Monday, March 31, 2008

I, I...just...can't...help...it!



Since I go thru the trouble of writing this all up, I figure I'll just make it a blogspot rather than bury it in a combox. Responding to the Jolly Nihilist here. He talks a good game, but he canNOT keep his grubby little fingers off the cookie jar.

Hey JN,

You had said:
This type of authoritarianism—I call it moral narcissism—is the point of comparison.

Then where are your cries of "atheofascist" over The Dawkins' calling child abuse immoral? Why restrict this to the Abrahamic religions? There are nearly as many targets for your "-ofascist" label as there are religions out there. Why engage in such special pleading?

Well, on to your post:
However, I am doing no such thing

OK, so relativism is neither better nor worse than authoritarianism.
What's your argument, then, for choosing one over the other? Just whatever you feel like that day, or most days? Whether you have the wherewithal to inflict your ideas upon others or not?

Because it makes no sense for one to be coercive with respect to things about which one is ignorant.

This falls victim to the constant problem that your worldview provides you no way to say OUGHT. It's all just IS.
It may make no sense, but so what? Maybe Joe feels like it. Where's the prescriptive power in your statement? Why SHOULD Joe do that which makes sense? There's a reason we call these questions "moral" questions, as opposed to "arithmetic" or "fluid dynamics", you know.

If these are just opinions on your part, again, where's the prescriptive power? Why SHOULD anyone agree?
Why even make such statements? Why not just think them and be done with it? I'm serious.

it makes no sense for laws to be religiously derived.

1) Go start your own country and see how far you get with that.
2) Oh, the USSR already tried that. Well, maybe you can do better than they did.
3) On what basis would you argue that atheism would be able to justify laws of religious freedom? Humans have no universal rights on atheism. Freedom is not a mandate on atheism.

Recognition of moral ignorance does not forbid formulation of moral opinion.

If only your camp would extend such courtesy to ID and not deny ID-ers tenure, a voice, etc, all the while thinking they were ignorant.
Does that work anywhere else? Recognition of ignorance in particle physics does not forbid formulation of opinion on black holes.
Recognition of chemical ignorance does not forbid formulation of opinion on whether I should mix ammonia and bleach and inhale the results, does it?
That's special pleading.



Your case is badly frayed here; I'll give you some asides here for the sundry peripheral questions.

Been wondering something - Where are these "Christofascists"? Compared to the very large number of Islamofascists, they are a speck if they exist at all. And their modus operandi is so different from jihadists as to warrant the serious question - why the "-ofascist" at the end of the appellation?
You need to point these people out and give a good reason to think they're acting in accord with a doctrine that could reasonably be thought to be of Christ; otherwise you're engaging in poisoning the well. Showing that their numbers even approach that of jihadists would help your case as well. It needs the help.

You said:
I am sure some Christians would beg to differ vis-à-vis sex toys.

Any idea what their argument would be?

...

Neither do I.
And sorry, I don't know what "felching" means, nor am I inclined to look it up on the Internet. If you care, you can email me.


True, your religion might preach equality in god’s eyes, but, on Earth, one gender clearly seems meant to dominate.

Your "seems" does not an argument make.

One need only remember the commandment addressing covetousness, which lumps thy neighbor’s wife in with that same neighbor’s ox and ass.

You have completely abandoned your original field of discourse on this topic, that of the "wives, submit to your husbands", since I provided you the context.
You're battered so you retreat to the OT, moving the goalposts. What will happen next time you're corrected? Are you going to cite the 1st Charter of the Woodsgrove, Montana Mountain Man Armed Enclave and try to say I'm bound by it? Please.

This is not a “clean break” from the Islamic misogyny you excoriate.

Deal with the hypothetical all you want. The Bible denies such hypotheticals - God doesn't change, can't be any other way. It's like asking me if God can microwave a burrito so hot that He can't eat it.


Presumably, when that verse was written, god knew quite well that some of his followers would misuse it in the context of hysterical hunts for witches

You're the one who's so fond of freewill. What's wrong if God is a fan of it too?
Man, God just can't win - you won't give Him credit either way!
What's He supposed to do? Zap them out of existence as soon as they start to think a wrong thought about the meaning of the Bible?

Besides, this is just one more moral judgment - you're trying to convince me that these hunts and these Scriptures which supposedly underpin them are morally objectionable. This dog only comes out when the meat is stinky enough, it would seem.

Knowing that god is also omnibenevolent

What does that word mean?
What gave you the idea that God is "omnibenevolent"?

it is not even clear from the Bible whether the creator of the universe is aware of Australia.

B/c it's not mentioned in the Bible? Wow - a ZINGER of an argument!


You've done better, JN. But always nice talking to you.

40 comments:

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Rhology,

Thanks for the response. Of course, expect a rebuttal within several days.

However, the forthcoming rebuttal will have to be my final one for this blogalogue. As I mentioned in another comment box, I have entered the peak of my work season, with multiple trade shows upcoming and an extended trip to Florida in less than two weeks. Perhaps, in late Summer, when my workflow diminishes, we can re-engage with another blogalogue.

Anyway, I always enjoy these rhetorical clashes. I just wonder whether anybody reads our back and forth interactions.

Rhology said...

That sounds fine.
And I know at least a few read them. So that's something!

Rintintin said...

Out of interest Rhology, if any given moral situation isn't covered by the bible, how do you determine if it is right or wrong?

secondly, in some of the laws in the bible (eg some of those that applied to OT jews), why are some of those things no longer considered immoral by society at large, and why are some of them so bizarre/arbitrary seeming (if you take them as commands from God rather than just likes/dislikes at a particular time and place in history)?

Your complaint that morals have no grand meaning if atheism is correct also has no bearing on whether atheism actually is correct or not. It may not be a likable scenario for you that morals don't have any grand cosmic meaning (it may not even be a likable situation for some atheists for that matter), but whether it appeals to our tastes has no bearing on the truth or not of the situation.

The 'divine command' style of morality is not exactly without problems either, as discussed by many philosophers throughout history (I'm guessing you're probably aware of some of the arguments). The problem is that people very deep into religion can excuse anything with 'it's all just part of God's mysterious plan', the same as they can explain away and scientific explanation they dont like with 'God just did it' - eg they can complain about abortions, but the fact that nature aborts about 1/4-1/3 of all pregnancies spontaneously and it's just 'part of God's plan' (I am struggling (on a purely logical rather than moral basis) to work out how a supposedly omnibenevolent and omniscient God can let the foetus that became eg Jeffrey Dahmer through the net given that one of his explicit commands was the outlawing of murder, yet the failed pregnancies of people who may have gone on to do great deeds or, if it suits your worldview better, dedicated Christians. If there is a God with a plan, it doesn't seem like a particularly coherent one).

Rhology said...

Howdy gentlemen,

RTT said:
if any given moral situation isn't covered by the bible, how do you determine if it is right or wrong?

The London Baptist Confession of 1689 answers thusly:

5._____We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

6._____The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

7._____All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.

9._____The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.

10.____The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.


Let me know if that doesn't help.


why are some of those things no longer considered immoral by society at large

Well, alot of them are no longer applicable to society anyway, so that's part of it.

why are some of them so bizarre/arbitrary seeming

1) If society denigrates the Word of God, so much the worse for society.
2) Society changes so rapidly, people are so transient. Doesn't seem very wise to make "society" the standard.
3) Which society? When? Which segment? Why them?
4) Bizarre is an expression of statistics. I prefer to think of things in terms of what's true.

