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Old 09-03-2008
 
#16
United States Chaos
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You can make him into whatever you want, you can bend and mold him into the realm of scientific uncertainty as needed to prevent scientific error.
By definition God is the greatest being conceivable. That bars any kind "making," "bending," or "molding" of what He is. There is no mutability as to the nature of God. That you cannot grasp that simple, fundamental concept precludes you from having anything legitimate to say in this thread. The term "God of the Gaps" names a deliberately dishonest, misleading argument that rests on a completely unsound premise: that the nature of God is not absolute.
 
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Old 09-03-2008
 
#17
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Originally Posted by Ben View Post
Thanks for the appeal to ridicule, but if you don't feel you can refute the argument it isn't necessary.
I don't find your sycophantic philosophical babble remotely compelling. If you don't feel you can address:

1. Where God came from
2. The nature of his power
3. The source of his power

Then frankly your clever wordgame about energy that can literally apply to every single monotheistic religion on the face of the Earth is corrupt and pointless. You don't even understand God short of saying he's the best, greatest, and strongest. Honestly if you're a member and you don't even understand what you're worshipping I don't feel any particular compulsion to join you in your confused prayer club.

Of course, you and Chaos are more than welcome to take turns humping the sad excuse of a debate all you'd like. It doesn't change the fundamental lack of understanding that every single Christian on the face of the Earth accepts wholly upon entry to the religion. Pseudo-intellectual treatises that amount to Pascal's Suckerbet are not new or interesting.
 
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Old 09-03-2008
 
#18
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1. Where God came from
2. The nature of his power
3. The source of his power
1.) By definition a necessary substance does not come from anything, that is why it is not a contingent substance.

2.) By definition a necessary substance is not bound by the laws of physics that bind contingent substances, as those laws themselves are contingent.

3.) By definition there is no source of any aspect of a necessary substance, that is why it is not a contingent substance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenocideAlive
Then frankly your clever wordgame about energy that can literally apply to every single monotheistic religion on the face of the Earth is corrupt and pointless. You don't even understand God short of saying he's the best, greatest, and strongest. Honestly if you're a member and you don't even understand what you're worshipping I don't feel any particular compulsion to join you in your confused prayer club.

Of course, you and Chaos are more than welcome to take turns humping the sad excuse of a debate all you'd like. It doesn't change the fundamental lack of understanding that every single Christian on the face of the Earth accepts wholly upon entry to the religion. Pseudo-intellectual treatises that amount to Pascal's Suckerbet are not new or interesting.
How ironic. Unfortunately in your impotent rage you failed to address any specific claim that I made.
 

Last edited by Ben; 09-03-2008 at 01:18 AM.
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Old 09-03-2008
 
#19
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Originally Posted by did you really say that
Then frankly your clever wordgame about energy that can literally apply to every single monotheistic religion on the face of the Earth is corrupt and pointless. You don't even understand God short of saying he's the best, greatest, and strongest. Honestly if you're a member and you don't even understand what you're worshipping I don't feel any particular compulsion to join you in your confused prayer club.
That entire rant is responding to a belief Ben doesn't hold. Ben doesn't think that the Christian God is the real and true God because of his belief in a valid rational argument for the existence of God. He believes, among other reasons, that the Christian God is the real God because he believes that Jesus Christ really did that shit.

So, uh, you're wrong? I think.

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Of course, you and Chaos are more than welcome to take turns humping the sad excuse of a debate all you'd like. It doesn't change the fundamental lack of understanding that every single Christian on the face of the Earth accepts wholly upon entry to the religion. Pseudo-intellectual treatises that amount to Pascal's Suckerbet are not new or interesting
You think I'm a Christian.

You're funny.

Other than thinking that Ben is tolerable and you're an angry weird man I'm pretty disinterested in the question of God's existence other than it's a hell of an argument; I like it. Probably because I like the Middle Ages. Crusades and feudalism and Vikings damn.

We needed a God thread I'm tired of Barack Obama.
 

Last edited by Chaos; 09-03-2008 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 09-03-2008
 
#20
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Originally Posted by Ben View Post
...in response to GenocideAlive's suggestion that religion could have no rational underpinnings.
Religion is not rooted in rationality. Historically religious beliefs have been very antithetical to logical rationality. Logic has been suppressed due to religious beliefs. There are people to this day that still deny biological realities due to religious presuppositionalism. It can make the unbelievable believable. It can instill that kind of irrationality in people. That is the power of dogmatic adherence, and hence the power of religion.

