Jehovah God Exists and Created Everything as the Bible Records

I was part of an online debate with an agnostic that did not get far before he opted out of the debate. I thought I would post up my first argument here for discussion. There were originally supposed to be 3 Primary Arguments to defend the proposition. My opponent withdrew before we got far into the first.

~~~~

Affirmative Proposition: I affirm that Jehovah, the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible, exists and that there is sufficient natural evidence to prove His existence.

Primary Argument 1:
Major Premise 1 - If the existence of the Universe can only be due to the existence of a supernatural, eternal Creator Mind, then the existence of the Universe is sufficient natural evidence that demands the existence of that supernatural, eternal Creator-Mind.
Minor Premise 1 - The existence of the Universe can only be due to the existence of a supernatural, eternal Creator Mind.
Conclusion 1 - Therefore, the existence of the Universe is sufficient natural evidence that demands the existence of that supernatural, eternal Creator-Mind.

The argument is a valid argument in that the conclusion logically flows from the premises. Thus, if the premises are true then the conclusion must be true.
The argument is a sound argument in that the premises are true and therefore the conclusion is true.
My points below will be demonstrating that the premises are true. By demonstrating that, I will have shown the soundness of the argument and will have upheld the first portion of my primary affirmative case.

Definitions:

Existence - when we speak of something existing in this context we mean that the thing that exists is a thing that is real and is not imaginary or merely an idea. So when we say the Universe exists, we mean to say that the Universe is a real thing, not just something we imagined or conceive of in our minds. This word is used in the same manner for both the Universe and for the Creator-Mind. So that when I say "...the existence of that supernatural, eternal Creator-Mind" I mean that the Creator-Mind is a real thing, not just a concept, thought, or imagination.

Universe - the sum total of all time, space, matter, energy, and human persons.

Natural - that which is of and acts according to the Universe and all of its natural laws.

Supernatural - that which acts outside of and in a superior fashion to the natural laws of the Universe.

Eternal - a state of being external to and superior to time and space. This is not just infinite time above regular time. It is a state of being that has no regard for time and is not subject to it.

Creator - In this context, the word Creator means a thing which caused the Universe to come into being supernaturally, a First Cause.

Mind - The Creator is not just a force like electromagnetism, but it is a mind that has thought, purpose, and the ability to choose things. The Creator is a person, not in the physical sense necessarily, but in the sense of having personality and individuality. *Note "mind" is an thing that exists separate and apart from a brain, which is a physical organ, and is superior to it. Consider the analogy that the brain is like a computer and the mind is the person sitting at the keyboard.

Major Premise 1 Discussion:

The Major Premise sets the conditional that if the only way the Universe could exist is that something outside of it, not subject to its laws made it, then that is enough evidence to show that such a thing exists. I was even more specific than that, though. I said that this thing external to the universe and not subject to its laws is eternal in nature and a Creative Mind, meaning that what created the Universe is really a Who, an eternal person. This premise has been presented and argued many times over the centuries and is not a new one. It should be fairly self-evident as a Premise as it is internally logical and thus a true statement. If [my opponent] chooses to address the Major Premise more, I will of course provide more in its defense. My primary affirmative discussion will be on the Minor Premise here at the outset.

Minor Premise 1 Discussion:

"The existence of the Universe can only be due to the existence of a supernatural, eternal Creator Mind."

One of the first laws I teach in my Physics classes is the Law of Cause and Effect. It is the premise on which all science is built. When we want to know things about the universe, we observe an effect, a thing that happens or exists, and then try to understand its cause. Many times, this is done in order to replicate the cause to reproduce the effect, or to reverse the cause to undo the effect. The Law of Cause and Effect says "for every material effect, there is a superior and antecedent cause". That is to say, if something happened or exists in the Universe (or the Universe itself), then there is a cause that came before the effect and that cause must be superior in nature to the effect.

The Universe itself exists. It is a natural thing that exists. It's existence has three possibilities and they are the only logical possibilities there are:

1. The Universe has always existed.
2. The Universe created itself out of nothing.
3. The Universe was created by an exterior, anterior, superior cause.

1.
The first option was popularly called The Steady State Hypothesis or Model of the Universe. It has had some traction throughout history and even gained a minor bit of popularity in the 20th Century but none of the observed evidence fits it. The largest issue is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics or, in another form, the Law of Entropy which says that the universe is running of out energy and will one day have an end. If it has an end, then it must also have had a beginning (Law of Infinities) and thus we can discard the idea that the Universe has always existed. I do not think Stephen will contend for this possibility.

2.
The second possibility is one that is often argued for in word but not with actual evidence. The Big Bang is the most prominent form of this possibility in the imaginations of men, but it has so many holes that it should have been laid to rest along with the Steady State. The biggest hole is the 1st Law of Thermodynamics or, in another form, the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy which says that you can't get something from nothing. If you start with absolute nothingness, that's what you have and that's the beginning, middle, and end of it. It's not logically possible to get something out of nothing. Those who study cosmology understand this and so they take the Universe as far back in their models as they can without actually taking that last step to "nothing". There is the idea of quantum fluctuations in the pre-space/time, but they have no evidence for this. It's just made up magic because they don't like the alternative. No matter how far back you go, you have to start with nothing. Another universe created ours? Great, what created that one? Aliens did it (Richard Dawkins - Expelled)? Great, where did they come from? Ultimately if you try to argue for the natural origin of the Universe you find yourself arguing from the absurd position of nothing caused something. Note that other universes and aliens are not superior concepts to the universe, they are either equal (another universe) or inferior (aliens) and thus violate the Law of Cause and effect anyway.

3.
If the first two possibilities are false, that leaves only the third possibility. What's more, there are only four things that exist: time, space, matter/energy, and mind. Since time and space have no capacity to accomplish material things and matter/energy could not have created itself, then the exterior, anterior, superior cause must have been a creative mind. This mind would have to exist outside of the natural laws of the universe (thus it is supernatural in nature), and would have to exist outside the limitations of time (thus it would be eternal in nature).

Given that the third possibility is the only logical possibility for the existence Universe, I have demonstrated the truth of Minor Premise 1. Since both the major and minor premises are true and the argument is valid, the conclusion must be true.

Thus, the existence of the Universe is sufficient natural evidence that demands the existence of that supernatural, eternal Creator-Mind.

~~~~
In Truth and Love.
 

rossum

Active member
For information, I am Buddhist and am agnostic with respect to gods etc, including the ones in Buddhist scriptures.

You are mixing the material and the non-material/supernatural here. I find that introduces inconsistencies. I will, arguendo, assume the existence of some supernatural entities.

Starting with the material. The material STEM universe had a cause, agreed. Cosmologists have come up with various possibilities for 'material' (loosely speaking) causes, such as the multiverse. The multiverse is not supernatural, it is not a mind. It may, in some sense, be eternal. Hence, on the purely material level your argument fails.

