Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

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: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#136

Post by Philip » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:13 am

TrulyE: Since he did not have 21st Century knowledge to work with, he could only use his logic and reason to answer ecclesiastic and metaphysical questions.
Um, I'm pretty sure YOU, in THIS century don't have any more tools to ponder the metaphysical than did Aquinas - as science can't do the metaphysical!
TrulyE: Nothing in this Universe began, or had a beginning. All things simply evolved from the more simplistic, to the more complicated. Period. Our reality is the result of quantum interaction with the the many fields(electromagnetic, gravity and anti-gravity, Higgs, Quantum, Strong), etc) that permeate the ether of space-time.
Which is nothing more than fantastical speculation concerning what would be contingent things that you merely speculate to be part of an infinite chain requiring unfathomable intelligence. You have ZERO proof of your speculation AND you deny what most physicists overwhelmingly believe - that the universe had a beginning - one which HAD to be contingent upon some other existing, non-physical thing or things that had to have been eternal, immensely powerful, and intelligent. Also, you clearly believe in the magic of the randomness of blind, non-thinking things and infinite time being capable of combining into stupendous intelligence. You'd have made a great sci-fi writer, though! Just don't assert you KNOW something that is pure speculation unrooted in PROOF. BTW, using scientific jargon describing already known and EXISTING things and processes is NOT proof of what you assert.

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#137

Post by trulyenlightened » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:55 am

Philip wrote:
TrulyE: Since he did not have 21st Century knowledge to work with, he could only use his logic and reason to answer ecclesiastic and metaphysical questions.
Um, I'm pretty sure YOU, in THIS century don't have any more tools to ponder the metaphysical than did Aquinas - as science can't do the metaphysical!
TrulyE: Nothing in this Universe began, or had a beginning. All things simply evolved from the more simplistic, to the more complicated. Period. Our reality is the result of quantum interaction with the the many fields(electromagnetic, gravity and anti-gravity, Higgs, Quantum, Strong), etc) that permeate the ether of space-time.
Which is nothing more than fantastical speculation concerning what would be contingent things that you merely speculate to be part of an infinite chain requiring unfathomable intelligence. You have ZERO proof of your speculation AND you deny what most physicists overwhelmingly believe - that the universe had a beginning - one which HAD to be contingent upon some other existing, non-physical thing or things that had to have been eternal, immensely powerful, and intelligent. Also, you clearly believe in the magic of the randomness of blind, non-thinking things and infinite time being capable of combining into stupendous intelligence. You'd have made a great sci-fi writer, though! Just don't assert you KNOW something that is pure speculation unrooted in PROOF. BTW, using scientific jargon describing already known and EXISTING things and processes is NOT proof of what you assert.
Tell me Philip, what are the tools that people of the 21st Century need to ponder and pontificate Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions, in a pompous and dogmatic way? That is, other than using their own biased self-serving logic and reasoning? No Philip, people of the 21st Century have no reason to ponder Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions at all. It is certainly not essential for survival, and has absolutely no practical application in reality. I personally consider it nothing more than a self-serving mental pastime. I'm more a Mark Twain sort of guy.

First I want to separate Belief from reality. You can believe anything you like, but I will only be speaking about things that exists outside of the mind. Those things that we do not need to speculate about. Remember the more knowledge you have, the less you need to speculate. Because of the Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, it is impossible to determine the very beginning of the Universe(particle/wave duality). Especially in a Universe of Everything. It would be the same as trying to reach absolute Zero,the speed of light, or to claim Zero Entropy. WE CAN NEVER KNOW WHEN THE UNIVERSE BEGAN OR HOW IT BEGAN. But we CAN offer an informed interpretation of the facts that can be scientifically determine to avoid speculating. Our universe IS filled with different quantum fields. There is no speculation here. Just place a magnet under some iron filings and you will see one of those fields. Just what do you think the significance of the Higgs Field is, or its predicted and later discovered Boson? It is matter's interaction with this field that gives it its mass. Without it we would all be massless, like photons. I'm afraid you may need a refresher course in Particle Physics. Maybe you can tell me why the protons in the nucleus do not fly apart with an electrostatic force of 230 Newtons? Or is this also just speculative? Do you think that no gravitation field permeates our Universe, and cause matter to attract matter? Or, is that also speculative? Do you think that particles and fields do not interact to create matter? https://profmattstrassler.com/articles- ... -interact/ So, yes there is more than enough proof, for anyone who wants to see it with an open mind.

No Philip, it is not science that speculates, it is you. It is you that must distort and misrepresent my comments, to justify a belief without evidence("..nothing more than fantastical speculation concerning what would be contingent things that you merely speculate to be part of an infinite chain requiring unfathomable intelligence. It is you that does not know the difference between proof and speculation. For example, how do you KNOW that the Universe is "one which HAD to be contingent upon some other existing, non-physical thing or things that had to have been eternal, immensely powerful, and intelligent"? What is your evidence, other than simply asserting that it is true?

At least magic is grounded in reality. We can always find a logical explanation for magic that is grounded in science. When you state, "Also, you clearly believe in the magic of the randomness of blind, non-thinking things and infinite time being capable of combining into stupendous intelligence", you are talking about fantasy and not magic. Fantasy can never be explained(except metaphysically), because it is grounded only in our imagination and in our Beliefs. So unless you can demonstrate what are the speculations you claim that I make, then it is just more empty assertions. The difference between us, is that when I need to speculate about something, I simply say that "I just don't know". Don

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#138

Post by Philip » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:55 pm

Truly: Tell me Philip, what are the tools that people of the 21st Century need to ponder and pontificate Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions...
We can look for evidence that strongly seems to require an explanation that transcends the physical - as science overwhelmingly asserts, per many types of studies - that there was a point at which the universe began. Course, people speculate what preceded it. But we can look to see if there is any evidence appearing to show necessary causes for contingent things, evidences for intelligence and design per things that came into existence - things that pure time and chance don't seem capable of coming close to explaining. Many of our greatest minds have contemplated such things, and per their ponderings, of what exists and per the mechanics and functionalities of so many things, and interactively so, on a scale we can scarcely fathom, have convinced them that their must be a transcendent Cause for them. Einstein was certainly one of them - there are many others! So, unless you surpass the brilliance of many such men, and have discovered what no one else has proven, then this question of our origin is an important one that is an obvious interest of much of mankind, and of many of the best minds the world has ever produced (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_C ... technology). That you seem offended by that quest seems rather strange.
Truly: No Philip, people of the 21st Century have no reason to ponder Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions at all.
First, it takes enormous arrogance to assert that! Are you all-knowing? Can you be SURE of that? If not, it's arrogant to say so! And if merely human curiosity - it really wouldn't matter - interesting, but of no great consequence - IF we're all only here per some incredible Darwinian crapshoot that just happened to become possible. UNLESS, there IS a cause - rather, an Intelligence that matters to us. Because IF that is true, it's perhaps the most important question one could ask. And vast millions do ask that question!
Truly: "...I will only be speaking about things that exists outside of the mind. Those things that we do not need to speculate about."
We'll see.

Truly: Because of the Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, it is impossible to determine the very beginning of the Universe (particle/wave duality).

Depends upon what you mean by "very."
Truly: Especially in a Universe of Everything. It would be the same as trying to reach absolute Zero,the speed of light, or to claim Zero Entropy. WE CAN NEVER KNOW WHEN THE UNIVERSE BEGAN OR HOW IT BEGAN. But we CAN offer an informed interpretation of the facts that can be scientifically determine to avoid speculating.
Speculation is when you can't prove what you theorize. EVERY hypothesis is necessarily involves some level of speculation. And only things that can be MEASURED or observed to be true - that is, for us, PHYSICAL things - don't require speculation. Going beyond that, is pure speculation. If contingent processes or things exist, it doesn't mean you can know they ALWAYS existed, or that they aren't contingent, or that all such things didn't have a cause. But speculate beyond what can be known all you want.
Truly: Our universe IS filled with different quantum fields. There is no speculation here. Just place a magnet under some iron filings and you will see one of those fields. Just what do you think the significance of the Higgs Field is, or its predicted and later discovered Boson? It is matter's interaction with this field that gives it its mass. Without it we would all be massless, like photons. I'm afraid you may need a refresher course in Particle Physics. Maybe you can tell me why the protons in the nucleus do not fly apart with an electrostatic force of 230 Newtons? Or is this also just speculative? Do you think that no gravitation field permeates our Universe, and cause matter to attract matter? Or, is that also speculative? Do you think that particles and fields do not interact to create matter? https://profmattstrassler.com/articles- ... -interact/ So, yes there is more than enough proof, for anyone who wants to see it with an open mind.
You are merely describing ALREADY existing things or processes for which you cannot explain why they exist or how. You have absolutely no idea what existed before singularity and the Big Bang. ZIP! Unless I somehow missed this headline where someone named Truly E or some other genius made some astonishing discovery I'm not aware of. So, pure speculation.
Truly E: For example, how do you KNOW that the Universe is "one which HAD to be contingent upon some other existing, non-physical thing or things that had to have been eternal, immensely powerful, and intelligent"? What is your evidence, other than simply asserting that it is true?
Because NOTHING can create itself, this means that whatever existed before all contingent things, could not itself be contingent, could not self create. So, some Thing or things HAD to be eternal, that's number one. Number two is, time - even infinite time - by itself, does not make or enable blind, non-intelligent, random things to develop or harness intelligence. Massive random chaos or unfathomable precision - they are both the same to non-intelligent things, as they are unrecognized, nor known to be different. There is no strategizing, learning, experimenting, developing abilities or intelligence, of blind, non-intelligent things - such things have zero potential of this.
Truly E: At least magic is grounded in reality.
Well, your belief of what blind, non-intelligent things can become and do involves a magic far beyond rational thinking and logic. Why do you think Einstein came to believe the universe had some eternal Intelligence behind it? Because he didn't believe possible what you assert - not without an astonishing intelligence behind it. There are many others, some Nobel prize winners (again, look at list linked, above) - same conclusion - what exists, per their designs, functionalities and interactivities, require some SuperIntelligence to exist. Now, ALL of them aren't necessarily Christians, as that's not my point - and is in fact a further question. Right now, we're talking whether some aspect of Theism - a Creative Intelligence - is necessary for what exists, and what came into existence and function as they did, with such extraordinary designs, upon the Big Bang's beginning.
Truly: The difference between us, is that when I need to speculate about something, I simply say that "I just don't know". Don
Then why the heck spill so many words asserting that you DO know the answer? I'm still waiting upon the world-wide media announcement that you've figured out and proved what you assert to be true! But won't hold my breath.

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#139

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:22 am

trulyenlightened wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Many have pointed out that contemporary philosophers misunderstand Aquinas' arguments. There is a growing number who are claiming Aquinas' arguments have indeed been misunderstood and people have simply been knocking down caricatures.

I myself, like you, was suspicious when Jac on this board presented such to me. Really, when I read his arguments, I couldn't see them other than like the Kalam Cosmological argument as presented by say a William Lane Craig. Very much like you do. I was educated differently, by a Catholic philosophy lecturer as well. I thought really? You're telling much all such misunderstand Aquinas and you happen to be the only one understanding him correctly? But, it seems clear to me now that the answer is, "yes, there were all wrong." It wouldn't be the first time many people were wrong about something.