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The fact that any necessary substance would have to display qualities so evocative of the God of Abraham only makes that argument more compelling I think.
Jealousy and rage are hardly qualities required of a necessary substance. They seem more like products of limitation and emotions experienced when things don't turn out the way one would like them to. Why would you wrath over something that you knew for a fact would result if given the conditions you provided that you knew well in advance would lead to that outcome unless you were schizophrenic?

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Originally Posted by Ben View Post
1.) By definition a necessary substance does not come from anything, that is why it is not a contingent substance.

2.) By definition a necessary substance is not bound by the laws of physics that bind contingent substances, as those laws themselves are contingent.

3.) By definition there is no source of any aspect of a necessary substance, that is why it is not a contingent substance.
What would be the criteria for falsification of the proposition that there is a God? In other words: If there wasn't a God, how could one show that?

Well formed, objective statements about reality usually have some criteria of falsification. If the statement "There is a God." doesn't have any criteria for falsification, then there are reasons to think that the statement is not a well-formed, objective statement about reality.

What I'm asking is this. What would it take to prove that there was no God?

"If you can show "_______", than that would be evidence against their being a God."

If you can't fill in that blank with some criteria, then the statement that there is a God seems to be without content since no matter what the evidence was you would still believe in a God.
 

Last edited by Golgo 13; 09-03-2008 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 09-03-2008
 
#21
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Originally Posted by Ben View Post
The definition of a contingent substance is that its existence is contingent on the existence of other things.
Yes, that is the definition you gave.

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Thus, by definition no contingent substance has always existed.
This does not follow.
For one you have the simple case of an eternity of linked contingent substances.
You could also easily imagine a system that has always existed where the substances A and B are contingent on each other and nothing else.

I am not going to swamp you with suggestions, but I will give one other that I think is important for you to consider. Namely a substance that is contingent on another substance that exists later in time. Nothing in your way of using "contingent" demands that it can only be a relation that points downward the time stream. (Or to go even further that there even is a particular direction of time.)

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However, it has never been the case that nothing existed, because if that was the case there could not exist now any contingent substance, being as their existence is, by definition, contingent in nature. One cannot go from nothingness to contingency.
This reasoning is flawed. The first statement is true in the sense that if you count time as "something" it must be true since if there is no time there is also no time for anything to exist in. The following reasoning is, however, wrong. You can use the above mention of a reversal of the time direction of the contingent-relation as a counter-example.

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As for an infinite regress of contingency, it is nonsensical, which is why you offered no argument that it "makes perfect sense" but simply made the assertion. Infinite regresses cannot occur.
Oh, my.
You do know that the burden of proof is on the person making the original claim?

Nevertheless, your statement is so obviously false that I will be happy to explain.
Infinite regresses of the philosophical kind occur all the time. One classical example would be trying to go around Tarski's undefinability theorem by lifting up truth evaluation to a meta-language. Truth evaluation for the meta-language would then have to be lifted up to a meta-meta-language and so on and you have an infinite regress on your hands. What this means is of course that truth evaluation is problematic and this exactly because the infinite regress occurs. Hence infinite regressions are not non-sensical.

Now, the infinite regression you are talking about is in fact not an infinite regression of truth-propositions, but merely a chain of relations. This is quite common in mathematics. For example you could construct a series by starting at 1 and then halve the value to arrive at the next element in the series and continue on till you arrive at 0. You will never arrive there, of course, so what you have is an infinite regression in exactly the same sense as you are using the expression with your contingent substances.

In other words, infinite regressions make perfect sense.


Quote:
For an example of it in a different instance, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_regress
I hope that is not your only source of information on infinite regresses, but you should nevertheless read the opening statement carefully. If you do, you see that the text primarily concerns series of propositions and their truth-values, which is not quite the same as the series of relations you propose. This far I do not think that it has caused any large problems, but please keep it in mind.

Quote:
Circular would be an example of infinite regress, you'll have to elaborate on what you meant by "dependent pair".
Not necessarily. The expression "infinite regress" can be used in different ways. It is not uncommon to require that each step in the chain is unique (partly because it eliminates such concepts as that every substance is an infinite regress in itself since its existence is contingent on its own existence). The point here, however, is that in a circular system you would need neither an infinite amount of substances nor an infinite amount of time.

