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First-cause argument

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

Bruno wrote:
It's a premise. You don't have to agree with it. But! What makes you think time is beyond existence? I'm saying it came to be in the big picture: in the nothingness that would be much simpler than an existence to be. Have you stopped to think about it? Why is there a universe? Is it really of any decency to say it just happened that nothingness was easier but perchance an existence came to be? with time and space and whatnot? And that then a singularity, which came out of nowhere, exploded and now the universe came to be as well?


That's no more ridiculous than saying that a god who exists outside of what is real (and therefore isn't real) did it. Besides, most scientists worth their salt don't say that the universe came from a singularity which exploded out of nothing. As you say, "it's the general commonsense among scientists nowadays: there is more," which I would somewhat agree with. But as I discuss below, I simply don't call it god, but the reason for that is a matter of language, not metaphysics.

Anyways I'm like Dreamer; I'm just not satisfied with this sort of argument, because if you answer the question "Why is there a universe?" with "God created it," then you're just stuck at "Why is there a God?" And if the answer to that is "God just is (even though he isn't because he exists apart from existence)," then why don't we just save a step and say that the universe just is (not just the local universe...the whole thing, whatever that whole thing is.)
After all, all one is doing by saying "God just is," is creating an ad hoc explanation to solve a problem that nobody can actually solve...whereas it might, just might, someday be theoretically possible to solve the mysteries surrounding the natural universe.

Quote:

Hell. That's a contradiction — in fact, skepticism arrives at as much logical contradictions as science. Assuming the world we see is real, everything points towards there being something bigger and beyond our universe — beyond space, and beyond time even. I'm just saying the universe came to be in the bigger picture. This can't be proved (as nothing can, anyway) but it's the general commonsense among scientists nowadays: there is more.


This is where the importance of getting definitions straight comes in, and just for the heck of it I'll throw my two cents in: if the thing that created this universe, which is "something bigger and beyond our universe," is a conscious intelligence of some sort, then sure, it should probably be called god. That's word the word implies, some sort of entity. But if, as you've argued, the only thing we can possibly establish about this creative thing is that it is something vague which exists outside of our existence, then why call it god? It could be any number of things. For example; perhaps our universe sprang from some sort of multiverse, thus the cause of our universe would be beyond our existence, yet it would be a natural phenomenon, and not a god. Now, there's no way we can say what the case is at this point. So, that is why I don't use the word 'god' (and why I call myself an atheist and not a pantheist) to describe things like this...but then again I tend to be overly-picky with words ^^


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PostPosted: Thu 13 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

Well, Josh, but now you're trying to force me into your framework, aren't you? forcing personification into god. I needn't think like that. Assuming logic — some sort of logic, even if it's not our logic — extends to the spheres of Beyond, we could say god is the intangible trends behind the forces of nature. Am I sounding esoteric here? Let me try to make this exoteric then: I could argue, for instance, that the trend of samsara is an echo of god in our universe. Does this personify god? No more than a thunder personifies electromagnetism. But if god is responsible for trends and events, if we are to assume that, then there is, at some level, some logic of sorts governing god's behaviour — and that logic of sorts can be understood in a manifold of ways.

*Bruno stops this post to see what's going on out of the window, as he's seeing a series of lights flashing in the horizon, similar to lightnings, but too numerous and rhythmic to be so, not to mention he's not hearing any thunder (or any bang or crack for that matter). wow

... nevermind, I don't know what that was. eh And now it stopped.

Anyway. Back to what I was saying: god being beyond existence only means they're one step further than metaphysics, so to speak. That we can understand this world through physics; and what's behind this world through metaphysics; and god through some parametaphysical thought of some sort. If physics are already an allegorical representation of the world; and metaphysics, an allegorical representation of what's beyond the world; the study of god would be an uncertain, esoteric set of intricate allegories and representations... So complex, in fact, we could just never mind giving it a mathematical formula and instead give it a personality. It would be beyond reach, anyway! (Well, who knows, life is a tiny little box full of surprises, if the M-Theory becomes falsifiable we'll have made metaphysics into a science, who's to say that can't happen to our "parametaphysical" theory too...)

