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An argument against 'First Cause' flavor monotheism

#81DarkContractor(Topic Creator)Posted 11/11/2013 5:26:02 PM
And I've more than hinted at the reality that this line of reasoning makes no sense. Until you can prove that the mere existence of Cosmological God necessitates the existence of Infinite Cosmological Gods, your argument makes no sense. Nothing in the Ontological or Cosmological argument remotely indicates that God's infiniteness as a quality is equivocal to Him being infinite as a quantity.

So far the most you've put forth in favor of this claim (on which your entire argument rests) is "pre-emptive" answers to questions that might be asked about your theory. What you haven't put forth is an actual chain of causes and effects, A-->B-->C.


Okay sure!

A: A 'God' is something that necessarily exists
B: Does God exist?
C: Yes, he necessarily exists. If my answer to B was no I would be falsifying property A.

You are the one attaching a quantitative claim, not me. The quanity 'infinity' being a conclusion and not a premise. You are doing this precisely by resting with monotheism.


You mean the claim that you keep repeating even though you can't actually explain how it works? And with Kozlo, he simply pointed out a couple of issues with your statements (semantic issues) and you answered them to his satisfaction. Nothing in that conversation explains how the assumption of the Cosmological God Argument necessitates the assumption of Multiple/Infinite Cosmological Deities.


Semantic, really? Is that what that was?

I've told you the issues I have with said claim, namely that quantities =/= qualities.


Well okay then it sounds like we can jettison the idea of the cosmological argument necessitating any specific quantities and simply making a god's existence necessary. So we're going to reject that monotheist premise that you're assuming and ask "does god exist"? and no matter how many times we ask, the answer is yes!


This after you've defined 'God' as the result of "basically assuming the Cosmological Argument."

You are DIRECTLY STATING that the existence of "unlimited god" as defined by Cosmological Argument (or close to it) leads to the necessary existence of infinite number of said Gods.


Well, seeing as how unlimited Gods necessarily exist, it would be fallicious for me to say that there was such a thing as an unlimited God that doesn't exist. Unless of course the quality, not quantity, of 'existence' does not follow from 'necessarily existing'. If there's a problem with that maybe you can help me see it, cause I'm not just getting it. Change your diaper while you're at it.
#82Moorish_IdolPosted 11/11/2013 7:20:09 PM
DarkContractor posted...
I disagree entirely and I think the very idea of their being a relationship between the ball and the pillow is a logical absurdity. You're probably going to disagree, but somewhere you are implying that the ball began (therefore, temporal) it's effect on the pillow. To say that the pillow has had an eternal indentation directly denies its causation.

No. If the ball has rested eternally on the pillow, the effect never began. The "eternal" part of the metaphor is key -- because not only has the pillow and ball existed eternally, but the cause-effect relationship has existed eternally. It's not "cause did effect", because the scenario is "cause and effect always are".

The whole point of the illustration is to demonstrate a non-temporal type of causation. There is no implication of a temporal causation because neither the cause nor effect are separate from each other -- they occurred (are occurring) simultaneously. You are refusing to work with the information given by saying that the ball's weight must have proceeded the pillow.

Just for a finishing touch, even gravity is not some instantaneous act. I don't feel like looking up the exact numbers, but the idea that gravitational attraction is some instant process based on location and not time was one of the absurdities that became clear when Newton's law of gravity was realized to be errored in the face of Einstein's. [...] Just incase it was not clear, by implying the indentation was caused, you are directly denying its eternal existence.

The instantaneous effect of causes is another debate. We could get into that, but I think it'd get jumbled up in this other stuff.

The problem you're seeing is caused by assuming time has passed -- which is saying that the cause must have proceeded eternity. This isn't a logical possibility.

Because we can directly observe time and see that's what it does. That's how it works. It's not like there's an ethereal transcendental time that happens to stop at the big bang, it's that time itself is a product of the big bang.

This is the point I said we're talking in circles about. Your position is that "our temporal understanding" is the only type of time that does exist and can exist, and that its effects are identical in any possible situation, whether that takes place in the known universe or not.

That isn't my position. So outside of saying that, I don't see either of us convincing the other. Once it gets to the point where I can copy and paste things I've written earlier in the discussion, I think it's time to agree to disagree.

By trying to give God a time to operate within, you are already applying a rule of physics to God but not applying the details of that particular rule that would seriously mess up your theory. It's like if you were to apply gravity to God and talk about metaphysical objects gravitating towards each other, but ignoring all the space-time implications that that makes and just going "but meta!" as a rebuttal.

