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Switch to Forum Live View Faith IS Substance; Faith IS Evidence
3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 2:46PM #61
Thetanager
Posts: 1,568

Apr 16, 2012 -- 12:09PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


I will draw your attention again to my coffee mug analogy. What we can tell from the direct evidence is that there is a coffee mug. We can assume that someone or something is responsible for the creation of this coffee mug. Theism, mine included, assumes characteristics about this person.



But there could be other evidence surrounding the responsibility of the creation of this coffee mug. Maybe their is an insignia on the bottom, maybe what country it was made in, perhaps it is made of a rare material that comes only from one region of the world from which we can reason to particular beliefs about the mug's origin. and we could perhaps never get to the specific person who did it, which of course does not mean no one made it (or that someone did).


Perhaps due to the generality of your analogy/statement and the brief nature of your stated conclusion (Theism assumes characteristics about God), I am pinpointing the wrong aspect of what you seem to be saying. I wanted us to get specific to see this play out below the surface generalities, so out came my cosmological "arguments" (I really see this as a discussion between us, not us debating, arguing, etc.). It could have been anything...even arguments from non-Christian faiths.


I gave a piece of evidence ("my own existence"...the coffee mug, if you will), but I did not just assume it was uncaused. I began to reason towards it. You pointed out a possible assumption [that our remaining in existence was external], so I dropped that. Assuming you were correct that our remaining in existence is internal, I felt we still had some reasoning to go from the coffee mug; that the origin of existence still seemed to call for an uncaused first cause. I gave you that reasoning and you have not countered that part yet. It's fine if you do not want to continue in our discussion, but you have not shown that this specific case of my theistic reasonings is merely assumption. That does not mean it is not.  That does not mean I think I've won (I don't even consider us to be in a contest). And I only say that because many Christians seem to think they are in contests here on BNet and I want to make sure
I'm not lumped into that category.


Apr 16, 2012 -- 12:09PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


I am reminded of the quote by Andrew Lang, "An unsophisticated forecaster uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts - for support rather than for illumination." Such is true of the theist trying to justify their position. They are drawing a conclusion, and justifying it based off of what evidence does exist. Not trying to build their conclusion from the evidence.



I agree with you that theists (and I will add non-theists) have a conclusion and try to justify it based off of what evidence does exist. No one is beginning from a completely clean slate. But I do think theists (and non-theists) can look at certain pieces of evidence and reason to certain conclusions based not on mere assumptions but solid reasoning. But yes, we all have certain assumptions in various areas. I've always said this.


Apr 16, 2012 -- 12:09PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


As to the what I am/that I am, discussion. I don't feel we are on the same wavelength. You say you are referring to something different from perception, but use perception based references. I don't follow.



Perhaps you are going to have to say which "perception based references" you are talking about for me to help clarify my point/reasoning. I'll try one more attempt to see if I can make things clearer and I apologize for my apparent lack of clarity so far.


There is an animal called a horse. There are certain things that make it a horse (the "what-ness"). If it was the only creature alive, there would still be certain things that make it a horse (it has four legs, a mane, runs fast, and so on). That means that apart from perception by anything else, there is still "horse-ness." It is a concept we are talking about because we perceive it, but it is a real thing we are perceiving. This is the "what-ness" I have been talking about.  We talk about it as a concept, but it is a reality first.  The concept of "what-ness" simply points to the reality of what a horse is.


But we can see this is still distinct from the horse's existence or "that-ness." It is not mere perception that horses actually do exist. I can point out "that" brown horse to you. But let's say they all die. There is no more "that" horse over there. Yet there would still be the "what," the concept of "horse-ness." But as the previous paragraph showed this "what-ness" (which is what philosophers name essence, because we just love naming things to make ourselves sound intelligent), while a concept we perceive and use was based upon a real thing.  The concept of "that-ness" simply points to the reality (or lack thereof) THAT a horse is/is not a concrete instance of those horse-ness characteristics.


Existence and essence, that-ness and what-ness, are both concepts based on the reality of beings themselves (not just perceptions by others), but they point to our distinct concepts of that reality. This reality is apart from anyone actually there to perceive their reality. If I cease to exist, these distinct (but connected) realities still exist.