Feser seems to believe it is due to not being aquainted with his metaphysics, and also the materialistic framework and contempory philosophy which influences/gets read back into Aquinas which turns his arguments into a strawmen (and refutations accordingly are against caricatures of arguments Aquinas doesn't make). We're also quite removed from ideas Aquinas in responding to in his time, which puts certain terms and ideas he builds his arguments upon in their proper context.

In any case, don't you find it a little strange that Aquinas would defend against a beginning in the world, defend against those who claim an infinite regress was impossible, just like you? He basically says Christians would be laughed at who believe in a beginning based upon arguments that attempt to prove a beginning to the world (see Summa Theologiae Q46 A2) To Aquinas, such isn't provable either way. This seems counterintuitive to Aquinas' Five Ways then, if it is true like many think, that Aquinas is rationally arguing something like the universe had a beginning. Rather, it seems likely his arguments are more nuanced and so being misunderstood.
For someone who is considered brilliant, intelligent, and enlightened, I am not surprised at his reversal. I see it as the inevitable extension of his critical thinking and self-reflection. Since he did not have 21st Century knowledge to work with, he could only use his logic and reason to answer ecclesiastic and metaphysical questions. I am not averse to brainstorming metaphysical arguments, as long as the parameters are very clearly stated. Otherwise, it becomes just another verbal exercise in futility(like political arguments). I believe in the Ethos of full disclosure in science. That is, honesty, transparency, peer review, testability, promoting skepticism and open questioning, and its reliance only on the evidence. I believe that science will make the world a better place by eventually burying all superstitions, myths, and dogmas. Science and Mathematics, like reality, are beyond labels, Beliefs, and ideas. It is the only objective means we have, to truly understand and interact with our physical reality. I have respect for all rational and honest discussions. But, I have no respect for distortions and misrepresentations.
You just won't budge that you might be wrong in your understanding of Aquinas, eh? Perhaps obstinance is what develops from being a lecturer. I wonder, truly, if you are still a lecturer? If not, why not? And what did you lecture in? If name-dropping such is meant to give you more credibility, then please give us the full details of your area of knowledge, etc.

Regarding what you say about Aquinas doing a "reversal" later on, you do know Aquinas' Five Ways exists in his same work as what I just cited (Summa Theologiae Q46 A2)? Both are found in the first part of his Summa Theologiae. To quote specifically the text I reference, which is in the same part of his Five Ways:
  • I answer that, By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist, as was said above of the mystery of the Trinity (I:32:1. The reason of this is that the newness of the world cannot be demonstrated on the part of the world itself. For the principle of demonstration is the essence of a thing. Now everything according to its species is abstracted from "here" and "now"; whence it is said that universals are everywhere and always. Hence it cannot be demonstrated that man, or heaven, or a stone were not always. Likewise neither can it be demonstrated on the part of the efficient cause, which acts by will. For the will of God cannot be investigated by reason, except as regards those things which God must will of necessity; and what He wills about creatures is not among these, as was said above (I:19:3). But the divine will can be manifested by revelation, on which faith rests. Hence that the world began to exist is an object of faith, but not of demonstration or science. And it is useful to consider this, lest anyone, presuming to demonstrate what is of faith, should bring forward reasons that are not cogent, so as to give occasion to unbelievers to laugh, thinking that on such grounds we believe things that are of faith.
Perhaps then, it is true as Byblos and myself have been saying all along, and it is true as others say who are respected for their knowledge on Aquinas (i.e., Ed Feser who you dismissed so quickly out of hand) that his arguments for God's existence are in fact popularly misunderstood. I expect you'll just dig your heels, even when faced with direct evidence to the contrary. You're a lecturer afterall. :P So I won't hold my breath, although if I'm wrong then I'd be pleasantly suprised to be wrong here.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#140

Post by trulyenlightened » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:11 am

Philip wrote:
Truly: Tell me Philip, what are the tools that people of the 21st Century need to ponder and pontificate Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions...
We can look for evidence that strongly seems to require an explanation that transcends the physical - as science overwhelmingly asserts, per many types of studies - that there was a point at which the universe began. Course, people speculate what preceded it. But we can look to see if there is any evidence appearing to show necessary causes for contingent things, evidences for intelligence and design per things that came into existence - things that pure time and chance don't seem capable of coming close to explaining. Many of our greatest minds have contemplated such things, and per their ponderings, of what exists and per the mechanics and functionalities of so many things, and interactively so, on a scale we can scarcely fathom, have convinced them that their must be a transcendent Cause for them. Einstein was certainly one of them - there are many others! So, unless you surpass the brilliance of many such men, and have discovered what no one else has proven, then this question of our origin is an important one that is an obvious interest of much of mankind, and of many of the best minds the world has ever produced (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_C ... technology). That you seem offended by that quest seems rather strange.
Truly: No Philip, people of the 21st Century have no reason to ponder Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions at all.
First, it takes enormous arrogance to assert that! Are you all-knowing? Can you be SURE of that? If not, it's arrogant to say so! And if merely human curiosity - it really wouldn't matter - interesting, but of no great consequence - IF we're all only here per some incredible Darwinian crapshoot that just happened to become possible. UNLESS, there IS a cause - rather, an Intelligence that matters to us. Because IF that is true, it's perhaps the most important question one could ask. And vast millions do ask that question!
Truly: "...I will only be speaking about things that exists outside of the mind. Those things that we do not need to speculate about."
We'll see.

Truly: Because of the Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, it is impossible to determine the very beginning of the Universe (particle/wave duality).

Depends upon what you mean by "very."
Truly: Especially in a Universe of Everything. It would be the same as trying to reach absolute Zero,the speed of light, or to claim Zero Entropy. WE CAN NEVER KNOW WHEN THE UNIVERSE BEGAN OR HOW IT BEGAN. But we CAN offer an informed interpretation of the facts that can be scientifically determine to avoid speculating.
Speculation is when you can't prove what you theorize. EVERY hypothesis is necessarily involves some level of speculation. And only things that can be MEASURED or observed to be true - that is, for us, PHYSICAL things - don't require speculation. Going beyond that, is pure speculation. If contingent processes or things exist, it doesn't mean you can know they ALWAYS existed, or that they aren't contingent, or that all such things didn't have a cause. But speculate beyond what can be known all you want.
Truly: Our universe IS filled with different quantum fields. There is no speculation here. Just place a magnet under some iron filings and you will see one of those fields. Just what do you think the significance of the Higgs Field is, or its predicted and later discovered Boson? It is matter's interaction with this field that gives it its mass. Without it we would all be massless, like photons. I'm afraid you may need a refresher course in Particle Physics. Maybe you can tell me why the protons in the nucleus do not fly apart with an electrostatic force of 230 Newtons? Or is this also just speculative? Do you think that no gravitation field permeates our Universe, and cause matter to attract matter? Or, is that also speculative? Do you think that particles and fields do not interact to create matter? https://profmattstrassler.com/articles- ... -interact/ So, yes there is more than enough proof, for anyone who wants to see it with an open mind.
You are merely describing ALREADY existing things or processes for which you cannot explain why they exist or how. You have absolutely no idea what existed before singularity and the Big Bang. ZIP! Unless I somehow missed this headline where someone named Truly E or some other genius made some astonishing discovery I'm not aware of. So, pure speculation.
Truly E: For example, how do you KNOW that the Universe is "one which HAD to be contingent upon some other existing, non-physical thing or things that had to have been eternal, immensely powerful, and intelligent"? What is your evidence, other than simply asserting that it is true?
Because NOTHING can create itself, this means that whatever existed before all contingent things, could not itself be contingent, could not self create. So, some Thing or things HAD to be eternal, that's number one. Number two is, time - even infinite time - by itself, does not make or enable blind, non-intelligent, random things to develop or harness intelligence. Massive random chaos or unfathomable precision - they are both the same to non-intelligent things, as they are unrecognized, nor known to be different. There is no strategizing, learning, experimenting, developing abilities or intelligence, of blind, non-intelligent things - such things have zero potential of this.
Truly E: At least magic is grounded in reality.
Well, your belief of what blind, non-intelligent things can become and do involves a magic far beyond rational thinking and logic. Why do you think Einstein came to believe the universe had some eternal Intelligence behind it? Because he didn't believe possible what you assert - not without an astonishing intelligence behind it. There are many others, some Nobel prize winners (again, look at list linked, above) - same conclusion - what exists, per their designs, functionalities and interactivities, require some SuperIntelligence to exist. Now, ALL of them aren't necessarily Christians, as that's not my point - and is in fact a further question. Right now, we're talking whether some aspect of Theism - a Creative Intelligence - is necessary for what exists, and what came into existence and function as they did, with such extraordinary designs, upon the Big Bang's beginning.
Truly: The difference between us, is that when I need to speculate about something, I simply say that "I just don't know". Don
Then why the heck spill so many words asserting that you DO know the answer? I'm still waiting upon the world-wide media announcement that you've figured out and proved what you assert to be true! But won't hold my breath.
Everything that we see in Nature, has a cause. Everything in Nature that is caused has a reason WHY it is caused. Just genius! Some causes may be a collection of causes that produce a single cause. Effects can have one or many causes. We make this assumption because we see them happening everywhere. We have no reason to speculate about what is self-evident. Not only are things from our subjective perspective causal in nature, but the process that creates ideas and concepts in our mind, is also causal in Nature. Even the Mathematics that transcend objective and subjective reality is the result of infinite causality created by the BB. So, there is no need to convince me about causality. I am not saying that the BB was not the beginning of our Universe. I'm saying that it may not be "THE" beginning of our Universe. Let's begin to highlight how you avoid, restate, misrepresent, and ignore the issues I raise. All you keep parroting is the same creation mantras, that have been said since the 70's. Let's move on.

Science DOES NOT "look to see if there is any evidence appearing to show necessary causes for contingent things, evidences for intelligence and design per things that came into existence - things that pure time and chance don't seem capable of coming close to explaining". This statement is intellectually dishonest. Science looks for ANY evidence that explains any NATURAL phenomenon, period. Science does not look for evidence of Intelligence or a personal Designer in any natural phenomena. Science does not look for evidence to show the inherent necessity of causality in natural phenomena. Science does not look for evidence to show the inherited contingency of causality in any natural phenomena. Finally, since reality exists, it is irrelevant and silly, to claim that blind chance and probability cannot account for its existence. Unless you can prove that another method other than probability exists. It doesn't matter that the improbability of you existing today, according to Binazir's calculation is one in 10^2,685.000. Life, the Universe, and all of reality still exists despite those odds. In fact the probability of mankind not existing, is even greater. It's like telling Lotto winners that time and pure chance can't account for their winning. Have you ever wondered why there are no bets that no one will win in gambling? Remember odds are irrelevant, after the outcome.

What earlier Scientists pondered about is irrelevant, it is only their scientific achievements that are pertinent. Making an appeal to Authority in an argument is fallacious, and intellectually dishonest. How brilliant they are has nothing to do with what they believe in. That is an equivocation fallacy. Considering the thousands of different Beliefs that there are, I am certainly not offended or threatened. Why would I be? Just because scientists do not understand something, or claim that a variable is unknown, they do not automatically appeal to the supernatural for their explanation. Or, try to justify a trip to the metaphysical reality, using non-metaphysical tools to find answers to non-metaphysical problems. Read my statement again Philip, "..people of the 21st Century have no reason to ponder Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions at all". Although I meant compared to needs necessary for survival, this still does not mean that I somehow know that all people do not, ponder on these questions at all! Did you really think that I would know what all people of the 21st Century would not ponder on?

