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Jacob86

Argument for the existence of God

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I know there have been some posts on this topic already, but from a brief skimming it seems that most of them are very old (over a year) and that they do not address some of the more fundamental issues that I am struggling with. So, if I am being annoying/redundant by raising this issue again, please forgive me.

Prior to being introduced to Objectivism, I was introduced to a very rational form of Theism that is rooted fundamentally in logic & reason as opposed to faith and mysticism. I have recently fallen in love (intellectually and morally) with Rand's philosophy- however I struggle a great deal with the issue of Theism vs Atheism and I think it is too important of a question for me to easily dismiss. I need to discover which is true and to be certain of it based on solid reasoning. SO, I will put forth the current argument(s) for the existence of God that I am convinced of along with the basic view of this God that I have and I would appreciate it if anyone could point out legitimate wholes in my thinking and help me to understand the foundational problems with it (if there are any).

It is basically the Cosmological Argument with a few "twists" or commonly missed observations:

Every effect must have a Cause. There cannot be an infinite regress of causes. Therefore there must be an "Uncaused Cause" which in a sense has the power of existence within itself.

[i do NOT here mindlessly jump to saying "therefore it must be God!". I'm aware of the "God of the gaps" fallacy and despise it as much as anyone else would so please don't accuse me of that straw man...it would be very unhelpful for me.]

There are certain things that must logically be true about this "Uncaused Cause".

1) It must be "knowable". To say that we cannot know anything about it is a contradiction ("we cannot know anything about it except for the fact that it is the kind of thing that cannot be known" is contradictory). And therefore by the Law of the Excluded Middle, it must be knowable.

2) In it's original action of causing, it's action must not have been "accidental". There is nothing else which exists to act upon it and thus cause it to cause other things. It IS the first cause. So now we are asking, "what caused it to cause/create other things/effects?". The answer could not be anything outside of itself and therefore must come from within itself. BUT it could not be some "part" of itself acting upon it from within for then we are taking the same question and going inward rather than outward and run into the same problem of an infinite regression. Whatever this Uncaused Cause is, it must have fully purposed to cause/create and therefore must have a mind to perceive options (to cause or not to cause), desires/preference to choose an option, and will to execute the option. The Uncaused Cause must be a person in the sense of it having a mind, affections, and will.

I am familiar with atheists suggesting that "the universe is the uncaused cause" but this seems to have some major problems:

1) It does not deal with the problem described in (2) above concerning the impossibility of the Uncaused Cause to act accidentally.

2) The Universe is not really an entity (as I understand it??) but a word we use to describe the collection of all entities- and among all the entities, the Law of Cause and Effect is upheld.

I am also familiar with the objection that goes as follows: "Since the Universe is everything that exists, it is irrational to wonder about something outside of the Universe since it would not be in the class of everything that exists". This seems rather silly-- obviously Theists are not saying that God does not exist since He created the Universe. They are simply using "universe" to mean everything else in existence which is not the Uncaused Cause.

Description of this Uncaused Cause (Or my picture of it):

This ultimate person must be the ultimate embodiment of all rational virtues and perfections. I imagine He would be the ultimate embodiment of Rand's view of humanity (a very "Galt-like God"). He must value above all that which is most valuable (Himself) and be obsessed with Himself. He must do all that He does for the sole purpose of enjoying Himself. In this sense He would be similar to Aristotle's "self-reflecting God" except Aristotle falsely concluded that such a God could never contemplate/create anything lower than Himself-- I would argue that He could contemplate and create things lower than Himself as a means of reflecting upon and enjoying Himself.

I could go into more detail...but that should suffice for now in order to assure you that I am not attempting to make an irrational leap from logic to mysticism.

As I stated above, If I am wrong about this, I want to be CONVINCED of it. As it is, I have been convinced that this is rational and true but it obviously clashes with much of Objectivism as it is currently represented. So please, if you respond, try to avoid straw men by addressing what I have actually said and not what you've heard from others or imagine me to be saying and I will labor to pay any responders the same respect.

Thank you.

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It is basically the Cosmological Argument with a few "twists" or commonly missed observations:

Every effect must have a Cause. There cannot be an infinite regress of causes. Therefore there must be an "Uncaused Cause" which in a sense has the power of existence within itself.

