ForumsWEPRThe Religion Debate Thread

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nichodemus
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nichodemus
14,989 posts
Grand Duke

So yeah, our threads on religion have long since died out, so I figured it would be time to start afresh here!

Do you believe God exists (I know almost all of you don't)? Do you feel religion is important today? Is it a force for good? Discuss everything related to that here!

I'm going to start the ball rolling:

We all know about the rise of ISIS and the terrible acts it perpetuates. Does that show that Islam and religion in general is an awful concept? Is it the people who twist it? Or is it fundamentally an evil force?

Roping in the WERP frequenters
@MageGrayWolf @Kasic @Hahiha @FishPreferred @Doombreed @09philj

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FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,171 posts
Duke

I feel like the special pleading fallacy doesn't apply when the 'pleading' that's being done *is* for something special. Right, we could make sense of having a kind of double standard if there are, in fact, special circumstances in play. In this case, the 'specialness' of a universe-creating being would be more than sufficient to warrant a distinction.
1 We have yet to see any justification for the claim that God is "self-existant". If an exception is to be made for God, we're going to need a better reason than "because He's God", so the fallacy certainly applies.
2 If we allow that God is an exception without understanding why He would be an exception, we can't justify barring anything else from being "self-existant". Maybe cheese is self-existant because of the incomprehensible eternal power of cheese. The fact that all physical manifestations of cheese adhere to the normal rules of causality does not mean that it needs an external influence to exist. Ntech's premise that nothing else can happen without something to cause it falls appart.
3 Alternatively, if we accept universe creation as sufficiently special to justify making the exception, the argument becomes "we know God is special because He created the universe, therefore God must have been responsible for creating the universe" which is, of course, circular.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
8,260 posts
Regent

@Moegreche

I feel like the special pleading fallacy doesn't apply when the 'pleading' that's being done *is* for something special. Right, we could make sense of having a kind of double standard if there are, in fact, special circumstances in play. In this case, the 'specialness' of a universe-creating being would be more than sufficient to warrant a distinction. In other words, what makes God so special? He's God, duh!

But you can't use special pleading to say that God must have been the first cause, AND use this as proof of God's existence (as Ntech is doing), can you? Isn't that begging the question?
Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@lozerfac3


We only need premise (2) if time can only exist if a cause has existed. We do not need the claim that there have been an infinite chain of causes to validate the conclusion. I came to the conclusion that time has always existed because nothing would be able to cause it since time has not existed before time existed.

You are getting confused. Time has always existed in that it is a concept that humans apply to keep track of the movement of potentialities into actualities. Time was not 'created' anymore than your ideas are created by you. Time cannot be taken seriously into this argument because it is just a concept and not a force, and as such, cannot justify your argument that time was "created." If you mean "created" as when people first commonly recognized the concept of "time," why can we use "time" to refer to a period when it was not "created?" Your argument is based on a concept which you have made into a factor, and thus is it flawed. Time will continue to "exist" in that it is a concept that people can comprehend.

@Fishpreferred


We have yet to see any justification for the claim that God is "self-existant".

As it is impossible for there to be an infinate set of sequences which has started the universe in motion, only a self-existant Creature could explain what Is.


If we allow that God is an exception without understanding why He would be an exception, we can't justify barring anything else from being "self-existant".

God is not an exception to the rule that everything is put in motion by another, but God is put in motion by Himself, and thus He is self-existant.


Alternatively, if we accept universe creation as sufficiently special to justify making the exception, the argument becomes "we know God is special because He created the universe, therefore God must have been responsible for creating the universe" which is, of course, circular.

This has no relevance whatsoever to my argument. I use the universe to show that it can only exist if something has put it in motion, and since nothing but a self-existant Being (one that puts Himself in motion and requires no previous mover) could have done such - because everything is put in motion by another - that Being exists and I call Him God.

@Hahiha


But you can't use special pleading to say that God must have been the first cause, AND use this as proof of God's existence (as Ntech is doing), can you? Isn't that begging the question?

Only a self-existant Being could have created the universe, I call Him God.

Moegreche
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Moegreche
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Duke

Time has always existed in that it is a concept that humans apply to keep track of the movement of potentialities into actualities.

I really think it's a good idea, @Ntech , to drop this line of argument. Time is a very real thing--it's not some human invention. You might be conflating *how* we measure time (which is a human invention) with the very real notion of time in the Standard Model of physics. For example, a meter is not any sort of 'real' part of the model--it's just a unit of length that we happened to start using. (N.B. now the meter is defined in terms of light so it necessarily has the length it has. I'm just focused on the 'origin story' here since that's the most relevant.)
In the same way, a 'second' isn't some fundamental property. And yet time and space are intimately linked in what is called spacetime--the fundamental 'fabric' of our universe. Trying to bring in new physics with this stuff on actuality and potentiality just isn't going to work.