Are you ever going to tell me exactly what things I use to only speculate? Or, are you going to keep parroting that I am. I only "speculate" 4-dimensional explanations of the the cause of the BB. After the BB, the formation of stars, galaxies, and planets, there is no need to "speculate". All scientific models are consistent and well understood. The exact nanosecond when the first related causality occurred that contributed to the formation of life, can never be known. It is NOT "speculative" that the cumulative effects of an infinite string of events and variables, is what led to the creation of life. Exactly what evidence are you looking for? Video, photographic, or time-lapse? What exactly are you arguing against, if not the evidence I present, that you simply dismiss without evidence?

No Philip, it is you that hide behind the fact that your ideas are completely unfalsifiable. It is you that can't provide one shred of objective evidence that is creation-specific. It is you that expect science to answer all of your impossible, absolute, and unreasonable questions, but use "special pleading" to exclude your own position from being scrutinized or validated by science. It is you that infer that a Deity created the entire inconceivable Universe, and all other lifeforms, just for the enjoyment of mankind. It is you that is claiming that scientific principles supports your belief, but only by misrepresenting and distorting these same principles. It is you that must cherry-pick my post, ignore my questions, and twist whatever I say to mean whatever you want, just to suit your own narrative. It is you that shift the burden of proof, and have others try and prove that your extraordinary claims(God did it) are NOT true. This produces the false conclusion that you are right by default. It is you, that try to keep critical thinkers at bay, by denying and dismissing anything relevant, and to keep asking questions until only a God could continue to answer them. This tactic is used by all creationists. Another tactic is to create rabbit holes like absolute morality and absolute truth. Both are meaningless concepts that have a million different meanings for a million different people, like "national security". So when it comes to being speculative, at least I use clearly defined existing physical things.

So, think of me as a 5 year old. Prove to me why nothing can create itself? Prove to me how everything was created by only a thought? Give me an example of anything that is supernatural or metaphysical? Demonstrate to me that everything that I see is intelligently designed by a designer, and can ONLY be this way? The default position is not allowed(things were just designed to be this way)! Describe to me where the precipice is that determines what is intelligent and what is just plain stupid? Describe ONE thing that completely falsifies the ToE? Maybe you can prove why a non-contingent, non-intelligent, non-improbable blind chance, COULD NOT have been the cause of our reality(instead of implying it)? You know none of these things, do you? All you can do is dismiss, criticize, or argue against any physical evidence that I present to you, and never present any physical evidence that supports your own position. I am also not going to hold my breath, waiting for an informed response to any of my concerns. Even if all of science could be proven wrong, you would still have to support your own position. Don

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#141

Post by Byblos » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:40 am

So Nils, getting back to this thread and your last post to me. But first I wanted to address this little nugget of wisdom from our friend:
trulyenlightened wrote:Our reality is the result of quantum interaction with the the many fields(electromagnetic, gravity and anti-gravity, Higgs, Quantum, Strong), etc) that permeate the ether of space-time.
That's pretty much what the materialist's argument for reality boils down to and it is precisely why I suggested the PSR, i.e. to show the utter incoherence and self-defeating nature of such an argument. The argument terminates with inexplicable, brute force facts which is a violation of the PSR. If you ask the materialist the next logical question: well, where did these fields and their laws of interactions come from, what is their explanation (as demanded by the PSR)? The ultimate answer to their relality must invariably be 'because that's the way is'.

There are 3 principles that must be assumed for scientists to do what they do so successfully and I will repeat them:

1. The law of non-contradiction
2. The principle of causality
3. The principle of sufficient reason

And 'because that's the way it is' violates at least 2 of the 3, thereby not only undermining the very science they hold so dear but also end up explaining nothing in the process. It is like a hamster climbing the ladder of knowledge on a quest for ultimate knowledge, knowing full well the ladder he chose is a wheel that spins interminably.

So moving on from that, let's see if we can come up with a more plausible answer than 'because that's the way it is', something that might not violate the PSR.

Nils wrote:But yours arguments are new to me so don't be too upset by my comments.
They may be new to you but they're not new at all. Leibniz is probably the philosopher most often associated with the PSR.

Nils wrote: Here I would like to see how your argument goes in more detail - a logic schema with premises and conclusions.
I will definitely post of logical syllogism of the argument and it will be detailed (because I will most likely quote verbartim from Feser's book). But first, let's examine yours.
Nils wrote:Here is my understanding (for what it is worth). Note that this is only a draft, just a fast try.
Nils wrote:P1. Everything must have an explanation (PSR)
Yes.

Nils wrote:P2. A multiverse has no explanation (everyone agrees, I think)
That's already a violation of the PSR since everything must have a reason. So no, according to the PSR the mutiverse either has an explanation exterinsic to itself or it is self-explanatory.

Nils wrote:C1. Hence, there has to be some other thing that explains the universe
Only if the multiverse's explanation turns out to be exterinsic (and as we will see, it is).
Nils wrote:P3. There is another thing that doesn't need an explanation (self-explanatory, pure actuality)
I know you probably meant well but again, that's a violation of the PSR. EVERYTHING needs an explanation. But reason demands that at least one explanation must be inherent in the thing itself (intrinsic, self-explanatory), otherwise we'd have an inifinite regress of extrinsic explanations and end up explaining nothing at all.

Nils wrote:P4. That other thing has to be intelligible, immaterial, timeless, immutable, which is subsistent existence itself.
It doesn't have to be all those things (as if those are assumptions we are sneaking into the argument). Those are attributes that we deduce from its self-explanatory nature. Let's take a few of them for now.

- Immaterial: since matter is contingent by nature (it can be or not be), or in more aristotelian jargon, it is a mixture of potentiality and actuality, then the self-explanatory entity must be immaterial.

- Immutable: Anything that changes is a mixture of potentiality and actuality. Since a pure actuality has no potential whatosever, it stands to reason that it is also changeless or immutable.

In fact, extending the potentiality/actuality idea further, from reason alone we know that this entity must be pure actuality with no potential whatsoever. For if it had any potential to be actualized, it would then depend on some other extrinsic explanation. Therefore it would not be self-explanatiry.
Nils wrote:P5. That thing we call God
C2. There is a God that is self-explanatory, pure actuality, intelligible, immaterial, timeless, immutable, which is subsistent existence itself.
Correct.
Nils wrote:I would like to see a motivation for P3 and P4.
Let me know what you think so far. We can continue discussing other attributes including intelligence.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#142

Post by trulyenlightened » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:20 am

Kurieuo wrote:
trulyenlightened wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Many have pointed out that contemporary philosophers misunderstand Aquinas' arguments. There is a growing number who are claiming Aquinas' arguments have indeed been misunderstood and people have simply been knocking down caricatures.

I myself, like you, was suspicious when Jac on this board presented such to me. Really, when I read his arguments, I couldn't see them other than like the Kalam Cosmological argument as presented by say a William Lane Craig. Very much like you do. I was educated differently, by a Catholic philosophy lecturer as well. I thought really? You're telling much all such misunderstand Aquinas and you happen to be the only one understanding him correctly? But, it seems clear to me now that the answer is, "yes, there were all wrong." It wouldn't be the first time many people were wrong about something.

Feser seems to believe it is due to not being aquainted with his metaphysics, and also the materialistic framework and contempory philosophy which influences/gets read back into Aquinas which turns his arguments into a strawmen (and refutations accordingly are against caricatures of arguments Aquinas doesn't make). We're also quite removed from ideas Aquinas in responding to in his time, which puts certain terms and ideas he builds his arguments upon in their proper context.

In any case, don't you find it a little strange that Aquinas would defend against a beginning in the world, defend against those who claim an infinite regress was impossible, just like you? He basically says Christians would be laughed at who believe in a beginning based upon arguments that attempt to prove a beginning to the world (see Summa Theologiae Q46 A2) To Aquinas, such isn't provable either way. This seems counterintuitive to Aquinas' Five Ways then, if it is true like many think, that Aquinas is rationally arguing something like the universe had a beginning. Rather, it seems likely his arguments are more nuanced and so being misunderstood.
For someone who is considered brilliant, intelligent, and enlightened, I am not surprised at his reversal. I see it as the inevitable extension of his critical thinking and self-reflection. Since he did not have 21st Century knowledge to work with, he could only use his logic and reason to answer ecclesiastic and metaphysical questions. I am not averse to brainstorming metaphysical arguments, as long as the parameters are very clearly stated. Otherwise, it becomes just another verbal exercise in futility(like political arguments). I believe in the Ethos of full disclosure in science. That is, honesty, transparency, peer review, testability, promoting skepticism and open questioning, and its reliance only on the evidence. I believe that science will make the world a better place by eventually burying all superstitions, myths, and dogmas. Science and Mathematics, like reality, are beyond labels, Beliefs, and ideas. It is the only objective means we have, to truly understand and interact with our physical reality. I have respect for all rational and honest discussions. But, I have no respect for distortions and misrepresentations.
You just won't budge that you might be wrong in your understanding of Aquinas, eh? Perhaps obstinance is what develops from being a lecturer. I wonder, truly, if you are still a lecturer? If not, why not? And what did you lecture in? If name-dropping such is meant to give you more credibility, then please give us the full details of your area of knowledge, etc.

Regarding what you say about Aquinas doing a "reversal" later on, you do know Aquinas' Five Ways exists in his same work as what I just cited (Summa Theologiae Q46 A2)? Both are found in the first part of his Summa Theologiae. To quote specifically the text I reference, which is in the same part of his Five Ways:
  • I answer that, By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist, as was said above of the mystery of the Trinity (I:32:1. The reason of this is that the newness of the world cannot be demonstrated on the part of the world itself. For the principle of demonstration is the essence of a thing. Now everything according to its species is abstracted from "here" and "now"; whence it is said that universals are everywhere and always. Hence it cannot be demonstrated that man, or heaven, or a stone were not always. Likewise neither can it be demonstrated on the part of the efficient cause, which acts by will. For the will of God cannot be investigated by reason, except as regards those things which God must will of necessity; and what He wills about creatures is not among these, as was said above (I:19:3). But the divine will can be manifested by revelation, on which faith rests. Hence that the world began to exist is an object of faith, but not of demonstration or science. And it is useful to consider this, lest anyone, presuming to demonstrate what is of faith, should bring forward reasons that are not cogent, so as to give occasion to unbelievers to laugh, thinking that on such grounds we believe things that are of faith.
Perhaps then, it is true as Byblos and myself have been saying all along, and it is true as others say who are respected for their knowledge on Aquinas (i.e., Ed Feser who you dismissed so quickly out of hand) that his arguments for God's existence are in fact popularly misunderstood. I expect you'll just dig your heels, even when faced with direct evidence to the contrary. You're a lecturer afterall. :P So I won't hold my breath, although if I'm wrong then I'd be pleasantly suprised to be wrong here.
From a metaphysical perspective, I most certainly could be wrong. But from a scientific perspective, I seriously doubt it. You may be right, that after over 35 years as a teacher, researcher, and mentor, I may have become obstinate and set in my way of thinking. I'm not sure what you mean by name dropping, and I'm certainly not looking for credibility. I am retired now, but I do help out the kids here in the Logan/Beaudesert area. I also manage to mentor 2 days a week at UQ. The brain is like a muscle, especially for the young. If it is properly motivated, there is no limits to how much it can learn. Don't use it, and the fewer connection will be created. My own kids are in research and teaching. As far as personal details about myself, I would prefer to keep that personal for obvious reasons. And, certainly not over an open forum.

