started: A Cosmic Mystery.

    In our premiere episode, thrill to the edge of your seat watching Charger, a supremely irreverent electron with velocity learn to do the secret handshake with Ghost Universe.
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    If you don't like the idea of atemporal causes, then I am talking about an infinite series of temporal causes and there are no other causes that are not in that infinite series.

    The series, conceptually, can be represented as a set which I will call C.

    C itself has no cause, because it is the series of all causes.

    You are claiming either the series C is not infinite, or that C itself leads to a first cause. Neither can be true, so I am not following your argument for this part.
    Bob Ross

    No, I am not claiming that C is finite. It however is not the entire end to the chain of causality. "What caused C to exist?" still exists, and the finale answer is, "Nothing". this one question and answer cannot be part of that particular infinite causal chain, because the question is about the entire causal set itself.
  • Bob Ross
    1.4k


    The second you say that C is not the entire end to the chain of causality, is the second you conflate C with something else. C is the series of causes in total, so, by definition, you cannot be correct in that there is a cause which is not a member of C.
  • BillMcEnaney
    60
    In context, the first cause is the one that gives every other cause its causal ability. The first cause is the most fundamental one, the cause that each effect depends on. Every other cause needs God. So if he didn't exist, neither would anyone nor anything else.
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    The second you say that C is not the entire end to the chain of causality, is the second you conflate C with something else. C is the series of causes in total, so, by definition, you cannot be correct in that there is a cause which is not a member of C.Bob Ross

    Are you sure you're addressing the argument or a set? I'm noting that even if you create an infinitely regressive universe, the causality still boils down to the one question, "What caused the infinite regress?" "Nothing". Even if you have an infinite regresses within infinite regresses. Take the entirety of it, wrap it in a variable, then ask what caused it all to be. The answer is always the same, "Nothing".

    The first cause is the most fundamental one, the cause that each effect depends on. Every other cause needs God. So if he didn't exist, neither would anyone nor anything else.BillMcEnaney

    First, there is at least one first cause, there could be more. Second, a first cause does not have to be a God.
  • BillMcEnaney
    60
    Maybe I should go into more detail about the first cause. Naturally, I know that there could still be other causes if God exists. So I granted that point when I wrote about the first cause. I told everyone that God is the cause who makes every other cause exist and enables it to produce its effect. Say I'm right. Then if there. was no God, there would be no causes since there wouldn't be anything at all.

    Science can't explain why there's something instead of nothing since science assumes that there's something. That would make your argument circular if you argued scientifically to explain why there's something. Science is about causes and and how they produce their effects. Science doesn't explain what "causes causation."

    Thomists believe in two general kinds of causal series, a linear causal series and a hierarchical one. Here's an example of a linear one.

    I marry my girlfriend Elina. She gives birth to our children Marie and Timothy. Our daughter and our son start their own families and my grandchildren. Their children make my great grandchildren, and so forth. So, I could have infinitely many descendants because they can survive their parents. Like Elina and me, our descendants have built-in causal power that doesn't keep flowing from their ancestors. My children and their children aren't like a string of Christmas tree lights that must keep talking electricity from an outlet to keep each bulb lit. In the analogy, electricity represents existence and God's causal ability.

    Now here's an example of a hierarchical causal series. You board an Amtrak train to ride from Albany, New York to Manhattan. When the engine pulls the first car, pulling power flows to every other car in the train. If the engine wouldn't work, the train would stand still.

    Arrange 1,000 dominos on your floor. Then tap the first domino to topple it and knock the others down one by one. You started the series when you pushed the first domino. So you're like the train's locomotive and God since the series depends on you. You enabled each domino to except the last one thee power to tip the next one. Just as the train needed to engine to pull the train cars, the group of dominos relied ultimately on you.

    But God is the cause who makes everyone else and everything else exist now. He's why there's something instead of nothing. If you ask what caused God, I'll remind you that he has no cause. Since his existence is built into him, he doesn't get it from another source.

    He doesn't even cause himself to exist since "self-causation" implies a self-contradiction. For a cause to produce its effect, that cause must come before or be with its effect. On the other hand, for an object to make itself begin to exist, the cause and the effect must exist and not exist in the same respect at the same time.

    In a hierarchical causal series, there must be cause that sustains every other cause and each effect. That's why the universe and each object in it depends on God. God explains why there's anything at all besides himself. His existence is built into him. He makes everyone else and everything else exist. He sustains it. He sustains the natural world, each natural process in it, and makes even merely possible events possible.

    Science can't explain why there's something instead of nothing. Again, science presupposes that there's something.
  • Bob Ross
    1.4k


    I am addressing the argument. Your OP has to demonstrate that every logical possibility, not actual possibility, leads to a first cause; and this means that if reality is an infinite set of all causes that that must also logically necessitate a first cause (still). However, it cannot have a first cause if one understands properly what an infinite set of all causes is. It is logically necessary that it does not have a first cause, ironically.