Now include the non-material/supernatural. We need a different definition of "universe", since things such as angels, demons etc. are part of the extended universe and are not material. For this wider universe I use the definition: "All That Exists" (ATE). The ATE universe includes the STEM universe of science and more. Angels exist and so are part of the ATE universe.

God exists. God is also eternal. Hence there is at least one entity that has eternal existence. Thus the ATE universe is also eternal: it always contains at least one existing entity.

Since the ATE universe is itself eternal, it needs no creator by the Kalaam argument. Only things with a beginning need a cause/creator. Further the ATE universe can have no external cause since anything external to the ATE universe does not exist, by definition.

Hence your argument fails. On a purely material level, the multiverse is sufficient to cause the STEM universe and the multiverse is not God. On a wider supernatural level, the ATE universe is itself eternal and so does not require a cause/creator.

You need to rework your argument.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
I was part of an online debate with an agnostic that did not get far before he opted out of the debate. I thought I would post up my first argument here for discussion. There were originally supposed to be 3 Primary Arguments to defend the proposition. My opponent withdrew before we got far into the first.
Thanks for posting. I always appreciate a thought-out formal argument. It might have been better posted in the atheism section, though, for better response.

Minor Premise 1 - The existence of the Universe can only be due to the existence of a supernatural, eternal Creator Mind.

My primary affirmative discussion will be on the Minor Premise here at the outset.
Yes, that is clearly the part doing all of the work.

One of the first laws I teach in my Physics classes is the Law of Cause and Effect. It is the premise on which all science is built. When we want to know things about the universe, we observe an effect, a thing that happens or exists, and then try to understand its cause. Many times, this is done in order to replicate the cause to reproduce the effect, or to reverse the cause to undo the effect. The Law of Cause and Effect says "for every material effect, there is a superior and antecedent cause". That is to say, if something happened or exists in the Universe (or the Universe itself), then there is a cause that came before the effect and that cause must be superior in nature to the effect.
May I ask where you teach physics? Is this at university, secondary, or elementary level? Or some religious institution? To my knowledge, there is no Law of Causality in modern physics, at least not in this formulation. Quantum physics allows for the possibility that some events may not be causally determined, and science does not require universal causality - it requires only the methodological stance that for any new phenomena we will go looking for a cause in the hopes of finding one. The claim that causes must be superior to their effects is also no part of modern science. At best it is an outdated scholastic philosophical postulate. What objective means are there for measuring or determining 'superiority' of events?

The Universe itself exists. It is a natural thing that exists. It's existence has three possibilities and they are the only logical possibilities there are:

1. The Universe has always existed.
2. The Universe created itself out of nothing.
3. The Universe was created by an exterior, anterior, superior cause.
4. The universe had an uncaused temporal beginning.

This is a logical possibility distinct from your 1-3. Even if you believe in a Law of Causality, that law is not a law of logic, so 4 remains logically possible. It is distinct from 2 in that 2 involves creation and a state of nothingness. Option 4 does not posit any state of nothingness and does not claim that the first state of the universe was caused or created. It says rather that the universe 'came from nothing' only in the same sense that God supposedly did (i.e. by there not being anything from which God came.)

The first option was popularly called The Steady State Hypothesis or Model of the Universe. It has had some traction throughout history and even gained a minor bit of popularity in the 20th Century but none of the observed evidence fits it. The largest issue is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics or, in another form, the Law of Entropy which says that the universe is running of out energy and will one day have an end. If it has an end, then it must also have had a beginning (Law of Infinities) and thus we can discard the idea that the Universe has always existed.
The Steady State hypothesis is obviously not the only approach to option 1. An oscillating universe is another possibility, and the universe may have existed in a totally different form prior to the Big Bang, with different laws, and it may become something quite different again after this phase comes to an end.

What's more, there are only four things that exist: time, space, matter/energy, and mind. Since time and space have no capacity to accomplish material things and matter/energy could not have created itself, then the exterior, anterior, superior cause must have been a creative mind.
Except that we don't know minds to exist as a separate category from spatio-temporal matter and energy. Every mind we know of is at least dependent upon very specific arrangements of matter, and functions in accordance with physical laws. So we can better conclude that matter/energy were not created at all. In any case, it is a poor explanation to take the most complex thing we know of, and take that as an unexplained primitive when explaining the rest of the universe.

I hope these counterpoints will be of use to you in refining and improving your argument.
 

Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
I was part of an online debate with an agnostic that did not get far before he opted out of the debate. I thought I would post up my first argument here for discussion. There were originally supposed to be 3 Primary Arguments to defend the proposition. My opponent withdrew before we got far into the first.

~~~~

Affirmative Proposition: I affirm that Jehovah, the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible, exists and that there is sufficient natural evidence to prove His existence.

Primary Argument 1:
Major Premise 1 - If the existence of the Universe can only be due to the existence of a supernatural, eternal Creator Mind, then the existence of the Universe is sufficient natural evidence that demands the existence of that supernatural, eternal Creator-Mind.
Minor Premise 1 - The existence of the Universe can only be due to the existence of a supernatural, eternal Creator Mind.
Conclusion 1 - Therefore, the existence of the Universe is sufficient natural evidence that demands the existence of that supernatural, eternal Creator-Mind.

The argument is a valid argument in that the conclusion logically flows from the premises. Thus, if the premises are true then the conclusion must be true.
The argument is a sound argument in that the premises are true and therefore the conclusion is true.
My points below will be demonstrating that the premises are true. By demonstrating that, I will have shown the soundness of the argument and will have upheld the first portion of my primary affirmative case.

Definitions:

Existence - when we speak of something existing in this context we mean that the thing that exists is a thing that is real and is not imaginary or merely an idea. So when we say the Universe exists, we mean to say that the Universe is a real thing, not just something we imagined or conceive of in our minds. This word is used in the same manner for both the Universe and for the Creator-Mind. So that when I say "...the existence of that supernatural, eternal Creator-Mind" I mean that the Creator-Mind is a real thing, not just a concept, thought, or imagination.

Universe - the sum total of all time, space, matter, energy, and human persons.

Natural - that which is of and acts according to the Universe and all of its natural laws.

Supernatural - that which acts outside of and in a superior fashion to the natural laws of the Universe.

Eternal - a state of being external to and superior to time and space. This is not just infinite time above regular time. It is a state of being that has no regard for time and is not subject to it.

Creator - In this context, the word Creator means a thing which caused the Universe to come into being supernaturally, a First Cause.

Mind - The Creator is not just a force like electromagnetism, but it is a mind that has thought, purpose, and the ability to choose things. The Creator is a person, not in the physical sense necessarily, but in the sense of having personality and individuality. *Note "mind" is an thing that exists separate and apart from a brain, which is a physical organ, and is superior to it. Consider the analogy that the brain is like a computer and the mind is the person sitting at the keyboard.

Major Premise 1 Discussion:

The Major Premise sets the conditional that if the only way the Universe could exist is that something outside of it, not subject to its laws made it, then that is enough evidence to show that such a thing exists. I was even more specific than that, though. I said that this thing external to the universe and not subject to its laws is eternal in nature and a Creative Mind, meaning that what created the Universe is really a Who, an eternal person. This premise has been presented and argued many times over the centuries and is not a new one. It should be fairly self-evident as a Premise as it is internally logical and thus a true statement. If [my opponent] chooses to address the Major Premise more, I will of course provide more in its defense. My primary affirmative discussion will be on the Minor Premise here at the outset.

Minor Premise 1 Discussion:

"The existence of the Universe can only be due to the existence of a supernatural, eternal Creator Mind."

One of the first laws I teach in my Physics classes is the Law of Cause and Effect. It is the premise on which all science is built. When we want to know things about the universe, we observe an effect, a thing that happens or exists, and then try to understand its cause. Many times, this is done in order to replicate the cause to reproduce the effect, or to reverse the cause to undo the effect. The Law of Cause and Effect says "for every material effect, there is a superior and antecedent cause". That is to say, if something happened or exists in the Universe (or the Universe itself), then there is a cause that came before the effect and that cause must be superior in nature to the effect.

The Universe itself exists. It is a natural thing that exists. It's existence has three possibilities and they are the only logical possibilities there are:

1. The Universe has always existed.
2. The Universe created itself out of nothing.
3. The Universe was created by an exterior, anterior, superior cause.

1.
The first option was popularly called The Steady State Hypothesis or Model of the Universe. It has had some traction throughout history and even gained a minor bit of popularity in the 20th Century but none of the observed evidence fits it. The largest issue is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics or, in another form, the Law of Entropy which says that the universe is running of out energy and will one day have an end. If it has an end, then it must also have had a beginning (Law of Infinities) and thus we can discard the idea that the Universe has always existed. I do not think Stephen will contend for this possibility.

2.
The second possibility is one that is often argued for in word but not with actual evidence. The Big Bang is the most prominent form of this possibility in the imaginations of men, but it has so many holes that it should have been laid to rest along with the Steady State. The biggest hole is the 1st Law of Thermodynamics or, in another form, the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy which says that you can't get something from nothing. If you start with absolute nothingness, that's what you have and that's the beginning, middle, and end of it. It's not logically possible to get something out of nothing. Those who study cosmology understand this and so they take the Universe as far back in their models as they can without actually taking that last step to "nothing". There is the idea of quantum fluctuations in the pre-space/time, but they have no evidence for this. It's just made up magic because they don't like the alternative. No matter how far back you go, you have to start with nothing. Another universe created ours? Great, what created that one? Aliens did it (Richard Dawkins - Expelled)? Great, where did they come from? Ultimately if you try to argue for the natural origin of the Universe you find yourself arguing from the absurd position of nothing caused something. Note that other universes and aliens are not superior concepts to the universe, they are either equal (another universe) or inferior (aliens) and thus violate the Law of Cause and effect anyway.

3.
If the first two possibilities are false, that leaves only the third possibility. What's more, there are only four things that exist: time, space, matter/energy, and mind. Since time and space have no capacity to accomplish material things and matter/energy could not have created itself, then the exterior, anterior, superior cause must have been a creative mind. This mind would have to exist outside of the natural laws of the universe (thus it is supernatural in nature), and would have to exist outside the limitations of time (thus it would be eternal in nature).

Given that the third possibility is the only logical possibility for the existence Universe, I have demonstrated the truth of Minor Premise 1. Since both the major and minor premises are true and the argument is valid, the conclusion must be true.

Thus, the existence of the Universe is sufficient natural evidence that demands the existence of that supernatural, eternal Creator-Mind.

~~~~
In Truth and Love.
Wow. A Christian on here posting a valid, well-constructed argument, without in the process of doing so insulting or attacking anybody.

Please say you'll stay.

I don't plan to comment (beyond this, at least, as yet), but I wanted to say that I greatly appreciate the work and thought you've put into this. Now I'll sit back and watch the discussion.
 

Komodo

Active member
Apologies for skipping most of your OP for the purpose of a quick response, but I wanted to focus on a couple of points.
[. . .]

Eternal
- a state of being external to and superior to time and space. This is not just infinite time above regular time. It is a state of being that has no regard for time and is not subject to it.
Is there a technical/philosophical meaning to "superior" that you're using here, which isn't synonymous with "better than, greater than"? Because it's hard to understand what "better than, greater than" would mean in "better than, greater than time and space."

Suppose we define "eternal" just as "not subject to time." (You could argue that mathematical truths are "eternal" in that sense, though that is presumably not quite what you had in mind.) And suppose we accept, at least for the sake of argument, that the universe must have been caused by something "eternal." This brings us to...

[. . .] there are only four things that exist: time, space, matter/energy, and mind. Since time and space have no capacity to accomplish material things and matter/energy could not have created itself, then the exterior, anterior, superior cause must have been a creative mind.
Wait: are the laws of physics themselves time or space or matter or energy? Are the laws of mathematics themselves "minds"?* Even if you reduced everything we know to time, space, matter/energy and mind, what you have done is not to describe "all that can exist," but "all that exists, which we are familiar with." If we are not bound by "the way things work, to the best of our knowledge," then there is nothing logically preventing the cause of the universe from being some fifth (sixth, seventh...) thing. If we are bound by "the way things work, to the best of our knowledge," we can't conclude that "mind" created time, space and matter/energy (laws of physics and mathematics...), because to the best of our knowledge, minds can't do anything of the sort, and minds as we know them are very much subject to time, and so not "eternal." So I think you're in a bind here.

*It could be argued these are not "things" in the same way that objects or events in time and space are -- in fact I would agree with that argument, when it came to math or logic or morality -- but then would time and space still be "things"? Anyway, that is probably too wide a digression to get into here, unless you find it relevant or interesting.
 
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Mr Laurier

Well-known member
I was part of an online debate with an agnostic that did not get far before he opted out of the debate. I thought I would post up my first argument here for discussion. There were originally supposed to be 3 Primary Arguments to defend the proposition. My opponent withdrew before we got far into the first.
Your arguments were bad presuppositional apologetics that rest on woeful ignorance of the actual science.
You start with the conclusion, and build a fantasy to support it.
 