Once we enter the area of Belief and Faith, there is no more arguments based on science. It is not my place to question anyones faith. How could I possibly know if they are right or wrong? I can only speak on matters of science. Don

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#143

Post by Philip » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:14 pm

Truly: Everything that we see in Nature, has a cause. Everything in Nature that is caused has a reason WHY it is caused. Just genius!
No, just what has exhaustively been observed to be true.

Truly: Some causes may be a collection of causes that produce a single cause. Effects can have one or many causes. We make this assumption because we see them happening everywhere. We have no reason to speculate about what is self-evident.[/quote]

We certainly can speculate - but the reality we all observe reveals ALL things need a cause. We know of nothing that doesn't. I don't believe in what I can't observe or know of. Reality has a pretty good track record of showing the need for causes, and the absence of uncaused things. And the total absence of new intelligence randomly appearing or developing in non-thinking things.
Truly: Not only are things from our subjective perspective causal in nature, but the process that creates ideas and concepts in our mind, is also causal in Nature. Even the Mathematics that transcend objective and subjective reality is the result of infinite causality created by the BB. So, there is no need to convince me about causality. I am not saying that the BB was not the beginning of our Universe. I'm saying that it may not be "THE" beginning of our Universe.
And so, for all things that exist, whether the BB was their beginning or not, SOMEWHERE/SOMEHOW there had to be a beginning Cause/derivative. So, IF the BB was merely part of some causal chain, it merely kicks the ultimate solution and question further back down the cosmic road.
Truly: Let's begin to highlight how you avoid, restate, misrepresent, and ignore the issues I raise.
NO! I'm only asserting that all things must have a cause and that all you are going on about are already-existing things and processes. And you've admitted that science cannot know anything beyond those things - as it is not equipped to measure them. And I totally agree. If you can tell me of anything ever existing that didn't require a cause, I'm open to hearing about it.
Truly: Science DOES NOT "look to see if there is any evidence appearing to show necessary causes for contingent things, evidences for intelligence and design per things that came into existence - things that pure time and chance don't seem capable of coming close to explaining". This statement is intellectually dishonest.


No need to falsely assert dishonesty! If you'll pay close attention, your realize I didn't say SCIENCE seeks out the metaphysical - things it cannot measure or discern, as they aren't physical - but my contention is that WE, as humans, can and do search for these things. We can ask ourselves, does time - even infinite time - allow blind, non-thinking things to organize in such a way to appear intelligently so - to the degree where we can scarcely understand what has happened, or how. And I say that is impossible, because such things have NO potential - they do not have the necessary attributes, and NO amount of time can produce them. I say, the belief that they can is unmerited belief in magic. Such things or some source had to ALREADY and eternally have these attributes, as they couldn't be developed. Time is no solution to what is asserted. But science most certainly does and long has analyzed the mechanics and designs it sees across the world and universe. As for whether science is looking for a non-physical Cause outside of them - sure it does - perhaps not as in looking for an Intelligence, but in looking for a built-in ability or intelligence that is just naturally occurring, as science has long pondered the whys and hows of the universe. But for arguments sake, let's say that their WAS an intelligent, thinking Source for the universe - would we say that science could not provide clues for that - IF it was true?

Science looks for ANY evidence that explains any NATURAL phenomenon, period. Science does not look for evidence of Intelligence or a personal Designer in any natural phenomena. And I never said such was the goal of SCIENCE.
Truly: Science does not look for evidence to show the inherent necessity of causality in natural phenomena.
Science might not look for the NECESSITY of causality, but it certainly operates the scientific method as if there IS causality behind things - as it assumes there are answers and thus causes. What it does not do is try to pre-suppose a label or identity to unknown causes, or even an ultimate Cause.
Truly: Finally, since reality exists, it is irrelevant and silly, to claim that blind chance and probability cannot account for its existence.
That's circular reasoning - that would mean that no matter the existing components, designs, mechanisms or functionalities in whatever reality, then blind chance MUST be able to account for its existence. Not to mention, you have no observation that this is possible. Why? A) Because science cannot go there and B) we know of not one thing that demonstrates this - and it is irrelevant to speak of processes already in place - as you cannot determine their origin or reasons for functioning as they do. As for things just existing - well, if the universe is eternal, things could just exist - but that doesn't explain their apparent designs and sophisticated functioning, our DNA, what instantly occurred at the beginning of the BB, etc. - these things show immense sophistication, functionality, engineering, etc. And so, time, no matter how much of it, cannot explain these things, unless the astonishing intelligence this would require was/is eternal in whatever, original, non-living things. I think you need to make a list of what non-intelligent things can accomplish, first beginning with how they even exist, and then what capabilities are possible with them. AND, you must explain how the processes came into existence that would have been possible. Also, how they jumped from a reality pre-existing the physical/material universe, into the physical one.
Truly: What earlier Scientists pondered about is irrelevant, it is only their scientific achievements that are pertinent. Making an appeal to Authority in an argument is fallacious, and intellectually dishonest.
And yet YOU refer to their "irrelevant" observations and analysis? "Intellectually dishonest???" I'm not the one who tried to insist that "people of the 21st Century have no reason to ponder Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions at all" - as some of the most brilliant minds amongst us have done so, and still do - and yet YOU think that is irrelevant? And as the fact that these giants of science SCIENTIFIC analyses only strengthened what these people have concluded about the need for a Creator - you think their collective testimony and beliefs about this matter are irrelevant, and yet yours ARE? You are beyond arrogant in stating such. You're a mental giant compared to Einstein's foolish theist conclusion? So, please, don't ever refer to anyone's research, analysis or conclusions, if they disagree with you one theism.
Truly: How brilliant they are has nothing to do with what they believe in.
Of course not - they can be wrong. But it is your assertion that they have "no reason to ponder Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions at all." Says WHO??? YOU???!!! That shows me your thinking has a filter switch set to not consider anything that conflicts with your present conclusions, as if what you think you know is definitive.
Truly: Read my statement again Philip, "..people of the 21st Century have no reason to ponder Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions at all". Although I meant compared to needs necessary for survival, this still does not mean that I somehow know that all people do not, ponder on these questions at all! Did you really think that I would know what all people of the 21st Century would not ponder on?
What you fail to realize is that MANY scientists either came to theistic or Christian beliefs BECAUSE of what learned through science. And yet, you would have it that science has no clues as to what is behind the amazing aspects of the universe, earth and life. That's binary thinking - that our knowledge base of such things doesn't have crossover implications. Look at 1996 Nobel Prize winner and chemist Dr. Richard Smalley (the "Father of Nanotechnology") - a longtime agnostic and believer in naturalism. It was what he learned via science that convinced him of the existence of God, and of his conclusion that life would have been otherwise impossible. And this is true of countless others who hold science, it's methodologies and research in very high esteem.
Truly: After the BB, the formation of stars, galaxies, and planets, there is no need to "speculate". All scientific models are consistent and well understood.
Even "after" doesn't explain how or why.
Truly: The exact nanosecond when the first related causality occurred that contributed to the formation of life, can never be known.


True. But we do know that SOME such Cause with extraordinary intelligence and abilities had to exist.
Truly: It is NOT "speculative" that the cumulative effects of an infinite string of events and variables, is what led to the creation of life.
I AGREE that these many things and their effects made life possible - but as to why or how they exist - THAT is the question science cannot touch.
Truly: It is you that expect science to answer all of your impossible, absolute, and unreasonable questions, but use "special pleading" to exclude your own position from being scrutinized or validated by science.
I don't expect science to hand me a video per what you already say it cannot show. What science DOES show is that all contingent things have a cause. We don't see non-intelligent things developing and exhibiting intelligence. Period!
Truly: It is you, that try to keep critical thinkers at bay, by denying and dismissing anything relevant
Oh, you mean dismissing science facts that don't disprove God? Or speculations built upon such analysis (that can't touch the question)? Plus, it is very much BECAUSE I immensely value scientific facts and its methodologies that have only immensely re-enforced by belief in God. But it's only one line of evidences - but they are extremely powerful to me. I'm merely challenging you to utilize something that can touch the question - and science you admit cannot do so - that ain't gonna do it. But it can reveal probabilities and things we've never seen occur without contingent, already-existing things - which are very important.

And it is YOU who simultaneously insist that science can show us the lack of necessity for God, that blind things can produce astounding things we have absolutely no reason to rationally believe possible without an incredible intelligence, and then you prattle on with conjecture of what MIGHT have been possible per already existing things and processes without explaining their cause or existence. But then you say science cannot answer the question of theism. Endless science talk when you have repeatedly admitted that science cannot explain the Source/sources and Causality we see necessary for all existing things. You only talk about things and processes already existing. That is pointless in your attempts to refute God is necessary, when science cannot go there. So, science talk cannot explain what many want to know.
Truly: So when it comes to being speculative, at least I use clearly defined existing physical things.


Which I appeal to as well - as such things have extraordinary attributes which I contend that random blind, non-physical things cannot explain. And you've no such evidence of such non-intelligent things having such capabilities - other than your magic words: "infinite time."
Truly: Describe ONE thing that completely falsifies the ToE?
IF true, TOE is irrelevant to the question, as it would have been an entirely contingent series of extraordinary, statistically improbable things that are WAY after the fact of what must be explained. As evolution COULD have been God's process - and many believe that. But whatever it's source and how it could have been possible, its reality would have been contingent upon what FIRST came into existence 10 BILLION YEARS before, that if such necessary things had not come into physical reality, governed by highly precise laws evident from the beginning of the BB (laws don't create themselves), then NO building blocks or conditions would have existed to have made evolution possible. So, TOE takes you to nowheresville on the argument against the necessity of an Intelligent Creator!
Truly: Maybe you can prove why a non-contingent, non-intelligent, non-improbable blind chance, COULD NOT have been the cause of our reality(instead of implying it)?
Do I need to prove something that has NEVER been observed before - as there is nothing known to man, that doesn't have a previous thing or cause enabling it. There has never been evidence of a blind, random thing showing sophistication, intelligence, or that wasn't impacted by some already-existing thing or process. So, go isolate some rocks and set up surveillance - get back to me in a few billion years.

My biggest questions are, WHY are you here? Why do you care so much to try to discredit people's belief in God? Why are you angry over such belief? So antagonistic? When someone says you can't explain what exists without an intelligent cause, you babble irrelevant science facts that you, yourself admit cannot touch that question. So why all the effort? It looks to me that you are trying VERY hard to not believe God could be a reality? I don't get it. So, all my friends believe in Zeus - they're nice people, their belief in Zeus causes no harm, actually, they do much good in the name of Zeus - and yet I'm gonna get on a website and do a daily dissertation on how they are fools who don't understand science. That's pure whacko!

Don, if there IS a God, would you want to know about Him?

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#144

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:48 pm

trulyenlightened wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:
trulyenlightened wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Many have pointed out that contemporary philosophers misunderstand Aquinas' arguments. There is a growing number who are claiming Aquinas' arguments have indeed been misunderstood and people have simply been knocking down caricatures.

