Please present good reasons for philosophical naturalism

General discussions
paolovf
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 257
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:58 pm

Re: Please present good reasons for philosophical naturalism

Post by paolovf » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:56 pm

paolovf wrote:I agree with you here and I think it's an important point. Putting aside any sort of man-made, virtual intelligence, the only form of intelligence and indeed cognitive function that we know of has resulted from evolution.
bipedalhumanoid wrote:
I'd say man made artificial intelligence has also resulted from evolution. Humans had to evolve to be able to create artificial intelligence.
Yes, you're right.

(Edit: fixed quotes)
funkyderek
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 373
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:54 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Please present good reasons for philosophical naturalism

Post by funkyderek » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:30 pm

Adonai88 wrote: it seems you do not carefully read what i write. Not everything must have a cause, but everything that beginst to exist, needs a cause. The universe makes no exeption here.
Please prove that assertion. I will accept (for the sake of argument at least) that everything that begins to exist in our universe must have a cause, but it does not logically follow that this rule applies to the universe itself. (The universe is not a thing in the universe.) You are also proposing to solve the problem by proposing a class of object (things that exist but did not have a beginnining) for which we have precisely zero examples.
They don't arise from absolutely nothing....
Maybe there was never absolutely nothing. Nothing about my belief system requires that there was, and your belief system precludes it.
That's not the assertion I made. I said that "the only examples of intelligence we know of have come about through slow evolution". That remains true, although in the near future, I expect we will also encounter examples of intelligence that have been created by humans.
You have still not shown empirical evidence to back up your claim. Where is it ?
My claim is simply that - to the best of my knowledge - no examples of intelligence that have not arisen through evolution have ever been found. This is a claim about a lack of evidence. I am exceptionally confident that you do not have evidence that contradicts this claim but if you do you need to present it. Expecting me to present evidence for the lack of evidence is absurd.
You're making even less sense than usual. We need reason to deduce things for which there is no empirical evidence. As it is impossible to prove a negative, all we can do is make reasoned deductions based on the evidence we do have. Intelligence requires a certain level of complexity. It is absurdly unlikely that a sufficient level of complexity could simply exist by itself without some sort of self-organising process.
Again. You make a lot of assertions. Prove them to be true.
I can't take you all the way from A=A to where we need to go. You'll have to do some of the work yourself. Briefly, there are countless squintillions of ways that matter can be arranged. Only a vanishingly small number of these are suitable to produce intelligence. The probability of such an arrangement coming about by chance is necessarily infinitesimal. Basing your hypothesis on the existence of such an unlikely thing is not explaining anything.
It is not only relevant , but also true.

Einstein, A. (1944). Remarks on Russell's theory of knowledge. In P. A. Schlipp (ed.) The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell (pp.277-291). New York: Tudor.

On the one side, we find the real world of objects, events, and tensional space-time relations. On the other side, we find fully abstract representations that contain information about the material world. That articulate information is abstracted first by our senses, secondarily by our bodily actions, and tertiarily by our ability to use one or more particular languages (e.g., English, French, Navajo, etc.). Between the two realms, we find what appears to be an uncrossable gulf.
That quote has nothing to do with the assertion you made.
you say that is a proven fact. you provide the empirical proofs.
See above. I can't provide you with examples of something that I claim doesn't exist.
Ahhhh - we come to see the facts now. You can't prove for sure...... So why do you make baseless assertions then ???!!!!!
A single question or exclamation mark at the end of a sentence usually suffices. Feel free to use the interrobang but again one of each is enough. I don't believe I've made any baseless assertions. All the claims I've made are of what appears to be the most reasonable thing to believe based on the available evidence
You said you had proves. Now your story sounds a little different.......So how about instead of making empty claims, you answer straightforward the question of this thread ?