As for dependent pair, I gave it above: Substances A and B are contingent on each other and nothing else.


Finally two questions for you:
What do you call a substance that is contingent on nothing but itself and that nothing is contingent on?

What kind of substance is time?
 
 

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Old 09-03-2008
 
#22
United States GenocideAlive
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Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
You think I'm a Christian.

You're funny.
Feel free to let everybody else in on the joke and quote me calling you Christian.

Otherwise, Ben, telling me what something is not does not inform me as to what something is. You are answering questions in the negative and attempting to frame my responses to manipulate their worth--both are classic signs of someone trying to weasel out of an answer. (Un)fortunately, I'm not Chaos, you're not going to flamebait me into some rabid reply that reciprocates your behavior; I can always buy a mood ring if I want to hear random bullshit about my emotions while I post, so I'm going to have to turn down your application. I look forward to your positive proof and replies unburdened by deliberate manipulative digressions about my supposed emotional state.
 
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Old 09-03-2008
 
#23
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Originally Posted by DM
Religion is not rooted in rationality. Historically religious beliefs have been very antithetical to logical rationality. Logic has been suppressed due to religious beliefs. There are people to this day that still deny biological realities due to religious presuppositionalism. It can make the unbelievable believavble. It can instill that kind of irrationality in people. That is the power of dogmatic adherence, and hence the power of religion.
Not really interested in your ranting against religion. Produce an argument.

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Originally Posted by DM
Jealousy and rage are hardly qualities required of a necessary substance. They seem more like products of limitation and emotions experienced when things don't turn out the way one would like them to. Why would you wrath over something that you knew for a fact would result if given the conditions you provided that you knew well in advance would lead to that outcome unless you were schizophrenic?
See above.

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Originally Posted by DM
What would be the criteria for falsification of the proposition that there is a God? In other words: If there wasn't a God, how could one show that?

Well formed, objective statements about reality usually have some criteria of falsification. If the statement "There is a God." doesn't have any criteria for falsification, then there are reasons to think that the statement is not a well-formed, objective statement about reality.

What I'm asking is this. What would it take to prove that there was no God?

"If you can show "_______", than that would be evidence against their being a God."

If you can't fill in that blank with some criteria, then the statement that there is a God seems to be without content since no matter what the evidence was you would still believe in a God.
This is dodging the issue that I have accepted the burden of proof and have produced an argument for the existence of God which you aren't responding to.

Quote:
This does not follow.
For one you have the simple case of an eternity of linked contingent substances.
You could also easily imagine a system that has always existed where the substances A and B are contingent on each other and nothing else.

I am not going to swamp you with suggestions, but I will give one other that I think is important for you to consider. Namely a substance that is contingent on another substance that exists later in time. Nothing in your way of using "contingent" demands that it can only be a relation that points downward the time stream. (Or to go even further that there even is a particular direction of time.)
See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_regress

The principles for the truth of contingent propositions do not change for the existence of contingent substances.

Regarding mutual contingency, if A is contingent on the existence of B, and B is contingent on the existence of A, neither A nor B can ever come to exist.

As for the time stream suggestion, if A is contingent on the existence of B, and B does not yet exist, A cannot exist.

Quote:
This reasoning is flawed. The first statement is true in the sense that if you count time as "something" it must be true since if there is no time there is also no time for anything to exist in. The following reasoning is, however, wrong. You can use the above mention of a reversal of the time direction of the contingent-relation as a counter-example.
If A can exist when B does not exist, by definition the existence of A cannot be contingent on the existence of B.

Quote:
Oh, my.
You do know that the burden of proof is on the person making the original claim?

Nevertheless, your statement is so obviously false that I will be happy to explain.
Infinite regresses of the philosophical kind occur all the time. One classical example would be trying to go around Tarski's undefinability theorem by lifting up truth evaluation to a meta-language. Truth evaluation for the meta-language would then have to be lifted up to a meta-meta-language and so on and you have an infinite regress on your hands. What this means is of course that truth evaluation is problematic and this exactly because the infinite regress occurs. Hence infinite regressions are not non-sensical.

Now, the infinite regression you are talking about is in fact not an infinite regression of truth-propositions, but merely a chain of relations. This is quite common in mathematics. For example you could construct a series by starting at 1 and then halve the value to arrive at the next element in the series and continue on till you arrive at 0. You will never arrive there, of course, so what you have is an infinite regression in exactly the same sense as you are using the expression with your contingent substances.