Fundamentally, God has a reason/multiple reasons for everythg that He commands. Some of those reasons may be obvious to human, some hard to see, some invisible.

has no bearing on whether atheism actually is correct or not

Correct, 100%. It has everythg to do with how LIVEABLE it is, but not on whether it's true. This is not the classical Argument from Moral Law. I've at various times affirmed that very thing, so you're right.
I've been exposing inconsistencies in atheism and atheists' behavior in a few ways.
1) you make moral judgments about the Bible being barbaric or whatever
2) you call things "child abuse"
3) heck, you make moral judgments about whatever.

I'm showing you that you can't live out your worldview. When you claim to be the gatekeepers of rationality, that doesn't sit well.
And I'm showing you that you act like Christians a lot, when you make these assertions. If you can't make moral decisions without borrowing from the worldview you oppose, sthg is seriously wrong.

The 'divine command' style of morality is not exactly without problems either

Which is why I don't subscribe to it.

the fact that nature aborts about 1/4-1/3 of all pregnancies spontaneously and it's just 'part of God's plan'

So? Yes, that's God's plan.
You know, God will have brought billions of people into existence over time, and He'll kill them all too. That doesn't mean that I'm justified in killing someone, or a baby. I'm not God and neither are you, neither is the baby's mother or abortician.


supposedly omnibenevolent

I very probably dispute your definition of "omnibenevolent", so we'd have to flesh that out.

through the net given that one of his explicit commands was the outlawing of murder

1) You can't call that good nor bad, so let's just stop that talk right now. You can't keep your hands out of the cookie jar either, it would seem.
2) Do you have exhaustive knowledge of God's plan? No? OK.
3) You think that God should zap out of existence everyone who's right about to sin? You want a world devoid of people?
4) You'd be zapped too, you know. You are a terrible sinner.
5) Romans 9:22-23 - "What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory..."

Peace,
Rhology

Rintintin said...

Hi

thanks for your reply, I'll give the link a more thorough read when I have a bit more time - although I have to say I'm glad I didn't live in the 1600s as the wording they use is tortuous, it seems to be a case of why use one word when you can use 15!

regarding your other responses:


Well, alot of them are no longer applicable to society anyway, so that's part of it.

I'm aware of that, but what was it that suddenly made them more/less moral or worthy of being applicable to other groups - Why not apply them to other societies apart from OT Israel as well?


1) If society denigrates the Word of God, so much the worse for society.
2) Society changes so rapidly, people are so transient. Doesn't seem very wise to make "society" the standard.
3) Which society? When? Which segment? Why them?
4) Bizarre is an expression of statistics. I prefer to think of things in terms of what's true.


Possibly, but this still doesn't deflect from the seeming arbitrariness (if that is even a real word :D) of some of them - eg the ban on jews eating shellfish is easy enough to explain in terms of the fact that they spoil easily (especially in a hot climate and a time of no refrigerators), probably caused food poisoning quite a lot, and therefore people decided eating them was 'a bad thing', but as a command from God it seems somewhat plucked at random, not really any different from 'wearing blue clothes on a Wednesday' is also 'a bad thing'.

Fundamentally, God has a reason/multiple reasons for everythg that He commands. Some of those reasons may be obvious to human, some hard to see, some invisible.

Again, as with a lot of things religiously related, it seems a bit of an easy answer that can be applied to any circumstance to simply just say 'that's what God wants, if you can't grasp why, tough cheese'.

Correct, 100%. It has everythg to do with how LIVEABLE it is, but not on whether it's true. This is not the classical Argument from Moral Law. I've at various times affirmed that very thing, so you're right.
I've been exposing inconsistencies in atheism and atheists' behavior in a few ways.
1) you make moral judgments about the Bible being barbaric or whatever
2) you call things "child abuse"
3) heck, you make moral judgments about whatever.


I'm showing you that you can't live out your worldview. When you claim to be the gatekeepers of rationality, that doesn't sit well.
And I'm showing you that you act like Christians a lot, when you make these assertions. If you can't make moral decisions without borrowing from the worldview you oppose, sthg is seriously wrong.


1,2,3) True, but people will voice opinions on any subject matter whether they are correct or not, have supporting evidence or if the statements they are making are even measurable against standard in the first place (eg which woman is more attractive, which pop song is 'better', which painting is 'better' etc).

I'm not sure what you mean by how livable it is - if the world is indeed atheistic, then the only option is to live in a world with no God-given source of morals, whether they be determined by societal preference, neurobiology, survival advantage selection or whatever.

That's not entirely true about the part about borrowing from Christianity being unsupportable by atheism - because obviously an atheist would contend that the bible was merely written by men, and the morals espoused therein are just the likes and dislikes of a particular group of people (as you would say about atheists). Some of these 'worked' rather well for those societies (for want of a better wording), others didn't. Those were the opinions of their time, we have different ones, some of them happen to match up because we share the likes and dislikes of societies from the past. Just because we don't believe a particular system of ethics was handed down by a God, it doesn't of course follow that the content of said system is without appeal to others whether there is any grand meaning in either group's preferences or not. It also ignores that Christianity/the bible (or its writers) may have also borrowed from other worldviews as well - since people and cultures don't exist in isolation generally speaking, this would hardly be surprising.


the fact that nature aborts about 1/4-1/3 of all pregnancies spontaneously and it's just 'part of God's plan'

So? Yes, that's God's plan.
You know, God will have brought billions of people into existence over time, and He'll kill them all too. That doesn't mean that I'm justified in killing someone, or a baby. I'm not God and neither are you, neither is the baby's mother or abortician.


I'm not arguing whether me, you or anyone else gets to 'play God', what I am arguing from a Christian perspective is that God obviously doesn't like murder, otherwise why hand a commandment down against it? But by the same token, he obviously doesn't see a purpose in letting certain foetuses reach the point of birth. Now taking those facts together with his omniscience, why allow someone he knows is going to be a murderer (and multiple one at that) through the net if he dislikes murder so much? Why allow Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot to be born, given the sheer volume of murders they would oversee?


I very probably dispute your definition of "omnibenevolent", so we'd have to flesh that out.

It'll probably distract from the topic in hand a bit, but it might be worth discussing.

through the net given that one of his explicit commands was the outlawing of murder

1) You can't call that good nor bad, so let's just stop that talk right now. You can't keep your hands out of the cookie jar either, it would seem.
2) Do you have exhaustive knowledge of God's plan? No? OK.
3) You think that God should zap out of existence everyone who's right about to sin? You want a world devoid of people?
4) You'd be zapped too, you know. You are a terrible sinner.
5) Romans 9:22-23 - "What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory..."


1. I wasn't offering a moral opinion, I was asking about the logic of such decision making - I did explicitly point that out in my post. After all, if you didn't like vodka and didn't want other people to drink it either, you wouldn't go to the shops and buy a batch for when you were having guests over, then get angry when people drank it. Similarly, why would God who dislikes murder and likes people who believe in him (although some people do both) go to the point of actively allowing murderers to get through the net and not potential Christians if he dislikes the latter but not the former? Seems a bit of a skewed way to go about it.
2. Didn't say i did. I offered my opinion that to the casual observer the pan looked unclear and incoherent, plus asked a question in the hope of clarification.
3. If God exists, my opinion has no bearing on what he does or doesn't want to do. And as I recall, he did kill almost everyone in Genesis with the flood, barring the family of a man he considered righteous (although obviously he wasn't righteous enough, since the 'sin' came back...) because he disliked the amount of sin in the world, so from a factual standpoint (biblically speaking) it isn't without precedent.
4. Under your worldview, most likely - but then everyone is playing catchup from the moment of conception in your worldview, so I'm apparently not a special case in this regard. But that still doesn't really answer why he lets one kind of sinner through the net and not others, especially when you would contend some sins are worse than others (again Im going by your views, not my own).
5. Are there not more straightforward ways of making his power known - given that there's no discernible difference between his choice in which 'sinners' he chooses to live and die and an atheistic world where it would be expected to happen anyway due to the amount of variance in human behaviour and biology in a vast population size? Wouldn't you expect a display of power to be noticeably different from what would happen where no God is observed (there isn't a way to test whether it's because of natural occurrence or the invisible hand of God, just like there isn't a way to disprove that angels are pushing planets around like Newton thought, or that my wireless router gets disconnected by invisible demons)?

