Amazing Scientific Evidences For God's Existence!

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: List of Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#106

Post by Blessed » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:37 am

trulyenlightened wrote:
Thank you for your input and suggestion. The thread will be called, "Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason".

It would appear that Eddy relies heavily on borrowing many of his ideas from St.Thomas Aquinas(5 proofs of the existence of God) and Gottfried Leibniz(one of my favorite Philosophers and Mathematicians, and his "Principle of sufficient reason"). It is very important that you understand this principle, because everything presented in a cosmological and a teleological argument is going to stand or fall on how well this position is presented. That is, if the principle is a legitimate principle and if the principle has been carefully and properly followed. Basically it means, NOTHING JUST HAPPENS! Whatever happens is connected and it is connected to other things that have happened, and connected to other things that are going to happen, and so on. The principle of sufficient reason is largely a principle of causation(chain of natural events), that if something happens, it happens coming out of something that caused it to happen. But be careful, I did not say that every EFFECT has a cause and tried to present that as the principle of sufficient reason. That would be circular and begging the question. Of course every effect has a cause. That is what an effect is. An effect is a product of a cause. I said every EVENT has a cause, or, if you like, every cause is an effect. That is what the notion of sufficient reason amounts to in terms of causality. If something happens in the world, which is the visible outcome of some kind of history, it will at least in principle, be traceable and falsifiable.

There are a few problems with this line of reasoning. We humans will never be in a position to understand the complete and specific chain of causality that gives any individual 4-dimensional thing it's necessary and unique character, properties, or characteristics. Therefore, we will never be in a position to reduce all phenomena to a finite set of intelligible causes. We could say that from a human perspective, that everything must always be contingent upon everything else. From a divine or philosophical perspective, that everything must also be necessary. But it is ONLY from a philosophical perspective, that the distinction between what is possible and what is actual, seem to vanish. If something may be, it is; if it may not be, it is not. There is also the problem of knowing and detecting all auxiliary, indirect, accidental, multiple, probable, unknown, undetectable, and unobservable causes(dark matter and energy). I am always skeptical about any proofs that must rely on infinite regression, or being unfalsifiable, as the foundation for its suppositions or claims of certainty. Is my skepticism justified, especially if we consider that these same proofs are used to justify the belief in, and the existence of Santa Claus? http://thomasofaquino.blogspot.com.au/2 ... claus.html , and https://reasonandmeaning.com/2015/01/25/5140/ . Again, no disrespect meant, only tongue and cheek I hope.

Anyway, I better get started on this new thread. I hope that I have helped in your understanding of this principle. Thanks again for your warm welcome. Don
Does the "Principle of Sufficient Reason" (@ RR) explain why those who can, do, and those who can't teach?

:lol:

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Re: List of Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#107

Post by Blessed » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:45 am

Don,

Please tell me what the cause is of a dead WWII era soldier poltergeist materializing out of another plane of existence and grabbing me on the Queen Mary M deck based on the "Principal of Sufficient Reason" (@ RR).

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Re: List of Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#108

Post by Kurieuo » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:17 pm

Shapiro, talks of Atristoles/Aquinas' reasoning, principal of sufficient reason et al in what I think is a very clear and articulate manner (typical of Shapiro). Highly recommend.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlIgSwnKVB0
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Re: List of Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#109

Post by Byblos » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:45 am

Kurieuo wrote:Shapiro, talks of Atristoles/Aquinas' reasoning, principal of sufficient reason et al in what I think is a very clear and articulate manner (typical of Shapiro). Highly recommend.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlIgSwnKVB0
The reason I don't like this (video) at all is that here's someone who is arguing from an Aristotelian/Thomistic perspective and yet he makes the exact same mistake almost everyone else makes with the uncaused cause/unmoved mover argument. I.e. that somehow the argument is attempting to avoid infinite regress (going back in time to infinity).

The actual argument is NOT that infinite regress is impossible, therefore a necessary first mover. The argument is the exact opposite: A first mover is absolutely necessary, therefore there could not, even in principle be infinite regress. And again, this argument has nothing to do with accidentally ordered causal series (temporal, going back in time) but with an essentially ordered causal series (in the here and now). It just so happens that even accidentally ordered causal series are made of up of a series of essentially ordered ones and that might extend into the infinite past but that's besides the point (and the argument).