In other words, infinite regressions make perfect sense.
The very fact that the undefinability theorem leads to an infinite regress is the reason that it is supposed to demonstrate that truth in a formalized system can't be fully expressed only within the system.

If P1 is reliant on P2, and P2 is reliant on P3, in an infinite regress, by definition one never reaches sufficient support for P1.

Mathematics includes the use of potential infinite, as distinct from actual infinite, which does not exist in nature (Aristotle's use of the terms, not the mathematical use of the terms).

Quote:
I hope that is not your only source of information on infinite regresses, but you should nevertheless read the opening statement carefully. If you do, you see that the text primarily concerns series of propositions and their truth-values, which is not quite the same as the series of relations you propose. This far I do not think that it has caused any large problems, but please keep it in mind.
Principles concerning the truth of contingent propositions do not change for discussing the existence of contingent substances.

Quote:
Not necessarily. The expression "infinite regress" can be used in different ways. It is not uncommon to require that each step in the chain is unique (partly because it eliminates such concepts as that every substance is an infinite regress in itself since its existence is contingent on its own existence). The point here, however, is that in a circular system you would need neither an infinite amount of substances nor an infinite amount of time.

As for dependent pair, I gave it above: Substances A and B are contingent on each other and nothing else.


Finally two questions for you:
What do you call a substance that is contingent on nothing but itself and that nothing is contingent on?

What kind of substance is time?
To clarify your conception of circular development before we get into it further, you are stating something like this, yes?

P1 is contingent on P2, P2 is contingent on P3, P3 is contingent on P1, P1 is contingent on P2, P2 is contingent on P3, and so on. If this is your conception, my problem is this: P3 is contingent on the existence of P1, but P1 cannot yet exist because it is contingent on the existence of P2, which does not yet exist. Thus P3 can't come to exist which means P2 can't come to exist which in turn means P1 can't come to exist.

If a substance was contingent on nothing for its own existence, by definition it couldn't be the case that nothing else was contingent on its existence, as it would be because of this substance's existence that anything could exist at all.

Time could be different than it now is without causing a logical contradiction, the laws of physics being givens of nature rather than logically necessary propositions. As such time is contingent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenocideAlive
Otherwise, Ben, telling me what something is not does not inform me as to what something is. You are answering questions in the negative and attempting to frame my responses to manipulate their worth--both are classic signs of someone trying to weasel out of an answer. (Un)fortunately, I'm not Chaos, you're not going to flamebait me into some rabid reply that reciprocates your behavior; I can always buy a mood ring if I want to hear random bullshit about my emotions while I post, so I'm going to have to turn down your application. I look forward to your positive proof and replies unburdened by deliberate manipulative digressions about my supposed emotional state.
Yes well all of those responses were perfectly valid. Concepts such as "source" and restraint of action by the laws of physics are concepts that can only logically apply to contingent substances. Obviously that goes over your head but since I've found somebody that knows what they are talking about now, your childlike whining is no longer necessary or welcome as a substitute for substantive debate.
 

Last edited by Ben; 09-03-2008 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 09-03-2008
 
#24
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I commented on that link and it does not present an argument for your stance.

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The principles for the truth of contingent propositions do not change for the existence of contingent substances.
Read what I wrote. A chain of propositions that is there to determine truth-value is not the same as a chain of relations. What they are used for is different.

If you were trying to prove that there exists contingent substances, you could possibly use infinite regression as a negative argument, but as you assume that a contingent substance does exist it is not applicable. An infinite regression does not tell us that what we are trying to prove with it is false, but that the way we are trying to prove it does not yield any definitive result. In this case it tells us nothing as you are not trying to prove that contingent substances exist, but something else completely.

Quote:
Regarding mutual contingency, if A is contingent on the existence of B, and B is contingent on the existence of A, neither A nor B can ever come to exist.
For one, that is debatable (time-flow again), for the other they would not have to if they have always existed. Things that have always existed have never "come to exist". They just always existed.

Quote:
As for the time stream suggestion, if A is contingent on the existence of B, and B does not yet exist, A cannot exist.
That is an unsupported claim, which I have already pointed out. Repeating it does not make it more true.

