5/30/09

On the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorns, et al., part 1 of 4

Please note; this post has been moved to this link.

32 comments:

  1. Great post. This has also been my experience with atheists. The brief intro to Natural Theology is helpful as I am just starting to read about it. Thanks.

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  2. Well, what do we have here: first, we have some unsubstantiated insults to people that disagree with the author and then we have the resurrection of the poor dead KCA horse. This poor old dead horse has been flogged so many times that the meat has been liquefied. All the flaws and inaccurate thinking have been pointed out and explained hundreds of times. Why keep bring it up? Does the endless repetition somehow covert an erroneous argument into a correct one? Rather than uselessly spending your time repeating failed arguments why not spend that time actually learning something about cosmology and physics? There are many popular books on the topic that are very good and readily accessible to readers even if they lack a detailed math background. Believe me when I say that even a simple popular account of the current scientific work on cosmology completely blows this Cosmological Argument out of the water.

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  3. Time is what makes cause and effect relationships possible since, in time, an effect follows a cause. Since whatever caused the universe existed in a timeless state it is uncaused. 
    I don't agree with this, but you need to realize that if it was true then the following is gibberish:
    Since time began to exist: whatever caused it is timeless, or eternal. It does not follow nor is it bound by the constraints of linear, chronological, time. 
     
    If time is necessary to cause things then what exists outside time can't cause anything since it can't be antecedent to anything.

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  4. ( I meant to put this in the previous post, but I hit the "publish" button in stead of "edit" by mistake. )
     
    Since matter began to exist: whatever caused it is immaterial, non-physical, without extension in space, or spirit. 
     
    Where is energy in all this? I thought matter was just congealed energy. And energy, as you no doubt know from the First Law of Thermodynamics, can neither be created nor destroyed.

    Your arguments go down hill from here.

    I can't wait to see the next three instalments in this fabulous fantasy epic.

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  5. Let us define "metaverse" as all that is. Any god or universes that exist, existed, or will exist are all encompassed by the definition of the metaverse.

    There cannot be anything outside the metaverse, by definition.

    Mariano, try and apply the KCA to the metaverse without looking sillier than you already do.

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  6. jdheuy,

    "Believe me when I say that even a simple popular account of the current scientific work on cosmology completely blows this Cosmological Argument out of the water."

    Sadly, I don't believe you. As if ranting for 5 or 6 sentences brandishing your personal veiw of KCA is enough to overtake the opiions of dozens of experts who endorse it. I dare say it sounds more like you have no idea what your talking about. Were this theory in such disarray as you say, I doubt so many experts would still be devoting so much time to explaining/refuting it. Me thinks you ought to take your own advise and read more. God in heaven I hate the air of superiority you people carry with you wherever you go. It's just gross.

    UnBeguiled,

    step 1: Re-write universe with "meta" in the place of "uni" so it sounds bigger.

    step 2: Define this imaginary "metaverse" as "all there is".

    step 3: Say, "There cannot be anything outside" your imaginary "metaverse".

    Then act all superior like you've done something smart.

    Anyone ever heard of a begged-question?
    "Let us define "metaverse" as all that is."
    "There cannot be anything outside the metaverse, by definition."

    And you probably wonder why you never lose debates. How sad.


    step 3:

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  7. maskedmarauder,

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6515

    nuf about that time stuff.

    Bye the bye, the First Law of Thermodynamics only applies WITHIN the universe.

    You guys just prove Mariano's point that atheists don't know enough about what Christians believe on these issues to critique them.

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  8. Pay attention Derek. Mariano's own definition of causality logically precludes anything causing time to start. Go back and read it. Try to understand it. You can't. Its absurd. There is no moment before time begins from which time can be caused, and that is Mariano's inviolable precondition for causation itself: "Time is what makes cause and effect relationships possible since, in time, an effect follows a cause". At the beginning of time, call it absolute zero time, there is no possible moment for t=0 to follow. There is no possibility for an antecedent cause and time can not therefore be an effect.

