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Everything posted by heretic

  1. There is no one definition of many things and all definitions can be equally true of that thing. A is A and that is obvious and you indeed have to grasp it with your sense perception. But then the rational mind ought to move into the realm of determining what makes it to be what it is. This is the process of moving from sense perception of the thing to intellectual abstraction of the nature of the thing.
  2. Indeed "tautological" would be more appropriate for the statement "A is A". When be basically ask what makes A, A then we go into definitions whether this definitions be perceptible or deducible.
  3. Is it not redundancy when we say that "A is A" since it is obvious that "A is A"? Is not the more reasonable statement one that leads to a definition of what makes A, A?
  4. The eternal entity I can think of would be a necessary entity, which as such cannot “not exist.” This cannot be material existence (the universe from atoms to stars, energy to galaxy) because in our observation and study of things we know that such material existence is contingent. Empirical evidence of the Big Bang would appear to prove that the universe is not eternal and had a beginning. The universe cannot come from nothing, but it had to come from something. This something could be a necessary being. Thus, the nature of material reality (the universe as a whole), which is contingent and transient, gives us a reasonable basis for believing in a non-material entity, which is essential and eternal, from which the whole of material reality came.
  5. Good for you! But I think you are right. We are going around and around in this infinite cycle of arguments and counterarguments that could last longer than this universe. I stated that we cannot be absolutely sure that we know everything we need to know about reality and that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence given the limits of the human intellect, and you accused me of being arbitrary. I gave you my physical evidence, and you shift the burden on me to prove the existence of the necessary and eternal particle that is the source and origin of material reality when I have maintained that all physical/material particles are contingent and temporal. I posited the necessary being as the ultimate source of contingent reality, and you accused me of making a Kantian leap of faith. I talked about the need for reasonable doubt, and you accused me of being a Humean skeptic. I gave you my rational reflection on the nature of objective reality based on my observatiuon of the same, and you accused me of being a Cartesian rationalist. I asked: What does exist in particular? And you gave the abstract term "existence". The time you took up the challenge to deal with me on physics, you got cornered and hard pressed to prove the eternity of the elements and tried to dimiss my concepts as meaningless, like the logical positivists of the Vienna Circle. Lest I be burned at the stake, like Giordano Bruno, I suggest that we get out of these mental doldrums, end this exercise, and waste our intellectual energy on something else.
  6. This vacuum is nothing, it is the absence of something. So it brings us back to square one. Where did things that exist come? Why is there something rather than nothing? Surely they came from something. What is this something? The necessary and infinite entity called "God" that is the only eternally existing entity in this so-called vacuum of space. By implication this entity is infinite and therefore has infinite power. Since this entity has infinite power, this entity is capable of creating out of nothing. Hence, this entity is the ultimate origin and explanation of the things that started the universe or the necessary something from which material reality got its existence.
  7. Why are you shifting the burden on me to prove that this collection of atoms and stars, which we call the universe, is eternal/infinite in duration or has always been here so that there would be no room for God? It is you who should provide that evidence. As far as I am concerned, the universe is finite and contingent and is in need of a necesary cause. By the way, that matter that is the nose on my face, which is composed of flesh, and tissues, and cells, and compounds, and atoms etc. is finite and contingent as very material thing is. That merely confirms what I see and know in my observation of and reflection on objective reality. How old is it then? It is ageless and eternal? How now do we prove that since we have yet to discover an eternal atom that has always been there? What was the nature or stuff of the universe prior to the Big Bang then? How far ago is far ago? The universe started with the so-called Big Bang and from then on has been expanding. It proves that the universe began with the Big Bang from that "stuff" the origin of which you have yet to explain. As far as I am concerned, that stuff came from something, and that something is the necessary being. Time is the measurement of motion, for if everything stood still then there would be no time to speak of. Before the universe started to exist, there was no measurement of time. Time started when the Big Bang hapenned because it was at that moment (please notice that in my previous posts, I avoided using the term "time" and used the term "moment" instead) when things began to move and therefore measurement could be possible. So, the beginning of the universe took place from the moment the said cosmic explosion started. I get the impression that your idea of the universe is an empty space or a motionless vacuum where nothing happened