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THEISM vs. OBJECTIVISM

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heretic
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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.

So eager are you to accept eternal existence, when its name is "God." Yet so unwilling, when its name is "eternal existence."

Some say the immaterial created the material. But certainly it is impossible for material to spring forth from immaterial. So what material did the immaterial use to create the material, when the material was not material?

You have not seen the thing that has always existed, for you have not always existed to see the thing. But think hard upon this question: What exists in the vacuum of space? Think hard upon it, and you might come hard upon eternal existence.

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If you're looking for the matter that is the universe, it's a plain as the nose on your face. If you're hopping for some kind of existence-external notion of "eternality", you'll have to provide the evidence for that, and before yo do, yo'll have to how that it is even a meaningful concept.

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.

Are you complaining about the quality of popular science text books? Not unreasonably so. But the fact is that the universe is not 14-20 billion years old. The big Bang apparently happened that far ago. Why do you think that proves anything?
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.

Then is it now your position that there was no time before the beginning of the universe, and that therefore the notion "beginning of the universe" is meaningless?

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.

This is false, because while a specific existent may be contingent, the universe is necessary. You've slipped into the fallacy of composition. I have freewill; it does not follow that the universe has free will. My computer or that rock "did not have to exist", because existence does not by itself entail my computer or that rock. Existence does entail itself. The premise (existence exists) cannot be true with the conclusion (existence exists) being false.
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.

If the universe began to exist, I wold agree. Since the universe at no time "began to exist", then your conclusion is false.

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.

Hmmm. Lessee.. O, I know. Existence. Existence is a the fundamental primary.

Existence itself has no cause? In your mind. How about particular things that have existence or exist in reality?

And I'm waiting for your scientific evidence that the universe did not exist before the Big Bang. Please stop invoking science without actually invoking any science.As far as I am concerned, the universe has no measurable age, which bespeaks of the fact that questions about the age of the universe are silly. We can speak of the time since the Big Bang, for example. BTW, what is the relationship between "1 second" now, and "1 second", a trillionth of a nanosecond after the Big Bang?
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".

Where did god come from?

What caused the uncaused? Foolish question.

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So eager are you to accept eternal existence, when its name is "God." Yet so unwilling, when its name is "eternal existence."

Some say the immaterial created the material. But certainly it is impossible for material to spring forth from immaterial. So what material did the immaterial use to create the material, when the material was not material?

You have not seen the thing that has always existed, for you have not always existed to see the thing. But think hard upon this question: What exists in the vacuum of space? Think hard upon it, and you might come hard upon eternal existence.

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.

Edited by heretic
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The Big Bang did not CREATE the universe. It STARTED the universe. Only GOD can CREATE the universe.

Heretic....many people refer to God as that which created light from dark and order from chaos. Some people also call this an "infinite intelligence". Imagine 14 Billion years ago...all those atoms, chemicals and matter and all of the universe and whatever existed is in exisitence has not collided or combined or reacted or created or come together in the matter we now refer to as the "big bang". That point where all the "random" became "organized" , that moment or process, if you want to refer to that or call that God, I agree with you...let's call that moment God. That God really would be life producing. That really would be the source of Man's creation.

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Or, let us recognize the fact that there is not one shred of direct, observational evidence for god, and let us also recognize the fact that to speak of things for which there is no direct, observational evidence is no more than to speak out of one's ass.

I have always wondered why religious people feel the need to fill in the gaps in their knowledge with an artificial construction. What caused the universe to exist? (A strange question no doubt since causal relations presuppose existents in relationships) What is wrong with admitting we don't know? Right now the evidence is that nothing caused it. Why make something up?

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I knew I should not have said I was done with this thread! But, my excuse is that the question above makes it interesting.

I'd suggest that the question can be more general: why does anyone rationalize anything? (I use rationalize here to mean the process of trying to find something that appears to be an argument, to fit a conclusion one has already made, and doing so with the intent to fit the conclusion rather than to figure out whether it is true.)

When this is done as a polemic tool, trying to hoodwink someone else into agreeing, one can understand that motivation. However, the real question is why someone would rationalize to themselves.

Here's my speculation... I think that the simplest answer is that it aids the process of evasion. In other words, man's need for self-esteem is very important, and it's tough to maintain it while doing something one knows to be irrational. However, evasion allows one to put a type of "insulator" between two things in one's mind, keeping apart (i.e. compartmentalized) things that you know you ought to be integrating.

This is not addressed to Heretic. I do not claim he's doing this type of psychological trick to himself. An evasive rationalizing approach can appear almost identical to an approach where one is trying to think in terms of concepts that are divorced from observation. This reality-divorced, "pure reason" approach is evident in Heretic's posts (in the way he uses words as starting -points that have no referrents in reality -- "material", "contingent", "infinity" are examples of things that might have meaning, but he borrows the words, discards their meaning and their context and uses them as primaries). However, whether this is the result of mistaken methods of thinking, or evasion, or a desire to convince others,... that's something that isn't the subject of the current debate.