    He torpedoes his own conclusion and he doesn't even know it. That's how "solid" the argument is. That's how astute its advocates are.

    How do you know the First Law only applies WITHIN the universe? How many astral planes have you been cruising? It is something that has to be determined experientially, not intuited or deduced logically and the only experience we have with it says it can't be created. There are no contrary examples.

    "You guys just prove Mariano's point that atheists don't know enough about what Christians believe on these issues to critique them."
     
    What it shows is you guys don't know what you're talking about.

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  9. It really doesn't matter how many so called 'experts' support the KCA, it is still just plain wrong. Several of the fatal flaws have already been pointed out, so the question shouldn't be, "Why isn't the KCA valid?" but what is wrong with your thinking that you even entertain the idea that it is valid?

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  10. Derek,

    My purpose in clarifying definitions was to unmask the vague and equivocal use of the word "universe" by apologists. When Craig uses the word universe, does he mean just our observable universe, or does he also mean all other stuff that may or may not also exist?

    Craig never says. I think he should.

    You claim the metaverse is imaginary. Read my definition again. If the metaverse is imaginary, then so are you, me, and your God.

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  11. jdhuey,

    Let me make a pedantic point. The KCA is certainly valid. The soundness of the argument is what is questionable.

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  12. To elaborate:

    P1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

    Empirically false.

    P2: The universe began to exist.

    Our observable universe maybe. The metaverse? Indetermined, and perhaps indeterminable.

    So the argument is unsound because the premises are either false or not known to be true. But, were the premises true, the conclusion follows, so the argument is valid.

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  13. UnBeguiled,

    Yep, you are of course correct: the syllogism part of the argument is, indeed, in a valid format. The rest (and the bulk) of the argument is not in syllogism format but probably could be converted into that format and I suspect it could be forced into a logically valid format as well. As soon as I hit the 'post comment' button I realized I should not have used the colloquial terminology.

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  14. Pedantic question: Shouldn't a premise whose truth value is undetermined be designated as 'False' - that is, anything that is 'Not-True' is 'False'?

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  15. "anything that is 'Not-True' is 'False'?"

    No. Certainly a premise that is undetermined provides no support to a deductive argument though.

    Also, some propositions are nonsense or paradoxical. They are neither true or false.

    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.That's nonsense.

    I cannot write sentences that are comprehensible.That's a paradox.

    A proposition is either true or not true.A proposition is either false or not false.Those are both true dichotomies.

    A proposition is either true or false.That is a false dichotomy.

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  16. "I cannot write sentences that are comprehensible."

    What? I don't understand what you are saying. :)

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  17. Wait, let me put my Dawkins hat on first:

    "Buuut, no no! The universe wasn't caused. It's a false dilemma. See, we never observed the universe being caused; therefore, if it might never have been caused, and thus it absolutely wasn't caused. We know for sure! Because we have no way to know if it was caused or not! Ah, the doors of perception: WIDE OPEN..."


    Given that yardstick, I guess we'll never know if anyone writing these comments on this page ever really existed either. Which would make sense actually - alot of the commentary here is pretty vacant as is.


    So let's see what we have: We never observed the universe or anything being made or "caused" (even though quite a few atheists would readily rally around Big Bang or Prebiotic Origins stories). Therefore, we have to question... existence.


    Hmm, ok, so we all live in the Matrix then, Disney's head floating in formaldehyde. Wonderful. Easy way to write off a bothersome question while enjoying a tilt at the pub. Or frequenting internet chatrooms rather, since we're talking about internet atheists here, not sociable normal folks who interact with the real world...


    Oh wait, that's right, that might not exist at all. Oh, you gnostics, you!