But that doesn't mean I have to understand them under a personification. They're just complex beyond easy comprehension, what's a personality to one is a set of trends to someone else, and a kabbalistic geometric shape in the 50th dimension, and who's to say any more about how people face god nowadays? Christians, Jews, Muslims... and all other monotheists! Because, see, that is the catch of contemporary monotheism. Up to Zarathustra and his dual theism, god was definable, but starting from the point you say "god is infinite and god is beyond and god is ineffable," no-one's to advocate something about god ("god is love," "god is fear," "god is the sum of all forces of nature") without knowing that it might be that they're just as right as someone claiming the exact opposite. After all, isn't god infinite, beyond and ineffable? Who's to say the godly logic of sorts doesn't conciliate love with fear, or personification and mathematical symbolism?

I'm don't mean to write a treatise on the undefined god here, I'm not an expert on the subject and in fact my conception of god* is another, I'm just defending the validity of a theory I don't particularly adhere to, for the sake of devil advocating here, but I haven't studied it in depth or anything. Look, all I'm saying is, yes, I agree with you, god can be one big blatant ad-hoc, and when I read the line where you said that, I smiled and wanted to go onto a different theory of god, but now I'm compromised with the theory I'm defending here and I must say: it might well be one big blatant ad-hoc, yes, but it needn't be so. Add just a single new premise to the model I created, and bam! you have panentheism. Exchange that premise for a slightly different one, and there you go, you have naturalism.

Seriously! That model is not all bad. Provided we're talking about things "beyond," and therefore things which are of no scientific relevance, things which cannot be falsified anyway... Things that can be, thus, ad-hocs, because that's what metaphysics are made of; since that's what we're down to here, that's not a bad model at all. It all depends on how you project it onto reality, and in that sense, like I said, it's just a couple of premises away from religious thoughts I know you entertain and respect.

---------------------------------------
* My conception of god, nota bene, as I have become a theist of sorts, out of embarrassment with the atheist community, but a weird kind of theist for that matter.


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Shaper
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PostPosted: Thu 13 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

Well, religious thoughts...that depends on what we mean by religion...but that discussion would open up a whole other can of worms

But I don't really disagree with you regarding the rest, I just choose to use different words than you. In fact you probably could have caught me, in the past, using 'god' to describe any set of descriptions regarding that big gap in our knowledge when it comes to the origins of the cosmos, or the laws that describe how said cosmos operates. But now, simply for clarity's sake (although after this discussion I'm not sure whether using or not using the word 'god' this way makes anything any clearer anyway ^^ ), I just choose not to use the word 'god' that way.

Bruno wrote:

My conception of god, nota bene, as I have become a theist of sorts, out of embarrassment with the atheist community, but a weird kind of theist for that matter.


I'd certainly be interested to hear about your theism yes


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Dreamer
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

Sorry about the lateness of this reply smile

Bruno wrote:
I wrote:
Lets call the reason for existence "god."" is surely the same as "Without God the universe would not be


Wrong! See, "if 'god' then 'universe exists' " being right doesn't mean "if 'fjdos' then 'universe exists' ". Without god, it might be that the universe would be — with another cause. What I'm saying is, the reason (or set of reasons) for our existence to exist, that I am calling 'god.' If the universe could go by with another set of reasons, I don't know and I can't make any inference about that.


You're right!

Bruno wrote:
I wrote:

But equally I could say that it is reasonable to assume that somebody built that house across the road from me, and I call that something God. I could certainly say I was a theist then. But by this time the word has lost all meaning, and I don't really see the point of its use. Wouldn't it be better simply to say that you believe there is something outside of the universe rather than you believe in God.


I don't see the point here. What are you talking about? Guy across the road is not the "reason for existence to be," how can you call him god?


My point here is hidden in your answer. When I said that I could call the guy across the road God, your immediate reaction is that he can't be God. Why don't you think he can be God? Because he violates the definition you have in your head for what God is. If you have no definition in your head for what the word "God" means then, in my opinion, the word becomes meaningless. I could call my computer God, and how could you argue with that if you have no definition for what God is?

Even if you just say God is outside of existance, that to me is the start of a definition.