I myself, like you, was suspicious when Jac on this board presented such to me. Really, when I read his arguments, I couldn't see them other than like the Kalam Cosmological argument as presented by say a William Lane Craig. Very much like you do. I was educated differently, by a Catholic philosophy lecturer as well. I thought really? You're telling much all such misunderstand Aquinas and you happen to be the only one understanding him correctly? But, it seems clear to me now that the answer is, "yes, there were all wrong." It wouldn't be the first time many people were wrong about something.

Feser seems to believe it is due to not being aquainted with his metaphysics, and also the materialistic framework and contempory philosophy which influences/gets read back into Aquinas which turns his arguments into a strawmen (and refutations accordingly are against caricatures of arguments Aquinas doesn't make). We're also quite removed from ideas Aquinas in responding to in his time, which puts certain terms and ideas he builds his arguments upon in their proper context.

In any case, don't you find it a little strange that Aquinas would defend against a beginning in the world, defend against those who claim an infinite regress was impossible, just like you? He basically says Christians would be laughed at who believe in a beginning based upon arguments that attempt to prove a beginning to the world (see Summa Theologiae Q46 A2) To Aquinas, such isn't provable either way. This seems counterintuitive to Aquinas' Five Ways then, if it is true like many think, that Aquinas is rationally arguing something like the universe had a beginning. Rather, it seems likely his arguments are more nuanced and so being misunderstood.
For someone who is considered brilliant, intelligent, and enlightened, I am not surprised at his reversal. I see it as the inevitable extension of his critical thinking and self-reflection. Since he did not have 21st Century knowledge to work with, he could only use his logic and reason to answer ecclesiastic and metaphysical questions. I am not averse to brainstorming metaphysical arguments, as long as the parameters are very clearly stated. Otherwise, it becomes just another verbal exercise in futility(like political arguments). I believe in the Ethos of full disclosure in science. That is, honesty, transparency, peer review, testability, promoting skepticism and open questioning, and its reliance only on the evidence. I believe that science will make the world a better place by eventually burying all superstitions, myths, and dogmas. Science and Mathematics, like reality, are beyond labels, Beliefs, and ideas. It is the only objective means we have, to truly understand and interact with our physical reality. I have respect for all rational and honest discussions. But, I have no respect for distortions and misrepresentations.
You just won't budge that you might be wrong in your understanding of Aquinas, eh? Perhaps obstinance is what develops from being a lecturer. I wonder, truly, if you are still a lecturer? If not, why not? And what did you lecture in? If name-dropping such is meant to give you more credibility, then please give us the full details of your area of knowledge, etc.

Regarding what you say about Aquinas doing a "reversal" later on, you do know Aquinas' Five Ways exists in his same work as what I just cited (Summa Theologiae Q46 A2)? Both are found in the first part of his Summa Theologiae. To quote specifically the text I reference, which is in the same part of his Five Ways:
  • I answer that, By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist, as was said above of the mystery of the Trinity (I:32:1. The reason of this is that the newness of the world cannot be demonstrated on the part of the world itself. For the principle of demonstration is the essence of a thing. Now everything according to its species is abstracted from "here" and "now"; whence it is said that universals are everywhere and always. Hence it cannot be demonstrated that man, or heaven, or a stone were not always. Likewise neither can it be demonstrated on the part of the efficient cause, which acts by will. For the will of God cannot be investigated by reason, except as regards those things which God must will of necessity; and what He wills about creatures is not among these, as was said above (I:19:3). But the divine will can be manifested by revelation, on which faith rests. Hence that the world began to exist is an object of faith, but not of demonstration or science. And it is useful to consider this, lest anyone, presuming to demonstrate what is of faith, should bring forward reasons that are not cogent, so as to give occasion to unbelievers to laugh, thinking that on such grounds we believe things that are of faith.
Perhaps then, it is true as Byblos and myself have been saying all along, and it is true as others say who are respected for their knowledge on Aquinas (i.e., Ed Feser who you dismissed so quickly out of hand) that his arguments for God's existence are in fact popularly misunderstood. I expect you'll just dig your heels, even when faced with direct evidence to the contrary. You're a lecturer afterall. :P So I won't hold my breath, although if I'm wrong then I'd be pleasantly suprised to be wrong here.
From a metaphysical perspective, I most certainly could be wrong. But from a scientific perspective, I seriously doubt it. You may be right, that after over 35 years as a teacher, researcher, and mentor, I may have become obstinate and set in my way of thinking. I'm not sure what you mean by name dropping, and I'm certainly not looking for credibility. I am retired now, but I do help out the kids here in the Logan/Beaudesert area. I also manage to mentor 2 days a week at UQ. The brain is like a muscle, especially for the young. If it is properly motivated, there is no limits to how much it can learn. Don't use it, and the fewer connection will be created. My own kids are in research and teaching. As far as personal details about myself, I would prefer to keep that personal for obvious reasons. And, certainly not over an open forum.

Once we enter the area of Belief and Faith, there is no more arguments based on science. It is not my place to question anyones faith. How could I possibly know if they are right or wrong? I can only speak on matters of science. Don
Thanks for sharing more, I take it given your scientism that you were more into the physical sciences?

Re: understanding the beliefs of thinkers in the past whether Darwin, Galileo or Aquinas, to merely try and understand such persons isn't "doing metaphysics" and isn't "doing science" (while we might need to understand such things as much as necessary to understand what they're writing about).

In any case it is apparent to me Aquinas' arguments aren't often as they're represented ... and it does take understanding the ideas, even the metaphysics even behind such, but I hesistate to call it "metaphysics" because such to many is a dirty word and I don't believe many really understand what such means.

As I see it, metaphysics helps prove assumptions upon which the physical sciences rest, rationally proving basic things we take for granted like how it is logically possible movement happens, whether things really do move? What makes a dog a dog, chair a chair and man a man, and the like. Many conclusions of such are taken for granted and assumed whether in physics, or perhaps by a taxonomist and like. Heck, various multiverse theories are largely dependant upon philosophy and metaphysics. At the same time, the outcomes of metaphysics can be taken and applied in say theological areas like Aquinas applied when thinking through his Christian beliefs.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#145

Post by trulyenlightened » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:35 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
trulyenlightened wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:
trulyenlightened wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Many have pointed out that contemporary philosophers misunderstand Aquinas' arguments. There is a growing number who are claiming Aquinas' arguments have indeed been misunderstood and people have simply been knocking down caricatures.

I myself, like you, was suspicious when Jac on this board presented such to me. Really, when I read his arguments, I couldn't see them other than like the Kalam Cosmological argument as presented by say a William Lane Craig. Very much like you do. I was educated differently, by a Catholic philosophy lecturer as well. I thought really? You're telling much all such misunderstand Aquinas and you happen to be the only one understanding him correctly? But, it seems clear to me now that the answer is, "yes, there were all wrong." It wouldn't be the first time many people were wrong about something.

Feser seems to believe it is due to not being aquainted with his metaphysics, and also the materialistic framework and contempory philosophy which influences/gets read back into Aquinas which turns his arguments into a strawmen (and refutations accordingly are against caricatures of arguments Aquinas doesn't make). We're also quite removed from ideas Aquinas in responding to in his time, which puts certain terms and ideas he builds his arguments upon in their proper context.

In any case, don't you find it a little strange that Aquinas would defend against a beginning in the world, defend against those who claim an infinite regress was impossible, just like you? He basically says Christians would be laughed at who believe in a beginning based upon arguments that attempt to prove a beginning to the world (see Summa Theologiae Q46 A2) To Aquinas, such isn't provable either way. This seems counterintuitive to Aquinas' Five Ways then, if it is true like many think, that Aquinas is rationally arguing something like the universe had a beginning. Rather, it seems likely his arguments are more nuanced and so being misunderstood.
For someone who is considered brilliant, intelligent, and enlightened, I am not surprised at his reversal. I see it as the inevitable extension of his critical thinking and self-reflection. Since he did not have 21st Century knowledge to work with, he could only use his logic and reason to answer ecclesiastic and metaphysical questions. I am not averse to brainstorming metaphysical arguments, as long as the parameters are very clearly stated. Otherwise, it becomes just another verbal exercise in futility(like political arguments). I believe in the Ethos of full disclosure in science. That is, honesty, transparency, peer review, testability, promoting skepticism and open questioning, and its reliance only on the evidence. I believe that science will make the world a better place by eventually burying all superstitions, myths, and dogmas. Science and Mathematics, like reality, are beyond labels, Beliefs, and ideas. It is the only objective means we have, to truly understand and interact with our physical reality. I have respect for all rational and honest discussions. But, I have no respect for distortions and misrepresentations.
You just won't budge that you might be wrong in your understanding of Aquinas, eh? Perhaps obstinance is what develops from being a lecturer. I wonder, truly, if you are still a lecturer? If not, why not? And what did you lecture in? If name-dropping such is meant to give you more credibility, then please give us the full details of your area of knowledge, etc.

Regarding what you say about Aquinas doing a "reversal" later on, you do know Aquinas' Five Ways exists in his same work as what I just cited (Summa Theologiae Q46 A2)? Both are found in the first part of his Summa Theologiae. To quote specifically the text I reference, which is in the same part of his Five Ways:
  • I answer that, By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist, as was said above of the mystery of the Trinity (I:32:1. The reason of this is that the newness of the world cannot be demonstrated on the part of the world itself. For the principle of demonstration is the essence of a thing. Now everything according to its species is abstracted from "here" and "now"; whence it is said that universals are everywhere and always. Hence it cannot be demonstrated that man, or heaven, or a stone were not always. Likewise neither can it be demonstrated on the part of the efficient cause, which acts by will. For the will of God cannot be investigated by reason, except as regards those things which God must will of necessity; and what He wills about creatures is not among these, as was said above (I:19:3). But the divine will can be manifested by revelation, on which faith rests. Hence that the world began to exist is an object of faith, but not of demonstration or science. And it is useful to consider this, lest anyone, presuming to demonstrate what is of faith, should bring forward reasons that are not cogent, so as to give occasion to unbelievers to laugh, thinking that on such grounds we believe things that are of faith.
Perhaps then, it is true as Byblos and myself have been saying all along, and it is true as others say who are respected for their knowledge on Aquinas (i.e., Ed Feser who you dismissed so quickly out of hand) that his arguments for God's existence are in fact popularly misunderstood. I expect you'll just dig your heels, even when faced with direct evidence to the contrary. You're a lecturer afterall. :P So I won't hold my breath, although if I'm wrong then I'd be pleasantly suprised to be wrong here.
From a metaphysical perspective, I most certainly could be wrong. But from a scientific perspective, I seriously doubt it. You may be right, that after over 35 years as a teacher, researcher, and mentor, I may have become obstinate and set in my way of thinking. I'm not sure what you mean by name dropping, and I'm certainly not looking for credibility. I am retired now, but I do help out the kids here in the Logan/Beaudesert area. I also manage to mentor 2 days a week at UQ. The brain is like a muscle, especially for the young. If it is properly motivated, there is no limits to how much it can learn. Don't use it, and the fewer connection will be created. My own kids are in research and teaching. As far as personal details about myself, I would prefer to keep that personal for obvious reasons. And, certainly not over an open forum.

Once we enter the area of Belief and Faith, there is no more arguments based on science. It is not my place to question anyones faith. How could I possibly know if they are right or wrong? I can only speak on matters of science. Don
Thanks for sharing more, I take it given your scientism that you were more into the physical sciences?