Please present good reasons for philosophical naturalism. What makes you believe nature , our universe, is all there is ??
Because I have no reason to believe otherwise. (Please note that I currently lean towards the belief that our universe is simply part of a larger multiverse but it makes no philosophical difference.) You're demanding that I prove a negative, and then taking my inevitable inability to conclusively do so as proof that your contrary assertion (one of billions) is the right one.
Because no intelligence is required.
Why not ? Nothing than baseless assertions on hand ?
If all the First Cause had to do was start the universe, then no intelligence is required. It's just knob-twiddling or button-pushing. Positing an intelligence raises more questions than it answers.
The cause must be personal because an impersonal force would be deterministic and mechanistic, not possessing free will. A mechanistic being only operates according to the programming it received from something else. But if the cause of the universe received programming from something else, then we have again not provided the answer to the cause of the universe. We have just found a middle-man. The cause had to make a choice to create and only beings who are personal can make choices.
Now there's a baseless assertion. In my scenario, Robo-god did not receive his programming from someone else but had an eternal program. This is similar to how, in your scenario, God's personality did not develop over time with input from other persons but existed eternally. Whatever simplistic explanation is chosen (a person or a robot) requires an exception to normally inviolate rules.
Whatever caused the universe, existed before the universe. Since the universe had a beginning in time, and since matter and energy do not spontaneously change and arrange themselves into something new, then the best explanation for the cause of the universe is an action that was a decision.In other words, a decision to act at a specific time in the past is the best explanation of the existence of the universe. Of course, we Christians would say this decision was made by a personal being who we call God.
Time began with the universe, so there may be no meaningful sense in which we can talk about something existing before the universe. Also, matter and energy spontaneously change and arrange themselves all the time. Your assertions here are not just baseless but clearly false.
Its not my intention to present it at this thread, because this thread is not about that issue. Its about YOU presenting good reasons for philosophical naturalism. So far, you have failed quit obviously. Wanna try harder ?
You don't get to dictate what the rules of this thread are. You are a guest on this forum, here at my discretion. Please behave accordingly.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Image

Image Image Image Image
fai
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:56 pm

Re: Please present good reasons for philosophical naturalism

Post by fai » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:39 pm

The reason methodological naturalism leads many people to naturalism of the philosophic kind is due to its extraordinary success, whereas supernaturalism is a global ball of contradiction and confusion, good for nothing but silly imaginings and conflict, often violent, or at best a fair old waste of time.

Ponder these things, and then ask yourself why you would bother with such unreliable epistemology when in doing so you forsake the opportunity of getting real results using naturalism. Why it even works with morality.

To clarify, no privilege granted to ANY supernatural system of beliefs. Your belief system is only your pet theory, get in line with the contradictory clamour of influence peddlers with their unsupported claims of truth. Any chance you supernaturalists could convene and hammer out a non-contradictory set of beliefs? I think not, whereas scientists eventually find agreement owing to nature obliging us with experimental evidence once we try hard enough. Therefore if you don't accept the primacy of rational scientific epistemology you cannot have a good point by definition. Scientific truth is universal, religious doctrine is tribal "truth". Your ideas of origins are special to your subgroup, and far from shared by all supernaturalists. Revelation is self-contradictory given that subgroups accept different versions. Forget about arguing with philosophic naturalism, sort out your own faith differences into a coherent system and only then get back to us. Your opinion is only one of the clamouring many, and that's not good enough. Why not stick to what you really know and leave out the made-up stuff?

There COULD have been whole cycles of self destructing events prior to the big bang, time may loop back on itself in a beginningless and conclusionless chain, we can only conjecture at present, and probably will never have any provability except for untestable mathematical theory consistent with what we can check out. Even then how many will really understand what such a theory would be saying? And how many will spoof on, pretending they know what in fact they don't? Even so, that's a better conjecture than you asserting your God, him his gods, or they their Godesses. By all appearances we live inside an inanimate machine which obeys impersonal laws of nature. No godesses will ever have an adequate excuse for this state of affairs. How blindingly obvious human rights do not extend to (metaphorically) demanding and getting an explanation for everything. Or we can invent explanation involving supernatural being(s). There is no shame in saying there are things we don't know, but there is shame in calling arbitrary invention fact or faith. Shame on you if you notice these things and fail to back away. Except all of us suffer from prior commitment when we argue. Even if we are aware of it, it can sneak up and trap our critical faculty, such as it is. A person who has deeply lived both sides of this debate is a more trustworthy opinionator, like me. He has faced his cognitive bias full on, and battled his way to higher ground. If you respect truth, you will subject your faith to rationality and discard what is unsupportable by reason and probability. Or is it impossible that there is anything that would cause you to change your mind? Like you already really have the one true faith? Lucky you! All the rest of us are in darkness!
Adonai88
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:45 pm