Man, I write too much to make myself clearer, but thank you for reading through it.

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 2:48PM #62
Thetanager
Posts: 1,568

Apr 16, 2012 -- 12:18PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


The problem is there is a 4th option here.


1. Self caused


2. Caused by a someone


3. Caused by a something


4. Uncaused


To tie this is with my previous post, we can use the coffee mug analogy again. Even if we assume that the coffee mug did not fabricate itself, or is the result of rocks hitting each other just right, we cannot assume that the coffee mug was crafted by an omni-omni spiritual being that cares so much about me that s/he desires me to have my morning coffee. That is the extent of the evidence. That the coffee mug is there. That's all we know. Anything else is jumping ahead.



What do you see these options in my argument pertaining to? My existence? The first cause of life on earth? The first cause of the universe? In giving my options here I am talking about the first cause of everything that exists, that is, the universe. I know it is not me and I'm not talking just about life on earth (this argument says nothing about evolution or creation or whatever).


So...the first cause of everything that exists can't be self-caused. If it is caused by someone else, that someone else would be the "new" first cause and we are back at the above options. If it is caused by something else, that something else would be the "new" first cause and we are back at the above options. If we answer that it is 2 or 3 we are caught in an infinite loop and we would never get out of it. Such a thing is impossible for the ultimate cause of existence, for existence would never actually get started. That leaves option 4.


Only then do we look at whether this uncaused being is personal or not. I have not gotten there in my argument. I'm not jumping ahead to that point. I am not arguing for that through this argument, whether it is my belief or not. That is why I said I was making a generally theistic argument to counter the claim that theism is just based on assumptions.

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 2:52PM #63
Thetanager
Posts: 1,568

Apr 16, 2012 -- 1:01PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


I think I see where the misunderstanding is occurring. I do not say that the size and scope of the universe is inconsistent with and omni-omni deity.


I do say that the size and scope of this solar system is not such that it can be logically assumed that the same being responsible for the formation of the universe is the one that is responsible for the formation of this planet.



Then I agree with you. Do you agree that based only on the size and scope of the solar system it is not such that it can be logically assumed that different beings are responsible?


Apr 16, 2012 -- 1:01PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


Furthermore, that the being described in various Abrahamatic scriptures is more consistent with a deity limited not just to the Earth, but to a specific area and peoples on the earth.



I would love to hear your ideas on this, but perhaps with everything else we are talking about we should save this for a future discussion, especially since the original idea tipping off our discussion involves the possibility/actuality of a logical analysis of evidence by theists vs. theists only assuming things. I'm making a general theistic argument, not a Christian one (regardless of my specific type of theism).


Apr 16, 2012 -- 1:01PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


As to burdens, I am willing to discuss here, and we can run through the "other people" arguments if you wish, and since this is a friendly discussion, I will do so, but the burden is not on the one who makes the claim, but the one who makes the positive claim. Ie, it is not up to me to "prove" that the alleged beings here are not the same, but that of some one who is making the claim that they are.



We all have the burden of backing up the assertions we make, which can be said negatively or positively. For instance, your claim could just as easily be phrased as "the first cause of life on earth and the first cause of the universe are different beings." That is a positive claim. If I had said "the first cause of life on earth and the first cause of the universe are not different beings," would that have put the burden on you just because I said it negatively? Regardless, I am not making any claim here. But I would love to hear your reasonings for your claim, if you want to pursue that.

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 2:56PM #64
Thetanager
Posts: 1,568

Apr 16, 2012 -- 1:09PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


Other end of the bible. How familiar are you with Genesis?



Perhaps not as well as I thought...


Apr 16, 2012 -- 1:09PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


For that argument to have any weight, we would have to be much more knowledgeable of other worlds. Even the moons of Jupiter may have life. We cannot assume we are special, just because we are ignorant.



My argument was concerning the "known" universe. We know of no other beings like us (but remember I don't think special equals better than or more loved, etc.). This knowledge could change in the future. Having beings exactly like us or ones intellectually superior to us or superior in other and all ways still would have nothing to say on whether a personal creator being could be just as interested in us as other species.