until it sprang to life with the apperance of the stuff from where the cosmic explosion took off. Even so, you would still be hard pressed to explain where the stuff came. The universe is the collective term we give to the collection of specific things, like atoms and stars. I am more focused on nature of concrete things, like atoms, and not abstract things like the universe. When I said "universe", I was thinking of the particular things that compose the concept of universe. I have already defined this in my very first post where I argued that there is no universe as a whole that exists as a separate thing from the things that make up the universe as a whole. The whole is a concept we give to the collection of particualr things, like atoms and stars, that make up the whole. We are talking about he nature of the particular things that make up the whole. We don't see eye-to-eye in some of the concepts being used. What is existence? Existence is a slippery notion and there is no universally accepted definition of the term in philosophy. The Latin existere means "to stand out." Webster's Third New International Dictionary considers existence to be a noun and defines existence as the "state or fact of having being", and "to exist" means to be in that state or fact of having being. The question is therefore: What does exist? It should not be: what is existence? Having said that, it is clear that what exists are particular things. So let us talk about particular things and not abstract concepts that cannot be virified by scientific proof and empirical evidence. I will confine myself with particular things for now, which is the crux of the issue, than with abstract mental constructs or concepts. I cannot formulate concepts of things in general unless I have understood the nature of things in particular. Still, where is the scientific proof and empirical evidence that it is eternal and timeless? Or, is it all in your mind? You see, a sound philosophy cannot be detached from physical reality otherwise it would not be philosophy but fantasy. Existence itself has no cause? In your mind. How about particular things that have existence or exist in reality? Look, it is you who started all this theory about the phases of the universe. I am not talking about the phases during the expanding phase, but the expansion of the universe as a separate phase on its own, which you tried to imply. You said we are in the expanding phase. Thus, I asked about the phase that came before and the phase that would come after this expansion. So, how did you come up with that theory unless you intend to rewrite the science books. I have said that the universe is not eternal and I have provided scientific evidence for that. Having said that, it follows that there was no universe yet prior to the Big Bang. Along came this stuff, which certainly could not come from nothing, that exploded. This stuff is made up of matter, for what else would it be made of, was the singularity that started on day one the evolution and expansion of the universe. The Big Bang is only a theory, but it appears to be the best theory that is supported by the existing evidence. Now, since matter is naturally contingent and finite, as I have shown from the perspective of physics, mathemathics and metaphysics, it cannot be the ultimate origin of its own existence. However, it cannot come from nothing, but from something. Therefore, I posited the probability of the existence of the non-contingent/necessary and eternal/infinite entity as the source of material reality as a whole or this primordial material stuff that the Big Bang Theory denominates as a "singularity". What caused the uncaused? Foolish question.
  8. The Big Bang did not CREATE the universe. It STARTED the universe. Only GOD can CREATE the universe.
  9. There are a lot of unknowns here in this statement. I am still looking for the eternally existing matter that you wish to posit to arrive at the conclusion that the universe does not need God. The fact is that the universe is about 14-20 billion years old. That is the age of the universe unless you want to rewrite our science books. I am not sure I got you here. How can I be predicating my "argument on the erroneous idea of a universe extending infinitely far back in time" when I believe that the universe began to exist, and this beginning is the start of time. Contingency has a very simple definition in the dictionary, which someone defined in a previous post. Because of the contingency of material reality, it is in need of a cause since something cannot come from nothing. Causation is an activity between a cause and an effect. Everything that begins to exist, the universe, for example, must have a cause. Of course, something that exists (effect) presupposes something that exists before it (cause). Causes exist. Can you think of something that exists that has no cause? For me only the necessary being has no cause precisely because it is necessary. How about you? I am still waiting for your scientific proof and evidence that the universe has no beginning. As far as I am concerned, the universe has an measurable age and this bespeaks of its beginning. You mentioned an "expanding phase" of the universe. What are the other phases? What are the phases before that and after that? The Big Bang Theory holds that there was immensely hot and dense "stuff", which was the universe, and which then expanded suddenly. I agree. Still I ask the basic questions: Where did this stuff come from? What is it made off? How did it become the stuff from which the universe came. Is it the presumably the eternal stuff of matter? Is this a hypothessis or is it a fact? How do we know these?