I'm not doing these things. I just think it's silly to treat temporal time as inherently meaning anything outside of this universe.

I'm also not but meta-ing anything. If that's how you see this discussion going, I'll drop out of it, because I don't see any way to discuss metaphysical things other than by discussing metaphysics.

Again, you began by applying physical laws to God to make your argument work. All I've ever done is question why we should do this in the first place. I haven't heard any reason that can't be summed up as "Because that's what I know to do." If you are going to work with the idea of god/s that proceeded the physical universe, you can't exclude metaphysics from the discussion.
#83The ApologistPosted 11/11/2013 10:59:02 PM
Everything here follows so far and the focus of our discussion is then on my rebuttal through free will, agreed?


Yes, agreed. But there's no need to press the free-will/identity issue any further; the basic reason your argument doesn't work, it seems to me, is that the cosmological argument doesn't imply that the first cause has free will. Theists who believe that God has free will don't believe it on the basis of the cosmological argument, and the cosmological argument isn't used to establish that God has free will.

As I said in my previous post, if you think that it follows from the cosmological argument that there are infinitely many distinct deities, you need 1) to specify in what ways these deities have distinct sets of properties, and 2) to explain how these differentiating properties follow from the cosmological argument. If your way of accomplishing these tasks is via the notion of free will, then your whole position hinges on your ability to show that the cosmological argument necessitates that the first cause has free will. Can you show that?

(By the way, for sake of clarity, can you explain what it would mean for God to have free will? Keep in mind that any being whose existence is entailed by the cosmological argument is, presumably, going to be an atemporal being, unlike the usual candidates for free will.)
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#84Moorish_IdolPosted 11/12/2013 3:16:40 AM
Too late to edit my above post, but I used the word proceeded when I meant to use preceded.

I admit I get those two mixed up a lot, phonetically at least.
#85DarkContractor(Topic Creator)Posted 11/18/2013 3:37:04 PM
I apologize about my infrequent replies. I'm rarely browsing this forum from any place besides my phone nowadays


No. If the ball has rested eternally on the pillow, the effect never began. The "eternal" part of the metaphor is key -- because not only has the pillow and ball existed eternally, but the cause-effect relationship has existed eternally. It's not "cause did effect", because the scenario is "cause and effect always are".


in this case, the indentation exists eternally and therefore does not need a cause. To call it an effect of some other property is like saying some force created the First Cause. In this case, the bowling ball could disappear and the indentation would not be disturbed in the least.

The whole point of the illustration is to demonstrate a non-temporal type of causation. There is no implication of a temporal causation because neither the cause nor effect are separate from each other -- they occurred (are occurring) simultaneously. You are refusing to work with the information given by saying that the ball's weight must have proceeded the pillow.


No, I'm rejecting the unestablished premise that the ball's weight had anything to do with it if the ball did not precede it.

The problem you're seeing is caused by assuming time has passed -- which is saying that the cause must have proceeded eternity. This isn't a logical possibility.


The problem could also be caused by assuming there is a cause and effect relationship between the indentation and the bowling ball, or by assuming a thing such as an eternal amount of time could exist. (a little sidebar that might cause us to go onto a whole other subject but whatevz; I actually kinda agree with WLC that an infinite amount of physical events cannot exist. Of course, as you can probably guess, I jettison that 'physical' label and in general say an infinite amount of events cannot exist. I think WLC's argument is sound and then he commits a special pleading fallacy for his deity, basically. As hard as it is though for us to think about events without temporality, it leads to me viewing a First Cause as some sort of instantaneous singularity. It was actually about a month ago when I was doing some personal re-visiting of the kalaam argument and I actually nearly found myself persuaded towards a 'metaphysical' creation as I began to realize the absurdity of a physical absurdity. Then I dwelled more on why putting that word 'meta' there really changes the incoherency of infinity)
#86DarkContractor(Topic Creator)Posted 11/18/2013 3:37:13 PM
This is the point I said we're talking in circles about. Your position is that "our temporal understanding" is the only type of time that does exist and can exist, and that its effects are identical in any possible situation, whether that takes place in the known universe or not.

That isn't my position. So outside of saying that, I don't see either of us convincing the other. Once it gets to the point where I can copy and paste things I've written earlier in the discussion, I think it's time to agree to disagree.