Cisco Qid

Member
I was part of an online debate with an agnostic that did not get far before he opted out of the debate. I thought I would post up my first argument here for discussion. There were originally supposed to be 3 Primary Arguments to defend the proposition. My opponent withdrew before we got far into the first.

~~~~

Affirmative Proposition: I affirm that Jehovah, the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible, exists and that there is sufficient natural evidence to prove His existence.

Primary Argument 1:
Major Premise 1 - If the existence of the Universe can only be due to the existence of a supernatural, eternal Creator Mind, then the existence of the Universe is sufficient natural evidence that demands the existence of that supernatural, eternal Creator-Mind.
Minor Premise 1 - The existence of the Universe can only be due to the existence of a supernatural, eternal Creator Mind.
Conclusion 1 - Therefore, the existence of the Universe is sufficient natural evidence that demands the existence of that supernatural, eternal Creator-Mind.

The argument is a valid argument in that the conclusion logically flows from the premises. Thus, if the premises are true then the conclusion must be true.
The argument is a sound argument in that the premises are true and therefore the conclusion is true.
My points below will be demonstrating that the premises are true. By demonstrating that, I will have shown the soundness of the argument and will have upheld the first portion of my primary affirmative case.

Definitions:

Existence - when we speak of something existing in this context we mean that the thing that exists is a thing that is real and is not imaginary or merely an idea. So when we say the Universe exists, we mean to say that the Universe is a real thing, not just something we imagined or conceive of in our minds. This word is used in the same manner for both the Universe and for the Creator-Mind. So that when I say "...the existence of that supernatural, eternal Creator-Mind" I mean that the Creator-Mind is a real thing, not just a concept, thought, or imagination.

Universe - the sum total of all time, space, matter, energy, and human persons.

Natural - that which is of and acts according to the Universe and all of its natural laws.

Supernatural - that which acts outside of and in a superior fashion to the natural laws of the Universe.

Eternal - a state of being external to and superior to time and space. This is not just infinite time above regular time. It is a state of being that has no regard for time and is not subject to it.

Creator - In this context, the word Creator means a thing which caused the Universe to come into being supernaturally, a First Cause.

Mind - The Creator is not just a force like electromagnetism, but it is a mind that has thought, purpose, and the ability to choose things. The Creator is a person, not in the physical sense necessarily, but in the sense of having personality and individuality. *Note "mind" is an thing that exists separate and apart from a brain, which is a physical organ, and is superior to it. Consider the analogy that the brain is like a computer and the mind is the person sitting at the keyboard.

Major Premise 1 Discussion:

The Major Premise sets the conditional that if the only way the Universe could exist is that something outside of it, not subject to its laws made it, then that is enough evidence to show that such a thing exists. I was even more specific than that, though. I said that this thing external to the universe and not subject to its laws is eternal in nature and a Creative Mind, meaning that what created the Universe is really a Who, an eternal person. This premise has been presented and argued many times over the centuries and is not a new one. It should be fairly self-evident as a Premise as it is internally logical and thus a true statement. If [my opponent] chooses to address the Major Premise more, I will of course provide more in its defense. My primary affirmative discussion will be on the Minor Premise here at the outset.

Minor Premise 1 Discussion:

"The existence of the Universe can only be due to the existence of a supernatural, eternal Creator Mind."

One of the first laws I teach in my Physics classes is the Law of Cause and Effect. It is the premise on which all science is built. When we want to know things about the universe, we observe an effect, a thing that happens or exists, and then try to understand its cause. Many times, this is done in order to replicate the cause to reproduce the effect, or to reverse the cause to undo the effect. The Law of Cause and Effect says "for every material effect, there is a superior and antecedent cause". That is to say, if something happened or exists in the Universe (or the Universe itself), then there is a cause that came before the effect and that cause must be superior in nature to the effect.

The Universe itself exists. It is a natural thing that exists. It's existence has three possibilities and they are the only logical possibilities there are:

1. The Universe has always existed.
2. The Universe created itself out of nothing.
3. The Universe was created by an exterior, anterior, superior cause.

1.
The first option was popularly called The Steady State Hypothesis or Model of the Universe. It has had some traction throughout history and even gained a minor bit of popularity in the 20th Century but none of the observed evidence fits it. The largest issue is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics or, in another form, the Law of Entropy which says that the universe is running of out energy and will one day have an end. If it has an end, then it must also have had a beginning (Law of Infinities) and thus we can discard the idea that the Universe has always existed. I do not think Stephen will contend for this possibility.

2.
The second possibility is one that is often argued for in word but not with actual evidence. The Big Bang is the most prominent form of this possibility in the imaginations of men, but it has so many holes that it should have been laid to rest along with the Steady State. The biggest hole is the 1st Law of Thermodynamics or, in another form, the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy which says that you can't get something from nothing. If you start with absolute nothingness, that's what you have and that's the beginning, middle, and end of it. It's not logically possible to get something out of nothing. Those who study cosmology understand this and so they take the Universe as far back in their models as they can without actually taking that last step to "nothing". There is the idea of quantum fluctuations in the pre-space/time, but they have no evidence for this. It's just made up magic because they don't like the alternative. No matter how far back you go, you have to start with nothing. Another universe created ours? Great, what created that one? Aliens did it (Richard Dawkins - Expelled)? Great, where did they come from? Ultimately if you try to argue for the natural origin of the Universe you find yourself arguing from the absurd position of nothing caused something. Note that other universes and aliens are not superior concepts to the universe, they are either equal (another universe) or inferior (aliens) and thus violate the Law of Cause and effect anyway.

3.
If the first two possibilities are false, that leaves only the third possibility. What's more, there are only four things that exist: time, space, matter/energy, and mind. Since time and space have no capacity to accomplish material things and matter/energy could not have created itself, then the exterior, anterior, superior cause must have been a creative mind. This mind would have to exist outside of the natural laws of the universe (thus it is supernatural in nature), and would have to exist outside the limitations of time (thus it would be eternal in nature).

Given that the third possibility is the only logical possibility for the existence Universe, I have demonstrated the truth of Minor Premise 1. Since both the major and minor premises are true and the argument is valid, the conclusion must be true.

Thus, the existence of the Universe is sufficient natural evidence that demands the existence of that supernatural, eternal Creator-Mind.

~~~~
In Truth and Love.
Do you mind if I frame this and hang it on my wall?
 
Thanks for posting. I always appreciate a thought-out formal argument. It might have been better posted in the atheism section, though, for better response.
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful post. I appreciate the gentle and logical approach to the discussion.

I've already ignored several others on the forum.
Yes, that is clearly the part doing all of the work.


May I ask where you teach physics? Is this at university, secondary, or elementary level? Or some religious institution?
I'm in my 13th year teaching at the high school level, but I've been studying it intensely since high school.

To my knowledge, there is no Law of Causality in modern physics, at least not in this formulation. Quantum physics allows for the possibility that some events may not be causally determined, and science does not require universal causality - it requires only the methodological stance that for any new phenomena we will go looking for a cause in the hopes of finding one. The claim that causes must be superior to their effects is also no part of modern science. At best it is an outdated scholastic philosophical postulate. What objective means are there for measuring or determining 'superiority' of events?
This is going to be the primary source of our contention, I believe.