@FishPreferred

We have yet to see any justification for the claim that God is "self-existant".

Why can't we say that it's part of god's nature to be self-existent? I mean, that's the role that god is meant to be playing here--an unmoved mover who's capable of creating an entire universe out of nothing. This is something that cheese, for example, doesn't do. (I don't mean this as an empirical claim--rather, the nature of cheese (whatever that is) doesn't include any sort of necessary features of existence.)

@HahiHa

But you can't use special pleading to say that God must have been the first cause, AND use this as proof of God's existence (as Ntech is doing), can you? Isn't that begging the question?

Hm, yeah. I think this is what Fish was suggesting at the end of his post. This argument is either going to commit a special pleading fallacy or just be entirely question-begging.

But what if I make this move: instead of assuming that god exists (which would definitely be question-begging), let's make the following claim:
If a god does exist, then it would do so as a self-existent being.

Does that seem like a reasonable move to make? I feel like a god (at least, one that can create universes) would definitely have this property.

Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@Moegreche


I really think it's a good idea, @Ntech , to drop this line of argument.

You're right. That will simplify my thesis.

Doombreed
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Doombreed
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Templar

As it is impossible for there to be an infinate set of sequences which has started the universe in motion, only a self-existant Creature could explain what Is.

1) why is it impossible?
2) you keep defending the wrong point. We are not arguing against self existence. We are arguing against the "creature" part of that sentence. It could be a self existent event, (like the Big Bang if you will).

God is not an exception to the rule that everything is put in motion by another, but God is put in motion by Himself, and thus He is self-existant.

Considering that you can't make that exception for anything else, he is an exception either way. Just to the rule that nothing is self existent.

You are getting confused. Time has always existed in that it is a concept that humans apply to keep track of the movement of potentialities into actualities. Time was not 'created' anymore than your ideas are created by you. Time cannot be taken seriously into this argument because it is just a concept and not a force, and as such, cannot justify your argument that time was "created." If you mean "created" as when people first commonly recognized the concept of "time," why can we use "time" to refer to a period when it was not "created?" Your argument is based on a concept which you have made into a factor, and thus is it flawed. Time will continue to "exist" in that it is a concept that people can comprehend.

A concept but a very real one. Space is also a real concept. And it can be taken seriously in this argument very much, since without the flow of time, you might possibly not have "before the Big Bang"

Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

I think I will sum it up at this point, thatway this will be easier to follow. My argument is:

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2) The Universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the Universe had a cause.
4) A first cause must exist.
5) That first cause did not have a cause - it caused itself.
6) That cause is God.

If you may object 5 on the grounds that it is "special pleading" then I would reply that nothing in my argument states that everything began to exist.

Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@Doombreed


2) you keep defending the wrong point. We are not arguing against self existence. We are arguing against the "creature" part of that sentence. It could be a self existent event, (like the Big Bang if you will).

Nothing that began is self-existing, and the Big Bang was an event.


Considering that you can't make that exception for anything else, he is an exception either way. Just to the rule that nothing is self existent.

God is put in motion - He is put in motion by Himself.


A concept but a very real one. Space is also a real concept. And it can be taken seriously in this argument very much, since without the flow of time, you might possibly not have "before the Big Bang"

I use time to measure the rate of speed. Time is inherantly linked to speed, among other factors. But my point has nothing to do with time, "before the big bang," nor anything @lozerfac3 attempted to link with my argument.

Boofuss
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Boofuss
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Peasant

Why is it that the universe can't just BE? If God can just suddenly BE, why is it that the universe can't follow the same thing?

Doombreed
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Doombreed
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Templar

@Ntech

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2) The Universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the Universe had a cause.
4) A first cause must exist.
5) That first cause did not have a cause - it caused itself.
6) That cause is God.

Our point of friction is not 5. It is 6. If something is the Universe's cause (which by no means is a certainty, but let's for now say that something had to), why does that have to be God? it could be a self existent event. Why can't an event cause itself? Why does it have to be a creature?

Another thing, what if God was also created by another god, and that one by another one before that, and the God that is self existent is way higher up in the chain of gods?

Why is said god who put the universe in motion (or universe's cause) the Christian Catholic God?

Nothing that began is self-existing, and the Big Bang was an event.

Clearly god is by your standards. Why can't the Big Bang be?

God is put in motion - He is put in motion by Himself.

Correct (all by your theory of course) but you are saying that NOTHING else can be put in motion by itself, which is exactly what we've been arguing against.

I use time to measure the rate of speed. Time is inherantly linked to speed, among other factors. But my point has nothing to do with time, "before the big bang," nor anything @lozerfac3 attempted to link with my argument.

Do I need to remind you? you said that "if the Big Bang existed, something must have created the conditions for it to occur before it did". If time started with the Big Bang, then there IS no "before the Big Bang". Which turns the Big Bang into the self existent "first mover", or cause of the universe, instead of God in your theory's # 6

Moegreche
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Moegreche
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Duke

@Ntech

Thanks for putting your argument into premise-conclusion form. It makes it sooooo much easier to think about and engage with.

