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MikeWC vs Ignatius

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  • MikeWC vs Ignatius

    And so it begins.

  • #2
    Let's start with a dramatic claim: absolute, eternal truth exists, and this truth can be established in an entirely non-question begging way. The truth in question is contingency. Every single thing has the capacity to exist, not exist, or exist in a different way.

    1. Causation is not Necessary

    We know that there is no way to establish that the future must look like the past. If you observe X leading to Y a thousand times, that does not establish the logical necessity of X leading to Y; there is no way to prove that on the 1001st try, X will still lead to Y.

    Now, there is an important distinction to be made here. Local causal necessity does exist; mathematical formulas do tell us truths about physics. We know that two balls of different weights will fall at the same rate, because of the laws governing mass. Under the set of laws we are ever more deeply penetrating into, we can outline a set of identical conditions under which two balls will always fall at the same rate. In the context of physical laws, X does always lead to Y.

    The previous two paragraphs seem to contradict one another. But now we ask: can physical laws change, or could they be different? Certainly, we can imagine a possible world in which the laws governing mass and energy do not apply. And we can imagine, without internal contradiction, a future in which physical laws change or cease to function, meaning X would no longer lead to Y. There is no reason, either logical, mathematical or empirical, why gravity cannot suddenly reverse. Australians live precarious lives.

    2. The Negative Argument for Contingency

    So now the theist will pipe up: "Of course, you are entirely correct. Physical laws are contingent and changeable. But Australians can live in peace: God is the necessary being that causes and sustains physical laws."

    Well, how can one prove that God is a necessary being? There are two ways to prove the existence of a necessary being: the ontological and cosmological arguments. My contention is that both arguments beg the question; they already assume the existence of a necessary being in order to prove it.

    The ontological argument tries to show that a non-existing God is self-contradictory. I can imagine a greatest possible being; existence is an attribute of greatness, therefore this greatest possible being must exist. The ontological argument fails because a contradiction can only take place for an already existing being; in other words, existence is not a predicate. Deny the existence of the being in question, and the argument falls apart.

    There is a version of the ontological argument that claims contingency is at least partially equatable with dependency: contingent beings require initial and/or ongoing conditions for their existence. So there must be an initial and/or ongoing condition for every single dependent being, and that condition must itself not be dependent upon any other initial or ongoing conditions. A being that is not dependent would be the same as a necessary being.

    This begs the question of necessity because it already assumes the absoluteness of cause and effect. It cannot prove that a contingent being could, in fact, exist without initial and/or ongoing conditions. Dependency and contingency are not logically identical, even if they always go together in experience . But it is precisely our experience of necessity as absolute that I am attacking.

    Both the ontological and cosmological arguments fail to prove the existence of a necessary being, because they both already assume it.

    3. The Positive Argument for Contingency

    Consider life after death. The atheist may either say it is not possible, or will withhold a definite opinion, depending on the strength of their atheism. The theist will say it is possible because of God.

    The strong atheist is saying, in effect, that we humans will not exist after death. The theist says we will exist differently after death, say as disembodied minds or as one with God or reincarnated in different bodies.

    The theist is making a positive claim about the future: we know we will be different. The strong atheist also makes a positive claim: we know we will not exist in the future. The weak atheist, if they deign to grace us with an opinion, knows that it is logically possible that either option could be true: we know we could either not exist or exist differently. If that statement is too strong for any of you weak atheists, consider how saying we do not know what will happen after death leaves open a great many options. One can only claim that they do not know if they have not eliminated a set of options.

    Hence, we all have positive knowledge of our own contingency. At bottom, we know that after death, we could not exist or exist differently.

    The trick, then, is to expand that knowledge to all things, including physical laws. The way to do this is to show that the principle of sufficient reason is not an absolute.

    Take any physical law you wish. The determinist would say the initial conditions of the universe prescribed this law. But how could the determinist argue that the initial conditions were necessary? On the other hand, one who believes in an infinite regress, i.e., in a complete lack of initial conditions, has already found a hole in the principle of sufficient reason by claiming the chain of conditions itself does not have a sufficient reason.

    Both the determinist and the believer in an infinite regress can have positive knowledge that everything could be different, in the same way that they themselves could be different or non-existent.

    4. The Absoluteness of Contingency

    One obvious objection arises. If everything is contingent, then aren’t the laws of logic underlying my arguments also contingent? What if they change? What if there is another being that operates according to a wholly different set of rules?

    Why yes, thank you for asking: the laws of logic are contingent. But how do they operate for us, anyways? Let’s take the law of non-contradiction. I think we can easily make the claim that non-contradiction is the baseline requirement for a thought to make sense to us. A cannot be non-A in the same time and the same way. It is impossible for us to actually describe a true contradiction in a way that makes sense; formally contradictory statements are senseless.