[i do NOT here mindlessly jump to saying "therefore it must be God!". I'm aware of the "God of the gaps" fallacy and despise it as much as anyone else would so please don't accuse me of that straw man...it would be very unhelpful for me.]

There can be an infinite regress of uncaused causes. In order for an effect to have a cause, a means of causality must already exist. When pressing the gas pedal causes the car to accelerate, combustion is the means of causality. If there is a means of causality prior to the first cause, then the first cause could not create the means of causality. Therefore, it could not be truly a god.

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There cannot be an infinite regress of causes.

I'm not convinced of this, myself.

2) In it's original action of causing, it's action must not have been "accidental". There is nothing else which exists to act upon it and thus cause it to cause other things. It IS the first cause. So now we are asking, "what caused it to cause/create other things/effects?". The answer could not be anything outside of itself and therefore must come from within itself. BUT it could not be some "part" of itself acting upon it from within for then we are taking the same question and going inward rather than outward and run into the same problem of an infinite regression. Whatever this Uncaused Cause is, it must have fully purposed to cause/create and therefore must have a mind to perceive options (to cause or not to cause), desires/preference to choose an option, and will to execute the option. The Uncaused Cause must be a person in the sense of it having a mind, affections, and will.

I don't see why we should identify this first act as an act of will, if there were a first event. What is there that is special about an act of will that allows it to be a first-event when other inanimate events cannot be? Why could there not have been merely a first moment of time, and everything followed from it, lacking any act of will the whole time?

2) The Universe is not really an entity (as I understand it??) but a word we use to describe the collection of all entities- and among all the entities, the Law of Cause and Effect is upheld.

I'm not sure why it couldn't be an entity. I'm not sure why it couldn't be both an entity and the collection of all entities.

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It is basically the Cosmological Argument with a few "twists" or commonly missed observations:

Every effect must have a Cause. There cannot be an infinite regress of causes. Therefore there must be an "Uncaused Cause" which in a sense has the power of existence within itself.

"To grasp the axiom that existence exists, means to grasp the fact that nature, i.e., the universe as a whole, cannot be created or annihilated, that it cannot come into or go out of existence. Whether its basic constituent elements are atoms, or subatomic particles, or some yet undiscovered forms of energy, it is not ruled by a consciousness or by will or by chance, but by the Law of Identity. All the countless forms, motions, combinations and dissolutions of elements within the universe—from a floating speck of dust to the formation of a galaxy to the emergence of life—are caused and determined by the identities of the elements involved. Nature is the metaphysically given—i.e., the nature of nature is outside the power of any volition.

Philosophy: Who Needs It “The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made,”

Philosophy: Who Needs It, 25.

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It is basically the Cosmological Argument with a few "twists" or commonly missed observations:

Every effect must have a Cause.

That's infinite regress.

There cannot be an infinite regress of causes.

Ayn Rand believed there were no actual infinities.

If this is true, it kills your first premise.

Therefore there must be an "Uncaused Cause" which in a sense has the power of existence within itself.

I wouldn't put it that way. That makes existence sound like a predicate.

There are certain things that must logically be true about this "Uncaused Cause".

1) It must be "knowable". To say that we cannot know anything about it is a contradiction ("we cannot know anything about it except for the fact that it is the kind of thing that cannot be known" is contradictory). And therefore by the Law of the Excluded Middle, it must be knowable.

We know that it's a *something* as opposed to "nothing". We know that it did something. I can't think of anything else we can say about it.

2) In it's original action of causing, it's action must not have been "accidental". There is nothing else which exists to act upon it and thus cause it to cause other things. It IS the first cause. So now we are asking, "what caused it to cause/create other things/effects?". The answer could not be anything outside of itself and therefore must come from within itself. BUT it could not be some "part" of itself acting upon it from within for then we are taking the same question and going inward rather than outward and run into the same problem of an infinite regression. Whatever this Uncaused Cause is, it must have fully purposed to cause/create and therefore must have a mind to perceive options (to cause or not to cause), desires/preference to choose an option, and will to execute the option. The Uncaused Cause must be a person in the sense of it having a mind, affections, and will.

Excuse me, but an Uncaused Cause CANNOT--in principle--be conscious.

It would have nothing to be conscious of but itself, which is a contradiction in terms.

This kills most religions.