Re: understanding the beliefs of thinkers in the past whether Darwin, Galileo or Aquinas, to merely try and understand such persons isn't "doing metaphysics" and isn't "doing science" (while we might need to understand such things as much as necessary to understand what they're writing about).

In any case it is apparent to me Aquinas' arguments aren't often as they're represented ... and it does take understanding the ideas, even the metaphysics even behind such, but I hesistate to call it "metaphysics" because such to many is a dirty word and I don't believe many really understand what such means.

As I see it, metaphysics helps prove assumptions upon which the physical sciences rest, rationally proving basic things we take for granted like how it is logically possible movement happens, whether things really do move? What makes a dog a dog, chair a chair and man a man, and the like. Many conclusions of such are taken for granted and assumed whether in physics, or perhaps by a taxonomist and like. Heck, various multiverse theories are largely dependant upon philosophy and metaphysics. At the same time, the outcomes of metaphysics can be taken and applied in say theological areas like Aquinas applied when thinking through his Christian beliefs.
I have no problems with the relationship between philosophy, ethics, and science in a general sense. I also have no problems with the application of the metaphysical to "theological areas". Especially, when applied to the ideas of Aquinas. However the Multiverse, String Theory, Multi-Dimensions, and Brane Worlds, are NOT dependant on Metaphysics or Philosophy. They are all dependent on Mathematics, predictions, and experimentation. If these ideas were not supported scientifically/mathematically, they would not exist. Remember, Mathematics transcends all realities(mental and physical constructs). So in general, I agree with you. We all generally do take for granted all things that appear to be self-evident.

My field of study is definitely in the physical and applied sciences. Unless we can mind-melt with another human, or are a true empath, we can never know for certain what is in the minds of others. All we can do is interpret some predictable and consistent pattern in their behavior. Therefore, what earlier scientist's personal beliefs were, is totally irrelevant to what their scientific contributions were. And, you are correct, we could be wrong about both. But we are more unlikely to be wrong about the latter. Don

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#146

Post by trulyenlightened » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:44 am

Philip wrote:
Truly: Everything that we see in Nature, has a cause. Everything in Nature that is caused has a reason WHY it is caused. Just genius!
No, just what has exhaustively been observed to be true.

Truly: Some causes may be a collection of causes that produce a single cause. Effects can have one or many causes. We make this assumption because we see them happening everywhere. We have no reason to speculate about what is self-evident.
We certainly can speculate - but the reality we all observe reveals ALL things need a cause. We know of nothing that doesn't. I don't believe in what I can't observe or know of. Reality has a pretty good track record of showing the need for causes, and the absence of uncaused things. And the total absence of new intelligence randomly appearing or developing in non-thinking things.
Truly: Not only are things from our subjective perspective causal in nature, but the process that creates ideas and concepts in our mind, is also causal in Nature. Even the Mathematics that transcend objective and subjective reality is the result of infinite causality created by the BB. So, there is no need to convince me about causality. I am not saying that the BB was not the beginning of our Universe. I'm saying that it may not be "THE" beginning of our Universe.
And so, for all things that exist, whether the BB was their beginning or not, SOMEWHERE/SOMEHOW there had to be a beginning Cause/derivative. So, IF the BB was merely part of some causal chain, it merely kicks the ultimate solution and question further back down the cosmic road.
Truly: Let's begin to highlight how you avoid, restate, misrepresent, and ignore the issues I raise.
NO! I'm only asserting that all things must have a cause and that all you are going on about are already-existing things and processes. And you've admitted that science cannot know anything beyond those things - as it is not equipped to measure them. And I totally agree. If you can tell me of anything ever existing that didn't require a cause, I'm open to hearing about it.
Truly: Science DOES NOT "look to see if there is any evidence appearing to show necessary causes for contingent things, evidences for intelligence and design per things that came into existence - things that pure time and chance don't seem capable of coming close to explaining". This statement is intellectually dishonest.


No need to falsely assert dishonesty! If you'll pay close attention, your realize I didn't say SCIENCE seeks out the metaphysical - things it cannot measure or discern, as they aren't physical - but my contention is that WE, as humans, can and do search for these things. We can ask ourselves, does time - even infinite time - allow blind, non-thinking things to organize in such a way to appear intelligently so - to the degree where we can scarcely understand what has happened, or how. And I say that is impossible, because such things have NO potential - they do not have the necessary attributes, and NO amount of time can produce them. I say, the belief that they can is unmerited belief in magic. Such things or some source had to ALREADY and eternally have these attributes, as they couldn't be developed. Time is no solution to what is asserted. But science most certainly does and long has analyzed the mechanics and designs it sees across the world and universe. As for whether science is looking for a non-physical Cause outside of them - sure it does - perhaps not as in looking for an Intelligence, but in looking for a built-in ability or intelligence that is just naturally occurring, as science has long pondered the whys and hows of the universe. But for arguments sake, let's say that their WAS an intelligent, thinking Source for the universe - would we say that science could not provide clues for that - IF it was true?

Science looks for ANY evidence that explains any NATURAL phenomenon, period. Science does not look for evidence of Intelligence or a personal Designer in any natural phenomena. And I never said such was the goal of SCIENCE.
Truly: Science does not look for evidence to show the inherent necessity of causality in natural phenomena.
Science might not look for the NECESSITY of causality, but it certainly operates the scientific method as if there IS causality behind things - as it assumes there are answers and thus causes. What it does not do is try to pre-suppose a label or identity to unknown causes, or even an ultimate Cause.
Truly: Finally, since reality exists, it is irrelevant and silly, to claim that blind chance and probability cannot account for its existence.
That's circular reasoning - that would mean that no matter the existing components, designs, mechanisms or functionalities in whatever reality, then blind chance MUST be able to account for its existence. Not to mention, you have no observation that this is possible. Why? A) Because science cannot go there and B) we know of not one thing that demonstrates this - and it is irrelevant to speak of processes already in place - as you cannot determine their origin or reasons for functioning as they do. As for things just existing - well, if the universe is eternal, things could just exist - but that doesn't explain their apparent designs and sophisticated functioning, our DNA, what instantly occurred at the beginning of the BB, etc. - these things show immense sophistication, functionality, engineering, etc. And so, time, no matter how much of it, cannot explain these things, unless the astonishing intelligence this would require was/is eternal in whatever, original, non-living things. I think you need to make a list of what non-intelligent things can accomplish, first beginning with how they even exist, and then what capabilities are possible with them. AND, you must explain how the processes came into existence that would have been possible. Also, how they jumped from a reality pre-existing the physical/material universe, into the physical one.
Truly: What earlier Scientists pondered about is irrelevant, it is only their scientific achievements that are pertinent. Making an appeal to Authority in an argument is fallacious, and intellectually dishonest.
And yet YOU refer to their "irrelevant" observations and analysis? "Intellectually dishonest???" I'm not the one who tried to insist that "people of the 21st Century have no reason to ponder Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions at all" - as some of the most brilliant minds amongst us have done so, and still do - and yet YOU think that is irrelevant? And as the fact that these giants of science SCIENTIFIC analyses only strengthened what these people have concluded about the need for a Creator - you think their collective testimony and beliefs about this matter are irrelevant, and yet yours ARE? You are beyond arrogant in stating such. You're a mental giant compared to Einstein's foolish theist conclusion? So, please, don't ever refer to anyone's research, analysis or conclusions, if they disagree with you one theism.
Truly: How brilliant they are has nothing to do with what they believe in.
Of course not - they can be wrong. But it is your assertion that they have "no reason to ponder Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions at all." Says WHO??? YOU???!!! That shows me your thinking has a filter switch set to not consider anything that conflicts with your present conclusions, as if what you think you know is definitive.
Truly: Read my statement again Philip, "..people of the 21st Century have no reason to ponder Metaphysical and Ecclesiastic questions at all". Although I meant compared to needs necessary for survival, this still does not mean that I somehow know that all people do not, ponder on these questions at all! Did you really think that I would know what all people of the 21st Century would not ponder on?
What you fail to realize is that MANY scientists either came to theistic or Christian beliefs BECAUSE of what learned through science. And yet, you would have it that science has no clues as to what is behind the amazing aspects of the universe, earth and life. That's binary thinking - that our knowledge base of such things doesn't have crossover implications. Look at 1996 Nobel Prize winner and chemist Dr. Richard Smalley (the "Father of Nanotechnology") - a longtime agnostic and believer in naturalism. It was what he learned via science that convinced him of the existence of God, and of his conclusion that life would have been otherwise impossible. And this is true of countless others who hold science, it's methodologies and research in very high esteem.
Truly: After the BB, the formation of stars, galaxies, and planets, there is no need to "speculate". All scientific models are consistent and well understood.
Even "after" doesn't explain how or why.
Truly: The exact nanosecond when the first related causality occurred that contributed to the formation of life, can never be known.


True. But we do know that SOME such Cause with extraordinary intelligence and abilities had to exist.
Truly: It is NOT "speculative" that the cumulative effects of an infinite string of events and variables, is what led to the creation of life.
I AGREE that these many things and their effects made life possible - but as to why or how they exist - THAT is the question science cannot touch.
Truly: It is you that expect science to answer all of your impossible, absolute, and unreasonable questions, but use "special pleading" to exclude your own position from being scrutinized or validated by science.
I don't expect science to hand me a video per what you already say it cannot show. What science DOES show is that all contingent things have a cause. We don't see non-intelligent things developing and exhibiting intelligence. Period!
Truly: It is you, that try to keep critical thinkers at bay, by denying and dismissing anything relevant
Oh, you mean dismissing science facts that don't disprove God? Or speculations built upon such analysis (that can't touch the question)? Plus, it is very much BECAUSE I immensely value scientific facts and its methodologies that have only immensely re-enforced by belief in God. But it's only one line of evidences - but they are extremely powerful to me. I'm merely challenging you to utilize something that can touch the question - and science you admit cannot do so - that ain't gonna do it. But it can reveal probabilities and things we've never seen occur without contingent, already-existing things - which are very important.

And it is YOU who simultaneously insist that science can show us the lack of necessity for God, that blind things can produce astounding things we have absolutely no reason to rationally believe possible without an incredible intelligence, and then you prattle on with conjecture of what MIGHT have been possible per already existing things and processes without explaining their cause or existence. But then you say science cannot answer the question of theism. Endless science talk when you have repeatedly admitted that science cannot explain the Source/sources and Causality we see necessary for all existing things. You only talk about things and processes already existing. That is pointless in your attempts to refute God is necessary, when science cannot go there. So, science talk cannot explain what many want to know.
Truly: So when it comes to being speculative, at least I use clearly defined existing physical things.


Which I appeal to as well - as such things have extraordinary attributes which I contend that random blind, non-physical things cannot explain. And you've no such evidence of such non-intelligent things having such capabilities - other than your magic words: "infinite time."
Truly: Describe ONE thing that completely falsifies the ToE?
IF true, TOE is irrelevant to the question, as it would have been an entirely contingent series of extraordinary, statistically improbable things that are WAY after the fact of what must be explained. As evolution COULD have been God's process - and many believe that. But whatever it's source and how it could have been possible, its reality would have been contingent upon what FIRST came into existence 10 BILLION YEARS before, that if such necessary things had not come into physical reality, governed by highly precise laws evident from the beginning of the BB (laws don't create themselves), then NO building blocks or conditions would have existed to have made evolution possible. So, TOE takes you to nowheresville on the argument against the necessity of an Intelligent Creator!
Truly: Maybe you can prove why a non-contingent, non-intelligent, non-improbable blind chance, COULD NOT have been the cause of our reality(instead of implying it)?
Do I need to prove something that has NEVER been observed before - as there is nothing known to man, that doesn't have a previous thing or cause enabling it. There has never been evidence of a blind, random thing showing sophistication, intelligence, or that wasn't impacted by some already-existing thing or process. So, go isolate some rocks and set up surveillance - get back to me in a few billion years.