It is quite simple: You presuppose that every contingent relation can only point from earlier in the time-stream to later. I do not. My reason for this is that you have in no shape or form defined how this contingent relation actually works, therefore the relation may allow for such a possibility.

Quote:
If A can exist when B does not exist, by definition the existence of A cannot be contingent on the existence of B.
Really?
So going back to your original text, when your parents do not exist any more, neither do you?
To take it to its logical conclusion it means that any substance that something is contingent on cannot cease to exist before everything that is contingent on it has ceased to exist. That is a rather strange world view.



Quote:
The very fact that the undefinability theorem leads to an infinite regress is the reason that it is supposed to demonstrate that truth in a formalized system can't be fully expressed only within the system.
Yes, the infinite regress is there.
You said it was nonsensical and could not occur.

There is a very big difference between that something is nonsensical and cannot occur and that it shows that a series of truth-propositions do not constitute proof that something is true.
Especially when you consider that you are not even treating the elements in the chain as truth-propositions to be evaluated.



Quote:
If P1 is reliant on P2, and P2 is reliant on P3, in an infinite regress, by definition one never reaches sufficient support for P1.
Again this is when it comes to determining truth-value.
For one this only tells us that we do not know if P1 is true and for the other it is as I said above not really applicable to your argument. Again, since you are not trying to prove that contingent substances exist.

To explain more fully:
Consider the chain of contingent substances A, B, C, e.t.c.
The propositions are as follows
P1: A is contingent on B.
P2: B is contingent on C.
and so on.

Notice how the truth of P1 is not reliant on the truth of P2.

Now, of course you could instead try to do it like this with composite statements in the propositions:
P1: A exists and is a contingent substance. Therefore, there must be a substance B that A is contingent on.
P2: B exists and is a contingent substance. Therefore, there must be a substance C that B is contingent on.
Well, you get it.

Now you get the problem that the only thing this infinite regress proves is that this is not a good way to prove that A exists. Nothing else.

Quote:
Mathematics includes the use of potential infinite, as distinct from actual infinite, which does not exist in nature (Aristotle's use of the terms, not the mathematical use of the terms).
Ah, yes, baseless statements.
And before you start explaining you might want to read up on non-standard analysis and touch up your knowledge of meta-mathematics. As well as look very hard for the proof of non-existence of the actual infinite in nature. When you have done that, you should look again at what you mean with necessary substance and make sure that it does not screw up any proof you found.

And just to avoid confusion you need to go a bit farther than Aristotle to deal with this. He was a great guy, but philosophy has come a bit farther since then. Especially when in comes to the infinite.

And then, when all that is done, we are back to the fact infinite regression still makes sense.

Quote:
Principles concerning the truth of contingent propositions do not change for discussing the existence of contingent substances.
Except that you are not trying to prove the existence of contingent substances. You have already postulated that they do. You are trying to prove that this existence leads to the existence of a necessary substance. Which is something very different.



Quote:
To clarify your conception of circular development before we get into it further, you are stating something like this, yes?

P1 is contingent on P2, P2 is contingent on P3, P3 is contingent on P1, P1 is contingent on P2, P2 is contingent on P3, and so on.
Yes, that is it.


Quote:
If this is your conception, my problem is this: P3 is contingent on the existence of P1, but P1 cannot yet exist because it is contingent on the existence of P2, which does not yet exist. Thus P3 can't come to exist which means P2 can't come to exist which in turn means P1 can't come to exist.
They could for example all exist at the same time.
And again presupposing that they have to "come to exist". They could just be existing.


Quote:
If a substance was contingent on nothing for its own existence, by definition it couldn't be the case that nothing else was contingent on its existence, as it would be because of this substance's existence that anything could exist at all.
No, that is not by definition at all.

In your definition of necessary substance you required that everything else is contingent on it, that much is true. However, this requirement is not at all something that is a result of it not being contingent on anything else. It is just something you added without any support whatsoever. Read your own text again if you do not believe me.

Your use of the relation contingent and substance gives four logical categories:
1. A substance that is contingent on nothing and that nothing is contingent on.
2. A substance that is contingent on nothing, but that something is contingent on.
3. A substance that is contingent on something, but that nothing is contingent on.
4. A substance that is contingent on something and that something is contingent on.

You have given no reasons whatsoever for your choice of excluding category 1.


