RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#316

Post by RickD » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:30 pm

hughfarey wrote:
Jac3510 wrote:
hughfarey wrote:And where St Thomas went wrong (followed too closely by Philip, I fear) is in his overconfidence in the basic assumption that everything has a cause.
Thomas never claimed this.
Apart from God, of course. He doesn't specifically claim it, but he does assume it. His Argument of the First Cause begins "In the world we can see that things are caused" and implies that this applies to everything. He links everything in a long chain of causes, and arbitrarily claims that this long chain cannot be infinite. But there is no justification for that either. Those who think the Universe is eternal think that no first cause is necessary, because the long chain actually is infinite.
"Arbitrarily" claims this long chain cannot be infinite?

In the famous words of John McEnroe, "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!"
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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#317

Post by Audie » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:43 pm

Jac3510 wrote:Who called anyone up as an authority?
Well, I did mention the boy from tupelo. who outta know

There there is
Not even God could create Himself. Aquinas is clear on that point.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#318

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:48 pm

hughfarey wrote:
Jac3510 wrote:
hughfarey wrote:And where St Thomas went wrong (followed too closely by Philip, I fear) is in his overconfidence in the basic assumption that everything has a cause.
Thomas never claimed this.
Apart from God, of course. He doesn't specifically claim it, but he does assume it. His Argument of the First Cause begins "In the world we can see that things are caused" and implies that this applies to everything. He links everything in a long chain of causes, and arbitrarily claims that this long chain cannot be infinite. But there is no justification for that either. Those who think the Universe is eternal think that no first cause is necessary, because the long chain actually is infinite.
With all due respect, you don't understand the argument. As a matter of fact, he says plainly elsewhere (SCG II.38 if you want to look it up) that the position you are attributing to him is false and cannot be the basis of inferring the existence of God. The "apart from God" comment is also incorrect.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#319

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:51 pm

Audie wrote:
Jac3510 wrote:Who called anyone up as an authority?
Well, I did mention the boy from tupelo. who outta know

There there is
Not even God could create Himself. Aquinas is clear on that point.
Aquinas is clear on that point. That doesn't mean I'm calling him up as an authority. If you refer to the context of the discussion, I was asking a question about Hugh's objection to Phil's position. I was asking if perhaps he holds to the Thomistic objection to Phil's argument. The reference to Aquinas, then, is not one of authority but one of example.
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Audie (Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:40 pm)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#320