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I knew I should not have said I was done with this thread! But, my excuse is that the question above makes it interesting.

...

Here's my speculation... I think that the simplest answer is that it aids the process of evasion. In other words, man's need for self-esteem is very important, and it's tough to maintain it while doing something one knows to be irrational. However, evasion allows one to put a type of "insulator" between two things in one's mind, keeping apart (i.e. compartmentalized) things that you know you ought to be integrating.

That's insightful. I like the idea of an insulator. As much as I try to pretend things out of existence(the IRS for example) I can never quite pull it off because reality is right there laughing at me. I bet that idea is applicable in a lot of different circumstances.

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That's insightful. I like the idea of an insulator.
Thinking about it some more, I think the term "insulator" isn't ideal. I visualize what's happening (metaphorically) in the case of rationalization is this: there's Truth-X and Falsehood-Y, and a mind wanting to hold both, but unable to do so because the can't be held together in an integrated "connected" or "bridged" manner. The rationalization places a faux-bridge where a real bridge ought to be and cannot be. This preserves the apparent connectedness of the system. So, it is an insulator, but not recognized as such. Metaphorically, it's like we need all these points connected with copper wire, and we're stringing something to connect two, that looks like a sheathed wire, but doesn't have the copper core.

I assume that there are various other techniques that one can use to evade. I'd also hypothesize that each of these might have many features of a system that is incorrectly integrated with honest intent.

I stress that this is merely my own metaphorical way of expressing this and is not meant to be a speculation of how things are actually organized in the brain.

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On Jan. 30, Heretic wrote this:

I agree with you . . . that something cannot come from nothing.

Yet today he writes this:

Since [God] has infinite power, [he] is capable of creating out of nothing.

In other words, because God is the superhero's superhero, he can therefore do the impossible.

As far as I'm concerned, we have reduced Heretic to his secret starting point: argumentum miraculum. It is clear to me that he is not seriously interested in whether the universe is "contingent." He is mostly interested in finding some way to convince us of the existence of miracles. And since there is no effective argument against someone's arbitrary belief in miracles, other than to point out how absurd and contradictory it is to the facts of reality, I shall, at this point, take a quick bow and hastily remove myself from this debate.

Ta-ta!

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On Jan. 30, Heretic wrote this:

Yet today he writes this:

In other words, because God is the superhero's superhero, he can therefore do the impossible.

As far as I'm concerned, we have reduced Heretic to his secret starting point: argumentum miraculum. It is clear to me that he is not seriously interested in whether the universe is "contingent." He is mostly interested in finding some way to convince us of the existence of miracles. And since there is no effective argument against someone's arbitrary belief in miracles, other than to point out how absurd and contradictory it is to the facts of reality, I shall, at this point, take a quick bow and hastily remove myself from this debate.

Ta-ta!

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On Jan. 30, Heretic wrote this:

Yet today he writes this:

In other words, because God is the superhero's superhero, he can therefore do the impossible.

As far as I'm concerned, we have reduced Heretic to his secret starting point: argumentum miraculum. It is clear to me that he is not seriously interested in whether the universe is "contingent." He is mostly interested in finding some way to convince us of the existence of miracles. And since there is no effective argument against someone's arbitrary belief in miracles, other than to point out how absurd and contradictory it is to the facts of reality, I shall, at this point, take a quick bow and hastily remove myself from this debate.

Ta-ta!

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.

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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.

You stated it. Did you prove it, or at least provide god evidence to the effect that the human intellect is utterly incapable of certainty? If you make such a statement with no evidence, then you make an arbitrary statement, by definition. And if you make the statement denying the the human intellect's capacity for certainty: are you certain that you are right?

I gave you my physical evidence [for]the existence of the necessary and eternal particle that is the source and origin of material reality

There is no possible physical evidence for that which is not physical. Maintaining otherwise is maintaining a contradiction. What you did was give philosophical evidence. But since philosophical evidence must ultimately be reducible to physical evidence, you nevertheless maintain a contradiction. There is no evidence, whether physical or philosophical, for that which is outside of existence (by existence I mean: the sum total of everything that exists).

I posited the necessary being as the ultimate source of contingent reality, and you accused me of making a Kantian leap of faith.

Positing that which is absolutely unknowable is making a Kantian leap of faith. You posit the existence of that which is outside of existence (again: the sum total of everything that exists) which, in addition to being a contradiction in terms, is absolutely unknowable and therefore a leap of faith.

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