John Morales said...

I love the picture of the cookie jar. If you created it, nice job!

John Morales said...

Rhology,

This falls victim to the constant problem that your worldview provides you no way to say OUGHT. It's all just IS.

Why do you ignore the fact that every atheist who has has posted here has either stated or alluded to their own ethics?
Oh, I know. Apart from Revelation, there is no source of ethics or morals. Evidence notwithstanding. Right.

As I recently posted in an atheist blog:

JRM:
"I define ethics as the set of axioms and rules on which you make choices about what is right and wrong. This is essentially prescriptive, so yes, when faced with a moral choice, I ought to do as my ethical system dictates.
I ought to behave so as to avoid future ethical problems."

As always, you hold atheists to a monolithic viewpoint and claim we have no morals.

Making stuff up, not acknowledging reality. Par for the course.

PS
I also note I've heard no comment yet re Alonzo's theory for which specific pages were asked... all I've heard is silence.

John Morales said...

"I, I...just...can't...help...it!"

If only your camp would extend such courtesy to ID and not deny ID-ers tenure, a voice, etc, all the while thinking they were ignorant.

LOL.

Rintintin said...

I was reading articles on the PZ Myers story a few days back (including the one in your link John) - you have to laugh at a movie complaining about expulsion from academic circles (although that is an inaccurate claim - guys like Behe and Minnich still have their jobs, Sternberg subverted the peer review process badly, Gonzalez' output had dropped to almost nothing in terms of publications and getting grants and grad students qualified etc etc) expelling a guy who was actually in the movie and apparently had just registered for tickets online like anyone could do.

Apparently the movie features quite a lot of 'Science = 'Darwinism' = Hitler = Stalin' garbage (one of the ironies being that Stalin favoured Lysenkoism (and had a number of geneticists killed/imprisoned) and Hitler was a creationist if some of his Mein Kampf quotations are anything to go by.

John Morales said...

Rintintin, there's plenty of speculation as to the religion beliefs of Hitler, especially at the very end.

What is not in question is the the support for Hitler by the Protestant and Catholic Churches in Germany.

Rhology said...

Hey RTT,

I'm not sure what you mean by how livable it is

I mean how consistently one can live within the position. Every time you make a moral statement, you live inconsistently with your stated position. EVery time you try to foist that moral statement on anyone else, you make it worse.
True, though - this has little bearing on the truth of the position. I'm pointing it out to appeal to your heart, your spirit - Christianity is true. You act like it is even though you talk like it's not.


an atheist would contend that the bible was merely written by men,

And then proceeds to act like he believes in the Bible, when he makes moral judgments.

Just because we don't believe a particular system of ethics was handed down by a God, it doesn't of course follow that the content of said system is without appeal to others whether there is any grand meaning in either group's preferences or not.

Sure, agreed.

God obviously doesn't like murder, otherwise why hand a commandment down against it?

Well, He doesn't like it. It's an attack against the image of God.
But 1) He knows best when it's best for me to die and to live.
2) He doesn't murder. Murder is the unjustified taking of human life. Every human who's ever existed has committed sin, which is worthy of death penalty, so if He kills someone it's perfectly justified. He mercifully lets people live their lives out to whatever extent they live it out.

why would God who dislikes murder and likes people who believe in him (although some people do both) go to the point of actively allowing murderers to get through the net and not potential Christians if he dislikes the latter but not the former? Seems a bit of a skewed way to go about it.

Oh wow, you think it's a bit skewed! You would correct the Lord of the universe. I'm sure He's taking notes. How strange He didn't create you earlier in world history!
Part of His reasons for commanding that which He knew would be broken is that this allows Him to redeem a people for His possession. If He hadn't redeemed me from hopeless sin, I would not have the same gratitude to Him for saving me.


a man he considered righteous (although obviously he wasn't righteous enough, since the 'sin' came back...

"Righteous" means "has saving faith". That doesn't mean that the person never sins.

But that still doesn't really answer why he lets one kind of sinner through the net and not others, especially when you would contend some sins are worse than others

B/c seriousness of sin committed is not the only criterion He uses to decide that.

Are there not more straightforward ways of making his power known

Once again, feel free to drop Him a line and tell Him what He's doing wrong.

given that there's no discernible difference between his choice in which 'sinners' he chooses to live and die and an atheistic world where it would be expected to happen anyway due to the amount of variance in human behaviour and biology in a vast population size?

You have no idea whether that's true - it's a heavy assumption.
A "world" without God would be... nothing. It would not exist. So that's one (pretty big) way in which the two are different.


Wouldn't you expect a display of power to be noticeably different from what would happen where no God is observed

I see no reason to restrict a "display of power" to some preconceived notion of pyrotechnics or big visions in the sky.
For one thing, you'd find some way to talk yourself out of being convicted to repent even if some sign like that were to appear.
Also, converting just me, just one person, from the wretched sinful condition where I was before is a very impressive display of power. He has drastically changed my whole life.
And He raised Jesus Christ from the dead. That's a pretty big deal.

Hitler was a creationist if some of his Mein Kampf quotations are anything to go by.

Deists are also "creationists". And Hitler most certainly wasn't a Christian, his manipulation of partly-willing, partly-stupid, partly-lazy, and partly-unwilling churches in Germany at the time notwithstanding.



Thanks John - I swiped the cookie jar .jpg off google image and then wrote on it with MS Paint. Har har. It's meant to look 100% ghetto, and I think I succeeded.



John Morales said:
Why do you ignore the fact that every atheist who has has posted here has either stated or alluded to their own ethics?

It's probably related to the fact that these atheists don't justify WHY one should accept these ethics. There are meta-questions I'm asking and all I ever get are question-begging assertions.
The WHYs end in "because I said so", and absent an argument, there's no reason to accept that.

Apart from Revelation, there is no source of ethics or morals. Evidence notwithstanding. Right.

Strawman. And here I thought you were actually following my line of argumentation.

This is essentially prescriptive, so yes, when faced with a moral choice, I ought to do as my ethical system dictates.

Fine and good. But WHY should ****I**** make the same moral choice?
And why do YOU make that choice? Don't just tell me THAT you have a system of ethics. Duh. I know this. Tell me WHY.


you hold atheists to a monolithic viewpoint and claim we have no morals.

Another strawman, and this after you linked to the wiki on what Strawman is. Ironic.

I also note I've heard no comment yet re Alonzo's theory for which specific pages were asked

I did a page find for "Alonzo" and didn't find anything. What do you refer to?

PZ Myers expelled

Oh, so he doesn't get to see a widdle movie and it's somehow equal to people getting fired and such...
Is that where your system of ethics gets you?


Peace,
Rhology

Rintintin said...

The first few posts in your response we're essentially agreeing on (with the obvious exception of your claim that christianity as described by the bible is 100% true), so i won't cover old ground on them.


Well, He doesn't like it. It's an attack against the image of God.
But 1) He knows best when it's best for me to die and to live.
2) He doesn't murder. Murder is the unjustified taking of human life. Every human who's ever existed has committed sin, which is worthy of death penalty, so if He kills someone it's perfectly justified. He mercifully lets people live their lives out to whatever extent they live it out.