Modern Physics, starting with Einstein, is a change in the way science is perceived by man. Everything is relative. Even truth. I do not come from that cloth. I am more in line with Newton and those who held to objective truth, knowable reality. Theories like Relativity and Quantum Physics are still unproved premises, sub-par to the known, demonstrable Laws. In that paradigm, rational concepts such as the Law of Cause and Effect are still the foundation for what is and can be known.

If we get into a discussion of Quantum Physics as it relates to our topic, we have to start with what we actually know about Quantum Physics at all. If there is nothing known about QP, then it cannot be a basis to discuss or dismiss anything, nor postulate solutions to problems or answers to hypotheses.

Superiority of causes is measured by having sufficient power and opportunity to produce the effect. A butterfly that lands on a skyscraper just before the building collapses would not be a superior cause because a butterfly is insufficient to cause the collapse of such a mighty structure. If we saw such an event, we would not rationally conclude that the butterfly caused the building to collapse. We would rationally seek to find another cause (such as demolition explosions set at the base of the building). The Law of Cause and Effect is not obsolete and cannot be simply dismissed. One must either contend with it or explain why it is no longer viable.

4. The universe had an uncaused temporal beginning.

This is a logical possibility distinct from your 1-3. Even if you believe in a Law of Causality, that law is not a law of logic, so 4 remains logically possible. It is distinct from 2 in that 2 involves creation and a state of nothingness. Option 4 does not posit any state of nothingness and does not claim that the first state of the universe was caused or created. It says rather that the universe 'came from nothing' only in the same sense that God supposedly did (i.e. by there not being anything from which God came.)
God did not "come". God exists eternally and is outside of and not subject to time. Your #4 is just another version of #1 for the Universe. Time itself did not exist before the first nanosecond. Even according to the Big Bang hypothesis, spacetime began 13.7 billion years ago.

To speak of God "coming from nothing" is to be speaking about a different God than the one I am talking about.

The Steady State hypothesis is obviously not the only approach to option 1. An oscillating universe is another possibility, and the universe may have existed in a totally different form prior to the Big Bang, with different laws, and it may become something quite different again after this phase comes to an end.
May have, may become...this isn't science other than unsupported hypothesis. I deal in evidence and observation. What evidence is there that such an "oscillating universe" is possible? What evidence is there that the universe could exist under totally different laws than it does now? I mean no disrespect when I say this, but I also write fiction (three published novels) and I know about imagining different worlds, realms of magic and The Force, and such things. But imagining these things doesn't make them logical possibilities. Logical possibilities derive from substantiated arguments, proofs, and evidence.

I would need to see your argument in support of the plausibility of your oscillating universe before I could admit it into the list.
Except that we don't know minds to exist as a separate category from spatio-temporal matter and energy. Every mind we know of is at least dependent upon very specific arrangements of matter, and functions in accordance with physical laws. So we can better conclude that matter/energy were not created at all. In any case, it is a poor explanation to take the most complex thing we know of, and take that as an unexplained primitive when explaining the rest of the universe.

I hope these counterpoints will be of use to you in refining and improving your argument.
You don't. But the evidence exists. I recommend the work of Sir John Eccles. It is certainly not a definitive conclusion in science, biology, psychology, et. al.

Again, thank you for your approach and the grace with which you have replied. Know that my statements are directed toward your premises, not your person. I look forward to more discourse with you in the days to come.
 
Apologies for skipping most of your OP for the purpose of a quick response, but I wanted to focus on a couple of points.
No worries. I understand.
Is there a technical/philosophical meaning to "superior" that you're using here, which isn't synonymous with "better than, greater than"? Because it's hard to understand what "better than, greater than" would mean in "better than, greater than time and space."
Sufficient to produce. It is difficult to think of what would be better in quality and quantity than time and space if we limit our perception to only the natural universe. I will give you an example I use with my own kids. Time is a string, linear in fashion. It has a beginning and an end. That string at every point along it represents all of space and the matter/energy it contains, each point a frame in a moving picture a whole universe wide. God holds both ends of the string and is looking at the whole string simultaneously.

While analogies are not necessarily useful with regard to logical arguments proving a hypothesis, they are useful as explanatory tools when trying to help someone understand what we mean. That is why we use them. As limited as my analogy may be, I hope it helps you understand what I mean when I say that God is superior to time.
Suppose we define "eternal" just as "not subject to time." (You could argue that mathematical truths are "eternal" in that sense, though that is presumably not quite what you had in mind.) And suppose we accept, at least for the sake of argument, that the universe must have been caused by something "eternal." This brings us to...


Wait: are the laws of physics themselves time or space or matter or energy? Are the laws of mathematics themselves "minds"?*
The laws of Physics are inherent design features in time, space, matter, and energy and how those things interact, but have also proceeded from the Mind of the Designer. The laws of mathematics are inherit to the logical Mind from which they proceed in the same way. We cannot logically separate Coulomb's Law from charged particles as a distinct thing.
Even if you reduced everything we know to time, space, matter/energy and mind, what you have done is not to describe "all that can exist," but "all that exists, which we are familiar with." If we are not bound by "the way things work, to the best of our knowledge," then there is nothing logically preventing the cause of the universe from being some fifth (sixth, seventh...) thing. If we are bound by "the way things work, to the best of our knowledge," we can't conclude that "mind" created time, space and matter/energy (laws of physics and mathematics...), because to the best of our knowledge, minds can't do anything of the sort, and minds as we know them are very much subject to time, and so not "eternal." So I think you're in a bind here.
We are bound by all that does exist. Our own knowledge is irrelevant because our minds are finite, our perception limited. See my post above about imagination and evidence. I'm not in a bind because there is no evidence for anything outside of what I have already presented. Everything else is...fantasy.
*It could be argued these are not "things" in the same way that objects or events in time and space are -- in fact I would agree with that argument, when it came to math or logic or morality -- but then would time and space still be "things"? Anyway, that is probably too wide a digression to get into here, unless you find it relevant or interesting.
I do find it relevant and interesting and I imagine I will catch a lot of flak for my thoughts on those things eventually, but they are beyond the scope of this thread at the moment.

Thank you for the kind and thoughtful attitude as we discuss these things. It is a pleasure and I look forward to more.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful post. I appreciate the gentle and logical approach to the discussion.
You're welcome. A reasonable discussion here is a very welcome change of pace.

I'm in my 13th year teaching at the high school level, but I've been studying it intensely since high school.
If you are teaching high school physics then you would have a college-level science education, right? So was your Law of Causality something you were taught in college, sourced from college-level textbooks, or something you made up yourself or found in religious sources?

This is going to be the primary source of our contention, I believe.