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 3:03PM #65
Thetanager
Posts: 1,568

Apr 16, 2012 -- 1:11PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


Apr 16, 2012 -- 7:58AM, Thetanager wrote:


SG and MC, I'm not sure what the statement "which God is this" is supposed to mean in response post about the Christian view of God's purpose in creating.  That my view is not Christian, in your opinion? Something else?





They are trying to jar you out of a monotheistic viewpoint. 




Then by all means...jar away.  I started a discussion on the Christianity Dialogue board entitled "Why did God create?" to see what other Christians had to say on the matter.  You all made me curious on if I'm in the minority among my faith.  Join us if you are interested in following the answers or adding to the discussion.

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 5:05PM #66
allthegoodnamesweretaken
Posts: 11,634

Apr 16, 2012 -- 2:46PM, Thetanager wrote:


I gave a piece of evidence ("my own existence"...the coffee mug, if you will), but I did not just assume it was uncaused. I began to reason towards it. You pointed out a possible assumption [that our remaining in existence was external], so I dropped that. Assuming you were correct that our remaining in existence is internal, I felt we still had some reasoning to go from the coffee mug; that the origin of existence still seemed to call for an uncaused first cause. I gave you that reasoning and you have not countered that part yet. It's fine if you do not want to continue in our discussion, but you have not shown that this specific case of my theistic reasonings is merely assumption. That does not mean it is not.  That does not mean I think I've won (I don't even consider us to be in a contest). And I only say that because many Christians seem to think they are in contests here on BNet and I want to make sure
I'm not lumped into that category.




You don't see what I am getting at? 


I'm not arguing against a "uncaused cause" persay for the eventual reduction of the line of logic.  I am saying that we do not know that it is this universe.  We cannot say that an uncaused cause caused this universe, or that what did cause this universe was uncaused.  We do not know if this is the first universe, 17th universe, 500th universe, or 200 trillionth universe.


My point of the coffee mug analogy was that we can't see past the 1 event.  We can't answer those questions for 1 event.  How could we pretend to answer them for more?  At some point it becomes ridiculous. 




Apr 16, 2012 -- 2:46PM, Thetanager wrote:


There is an animal called a horse. There are certain things that make it a horse (the "what-ness"). If it was the only creature alive, there would still be certain things that make it a horse (it has four legs, a mane, runs fast, and so on). That means that apart from perception by anything else, there is still "horse-ness." It is a concept we are talking about because we perceive it, but it is a real thing we are perceiving. This is the "what-ness" I have been talking about.  We talk about it as a concept, but it is a reality first.  The concept of "what-ness" simply points to the reality of what a horse is.


But we can see this is still distinct from the horse's existence or "that-ness." It is not mere perception that horses actually do exist. I can point out "that" brown horse to you. But let's say they all die. There is no more "that" horse over there. Yet there would still be the "what," the concept of "horse-ness." But as the previous paragraph showed this "what-ness" (which is what philosophers name essence, because we just love naming things to make ourselves sound intelligent), while a concept we perceive and use was based upon a real thing.  The concept of "that-ness" simply points to the reality (or lack thereof) THAT a horse is/is not a concrete instance of those horse-ness characteristics.


Existence and essence, that-ness and what-ness, are both concepts based on the reality of beings themselves (not just perceptions by others), but they point to our distinct concepts of that reality. This reality is apart from anyone actually there to perceive their reality. If I cease to exist, these distinct (but connected) realities still exist.


Man, I write too much to make myself clearer, but thank you for reading through it.





Could a horse be anything other than a horse? 

Yesterday, in America, 100 million gun owners did nothing.
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 5:59PM #67
allthegoodnamesweretaken
Posts: 11,634

Apr 16, 2012 -- 2:48PM, Thetanager wrote:


What do you see these options in my argument pertaining to? My existence? The first cause of life on earth? The first cause of the universe? In giving my options here I am talking about the first cause of everything that exists, that is, the universe. I know it is not me and I'm not talking just about life on earth (this argument says nothing about evolution or creation or whatever).




I thought we were talking about the universe. 