On 2. - i know that. I wasn't saying that he murders. i was wondering what his decision making process was.


Oh wow, you think it's a bit skewed! You would correct the Lord of the universe. I'm sure He's taking notes. How strange He didn't create you earlier in world history!
Part of His reasons for commanding that which He knew would be broken is that this allows Him to redeem a people for His possession. If He hadn't redeemed me from hopeless sin, I would not have the same gratitude to Him for saving me.


But I'm asking why does God bother with the whole thing - a perfect being doesn't want or need for anything, so obviously our worship isn't essential for him. redeeming us for sins isn't essential for him either. So why get so upset at us for not worshipping him? Why not make us so we are physically incapable of doing things he doesn't like? if he's the supreme ruler of everything, why care what we get up to? it's almost as if it's an intergalactic game of chess for him.



"Righteous" means "has saving faith". That doesn't mean that the person never sins.

So why kill all the other sinners - i mean Noah told people God had spoken to him and they could come on the Ark, but why not extend the same courtesy to everyone if Noah is a sinner too, and speak to them directly? If a guy came up to me in the street and said 'God has spoken to me directly and wants me to do X, Y and Z, are you down for that too?' I would be very skeptical to put it bluntly.


Are there not more straightforward ways of making his power known

Once again, feel free to drop Him a line and tell Him what He's doing wrong.


Well, it's obviously not enough of a display to make me and many others believe in him, so why not amp things up a little and really convince us? If he does, I'll have no problem believing in him.

given that there's no discernible difference between his choice in which 'sinners' he chooses to live and die and an atheistic world where it would be expected to happen anyway due to the amount of variance in human behaviour and biology in a vast population size?

You have no idea whether that's true - it's a heavy assumption.
A "world" without God would be... nothing. It would not exist. So that's one (pretty big) way in which the two are different.


I know - just like i can't prove the difference between the world we appear to live in and an identical world created 15 minutes ago with everyone in it having false memories of a childhood etc. it can be applied to every circumstance, just like saying 'that's God's plan' can be.


I see no reason to restrict a "display of power" to some preconceived notion of pyrotechnics or big visions in the sky.
For one thing, you'd find some way to talk yourself out of being convicted to repent even if some sign like that were to appear.
Also, converting just me, just one person, from the wretched sinful condition where I was before is a very impressive display of power. He has drastically changed my whole life.
And He raised Jesus Christ from the dead. That's a pretty big deal.


According to the bible there were a few dead raisings as well as that of Jesus- why not do it again just to keep the skeptics like me happy?


Deists are also "creationists". And Hitler most certainly wasn't a Christian, his manipulation of partly-willing, partly-stupid, partly-lazy, and partly-unwilling churches in Germany at the time notwithstanding.

true and true, but the quotes i have read make him seem to be the 'I reject evolution' kind of creationist.


Oh, so he doesn't get to see a widdle movie and it's somehow equal to people getting fired and such...
Is that where your system of ethics gets you?


I think it's more the irony that people are getting at. It makes the pro ID crowd look like absolute fools when they really didn't need to

the second part is inaccurate though - as i said, neither Behe nor Minnich lost their jobs over ID, Sternberg was out of contract and subverting the peer review process for any reason would have repercussions for any academic, Gonzalez had basically stopped doing any work (again, even if you think evolution, an old universe and the big bang are the greatest scientific thngs in the world, not doing any work is not going to help you get tenure. i think ID has had about $4m of funding all told (i think their main benefactor is a Christian creationist called Howard Ahmanson, but I'd have to check that to make sure - so they can't complain about lack of investment either. plenty of ideas have been ridiculed in science or dismissed as wishful thinking (most of what Craig Venter has done had people rolling their eyes when he first suggested it might be possible, for example) - the difference being the guys with the successful claims went out and did research and experiments to test their ideas. Eventually, they became accepted because all the evidence pointed towards their hypotheses being correct. That's a bit more difficult to do if your hypothesis is 'God just did it'.

Rintintin said...

"A "world" without God would be... nothing. It would not exist."

i missed putting an answer to this point by accident - could you expand on why you think this is?

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Rhology,

I have posted my concluding response. It's a bit long - sorry.

Also sorry that I cannot continue to go back and forth with you at this time; I am simply too busy with work and upcoming travel, including an extended trip to Florida that is mere days away. :)

I could check back remotely but, when there's the Incredible Hulk Coaster to ride, the internet pales by comparison.

Have a nice weekend.

John Morales said...

Rhology,

I indicated you've led me to believe that you think that Apart from Revelation, there is no source of ethics or morals.
and you responded
Another strawman.

Really? You wrote:
The Bible is my sole FINAL source of morality and truth, but it is not the only one. Yet all secondary sources will be tested in the light of the Bible and Now, given theism, why is the Bible infallible? [...] 2) The Bible claims itself to be breathed out by God, and on theism, God is perfect and omniscient, does not make mistakes. How then could what He says be a mistake? 2 Tim 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20, 2 Peter 3:16, the very numerous "Thus saith the Lord"s.
3) The Bible's purpose is to reveal God, His commands, and His character and dealings with humanity.
4) Jesus Himself believed it was God talking (Matthew 22:31) and that it was the standard by which all human tradition must be judged (Mark 7:1-13).


If your source of morality isn't Revelation, please set me straight.
It may be a strawman, but it's in concordance with all you've previously written, e.g. I am thus able to know right from wrong b/c God has revealed right and wrong sufficiently.

I did a page find for "Alonzo" and didn't find anything. What do you refer to?

this.

Rhology said...

Hi RTT,
Yeah, these are long enough comments w/o rehashing old ground. You're right there!

I wasn't saying that he murders. i was wondering what his decision making process was.

Oh. Well, you're among the first atheists I've talked to to recognise that.
Let me a little less defensive here. ;-) God's fundamental motivation for doing ANYthing is to bring more glory to Himself.
To me it still sounds strange, and I've been a Christian for 14 yrs! I would imagine the glory is recognised BY angels, demons, Satan, humans, and all of creation. I don't really know how that works, honestly, but here's where faith comes in! I don't take a blind leap in the dark as far as God's existence goes. But I take some things I know rationally about God, like that He exists, that He spoke in the Bible, and move from there even if I don't really get it. In this case, I don't get it, so I take it on faith that _____ brings God more glory, and that's the highest end to which I could aspire, so that's my goal. And His.


so obviously our worship isn't essential for him

Agreed.

So why get so upset at us for not worshipping him?

Well, it's not just that we're not worshipping Him. We have broken His perfect law zillions of times. To be with Him in communion, one must be perfect like He is perfect. Besides, when one is less than perfect, one doesn't WANT to be with God.
Are you going to tell me that you, right here and right now, want to spend eternity with the God of the Bible? If no, then fine - God will grant your will. It's not like this is a one-way street.

i mean Noah told people God had spoken to him and they could come on the Ark, but why not extend the same courtesy to everyone if Noah is a sinner too, and speak to them directly?

1) No one else had faith.
2) They were all sinners and didn't WANT to go with God's solution.
3) No one can use the excuse that God didn't reveal enough to know right and wrong. God has made that clear to all people (Romans 1:18-21).
4) God had in mind to use the Ark to foreshadow the salvation that would come through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:17-22). It was a type of Jesus Christ.


'God has spoken to me directly and wants me to do X, Y and Z, are you down for that too?' I would be very skeptical to put it bluntly.