Post by Philip » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:54 pm

Philip wrote: And so you have deduced this by ... WHAT?
Hugh: I haven't deduced it at all, as I keep saying. It is a philosophical proposition. No deduction is possible.
But weighing known PROBABILITIES ARE possible!
UNKNOWN probabilities - well, that's pure speculation. And as we are speaking of the non-physical becoming physical, that lies in the realm of metaphysics.
Philip wrote: And everything we KNOW of (post the universe's beginning) came from something else, derived from some prior process. And we don't have SUPPORT for ANYTHING else. Oh, there are THEORIES - but that's not support, is it?
Hugh: Our knowledge of the universe breaks down at the Big Bang, so the idea that because everything we know of was caused by the Big Bang does not support the argument that the Big Bang must have been caused by something else.
Of course it doesn't. But the probabilities remain, that SOMETHING is the origin and cause of the universe, whether at the Big Bang or before it - that TIMING is irrelevant to the issue, and that something was eternal, intelligent, and unbelievably powerful, and it had the ability to make the non-physical become physical, and to create astounding designs and functions. So, whatever potential there is/was, it was inherent in that first Source. And it matters not if that is post or pre-Big Bang.
Philip wrote: But God DOES find fault - at least in Scripture, does he not? He has, in Scripture, repeatedly warned that other beliefs, if they remain unchanged, that dismiss belief in God/Christ, will end in terrible, eternal punishment. So, God obviously DOES think we have enough information to believe, that if we use the brains He gave us, we can see the truth - IF we want to see these things, He'll make them clear/obvious ENOUGH. And so GOD clearly does find fault. Do you believe that, Hugh? Is God fair, or does He punish people for what they cannot understand or know ENOUGH of to have faith? Wouldn't this suggest to you, Hugh, that one's logic, ALONE, is inadequate to the task of determining things of faith. They can certainly point to it, but it can never get one all the way there. That takes an openness and desire to experience God, as He shows one. But one can repel all of God's evidences and prompting, can He not?
Hugh: This is circular reasoning with a vengeance. One cannot derive the truth of the Bible simply from the Bible.
I agree, that it is ultimately reasoning ONLY based upon what the Bible says. And so you either believe what Scripture says about that, or you do not. Hugh, you say you identify as Catholic. Nothing I am speaking of is any different than what the Catholic Church says in relation to our origins. And you either believe the Bible, that God finds fault, guilt, enacts punishment, or you do not. No, logic cannot prove that. That is a matter of faith - which you either have or you do not. The question for you, asserting to be a Christian, is do you believe what the Bible teaches about these things or not? And IF not, why consider yourself a Christian - if you don't believe these things that God says about Him being the Source of ALL things, and that He punishes those who reject Christ, don't believe He was/is God?
Hugh: But you are correct that "one's logic, ALONE, is inadequate to the task of determining things of faith"; that's what I've been saying all along. However a desire to experience God can only be felt if one has faith in God in the first place, so it's unfair to blame people who don't believe in God for not exploring Him
What you assert shows me you do not believe what the Bible teaches about this issue. God says people CAN believe, that they will be provided enough evidence (whatever that is for a particular individual), but that people can choose to not WANT to believe or even to acknowledge His existence. And the Bible says, for such people, if they never change their hearts and minds, A) they will NEVER be able to have faith and B) that they will be eternally punished.
Hugh: You may feel that God's word is obvious and irresistible, but there are clearly many who don't. So, yes, God is fair, and he doesn't punish people for what they cannot understand or know ENOUGH of.
First place, your term, "irresistible" - if you are referring to some Calvinistic understanding of that word, I do not hold to it. We CAN resist God. All persons can!

God says, at some point, all will have all they need to be able to have faith. There is a point in which further knowledge is pointless for such people. What is that point? A) God knows what it is, and B) that will be different for different people. Everyone doesn't have the same issues. Yes, there ARE people who sincerely want to know the truth about God, who truly are seeking. Such people, God will honor with the ability and resources to have faith - whatever that might be. But there are also people who only want knowledge of God as they are willing to accept it - not as He IS, but as they prefer Him to be, how they prefer he accommodates THEIR sensibilities. One must seek God AS HE IS - on HIS terms. That is what Scripture teaches - you either believe it or you don't. And THAT isn't a matter of pure logic.

If God forever withheld knowledge or ability necessary to faith, then one could assert God has left people NO path to salvation. Clearly, that isn't the case, as God says people DO have enough to know. Read through Romans. You can either accept that or you can reject it. But it also means you are rejecting the ONLY collective source that anyone has to believe in Christ - the New Testament.
Hugh: Only if we believe Scripture to be true. Or if we believe our interpretation of Scripture to be correct. And where St Thomas went wrong (followed too closely by Philip, I fear) is in his overconfidence in the basic assumption that everything has a cause. It seemed to him obvious and axiomatic, but it isn't.
You have NO reason, no logic, no evidences to suggest ANYTHING exists without a cause. You ONLY have speculation. And that is just from the scientific and logical end of things. Scripture denies what you assert to be possible.