Re: Please present good reasons for philosophical naturalism

Post by Adonai88 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:55 pm

funkyderek wrote:
Please prove that assertion. I will accept (for the sake of argument at least) that everything that begins to exist in our universe must have a cause, but it does not logically follow that this rule applies to the universe itself. (The universe is not a thing in the universe.) You are also proposing to solve the problem by proposing a class of object (things that exist but did not have a beginnining) for which we have precisely zero examples.
Do you see in your daily experience white elephants pop up out into existence from nothing ? or whatever else you might imagine ? of course not. it is obvious that from absolutely nothing, nothing derives, since absolutely nothing is the absence of anything, and has no potentialities.
They don't arise from absolutely nothing....

Maybe there was never absolutely nothing.
If there were absolutely nothing , then there would still be absolutely nothing, and we would not be here. So it is unavoidable. Since we are here, there were never a moment where there was absolutely nothing. something did always exist.

My claim is simply that - to the best of my knowledge - no examples of intelligence that have not arisen through evolution have ever been found.
Neither so has dark matter. Do you believe, dark matter exists ?


This is a claim about a lack of evidence.
Lack of evidence, is not evidence of absence. That is called argument from ignorance.
I can't take you all the way from A=A to where we need to go. You'll have to do some of the work yourself.
You make the assertions, you need to provide evidence they are true. Obviously, you have none. Just hot air......
That quote has nothing to do with the assertion you made.
why not ?
Ahhhh - we come to see the facts now. You can't prove for sure...... So why do you make baseless assertions then ???!!!!!
All the claims I've made are of what appears to be the most reasonable thing to believe based on the available evidence
ok, you admit then you are making things up. Just throwing baseless assertions in the air. Not a very compelling procedure, i would say.......
Because I have no reason to believe otherwise.
so no positive evidence on hand. Good. that clarification means a lot.
(Please note that I currently lean towards the belief that our universe is simply part of a larger multiverse but it makes no philosophical difference.) You're demanding that I prove a negative
That is EXACTLY what i am not doing. Care to read carefully the opening thread ? What do you not understand about it ?
If all the First Cause had to do was start the universe, then no intelligence is required.
how do you know the first cause had only to start it ?
It's just knob-twiddling or button-pushing. Positing an intelligence raises more questions than it answers.
So what do you suggest pushed to button ? And what was the cause of the button pusher ?
Now there's a baseless assertion. In my scenario, Robo-god did not receive his programming from someone else but had an eternal program. This is similar to how, in your scenario, God's personality did not develop over time with input from other persons but existed eternally. Whatever simplistic explanation is chosen (a person or a robot) requires an exception to normally inviolate rules.
Even if, lets take it granted, there would be a exeption : what would be the problem ? The difference between a Robot, and God, would be : a Robot would need the programming from the outside. God not.

Time began with the universe, so there may be no meaningful sense in which we can talk about something existing before the universe.
You mean beyond the universe, right ? why not ?

Also, matter and energy spontaneously change and arrange themselves all the time. Your assertions here are not just baseless but clearly false.
why ?

You don't get to dictate what the rules of this thread are.
Isnt it the rule of any forum, to keep to the topic of the thread ?

You are a guest on this forum, here at my discretion. Please behave accordingly.
And you are different, in what sense ? are you not a guest as well ? or are you the owner of the forum ?
funkyderek
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 373
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:54 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Please present good reasons for philosophical naturalism