This seems to go against what you said just a sec ago. OK, you wouldn't believe him! Cool, I agree. You're not believing ME right now, you know? :-)
Yet it's not the case that EVERYone who says they talked to God is lying about it or crazy. Most are, yes, but God provides ways to know, if one's eyes are not blinded to it by his sin.

identical world created 15 minutes ago with everyone in it having false memories of a childhood

Which is a huge problem for your worldview, I agree!
Not for mine, fortunately. It's one of the reasons I like being a Christian.

According to the bible there were a few dead raisings as well as that of Jesus- why not do it again just to keep the skeptics like me happy?

Luke 16:29-31 - “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
“And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
“He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”


It makes the pro ID crowd look like absolute fools when they really didn't need to

I agree, actually. It makes the Expelled people look TERRIBLE. To me it makes PZM look like a crybaby, but I really wish it hadn't gone down like that. Just let the guy in! Sheesh. Even if it was a justified vendetta (which I'd say it was), it's terrible PR. Sometimes you just have to swallow that.
I lose patience quickly with ID stuff and politics related to it... you've had the last word.

RHO: "A "world" without God would be... nothing. It would not exist."

could you expand on why you think this is?


1) The universe is not infinitely old.
2) Thus, the universe and time began.
3) But on atheism the universe is all there is; there is no supernatural.
4) Thus before the universe and time began, there was nothing.
5) From nothing, nothing comes.



John Morales,

Ah, what a dolt! I knew "Alonzo" sounded familiar but I couldn't remember what it was. Thanks for the reminder.
I haven't gotten around to reading that but I suspect it'll be good fodder for a post, so thanks for the pointer.
I've actually written a response to this post but haven't posted it yet. Maybe I can work the AlonzoFyfe stuff into it or sthg.

My source of morality IS revelation from God, yes. But you've been misstating my position as "...(you) claim we have no morals."
Not at all. My position has always been more or less the following: "Resolved: Any system of morality within an atheistic worldview can be based on nothing more than personal or at most societal preference for its value judgments."

So it's not that atheists have no morals. Nor is it that atheists have no basis for morality. It's that atheism allows for no OBJECTIVE basis for morality, beyond personal or at most societal preference (society being just a group of individuals). It has to do with the basis for judging things, their prescriptive power to others (ie, their normativity), and their authority over others.
Thus, strawman.

Peace,
Rhology

NAL said...

Rho: 4) Thus before the universe and time began, ...

Before time began? That makes no sense. Without time, there is no before and no after.

Rhology said...

1) You still have no explanation.

2) "Before" here means logically before, not chronologically before.

NAL said...

Logically before?

I don't understand what that means. Could you give a definition or example.

Paul C said...

1) The universe is not infinitely old.

Do you have any evidence for this assertion?

2) Thus, the universe and time began.

Do you have any evidence the assertion that the universe "began"? (The fact of existence of the universe does not equal proof of a beginning.)(Time is part of the universe, so you don't need to mention them both.)

3) But on atheism the universe is all there is; there is no supernatural.

No. You're thinking of naturalism. Naturalism and atheism are two different things.

4) Thus before the universe and time began, there was nothing.

Do you have any evidence for this assertion? And what's the connection between points 3 and 4?

5) From nothing, nothing comes.

Very probably true, but since there's a break between points 3 and 4, it doesn't really follow.

Rhology said...

NAL,

Time began at some "point". If time doesn't exist, there's no chronology. But time has not always existed; ie, it does not extend back to infinity. We have to say SOMEthing about it.


Paul C,

An actual infinite cannot be traversed. If the universe were infinitely old, an infinity of seconds would have passed before the present moment. That is impossible.

Naturalism and atheism may be 2 diff things, but are you saying there's some sort of atheism that includes the supernatural? Are you thinking of Buddhism or sthg? You could be right - I'm trying to see what you mean.

If you think there wasn't nothing before the universe began, go ahead and tell me what you think there was. And how it doesn't fall prey to the same traverse-an-infinite problem.
Of course, the Christian worldview answers that God was there from eternity past. It's very convenient, how it answers the big questions like this one.

Peace,
Rhology

John Morales said...

Rhology: My source of morality IS revelation from God, yes.

So is that of Muslims...
In fact, from my perspective, there's stuff-all difference between your respective faiths.

In fact, if you consider Christianity to be God's "service pack 1" for Judaism, why is not Islam then "service pack 2"? :)

"Islam is a monotheistic Abrahamic religion originating with the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. The word Islam means "submission", or the total surrender of oneself to God. An adherent of Islam is known as a Muslim, meaning "one who submits (to God)"."

"Muslims believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad, God's final prophet, and regard the Qur'an and the Sunnah (words and deeds of Muhammad) as the fundamental sources of Islam. They do not regard Muhammad as the founder of a new religion, but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. Islamic tradition holds that Jews and Christians distorted the revelations God gave to these prophets by either altering the text, introducing a false interpretation, or both."

"Belief in the "Day of Resurrection", yawm al-Qiyāmah is also crucial for Muslims. They believe that the time of Qiyāmah is preordained by God but unknown to man. The trials and tribulations preceding and during the Qiyāmah are described in the Qur'an and the hadith, and also in the commentaries of Islamic scholars. The Qur'an emphasizes bodily resurrection, a break from the pre-Islamic Arabian understanding of death. It states that resurrection will be followed by the gathering of mankind, culminating in their judgment by God."
(source: Wikipedia)

Paul C said...

An actual infinite cannot be traversed. If the universe were infinitely old, an infinity of seconds would have passed before the present moment. That is impossible.

I don't understand this. It doesn't seem to make any sense.

Naturalism and atheism may be 2 diff things, but are you saying there's some sort of atheism that includes the supernatural?

Atheism in the broad sense simply means a lack of belief in God; it does not preclude a belief in the supernatural in general.

If you think there wasn't nothing before the universe began, go ahead and tell me what you think there was.

At this point, I am not certain that we can ever know what happened prior to the inflationary period of the early universe. However I think that this idea of "nothing" is functionally meaningless - "nothing" does not exist, there is no evidence for it and we have no experience of it. I think that it is merely a placeholder for "something unknown".

Of course, the Christian worldview answers that God was there from eternity past. It's very convenient, how it answers the big questions like this one.

As far as I can see, it doesn't answer the question at all? "Eternity", "infinity", "nothing" - they're all just words that you use, largely devoid of meaning. If you need answers so desperately, then I suppose Christianity provides them.

Rhology said...

John Morales said:

So is that of Muslims...

True, so they claim.
So any argument I might make against Islam would be from a different direction. You are right on that.

if you consider Christianity to be God's "service pack 1" for Judaism, why is not Islam then "service pack 2"? :)

Haha, well said. Nice.
There are a few reasons why. These are just off the top of my head. See here and especially here for more extensive argumentation from a Reformed Babdist perspective against Islam.
A fundamental problem for Islam stems from the fact that it claims to be a continuation of revelation from the God of the Bible. Tells Muslims to hold to the Torah and the Injil (the New Testament) and to regard Jesus as a speaker of God's truth.
1) The New Testament explicitly says that revelation ceases with Jesus. His atonement is full. He is the fulfillment of ALL the types and shadows of the OT. This leaves no room for another prophet from God, as if what He has already said is incomplete.
2) The NT describes Jesus as God, but the Qur'an denies that explicitly.
3) The NT describes Jesus' death on the cross but the Qur'an explicitly says He didn't die on the cross at all.
4) The NT explains that a man is made right with God by the free gift of God obtained thru faith alone. Islam denies this and bases salvation at least partly on a man's works. Galatians 1:6-10 informs us that such a message is damnable, even if an angel or apostle should preach it. How much more then for a 7th C man 100s of miles away who couldn't read Greek, Hebrew, or even his own language.