That's fine, but if I may add one more bit that you can feel free to respond or not respond to, you asked why apply our understanding of time to God? That is PRECISELY my problem. It's logically incoherent for anything to be able to consciously make decisions, or have thoughts and then act on them, to rule and judge on matters or observe them without a 'time' to work in. But to apply time outside the universe is like applying gravity outside the universe. To elaborate the best I know how to, giving a metaphysical agent 'time' to work in seems no better to me than if I went "God couldn't have risen Jesus from the dead, that's physically impossible" or "Jesus can't have walked on water, he would have drowned!" Except this time, the physical agent/rule you're applying isn't a limitation but logically necessary for your hypothesis.

because I don't see any way to discuss metaphysical things other than by discussing metaphysics.


Of which you are currently discussing a physical agent. Unless you're speculating a 'metaphysical time' of some sort as a rebuttal. Without any evidence of any kind, then I really don't see you bringing up plausible other kinds of time as anything but going 'but meta'. What IS metaphysics? The non-physical? I loathe to borrow an argument from Barker but you can't actually tell me anything about the metaphysics. You can tell me what it isn't... non-physical, non-material. But you can't tell me what it actually is. But you can tell me how time works there for all of its physical properties.

Again, you began by applying physical laws to God to make your argument work.


Just to re-iterate the point one more time, this is precisely what I won't do, which is precisely why I will not apply the concept of time to a metaphysical agent.
#87DarkContractor(Topic Creator)Posted 11/18/2013 4:23:01 PM
Yes, agreed. But there's no need to press the free-will/identity issue any further; the basic reason your argument doesn't work, it seems to me, is that the cosmological argument doesn't imply that the first cause has free will. Theists who believe that God has free will don't believe it on the basis of the cosmological argument, and the cosmological argument isn't used to establish that God has free will.


If free will exists, then is it not a property to be had? I feel like I need your definition of God right quick. Mine includes God being free will. I actually accept some very vague mutation of the cosmological argument in that I think there is some sort of 'singularity' that preceded everything else and have even argued before against other atheists on here who asked what's wrong with an infinite regression. I think part of a definition for God should include that the agent is free to act however it chooses I don't think this singularity can do that, and I think the idea of doing that is absurd (really, the easiest way to convince me of a deity would be to convince me of free will, on an aside if anyone ever feels like taking up the debate in that).

As I said in my previous post, if you think that it follows from the cosmological argument that there are infinitely many distinct deities, you need 1) to specify in what ways these deities have distinct sets of properties, and 2) to explain how these differentiating properties follow from the cosmological argument.


I think free will demonstrates this, but re-reading some of the posts in this topic I think something needs to be pointed out: The free will rebuttal was a response to Moorish's idea that it wouldn't matter to us because for all practical purposes deities could theoretically still look like one deity.

However, in (2)a each a still has the same exact value as the other with non-changing properties but there still exists 2 of them. To argue that it is logically impossible to tell them apart is NOT the same as arguing that in reality there exists only 1'a'. To do otherwise is an argument from ignorance, "We can't tell if there's 2a or 1a, therefore 1a".


(By the way, for sake of clarity, can you explain what it would mean for God to have free will? Keep in mind that any being whose existence is entailed by the cosmological argument is, presumably, going to be an atemporal being, unlike the usual candidates for free will.)


If an algorithim p performs action x under circumstance y is true while it would still be completely logically possible for p to perform action z under circumstance y.

it's worth noting that I think free will is a logical absurdity in itself. You should also read my conversation with Moorish on my views on God and time, just so we can be on the same page of how much we would be sidetracked if we were to explore this rabbit hole. =P
#88Moorish_IdolPosted 11/18/2013 5:34:20 PM
I've lost track of the ball thing. I think I've described it to the best of my ability. So if you find a problem with it, that's okay. I think Kant himself rejected it, despite using it. We can move on from it.

I actually kinda agree with WLC that an infinite amount of physical events cannot exist. Of course, as you can probably guess, I jettison that 'physical' label and in general say an infinite amount of events cannot exist. I think WLC's argument is sound and then he commits a special pleading fallacy for his deity, basically.

I agree. I am with WLC as far as an infinite chain of events physical events being impossible (which is why I believe in a first cause for the universe). And like you said, in jettisoning the "physical" part, I have arrived to a First Cause as an entity.

The problem I have with WLC is that he thinks this proves the God of the Bible somehow, like you said. Hell, he thinks it proves a God in general somehow. I think that is a misuse of the cosmological argument, and why so many people have a problem with the cosmological argument.