Post edit: So essentially there are two (not three) possibilities. Either brute force facts/laws that end up explaining nothing or a self-explanatory absolutely necessary uncaused cause who is subsistent existence itself. Infinite regress plays no part in it.
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Re: List of Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#110

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:18 am

I'll have to re-listen to him more carefully. I know he went into infinite regress, but thought it was more to illustrate act and potency. Otherwise, I'm sure he does move away from such illustration, toward explaining act and potency in different ways when he covers sufficient reason and what-not. Will need to re-listen though.
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Re: List of Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#111

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:06 am

Ah Ben, he has the gift of being able to explain things clearly, quickly and concise.

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Re: Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#112

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:48 pm

You seem generally right Byblos, but also I think nonetheless Shapiro generally does quite well on the spot.

Shapiro starts off your side of the track with "actual" and "potential", the statement he makes in the beginning is that only thing that has the power to act upon the potential of another object is either another object that is also potential, or something that is pure actuality which just exists. From there he digresses off-track to reason if you don't want an infinite regress of causes, things that have actuality and potential, you have to come to the actualised actualiser. The thing that just exists. This thing we call God. He says this is the basic Aristotelean argument shaped further by Aquinas. (Note: Shapiro never argues that an infinite regress is impossible, but merely "if you don't like it" which suggests to me he using it more for illustrative purposes than as an argument)

Now I don't believe he is necessarily wrong here to invoke cauality and an infinite regress, since I do not believe Aristotles' argument excludes such (we just know such isn't the be-all and end-all of the argument, right?). Shapiro seems to assume from the outset pure actuality just existing, and then reasons backward to this using infinite regress to try illuminate what such means to the audience. It does appear like he is using it as an argument also, and I'm sure he personally sees it as one too.

The subtleties though you/we would make are hard to distinguish in precise terms. Specifically, that a causal regress doesn't lead us to conclude a timeless being like God, but rather that causality itself evidences potentiality which means anything apart of such can't be the actual actualiser. Therefore, something that is pure actuality must exist as a matter of logical necessity and not based upon the impossibility of an infinite regression (let me know if this isn't your point).

Yet, despite this subtelty not being explained by Shapiro (if he is even aware), I nonetheless see what Shapiro says as generally valid. It is what I'd call the "horizontal" perspective of act-potency, which is easy to understand as cause and effect like we find in time. I don't believe such is necessarily precluded by Aristotelean logic, but neither is such the fuller argument being made. The horizontal understanding is one William Craig, as you know, leverages upon in his kalam cosmological argument wherein he reasons the impossibility of an actual infinite, impossibility of an infinite regress, the beginning of the universe pointing to something outside of time. I don't believe Craig's logical arguments are wrong, they seem to me very sound and persuasive. Yet, they just respresent some lines of arguments in this area and not the ones you prefer, or even the ones I prefer which I'll try elaborate further on below.

Yet, then Shapiro pivots towards a second argument that touches upon what I call a "vertical" order of contingency, which tends to avoid infinite regress causality talk. The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) which says we have capactity to understand the universe. PSR suggests there are no limitations to our understanding, we just don't have all information. Given enough information we could understand every aspect of the universe and why a thing happens.

For example, a window breaking was due to a ball going through it (windows don't just break for no reason), the ball going through it was due to my hitting it with a baseball bat (balls don't just fly through the air for no reason). Yet, then on the vertical order of things, we might ask why that ball eventually lands or an apple falls from a tree? Because there is a law of gravity. Why does the law of gravity exist? Space curviture or the like. What makes this space curviture? Note what I am here describing is NOT a "horizontal" version of cause and effect, but rather a "vertical" order of contigencies. Gravity and curviture could both be temporally (horizontally) infinite, and yet, space curviture provides the foundation upon which the laws of gravity rest upon (vertical layers).

Shapiro doesn't go into this much detail, to do so would probably lose the audience (as I've lost some readers here no doubt). I do sense however that he is touching in and around it. He does seem somewhat stuck on a cause and effect (horizontal) understanding of matters. For he reasons in his second PSR argument that if you believe we have sufficient reason to understand the universe, then there has to be something outside the system of contingencies "that got the ball rolling in the first place" (I'd much prefer he said "that lay at the foundation of everything"). This something must be pure existence, possessing pure actuality with no potentiality. Loosely quoting, he concludes, "this something must exist outside of time since things inside time always have a potential to be fulfilled, whereas things outside of time don't have a potential to be fulfilled. So I've described to you a being, that has pure existence, that exists outside of time, and has the potential to actualise anything. That's God, the evidence-based argument in favour of God."