    We can’t describe the world in a way that makes sense without assuming certain logical forms. But, we cannot actually demonstrate the absolute truth of these logical forms – it’s just that without them, our thoughts are a random jumble. Why can’t there be a being that is entirely senseless to us? Just because we could not coherently describe such a being, does not mean it doesn’t exist.

    But this being, existing in a wholly different way, would be nothing other than proof of the contingency of the forms of logic. If a being that is senseless to us exists, it proves that our best ways of thinking are contingent: they could be otherwise.

    I say contingency is absolute because it is not derived from any other principle, though it can be demonstrated. And it cannot be criticized on its own grounds without already assuming it, as the foregoing paragraphs show.

    Comment


    • #3
      Testing, testing testing.

      Comment


      • #4
        this is a private debate. Submit a post again and you will be reported. Get it?
        "Now, what is the Sacrament of the Altar!
        Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink."

        Martin Luther "The Large Cathechism"

        Comment


        • #5
          Every single thing has the capacity to exist, not exist, or exist in a different way.

          Lets start slowly. This above statement is partly nonsensical. Every single thing has the capacity to exist or not exist. Thats it! To "exist in a different way" is nonsensical since if its in a different way it can only be so if it exist, therefore there is either exist or does not exist.
          "Now, what is the Sacrament of the Altar!
          Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink."

          Martin Luther "The Large Cathechism"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ignatius View Post
            this is a private debate. Submit a post again and you will be reported. Get it?
            Sorry Ignatius, I asked him to test post. I wasn't sure what the restrictions in this forum are.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ignatius View Post
              Every single thing has the capacity to exist, not exist, or exist in a different way.

              Lets start slowly. This above statement is partly nonsensical. Every single thing has the capacity to exist or not exist. Thats it! To "exist in a different way" is nonsensical since if its in a different way it can only be so if it exist, therefore there is either exist or does not exist.
              Normally in a private debate, you'd post your own opening statement first. Your positive argument for necessity.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ignatius View Post
                Every single thing has the capacity to exist, not exist, or exist in a different way.

                Lets start slowly. This above statement is partly nonsensical. Every single thing has the capacity to exist or not exist. Thats it! To "exist in a different way" is nonsensical since if its in a different way it can only be so if it exist, therefore there is either exist or does not exist.
                All I mean by that is that there is no logical contradiction in the sentence "I like philosophy, but I could like math instead."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MikeWC View Post
                  All I mean by that is that there is no logical contradiction in the sentence "I like philosophy, but I could like math instead."
                  I understand but it suggest you could only like either philosophy or math.
                  "Now, what is the Sacrament of the Altar!
                  Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink."

                  Martin Luther "The Large Cathechism"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ignatius View Post
                    I understand but it suggest you could only like either philosophy or math.
                    May we move on?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MikeWC View Post
                      May we move on?
                      Can we agree we can like both simultaneously?
                      "Now, what is the Sacrament of the Altar!
                      Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink."

                      Martin Luther "The Large Cathechism"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        its quite simple really, nothing creates itself
                        "Now, what is the Sacrament of the Altar!
                        Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink."

                        Martin Luther "The Large Cathechism"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ignatius View Post
                          its quite simple really, nothing creates itself
                          That's it? No opening statement? No explanation? No specific rebuttals? What does this statement have to do with contingency and necessity? If you wanted to talk about the origin of the universe, you should have suggested that as a topic.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MikeWC View Post
                            That's it? No opening statement? No explanation? No specific rebuttals? What does this statement have to do with contingency and necessity? If you wanted to talk about the origin of the universe, you should have suggested that as a topic.

                            What is the prolonged statement we need to declare the obvious, nothing cretaes itself. Its self evident. And if there was no first creator, whose existence is non contingent upon something else then nothing would exist since it is quite clear nothing creates itself. I can talk a lot more but that ultimately is what this comes down to.
                            "Now, what is the Sacrament of the Altar!
                            Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink."

                            Martin Luther "The Large Cathechism"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ignatius View Post
                              What is the prolonged statement we need to declare the obvious, nothing cretaes itself. Its self evident. And if there was no first creator, whose existence is non contingent upon something else then nothing would exist since it is quite clear nothing creates itself. I can talk a lot more but that ultimately is what this comes down to.
                              Well, this was a bust.

                              I set out a whole bunch of stuff for you to chew on, and you're just going to ignore it.

                              So much for "I bet it never happens."

                              Comment

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