Bruno wrote:
Here. See the first rule, "things that come to be come to be for a reason"? Formalised, it says: "for all things that are Real, there is a reason." Now, see the conclusion: "if Real is not itself is own cause, then something Not Real is the cause to Real." So god does not belong to the "Real" set, and therefore the rule doesn't apply to them, so they might or might not have a cause, but as far as we can tell, it might be that god doesn't have any causes.


Ah, I understand what you're saying. I'll be honest, I know next to nothing about logic, and I've got no clue at all as to what those symbols mean. But I accept that this theory makes sense in it's own terms.

I suppose the problem I have with these sorts of theories is the assumption that God has a different rule set to existance, and that it can make other things exist without actually existing itself. But I think that's more of a problem with the ideas assumed to be true for the theory to work, rather than with the workings of the theory itself.

Bruno wrote:
So unless you're defining your universe as "some thoughts," then no, you can't prove that it's there. It's commonsense that it is. It looks like it is, but perhaps... the universe is just "some thoughts" and is not really out there. Your skepticism strikes me as being just as dogmatic as the beliefs you attack. It's like contemporary political correctness: "people who think they're better than others are wrong; we, who don't think like that, are right, therefore we're better than them"... You're just as contradictory as the religions you attack!


That's a dirty trick, comparing me to political corectness

I accept unvierse was the wrong word to use, what I meant was that something exists, whether it be the whole universe we see, or just "some thoughts."

I believe wholeheartadly that we can't prove the universe (as we see it now) exists, my fault for using the wrong word! We have no disagreement here.

What religions am I attacking?


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Bruno
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

You're attacking the ones the don't make sense, of course.

Hm, this topic is dying, new theory to discuss?


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Dreamer
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

Bruno wrote:
You're attacking the ones the don't make sense, of course.


Blimey, I'd forgotten about those!


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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

On a somewhat related note, Draginvry, I was reading the Cloud logs in the Archive this afternoon, and found out that at some point, in a completely unrelated conversation, we had the same model of God at play.

At some point in the discussion, you raised the problem of free will as an argument do defend your point, and I (this old devil advocate I've always been), countered your argumentation with the exact same model of a god out of the loop, in a much more didatic way. (Philosophy classes tend to make us write confusingly).

Worth checking that thread, it has a couple of interesting posts concerning the problem of universal causation, even though that wasn't its main topic. yes

*Bruno misses the Cloud... </3


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PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

Back on to first cause as opposed to the nature of God:

We understand from the laws of energy and the conservation of mass that neither can be meaningfully destroyed, and equally neither can be created, both being essentially a constant, albeit in differing and transferable states. Therefore it follows that the only thing that could cause the creation of an expanding universe would be the destruction of a collapsing universe with equal energy and mass to that which is created.

There is no place for a "god from beyond" in this universe, indeed, if there were a god here, it would be as a shaper more than a creater. People tend to think that referencing god as a creator means that he created everything, from scratch: God created matter, before God there was nothing. But I ask you: Does a sculptor create the stone with which he works?


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Bruno
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PostPosted: Thu 20 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

Kiel wrote:
We understand from the laws of energy and the conservation of mass that neither can be meaningfully destroyed, and equally neither can be created, both being essentially a constant, albeit in differing and transferable states. Therefore it follows that the only thing that could cause the creation of an expanding universe would be the destruction of a collapsing universe with equal energy and mass to that which is created.

We actually don't know that. And, like Turin said in another topic, the mainstream theory of Physics is falling in discredit because it can explain very little among the phoenomena there are, and has been failing to provide new ways to be tested anyway. And, theoretically, there's always space for a god from beyond. Not that I believe in him, but he is still plausible.