He then starts putting forward a third argument, drifting towards telos displayed in humanity and the world. That is, Aristotle argued human beings were created to perform a certain function, that function being to reason. Every object was created to perform a certain function. If you believe everything happened randomly for no reason, then there is an is-to-ought gap that is unbridgable, which is why Atheism can't ground morality. Atheism might describe what "is" morality according to some random evolutionary "survival of the fittest" story, but it can never give rise to why we "ought" to subscribe and obey such rules since things in the world have no end goal or designated purpose.
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Re: Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#113

Post by RickD » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:22 pm

Kurieuo wrote:You seem generally right Byblos, but also I think nonetheless Shapiro generally does quite well on the spot.

Shapiro starts off your side of the track with "actual" and "potential", the statement he makes in the beginning is that only thing that has the power to act upon the potential of another object is either another object that is also potential, or something that is pure actuality which just exists. From there he digresses off-track to reason if you don't want an infinite regress of causes, things that have actuality and potential, you have to come to the actualised actualiser. The thing that just exists. This thing we call God. He says this is the basic Aristotelean argument shaped further by Aquinas. (Note: Shapiro never argues that an infinite regress is impossible, but merely "if you don't like it" which suggests to me he using it more for illustrative purposes than as an argument)

Now I don't believe he is necessarily wrong here to invoke cauality and an infinite regress, since I do not believe Aristotles' argument excludes such (we just know such isn't the be-all and end-all of the argument, right?). Shapiro seems to assume from the outset pure actuality just existing, and then reasons backward to this using infinite regress to try illuminate what such means to the audience. It does appear like he is using it as an argument also, and I'm sure he personally sees it as one too.

The subtleties though you/we would make are hard to distinguish in precise terms. Specifically, that a causal regress doesn't lead us to conclude a timeless being like God, but rather that causality itself evidences potentiality which means anything apart of such can't be the actual actualiser. Therefore, something that is pure actuality must exist as a matter of logical necessity and not based upon the impossibility of an infinite regression (let me know if this isn't your point).

Yet, despite this subtelty not being explained by Shapiro (if he is even aware), I nonetheless see what Shapiro says as generally valid. It is what I'd call the "horizontal" perspective of act-potency, which is easy to understand as cause and effect like we find in time. I don't believe such is necessarily precluded by Aristotelean logic, but neither is such the fuller argument being made. The horizontal understanding is one William Craig, as you know, leverages upon in his kalam cosmological argument wherein he reasons the impossibility of an actual infinite, impossibility of an infinite regress, the beginning of the universe pointing to something outside of time. I don't believe Craig's logical arguments are wrong, they seem to me very sound and persuasive. Yet, they just respresent some lines of arguments in this area and not the ones you prefer, or even the ones I prefer which I'll try elaborate further on below.

Yet, then Shapiro pivots towards a second argument that touches upon what I call a "vertical" order of contingency, which tends to avoid infinite regress causality talk. The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) which says we have capactity to understand the universe. PSR suggests there are no limitations to our understanding, we just don't have all information. Given enough information we could understand every aspect of the universe and why a thing happens.

For example, a window breaking was due to a ball going through it (windows don't just break for no reason), the ball going through it was due to my hitting it with a baseball bat (balls don't just fly through the air for no reason). Yet, then on the vertical order of things, we might ask why that ball eventually lands or an apple falls from a tree? Because there is a law of gravity. Why does the law of gravity exist? Space curviture or the like. What makes this space curviture? Note what I am here describing is NOT a "horizontal" version of cause and effect, but rather a "vertical" order of contigencies. Gravity and curviture could both be temporally (horizontally) infinite, and yet, space curviture provides the foundation upon which the laws of gravity rest upon (vertical layers).

Shapiro doesn't go into this much detail, to do so would probably lose the audience (as I've lost some readers here no doubt). I do sense however that he is touching in and around it. He does seem somewhat stuck on a cause and effect (horizontal) understanding of matters. For he reasons in his second PSR argument that if you believe we have sufficient reason to understand the universe, then there has to be something outside the system of contingencies "that got the ball rolling in the first place" (I'd much prefer he said "that lay at the foundation of everything"). This something must be pure existence, possessing pure actuality with no potentiality. Loosely quoting, he concludes, "this something must exist outside of time since things inside time always have a potential to be fulfilled, whereas things outside of time don't have a potential to be fulfilled. So I've described to you a being, that has pure existence, that exists outside of time, and has the potential to actualise anything. That's God, the evidence-based argument in favour of God."