Etc. This is part of an internal critique performed on Islam.



Paul C said:
It doesn't seem to make any sense.

Let me try another way to explain. It basically has to do with the impossibility of an actual infinite existing.
Here's an illustration.
If you've been running a race from eternity past, you'll never get to the finish line.
If time extends back to eternity past, we'd never arrive at the present, since the infinite number of seconds already exists, and every further second that elapses adds to infinity, which is impossible.
Further, given that the usable energy in the universe is finite, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (entropy) states that the energy would have been all used up an infinite time ago. Total heat death would have occurred infinity minutes ago.


(atheism) does not preclude a belief in the supernatural in general.

Oh, OK. I wonder if anyone would buy that at Internet Infidels or the American Atheists or whatever.

"nothing" does not exist, there is no evidence for it and we have no experience of it. I think that it is merely a placeholder for "something unknown".

OK, but whatever that something is, it has to be non-material, outside time, beyond the way we understand energy to exist, be intelligent, be personal, and be very powerful.
That's theism already. Not Christianity, but theism. Atheism is right out.

they're all just words that you use, largely devoid of meaning.

No, they have meaning, and I'm using them specifically. I'd encourage you to think it thru - how did the universe come to be? All the options I've seen proposed by naturalistic science are heavily, fatally flawed. You need to seek sthg else.
You're welcome among us - we have been transformed by Jesus, our lives have purpose, we are forgiven, and we have answers b/c of the gracious Creator. We'll leave the light on for you and the table set.

Peace,
Rhology

John Morales said...

[Re: similarity of belief-system of Christians and Muslims.]:
True, so they claim.
So any argument I might make against Islam would be from a different direction.


Yes, I've seen such from both sides.

Both quote Scripture, it is their only battleground in faith, and both worship the Abrahamic God.

Christians quote OT and NT, Muslims quote OT and Qur'an.

But the mindset, especially with regards to morality and its source, is the same.

When Christianity was the same age as Islam now is (around 13 centuries), the Inquisition was just getting started and the Reformation was yet to come.

Who can say what Islam will become when it is 20 centuries old? It may well be kinder than Christianity, at the same age.

Paul C said...

If you've been running a race from eternity past, you'll never get to the finish line. If time extends back to eternity past, we'd never arrive at the present, since the infinite number of seconds already exists, and every further second that elapses adds to infinity, which is impossible.

I think you're confusing eternity with infinity - they're different concepts. I also think you're mistaking the question of whether the universe is infinite for the question of whether the universe has boundaries. I also think that you're missing the fact that a "second" is not a unit of measure independent of time.

Further, given that the usable energy in the universe is finite, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (entropy) states that the energy would have been all used up an infinite time ago. Total heat death would have occurred infinity minutes ago.

You can't "use up" energy - it can only be transformed, not destroyed. If there are engines in our universe that can generate order on a large scale (we are small-scale order generators; black holes are large scale order generators) then it's possible that the energy in a closed system could be endlessly recycled through various states. Also, it's possible for the Second Law to operate in both directions, and it may be just a particular feature of our current universe that time's arrow runs in one direction.

I wonder if anyone would buy that at Internet Infidels or the American Atheists or whatever.

It doesn't really matter whether they buy it or not, does it? The fact that there are atheists who believe in the supernatural shows it to be the case.

OK, but whatever that something is, it has to be non-material, outside time, beyond the way we understand energy to exist, be intelligent, be personal, and be very powerful.

It doesn't have to be any of those things - that doesn't follow from any of your premises. It could be material, it could be inside time or in a dimension of time that encompasses our own; it doesn't have to be intelligent or personal, or even "powerful" in the sense of acting in a certain way.

I'd encourage you to think it thru - how did the universe come to be? All the options I've seen proposed by naturalistic science are heavily, fatally flawed. You need to seek sthg else.

I am thinking it through, but I don't believe that we'll ever know for certain how the universe came to be. One thing I do know - the hypotheses I've read appeal to me on an intellectual and spiritual level much more than the banal story of the Christian God does. That's all I've really got to go on, in the end.

Rhology said...

John,

When Islam was the same age as Christianity (2 centuries old) it had already conquered the whole of N Africa, much of modern Turkey and Armenia, and the Holy Land.
At the same age, Christianity was dying in the Colosseum and growing thru love and suffering...

But yeah, Islam could get there. It's got a ways to go, from a deeper pit.


Paul C,

I think you're confusing eternity with infinity - they're different concepts.

Eternity = an infinity of "moments" in one direction. So, not really, not for the purposes of this subject.

I also think you're mistaking the question of whether the universe is infinite for the question of whether the universe has boundaries

Wrong again. I don't know how else to explain it.

You can't "use up" energy - it can only be transformed, not destroyed. I

Into non-usable energy. This is elementary entropy.

If there are engines in our universe that can generate order on a large scale (we are small-scale order generators; black holes are large scale order generators) then it's possible that the energy in a closed system could be endlessly recycled through various states.

Like what? A god? Are these engines supernatural? Order from chaos, just spontaneously appeared?
That's pretty cool stuff, though. Quite a lot of faith you have there.
This is naturalism of the gaps, nearly its finest expression.

it's possible for the Second Law to operate in both directions

You mean that energy go from non-usable to usable?
That's, um, a contradiction.
So maybe I can use that next time I'm in front of a judge. Maybe the speed limit law runs in both directions - it says 25 mph, but it could run in both directions! I thought it was a minimum speed in that speed zone!

The fact that there are atheists who believe in the supernatural shows it to be the case.

Well...OK. Let's just stick, then, with naturalism here.

It could be material

Not if it created all matter.

it could be inside time or in a dimension of time that encompasses our own

Not if it created all time.

it doesn't have to be intelligent or personal, or even "powerful" in the sense of acting in a certain way.

Oh, OK. You know what's not intelligent or personal? A statue. So you think a cosmic statue is the creator? Yeah, run with that.

the hypotheses I've read appeal to me on an intellectual and spiritual level much more than the banal story of the Christian God does.

If this is the best you have to offer for intellectual appeal, again, you're welcome to it.
And you dig a cosmic statue more than a Savior God who died for your sins? That's messed up, my friend.

Peace,
Rhology

Rintintin said...

I see a few problems with what you've posted though Rhology:

a) you've automatically ruled out any mechanical/impersonal cause without any reason to do so. Why would there necessarily need to be an intelligent or personal cause when we don't know what (if any) mechanical causes were in operation prior to the creation of out universe
b) there are things we know of that begin to exist spontaneously without an intelligent cause (radioactive decay)
c) even if you grant the premise that a creator is required it still doesn't tell you anything about that creator, only that he/she/it created a universe that operates according to certain laws etc - it may like us, dislike us, or not care on way or the other. We may be the pinnacle of creation, or rocks or ants may be considered the pinnacle of it's creation. It may be limited in some unknown ways, it may not be etc etc.
d) if a creator God can exist as eternal/timeless, why can the same not be said of a mechanical cause of some description?

Rhology said...

a) How could a statue, without volition, cause sthg?
b) Begging the question - sthg already exists.
Besides, if it's DECAY, it decays FROM sthg.
c) True, haven't claimed otherwise.
d) See a).

Rintintin said...