  10. Time started when things began to exist. I would want to see you contradict the scientific fact that the universe was born, is about 14 to 20 billion-years old, and is continuously expanding and not infinitely oscillating. Besides, if the universe were eternal, then it would have converted all of its hydrogen fuel, would have succumbed to heat death, and would have been in a state of uninhabitable disorder already. Something is contingent if it is dependent on something for its existence. It may or may not have existed. What is your concept of contingency? Something is necessary if it is not dependent on anything for its existence, and it is impossible for it not to exist. Your logic and notions in your mind are useless if they do not jive with objective reality. We must first know the nature of objective reality before we make mental constructs about it. The fact is that the universe had a beginning and is billions of years old. Where is your scientific evidence that would contradict the objective reality of the age of the universe and all the other scientific facts I have just presented?
  11. You misunderstood my posposition. My contention is that the whole of material reality is contingent and finite, and since the whole of material reality that is contingent and finite did not come from nothing, it follows that the whole of material reality that is contingent and finite came from something that is naturally necessary and actually infinite.
  12. Eternal means infinite in duration. Eternity is subsumed in the concept of infinity. Immense means infinite in expansion. Likewise, immensity is subsumed in the concept of infinity. I was using infinity in the context of eternity. Existence has always existed? Existence is a condition of something that exists. If a certain apple exists, it is said to have existence. The question is, what is that thing that has always existed or has eternal existence? I have yet to see such a thing in nature.
  13. The temporality and suceptibility of hydrogen to decomposition speaks for its contingency, and I don't think so microorganisms pre-existed hydrogen to be the origin of this element. The universe is eternal, meaning that existence has always existed. And the universe is finite, meaning that it has a certain amount of matter that has always existed in some form? I surely would like to see how that hypothesis could be verified/falsified, and what kind of matter is that, which has always existed in some form. Are you talking about the prime matter posited by Aristotel? Are you talking about quarks or strings or dark matter/energy? What is the nature of this matter? Matter is eternal? More like materialism to me!
  14. Are your assumptions as good as mine or better than mine? The fact is that the universe was born, is about 14 to 20 billion-years old, and is continuously expanding and not infinitely oscillating. Besides, if the universe were eternal, then it would have converted all of its hydrogen fuel, would have succumbed to heat death, and would have been in a state of uninhabitable disorder already. So, where would youy like to begin given the limits of current knowledge?
  15. Hydrogen is converted to helium, and helium would be fused into heavier elements, and carbon and then iron are considered to be the two steps in which this happens. What is produced are heavier elements, like uranium. There is no process that produces hydrogen nuclei, because the hydrogen nucleus is a proton only and hydrogen is not a compound, like water, where hydrogen could be separated from oxygen through electrolysis. Thus, if the univere were infinite or eternal, then all of its hydrogen would have been coverted already. Not only that, following the Second Law of Thermodynamics, everything would be at the same temperature and heat dead. The order that we have in the cosmos at this juncture following the Big Bang, which started the presently expanding universe, which is in the process of accelerating and not collapsing, would be in a state of unhinhabitable chaos. The elements are not eternal, which is a mark of their contingency. William Lane Craig, in his debate with atheist Mossimo Pigliucci at the University of Tennessee in 1995, stated that if "the universe is eternal and never had a beginning, that means that the number of past events in the history of the universe is infinite. But mathematicians recognize that the idea of an actually infinite number of things leads to self-contradictions. For example, what is infinity minus infinity? Well, mathematically, you get self-contradictory answers. This shows that infinity is just an idea in your mind, not something that exists in reality." He even quotes mathematician David Hilbert who said that the "infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought. The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea." The fact is the universe had a beginning. This is evidenced by the Big Bang Theory, which points to the fact that the universe was born, is about 14 to 20 billion-years old, and is continuously expanding and not infinitely oscillating. Besides, if the universe were eternal, then it would have converted all of its hydrogen fuel, would have succumbed to heat death, and would have been in a state of uninhabitable disorder already. I therefore conclude that everything is contingent and had a beginning, and since everything that is contingent and had a beginning did not merely come from nothing, it follows that everything that is contingent and had a beginning came from something that is naturally necessary and actually eternal.