He then starts putting forward a third argument, drifting towards telos displayed in humanity and the world. That is, Aristotle argued human beings were created to perform a certain function, that function being to reason. Every object was created to perform a certain function. If you believe everything happened randomly for no reason, then there is an is-to-ought gap that is unbridgable, which is why Atheism can't ground morality. Atheism might describe what "is" morality according to some random evolutionary "survival of the fittest" story, but it can never give rise to why we "ought" to subscribe and obey such rules since things in the world have no end goal or designated purpose.
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Re: List of Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#114

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:51 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:Ah Ben, he has the gift of being able to explain things clearly, quickly and concise.
I've not been blessed with such, but I blame it on the writing medium which always makes it seem like more words. He spoke for next to 5 minutes at quick pace, which works out to around 1000 words. :P
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Re: List of Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#115

Post by Nessa » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:00 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Ah Ben, he has the gift of being able to explain things clearly, quickly and concise.
I've not been blessed with such, but I blame it on the writing medium which always makes it seem like more words. He spoke for next to 5 minutes at quick pace, which works out to around 1000 words. :P
Theres a lot to be said for taking your time ;) :P

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Re: List of Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#116

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:03 pm

Nessa wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Ah Ben, he has the gift of being able to explain things clearly, quickly and concise.
I've not been blessed with such, but I blame it on the writing medium which always makes it seem like more words. He spoke for next to 5 minutes at quick pace, which works out to around 1000 words. :P
Theres a lot to be said for taking your time ;) :P
Is that something like "it's not the size of it but how you use it"? ;) :P
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Re: Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#117

Post by Philip » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:43 pm

I bet K's wife hates arguing with him (rather, "listening to long pedantic lectures") even more than mine does! :lol:

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Re: Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#118

Post by Nessa » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:11 am

Philip wrote:I bet K's wife hates arguing with him (rather, "listening to long pedantic lectures") even more than mine does! :lol:
We all know couples only argue for the make up bit afterwards tho, right? :amen:

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Re: Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#119

Post by Byblos » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:32 am

Kurieuo wrote:You seem generally right Byblos, but also I think nonetheless Shapiro generally does quite well on the spot.

Shapiro starts off your side of the track with "actual" and "potential", the statement he makes in the beginning is that only thing that has the power to act upon the potential of another object is either another object that is also potential, or something that is pure actuality which just exists. From there he digresses off-track to reason if you don't want an infinite regress of causes, things that have actuality and potential, you have to come to the actualised actualiser. The thing that just exists. This thing we call God. He says this is the basic Aristotelean argument shaped further by Aquinas. (Note: Shapiro never argues that an infinite regress is impossible, but merely "if you don't like it" which suggests to me he using it more for illustrative purposes than as an argument)

Now I don't believe he is necessarily wrong here to invoke cauality and an infinite regress, since I do not believe Aristotles' argument excludes such (we just know such isn't the be-all and end-all of the argument, right?). Shapiro seems to assume from the outset pure actuality just existing, and then reasons backward to this using infinite regress to try illuminate what such means to the audience. It does appear like he is using it as an argument also, and I'm sure he personally sees it as one too.

The subtleties though you/we would make are hard to distinguish in precise terms. Specifically, that a causal regress doesn't lead us to conclude a timeless being like God, but rather that causality itself evidences potentiality which means anything apart of such can't be the actual actualiser. Therefore, something that is pure actuality must exist as a matter of logical necessity and not based upon the impossibility of an infinite regression (let me know if this isn't your point).

Yet, despite this subtelty not being explained by Shapiro (if he is even aware), I nonetheless see what Shapiro says as generally valid. It is what I'd call the "horizontal" perspective of act-potency, which is easy to understand as cause and effect like we find in time. I don't believe such is necessarily precluded by Aristotelean logic, but neither is such the fuller argument being made. The horizontal understanding is one William Craig, as you know, leverages upon in his kalam cosmological argument wherein he reasons the impossibility of an actual infinite, impossibility of an infinite regress, the beginning of the universe pointing to something outside of time. I don't believe Craig's logical arguments are wrong, they seem to me very sound and persuasive. Yet, they just respresent some lines of arguments in this area and not the ones you prefer, or even the ones I prefer which I'll try elaborate further on below.

