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Mar 06 2014

The knights errant sally forth against the Hitchens dragon, end up toast

Some columnist named James Knight has decided to strike back against New Atheist tyranny by rebutting their major claims, and he’s starting out by picking on Hitchens and Dawkins, who, he says, make terrible arguments.

As you’ll see, Dawkins and Hitchens have ready-made methods for twisting meanings and distorting logic in a way that the more pliant and impressionable individuals don’t seem to notice.

Prepare yourself; that’s from a guy who’s about to launch into a series of theological arguments. Self-aware, he’s not.

Knight has a whole series of excerpts from the Hitch he warbles about, and I’m just going to pick two of the more famous arguments he’s made, and I think that will be enough to see that Knight is all pompous puffery. I’m sure you’re all familiar with Hitchens’ theistic challenge.

Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer.

Now read Knight’s pratfall:

To me that is the sort of pliable question that sounds intelligent but isn’t really. I think Hitchens’ question shows a lack of understanding of what religious belief entails, and also the overlooking of something that should be trivially obvious. The short answer is, the question is as meaningless as asking whether quenching thirst is better than feeding oneself. It is true in most cases that there is no ‘statement’ or ‘action’ that a theist can make or do that others cannot, but that tells us nothing meaningful about the God debate, because a proper analysis involves much more than just the statement or action – it involves analysing the beliefs, intentions, humility, motive, and other psychological factors that do not come out in a mere action. Naturally we could name good moral actions taken by both religious and non-religious people that have produced the same results, but that does not tell us anything about what is directing the action, or whether the person is living a Godly life, and it certainly has no bearing on whether there is a God.

That’s not a reply, it’s an evasion! We don’t understand what religious belief entails? Then tell us what it does. Throughout his replies, he does this constantly: you just don’t understand, he whines, implying that there is some great deep thought behind his claims, while never illuminating exactly what it is.

But most importantly, it’s an abject concession. He can’t cite anything a believer does that could not be done by a non-believer — there is no special grace granted by faith. We have good moral actions taken by both religious and non-religious people that have produced the same results, is one concession, but this is the bigger one: that does not tell us anything about what is directing the action. Exactly! You cannot discern the presence of a guiding moral force outside of any individual person, and Knight agrees…so how can he talk about a Godly life? How does he know?

It certainly does have bearing on the argument about the existence of gods. I have never debated anyone who doesn’t eventually get around to an argument from consequences: How can you be good without god? Aren’t you worried about Hell? Society will fall apart without god! Yet here is Knight, admitting that there are no moral consequences to disbelief, while also implying that goodness is a Godly life. He wants to simultaneously argue that unbelievers can be morally good, while predicating the standard for moral goodness on a god.

Here’s another famous Hitchism that Knight dislikes:

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

Watch out, here comes the egregious relativism, which sounds like something straight out of Answers in Genesis.

To express fully what is wrong with this statement would take a whole essay in itself. But briefly, it grossly caricatures religious faith to state that it is ‘asserted without evidence’, when, in reality, evidence is in the eye of the beholder, and different people accept and interpret different evidences differently. Maybe some people are too easily seduced by interpretations that shouldn’t ever be offered as reasons for belief in God, but equally there are going to be lots of people whose psychological agitations predispose them to a scepticism that demands too much evidence, or the wrong kind of evidence.

I suspect Christopher Hitchens’ main problem is that he’d never thought through properly what evidence for God actually means, and how it might be different from the more simplistic evidence found in empirical science. Never once did I ever hear Christopher Hitchens tell us what he thinks good evidence is, what makes good evidence good, how belief in God differs from knowledge of the empirical world, and what he thinks would be satisfactory evidence for God.

I really despise the vacuous Well, we just interpret the evidence differently argument — it’s a lie. Over and over, I see it said in order to defend ignoring the bulk of the evidence.

