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    posted a message on Existence of God - Kalam Cosmological Argument
    Quote from Shrimpanzee

    The KCA applies to non-material causes, so there is no need to reword it because you are just defining things to make it incoherent... Also, I already addressed this by way of taxi-cab fallacy and 'something cannot come from nothing on page 2'. If this is your final resort then you truly do not have a reason for your faitheism... :) Thanks

    I'm done with you. If you're going to be an ass, don't expect people to want to engage with you honestly and in good faith. I spent a lot of time writing detailed responses to various points of yours. It's very frustrating when you then just pick out one thing I said, offer a paltry response barely better than "nuh uh!" and walk away. Since the only responses you've brought to bear against my arguments have either failed to address the points I've made about the equivocation (the core of my rebuttal), or are just are snarky comments and baseless assertions, I don't have to say much else anyway, since what I've said continues to stand unchallenged in any significant way.

    I've said nothing to explain why I am an atheist. A theist could just as easily see the flaws in Kalam (and many do). You presented an old, oft debunked argument for the existence of god, and I explained the reason why many serious philosophers know it fails. It relies on equivocation on its face and a lot of bare assertions beyond that to get anywhere near demonstrating the existence of a god, much less whatever specific god you want it to. You've failed to offer serious response to my challenges.

    Since you won't honestly engage with my arguments, I'll just leave this here.

    Posted in: Politics, Philosophy, News and Science
  • 1

    posted a message on Existence of God - Kalam Cosmological Argument
    Quote from Shrimpanzee

    1) To say the universe is exempt from the metaphysical principle of causation is to commit the taxi cab fallacy. You are using the metaphysical principle of causation to arrive at things existing in the universe and then dismiss it when you arrive at your desired end (the universe). There is no reason or support that this is true. If you wish to show how the universe is exempt from the metaphysical principle of causation then please do so. If not, then you are just special pleading.

    You seemed to have completely ignored the content of my message. Name an example of something that has come into existence ex nihilo for which we understand the cause of such existence. I can save some time and tell you that you can't. Kalam attempts to extrapolate from our experience with the commencement of existence of things that, if the universe began to exist, this beginning must be caused. But we have no experience with the type of beginning of existence the universe would have had in this scenario, so we cannot extrapolate any conclusions about it.

    Let's also not forget that there are examples of uncaused events in science. For example, there is no identifiable cause for a particular instance of radioactive decay. The best we can do is determine probabilities that a particular form of decay will occur within a given time period. Beyond that, actual decay events appear to happen uncaused.

    2) If you are going to say the universe came from nothing - well as Dr. Craig puts it - this is literally worse than magic.

    But I'm not saying that. I will say pretending we know enough about reality to say it's impossible is arrogant, but I have never asserted this is what occurred. You (as an extension of Craig) are the one saying this is what happened. And magic is precisely the method you propose, unless you intend to explain the methodology your God used to do it in an understandable way.

    At least when a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat he has a hat, or a rabbit!

    Alright then, what is the "hat and rabbit" that God used to make the Universe, and where did that stuff come from? Kalam is all about how a god poofed a universe into existence from nothing, but you're going to try and support that argument by explaining how that is impossible? Your argumentation is very confusing.

    3) It follows that the cause of the universe is an immaterial, personal agent, endowed with freedom of the will because the cause of the universe must transcend space and time (be immaterial), it must exist necessarily (be uncaused; otherwise you end up with a regress of causes), and it must have the power to freely bring something into existence. There are only two such things known of to us. Abstract objects and minds, but abstract objects do not stand in causal relations to things (for instance, the number 7 does not 'cause' anything), so the alternative is an unembodied mind (personal agent, freedom of the will).

    Uhm, no this doesn't follow. You can't just assert it does. You haven't provided a compelling reason why whatever this cause is, if it exists, must be conscious or an agent of will. So far as we know, nothing (including abstract objects and minds) has the power to "bring something into existence" ex nihilo. It is something we have never observed happening, and an event that appears to violate our understanding of causation in general. We also have no examples of "unembodied minds". Every mind we are aware of exists within a material basis. Saying an "unembodied mind" must have done it is putting the cart before the horse. First demonstrate the existence of such a thing, and explain how it can work.