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PostPosted: Thu 20 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

OK then, so for a cause of God, maybe we should look to Teilhard for an explanation. It is often assumed that a God would be some vastly different being than us, with unfathomable motives (esp. by the religious) but what if the cause of God was us, the pinacle, or maybe not the pinacle but certainly a high mark in human evolution, from the increasing noosphere all the way up to Omega point. In which, if we are to follow Teilhard's theory:

it must be already existing; this is the only way to explain the rise of the universe towards higher stages of consciousness.

it must be personal – an intellectual being and not an abstract idea; the complexification of matter has not only led to higher forms of consciousness, but accordingly to more individualized forms of personality, of which human-beings, who are "self-reflective", are the highest attained form of this personalization of the universe. They are completely individualized, free centers of operation. It is in this way that man is said to be made in the image of God, who is the highest form of personality. He expressly states that in the Omega Point, the human person and their freedom will not be suppressed, but super-personalized. Personality will be infinitely enriched. Omega Point, then, is a Person. And not a Person like you and I, but a higher form of Person. A Divine Person.

it must be transcendent; Omega Point can not be the result of the universe's final complexification of itself on consciousness. Omega Point, instead, is the prime mover, ahead, which draws the universe towards itself. Which essentially means, that Omega Point is outside the framework in which the universe rises. If it was found only in the framework of the universe it could not explain how the universe was able to rise to higher forms of consciousness.

it must be autonomous – nonlocal and atemporal

it must be irreversible, that is it must be attainable.

It is the fourth of these five attributes that I find most interesting, as it states that it will be outside of, and as such free from the restrictions of, time and space, and there you have your God.


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PostPosted: Thu 20 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

That is a possible theory, but you have to be darn good to formalise it (make it plausible).

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PostPosted: Thu 20 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

Yeah, it also still doesn't explain the first cause without the use of a time loop style paradox, and that makes my head hurt.

ie: So we created God, and then God went and created us (at this point my head asplode! Or explodes if you want to use proper words)


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PostPosted: Thu 20 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

Haha, no, you're arriving at a simple contradiction when you put things like that:
    being-->existence" is false
    "(being-->god) and (god-->existence)" is true

    therefore:

    "(being-->god)-->existence" is true
    "being-->existence" is true

    but "being-->existence" is false = contradiction
But there are models of god in which they are the creator and we are their creator. Quoting a PM I sent to Josh last week, based on conversations between me and DarkSider:

Quote:
Like I said, I abandoned Atheism. Not particularly due to finding god, hiding in a shoebox, nor because I grew ashamed of my faith pairs; yet in a way exactly due to those two reasons.

I realized a grand part of the Atheist community is, put short, the antistrophe of Theists; that is, I realized they invest the exact same faith, in the exact same god, yet in the opposite direction. As such a doctrine seemed to me just as blind, and bearing consequences just as dangerous, I decided to drop it altogether in favour of an "I'm my own god" brand of Theism, so to speak.

"So to speak," and only so to speak, for the best definition to the whole thing is not particularly that, but something of the sorts of "God happens." However, the simplification thus given is tricky, as it would mislead one into thinking that my new doctrine is some minimalist approach to Magick. No—absolutely not.

The notion at play is that god is, so to say, a projection, something we project at the world out of an inherent potentiality of ours. We bear — I believe — a potential to god; a daimon (or a set thereof), a potentiality natural to the human condition, waiting to be brought about by being projected onto the Real. And that realisation of the daimon is god: god who materialises from the projection of the daimon — which is just another name for something we have in our mind, for some trickery of the psyche —; a projection of the daimon into the real world.


Perhaps god is, thus, like an ontological bridge between an episteme in our minds and the sensory reality. The daimon is, therefore, the desire to know — the potential to god, yes, but also the drive to philosophy, the lust for comprehension. In that sense, I think god has to be cultured, cherished, in whatever possible representation of his ("whatever possible," of course, under the razor of some commonsense pragmatics): as a personification, perhaps, as a geometric form in the kabbalah, as a force of nature, as a sense of beauty. God is the pleasure in it all making sense, and as long as you don't allow yourself to experience such pleasure in candid ingenuosity, as a mere ad-hoc as you put it, you should not deprive yourself of it.

That's how I've been thinking these days.


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PostPosted: Mon 24 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

This argument fails itself. Saying god caused himself could easily justify saying the universe created itself. The argument is invalid.

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PostPosted: Mon 24 Dec, 2007  Reply with quote

Spike wrote:
This argument fails itself. Saying god caused himself could easily justify saying the universe created itself. The argument is invalid.

True... but can you point out where exactly anyone in this conversation claimed god created itself? wink5 No-one said that.


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