I am familiar with atheists suggesting that "the universe is the uncaused cause" but this seems to have some major problems:

"Universe" has a very specific meaning in physics.

If there is a multiverse, the universe cannot be the uncaused cause.

I prefer saying "the sum of everything has an ultimate prior cause that is not caused by anything else"

1) It does not deal with the problem described in (2) above concerning the impossibility of the Uncaused Cause to act accidentally.

This becomes a pseudo-problem if the premise is false.

2) The Universe is not really an entity (as I understand it??) but a word we use to describe the collection of all entities- and among all the entities, the Law of Cause and Effect is upheld.

An entity is that which you perceive and which can exist by itself.

The sum of everything, whether it is a universe of multiverse or something else--exists. It is what it is. It cannot be otherwise. Its components can be recombined, but any such recombination is made possible by the nature of the constituents.

We cannot perceive the sum of everything, but we know there must be such a thing. This has consequences for your contention about "knowable".

Oh, and replace "Universe" with "Sum of Everything". "Universe" has a very specific meaning in physics.

I am also familiar with the objection that goes as follows: "Since the Universe is everything that exists, it is irrational to wonder about something outside of the Universe since it would not be in the class of everything that exists". This seems rather silly-- obviously Theists are not saying that God does not exist since He created the Universe. They are simply using "universe" to mean everything else in existence which is not the Uncaused Cause.

Ok.

Description of this Uncaused Cause (Or my picture of it):

This ultimate person must be the ultimate embodiment of all rational virtues and perfections. I imagine He would be the ultimate embodiment of Rand's view of humanity (a very "Galt-like God"). He must value above all that which is most valuable (Himself) and be obsessed with Himself. He must do all that He does for the sole purpose of enjoying Himself. In this sense He would be similar to Aristotle's "self-reflecting God" except Aristotle falsely concluded that such a God could never contemplate/create anything lower than Himself-- I would argue that He could contemplate and create things lower than Himself as a means of reflecting upon and enjoying Himself.

I could go into more detail...but that should suffice for now in order to assure you that I am not attempting to make an irrational leap from logic to mysticism.

"Person"? "embodiment"? Lots of claims without backing.

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There can be an infinite regress of uncaused causes. In order for an effect to have a cause, a means of causality must already exist. When pressing the gas pedal causes the car to accelerate, combustion is the means of causality. If there is a means of causality prior to the first cause, then the first cause could not create the means of causality. Therefore, it could not be truly a god.

There are no actual infinities.

Entities provide the means of causation.

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Dear Mr. Jacob86,

As a long term Objectivist and you being a newbie forgive me if I come off as a bit avuncular. To make this philosophy a guide to your life you need to drop the rationalistic methods you learn in religion (as I did as well): If A then B; if B then C, If C then D - D so that proves A. That deductive methodology is almost always wrong because it is disconnected from reality. I know it is very hard to purge your psychology of that habitual method of tackling issues. It took me a couple of decades. But it will be much easier today with all the helpful resources available. The best is Leonard Peikoff's "Understanding Objectivism" available at the Ayn Rand Bookstore.

You need to make Existence exists part of your psycho-epistemology. What is is. The world revealed to you by your sight, touch, hearing, smell, taste. Existence simply is. Causes and effects are within the universe. If you think you have an *inductive* proof of god - that is one that proceeds from sense perception then that would be fun to discuss. In the meantime, all the arguments every given for god are thoroughly refuted by Diana Hsieh on her website and I refer you to that as she does a far better job than I can.

Warm Regards,

Ted Gray

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Every effect must have a Cause. There cannot be an infinite regress of causes. Therefore there must be an "Uncaused Cause" which in a sense has the power of existence within itself.

Since when is 'existence' an effect?

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Exactly, "cause" and "effect" presuppose existence. This is the fallacy of the stolen concept.

You missed Epicazpensador's point. Things exist. When they act, they cause. The Universe exists, with much action/motion. The Universe doesn't cause anything, and didn't require a cause.