    Also, this causal agent doesn't necessarily need to be uncaused itself. If there is a first cause, it may be further down the chain. This causal agent, whether its a god or something else, may itself have been created by something else. I might agree that the chain must stop somewhere, but you haven't demonstrated why it must stop at the thing that immediately precedes our universe.

    If you do not agree with #3 then please show me a more probable alternative

    I don't have to show you an alternative in order to demonstrate that your argument is flawed. Insisting that I do is called argument from ignorance. The absence of a better explanation doesn't mean yours gets accepted by default.
    Posted in: Politics, Philosophy, News and Science
  • 3

    posted a message on Existence of God - Kalam Cosmological Argument
    I'd like to add a re-worded version of the Kalam argument that removes the equivocation, thus allowing one to see the obvious flaw.

    P1) Anything which begins to exist and has a material cause for its existence also has an efficient cause for its existence

    P2) The universe has no material cause for its existence, but began to exist

    C) The universe has an efficient cause for its existence

    It is pretty easy to see that the conclusion does not follow from the premises once you are more clear about the aspects of causality being discussed.
    Posted in: Politics, Philosophy, News and Science
  • 2

    posted a message on Existence of God - Kalam Cosmological Argument
    The problem with Kalam is that it relies on a very subtle equivocation. I shall explain below.
    Quote from Shrimpanzee

    1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause

    This premise is generally based on a simple induction. We generally understand the concept of causality. If something begins to exist, it is because something else caused it to. However, when we talk about "beginning to exist" we are talking about creatio ex materia-- Creation from something. If a carpenter builds a table, he doesn't poof the table into existence; he caused pre-existing wood, nails and glue to be arranged into a configuration we call a table. When I "created" my computer, it didn't arise from nothing, I assembled it from various parts, which were themselves assembled from smaller parts in a factory, and those parts were made from raw materials harvested by some other process. All of our experience with something "beginning to exist" that forms this induction is of this kind-- existing material taking up a novel arrangement such that it forms a new "thing".

    2) The universe began to exist

    Well, first of all, we don't know this to be true. However, to make my point, I will grant the premise. Now, we are talking about an entirely different kind of "beginning to exist". We are talking about creatio ex nihilo-- Creation from nothing. Leaving aside discussions of quantum mechanics and virtual particles, we have no experience with this kind of creation. There are no examples we can draw upon. Creatio ex materia relies upon a material cause, eg the pre-existing stuff that makes up the novel thing. This kind of creation has no material cause. The material is the "result" as it were. Our lack of experience with this kind of "beginning to exist" means we cannot draw any conclusions as to what is necessary to make it happen.

    Essentially, premise 1 and 2 are talking about different activities, but using the same words to describe them to make them sound the same. This is equivocation.

    3) Therefore, the universe has a cause

    So even if I grant the truth of both of the premises, because of the equivocation, this conclusion does not follow from them, making the syllogism invalid.

    1a) Something cannot come from nothing, viz. the metaphysical principle of causation and second law of thermodynamics

    Keep in mind that physical laws weren't something written down on some cosmic rulebook we discovered that tells us how the universe works. The laws of thermodynamics, like other physical laws, are inductive. We formulate them based on our observations about how the universe appears to work, and given that they appear applicable in every situation we've observed, we decide to assume they are universally applicable. We may one day discover exceptions to some of these laws, or that they are completely wrong in some way. And funnily enough, you use the idea that creatio ex nihilo is impossible to defend premise 1 while then asserting that's exactly what happened in premise 2. You are subtly acknowledging the equivocation inherent in the syllogism.

    3a) Why is the cause God? Because the cause of the universe must transcend space and time (be immaterial), and must be a personal agent endowed with freedom of the will to create the universe . This is a part of the classical description of God.

    While it seems reasonable to grant the first part (the cause must transcend space and time as we know it), the second part is a bare assertion that I would not grant. There is no good reason to say that whatever this "cause" is (whatever it means for something to cause creatio ex nihilo), that it must be an agent possessed of will or intent. It could be some other natural, mindless process that follows some greater metaphysical laws we do not have access to. Perhaps the spontaneous, uncaused creation of a universe is possible in some greater metaphysical sense that we are unable (and may never be able) to understand. Maybe it was transcendental universe-creating pixies. Maybe it was some kind of "god" which is "dead" or no longer interacts or cares about this universe.