Post by funkyderek » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:07 pm

Adonai88 wrote:Do you see in your daily experience white elephants pop up out into existence from nothing ? or whatever else you might imagine ? of course not. it is obvious that from absolutely nothing, nothing derives, since absolutely nothing is the absence of anything, and has no potentialities.
Do you see any elephants that have always existed? No? Is it not then obvious that there is nothing that has always existed?
If there were absolutely nothing , then there would still be absolutely nothing, and we would not be here. So it is unavoidable. Since we are here, there were never a moment where there was absolutely nothing. something did always exist.
As I said, I have no difficulty in believing that. The philosophical concept of "absolutely nothing" need have no real-world application.
Neither so has dark matter. Do you believe, dark matter exists ?
I don't know. Dark matter is one possible solution to a problem in physics.
Lack of evidence, is not evidence of absence. That is called argument from ignorance.
It is an argument from ignorance, and indeed an argument for ignorance. I don't know, and neither do you. The difference is you have conjured up an answer out of nothing. I am merely taking the pragmatic and logical approach of assuming that something for which no evidence is available probably does not exist.
You make the assertions, you need to provide evidence they are true. Obviously, you have none. Just hot air......
The specific assertion I made is that no example of an unevolved intelligence has ever been found. I stand by that assertion. The only evidence I can provide is that no contradictory evidence has ever been found. Do you see how absurd it is for you to demand that I prove this?
That quote has nothing to do with the assertion you made.
why not ?
Because the words in that quote do not relate to the assertion you made. Go back and read them.
ok, you admit then you are making things up. Just throwing baseless assertions in the air. Not a very compelling procedure, i would say.......
You seem to be unaware that there are a whole range of options between absolute certainty and baseless assertions. Just because (unlike you) I don't claim to have the former does not mean that my assumptions and working hypotheses are baseless.
so no positive evidence on hand. Good. that clarification means a lot.
Again, you seem to have trouble understanding that it's impossible to provide positive evidence for the non-existence of something.
You're demanding that I prove a negative
That is EXACTLY what i am not doing. Care to read carefully the opening thread ? What do you not understand about it ?
You are demanding that I prove a negative. However, you're also demanding that I pretend that this is not what you're asking. You may think it's clever but it's not.
If all the First Cause had to do was start the universe, then no intelligence is required.
how do you know the first cause had only to start it ?
Because physics explains the rest.
It's just knob-twiddling or button-pushing. Positing an intelligence raises more questions than it answers.
So what do you suggest pushed to button ? And what was the cause of the button pusher ?
It could be a self-pushing button. It could have been pushed by a rock that was previously falling for eternity. It could have been pushed by a giant space pig. I could go on like this for days. Anything at all can be used as a pretend explanation. Your preferred "explanation" is an angry old man. But these are all pretend. They are equally pointless answers to an impossible question.
Even if, lets take it granted, there would be a exeption : what would be the problem ? The difference between a Robot, and God, would be : a Robot would need the programming from the outside. God not.
No, the exception is that this particular Robot does not need programming. His program is eternal. The exception with a personal god is that the god's personality did not develop over time but was eternally there. I don't see why one is more likely than another.
Time began with the universe, so there may be no meaningful sense in which we can talk about something existing before the universe.
You mean beyond the universe, right ? why not ?
Because time began with the universe. If there was no time outside the universe, then talking about a time before it is not logical. Without time, speaking of cause and effect is meaningless.
Also, matter and energy spontaneously change and arrange themselves all the time. Your assertions here are not just baseless but clearly false.
why ?
Because you asserted something that is clearly false. Please read what you wrote again, and then what I wrote. You will really need to up your game. I'm getting tired of having to dumb things down.
You don't get to dictate what the rules of this thread are.
Isnt it the rule of any forum, to keep to the topic of the thread ?
No.
And you are different, in what sense ? are you not a guest as well ? or are you the owner of the forum ?
No, I'm a moderator and charged with keeping people in line. Your behaviour is increasingly rude and I am warning you that this will not be tolerated indefinitely.
Further, you are not in Ireland and you are not an atheist. Your interest in this forum is apparently to proselytise. We may choose to indulge you but remember that you are an uninvited guest here, and behave respectfully.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Image

Image Image Image Image
Adonai88
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:45 pm

Re: Please present good reasons for philosophical naturalism

Post by Adonai88 » Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:18 pm

funkyderek wrote:
Adonai88 wrote:
Do you see any elephants that have always existed? No? Is it not then obvious that there is nothing that has always existed?
what has your answer to do with the point i made ?
If there were absolutely nothing , then there would still be absolutely nothing, and we would not be here. So it is unavoidable. Since we are here, there were never a moment where there was absolutely nothing. something did always exist.
The difference is you have conjured up an answer out of nothing.
I am merely taking the pragmatic and logical approach of assuming that something for which no evidence is available probably does not exist.
Look around you. We exist. The universe exists. That demands a explanation. Why is God not a possible explanation ?

