Can there be a coherent nontheistic metaphysics?

Nouveau

Well-known member
uh........:oops: evolution..... is uncaused...... o_O :ROFLMAO:
Not even remotely what I said.

Actually, that's the whittled down version. I'd have to publish my paper to explain to you the string/brane theories of cosmology.
If you have the education to give an accurate short explanation of the Big Bang then you are without excuse for the utter nonsense you posted.

Says the individual who has convinced himself he's the result of repetitive transitions of muck to intelligence, while completely ignoring the original cause of the uncaused. Like THAT has any intelligence to it.
Don't you ever tire of posting inane rhetoric like this instead of addressing the point?
 

SteveB

Well-known member
God may, or may not, be a liar. However, what is certain is that some human interpretations of the Bible are contrary to the observed facts of the world. Do you accept that human interpretations of the Bible can be wrong?
human interpretations being the key.

one of the things I learned throughout the years is that when people are filled with presuppositions and biases, they're not able to anything other than what they want.
As the proverbs say--- the backslider in heart is filled with his own ways......

I personally think that the problem here is not that God is a liar. Or that the bible's description of creation is wrong.

I think it's limited in its description, and people don't like that. So they start trying to fill in what they perceive are gaps, which, when twisted long enough, and stretched far enough, they wind up with evolution.

And the limited descriptions are even acknowledged by God, in Deuteronomy 29:29, and said not to be a problem with God in Proverbs 25:2.

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.

God's not afraid of our inquiry, and investigations. He's got a problem when we ignore what he's said, and then claim we know better.
 

rossum

Well-known member
I personally think that the problem here is not that God is a liar.
God disagrees with you here: Ezekiel 14:9 - "And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet."

Or that the bible's description of creation is wrong.
If God made the world, then the evidence in the world can help us interpret the Bible correctly. Different Bible interpretations give different ages for the world: YEC, OEC, Day-Age, TE etc. We can use the evidence of the world itself to decide which of those human interpretations is correct.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
God disagrees with you here: Ezekiel 14:9 - "And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet."
that'll require further investigation.
If God made the world, then the evidence in the world can help us interpret the Bible correctly. Different Bible interpretations give different ages for the world: YEC, OEC, Day-Age, TE etc. We can use the evidence of the world itself to decide which of those human interpretations is correct.
And you clipped what I said here. I stated----
I personally think that the problem here is not that God is a liar. Or that the bible's description of creation is wrong.

So, since you clearly needed to impose your biases on what I'm stating, allow me to restate this.

I personally think that the problem here is not that God is a liar, nor do I think that the bible's description of creation is wrong.

So, as you've just demonstrated that you need to impose your own biases on what others have said, when it disagrees with your worldview, did it ever occur to you that you've also imposed a faulty worldview on the evidence that exists?

I see pretty clearly that a global flood has taken place from the copious layered stratum in the fossil record, grand canyon, etc.....
Massive fossil fields, where fossils are gathered in jumbled messes.

Furthermore, the more I study the aerial map of the state of Nevada, I can see clear outlines of the old Lake Lahontan. All the signs point to a massive drainage basin, which I'd expect for a high water event.
then there's the findings of the Woods Hole Institute, years ago for the Black Sea, ancient sea level.
It gives rise to credence of a massive flood event at some point in history.
 

rossum

Well-known member
I personally think that the problem here is not that God is a liar, nor do I think that the bible's description of creation is wrong.
As I quoted, the Bible says that God can be a deceiver. That was not me, but the Bible.

The Bible describes creation, but different groups of Christians understand that description in different ways. Since those groups are all reading the same Bible, then the Bible cannot help us decide which, if any, group is correctly interpreting it. The Bible text cannot decide if YEC or OEC is correct; both have their own proof texts which they use to support their positions.

If God made the world, then the world is as reliable as the Bible; both are from God. Hence we can use the world to help us find the correct interpretation of Genesis. The Bible cannot decide between YEC and OEC; the world can. God's work in the world tells us that YEC is wrong. The world was created more than 6,000 years ago.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
The problems theists throw at atheists are often metaphysical in nature - broadly, the two categories are:
  • why is there something rather than nothing?
  • why is there order rather than disorder?
The first point is self explanatory. Why is there a universe, or indeed anything at all, rather than absolute nothingness - not even timespace?

The second point subsumes arguments from logic, mathematics, epistemology and causality (and by extension, induction).

I'm wondering if nontheists have good responses to these questions. Is there a coherent nontheistic metaphysics that accounts for being and order? And if there is, what are the implications for theism?
With regards to the first, we do not know. I think that is a problem for theists too. Why does God exist?