  16. I did not say that the universe is an actual object that requires energy. I said that the universe is principally made up of hydrogen and helium, which means that these two elements exist in abundance in the universe. In layman's language, the burning process converts the hydrogen to helium, and for as long as there is hydrogen remaining, there is a possibility that stars would evolve because hydrogen fuel stars. You are referring to the outer leyer where hydrogen still remains, while its core of hydrogen fuel has all been used up or converted to helium and to carbon or oxygen, but no where in the science books does it say that this helium is converetd back into hydrogen in an eternal oscillation. Astrophysicists agree that once a star exhausts its supply of hydrogen at its core, the core collapses until nuclear reactions begin that convert helium into carbon and oxygen. Outer layers of these stars continue to convert hydrogen into helium. After a star exhausts its supply of nuclear fuel, its core collapses until either the star achieves a stable configuration, with its internal pressure counteracting gravity as it cools to zero temperature, or the star collapses to a black hole. This core collapse is generally accompanied with the expulsion of the outer layers of the star, because the amount of gravitational energy released in the collapse provides a pressure that more than counteracts the gravitational forces on the outer layers. A moderately-sized star, for instance, a star the size of the Sun, collapses to a stable star, called a degenerate dwarf, that is roughly the radius of Earth. The core of a larger star collapse to a radius of about 15km. This releases tremendous amounts of energy, leading to a supernova explosion that drives the remainder of the star way. The remnant star left behind is a neutron star. If a star is large enough, its core collapses to a black hole. What happens when this occurs is very speculative. Again I go back to the lack of certainty on these matters. Photodisintegration is the breakdown of elements because of heat, especially in the core of stars. So what does that tell you, aside from the temporality of the elements? If you want to argue with Dr. Hawking, be my guest. As far as I am concerned, he is allied with you guys because he believes that God is not necessary in the evolution of the universe. As we shall subsequently see. Im sorry to say that you misinterpreted me. The Big Bang Theory, Hawking's version of which you dont agree with, points to the fact that the universe had a beginning and is not eternal or actually infinite in duration. In fact, the age of the universe is billions of years old. If that does not speak of a beginning then I don't not know what does. Many people, like you, do not like the idea that time had a beginning because it betokens the existence of the necessary being whose divine intervetion created the universe, the beginning of which is the start of time. The Big Bang was only the beginning, now what happened prior to this Big Bang we can't know anything about them because "at such a singularity all natural laws break down and become irrelevant, so there's no way of determining what happened before the Big Bang." This is why I argue that the necessary being is impliedly non-contingent, which means that this entity is necessarily eternal and spiritual, and is therefore outside of time and above matter and therefore cannot be proved in a laboratory or in an observatory the way we prove that salt is made up of sodium and chloride, or that stars are composed of hydrogen and helium. I did not quote Hawking to prove that he believes in God. I quoted him to make the point that he voices out the resentment of some people for beginnings precisely because it "smacks of divine intervetion". However, physicists agree that the universe is temporal. For example, they say that if the universe were infinite, the amount of light falling on the earth would also be infinite assuming an approximately uniform density of galaxies throughout the universe. The reason for this is that the volume of the universe increases 8-fold with doubling of distance, while the decrease of light is only 4-fold with the doubling of the distance. The result is that the amount of light falling in the earth would double every time the size of the universe is doubled. Therefore, if the universe were infinite, we would not expect the sky to be dark at night. Since the night sky is dark, we know that the universe could not be infinite. In other words, to use an analogy, if water were falling forever in a bucket, that bucket would have been full by now or a long, long time ago. My thesis remains, that philosophically and scientifically speaking, there seems to be reasonable doubt and an impossibility of the maintenance of absolute proof for an eternal universe, and these would prevent us from dismissing arbitrarily the likelihood for the existence of a necessary being.
  17. They exists in my mind, and some of them only in my mind and not outside of my mind or in reality. Yes, I know that. I was more interested with those that exist inside of the mind and also outside of the mind or in reality, like human nature or human consciousness or the forms of Aristotle that exist in reality but they also only exist in particular things as the essence of things.