    I actually think it takes more faith to believe the universe came from nothing (what current trends in atheism suggest) than to believe God created it.

    You seem to make the mistake (or perhaps you do it on purpose) of using "atheism" when you really ought to say materialist naturalism. Atheism is a position on a single subject, and says nothing about what one must believe about the origins of the universe.

    At any rate, as a naturalist myself, I don't claim to know how or why the universe exists, or if it even had a "beginning" in any meaningful sense of the word, and I look with great skepticism upon anyone who claims they do know. My personal feeling on the matter is that the answer to that question may be something our simple brains are incapable of grasping. If it turns out to actually be some kind of deity, I will believe that to be the case no sooner than sufficient empirical evidence of that fact can be presented for it.
    Posted in: Politics, Philosophy, News and Science
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    posted a message on Describe your perfect government
    Quote from Tuaam

    They have laws against Pedophilia, so why not Adultery?

    Pedophilia necessarily causes demonstrable harm. Consensual sex between unmarried adults does not.
    Posted in: Politics, Philosophy, News and Science
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    posted a message on Evolution: What's not to understand?
    Quote from Lily14130
    Yes, we see the evidence, and understand the theory. But that doesn't mean that we're just going to abandon our faith. It really annoys me when people say that christians are stupid just because we are loyal to our faith.

    You see, there's a difference between not understanding and not believing.

    It's not stupidity. It's irrationality. Remaining "loyal" to a belief that you acknowledge is not based on evidence (by calling it faith) when presented with evidence that your belief is actually wrong is irrational. If you want to be privately irrational, then go right ahead. I'd prefer to live in a society of rational actors of course, but if you keep it to yourself, the damage and annoyance is minimal. If, instead, you're going to parade your irrationality around and insist not only that people should share it, but that you should be immune from criticism about it, then reality is going to hit you pretty hard.
    Posted in: Politics, Philosophy, News and Science
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    posted a message on Why worshipping a god is illogical.
    Quote from Appamada

    No it isn't. To disbelieve something is to reject it. To disbelieve in god you'd have to say "No, there isn't a god." Absence of belief is different, it has no description because it's a blank slate.

    To be clear, to disbelieve means to reject belief, but not necessarily reject the proposition being discussed as false.

    There are 4 states, in my mind, regarding belief:

    a) Unawareness - Not being aware of a particular idea or proposition means one cannot have considered it and has formed no beliefs about it
    b ) Disbelief - One is aware of a proposition or idea, but is not convinced whether or not it is true or false, belief is rejected
    c) Rejection - One believes that an idea is actually false or incorrect
    d) Belief - One believes that an idea is true or correct

    Many people think Atheism is only 'c' when it comes to gods, and that 'b' refers specifically to agnosticism. It is true that 'b' points to an agnostic position (depending on which definition of agnostic you choose), but atheism really encompasses both b and c. It may also contain 'a' as well, though some people would debate this. Babies obviously fall into category 'a' about a great many things, including the existence of gods, so some would include babies among atheists. However, I don't think it's worthwhile to belabor that point. It is fair to point out that a baby has no beliefs concerning gods, but to use that to claim them for atheism often comes off as a petty attempt to "score points" for the atheist team, even if that's not what is intended.
    Posted in: Politics, Philosophy, News and Science
  • 2

    posted a message on A question about homophobia
    So much terribleness in this thread.

    Genes don't "cause" evolution. They are the physical vehicle upon which evolution operates. Evolution does happen within populations. The population is a very important unit in evolution, often moreso than the individual. You should look into Population Genetics.

    Homosexuality occurs in a large variety of other species of animals other than just humans. It is therefore "natural". However, the natural/unnatural distinction is irrelevant. Natural is not equivalent to good, nor is unnatural equivalent to bad. A vast number of things humans do could be considered unnatural, like wearing clothing and arguing on internet forums. And there are many natural things that ought to be avoided like poison ivy and snakebites.

    I don't think anyone here ever explicitly said that homosexual sex is the "same" as heterosexual sex.

    Your insistence on referring to the biological function of sex as it's "purpose" is obfuscating the issue. It's already been explained that there are no teleological purposes for anything in nature. Evolution doesn't have a goal, it is just a process.