"a) How could a statue, without volition, cause sthg?
b) Begging the question - sthg already exists.
Besides, if it's DECAY, it decays FROM sthg.
c) True, haven't claimed otherwise.
d) See a)."

a)You still haven't really answered the question - what is stopping (for example) our universe being created out of a preexisting universe that did not have a beginning like ours does, or a big bang-big crunch cyclical scenario? Those would be a mechanical cause not requiring of a divine hand. Again, why can a mechanical cause not 'just exist' yet a God can? It's a total double-standard to claim that a divine being can exist outside of our space and time or be infinite yet a mechanical cause of some description like the ones I have suggested cannot. Also, if there is a mechanical cause, why must the mechanical cause be like something we currently know of? You are essentially using the cosmological argument. which leads on to...

b) ...i know something already exists - a radioactive element. Who is saying that pre big bang nothing exists? This particular universe didn't, but that doesn't necessarily mean nothing existed. What you are arguing is that something that begins to exist must have a predetermined cause ie God's will in the case of our universe. An alpha, beta or gamma particle begins to exist in a non-predetermined fashion ie without any cause - an example of something beginning to exist mechanically, spontaneously and randomly.

c) glad we agree on something :)

d) likewise, see a) and b)

Paul C said...

Like what? A god? Are these engines supernatural? Order from chaos, just spontaneously appeared? That's pretty cool stuff, though. Quite a lot of faith you have there.

I have no idea what you're talking about here. (Incidentally, a black hole is a large scale order generator, and it's not supernatural.) But that's not relevant to my point, which is that I personally don't think the term "nothing" has any meaning, and doesn't even refer to a concept that has any meaning. So I don't have to prove that something came from nothing - you have to demonstrate that nothing came before something.

You mean that energy go from non-usable to usable? That's, um, a contradiction.

No, it isn't. One of the strange things about the laws of physics is that there is no reason why they can't run in either direction. It may be that the arrow of time is particular to our universe, but there's no way of knowing for sure.

Not if it created all matter... Not if it created all time... Oh, OK. You know what's not intelligent or personal? A statue. So you think a cosmic statue is the creator? Yeah, run with that.

Most of your other points - including these ones - don't make much sense to me, so I can't really respond to them. I have no idea what a "cosmic statue" is; you seem to be going out of your way to belittle me rather than to discuss these points. I haven't posited the need for a creator at all, in fact - that's something that you feel is necessary.

If this is the best you have to offer for intellectual appeal, again, you're welcome to it. And you dig a cosmic statue more than a Savior God who died for your sins?

I don't understand what you mean by "sin" - it is not a word that has any meaning for me.

Rhology said...

what is stopping (for example) our universe being created out of a preexisting universe that did not have a beginning like ours does, or a big bang-big crunch cyclical scenario?

Already explained that. This does nothing to help you out of the one-universe conundrum.
Entropy and the problem of infinite regress.

d) why can a mechanical cause not 'just exist' yet a God can?

You're mistaking me. I've been denying that a statue couldn't will to cause sthg. If there were an eternal cosmic statue and nothing else, that's all there'd ever be. It wouldn't create anythg.

Who is saying that pre big bang nothing exists?

1) You haven't made any argument that sthg did exist beforehand.
2) It's my understanding that alot of big shots like Hawking think that the BB was the start of all time, matter, and energy. But I could be wrong.
3) I'm not wrong, however, when I say that these same big shots deny that they know anythg yet about what happened before some fraction of a second after the BB. Which means that anythg you might put fwd is total speculation. Based on the leap of faith that atheists so often accuse Christians of making.

An alpha, beta or gamma particle begins to exist in a non-predetermined fashion ie without any cause - an example of something beginning to exist mechanically, spontaneously and randomly.

You don't know that at all; it's speculation. Again.


Paul C said:
I personally don't think the term "nothing" has any meaning

Please. Then why use the term?
It refers to a vacuum, a space in which there is no thing. No thing. Nothing. Let's not play silly semantic games here.

So I don't have to prove that something came from nothing - you have to demonstrate that nothing came before something.

Well, I've already made plenty of case that the universe had to have a beginning. Up to you to deny or come up with sthg that was before the universe.
Of course, it'll be totally based on imagination and speculation, totally unscientific and unobservable, so good luck with that. Maybe you could start your own religion, like Hare Krishna or sthg. It'd have precisely the same epistemic warrant.

One of the strange things about the laws of physics is that there is no reason why they can't run in either direction.

Let the reader judge whether PaulC has any idea of what he is talking about.
When has the contrary to one of the Laws of Thermodynamics ever been observed? Educate me. They're called "Laws" b/c they describe how the universe works.

I have no idea what a "cosmic statue" is

It is an illustration of an eternal, unchaning, timeless, immaterial, NON-intelligent, NON-volitional being. It is a response to RinTinTin's question about why the 1st Cause has to be personal and intelligent.

I haven't posited the need for a creator at all, in fact - that's something that you feel is necessary.

Not "feel" is necessary. I've made the argument that it's necessary. Have you considered ever forwarding a response to those points?

I don't understand what you mean by "sin" - it is not a word that has any meaning for me.

Nice smokescreen. Mark this day well - when you die, you will be brought before God to answer for your willful ignoring of the saving message of Jesus.
Rather, God has said that He has put not only knowledge of His existence in you so that you have no excuse, but also the knowledge of sin. If you've seared and seared that out of your conscience, that's your biggest problem. Sin is breaking God's law. An example is denying the existence of the God you know exists on some not-very-notable Christian's blog.

Peace,
Rhology

Paul C said...

Then why use the term?

Usually I don't. It's you who's talking about something coming from nothing.

It refers to a vacuum, a space in which there is no thing. No thing. Nothing. Let's not play silly semantic games here.

I'm not playing semantic games. We have never observed a perfect vacuum, and it is generally thought to be impossible to ever produce one, so I don't have to prove that something came from nothing - you have to demonstrate that nothing came before something.

(Note: the argument I make here against the perfect vacuum is the same argument you have made against infinity.)

Well, I've already made plenty of case that the universe had to have a beginning. Up to you to deny or come up with sthg that was before the universe.

I'm sorry, I must have missed the part where you demonstrated the universe had a beginning. I don't think that it's necessary for existence (note: not necessarily the same thing as the visible universe) to have a beginning - and I don't believe that I can ever know, nor do I worry about it unnecessarily - so I don't have to come up with something "before" it. You do.

Let the reader judge whether PaulC has any idea of what he is talking about. When has the contrary to one of the Laws of Thermodynamics ever been observed? Educate me. They're called "Laws" b/c they describe how the universe works.

Entropy (the second law of thermodynamics) has a time-specific element to it, but many (most?) of the other laws do not. The metaphor that is commonly used is that of a movie projector showing the movements of the planets - you could run the movie backwards and forwards, and both directions are equally possible under the laws of gravity. However entropy is thought to be a result of conditions in the early universe, so it's theoretically possible (as I understand it) to posit an environment in which it does not apply.

Not "feel" is necessary. I've made the argument that it's necessary. Have you considered ever forwarding a response to those points?

Sorry, I didn't see any arguments that demonstrated it was necessary. I personally don't see why it's necessary.

Mark this day well - when you die, you will be brought before God to answer for your willful ignoring of the saving message of Jesus.

I have no problem with that.

Sin is breaking God's law.

That doesn't really help me to understand - bear in mind that I don't believe in your particular god - but thank you for trying.

Rintintin said...

Already explained that. This does nothing to help you out of the one-universe conundrum.
Entropy and the problem of infinite regress.


Why would a pre-existing universe that had no beginning suffer from any of these problems than a God would?

You're mistaking me. I've been denying that a statue couldn't will to cause sthg. If there were an eternal cosmic statue and nothing else, that's all there'd ever be. It wouldn't create anythg.

Again, why would a mechanical cause have to be statuesque/inanimate or have 'will'?

You haven't made any argument that sthg did exist beforehand.