I would say Hugh (and others) may well have a false belief that the ONLY route to belief in the Bible is through pure logic. God, in Scripture, shows that there are limits to human logic. Some things can only be made understandable by one open to what God is trying to show them. And He can and DOES show people things only He can, and He does so BEFORE they have put their faith in Him. But their heart and mind can prevent such understandings, depending upon what level of resistance they have to God. Of course, upon receiving the Holy Spirit, through FAITH in Jesus, there is MUCH more truth that is not otherwise understandable available to a person. Again, to believe this, you must believe Scripture is God-given.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#321

Post by Audie » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:43 pm

All the above by way of tacit acknowledgement that there are no 'serious problems" with
ToE to discuss.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#322

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:37 pm

Philip wrote:I would say Hugh (and others) may well have a false belief that the ONLY route to belief in the Bible is through pure logic.
Wuh?
hughfarey wrote:But you are correct that "one's logic, ALONE, is inadequate to the task of determining things of faith"; that's what I've been saying all along. However a desire to experience God can only be felt if one has faith in God in the first place, so it's unfair to blame people who don't believe in God for not exploring Him.
Seems to me that Hugh's position is not that the only route to the Bible is through logic, that just the opposite, he seems to be saying that logic alone "is inadequate to the task of determining things of faith."

Hugh, I've not read your comments in detail, but would you mind sharing what your view of the relationship between faith and reason actually is? I don't expect we'll agree in the nuances given your misrepresentation of Aquinas above, but I'd still like to know what it is you actually do hold on this matter.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#323

Post by hughfarey » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:06 pm

Jac3510 wrote:With all due respect, you don't understand the argument. As a matter of fact, he says plainly elsewhere (SCG II.38 if you want to look it up) that the position you are attributing to him is false and cannot be the basis of inferring the existence of God. The "apart from God" comment is also incorrect.
I don't think so. The whole crux of Aquinas's (second of five) argument for the existence of God lies in his axiom "Non autem est possibile quod in causis efficientibus procedatur in infinitum." "It is not possible for efficient causes to procede to infinity". My point is that this is an unsubstantiated axiom. In SCG II.38 he concludes: "For in all these cases something beside God is claimed to be eternal; and this is incompatible with the Catholic faith." How have I misrepresented him?

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#324

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:47 pm

hughfarey wrote:
Jac3510 wrote:With all due respect, you don't understand the argument. As a matter of fact, he says plainly elsewhere (SCG II.38 if you want to look it up) that the position you are attributing to him is false and cannot be the basis of inferring the existence of God. The "apart from God" comment is also incorrect.
I don't think so. The whole crux of Aquinas's (second of five) argument for the existence of God lies in his axiom "Non autem est possibile quod in causis efficientibus procedatur in infinitum." "It is not possible for efficient causes to procede to infinity". My point is that this is an unsubstantiated axiom. In SCG II.38 he concludes: "For in all these cases something beside God is claimed to be eternal; and this is incompatible with the Catholic faith." How have I misrepresented him?
You're making several mistakes, actually. First, you are confusing per se casual chains with per accidens causal chains. And second, the statement "it is not possible for efficient causes to proceed to infinity" is not an axiom, but rather a conclusion. The axiom is rooted elsewhere, particularly in the distinction I already noted. Or, again, if you want me to quote him directly:
  • In the sphere of non-simultaneously acting causes, it is not . . . impossible to proceed to infinity. (SCG II.38.13)
And again,
  • it is not impossible to proceed to infinity accidentally as regards efficient causes. . . . Hence it is not impossible for a man to be generated by man to infinity (ST Ia.46.2)
Anyway, I could say a lot more, but the point is, you are simply and factually mistaken in your understanding of Thomas' second way (or first way, for that matter). And don't feel bad about that. There are a whole host of professional philosophers--PhDs who publish regularly--who make the same mistakes you are here. Thomas' position is much more nuanced than you are assuming.