    Sure, homosexual sex cannot result in procreation. So what? We are not obligated by nature to do or avoid doing anything. People have sex for reasons other than procreation all the time. Tell me, what is the difference, from an evolutionary perspective, between a man with a vasectomy having sex with a woman, and two men having sex? Neither pairing can produce children.

    Sure, the human race could continue without any homosexual individuals in it. We might be worse off for it, but we'd likely survive. There are many categories of people without which the human race could survive. This is not a compelling reason to single them out and mistreat them. There have already been posts discussing the scientific research that has demonstrated the value that having non-mating individuals in a population can bring, but you just dismiss it out of hand for no good reason other than your own severely flawed understanding of biology and evolution.

    Obviously if no one was interested in heterosexual sex, that would be a problem, but absolutely no one is suggesting we try to make the entire human race gay, nor is that in any way a possibility or a threat we have to consider.

    Redstonevet, you've thus far failed to provide a single compelling reason why the legitimacy of same-sex relationships should not be recognized. Every argument you have presented has been based on flawed information, flawed logic, or both. You continue to repeat the same tired and debunked arguments over and over again. Most of your retorts to people's rebuttals of your arguments can be paraphrased as "nuh uhh". I don't think there's any reasonable chance that this discussion is going to change your mind, so perhaps you should withdraw from it, and let the rest of the grown ups move on.
    Posted in: Politics, Philosophy, News and Science
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    posted a message on Anthropogenic Global Warming
    So you decided to drop a wall of stupidity and misinformation on thread that hasn't been posted in for 19 months? Talk about necro-posting. Most of the people you responded to probably don't even browse this forum anymore.
    Posted in: Politics, Philosophy, News and Science
  • 3

    posted a message on Why Do People Believe In God?
    Quote from ZallCaTor
    Top of his class, Valid Victorian.

    Heh... allow me to disabuse you of that mistake before you embarrass yourself again repeating it. I think the word you're looking for is "Valedictorian" :)

    We don't know for a fact what caused the big bang, at least not yet.

    True enough. We're done here, then? Oh...

    Now, let's say, for the sake of this argument, that God created the big bang. Then you would ask, well, who created God? Let's say we say, so and so did. Then we ask the question, "what created so and so?" And so on. We would keep asking that question "what created it."

    Science dictates that there must be an uncreated cause for anything to exist, because we know that the universe had a definitive beginning. What if God is that mysterious cause that started the big bang? God is described as "Uncreated, without beginning nor end." He is always described as one who was not created.

    Why not transcendental universe-creating pixies, instead? I mean, if you're just going to make up whatever magical cause you want, why should we defer to the Christian God? Why is that any better than pixies?

    The thing is, you haven't proposed an explanation. You're just asserting that a magical, uncreated being willed the universe into existence. This offers no insight into how this was accomplished. You've basically taken a mystery and repackaged it into a more personal form, adding complexity to the problem without adding any understanding.

    The description of evolution and the big bang line up nicely with the book of Genesis describing the beginning of the universe. God created light as one of the first elements of the universe, and it is described as all happening instantaneously. The big bang: Big bright, and fast. Then the earth is formed, it has no life yet, but land is created and soon water coveres the earth. This also lines up with the scientific development of earth, at one point there was no land, that's why all land creatures evolved from sea creatures, because that's where they originated. The bible describes the fires welling up from the earth and land is created. Just like science describes it. Volcanic activity spews ash and rock, creating land masses. "The waters are divided, and dry land appears" (I'm paraphrasing there.) Then God created the plants, which, again, scientifically came before animals, or at least before land animals. Then God placed animals on the earth, which would describe the evolution of sea to land creatures. Once God saw those creatures fit, and fully evolved into the creatures he designed, he put humans on the earth.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible has plants existing before sea creatures, and the Sun and Moon being created at the same time (and their indicated roles of being the lights of day and night hinting at geocentrism), after the Earth already has plant life on it. It has birds existing before land creatures as well. It is true that scientists believe the Earth was at one point mostly covered in water, but volcanism isn't the reason why this changed, it was the cooling of Earth's mantle leading to greater height variations in Earth's surface. The Genesis creation story is nothing more than rather uncreative bronze-age myth-making. Trying to twist it around to line it up with the complex history of our planet as we know it now is a fool's errand.
    Posted in: Politics, Philosophy, News and Science
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