-- Mindy

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Ok- I have read and considered the above replies. I have also listened to Diana's lecture on the objections to the Cosmological Argument that was posted (thank you for sharing). I'm going to attempt to respond to all of the above without being too redundant. I apologize if it comes across as choppy. Haha. Here we go:

1) The Law of Cause and Effect does not state that "EVERYTHING must have a cause"..that is obviously self-destructive. It simply states that "every effect must have a cause" (which is really just a way to summarize the definitions of "cause" and "effect"). This is NOT based on inductive observation such as "everything I see has a cause and therefore everything must have a cause". Rather it is based on the logical meaning of "cause" and "effect". A cause is that which has an effect. An effect is that which has a cause. Everything that is in the class of an effect must have a cause.

2) As Rand, Diana, and many others rightly conclude, an ACTUAL infinite regress is impossible. I'm not saying that it's just hard to imagine an infinite regress. I'm saying that logically, it is impossible. There cannot be an actual infinite regress of causation.

3) Therefore there must be something that is an uncaused cause (a cause that is not also an effect); something that is self-sustaining/self-sufficient (NOT self-caused...that is also irrational!). As of right now in the argument, this COULD be "the Universe" or matter in general I suppose or even a blue marble! All that needs to be seen thus far is that there must logically BE an uncaused cause -regardless of what you want to say it is. When I said that this thing must in a sense "have the power of existence within itself" what I mean is that there must be something that simply exists (which means it IS part of existence)- but it must be special in the sense that it is uncaused/"necessary"/not contingent or dependent on anything else. It simply "is" and needs no causal explanation. Therefore no one (on EITHER side) can say "ah, but what caused that thing?" as if that destroys the argument. We are establishing here that there MUST be a thing which is uncaused and therefore cannot rationally have that question asked of it.

**At this point, if you disagree please specify. If not, than it has been established that there is an uncaused cause- If you agree thus far, please do not back peddle and deny this based on something you don't like in the following arguments. We have not established whether this uncaused cause is the universe or matter or a blue marble or God.. we have only established that it is logically necessary and therefore actual.**

Many people would be comfortable stopping the logical inquiry at this point and asserting that the uncaused cause is what ever happens to best suit their current/desired world view (Religionists would say "God", Atheists would say "Matter" or "The Universe" or "A Blue Marble" depending on their particular brand of atheism). However, I cannot consciously do that without violating my value for wanting to know with certainty what is actually true. Therefore, I press on and would encourage others to do so as well. If I did not, I feel that I would be guilty of evasion.

4) The uncaused cause began the chain of causation. Whether you want to say it "created other things" or "acted" or "exploded" or whatever, it "caused" an effect or multiple effects. I suppose it would be helpful to stick with "matter" or "the universe" for now and say that it did not remain static/ "as it was", but it acted and caused effects/"changes" in the form of the matter or the universe. However, if this thing is uncaused, what was the cause of it's acting/ causing or having an effect? Why did it cause an effect rather than remain static? It could not have done so accidentally for this implies that something outside of it acted upon it (caused it). This would say that the uncaused cause was caused to act (Law of Non-Contradiction). It also could not be some arbitrary "part" inside of it that acted upon the whole for we run into the same problem of an infinite regress of causation that is inward rather than outward. The only possibility is that the Uncaused Cause acted wholly of it's own accord in it's causation of effects. It must have purposefully caused/acted. It must have chosen to act. And therefore it must have all the faculties necessary for choice; consciousness (mind), preference (affections), and volition (will). At this point, if you want to still claim that it is the Universe or matter, or a blue marble, I suppose you could, but it would be a Universe, Matter, or Blue Marble, that has all the faculties of person-hood (consciousness, preference, and volition). However, it seems more appropriate to call it God since the traditional definition of God is the the ultimate personal being.

Notice I am not saying that the uncaused cause is solely consciousness (Rand would say that consciousness which is only conscious of itself is illogical)-- I am saying that it is an existent/"being" that is conscious not solely of it's own consciousness but of it's objective existence. I do not think this is any more illogical than it is for me to be conscious of my own existence.

**Once again, if you disagree at this point, please specify. If you agree, than it has been established that there is a "God" (or an ultimate being which is personal). No details have been established about this God YET and therefore it cannot be assumed that it conforms to any current particular view of God, but it's existence has been established so please do not back peddle beyond this if you disagree with further arguments. (Unless of course you realize a flaw in previous arguments).

I will not venture into details about God yet... I think the above is more than enough to chew on and debate for now.