Never said I had - I'm asking what has been done to discount the idea leaving the only option as God?

It's my understanding that a lot of big shots like Hawking think that the BB was the start of all time, matter, and energy. But I could be wrong.

i think Hawking is of the opinion that the universe did not have a beginning - I think Einstein certainly said time began with the big bang.

I'm not wrong, however, when I say that these same big shots deny that they know anythg yet about what happened before some fraction of a second after the BB. Which means that anythg you might put fwd is total speculation. Based on the leap of faith that atheists so often accuse Christians of making.

I didn't say that I (or anyone else) knew the correct answer, or that i subscribe to these ideas - I'm asking what tests and so on have been done to completely discount any of these suggestions (and others) therefore leaving us with the only option for an answer as 'God'?

You don't know that at all; it's speculation. Again.

So you can predict when an alpha, beta or gamma particle will begin to exist from an atom decaying? Given that it is unpredictable, unaffected by decay of other atoms, and unaffected by environmental factors etc. If you think that it is a non-random process, you may want to inform particle physicists of this discovery...

http://www.antonine-education.co.uk/Physics_A2/Module_5/Topic_3/TOPIC_3.HTM

It is important to understand that radioactive decay is entirely a random and unpredictable process. If we look at any one nucleus, it might decay in ten seconds or ten million years. There is no way of telling when the decay will happen, and there is certainly no way of speeding up the process. Remember that chemical reactions involve the outer shell electrons; radioactive decay involves the nucleus.

John Morales said...

I don't think Rhology is up to scientific concepts.

The Universe is all of spacetime

Scientists have determined that, not quite 14 billion years ago, the Universe was so small and dense that the current "laws" of physics don't apply. Extrapolating the known, the best current understanding is that the genesis of spacetime was a singularity.

Rhology, of course, knows only as much as any bronze-age priest. This he considers more objective and accurate than science.

Goddiddit.

John Morales said...

Hm, a few addenda.

1. In my experience, neither science nor logic will sway Rhology, when it butts with his presuppositions.

2. Since spacetime incluces time, there is no meaningful "time" at or before the singularity.

3. Similarly, "nothing" would not be a vacuum, it would be an absence of spacetime (which is considered bounded).

Etc.

Anyway, I think that at heart this is a philosophical argument.

And, since neither science or logic will sway Rhology, well...

So. Carry on as you please.

Rhology said...

Paul C said:
We have never observed a perfect vacuum, and it is generally thought to be impossible to ever produce one

So what was there before there was matter, time, and energy?
Logically before, I mean. Not chronologically, obviously. Whence came all the time, energy, and matter?

you have to demonstrate that nothing came before something.

Since the universe BEGAN...does it seriously not bother you to avoid the question of whence it came?
An infinite set of moments is impossible. It's the eternal runner. We've just added a second to an already-infinite number of seconds if the universe extends back into an infinite number of seconds in the past. Infinity's very definition includes the concept that it can't be added to.

the argument I make here against the perfect vacuum is the same argument you have made against infinity.

Don't see why - the argument against the existence of an actual infinite is that it's logically impossible. A vacuum is not logically impossible.

Entropy (the second law of thermodynamics) has a time-specific element to it, but many (most?) of the other laws do not.

I love how you are just dancing on this - you made a ridiculous statement and now have to defend it. Good luck - let the reader judge if you've explained how a law can "sometimes work in reverse", especially when it's convenient for your argument.

entropy is thought to be a result of conditions in the early universe

I could just be ignorant, but I thought it was a result of the nature of usable vs non-usable energy.



RTT said:
Why would a pre-existing universe that had no beginning suffer from any of these problems than a God would?

B/c this God is timeless. The universe that exists RIGHT NOW is not timeless, but you're claiming that this universe has existed from eternity past.

why would a mechanical cause have to be statuesque/inanimate or have 'will'?

B/c otherwise it would never DO anything. It would just BE, not ACT. Not create, say, a universe.

I'm asking what has been done to discount the idea leaving the only option as God?

God solves the problem.
If you have another option, let's hear it.

you can predict when an alpha, beta or gamma particle will begin to exist from an atom decaying?

I'm not sure how that's relevant, since you need an atom to exist beforehand, presumably, that one of these particles might come to exist thru its decay...

It is important to understand that radioactive decay is entirely a random and unpredictable proces

Great and all, but again, how is it relevant? Are you arguing that there is matter pre-existing the universe or sthg?


John Morales said:
extrapolating the known, the best current understanding is that the genesis of spacetime was a singularity.

I'm aware of that, yes. A singularity is not nothing, however; it is sthg. Whence did it come?
Did it always exist? How does that escape the infinity problem?
Why did it just all of a sudden blow up?
If it has existed from eternity past, why didn't the explosion happen an eternity ago?

Since spacetime incluces time, there is no meaningful "time" at or before the singularity.

Which is why I've said "logically beforehand" several times, differentiating it from "chronologically beforehand". You must have missed that.

Peace,
Rhology

John Morales said...

Rhology, to paraphrase you:

A God is not nothing, however; it is sthg. Whence did it come?
Did it always exist? How does that escape the infinity problem?

Which is why I've said "logically beforehand" several times, differentiating it from "chronologically beforehand".

You really don't get it, do you?
Without time, there is no "beforehand".

Paul C said...

Well, my last comment appears to have been swallowed by haloscan: here I go again.

So what was there before there was matter, time, and energy? Logically before, I mean. Not chronologically, obviously.

Can you explain what the difference is in this context between logically and chronologically? I'm having difficulty seeing it, since so far your "logical" argument has been based on cause-and-effect - which is a chronological question.

Since the universe BEGAN...does it seriously not bother you to avoid the question of whence it came?

I think you're conflating three different uses of the word universe: the visible universe (the slice of spacetime where we live), spacetime itself (what most people mean when they say the universe, which exists if we assume that conditions are the same outside our visible universe) and existence (a broader concept which would encompass our spacetime if it exists, but that we can never know anything about - even whether it exists or not).

From what I know, it seems clear that our visible universe had a beginning, and it seems likely that spacetime had a beginning. However if inflationary theory is right, then we can never know anything about the beginning of spacetime. This is what takes us into the realm of philosophy rather than physics.

However the beginning of either the visible universe or spacetime in general is not necessarily preceded by "nothing". As I said, you have yet to demonstrate that "nothing" exists, so I don't feel bound to accept it as a concept. I think the idea of this "primal nothing" is just a philosophical concept that we have inherited, and I urge you to leave it behind.

Don't see why - the argument against the existence of an actual infinite is that it's logically impossible. A vacuum is not logically impossible.

Infinity is not logically impossible - otherwise we could not use it in mathematics - but it is physically impossible (as far as we know). Ditto a vacuum.

I love how you are just dancing on this - you made a ridiculous statement and now have to defend it. Good luck - let the reader judge if you've explained how a law can "sometimes work in reverse", especially when it's convenient for your argument.

I'm not dancing at all. Do some reading about T-symmetry. It makes my head hurt. However I object to you putting "sometimes work in reverse" in quotes - I did not say any such thing, nor did I imply it. Please read what I wrote again; I can try to explain it better if you still don't understand.

I could just be ignorant, but I thought it was a result of the nature of usable vs non-usable energy.

No. There's nothing inherent in energy that points to entropy. It appears to be a particular function of our particular part of our particular universe at this particular stage. This is the stuff that I has intellectual appeal for me, by the way.

Rhology said...

This combox has been seriously hijacked, so I'm going to ask that we move the discussion to this post's combox for further discussion on this topic.

Hope that's OK with everyone. I'll post my response to John's and Paul's latest comments there.

Peace,
Rhology