The first 3 premises are from William Lane Craig's version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA). But then your argument diverges in the 2nd half. This is going to be a problem. Check out these 2 premises:

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
5) That first cause did not have a cause - it caused itself.

We'll need to fix this as there's a tension between (1) and (5). Also, (5) is just weird--The first cause *does* have a cause. You might mean that its cause is internal or something like that. The language here starts to lose its rigor.

Besides, would God have a beginning? Wouldn't God have always existed? If you're okay taking this line and saying God has always existed (and thus didn't begin to exist) that would fit really well. And you avoid the special pleading objection because your first premise (as you already pointed out) is just talking about things that began to exist.

Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@Boofuss


Why is it that the universe can't just BE? If God can just suddenly BE, why is it that the universe can't follow the same thing?

Well, because the universe as we know it is not self-existing.

@Doombreed


Our point of friction is not 5. It is 6. If something is the Universe's cause (which by no means is a certainty, but let's for now say that something had to), why does that have to be God? it could be a self existent event. Why can't an event cause itself? Why does it have to be a creature?

An event can never be self-existing since it is no more.


Another thing, what if God was also created by another god, and that one by another one before that, and the God that is self existent is way higher up in the chain of gods?

Why is said god who put the universe in motion (or universe's cause) the Christian Catholic God?

Here, we are getting into theology. Which God is the True God, and why. But until you accept His existance, it will be better first to prove His existance.


Why can't the Big Bang be?

The Big Bang cannot be, because it is as you say a Quantum Fluctuation. Quantum Fluctuations rely upon the forces of physics which it would have created, hence, it is impossible for one to exist without the other, and if the Big Bang had created these forces, then it is impossible for the Big Bang to have happened unless there was another before it, another before that, etc. which is impossbile.


Correct (all by your theory of course) but you are saying that NOTHING else can be put in motion by itself, which is exactly what we've been arguing against.

What puts itself in motion besides God? Give me one example.


Do I need to remind you? you said that "if the Big Bang existed, something must have created the conditions for it to occur before it did". If time started with the Big Bang, then there IS no "before the Big Bang". Which turns the Big Bang into the self existent "first mover", or cause of the universe, instead of God in your theory's # 6

You are wrong. Time did not start with the Big Bang, because the Big Bang itself is moved by time, and hence the Big Bang (if it happened) happened after time's creation.

Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@Moegreche, yes, I mean that God has always existed and had no beginning, therefore He did not begin and the argument is not self-contradictory.

Boofuss
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Boofuss
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Peasant

Well, because the universe as we know it is not self-existing.

But why?

Doombreed
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Doombreed
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Templar

Well, because the universe as we know it is not self-existing

Yeah, we get that, what we are asking is why?

An event can never be self-existing since it is no more.

Oh so that's what you are saying. Finally we are getting somewhere. That it'd have to keep being an actuality that moves the universe.

But I am afraid this logic has flaws in itself as well. It could have put the universe in motion, as the first actuality that caused the second, but then the second could simply start causing the rest, with a chain of actualities causing the actions that took place during the Universe's history and then ceasing to exist once their role is finished.

You said God &quotut the Universe in motion" which implies that he does not need to be actively involved to keep it in motion, only started it all. In which case, the Big Bang could fulfill a similar role, before ceasing to exist.

Here, we are getting into theology. Which God is the True God, and why. But until you accept His existance, it will be better first to prove His existance.

But it is another hole in your reasoning. One that you'd better have a better explanation than "it's not the point as of now" to make your reasoning any more sound (which it already isn't)

The Big Bang cannot be, because it is as you say a Quantum Fluctuation. Quantum Fluctuations rely upon the forces of physics which it would have created, hence, it is impossible for one to exist without the other, and if the Big Bang had created these forces, then it is impossible for the Big Bang to have happened unless there was another before it, another before that, etc. which is impossbile.

Again, I am not saying it is a Quantum Fluctuation. It just needs certain Quantum Fluctuations in place in order to happen, among other things. And there is no proof that those weren't in place, especially no proof that they were put in place by a divine being.

What puts itself in motion besides God? Give me one example.

The amoeba that Fish showed in a previous post is a good example. Other than that, it could very well be the Big Bang, according to physics.

Besides, you haven't proven that God exists, let alone that he is self existent. I've focused my disagreement to one part of your theory until now but it's all on shaky logical grounds.

You are wrong. Time did not start with the Big Bang, because the Big Bang itself is moved by time, and hence the Big Bang (if it happened) happened after time's creation.

Again, science is saying that time might as well have started with the Big Bang. It's all a hypothesis, but it's not impossible, like you keep saying. It's not me who is wrong, I am just relegating what I read.

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