With regards to the second point, however, I think science has an answer. If we are measuring disorder as entropy (entropy is a measure of disorder of energy), then in fact the universe is becoming more disordered. In every change ever entropy is increasing.

So the question is, why do we see localised instances of order appearing? The answer is that there are good reasons for that. Stars form because of gravity. Snowflakes form because of strong electromagnetic forces between atoms in water molecules. There are good, well-established reasons for why order appears. I do not think there is a mystery there at all.
 

Ficciones

Active member
With regards to the first, we do not know. I think that is a problem for theists too. Why does God exist?

The theist's answer is that God necessarily and eternally exists in all possible worlds. Is there some way to offer a secular version of this? (spoiler: I think there is and I'm squaring around to it)

With regards to the second point, however, I think science has an answer. If we are measuring disorder as entropy (entropy is a measure of disorder of energy), then in fact the universe is becoming more disordered. In every change ever entropy is increasing.

So the question is, why do we see localised instances of order appearing? The answer is that there are good reasons for that. Stars form because of gravity. Snowflakes form because of strong electromagnetic forces between atoms in water molecules. There are good, well-established reasons for why order appears. I do not think there is a mystery there at all.

The question of order goes deeper than that, I think. There's a deeper, more metaphysical issue with order. Why is it that, even given all the causal reasons you cited, things remain more or less consistent? Why does overall entropy increase? Why do the principles of chemistry remain consistent? Why doesn't gravity simply wink off in the entire universe like a faulty light bulb?
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
The theist's answer is that God necessarily and eternally exists in all possible worlds. Is there some way to offer a secular version of this? (spoiler: I think there is and I'm squaring around to it)
Then my answer is that the universe necessarily and eternally exists in all possible worlds. Or the precursor to the universe.

The question of order goes deeper than that, I think. There's a deeper, more metaphysical issue with order. Why is it that, even given all the causal reasons you cited, things remain more or less consistent? Why does overall entropy increase? Why do the principles of chemistry remain consistent? Why doesn't gravity simply wink off in the entire universe like a faulty light bulb?
The first point is that that is not order. What you are now asking is why the laws of nature do not change? Quite a different question.

If gravity did wink off, I think we would then be asking; why does gravity just wink off like that? And theists would attribute it to God. To me, consistency is what you would expect if there was nothing else. Why should the laws of nature NOT be consistent?

Alternatively consider all possible worlds. Life could only exist in those that have consistent laws of chemistry, otherwise cells will be randomly falling apart. Therefore we must necessarily be in one of those worlds where the laws of nature are consistent.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
As I quoted, the Bible says that God can be a deceiver. That was not me, but the Bible.
I saw it. So..... let's dig into this more deeply, because it's clear you need to twist what it's saying to support your ignorance, and self-delusion. From Ezekiel 14.

1 Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me. 2 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 3 “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?

4 “Therefore speak to them, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols, 5 that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols.” ’

6 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations. 7 For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the LORD will answer him by Myself. 8 I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.

9 “And if the prophet is induced to speak anything, I the LORD have induced that prophet, and I will stretch out My hand against him and destroy him from among My people Israel. 10 And they shall bear their iniquity; the punishment of the prophet shall be the same as the punishment of the one who inquired, 11 that the house of Israel may no longer stray from Me, nor be profaned anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be My people and I may be their God,” says the Lord GOD.’ ”

Rather curious how this plays out.....
Which ties back to Deuteronomy 13, and 18.
Which state----

1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.

6 “If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, 7 of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, 8 you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; 9 but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. 10 And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 11 So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you.

12 “If you hear someone in one of your cities, which the LORD your God gives you to dwell in, saying, 13 ‘Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods” ’—which you have not known— 14 then you shall inquire, search out, and ask diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination was committed among you, 15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it, all that is in it and its livestock—with the edge of the sword. 16 And you shall gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and completely burn with fire the city and all its plunder, for the LORD your God. It shall be a heap forever; it shall not be built again. 17 So none of the accursed things shall remain in your hand, that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers, 18 because you have listened to the voice of the LORD your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you today, to do what is right in the eyes of the LORD your God.