I do think, though, that the bit about infinity is implied by the cosmological argument alone. I don't like giving WLC credit for that. :P

As hard as it is though for us to think about events without temporality, it leads to me viewing a First Cause as some sort of instantaneous singularity. It was actually about a month ago when I was doing some personal re-visiting of the kalaam argument and I actually nearly found myself persuaded towards a 'metaphysical' creation as I began to realize the absurdity of a physical absurdity. Then I dwelled more on why putting that word 'meta' there really changes the incoherency of infinity)

The "metaphysical" concept exists to allow for things that are not necessarily tied to or specific to our universe. It asks a more general "what is there?", instead of the "what do I see?" of physics.

I think infinity is a concept that stands apart from temporality. We do have an idea of temporal infinity (and the apparent impossibility of it in regression), but that is just a type of infinity. So the incoherency of a metaphysical infinity you are seeing may be due to unintentionally looking at it as "metaphysical temporal infinity". If that makes sense.

Without some notion of metaphysical infinity, the First Cause as an entity does become spontaneous. Which is a possibility, and one I consider often -- although, in doing so, I tend to make the possibility of spontaneity the true "first cause," which hasn't changed much of the argument. But once you allow spontaneity, you could eliminate the need for a First Cause. This is why WLC addresses physical infinities alone up until the point where his presentation on Genesis begins.

I lean towards metaphysical infinity being possible, because I think logic requires it. Otherwise logic ends up being arbitrary, in a way, which I am uncomfortable presuming.

It's logically incoherent for anything to be able to consciously make decisions, or have thoughts and then act on them, to rule and judge on matters or observe them without a 'time' to work in.

Okay, maybe this is where we are having issues. Because I don't think god does most (or any?) of those things. J_C or some other theist will have to pick up on that.
#89Moorish_IdolPosted 11/18/2013 5:34:22 PM
Of which you are currently discussing a physical agent. Unless you're speculating a 'metaphysical time' of some sort as a rebuttal. Without any evidence of any kind, then I really don't see you bringing up plausible other kinds of time as anything but going 'but meta'.

I'm not really rebutting anything. I'm just discussing it. I have no position on the "time" of god, but I do have a position on the applicability of our time, onto god or otherwise. If you were looking for me to give you some sort of alternative for temporal time, that's not my intention. My intention is to point out that applying temporal time to god shouldn't be a default assumption to base arguments on.

I see no reason to apply temporal time to God. That is my basis for my argument. I do not say this because it is convenient for my position. I feel I would say this no matter what my beliefs about God were. I have not said "therefore, we should apply such-and-such time instead" or anything like that. I am looking for a reason to accept the assumption that our temporal time occurs also with God and/or also outside our universe.

Am I not explaining this very well? You keep thinking that I am somehow trying to apply some notion of time to God when I've never done such a thing. Please read the above two paragraphs carefully, because I feel like my argument isn't being understood for what it is.

Just to re-iterate the point one more time, this is precisely what I won't do, which is precisely why I will not apply the concept of time to a metaphysical agent.

You lost me on this. You have been applying time to a metaphysical agent, right? Isn't that what your argument is doing?
#90The ApologistPosted 11/22/2013 12:11:46 PM
If free will exists, then is it not a property to be had? I feel like I need your definition of God right quick. Mine includes God being free will. I actually accept some very vague mutation of the cosmological argument in that I think there is some sort of 'singularity' that preceded everything else and have even argued before against other atheists on here who asked what's wrong with an infinite regression. I think part of a definition for God should include that the agent is free to act however it chooses I don't think this singularity can do that, and I think the idea of doing that is absurd (really, the easiest way to convince me of a deity would be to convince me of free will, on an aside if anyone ever feels like taking up the debate in that).


If your definition of 'deity' involves having free will, then it seems the conclusion here should be that the cosmological argument isn't strong enough to demonstrate that the first cause is a deity, rather than some other kind of entity. You appear to be granting that the cosmological argument on its own doesn't entail that the first cause has free will--correct me if I'm mistaken--and you also haven't contested my claim that what you're trying to show in this thread is entirely contingent on the first cause's having free will. This is the crux of the issue, then.

More generally, your whole argument in this thread, if we were to presume it successful, would establish only that the cosmological argument doesn't decide between monotheism and polytheism (perhaps among other alternatives as well). I think that's a reasonable result, and I'm not sure who'd want to dispute it. Proponents of the cosmological argument tend to acknowledge that it doesn't tell us much about the nature of the first cause, and people with detailed views on the attributes of God tend not to derive them from the cosmological argument. Rather, the attributes of God--other than being the creator, I guess--are supported by completely different considerations.
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