Modern Physics, starting with Einstein, is a change in the way science is perceived by man. Everything is relative. Even truth. I do not come from that cloth. I am more in line with Newton and those who held to objective truth, knowable reality. Theories like Relativity and Quantum Physics are still unproved premises, sub-par to the known, demonstrable Laws. In that paradigm, rational concepts such as the Law of Cause and Effect are still the foundation for what is and can be known.
Modern physics does not involve the relativization of truth. And are you saying you teach physics but reject Relativity and QM? Are your employers aware of this? Are your students aware that you are teaching them science that is hundreds of years out of date, and loaded with your own personal religious presuppositions? Did your science education not cover the vast empirical support for Relativity and QM, and why they have supplanted falsified Newtonian physics?

Superiority of causes is measured by having sufficient power and opportunity to produce the effect.
That would make it very obviously an empty tautology, and completely unfalsifiable.

A butterfly that lands on a skyscraper just before the building collapses would not be a superior cause because a butterfly is insufficient to cause the collapse of such a mighty structure. If we saw such an event, we would not rationally conclude that the butterfly caused the building to collapse. We would rationally seek to find another cause (such as demolition explosions set at the base of the building). The Law of Cause and Effect is not obsolete and cannot be simply dismissed. One must either contend with it or explain why it is no longer viable.
A stick of dynamite is smaller and simpler than a building. By what objective measure is it greater or superior to the building it destroys? Again, if all you mean by 'superior' is that it can cause the 'inferior' effect, then the theory of superior cause is just a tautology.

God did not "come". God exists eternally and is outside of and not subject to time. Your #4 is just another version of #1 for the Universe. Time itself did not exist before the first nanosecond. Even according to the Big Bang hypothesis, spacetime began 13.7 billion years ago.
You could call #4 a version of #1, but then it is a version your argument did not refute. Option #1 is also then ambiguous, as a the universe may have always existed either (i) by having an infinite temporal past; or (ii) having a finite temporal past and existing at all moments in that past. Option #1(ii) is then what I am talking about with Option #4 as an uncaused temporal beginning, and this is a logical possibility you have not ruled out in your argument.

To speak of God "coming from nothing" is to be speaking about a different God than the one I am talking about.
I don't think it is. I am not speaking of there being a 'state of nothingness' from which God came, but rather of the fact that there isn't anything from which God came. If that can be true of God, then it can also be true of a universe with a finite past.

May have, may become...this isn't science other than unsupported hypothesis. I deal in evidence and observation. What evidence is there that such an "oscillating universe" is possible? What evidence is there that the universe could exist under totally different laws than it does now? I mean no disrespect when I say this, but I also write fiction (three published novels) and I know about imagining different worlds, realms of magic and The Force, and such things. But imagining these things doesn't make them logical possibilities. Logical possibilities derive from substantiated arguments, proofs, and evidence. I would need to see your argument in support of the plausibility of your oscillating universe before I could admit it into the list.
I don't think this is fair. Your entire argument hinged on claiming you had covered all possibilities and eliminated all but your conclusion. Pointing out other possibilities is all that is needed to refute such an argument. And other logical possibilities are anything that isn't ruled out by incoherence or internal contradiction. I don't need evidence or even plausibility to reach this low bar.

You don't. But the evidence exists. I recommend the work of Sir John Eccles. It is certainly not a definitive conclusion in science, biology, psychology, et. al.
I'm not familiar with his work, but I do have a background in philosophy of mind so I'd be happy to discuss it if you like. But in the meantime I stand by my point that all minds we know of appear to be dependent upon physical matter, and that it is not a good explanation to take as an unexplained primitive in your theory the most complex thing we know of.

Again, thank you for your approach and the grace with which you have replied. Know that my statements are directed toward your premises, not your person. I look forward to more discourse with you in the days to come.
Great. Let's continue to set an example here that other forum regulars might learn from :)
 

Komodo

Active member
["Superior," meaning] sufficient to produce.
OK, but then if the beginning of the universe was caused, it's tautologically true that it was caused by something sufficient to cause it. That wouldn't in itself imply that the cause was 'superior' in other denotations/connotations of the word, like "omnipotent, or close to it." (Maybe that wasn't your implication, but I have seen it argued that the cause of the universe must be "superior" to it in this way.)

It is difficult to think of what would be better in quality and quantity than time and space if we limit our perception to only the natural universe. I will give you an example I use with my own kids. Time is a string, linear in fashion. It has a beginning and an end. That string at every point along it represents all of space and the matter/energy it contains, each point a frame in a moving picture a whole universe wide. God holds both ends of the string and is looking at the whole string simultaneously.

While analogies are not necessarily useful with regard to logical arguments proving a hypothesis, they are useful as explanatory tools when trying to help someone understand what we mean. That is why we use them. As limited as my analogy may be, I hope it helps you understand what I mean when I say that God is superior to time.
I don't have any firm objection to contemplating the possibility of some "higher" realm than our own, which might be on some level incomprehensible to us. (I enjoyed Flatland that way.) In any case, that wouldn't be the source of any objection I had to your argument.
I'm not ruling out the possibility of entities or states of being which are beyond our comprehension, repugnant to our intuitions, and contrary to our experience. But of course a possibility is not a necessity.

The laws of Physics are inherent design features in time, space, matter, and energy and how those things interact, but have also proceeded from the Mind of the Designer. The laws of mathematics are inherit to the logical Mind from which they proceed in the same way. We cannot logically separate Coulomb's Law from charged particles as a distinct thing.

We are bound by all that does exist. Our own knowledge is irrelevant because our minds are finite, our perception limited. See my post above about imagination and evidence. I'm not in a bind because there is no evidence for anything outside of what I have already presented. Everything else is...fantasy.
It seems to me that you are trying to "gerrymander" the rules of explanation to make sure your "party" is elected, so to speak. :) Explanations which posit something beyond our current knowledge are outside the boundary, so it's not legitimate to say "it might have been some entity of a nature unknown to us"; but explanations which posit something within our current knowledge which is behaving in a way which is beyond our current knowledge are inside that boundary, so it is legitimate to say "it might have been a mind, acting in a way we've never seen minds act, doing things we have no reason to believe any mind can do."

If you could show that these particular "filters" for legitimate and illegitimate explanation were really proven to work (i.e., that they weren't really gerrymanders), that would make your case more compelling; if it's just something that makes sense to you, then I can just as reasonably say that it doesn't make sense to me.

I do find it relevant and interesting and I imagine I will catch a lot of flak for my thoughts on those things eventually, but they are beyond the scope of this thread at the moment.

Thank you for the kind and thoughtful attitude as we discuss these things. It is a pleasure and I look forward to more.
Thank you, and the same to you!
 