  18. Hydrogen, from which the stars and the universe get their energy, is converted to helium and once all the hydrogen of a star is converted (used up), it dies. Now dead stars or their remnants may rejuvinate because they are in contact with interstellar matter that has hydrogen and this enables the evolution of new stars. It does not say that the oxygen or carbon atoms become hydrogen again ad infinitum. The fact is that an oscillating or steady state universe is not possible given the updated findings of science at this juncture. On the other hand, the universe is 75% hydrogen and 25% helium, and is only 13 billion years old, which do not speak very well for an eternal universe, but for a universe that has a beginning. This is corroborated by the findings of Friedman and Hubble in what is now known as the Big Bang Theory, which Stephen Hawking said "smacks of divine intervention" because it proves somehow that the universe is temporal and contingent, something which atheists, like John Maddox, hate to admit.
  19. That is exactly what I have been doing all along.
  20. Very good Kendall! You finally nailed me there. The fact of contingency is the key to the whole argument! I have maintained that the most reasonable position to take is that God does not exist unless proven otherwise, and that the infinity in duration eternity of the universe, once proven scientifically, would mean that there is after all no room for a Creator. However, there is still room for doubt. Is there scientific proof for an eternal universe going around in a cyclical motion for billions and billions of years and using and reusing its energy and organizing and disorganizing itself in an infinitely inexhuastible manner? How about the scientific theory of the singularity of the big bang and expanding universe that point to the age of the universe and point to its beginning, and the fact that the sun has been converting its energy to another form that cannot be used by it later that would lead to its expected demise in the far future, and the expected heat death or disorder of the universe, which is posited by the theory of entropy, simply because there would come a time when it would have converted (used up) its energy to another form that could not be used by it any more? If the universe is eternal, there would only be helium by now since all of the hydrogen in the universe would have been converted already and there would be no more environment for the development of life forms. How there be a cycle unless helium would be capable of converting back into hydrogen, which is not so but the other way around if we are to consult science. It appears that the universe is not eternal. It had a beginning and will have an ending. See what I mean when I say that scientifically and philosophically speaking, there is reasonable doubt and absolute proof is impossible for us to arbitrarily dismiss the possibility or probability of the existence of a necessary being?
  21. What are examples of mental existents? How do they exist? Can I see one? Reasonable doubt is more like it. Should I not doubt the philosophical position I have been taking now? Or should I be doggedly dogmatic about my insistence on the existence of God? Would that be reasonable? I'm sorry if I have offended you. I was only trying to undermine your position. Ok. I'll do that.
  22. I agree with you, as I agree with Parmenides, that something cannot come from nothing. Stars, atoms and all other existing material things will die. They are composites. They have been composed and would decompose. That is why they are contingent. That which you call necessary existence, I call the necessary entity. Would it be unreasonable to think about the possibility that ALL things could not have existed in the past given their contingency? If things were to recycle infinitely, entropy would render everything in chaos already and energy useless and dead matter righ now. Would it be also unreasonable to think about the possibility that ALL things could cease to exist altogether in the future given their contingency? Scientific evidence I do not have. Philosophical reasoning is all I can give you. Do you have scientific evidence of the eternity and inifnity of the universe?
  23. Things are contingent because they are apparently dependent on someting else for their existence. They are dependent because they are observed to have been composed and are susceptible to being decomposed. It would therefore be reasonable to think that such things could not have existed in the past and would cease to exist in the future. If they did not exist in the past, their coming into existence is brought about by something else that is explicitly not contingent, but is implicitly necessary.
  24. Ok, so everything that I see are contingent. I am sorry if Ayn Rand did not say that. It was merely my impression of Objectivism. So, I stand corrected? What do I mean by material? I stated my proposition, defined my terms and argued my position. Let me repeat myself, I said that "Material reality refers to physical things or to an existent that is palpable, physical, composite; that which could be seen, felt, touched, tasted, etc; that which is made up of parts, for example, compounds, elements, molecules, atoms, protons, quarks, etc. It is also observed and known to be apparently temporal and finite. This leads to the concept of contingency."
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