Yet, then Shapiro pivots towards a second argument that touches upon what I call a "vertical" order of contingency, which tends to avoid infinite regress causality talk. The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) which says we have capactity to understand the universe. PSR suggests there are no limitations to our understanding, we just don't have all information. Given enough information we could understand every aspect of the universe and why a thing happens.

For example, a window breaking was due to a ball going through it (windows don't just break for no reason), the ball going through it was due to my hitting it with a baseball bat (balls don't just fly through the air for no reason). Yet, then on the vertical order of things, we might ask why that ball eventually lands or an apple falls from a tree? Because there is a law of gravity. Why does the law of gravity exist? Space curviture or the like. What makes this space curviture? Note what I am here describing is NOT a "horizontal" version of cause and effect, but rather a "vertical" order of contigencies. Gravity and curviture could both be temporally (horizontally) infinite, and yet, space curviture provides the foundation upon which the laws of gravity rest upon (vertical layers).

Shapiro doesn't go into this much detail, to do so would probably lose the audience (as I've lost some readers here no doubt). I do sense however that he is touching in and around it. He does seem somewhat stuck on a cause and effect (horizontal) understanding of matters. For he reasons in his second PSR argument that if you believe we have sufficient reason to understand the universe, then there has to be something outside the system of contingencies "that got the ball rolling in the first place" (I'd much prefer he said "that lay at the foundation of everything"). This something must be pure existence, possessing pure actuality with no potentiality. Loosely quoting, he concludes, "this something must exist outside of time since things inside time always have a potential to be fulfilled, whereas things outside of time don't have a potential to be fulfilled. So I've described to you a being, that has pure existence, that exists outside of time, and has the potential to actualise anything. That's God, the evidence-based argument in favour of God."

He then starts putting forward a third argument, drifting towards telos displayed in humanity and the world. That is, Aristotle argued human beings were created to perform a certain function, that function being to reason. Every object was created to perform a certain function. If you believe everything happened randomly for no reason, then there is an is-to-ought gap that is unbridgable, which is why Atheism can't ground morality. Atheism might describe what "is" morality according to some random evolutionary "survival of the fittest" story, but it can never give rise to why we "ought" to subscribe and obey such rules since things in the world have no end goal or designated purpose.

As usual K, very thorough and spot on analysis, much of which I agree with. From my cursory listen to the video I guess I had a knee-jerk reaction so I went back and listened to it more intently. I still feel Shapiro could have been more careful in his inclusion of infinite regress as a possible premise.

Here are exactly the points I was referring to:

At minute 0:50 while discussing the Aristotelian/Thomistic proof he says:
... if you don't want an infinite regress of causes ...
.
I realize he may have been pandering to the audience but that's just the wrong thing to say because it makes it sound like the argument is attempting to avoid infinite regress whereas the argument rules it out by necessity.

Then at minute 5:05 he says that there are 3 possibilities for reality, 1) unmoved mover, 2) infinite regress, and 3) brute fact laws. Then he rules out 3 by virtue of lack of explanatory power, leaving 1 and 2 as the only possibilities (by deduction). But infinite regress doesn't even enter into the picture unless it is actually being ruled out by necessity. Let me give you an example, we can certainly imagine there being an infinite number of the same book, say a philosophy book. The infinite series is of the exact same book, same indicated author, same content, color, weight, etc. There's nothing incoherent about having such an infinite regress of books. But why is it that book in particular and not some other one, or that author and not some other one, or that subject and not some other subject? Indeed why does the infinite series of identical books even exist at all? The more fundamental question (to the argument from essentially ordered causal series), is why does the infinite series even stay in existence and not simply get annihilated? What (or who) is actualizing that existence potential here and now? THAT is what Shapiro should have been emphasizing, instead of the caricature argument everyone else (mis)-understands about the Aristotelian/Thomistic argument.

But like I said, he simply may have been catering to his audience to make a point.
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Re: Amazing Scientific Evidences Why God MUST Exist

#120

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:04 am

I think that Ben was working on the level of the audience, most of which probably do not have much philosophy in their background.
Based on that, understanding why infinite regression is no explanation at all, is a good place to start.

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