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Komodo

Active member
An addendum, which you might consider as coming somewhere in my paragraph on "gerrymandering":
We are bound by all that does exist. Our own knowledge is irrelevant because our minds are finite, our perception limited.
Since our minds are finite, and our perception limited, it is entirely possible that we do not know "all that does exist," and therefore an argument along the lines of yours -- 'There are four and only four things that exist, so the cause of the universe must be found in one of the four' -- is based on a premise we can't know to be true.

On the other hand, if our own knowledge is good enough to rule in or rule out what sorts of things could cause what other sorts of things, then we can rule out "mind" as the cause of the universe because (to our knowledge) mind can't create space, time or matter/energy.
 
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If you are teaching high school physics then you would have a college-level science education, right? So was your Law of Causality something you were taught in college, sourced from college-level textbooks, or something you made up yourself or found in religious sources?
The Law of Causality or Cause and Effect was taught throughout my education at public schools from elementary all the way through college. It can easily be found on the interwebs as well. It's been around since at least Aristotle and is still taught in the public text books we currently use.

I'm truly confused that you've never heard of it and don't know what it is.
Modern physics does not involve the relativization of truth.
My experience with the scientific community says otherwise, but I will proceed as if you don't. I'm glad that you believe in objective truth.
That would make it very obviously an empty tautology, and completely unfalsifiable.
As you wish.
A stick of dynamite is smaller and simpler than a building. By what objective measure is it greater or superior to the building it destroys? Again, if all you mean by 'superior' is that it can cause the 'inferior' effect, then the theory of superior cause is just a tautology.
Using your example of the explosive (dynamite, C4, etc.), an explosive of that size (a single stick) is insufficient to destroy an entire building. At best, it is only sufficient to destroy a small portion of the building. If, however, that small part it is capable of destroying happens to be integral to support of the building such that if it is removed, gravity will collapse the building, then it is the gravity of the planet that is the cause of the collapse of the building.

A large explosive such as a military bomb dropped from a plane, a nuclear bomb, or other such explosives are of sufficient force to cause the collapse of one or more buildings.
You could call #4 a version of #1, but then it is a version your argument did not refute. Option #1 is also then ambiguous, as a the universe may have always existed either (i) by having an infinite temporal past; or (ii) having a finite temporal past and existing at all moments in that past. Option #1(ii) is then what I am talking about with Option #4 as an uncaused temporal beginning, and this is a logical possibility you have not ruled out in your argument.
I have shown that this is refuted by the Laws of Thermodynamics. You have a finite amount of energy in the universe and its running out in terms of energy available for use. Once that happens, the universe will end. If it has an end, it has a beginning. Beginning and end are temporal terms. The evidence from these Laws is against an infinite temporal past just as they are against infinite available energy.
I don't think it is. I am not speaking of there being a 'state of nothingness' from which God came, but rather of the fact that there isn't anything from which God came. If that can be true of God, then it can also be true of a universe with a finite past.
You are still talking about a different being than I am. God doesn't come. He is eternal. He has no beginning. It is nonsensical to ask "When did God start to exist?" or "Where did God come from?". He exists in a state that is not subject to time, unlike the universe which had a beginning.
I don't think this is fair. Your entire argument hinged on claiming you had covered all possibilities and eliminated all but your conclusion. Pointing out other possibilities is all that is needed to refute such an argument. And other logical possibilities are anything that isn't ruled out by incoherence or internal contradiction. I don't need evidence or even plausibility to reach this low bar.
My argument is based on addressing all logical possibilities. Either your hypothetical origins already fit into one of those categories in which case you would have to present arguments to their veracity and show why my premise against that one is false (as you tried to do with the #4 which was really a form of #1), or it is pure fantasy and thus not a logical possibility and not under consideration. Saying Elminster from Faerun cast a spell and here we are is not going to be accepted as a meaningful argument. You have to show that your hypothesis falls under logical possibility before it can be examined and admitted as a potential defeater for one of the premises I presented. If you can't or won't, then the argument stands.

You have not done what you have claimed to do.
I'm not familiar with his work, but I do have a background in philosophy of mind so I'd be happy to discuss it if you like. But in the meantime I stand by my point that all minds we know of appear to be dependent upon physical matter, and that it is not a good explanation to take as an unexplained primitive in your theory the most complex thing we know of.
I found it fascinating. I highly recommend it.

And I stand by my point that all minds we know of are independent of physical matter and able to interact with it through the neural computer we call a brain.
Great. Let's continue to set an example here that other forum regulars might learn from :)
:)
 
OK, but then if the beginning of the universe was caused, it's tautologically true that it was caused by something sufficient to cause it. That wouldn't in itself imply that the cause was 'superior' in other denotations/connotations of the word, like "omnipotent, or close to it." (Maybe that wasn't your implication, but I have seen it argued that the cause of the universe must be "superior" to it in this way.)
As you wish.
I don't have any firm objection to contemplating the possibility of some "higher" realm than our own, which might be on some level incomprehensible to us. (I enjoyed Flatland that way.)
I have a college professor friend who rewrote Flatland to be more about mathematics and planar preception than social commentary. She entitled it The Story of Flatland. It was a fascinating book!
In any case, that wouldn't be the source of any objection I had to your argument.
I'm not ruling out the possibility of entities or states of being which are beyond our comprehension, repugnant to our intuitions, and contrary to our experience. But of course a possibility is not a necessity.
Unless it is the only logical one left.
It seems to me that you are trying to "gerrymander" the rules of explanation to make sure your "party" is elected, so to speak. :) Explanations which posit something beyond our current knowledge are outside the boundary, so it's not legitimate to say "it might have been some entity of a nature unknown to us"; but explanations which posit something within our current knowledge which is behaving in a way which is beyond our current knowledge are inside that boundary, so it is legitimate to say "it might have been a mind, acting in a way we've never seen minds act, doing things we have no reason to believe any mind can do."

But I am not arguing that the entity is of a nature unknown to us. God is known to us. But that's the next phase of the case. This first phase is just showing that no other possibility exists save an external creative mind.

If you could show that these particular "filters" for legitimate and illegitimate explanation were really proven to work (i.e., that they weren't really gerrymanders), that would make your case more compelling; if it's just something that makes sense to you, then I can just as reasonably say that it doesn't make sense to me.
I don't know of any other logical possibilities than what I have posited. Even Nouveau's various scenarios are some variation on what I've already presented. 1) Universe is Eternal, 2) Universe is an uncaused or self-caused effect, 3) Something external and distinct from the Universe caused it. I put Mind in there for several reasons we haven't really got to yet, but for now we seem to be focused more on either there being another alleged possibility altogether or variations of 1 or 2 that could be true. I'm game to explore all of those premises in any fashion you guys want. (E.g. an oscillating universe would fit within #1 as having always existed).

Long day and tomorrow I'm getting older so I might not be back until Monday. Later if the world collapses around us for a while.

Y'all have a good one!
 