The specific assertion I made is that no example of an unevolved intelligence has ever been found.
You have still not provided evidence that human intelligence is a product of mere evolution. you just believe that to be true.

I stand by that assertion. The only evidence I can provide is that no contradictory evidence has ever been found. Do you see how absurd it is for you to demand that I prove this?
you make absolute statements, then you will need to provide absolute proofs to back up your claims. I just use logic, making my questions. So they are not absurd, but are direct derivations of your assertions.

You seem to be unaware that there are a whole range of options between absolute certainty and baseless assertions. Just because (unlike you) I don't claim to have the former does not mean that my assumptions and working hypotheses are baseless.
then please do not present them as if they were proven facts. They are just your assumptions.


Again, you seem to have trouble understanding that it's impossible to provide positive evidence for the non-existence of something.
i have asked positive evidence for naturalism, not for the non existence of god. got the difference ? you have not presented any, so far. Why do you assume nature is all there is based on POSITIVE evidence ? if you have not, the base for your world view is very weak at best.

You are demanding that I prove a negative.
no, i am not. care to read the opening post again ?
Because physics explains the rest.
what ? can you be more precise ?
It could be a self-pushing button.
and where did that self pushing button come from ? and why and how did it push the button ? why was not a decision required ?

It could have been pushed by a rock that was previously falling for eternity.
there was most probably nothing physical beyond our universe.


It could have been pushed by a giant space pig. I could go on like this for days. Anything at all can be used as a pretend explanation. Your preferred "explanation" is an angry old man. But these are all pretend. They are equally pointless answers to an impossible question.
I believe in a God that is love. So you have nothing rational on hand. understood. Why should i believe your world view is compelling ?
No, the exception is that this particular Robot does not need programming. His program is eternal. The exception with a personal god is that the god's personality did not develop over time but was eternally there. I don't see why one is more likely than another.
so your robot would spout eternally universes all around ? amazing......

honestly. gimme a break. i wish a serious discussion. yours is not.
funkyderek
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 373
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:54 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Please present good reasons for philosophical naturalism