Quote:
Time could be different than it now is without causing a logical contradiction, the laws of physics being givens of nature rather than logically necessary propositions. As such time is contingent.
So, how has time "come to existence"?
Since "before" requires time to have any meaning there cannot have been anything before time. To "come into existence" implies that something has at some point not been in existence, but if time was not in existence, neither could it come to be, since this would require change (from non-existence to existence) and change cannot exist without time.
 
 

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Old 09-03-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
Yes well all of those responses were perfectly valid. Concepts such as "source" and restraint of action by the laws of physics are concepts that can only logically apply to contingent substances. Obviously that goes over your head but since I've found somebody that knows what they are talking about now, your childlike whining is no longer necessary or welcome as a substitute for substantive debate.
Frankly all you've done is fished around until you found someone willing to muck into your logic-jizz quagmire. You cannot answer simple, straightforward questions about your deity, and you fall back on name calling and refereeing your own debate as a means of proving its worth. Honestly you could have simply asked, "Who is willing to debate the existence of God on my terms, in my language, with me moderating the debate"? You do an excellent job of picking secular terms to avoid the elephant in the room that you're literally taking your sources of God's existence from the Bible. There are innumerable logical problems with the very concept of omnipotent, omniscient beings, but you've done an excellent job of covering your ears and using all questions as a means of referencing back to your unrelated babble about energies. Ironically you haven't converted, fooled, or otherwise convinced others of God's existance as much as you've simply posted a wall of text, passed out insults, and high fived yourself.

If only you could convince others to hold you in the same esteem that you hold yourself.
 
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Old 09-03-2008
 
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To put on my Devil's Advocate hat:

Is there any definite, physical proof for the existence of God? I'm not concerned about semantic games. You can have logically sound arguments that are completely untrue.
 
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Old 09-03-2008
 
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Look around you, is there anything you can touch or perceive? All the physical evidence you need is right around you.

The "proof" of an existence of God, or any God for that matter, is impossible to supply because someone will come along and say one of two things: It is a natural occurrence, regardless of how rare or uncommon it may be. Or, that isn't "sound" or "solid" proof.
 
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Old 09-03-2008
 
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You cannot prove that the god you worship is the god that works these miracles any more than you can prove that he exists in the first place.
 
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Old 09-03-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amorphous
Read what I wrote. A chain of propositions that is there to determine truth-value is not the same as a chain of relations. What they are used for is different.
They are perfectly identical for our purposes, as there is no difference in the way contingency applies to the truth of propositions or the existence of substances. Just as if you have a infinite regression to support the truth of the proposition P1, you will never find affirmation of that proposition, if you have an infinite regression to support the existence of substance A, you will never have sufficient support for that existence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amorphous
For one, that is debatable (time-flow again), for the other they would not have to if they have always existed. Things that have always existed have never "come to exist". They just always existed.
An eternally existing thing can't be contingent, as its existence has no cause. As for the time flow argument, it fails because we are discussing logical categories not physical laws. If A can exist prior to B's existence, then it is impossible to say that A is contingent on B. The definition of the word "contingent" cannot be reconciled with that state of affairs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amorphous
So going back to your original text, when your parents do not exist any more, neither do you?
To take it to its logical conclusion it means that any substance that something is contingent on cannot cease to exist before everything that is contingent on it has ceased to exist. That is a rather strange world view.
I was insufficiently clear here, granted. A is contingent on B, so A cannot exist if B does not yet exist. If A exists prior to B, it cannot be contingent on the existence of B.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amorphous
Yes, the infinite regress is there.
You said it was nonsensical and could not occur.

There is a very big difference between that something is nonsensical and cannot occur and that it shows that a series of truth-propositions do not constitute proof that something is true.
Especially when you consider that you are not even treating the elements in the chain as truth-propositions to be evaluated.
The undefinability theorem, you realize, is based on rejecting the logical coherence of an infinite regression? If one were to try to define a truth in a formal system totally in terms of that system, one would get an infinite regression, so it cannot be done. I mean I guess you could be saying that the universe is based on an infinite regression of contingent substances, but if this is your example you'd be saying that the universe is logically incoherent.

Quote:
Again this is when it comes to determining truth-value.
Identical for our purposes, see above.

Quote:
Again this is when it comes to determining truth-value.
For one this only tells us that we do not know if P1 is true and for the other it is as I said above not really applicable to your argument. Again, since you are not trying to prove that contingent substances exist.