As I said before, this is what I am currently convinced of because of the logical reasons I listed above. If I am wrong, I want to be proven AND convinced that I am wrong. So please, respond in accordance with that.

Quick "one-liner" attacks and scoffs are not helpful. Responses that honestly attempt to deal with what I mean by what I am saying and subsequently attempt to correct or critique are very helpful and anticipated.

Thank you.

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3) Therefore there must be something that is an uncaused cause (a cause that is not also an effect); something that is self-sustaining/self-sufficient (NOT self-caused...that is also irrational!). As of right now in the argument, this COULD be "the Universe" or matter in general I suppose or even a blue marble! All that needs to be seen thus far is that there must logically BE an uncaused cause -regardless of what you want to say it is. When I said that this thing must in a sense "have the power of existence within itself" what I mean is that there must be something that simply exists (which means it IS part of existence)- but it must be special in the sense that it is uncaused/"necessary"/not contingent or dependent on anything else. It simply "is" and needs no causal explanation. Therefore no one (on EITHER side) can say "ah, but what caused that thing?" as if that destroys the argument. We are establishing here that there MUST be a thing which is uncaused and therefore cannot rationally have that question asked of it.

**At this point, if you disagree please specify. If not, than it has been established that there is an uncaused cause- If you agree thus far, please do not back peddle and deny this based on something you don't like in the following arguments. We have not established whether this uncaused cause is the universe or matter or a blue marble or God.. we have only established that it is logically necessary and therefore actual.**

All actions are caused by entities. The Law of Causality, a corollary of the Law of Identity appied to action, is not a matter of deductive, rationalized proof, rather a matter of the integrative inductive grasping of the evidence of the sense data. In a world where most cannot wrap their minds around existence as eternal, i.e., uncaused - view a creator as being eternal, usually a consciousness, prior to the 'creation' of a universe, a 'consciousness', if you will, conscious of nothing but that it is conscious, (of what, they generally do not ask) as being non-contradictory. Objectivism does not pretend to know what the nature of the uncaused is, only that it is. Existence is that which simply 'is' and has no causal explanation.

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3) Therefore there must be something that is an uncaused cause (a cause that is not also an effect); something that is self-sustaining/self-sufficient (NOT self-caused...that is also irrational!).

You have reified "cause" and "effect". Physical entities interact with eachother according to their natures, and these interactions have a "cause" and effect". Their specific natures and initial conditions are the cause, and the effect is the resultant change in their motion, shape, or other measurable quantity. Things are not causes nor effects. The interaction of things has causes and effects.

The concepts of "cause" and "effect" refer to interacting existents. So the concepts of "cause" and "effect" logically depend on the concept of existence. To assert that existence can be an effect is to steal the concept of "effect", ignoring the context in which it is grounded. As a result, you necessarily run into the contradiction of saying that something simultaneously exists and does not exist, and has a specific nature and does not.

Edited by brian0918

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You have reified "cause" and "effect". Physical entities interact with eachother according to their natures, and these interactions have a "cause" and effect". Their specific natures and initial conditions are the cause, and the effect is the resultant change in their motion, shape, or other measurable quantity. Things are not causes nor effects. The interaction of things has causes and effects.

All referents for the concepts of "cause" and "effect" are existents. So the concepts of "cause" and "effect" logically depend on the concept of existence. To assert that existence can be an effect is to steal the concept of "effect", ignoring the context in which it is grounded. As a result, you necessarily run into the contradiction of saying that something simultaneously exists and does not exist, and has a specific nature and does not.

I am trying to stress that there must be an existent/entity which is uncaused and which caused the entirety of all subsequent effects. I did not say that this cause was not an entity. In fact, since I am trying to argue that it exists, I am arguing that it IS an entity/existent. I am not asserting that existence as existence is an effect. I am simply recognizing that all existents but one can and do fall into either category of cause or effect and that there must be one existent that does not fall in the category of an effect-- thus being uncaused.

Does that help clarify what I'm saying?

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Each entity is an end within itself. No one-thing causes the behavior of another thing. Each thing behaves according to it's own nature. When I strike a baseball with a baseball bat, neither I nor the bat "causes" the ball to fly out to right field. The ball flys to right field because that is it's nature.