Post by funkyderek » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:42 pm

Adonai88 wrote:
funkyderek wrote:
Do you see any elephants that have always existed? No? Is it not then obvious that there is nothing that has always existed?
what has your answer to do with the point i made ?
This is becoming tedious. You used the lack of spontaneously appearing elephants as "proof" that nothing can ever spontaneously appear. I facetiously used the lack of eternally existing elephants to "prove" that nothing can eternally exist. Do you see what I did there? Do you see?
Look around you. We exist. The universe exists. That demands a explanation. Why is God not a possible explanation ?
Because it's not an explanation. It's an invention to avoid an explanation.
You have still not provided evidence that human intelligence is a product of mere evolution. you just believe that to be true.
Wow! I didn't realise that was the part you had trouble with. I should have. At least the word "mere" offers hope. If your asking can I prove that God (or gods or fairies or zombie dinosaurs) didn't invisibly play with the fabric of the universe, then no I can't, but it's clear that such intervention was not needed and has no explanatory power.
you make absolute statements, then you will need to provide absolute proofs to back up your claims. I just use logic, making my questions. So they are not absurd, but are direct derivations of your assertions.
For the last time, when I claim that there is a lack of evidence for something, I can't show you that lack of evidence. I can't point at something and declare that to be a complete and total universal lack of evidence. All I can do is invite anyone who disagrees to display the evidence they claim to have.
then please do not present them as if they were proven facts. They are just your assumptions.
You started this thread by essentially demanding that we present our best guesses as facts.
i have asked positive evidence for naturalism, not for the non existence of god. got the difference ? you have not presented any, so far. Why do you assume nature is all there is based on POSITIVE evidence ? if you have not, the base for your world view is very weak at best.
:roll: Maybe I need to try a different tack. What sort of evidence would be positive evidence? What sort of thing would in principle satsify you as an answer?
You are demanding that I prove a negative.
no, i am not. care to read the opening post again ?
I have. It doesn't get any better. Let me try to deconstruct it for you so you can understand what you've done. You asked for proof of the assertion: "that the natural world is all there [sic] exists". That assertion is functionally identical to the assertion that "nothing outside the natural world exists". Proving that means proving the non-existence of something. Now, there are lots of things I can prove the non-existence of, but a whole class of entities who by definition don't obey any of the rules of reality? Just how am I supposed to do that? The only way is what I tried to do initially, by defining the natural world as anything that exists. It's not a very good solution but then it wasn't a very good question to start with (as I and several others pointed out).
Because physics explains the rest.
what ? can you be more precise ?
Yes I can but I fear it would be wasted. Basically, we understand how the universe works. There are few or no gaps left for gods to hide in. That is why you have had to retreat outside the universe to find one.
It could be a self-pushing button.
and where did that self pushing button come from ? and why and how did it push the button ? why was not a decision required ?
Why would it be? I don't understand why you find it hard to believe a button has always existed but you have no problem believing a sky wizard with a foreskin fetish has.
It could have been pushed by a rock that was previously falling for eternity.
there was most probably nothing physical beyond our universe.
Only probably? It can be a "spiritual" rock if you prefer.
I believe in a God that is love.
The secret ingredient is love. Well, why didn't you say so?
So you have nothing rational on hand. understood.
So far you seem to have understood very little. I wish there was a way even to get you to understand how much I'm trying to dumb things down for you.
Why should i believe your world view is compelling ?
You could test it against the available evidence. If you find good evidence that contradicts it, you can discard it. If not, you can (tentatively) keep it.
so your robot would spout eternally universes all around ? amazing......
If you want. One universe, a billion. It's all the same, seeing as we're both just making things up. Interesting that you find my Robot more amazing than your god. If you were smart enough to reflect on that, you might find yourself with an interesting philosophical conundrum.
honestly. gimme a break. i wish a serious discussion. yours is not.
How could I possibly take you seriously?
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Image

Image Image Image Image
oldrnwisr
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:09 pm
Location: Limerick, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Please present good reasons for philosophical naturalism

Post by oldrnwisr » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:04 pm

I know I'm jumping into this really late but there are some points in Adonai88's argument that I'd like to take issue with.
Adonai88 wrote:
funkyderek wrote:
Adonai88 wrote:And what caused the Big Bang ?
Well, nobody knows exactly so let's just say it was a petulant space wizard who was somehow always there. :roll:

Do you agree there must have been eternally something in existence ? Or do i get it wrong, if i say that from absolutely nothing, nothing derives ?
Funkyderek is correct, we don't know what caused the Big Bang and by "we don't know" I mean we can't know. It is impossible for anyone, especially yourself who seems to have a detailed idea of how everything came to be, to claim to know something which nobody can know. The Big Bang is not the start of the universe except in the most vernacular sense of the word. The Big Bang marks a change of state in the nature of our universe. We cannot even determine what happened at the Big Bang given our current understanding because we lack a substantive theory of quantum gravity. The furthest back in time that we can examine at the moment is Planck time (1x10^-43 seconds) after the Big Bang. At Planck time after the Big Bang gravity became distinct from the other fundamental forces and our spacetime begins to run forward. However this is entirely distinct from stating that our Universe began to exist at this point. Our universe is not composed entirely of our spacetime and includes a quantum mechanical facet which is timeless. It doesn't need a cause any more than God does. Once we track the expansion of the Universe back to what used to be called the singularity all physical laws break down. However, we cannot state that nothing existed at this point.

As far as cosmogony (the study of origins of the universe) is concerned there are multiple hypotheses concerning what may have caused our spacetime to begin. These include the collision of two previous universes, a cyclic universe alternating between big bangs and big crunches an infinite fluctuating universe. These theories are examined in simple language in Brian Greene's The Hidden Reality. However, our universe can be explained reasonably simply using our current understanding of physics.

"In the distant future, the universe will only consist of massless particles travelling at the speed of light (assuming black-holes evaporate, which we have good reason to believe they do). This "very boring era" will stretch on for eternity, as the temperature of the universe cools to zero, and the density approaches zero. But if you are travelling at the speed of light, an eternity is no different from an instant. Time, as a scale of duration, is physically meaningless. The big big bang may simply be the infinite future of a previous universe."