Apr 16, 2012 -- 2:48PM, Thetanager wrote:


So...the first cause of everything that exists can't be self-caused.



I wasn't arguing against your reasoning against 1. 


Apr 16, 2012 -- 2:48PM, Thetanager wrote:


If it is caused by someone else, that someone else would be the "new" first cause and we are back at the above options. If it is caused by something else, that something else would be the "new" first cause and we are back at the above options. If we answer that it is 2 or 3 we are caught in an infinite loop and we would never get out of it. Such a thing is impossible for the ultimate cause of existence, for existence would never actually get started. That leaves option 4.




If we can only answer 2 or 3, we are caught in a infinate loop.  I'm not saying that we are limited to 2 or 3.  



Yesterday, in America, 100 million gun owners did nothing.
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 6:04PM #68
allthegoodnamesweretaken
Posts: 11,634

Apr 16, 2012 -- 2:52PM, Thetanager wrote:


Then I agree with you. Do you agree that based only on the size and scope of the solar system it is not such that it can be logically assumed that different beings are responsible?




Logically, it can't be assumed that any beings are responsible.  As far as making cases justifying whatever viewpoint we want, we can do that too.  All possibilities are on equal footing. 


Apr 16, 2012 -- 2:48PM, Thetanager wrote:


We all have the burden of backing up the assertions we make, which can be said negatively or positively. For instance, your claim could just as easily be phrased as "the first cause of life on earth and the first cause of the universe are different beings." That is a positive claim. If I had said "the first cause of life on earth and the first cause of the universe are not different beings," would that have put the burden on you just because I said it negatively? Regardless, I am not making any claim here. But I would love to hear your reasonings for your claim, if you want to pursue that.





My assertion is that there is no reason to think that the first cause of life on earth is the same as the first cause of the universe.  Do you disagree with this statement? 

Yesterday, in America, 100 million gun owners did nothing.
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 6:06PM #69
allthegoodnamesweretaken
Posts: 11,634

Apr 16, 2012 -- 2:56PM, Thetanager wrote:


Apr 16, 2012 -- 1:09PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


For that argument to have any weight, we would have to be much more knowledgeable of other worlds. Even the moons of Jupiter may have life. We cannot assume we are special, just because we are ignorant.



My argument was concerning the "known" universe. We know of no other beings like us (but remember I don't think special equals better than or more loved, etc.). This knowledge could change in the future. Having beings exactly like us or ones intellectually superior to us or superior in other and all ways still would have nothing to say on whether a personal creator being could be just as interested in us as other species.





What exactly do you mean by "known" universe?  I am referring to the observable universe. 

Yesterday, in America, 100 million gun owners did nothing.
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 10:52PM #70
Thetanager
Posts: 1,568

Apr 16, 2012 -- 5:05PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


You don't see what I am getting at?


I'm not arguing against a "uncaused cause" persay for the eventual reduction of the line of logic. I am saying that we do not know that it is this universe. We cannot say that an uncaused cause caused this universe, or that what did cause this universe was uncaused. We do not know if this is the first universe, 17th universe, 500th universe, or 200 trillionth universe.



But that is the whole point of my argument...an uncaused cause at the eventual reduction of the line of logic, whether this is the only universe or the 200 trillionth one. I don't see the point in speculating about possible previous universes. Even if they exist, the argument doesn't change, there is only more steps in the middle of the line of logic. The first cause of existence as we see it in the evidence (our own existence) must be an uncaused cause, given the four options you mention. Unknown possible previous universes is not evidence, but mere speculation and their possible existence does not counter my argument if that speculation just happens to fit reality.


That is what I mean in saying the "known" universe, what we can observe and know about the universe right now, not speculations about a possible multi-verse, alien life forms and all that.  I'm going on the evidence we can see before us, not speculations.


That is why I also said humans appear to be unique creatures in the known universe.  But, to reiterate, if we aren't unique that doesn't change anything as though the omni-omni God is only interested in the highest lifeform.


Apr 16, 2012 -- 5:05PM, allthegoodnamesweretaken wrote:


Could a horse be anything other than a horse?



Of course not. But I'm missing the counter-ness of this to my argument for a distinction of essence/existence.

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