Oops. Forgot about this.
An addendum, which you might consider as coming somewhere in my paragraph on "gerrymandering":

Since our minds are finite, and our perception limited, it is entirely possible that we do not know "all that does exist," and therefore an argument along the lines of yours -- 'There are four and only four things that exist, so the cause of the universe must be found in one of the four' -- is based on a premise we can't know to be true.

On the other hand, if our own knowledge is good enough to rule in or rule out what sorts of things could cause what other sorts of things, then we can rule out "mind" as the cause of the universe because (to our knowledge) mind can't create space, time or matter/energy.
This is a form of the argument "we don't know everything so we can't know anything". My point was that our knowing or not knowing doesn't change the reality of what is. A one year old does not understand nuclear fusion but that doesn't mean the stars don't shine.

We can know somethings including logically knowing that there are only four things that exist. Nothing else outside of those things can exist, nor could you or I imagine one. I am a published fantasy author. I've written over 40 novels. Everything any author has ever written has been a variation on those four things, even magic and fantastical creatures and worlds. It's not just that we haven't observed another type of thing, or haven't imagined one yet, its that there isn't such a thing or possible to imagine it logically. And this is an easily falsifiable premise because all you have to do is imagine one new type of thing no matter how simple or complex.

We do not rule out mind as the cause of the universe, though we can rule out a human mind as the cause of the universe. A human mind can't create (ex nihlo) anything at all -- try it some time. This does not preclude another kind of mind, one with infinite power for instance, from doing so. To my knowledge, such a mind can create time, space, and matter/energy.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
The Law of Causality or Cause and Effect was taught throughout my education at public schools from elementary all the way through college. It can easily be found on the interwebs as well. It's been around since at least Aristotle and is still taught in the public text books we currently use.

I'm truly confused that you've never heard of it and don't know what it is.
I've heard of it, but only in religious or historical contexts. Do you have a reference for it from any college-level physics textbook published within the last 50 years? I see no mention of it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality_(physics) Or here: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/causation-physics/

My experience with the scientific community says otherwise, but I will proceed as if you don't. I'm glad that you believe in objective truth.
I think you'll find cognitive relativism is very rare, at least in the hard sciences. It is more common in postmodern philosophy.

As you wish.
Do you disagree?

Using your example of the explosive (dynamite, C4, etc.), an explosive of that size (a single stick) is insufficient to destroy an entire building. At best, it is only sufficient to destroy a small portion of the building. If, however, that small part it is capable of destroying happens to be integral to support of the building such that if it is removed, gravity will collapse the building, then it is the gravity of the planet that is the cause of the collapse of the building. A large explosive such as a military bomb dropped from a plane, a nuclear bomb, or other such explosives are of sufficient force to cause the collapse of one or more buildings.
A block of explosive big enough to take out a building will still be smaller and simpler than the building. Again, I'm not seeing any objective measure of superiority on offer here. And again, this is an old scholastic notion rather than any part of modern physics. Do you have a modern college-level reference for this law of superior cause?

I have shown that this is refuted by the Laws of Thermodynamics. You have a finite amount of energy in the universe and its running out in terms of energy available for use. Once that happens, the universe will end. If it has an end, it has a beginning. Beginning and end are temporal terms. The evidence from these Laws is against an infinite temporal past just as they are against infinite available energy.
How exactly do the laws of thermodynamics rule out an uncaused temporal beginning to the universe?

You are still talking about a different being than I am. God doesn't come. He is eternal. He has no beginning. It is nonsensical to ask "When did God start to exist?" or "Where did God come from?". He exists in a state that is not subject to time, unlike the universe which had a beginning.
No, I'm talking about that same being, and applying the same property of not coming from and not having a cause. I get that you think the universe but not God has a beginning, but having a beginning is still logically consistent with having no cause and not coming from anything, so it could be true of the universe too. It would contradict your law of causality, but as I've said I see no reason to think that is really a law.

My argument is based on addressing all logical possibilities. Either your hypothetical origins already fit into one of those categories in which case you would have to present arguments to their veracity and show why my premise against that one is false (as you tried to do with the #4 which was really a form of #1), or it is pure fantasy and thus not a logical possibility and not under consideration. Saying Elminster from Faerun cast a spell and here we are is not going to be accepted as a meaningful argument. You have to show that your hypothesis falls under logical possibility before it can be examined and admitted as a potential defeater for one of the premises I presented. If you can't or won't, then the argument stands.
Again, a logical possibility is anything that is coherent and free of internal contradiction. I've presented two such logical possibilities - a universe with an uncaused temporal beginning, and a universe with an infinite past which existed in some alternate form before the Big Bang. And your Option #1 remains ambiguous between an infinite and a finite past. Your only argument against my first possibility is an appeal to a 'law' that is no part of modern physics. And your only argument against the second possibility is an appeal to laws of thermodynamics which may not apply at or before the Big Bang.

I found it fascinating. I highly recommend it.
So... maybe present the ideas here for discussion?

And I stand by my point that all minds we know of are independent of physical matter and able to interact with it through the neural computer we call a brain.
There are good reasons why interactive dualism is no longer a live proposition in modern philosophy of mind and cognitive neuroscience. The idea that the mind is independent of physical matter is at best a highly controversial view, and far from a settled point in science. And even if non-physical, minds are still sufficiently complex as to be something one should not be taking as an unexplained primitive. Also, all the minds we know of are subject to time, meaning the mind you want to posit as a cause of the universe must still be radically different from any other mind we know of.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Even Nouveau's various scenarios are some variation on what I've already presented. 1) Universe is Eternal, 2) Universe is an uncaused or self-caused effect, 3) Something external and distinct from the Universe caused it.
These are not quite the same options you listed in the OP. The universe cannot be eternal in the OP sense, as that would require it to be atemporal. Your original Option #1 said the universe "always existed", but that could mean either having an infinite past, or just existing for all of a finite past. An uncaused temporal beginning fits the second interpretation, but would also fit your new version of Option #2, which originally didn't include the option of being uncaused.
 

Cisco Qid

Member
I have shown that this is refuted by the Laws of Thermodynamics. You have a finite amount of energy in the universe and its running out in terms of energy available for use. Once that happens, the universe will end. If it has an end, it has a beginning. Beginning and end are temporal terms. The evidence from these Laws is against an infinite temporal past just as they are against infinite available energy.

:)
That's right. If the universe is using up energy and it has an infinite past, it would have run out by now. In case you haven't noticed, you might be casting your pearls before swine in this forum.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
That's right. If the universe is using up energy and it has an infinite past, it would have run out by now. In case you haven't noticed, you might be casting your pearls before swine in this forum.
Unless the universe had a completely different past prior to the beginning of energy as we know it. Plus this doesn't even address the possibility of an uncaused temporal beginning, which is what KR was responding to.

Please note that your agreement with KR's points doesn't make them pearls, and that you disagree with us doesn't make us swine.
 
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