My biggest questions are, WHY are you here? Why do you care so much to try to discredit people's belief in God? Why are you angry over such belief? So antagonistic? When someone says you can't explain what exists without an intelligent cause, you babble irrelevant science facts that you, yourself admit cannot touch that question. So why all the effort? It looks to me that you are trying VERY hard to not believe God could be a reality? I don't get it. So, all my friends believe in Zeus - they're nice people, their belief in Zeus causes no harm, actually, they do much good in the name of Zeus - and yet I'm gonna get on a website and do a daily dissertation on how they are fools who don't understand science. That's pure whacko!

Don, if there IS a God, would you want to know about Him?[/quote]


Let's me address your PSR comment first. PSR is a philosophical principle, NOT a scientific principle. It cannot be violated from a scientific perspective. PSR is based on 2 basic ideas. One is internal or self-contained(a triangle is a triangle because it is by definition), and Mathematical facts and principles. The second is external, which include objects and events that must have a reason for their existence. PSR depends on

1.There is an explanation why every fact is so, and not otherwise.
2.Therefore, there are no facts that are so and can be otherwise
3.But if there are contingent facts, then there ARE facts that are so and can be otherwise
4.Therefore(from premises #2 and #3), it follows that there are no contingent facts, there are only necessary facts

Not only does PSR prove an extreme form of determinism(necessitarianism), but the standard notion of contingency is refuted on the basis of PSR. The notion that things can be otherwise then what they are is absurd. Even Leibniz and Spinoza recognized this absurdity. Both now conclude that, "it is the nature of reason to regard things as necessary, and not contingent". Maybe you can explain WHY you state, "the utter incoherence and self-defeating nature of such an argument", or, was this more "bluff and blunder". Until there are further discoveries at CERN and LHC, we can't be certain of the origin of all the different quantum fields. But there is no question of their existence. And, "I don't know" or "that's the way it is", is infinitely better than, "God did it". Let's move on.

Are you saying that the only things that you know, are only the things that you can observe("I don't believe in what I can't observe or know of")? That is not the same reality that I live in. Do you think that I believe that all things and events, do NOT have a cause? So spare me watching you arguing with your own straw man. Since my position on cause and effect was clearly stated, I have no idea the point you are trying to make. Also, making up your own self-serving logic, doesn't mean that your conclusion is correct. Because we don't see something(or the "absence of something"), doesn't mean that we can conclude that it doesn't exist. That is another fallacy(ignorance). Whether than go through all of your equivocation fallacies, let me just ask you about the mantras you keep parroting.

1. What is an example of something that is blind(can't see) and unthinking?
2. What is the criteria that you measure the appearance of intelligence, that is not subjective?
3. What are these attributes of creation that no amount of time could allow for? And, how do you know this?
4. What is an example of something that is un-designed, or a design failures(vestigial organs)?
5. What objective tools would you suggest science use to investigate a non-physical cause? Or miracles?
6. Name me anything that is metaphysical or supernatural in nature?

Stating that because life is here in spite of the odds IS NOT circular reasoning. If I tell a lotto winner that he couldn't have won because the millions-one odds make it almost impossible, is this circular reasoning? Of course not, since he has already won! You were implying that the odds are so great that life could not have began. This is clearly false, unless you would like to provide an alternative explanation that explains why life exists today? If I claimed that the reason you exist, is because you exist, THAT WOULD BE CIRCULAR. Matter itself has no intelligent properties, unless you can demonstrate one property of matter that is intelligent. Intelligence is a subjective label, used to explain the way all organisms acquire and apply knowledge. The less knowledge, the lower the intelligence. We know that matter is created from the interaction of particles with the different quantum fields. This isn't speculation, no matter how you reduce it to "just known things". All matter must obey the laws of quantum Mechanics. Did you know that there are atoms in you that have been to the moon and back? Did you know that some of atoms exist in your past and your future at the same time? We are all part of the quantum world, whether we like it, believe it, or not.

Can you ever stop misrepresenting what I say. I said, "What earlier Scientists pondered about is irrelevant, it is only their scientific achievements that are pertinent". Making an appeal to Authority in an argument is fallacious, and intellectually dishonest". You responded with, "And yet YOU refer to their "irrelevant" observations and analysis? "Intellectually dishonest???" Where do I state this? I was saying that YOU were using the notoriety and brilliancy of famous scientist, to give your argument more credibility and importance. This is an appeal to Authority, which is a logical fallacy, and intellectually dishonest. I repeat it is irrelevant what they were pondering(what their beliefs are). It only matters what their scientific contributions were. Period! I was also not talking about, "their collective testimony and beliefs about this matter" either, so stop straw manning me as if I was. You DO KNOW that Einstein was not a Theist don't you? He was at best a Pantheist. Are you a Pantheist?

My thread is not here to challenge anyones beliefs. It is here for those who want to hear about science from a scientific perspective. If your understanding of science is, "immensely re-enforced by belief in God", then that is good for you. Are you suggesting that since science can't provide evidence of the existence or non-existence of God, that I should challenge myself, and find novel ways to convince myself that God does or does not exist? Philip, if you tell me that you believe that God created everything because this is your Belief, we would not have an argument. But if you tell me that God created everything and science proves it, then we will have a discussion. I have only one thread on this entire forum, and all I can promise you is intellectual honesty and respect. If your arguments are fallacious, inconsistent, contradictory, or just plain false, I will point this out as well. If you don't want this, then I suggest that you visit a different thread.

Everyone has access to the internet. You don't need any scientific background(although it helps), to access and understand any information that I've presented. There are video sites, web sites, libraries, bookstores, multi media channels, that can highlight this information better than I can. Anyone that wants to learn can. I think that the problem is, that you just don't want to know. You have acquired a certain set of rules, principles, and beliefs, that have shaped your cognition, and defined the nature of purpose for you. You are correct, science cannot explain why only 3.08e-58% of the entire Universe is occupied by a planet where 99.9% of all species have gone extinct. It can't explain heaven or hell, or if there is life after death. It cannot explain if clairvoyance, mysticism, telepathy, ghosts, or any other paranormal activities is true or false. But what science can do is try and give you the best explanation to describe a natural phenomena, based on the evidence. It does this sometimes out of necessity(Aids, Plagues, War, etc.). Sometimes by accident(X-rays, Nuclear Fission, Dynamite, Anesthesia, etc.). But mostly it seeks answers to describe observed natural phenomena. But I know of no scientific discoveries that were the result of the metaphysical, or derived from the supernatural.

If there IS a God, I would certainly want to know him. I have a lot of questions. Don

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#147

Post by Philip » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:25 pm

Don, we're now unproductively going around in circles here - we both don't believe some things the other does.
Don: If there IS a God, I would certainly want to know him. I have a lot of questions.
Wonderful. Don, I once had many of the same objections as you do. It's normal to have questions and presuppositions. So, I understand why you have doubts. But my own determination to want to know the truth of the matter led to FAR deeper confirmations of my childhood faith (intellectually and otherwise) - that it wasn't merely foolish fantasy. Because as a young man, I had intellectually grown to have grave doubts about this issue. But my thinking, even amidst my doubts, were, IF He existed, I was prepared to embrace a loving God AS HE IS - even in all my inaccurate perceptions of what I thought He might be like. So, what I would encourage you to do is, to SEEK Him! And not just intellectually - as some of those answers may take time. Some answers of what He has done across time and place may never become perfectly understandable. But as to WHO God is and His existence, He WANTS you ask Him to reveal these things about Himself to you. And He wants to give everyone, everywhere knowledge of Himself - IF they sincerely want to know the truth of the matter. So, do a private experiment, approach God as Someone who truly and sincerely wants to know if He exists, and Who He is. Because if you are sincere in this, and do it, He'll show you - in His own way and time. Empty yourself of any pre-expectations as to what you think He must be like, or why you think He has done this or that, or as to exactly HOW He reveals Himself. But if you really want to know, He'll make Himself known to you. The question is, will you do that - even if you view it as only a wild, hairy experiment?

People think discovering God has to be some long, complicated quest that can never bring satisfying answers. But it is man who makes the quest hard - often due to his pride in his own intellect or his presuppositions and closed-mindedness. Across Scripture, God says He gives those who sincerely seek Him - not necessarily all they want to know - but the basic things He knows they NEED and that He wants them to have - knowledge of Himself, of His unfathomable love, His unthinkable sacrifice, His peace. It's up to you, Don. If you will only do your part, God is waiting to do His. I'll pray for you.

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#148

Post by Byblos » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:00 pm

First of all, your quoting is atrocious. I had to (painfully) read your entire post just so to decipher what is attributed to you and what is attributed to others.

In any case, I will only comment on the below, since it seems to me to be a reply to my post (and not to anything Philip said).
trulyenlightened wrote:Let's me address your PSR comment first. PSR is a philosophical principle, NOT a scientific principle. It cannot be violated from a scientific perspective.
You are simply and factually wrong. PSR, just like the other principles I listed, i.e. the law of non-contradiction and the principle of causality, are assumed by science, otherwise science cannot function. Science is done on the basis that there is a reason for things to behave the way they do, otherwise there would be no reason (pun intended) to do science.
trulyenlightened wrote:PSR is based on 2 basic ideas. One is internal or self-contained(a triangle is a triangle because it is by definition), and Mathematical facts and principles. The second is external, which include objects and events that must have a reason for their existence. PSR depends on

1.There is an explanation why every fact is so, and not otherwise.
2.Therefore, there are no facts that are so and can be otherwise
3.But if there are contingent facts, then there ARE facts that are so and can be otherwise
4.Therefore(from premises #2 and #3), it follows that there are no contingent facts, there are only necessary facts

Not only does PSR prove an extreme form of determinism(necessitarianism), but the standard notion of contingency is refuted on the basis of PSR. The notion that things can be otherwise then what they are is absurd.
The version of the PSR you describe above is not the same one I use and understandably so. Your version includes abstract ideas (such as contingent facts) as existing independently in some platonic realm, in which case your formulation of the PSR would fit. But in scholastic natural theology a platonic realm is not only meaningless, it cannot possibly exist for, according to the PSR alone, it would have no explanation.
trulyenlightened wrote:Even Leibniz and Spinoza recognized this absurdity. Both now conclude that, "it is the nature of reason to regard things as necessary, and not contingent".
I would love to see you site the source from which you plucked that out where Leibniz says we must regard things as necessary and not contingent.
trulyenlightened wrote:Maybe you can explain WHY you state, "the utter incoherence and self-defeating nature of such an argument", or, was this more "bluff and blunder". Until there are further discoveries at CERN and LHC, we can't be certain of the origin of all the different quantum fields. But there is no question of their existence. And, "I don't know" or "that's the way it is", is infinitely better than, "God did it".
No "bluff" or "blunder", just simply following wherever logic and reason lead. And who denied the existence of quantum fields? And you keep mentioning what science will do, as if anyone is denying that. I talk of the ultimate answer to ultimate reality and you talk about CERN :shakehead: .