For a third mistake, you're misunderstanding what Thomas means by "eternal." God is eternal, but that's not because He has an infinite past and infinite future. Put differently, to say that the world is not eternal because only God is eternal is not to say that therefore the world didn't exist infinitely into the past and will exist infinitely into the future. To put in still different terms, for Aquinas, even if the world had always existed and would always exist, it would still be true that only God is eternal. So there are three quick ways you've misrepresented Aquinas. Could offer more (thinking about how you have conceived of the structure of the argument, for example), but that's a fair start.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#325

Post by Philip » Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:06 pm

Philip wrote: I would say Hugh (and others) may well have a false belief that the ONLY route to belief in the Bible is through pure logic.
Jac: Wuh?
OK - my statement could have been much better put (yes, what OTHER kind of logic do we have, eh?) - but I think you realize where I was going with it. What I mean by that is that there are certain understandings that human logic ALONE - by itself/UNAIDED, when a person has chosen to resist God's enlightenment, that his logic will be operating without keys to understandings things only God can open their understanding to. What I'm speaking of is human logic that can only be optimized when the will does not resist God's Spirit. Ultimately, what I'm getting at is that one's logic and intelligence can be among the smartest and brightest, but that one's WILL is key to their logic being optimized or not. And only God can optimize what one can logically understand. There are limits of unaided human logic.

OK, Jac, say it better for me!

But even if one's will is closed to God's Spirit's prompting, I would say that God shows them enough to know they are resisting Him, on some level, they know, and they are aware of their sin. Romans tells us, even the much less knowledgeable ancients could understand that He exists. And so if THEY could, then WE can. But we can convince ourselves of most anything our will so desires.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#326

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:45 pm

The important point in what Jac says, as I see it, is that if we had an infinite world, such does not mean it is the eternal foundation of all that exists. Eg., if we said everything in our world boils down to energy, that energy may be eternal, but then if it is something more or less had here and there, then there must be an immovable source that it bubbles up from. Think vertically rather than horizontally. The vertical chain I see just as important as a horizontal chain like cause and effect in time. This is what many overlook in Aquinas' arguments.
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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#327

Post by abelcainsbrother » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:10 pm

hughfarey wrote:
Jac3510 wrote:
hughfarey wrote:And where St Thomas went wrong (followed too closely by Philip, I fear) is in his overconfidence in the basic assumption that everything has a cause.
Thomas never claimed this.
Apart from God, of course. He doesn't specifically claim it, but he does assume it. His Argument of the First Cause begins "In the world we can see that things are caused" and implies that this applies to everything. He links everything in a long chain of causes, and arbitrarily claims that this long chain cannot be infinite. But there is no justification for that either. Those who think the Universe is eternal think that no first cause is necessary, because the long chain actually is infinite.
Then if you disagree that all things don't have a cause then it is up to you to give evidence of something it doesn't apply to and you cannot because it is a fact of our world/universe all things have a cause and all things that have a cause are caused by something else,all things are willed into existence and there can be no infinite regression. This is a fact of our world universe based on the evidence around us. If you disagree then it is up to you to provide evidence that not all things have a cause and you cannot. There is absolutely no evidence the universe is eternal and the 2nd law of thermodynamics which is one of the most tested laws in science makes it impossible for the universe to be eternal. Our sun will eventually run out of hydrogen to burn which means no life and no world.

We are going by evidence and what we do know according to science and it points to a God. It does not matter that it doesn't necessarily point to the God of the bible that is for religious people to debate but the knowledge and evidence we have right now points to there being a God as the cause. All other views are speculation without evidence and logic behind them.
Last edited by abelcainsbrother on Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#328

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:12 pm

Exactly. People who imagine the causal chain Aquinas has in mind as being a "horizontal" one that goes forward or backward in time haven't understood what he is saying. Aquinas is very explicit that such a chain could very well be infinite, and so it is wrong to say that he is arguing that because such a causal chain can't be infinite, there must be a first cause. In SCG II.38 and ST Ia.46, he explicitly repudiates that position.