15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16 according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’

17 “And the LORD said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Then there's the interaction between Jehoshaphat, and Ahab. That was an interesting event. 1 Kings 22

It appears that Ahab didn't like the prophets of YHVH, because they always called him to the carpet for his sins against YHVH. So, he had gathered around himself false prophets, who fed him lies. With Jehoshaphat, they'd agreed to go to battle together against foreign kings. In this day, the false prophets showed up, promising victory, and after a while, J grew weary of what appears to have been really obvious BS. So, he said--- isn't there a prophet of YHVH we can inquire of? To which Ahab had responded--- well.... yeah, but this guy always tells me bad stuff. But, as you wish. Along with a little manipulation and political intrigue, by a guy named Zedekiah, and the prophet, a guy named Micaiah, got really sarcastic with the king, and then told him exactly what would happen. But it didn't stop there. We were let in on a scene of God's throne room in heaven. Here's where it gets really freaky, and weird.

We see how God had called the evil spirits/angels together on how to bring about Ahab's death. So, they all gave their ideas, and one said how he's achieve it--- to put a lying spirit in the mouth of his prophets. To which God responded--- that'll work. Do it.

The chapter continues, and Ahab winds up dying because he listened to false prophets.
So.... I find myself wondering...... What Ezekiel describes, it sounds like what happened to Ahab...... he bought a lie. God appears to have authorized it. But looking back through Ahab's life, the man was a man consumed by lies, fraud, deception, hate, greed, selfishness, etc.... and just wouldn't let it go. In 1 Kings 18-19, God had done something that one would think had demonstrated to Ahab, once and for all was definitive proof that YHVH was God, but it wasn't enough for him.... he loved his sin.

So.... God deceiving people..... I can see that. They want their sin, so he gives them exactly what they want, and by that sin, they bring their own destruction on themselves. Just like we read in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Looking at the whole context, with what's written in the Law, it's pretty clear that people who choose sin, choose their own demise. And as we read in Exodus, God hardens their heart, affirming their choice.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
The Bible describes creation, but different groups of Christians understand that description in different ways.
Yeah? And?
Since those groups are all reading the same Bible, then the Bible cannot help us decide which, if any, group is correctly interpreting it.
Maybe none of them are.
The key here is--- interpretation.
What if the words simply mean what they say?
Why is that such a problem?
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
God spoke, and it stood. Psalm 33:6-9
Jesus created it, upholds it by the word of his power. John 1:3, Col. 1:16, Hebrews 1:2, Ephesians 3:9

I don't think it's easily understood, but it is simple.
The Bible text cannot decide if YEC or OEC is correct; both have their own proof texts which they use to support their positions.
again.....
yeah? And?
It's not that the bible cannot decide. It's that people are not willing to commit to what the bible says, and need it to fit with a worldview which is only 160 years old.
If God made the world, then the world is as reliable as the Bible; both are from God.
Yep......
It's my understanding that Newton believed the bible provides the basis for an orderly system, which provided him a basis for a logical description of reality. This led to his classical mechanics ideas, optics, and other ideas. It wasn't until he left observable reality, and got into the speculative which is when he started thinking he could change lead into gold.
Hence we can use the world to help us find the correct interpretation of Genesis.
I'd expect that is true..... I'd have to add that it depends on how diligent, and detailed a search one makes.
I've noticed over the years things which people say are evidence of evolution, I see as evidence of creation.
As a stage 4 cancer survivor who has been impacted with damage to my left leg's lymphatic system, and studied physics, I investigated the lymph system, and am astonished at how detailed it is..... when I consider it, I find myself wondering---- how can anyone think this evolved.
So..... yes..... how much research are you willing to invest into this?
The Bible cannot decide between YEC and OEC; the world can. God's work in the world tells us that YEC is wrong. The world was created more than 6,000 years ago.
I'm neither OEC nor YEC.
I can see that God created it, but there are numerous questions I have for both views, and so far, neither has provided what I'd consider viable answers to their ideas, which are non-biblical.
 

rossum

Well-known member
What if the words simply mean what they say?
Then you would have to find the pillars on which the earth stands as well as locating the four corners of the earth.

Not all passages in the Bible are literal: "He answered, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.'" (Matt 15:24) which had better not be literal if any humans (as opposed to Israeli sheep) want Jesus to save them. The arguments are about which words are literal and which are not. The Bible cannot help much with that discussion. An examination of the world -- i.e. science -- can help with things like pillars and corners. Not with saving sheep though.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
Then you would have to find the pillars on which the earth stands as well as locating the four corners of the earth.
No. that's your intepretation of that statement.
Not all passages in the Bible are literal: "He answered, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.'" (Matt 15:24) which had better not be literal if any humans (as opposed to Israeli sheep) want Jesus to save them. The arguments are about which words are literal and which are not. The Bible cannot help much with that discussion. An examination of the world -- i.e. science -- can help with things like pillars and corners. Not with saving sheep though.
Ever wonder why God views us as sheep?
What is it about sheep that make them like humans, or vice versa?
 
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