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  18. MaskedMarauder,
    Thanks for the comment. You must not be aware of concepts such as dimensions. Time: cause followed by effect began when God caused the effect.

    aDios,
    Mariano

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  19. Mariano: You must not be aware of concepts such as dimensions. Time: cause followed by effect began when God caused the effect.
     
    Here again you are using temporal structuring, or sequential placement along the time dimension, if you prefer, to define a causal relationship between events.

    Without time there is no time dimension along which events can be ordered. So, by your definition of 'cause', time cannot be caused because nothing can have a temporal relation to the beginning of time until after time is up and running. The best that you can hope for is that your hypothetical volitional creation is simultaneous with the beginning of time, but even that is not a valid cause by your definition.

    Time may have started at some moment in the past, but it cannot have been caused according to your definition. By your reckoning then, time is uncaused, or at least non-caused and that makes hash of your other premise that anything that begins must have a cause. If it does it has to be a different species of cause than the one you explicitly invoke in your argument.

    The simple fact is that two of your axioms are not only mutually dependent, they are inherently contradictory.

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  20. I'm posting my reply externally since the comment box is small and hard to format.

    In summary, there are three basic points.

    First, agreement with and elaboration upon your claim that "Many atheists exhibit a lack of knowledge of the very theism against which they most often, if not exclusively, argue".

    Second, discussion of a major source of such exhibitions, as well as what a theist should do in order to not set a bad model and fuel such exhibitions of ignorance.

    Third, requests for clarifications on a number of the terms you used, with some explanation as to why your argument is in dire need of such clarification.

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  21. While I agree that Mariano gets tripped up in his wording, I think that we can all easily understand what he is trying to say.

    The universe must have an ultimate cause. The only other alternative is that it spontaneously came into existence out of nothing, for no reason, with no cause, which is illogical.

    I think we can all agree that the universe is very great. This would imply that the cause of the universe, which logically can't be nothing, must be something that is itself much greater than the universe, and cannot itself be subjected to the limitations of the universe (for how could a lesser thing create a greater thing?)

    If we try to find the ultimate cause, we should be looking for something that did not need to be created by a prior cause, thus it should be eternal - that is, having no beginning or end. I think that many modern big-bang theorists and theologans can agree on that. I think the question is whether the material universe is that eternal thing, or whether there is someone or something beyond the universe that created the universe.

    Ultimately, I think we are limited in our understanding based on our position within the universe. I am interested to see where Mariano goes with this series...

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  22. The universe must have an ultimate cause.
    Why?

    The only other alternative is that it spontaneously came into existence out of nothing, for no reason, with no cause, which is illogical.
    Why not?

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  23. MaskedMarauder, are you asking what's wrong with seriously considering the possibility that the entire universe just "appeared" for no apparent or authentic reason? That matter, energy, space, time, and life just decided of their own accord to show up one day?

    Not only does that contradict what we know about the universe (it does not, from what we can tell, have the ability to create itself out of nothing) it would also mean that we live in an illogical universe, so you might as well give up trying to make sense of it and just watch TV or go bowling instead.

    This kind of thinking is anti-science as it basically says that any effort to understand the origin of the universe is futile.

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  24. I'm not answering for MM.

    If by "nothing" you mean the vacuum state, then according to some inflationary models the universe is a free lunch.

    Certainly cosmologists have not arrived at a consensus, but such models are orders of magnitude better explanations than goddidit.

    http://www.astrosociety.org/pubs/mercury/31_02/nothing.html

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  25. DR: That matter, energy, space, time, and life just decided of their own accord to show up one day?

    That's a quaint way to put it, but what makes you think they don't?

    Contrary to your subjective intuition there is nothing illogical about random (uncaused) events.

    For example, the half life of the potassium-42 isotope is approximately 12.36 hours. This means that in the next 44,496 seconds, half of all of the P-42 in the entire universe will decide, of their own accord, they don't want to be potassium any more, spit out an electron and change into calcium. The other half, 100% identical in all discernible respects, soldiers on as P-42.