    Thusly, it is not logically necessary that there is a first cause.
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    However, it cannot have a first cause if one understands properly what an infinite set of all causes is. It is logically necessary that it does not have a first cause, ironically.Bob Ross

    No, because I can ask, "What caused there to be an infinite set of all causes?" Its always finite. The very nature of causation logically always leads to this.
  • Bob Ross
    1.4k


    I think it is best we agree to disagree at this point; as anything else I say will be a reiteration. Your very question is logically contradictory on a couple fronts (i.e., [1] you concede it is infinite in "what caused there to be an infinite set of all causes?" and then turn around and say it is finite; and [2] you are asking presupposing that a cause could exist which is not a member of a set of all causes).

    If you are being logically consistent, you will need to ask "what caused there to be an infinite set of some causes?": that's all that can be afforded to your position without conceding the truth of a logical contradiction.
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    [1] you concede it is infinite in "what caused there to be an infinite set of all causes?"Bob Ross

    No, I'm noting that we can take a group of infinite causes but still ask one more question. What caused that set of infinite causes? My point is that an infinite set of causes cannot fully explain the entirety of all causes. It must logically rest with this question.

    [2] you are asking presupposing that a cause could exist which is not a member of a set of all causesBob Ross

    Its not a presupposition, its a proof. We can take any set of infinite series, then ask what caused that set. I've done nothing outside the realm of mathematics or logic.

    I think it is best we agree to disagree at this pointBob Ross

    Understood! Sometimes that's all we can arrive at in a conversation. Full respect and thanks for you points Bob.
  • ucarr
    1.2k


    I look forward to further discussions with you in the future, and feel free to jump back in any time.Philosophim

    I think it is best we agree to disagree at this point; as anything else I say will be a reiteration.Bob Ross

    Bob Ross' words speak for me as well.

    Since I see great value in the rules of order within American courtrooms, I want to deliver my closing argument as a way of staying the course and seeing things through to the end.

    You shouldn't feel the need to respond because you've already done so multiple times. It's good practice for me to endeavor to summarize my main points within an economical closing. I've gotten a good workout through my engagement with you, so I want to spend some of the capital I've earned.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Validity – If the premise of an argument is true, and its conclusion is also true, then the argument is valid.

    Also, if the premise of an argument is false, and its conclusion is also false, then the argument is valid. However, in this instance, validity is not meritorious. Since the premise and the conclusion are both false, the argument holds validity in terms of falsehood.

    Consistency – If an argument is steadfast and reliable throughout, then it is consistent.

    However, in this instance, consistency is not meritorious. Since the premise and the conclusion are both false, the argument is consistently false.

    Premise – A first cause incepts with no antecedents. So, nothing, then first cause, then causal chain.

    Conclusion – Every causal chain eventually arrives at a first cause.

    Using validity and consistency as standards of judgment, when both the premise and the conclusion are false, then the argument holds validity and consistency in terms of falsehood.

    Argument for premise being false (set theory) – the null set is disjunct from every set, including itself.

    A, B are called disjoint (not connected by common members) if A ∩ B = ∅. So ∅, the null set, having no members, exists disjoint from all other sets, including itself:
    ∅ ∩ {1,2,3…} = ∅

    Argument for conclusion being false (calculus) – The conclusion is proven false by the sum of an infinite series to a limit.
    • Regarding the infinite series: 1 – (1/2)0 + (1/2)1 + (1/2)2 + … = 1

    The summation of the series is 1. It approaches 1 but never quite gets there. It's a limit property.jgill

    Premise Negated – Given nothing, inception of something is impossible. If no thing exists, there’s no thing to do an inception.

    In order to self-incept, you have to be greater than yourself. That means being inside the set of causation and simultaneously outside the set of causation.

    This is Russell’s Paradox: If you have a set that contains all sets that don’t contain themselves, then that set must contain itself because it doesn’t contain itself, and, if it contains itself, then it must exclude itself.

    Let R = {x | x ∉ x}, then R ∈ R ⟺ R ∉ R

    Your mistake is that you are looking inside the set for a start point. The start point is not inside the set. It is the question of what caused the entire set.Philosophim

    Since Philosophim posits that: Every causal chain eventually
    arrives at a first cause.” for him to also say: the first cause is outside of the entire
    set, he implies the first cause, by definition, is simultaneously inside the
    entire set and outside of it. This is Russell’s Paradox. If he denies Russell’s
    Paradox fits this example, then the fatal problem seems to be incoherence: the
    first cause is disconnected from its chain of causations.

    … you are starting with C (an infinite set that contains all causality) and then treating C as if it is one of its members (k) without realizing it.

    “Philosophim, you must remember that the stipulation you gave is that C, which can be whatever you want to call it, is a set of infinite elements containing every cause; so, the only way you can get the result you are wanting (which is that C is a cause and is the set of all causes) is with an incoherent circular dependency: C:={…, C, …}.
    Bob Ross

    Bob Ross also sees a set logic problem with a first cause causing all of causation from within the causal chain.

    Conclusion Negated – With an infinite series, whether it consists of numbers, or causations, there is no beginning nor ending. Beginnings and endings can only be approached by an infinite series without arrival.
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