The ultimate answer to ultimate reality is either an incoherent, inexplicable brute fact (violation of the PSR) or a coherent, self-explanatory necessity.
trulyenlightened wrote:Let's move on.
Now you can move on.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#149

Post by trulyenlightened » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:07 pm

Byblos wrote:First of all, your quoting is atrocious. I had to (painfully) read your entire post just so to decipher what is attributed to you and what is attributed to others.

In any case, I will only comment on the below, since it seems to me to be a reply to my post (and not to anything Philip said).
trulyenlightened wrote:Let's me address your PSR comment first. PSR is a philosophical principle, NOT a scientific principle. It cannot be violated from a scientific perspective.
You are simply and factually wrong. PSR, just like the other principles I listed, i.e. the law of non-contradiction and the principle of causality, are assumed by science, otherwise science cannot function. Science is done on the basis that there is a reason for things to behave the way they do, otherwise there would be no reason (pun intended) to do science. Contingency facts are real principles. It represents the idea that an effect may be contingent on the cause, or versa.
trulyenlightened wrote:PSR is based on 2 basic ideas. One is internal or self-contained(a triangle is a triangle because it is by definition), and Mathematical facts and principles. The second is external, which include objects and events that must have a reason for their existence. PSR depends on

1.There is an explanation why every fact is so, and not otherwise.
2.Therefore, there are no facts that are so and can be otherwise
3.But if there are contingent facts, then there ARE facts that are so and can be otherwise
4.Therefore(from premises #2 and #3), it follows that there are no contingent facts, there are only necessary facts

Not only does PSR prove an extreme form of determinism(necessitarianism), but the standard notion of contingency is refuted on the basis of PSR. The notion that things can be otherwise then what they are is absurd.
The version of the PSR you describe above is not the same one I use and understandably so. Your version includes abstract ideas (such as contingent facts) as existing independently in some platonic realm, in which case your formulation of the PSR would fit. But in scholastic natural theology a platonic realm is not only meaningless, it cannot possibly exist for, according to the PSR alone, it would have no explanation.
trulyenlightened wrote:Even Leibniz and Spinoza recognized this absurdity. Both now conclude that, "it is the nature of reason to regard things as necessary, and not contingent".
I would love to see you site the source from which you plucked that out where Leibniz says we must regard things as necessary and not contingent.
trulyenlightened wrote:Maybe you can explain WHY you state, "the utter incoherence and self-defeating nature of such an argument", or, was this more "bluff and blunder". Until there are further discoveries at CERN and LHC, we can't be certain of the origin of all the different quantum fields. But there is no question of their existence. And, "I don't know" or "that's the way it is", is infinitely better than, "God did it".
No "bluff" or "blunder", just simply following wherever logic and reason lead. And who denied the existence of quantum fields? And you keep mentioning what science will do, as if anyone is denying that. I talk of the ultimate answer to ultimate reality and you talk about CERN :shakehead: .

The ultimate answer to ultimate reality is either an incoherent, inexplicable brute fact (violation of the PSR) or a coherent, self-explanatory necessity.
trulyenlightened wrote:Let's move on.
Now you can move on.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgu0M6YYp2s , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsaVRqZ4MKc , http://seeminglyimpossiblequestions.blo ... cient.html

These are just a few sites you might expand your understanding of this principle. I especially liked the last site. There is a difference between a necessary truth/fact and a contingent truth/fact. A necessary truth/fact is a truth statement whose negation must imply a contradiction in reality. Such that its negation would be impossible. So, if "One plus one equals two", is a necessary truth claim, then the statement "One plus one does not equal two" would imply a contradiction. Given the meanings of "one" and "two", we can immediately see that the addition of two "ones"(units) will always yield "two". But the statement "One plus one does not equal two", contradicts this. It is incomprehensible that one plus one should ever add up to anything other than two. So "One plus one equals two", is commonly held to be a necessary truth, since its negation is impossible.

A contingent truth/fact is a truth statement whose negation does not imply a contradiction in reality. That is, its negation could also have been the case. So, if "John married Jessica last Sunday" is a contingent truth, then the statement "John did not marry Jessica last Sunday", could also be true without implying a contradiction in reality. Since John could have chosen not to marry Jessica, or to have married her on a different day, the truth is truly contingent and not a necessary truth. But PSR states that, "there are no facts that are so, and can be otherwise". But contingent facts CAN be otherwise, therefore a clear contradiction. It is objectivism that restricts the idea of contingent facts to those facts that result from human choices, and human actions. These are facts one can legitimately say could have been otherwise. The alteration of any facts outside of those that result from human choices(the metaphysically given) would result in a contradiction somewhere in reality. Even if it is not apparent to one’s imagination. Therefore contingent truths/facts are not necessary facts, therefore is off the table.

I don't believe there exists an ultimate answer, or an ultimate question. This concept alone is a violation of PSR.I believe that there are many questions, but only ONE reality. In spite of your equivocation fallacy, Cern and LHC have nothing to do with an Ultimate question and answer. Maybe you should add to your list, ultimate morality, ultimate cynicism, ultimate truths, ultimate sin, ultimate excuse, ultimate altruism, and ultimate virtue and righteousness. Don

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

#150

Post by Byblos » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:20 am

trulyenlightened wrote:
Byblos wrote:First of all, your quoting is atrocious. I had to (painfully) read your entire post just so to decipher what is attributed to you and what is attributed to others.

In any case, I will only comment on the below, since it seems to me to be a reply to my post (and not to anything Philip said).
trulyenlightened wrote:Let's me address your PSR comment first. PSR is a philosophical principle, NOT a scientific principle. It cannot be violated from a scientific perspective.
You are simply and factually wrong. PSR, just like the other principles I listed, i.e. the law of non-contradiction and the principle of causality, are assumed by science, otherwise science cannot function. Science is done on the basis that there is a reason for things to behave the way they do, otherwise there would be no reason (pun intended) to do science. Contingency facts are real principles. It represents the idea that an effect may be contingent on the cause, or versa.
trulyenlightened wrote:PSR is based on 2 basic ideas. One is internal or self-contained(a triangle is a triangle because it is by definition), and Mathematical facts and principles. The second is external, which include objects and events that must have a reason for their existence. PSR depends on

1.There is an explanation why every fact is so, and not otherwise.
2.Therefore, there are no facts that are so and can be otherwise
3.But if there are contingent facts, then there ARE facts that are so and can be otherwise
4.Therefore(from premises #2 and #3), it follows that there are no contingent facts, there are only necessary facts

Not only does PSR prove an extreme form of determinism(necessitarianism), but the standard notion of contingency is refuted on the basis of PSR. The notion that things can be otherwise then what they are is absurd.
The version of the PSR you describe above is not the same one I use and understandably so. Your version includes abstract ideas (such as contingent facts) as existing independently in some platonic realm, in which case your formulation of the PSR would fit. But in scholastic natural theology a platonic realm is not only meaningless, it cannot possibly exist for, according to the PSR alone, it would have no explanation.
trulyenlightened wrote:Even Leibniz and Spinoza recognized this absurdity. Both now conclude that, "it is the nature of reason to regard things as necessary, and not contingent".
I would love to see you site the source from which you plucked that out where Leibniz says we must regard things as necessary and not contingent.
trulyenlightened wrote:Maybe you can explain WHY you state, "the utter incoherence and self-defeating nature of such an argument", or, was this more "bluff and blunder". Until there are further discoveries at CERN and LHC, we can't be certain of the origin of all the different quantum fields. But there is no question of their existence. And, "I don't know" or "that's the way it is", is infinitely better than, "God did it".
No "bluff" or "blunder", just simply following wherever logic and reason lead. And who denied the existence of quantum fields? And you keep mentioning what science will do, as if anyone is denying that. I talk of the ultimate answer to ultimate reality and you talk about CERN :shakehead: .

The ultimate answer to ultimate reality is either an incoherent, inexplicable brute fact (violation of the PSR) or a coherent, self-explanatory necessity.
trulyenlightened wrote:Let's move on.
Now you can move on.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgu0M6YYp2s , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsaVRqZ4MKc , http://seeminglyimpossiblequestions.blo ... cient.html

These are just a few sites you might expand your understanding of this principle. I especially liked the last site. There is a difference between a necessary truth/fact and a contingent truth/fact. A necessary truth/fact is a truth statement whose negation must imply a contradiction in reality. Such that its negation would be impossible. So, if "One plus one equals two", is a necessary truth claim, then the statement "One plus one does not equal two" would imply a contradiction. Given the meanings of "one" and "two", we can immediately see that the addition of two "ones"(units) will always yield "two". But the statement "One plus one does not equal two", contradicts this. It is incomprehensible that one plus one should ever add up to anything other than two. So "One plus one equals two", is commonly held to be a necessary truth, since its negation is impossible.

A contingent truth/fact is a truth statement whose negation does not imply a contradiction in reality. That is, its negation could also have been the case. So, if "John married Jessica last Sunday" is a contingent truth, then the statement "John did not marry Jessica last Sunday", could also be true without implying a contradiction in reality. Since John could have chosen not to marry Jessica, or to have married her on a different day, the truth is truly contingent and not a necessary truth. But PSR states that, "there are no facts that are so, and can be otherwise". But contingent facts CAN be otherwise, therefore a clear contradiction. It is objectivism that restricts the idea of contingent facts to those facts that result from human choices, and human actions. These are facts one can legitimately say could have been otherwise. The alteration of any facts outside of those that result from human choices(the metaphysically given) would result in a contradiction somewhere in reality. Even if it is not apparent to one’s imagination. Therefore contingent truths/facts are not necessary facts, therefore is off the table.

I don't believe there exists an ultimate answer, or an ultimate question. This concept alone is a violation of PSR.I believe that there are many questions, but only ONE reality. In spite of your equivocation fallacy, Cern and LHC have nothing to do with an Ultimate question and answer. Maybe you should add to your list, ultimate morality, ultimate cynicism, ultimate truths, ultimate sin, ultimate excuse, ultimate altruism, and ultimate virtue and righteousness. Don
For an educator who claims to value honesty, you sure don't practice what you preach, do? I asked you to cite your source where Leibniz said everything is necessary and you deliberately sidestepped it. Some might think you are being obtuse but I believe it is a classic case of willful ignorance, for the alternative is to admit the obvious. And the obvious is you would rather undermine the very principle science relies upon the most, the PSR, just so you can sidestep the logical conclusion of a self-explanatory necessity.

And for the last time, you have no clue what you're talking about. Your attempt at rephrasing the PSR to include the BCCF (big conjunction of contingent facts) and how that proves determinism, fails miserably for you do not understand (actually, you deliberately choose to ignore) the fact that on classical metaphysics, what is in need of an explanation are concrete things, not propositions or abstract things. For propositions, like abstract ideas, do not stand in need of an explanation once the concrete things they represent are explained. Once a triangle is explained, there is no need to explain triangularity. Once the color red is explained, there is no need to explain redness. And for the last time, propositions and abstract objects are not concrete, existing in some platonic realm, itself in need of an explanation. They are ideas in the mind.

So try again "professor". Or you can simply move on.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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