    As far as anyone knows they've been doing this for the past 15 billion years, as regular as clockwork.

    This is 100% predictable. This is 100% logical. This is 100% scientific. Yet the decay of any single P-42 atom is 100% uncertain. Causeless, yet understandable. They just decide to do it of their own accord one day, as you put it.

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  26. "Contrary to your subjective intuition there is nothing illogical about random (uncaused) events.

    For example, the half life of the potassium-42 isotope is approximately 12.36 hours. "

    Baloney...random does not mean "uncaused"!!! That's just embarrasingly bad...

    random events such as radioactive decay most definitely are NOT uncaused. We simply do not have access to the "internals" that govern when they occur.

    You might as well claim that lightning strikes are uncaused because they are essentially random.

    ugh...and yet you have the nerve to be smug! :-)

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  27. random events such as radioactive decay most definitely are NOT uncaused. We simply do not have access to the "internals" that govern when they occur.

    Since you concede not having access to these mysterious an unobservable "internals", on what empirical basis do you claim that your mysterious and perpetually elusive "internals" exist in fact and are not just an invention of your imagination?

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  28. Radioactive decay is not uncaused:
    The "random" decay of radioactive particles is caused by the quantum fluctuation between matter and antimatter.

    Immanuel Kant gave an example of a weight resting on a cushion simultaneously causing a depression in it. I would say then that there is such a phenomena as simultaneous causation. Therefore: the cause = T0 and the effect of the present universe naturally proceeded.

    For me God is only a solution to the inherent paradox's of the world (life and the universe's paradoxical self exists for example) unless a sufficient authority stipulates otherwise (scripture). Besides this, it reasonably follows that material reality is there for me to investigate, and my mind is here to investigate the non-material bluffing (multiverse conjecture) and fallacious arguments (special pleading) of anti-theists.

    g

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  29. The "random" decay of radioactive particles is caused by the quantum fluctuation between matter and antimatter.

    And those "fluctuations" are random and uncaused. You can't sweep the fundamentals under the rug by just intercalating some woolly nonce word.

    As much as I respect Kant, he lived and died before the discovery of radioactivity and modern statistical reasoning and his musings on mass and depressions are not germane.

    He had an excuse for not knowing these things. You do not.

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  30. Expanding on what's said previously (and clarifying too): when I said random, I meant unascertainable (perhaps I should have used that instead of using your terminology). Unascertainable does not mean uncaused. Your unproveable assumption of no-cause is built on a presumption of exhausted knowledge and is therefore not a fundamental.

    I’m inclined to accept a future clarification of Quantum Mechanics instead of your altenative: modeled after the likes of vestigial organs and junk dna.

    g

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  31. By introducing yet another nonce word you are just shifting your unprovable assumptions under another magic rug. By choosing to dismiss it as "unascertainable" you are now begging the related question that there is something there to be ascertained in the first place. But as you say and I agree, you have no evidence to support your pet prejudice.

    And, for what its worth, my position is based on the definition of "random" and the absence of evidence of non-randomness, and not on a presumption of exhaustion of knowledge. The contrast with your conventional religious point of view that the absence of evidence is somehow a license to fantasise about whatever you wish were so is stark, so I'm not surprised that you're having so much trouble grasping such a simple idea.

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  32. Unless you have all the knowledge of the universe, you cannot know whether or not God exists. Therefore, since none of us has all the knowledge of the universe, none of us can KNOW if God exists. If it were possible to empirically prove (or disprove) the existence of God, there would be no need for faith. Since none of us can KNOW with certainty, then without faith, the best we can do is agnosticism. We can argue ad infinitum and never reach a universally acceptable conclusion. The simple fact is that one either has faith in God or one does not and it is ultimately a matter of choice. And, we mustn't forget, ALL choices carry with them rewards and consequences. You can argue until you are blue in the face but ultimately each person will have to make the choice.

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