I see a pad of post-it notes next to my keyboard on my desk. This is clearly evidence that tiny invisible elves from 3M climbed up the wall outside my window, translocated extradimensionally through the glass into my office, and left me a present. Or is it evidence that I picked up a pad at the central office and put it in a convenient spot near my phone? You don’t get to say that the existence of this pad is equal evidence for both claims; you have to ignore the consilience of phenomena that provide better explanations. There is a cabinet of these things just down the hall from me; it’s a mundane object with obvious utility; there are torn-off post-it notes with scribbled comments attached to my phonebook. At the same time, 3M elves have no evidence for their existence, have posited powers with no known mechanism, and are arbitrary, ad hoc, bizarre explanations for a perfectly ordinary object. It is not demanding too much evidence to expect some independent corroboration of the mechanisms of the phenomenon that aren’t more simply explained by my ability to walk 50 feet to a collection of supplies.

In the same way, believers like to say they do have evidence for their supernatural phantasm…and then they point to their Bible. Sure, it’s evidence. Evidence backed up by documents and history that over the course of many centuries, human beings collected stories and legends and hectoring homilies and poetry, all written by people, and assembled them into a clumsy compilation, and stamped it all with the imprimatur of religious authority. Meanwhile, you’re trying to tell me this hunk of cellulose and ink was magically transported into the world of Catholicism by the equivalent of invisible elves.

Who actually has evidence for the origin of the object?

Knight’s second paragraph is a complaint that Hitchens’ didn’t tell them what evidence for their god would be acceptable, which is a fair complaint. Or it would be, if there weren’t another problem: define God. I can’t tell you what would be evidence for or against it if you’re not going to settle down and get specific about this god’s properties and nature. Is it an anthropomorphic being with a penis that can impregnate human women? Is it a vast eternal cosmic intelligence that encompasses the entire universe and manipulates matter and energy with its will? Is it benign fluff, a happy feeling of love that permeates us all? I suspect he’d tell us some meaningless noise about a “ground state of being”, which seems to be the universal bafflegab right now to avoid answering the question.

You know, this is the big difference. If you tell a scientist that their evidence doesn’t distinguish between two alternatives, it’s the scientist who thinks hard about the problem, comes up with what would be differing consequences of an experiment if his hypothesis was valid or invalid, and does the work. We actually love this part of theorizing, thinking through the implications of a hypothesis and then testing them. And that’s a process that involves getting specific about the details of our hypothesis.

Theologians, on the other hand, hate that part. We can ask them what the difference would be between a universe that had a god and one that didn’t, between a god that answers prayers and one that doesn’t, between a Christian god and a Muslim god, between a Catholic god and a Protestant god, and they love to tell us that the differences are profound, but not anything specific. And then they yell at us that we haven’t given them the criteria that we could use to discriminate between the alternatives. And then, most aggravatingly, if we go ahead and make some predictions ourselves about what the universe ought to be like if there is or isn’t a god, they yell even more that their god isn’t like that, we used the wrong premises, we didn’t address their idiosyncratic view of a god…which is always conveniently tailored to circumvent whatever test we propose.

Do you theological wankers even realize that as the proponents of hypothesis about the nature of the universe, it is your job to generate testable hypotheses about how it all works? And that we, as agents in opposition to your nonsense, would be overjoyed to have you say something explicit about an implication of your ideas that we could test? Actually, I think you do know, because you so invariably avoid presenting any useful descriptions of what your philosophy entails. We keep waiting. And right now, your silence and the vacuity of what few feeble replies you make are just added to our stockpile of evidence that you’re all farting theology out of your asses.

James Knight ends with what he thinks is an insightful comment about the nature of god debates.

The God one accepts or denies is only likely to be as intellectually tenable as the intellectual tenability of the person holding those ideas.

I will therefore take the lack of intellectual competence of his arguments for gods as evidence of his own, personal intellectual emptiness.

Don’t worry, James. You’re in the company of a great many idiots, so you’ll just blend in.

865 comments

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  1. 501
    Amphiox

    This isn’t really relevant to the argument. I use an eclectic method myself. Some can be perceived directly though.

    This is completely relevant to the argument. In fact it is THE argument. That which cannot be verified cannot for practical purposes be said to exist.

    I quoted Craig to make a point on the moral argument and people started bring up his stuff on the holy spirit and his views on the death of Canaanites , the nature of space-time and stuff about the bible.
    I’m going to try to stick to the moral argument.