A primer on the subject can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformal_map

We don't know what caused our current spacetime to begin but we have determined several possible explanations. We don't however have the capability to gather evidence which would allow us to favour one theory over another. It is not likely either, given our current understanding of physics, that we will ever be able to gather such evidence. Could God be a possible answer to this problem? Sure. If you're going to make that claim, however, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that this hypothesis has merit.

Adonai88 wrote:it seems you do not carefully read what i write. Not everything must have a cause, but everything that beginst to exist, needs a cause. The universe makes no exeption here.
You might have had a better reception from the folks round here if you had honestly argued for Kalam from the get go. The Kalam Cosmological argument is fundamentally flawed and a really bad argument although given your links to CARM I can see why it appeals to you. Matt Slick has a lot to answer for. I'll explain in a simple a fashion as possible why Kalam doesn't hold up.

The argument hinges on the idea of something beginning to exist. Therefore there must be two categories of objects in reality, those that begin to exist (BE) and those that don't (NBE). The first thing we can say is that both sets must be populated. If NBE is empty then everything begins to exist and your argument collapses instantly. Secondly, the NBE set must consist of more than one element. If the only element of NBE is God then you're just making an appeal to special pleading, which is a logical fallacy. The problem then becomes if NBE is populated and there is more than one element, then you cannot conclude from the opening premise that the cause is necessarily God.
The second and more damning problem with this argument is that it is usually offered as a follow-up argument to the statement "something can't come from nothing". However for something to be a cause it must act on something. Something acting on nothing is creation ex nihilo which is for all intents and purposes, a magical explanation.

Adonai88 wrote:Whatever caused the universe, existed before the universe. Since the universe had a beginning in time, and since matter and energy do not spontaneously change and arrange themselves into something new, then the best explanation for the cause of the universe is an action that was a decision.In other words, a decision to act at a specific time in the past is the best explanation of the existence of the universe. Of course, we Christians would say this decision was made by a personal being who we call God.
Firstly, since our spacetime began at the Big Bang, any discussion of a "before" the Big Bang is redundant. There is no evidence that there was a time preceding the Big Bang.
Secondly, matter and energy do arrange themselves spontaneously. Radioactive decay is an example of just such an event. Furthermore, since you mention virtual particles, these also represent uncaused events contrary to the premise of Kalam. Although it is technically incorrect to say they come from nothing, they do begin to exist without a cause.

Adonai88 wrote:Neither so has dark matter. Do you believe, dark matter exists ?
It is not the existence of dark matter which is in question. We have already been able to infer the existence of dark matter from observational evidence particularly with regard to the gravitational effects of dark matter which can be seen in galactic rotation curves. It is rather the composition of dark matter which is the question which needs answering.

Adonai88 wrote:Lack of evidence, is not evidence of absence. That is called argument from ignorance.
Actually what you have described is the argument from silence and unlike the argument from ignorance (a common religious argument), the argument from silence is not always a fallacious argument. The argument from silence holds only if there is no reasonable expectation of positive evidence. For example, Matthew 27:52 describes the events subsequent to Jesus' death and mentions the people rising from their graves and going into town to talk to people. However, there are no non-biblical contempraneous accounts of this event. As a result we can dismiss the likelihood of this event having occurred. This is not an argument from silence since you would expect an event as unusual as this to have been widely documented.

The fundamental problem with your OP seems to be that you have a top-down view of reality which is not how science works in explaining things. Pierre Laplace when he first drafted a solution to celestial motion was asked by Napoleon why he had not mentioned God. In response Laplace replied, sire I have not needed that hypothesis. In studying the world and the universe around us we seek to explain those phenomena like the Big Bang, abiogenesis and evolution. However, when we meet a question which we cannot, for the moment, answer using evidence then the only honest answer is "I don't know." That's how methodological naturalism works by not making any more assumptions than are necessary. If you don't know what the answer is you can't or at least shouldn't plug the gap with whatever passing fairytale most appeals to you.
"Science doesn't know everything. Religion doesn't know anything." AronRa - WAC 2011
Post Reply