This, as I understand it, is the essence of Objectivism (and Atlas Shrugged). Rand tried to demonstrate in Atlas Shrugged that no one-person can cause another person or thing to behave in a manner not in accordance with it's nature -- not through praying, intimidation or blackmail. Each person, and each entity, is an end within itself. The notion that you, or some undefined god, "control" the behavior of other entities or other people is the "cause" of most of the worlds problems.

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I am trying to stress that there must be an existent/entity which is uncaused and which caused the entirety of all subsequent effects. I did not say that this cause was not an entity. In fact, since I am trying to argue that it exists, I am arguing that it IS an entity/existent. I am not asserting that existence as existence is an effect. I am simply recognizing that all existents but one can and do fall into either category of cause or effect and that there must be one existent that does not fall in the category of an effect-- thus being uncaused.

Does that help clarify what I'm saying?

Jacob, you seem not to have "heard" what people are saying about where "cause" might apply and where is cannot. A thing doesn't have to have a cause. An event does. Things are not effects, though motions and changes and alterations of and in things are.

You must argue for your claim that existing things are all effects but one. That does not, on the face of it, make sense. It violates the applicability of the term "effect."

An additional point: you say "there must be one existent that does not fall in the category of an effect-- thus being uncaused," which is exactly the old cosmological argument, and deserves the same old reply: that it is an arbitrary assertion. If everything needs a precursor, so does God. If God doesn't, why does the universe?

-- Mindy

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Mindy has it. Jacob why are you comfortable with "god" as an irreducible eternality and reject the universe as the same?

Plasmatic and Mindy, I think Jacob answered your questions already with his 4th point. I am not sure why you are asking him to repeat it.

His points 1,2 and 3 state the same thing you are saying, that if there is an uncaused cause it could be the universe. He goes on to argue why he thinks it is god in his 4th point.

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You have reified "cause" and "effect". Physical entities interact with eachother according to their natures, and these interactions have a "cause" and effect". Their specific natures and initial conditions are the cause, and the effect is the resultant change in their motion, shape, or other measurable quantity. Things are not causes nor effects. The interaction of things has causes and effects.

The concepts of "cause" and "effect" refer to interacting existents. So the concepts of "cause" and "effect" logically depend on the concept of existence. To assert that existence can be an effect is to steal the concept of "effect", ignoring the context in which it is grounded. As a result, you necessarily run into the contradiction of saying that something simultaneously exists and does not exist, and has a specific nature and does not.

I am not sure I understand your point here. Are you saying there are things in existence that did not require a cause? If not, wouldn't the idea of existence presuppose a cause?

Also, how can you have a thing without the interaction of things? Or, in other words, how can a thing not be both a cause and effect?

I am not saying you are wrong, just looking for clarification.

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Plasmatic and Mindy, I think Jacob answered your questions already with his 4th point. I am not sure why you are asking him to repeat it.

His points 1,2 and 3 state the same thing you are saying, that if there is an uncaused cause it could be the universe. He goes on to argue why he thinks it is god in his 4th point.

THANK YOU! lol.

It almost seems as though people are not even reading what i've said- despite the fact that I have gone to extreme efforts to clarify what I am trying to say and what I am not trying to say. Thank you. again. haha.

To everyone else who has replied thus far, could you please point out WHERE in the argument you disagree (at what point is my "logic" not logical?) and try and explain why? Ex: "I accept that there must be an uncaused cause (points 1-3) but not that it is a person (point 4) because ....."

or "I do not accept that there must be an uncaused cause (point 3) because I believe that there can be an infinite regress of causes (against point 2)"....

This would be much more helpful than reciting something that we all probably all agree on already anyways but which does not seem to pertain to the argument in an obvious way.

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1) The Law of Cause and Effect does not state that "EVERYTHING must have a cause"..that is obviously self-destructive.

I don't see why, depending on what you count as a "thing". What is "self-destructive" about it? I take it you mean either self-contradictory or leading to an infinite regress, when you say "self-destructive", but I'm not sure what is so bad about an infinite regress in certain contexts. Clearly we cannot have an infinite regress when we talk about reason because man's mind is limited. If reasons for action or belief were infinitely supported by other antecedent reasons, then no person would ever have any reason and the term would be meaningless. In the case of time, however, I see no reductio ad absurdum in supposing that time regresses infinitely into the past (and future).