His argument, to your point K, is about "vertical" chains. Such chains can't be infinitely regressed. But we don't say that because such chains cannot be infinitely regress there must be a first cause. That's the axiom stuff hugh has gotten confused about. We say that because such chains need a first cause, they can't be infinitely regressed. Subtle by very important distinction. And we all recognize that truth. It's why this story is so humorous and popular:
  • William James, father of American psychology, tells of meeting an old lady who told him the Earth rested on the back of a huge turtle. "But, my dear lady", Professor James asked, as politely as possible, "what holds up the turtle?" "Ah", she said, "that's easy. He is standing on the back of another turtle." "Oh, I see", said Professor James, still being polite. "But would you be so good as to tell me what holds up the second turtle?" "It's no use, Professor", said the old lady, realizing he was trying to lead her into a logical trap. "It's turtles-turtles-turtles, all the way!”
There's nothing arbitrary about this. It goes to the very nature of a per se vs per accidens causal chain. Per se causal chains have to have a first mover, or to keep the imagery of a vertical chain, such chains need foundations or anchors lest they fall regardless of how long they are. The foundation or anchor or prime mover or whatever you want to call it is what is actually causing all the movement in the chain.

I don't give two rips about the Kalam's per accidens chains. I think philosophers who try to argue that such chains can't be infinite are simply incorrect. I care about per se causal chains.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#329

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:13 pm

abelcainsbrother wrote:
hughfarey wrote:
Jac3510 wrote:
hughfarey wrote:And where St Thomas went wrong (followed too closely by Philip, I fear) is in his overconfidence in the basic assumption that everything has a cause.
Thomas never claimed this.
Apart from God, of course. He doesn't specifically claim it, but he does assume it. His Argument of the First Cause begins "In the world we can see that things are caused" and implies that this applies to everything. He links everything in a long chain of causes, and arbitrarily claims that this long chain cannot be infinite. But there is no justification for that either. Those who think the Universe is eternal think that no first cause is necessary, because the long chain actually is infinite.
Then if you disagree that all things don't have a cause then it is up to you to give evidence of something it doesn't apply to and you cannot because it is a fact of our world/universe all things have a cause and all things that have a cause are caused by something else,all things are willed into existence and there can be no infinite regression. This is a fact of our world universe based on the evidence around us. If you disagree then it is up to you to provide evidence that not all things have a cause and you cannot. There is absolutely no evidence the universe is eternal and the 2nd law of thermodynamics which is one of the most tested laws in science makes it impossible for the universe to be eternal.
All things don't have causes, ACB. Don't try to defend the claim, "All things have a cause," because that statement is false.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#330

Post by abelcainsbrother » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:20 pm

Jac3510 wrote:
abelcainsbrother wrote:
hughfarey wrote:
Jac3510 wrote:
hughfarey wrote:And where St Thomas went wrong (followed too closely by Philip, I fear) is in his overconfidence in the basic assumption that everything has a cause.
Thomas never claimed this.
Apart from God, of course. He doesn't specifically claim it, but he does assume it. His Argument of the First Cause begins "In the world we can see that things are caused" and implies that this applies to everything. He links everything in a long chain of causes, and arbitrarily claims that this long chain cannot be infinite. But there is no justification for that either. Those who think the Universe is eternal think that no first cause is necessary, because the long chain actually is infinite.
Then if you disagree that all things don't have a cause then it is up to you to give evidence of something it doesn't apply to and you cannot because it is a fact of our world/universe all things have a cause and all things that have a cause are caused by something else,all things are willed into existence and there can be no infinite regression. This is a fact of our world universe based on the evidence around us. If you disagree then it is up to you to provide evidence that not all things have a cause and you cannot. There is absolutely no evidence the universe is eternal and the 2nd law of thermodynamics which is one of the most tested laws in science makes it impossible for the universe to be eternal.
All things don't have causes, ACB. Don't try to defend the claim, "All things have a cause," because that statement is false.
Then point out something that does not have a cause in our world then.You cannot.St. Thomas Aquinas cannot and has never been refuted only ignored but its still just as true as when he came up with it and it is better than the KCA imo
Hebrews 12:2-3 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,despising the shame,and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2nd Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,lest the light of this glorious gospel of Christ,who is the image of God,should shine unto them.

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