To explain more fully:
Consider the chain of contingent substances A, B, C, e.t.c.
The propositions are as follows
P1: A is contingent on B.
P2: B is contingent on C.
and so on.

Notice how the truth of P1 is not reliant on the truth of P2.

Now, of course you could instead try to do it like this with composite statements in the propositions:
P1: A exists and is a contingent substance. Therefore, there must be a substance B that A is contingent on.
P2: B exists and is a contingent substance. Therefore, there must be a substance C that B is contingent on.
Well, you get it.

Now you get the problem that the only thing this infinite regress proves is that this is not a good way to prove that A exists. Nothing else.
The last paragraph of the quoted portion is my original assertion, that an infinite regression is not an acceptable explanation for inquiring into the nature and origin of the cosmos. Glad we agree on this point.

Quote:
Ah, yes, baseless statements.
And before you start explaining you might want to read up on non-standard analysis and touch up your knowledge of meta-mathematics. As well as look very hard for the proof of non-existence of the actual infinite in nature. When you have done that, you should look again at what you mean with necessary substance and make sure that it does not screw up any proof you found.

And just to avoid confusion you need to go a bit farther than Aristotle to deal with this. He was a great guy, but philosophy has come a bit farther since then. Especially when in comes to the infinite.

And then, when all that is done, we are back to the fact infinite regression still makes sense.
Your assertion that infinite regression makes sense is based on your as yet unsupported assertion that there exists a fundamental difference between the way that contingency applies to propositions and the way it applies to substances.

You'll have to demonstrate how there exists in nature an example of what Aristotle would have called the "actual infinite". The only example I have ever heard of is that of "actually infinite sets" which is simply sloppy thinking since numbers are mental constructs not substances existing in nature, so Aristotle wouldn't have classified them as "actually infinite". And I can't say I'm so sure philosophy has come very far since Aristotle.

Quote:
Except that you are not trying to prove the existence of contingent substances. You have already postulated that they do. You are trying to prove that this existence leads to the existence of a necessary substance. Which is something very different.
Our question right now is whether or not contingent substances can exist in an infinite regress.

Quote:
They could for example all exist at the same time.
And again presupposing that they have to "come to exist". They could just be existing.
That would be incompatible with the qualifier "contingent". A thing can't be contingent on the existence of something else if it never comes to exist, since there is no cause to the existence of eternally existing things.

Quote:
No, that is not by definition at all.

In your definition of necessary substance you required that everything else is contingent on it, that much is true. However, this requirement is not at all something that is a result of it not being contingent on anything else. It is just something you added without any support whatsoever. Read your own text again if you do not believe me.
You realize that "necessary substance" in philosophy is short hand for logically necessary substance? If a substance is necessary, all contingent substances are reliant upon it because its existence is a logical necessity.

And if it is contingent for its existence on the existence of nothing else, it must be that its existence is logically necessary.

Quote:
So, how has time "come to existence"?
Since "before" requires time to have any meaning there cannot have been anything before time. To "come into existence" implies that something has at some point not been in existence, but if time was not in existence, neither could it come to be, since this would require change (from non-existence to existence) and change cannot exist without time.
Well since the necessary substance would never change, being as it is logically necessary for it to exist just as it does, we would simply conclude that time came into existence simultaneously with the first contingent substance, since only contingent substances change. This would seem to fit with the big bang, which has spacetime "unfurling" in the explosion that created our universe.

I typed that all up in quick reply while scrolling back up to your post and quoting the most recent part, so it's possible I missed sections. But I gotta go to class soon so you'll have to just inform me if I did.
 

Last edited by Ben; 09-03-2008 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 09-04-2008
 
#30
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Amorphous you aren't accomplishing much there. If I were you I'd ask the question I'm going to ask Ben now:

First, the existence of metaphysical substance is an indisputable fact. The laws of physics stop working at the Planck Epoch when you're trying to describe what happened with the Big Bang. Whatever existed in that instant and beforehand should not have existed according to our laws of physics - and the ones I'm talking about here have been proven accurate beyond a shadow of a doubt again and again and again - but it indisputably did. It is metaphysical.

So the question really is, can you, Ben, prove in any way that that substance was (or is, if you prefer) God, in other words, a thinking being? There's no denying that it is the greatest conceivable substance. But that it is God rather than simply some form of energy or what have you, now that's a bit harder to say.
 

Last edited by Chaos; 09-04-2008 at 12:24 AM.
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