2) As Rand, Diana, and many others rightly conclude, an ACTUAL infinite regress is impossible. I'm not saying that it's just hard to imagine an infinite regress. I'm saying that logically, it is impossible. There cannot be an actual infinite regress of causation.

If this is what they say, I would be interested to see a quote from Ayn Rand, but that's mere curiosity. In any case, without some additional argument, I don't accept this premise.

3) Therefore there must be something that is an uncaused cause (a cause that is not also an effect); something that is self-sustaining/self-sufficient (NOT self-caused...that is also irrational!).

I'll make a subtle point, but here is the only thing that I take to fit loosely what you are talking about: The fact that the universe exists is something that does not need justification. This is, in some sense, a bottom-line beyond which any reasoning makes no sense. We cannot talk about the cause for the fact of existence, and so in some sense this is uncaused--but this point makes no claim about time, and still recognizes the possibility of an infinite past.

4) The uncaused cause began the chain of causation. Whether you want to say it "created other things" or "acted" or "exploded" or whatever, it "caused" an effect or multiple effects.

In the limited sense of an "uncaused" existence that I described above, this does not follow, so I still reject the thought that there was any kind of "act" involved.

However, if this thing is uncaused, what was the cause of it's acting/ causing or having an effect?p

By the very notion of the fact that it is uncaused, this implies that nothing caused it to do anything. This means that no kind of willpower could have caused the universe to act, since presumably this willpower would be a thing which causes the universe to act, contradicting the supposition that it is uncaused. To this you might reply that willpower isn't really a thing in the universe, but at this point I think, "Then what's the difference between this statement, and saying that the willpower just doesn't exist at all?"

Now if you just mean, by "will", the act of doing something which is not at all caused or incited by any antecedent facts, then this might be called an act of will, but there is no reason to think that it was a conscious will, i.e. that this quote-unquote "willing act" is anything like the willpower that humans disputably possess, since there is nothing to suggest that this act of "will" was guided by reason or conscious act.

Why did it cause an effect rather than remain static?

This is the question of, why is the universe the way that it is, rather than some other way? As Ayn Rand herself stated, and I agree with her: This question deserves the same answer that the question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" Namely, all reason is based on the fact of existence, and not just any existence but this existence. We cannot step outside of reality in order to answer questions about reality. The existence, and the form of existence, of the universe is primitive, from which other questions may be answered.

Hope this has helped clarify, or at least provided some new thoughts.

Edited by aleph_0

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I am trying to stress that there must be an existent/entity which is uncaused and which caused the entirety of all subsequent effects. I did not say that this cause was not an entity. In fact, since I am trying to argue that it exists, I am arguing that it IS an entity/existent. I am not asserting that existence as existence is an effect. I am simply recognizing that all existents but one can and do fall into either category of cause or effect and that there must be one existent that does not fall in the category of an effect-- thus being uncaused.

Does that help clarify what I'm saying?

The whole question is malformed. Entities don't fall into categories of "cause" or "effect". Entities are neither causes nor effects. "Cause" and "effect" are abstract concepts derived from observing the interaction of entities. As I said, you are reifying "cause" and "effect".

Edited by brian0918

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I will try and reply soon....i believe I may have some questions..

In the mean time though, could somebody explain to me how to do the QUOTE thing? haha. I tried clicking the "MultiQuote" button on the bottom left of the post, but it didn't do anything.

I would like to use it so that my replies aren't too jumbled or confusing.

Thanks.

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To use the multiquote feature, click the button corresponding to the message(s) you would like to quote in your response. You can even browse to other pages in the thread, and you can even browse to other threads, and the multiquote feature will keep tracking you. When you finally click "Add Reply" at the bottom of any thread, you will be taken to a new text editor box, and the quotations will already appear in the editor with "quote tags" around each message you've decided to quote. If you want to insert extra quote tags, you can simply put text around the string of symbols [ q u o t e ] and [ / q u o t e ], where all spaces are omitted.

To play with this, in order to see how it works, see what happens when you post the following text, removing the appropriate spaces:

This is a [ q u o t e] quote [ / q u o t e ]

Note that you can always post something and then edit it within a few minutes of having posted it, so in order to keep the forum tidy, please edit out your experiments with the quote tags and only leave your response.

Edited by aleph_0

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