    You bring up Craig as an AUTHORITY on the position you wish to support. ALL his other writings are relevant to his status as an AUTHORITY, particularly when they ACTIVELY CONTRADICT the point you are trying to hold him up to be an AUTHORITY on, or when they reveal telling things about his thinking in general, which speaks to his reliability as an AUTHORITY on that or any other subject.

    Now, if you were presenting EVIDENCE, referable to observable real world phenomenon, that would not be a problem, since it is the observable real world phenomenon that becomes the arbiter of reliability but you’re not. You’re presenting the OPINION of one man. The SUBJECTIVE opinion of one man, I might add.

    To try to pretend that his other output is not relevant when it clearly is, and clearly destroys your position completely, is the height of intellectual dishonesty.

  2. 502
    Owlmirror

    @Kroos Control:

    I’m sorry, but you don’t get to make smug posts about how Craig is clever for using a certain rhetorical trick, and then complain when Craig is shown to not be quite so clever as all that.

    Which reminds me!

    Above, you posted about Craig using his trick to get a black college student into concluding that racial equality is morally objective. But Craig’s justification for the Canaanite genocide is largely based on racial inequality.

    So despite the fact that he used that trick, Craig himself does not actually believe that racial equality is objectively moral.

  3. 503
    Sastra

    Hey, so after 500 comments there’s now a fresh page of comments? I didn’t know that. Must help with loading.

    Kroos Control may think the thread has died, though — or that his or her posts are being blocked.

  4. 504
    anteprepro

    Hey, so after 500 comments there’s now a fresh page of comments? I didn’t know that.

    Wow! I’m surprised you didn’t know that!

    Kroos Control may think the thread has died, though — or that his or her posts are being blocked.

    I doubt that will stop them.

  5. 505
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Rob, there is nothing wrong with that sentence–however, we are left with the question of what “causes” the W boson. Nothing. It is a quantum fluctuation. It happens, and there is no way to predict when, what energy it will have…

    There are no hidden variables.

  6. 506
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Rob
    I haven’t read his book on the subject so I’m not an expert on his views of relativity. He’s generally been right on other stuff he writes on though and it would be a shame if you dismissed him based on his work in metaphysics of time.

    @a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Did you see my post distinguishing probabilistic cause from deterministic cause?

  7. 507
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    KC: “Did you see my post distinguishing probabilistic cause from deterministic cause?”

    Yes, it is utter twaddle. If we know X results in Y 20% of the time, then X is correlated to y. It doesn’t cause it. And virtual particles are neither caused nor correlated with the vacuum–they simply happen.

  8. 508
    Amphiox

    Did you see my post distinguishing probabilistic cause from deterministic cause?

    You didn’t actually distinguish anything with that post. You only deluded yourself into thinking you did.

  9. 509
    anteprepro

    I haven’t read his book on the subject so I’m not an expert on his views of relativity.

    *blinks*

    You have smarmily shouted to the Heavens about how you will not be swayed from The One True Topic of Objective Morals. Did we change your mind? Or are you full of shit?

    He’s generally been right on other stuff he writes on though and it would be a shame if you dismissed him based on his work in metaphysics of time.

    He’s generally been WRONG on other stuff he writes, and it would be shame if you dismissed that fact and pretended he is an authority on those subjects in order to pretend that he has a respected philosophical proof of Gawd.

  10. 510
    Rob Grigjanis

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space @505: Again, you seem to be mixing up causation with determinism. But OK. In the end…you say ‘nothing’, I say ‘I don’t know’. Let’s call the whole thing off :)

  11. 511
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Ray

    So you believe that any Stochastic process is by definition uncaused?

    That seems to run against most commonly accepted definitions of causality.
    I’ll crack open a textbook and get a definition of cause when I get home.

  12. 512
    Rob Grigjanis

    Kroos Control @511: I thought you were going to stick to moral arguments. Even if you pursue the causality angle, you’re still playing God of the Gaps. Causality is a principle within the universe, not of the universe.

  13. 513
    anteprepro

    So wait….Kroos says this:

    489:

    There’s this tactic that atheists sometimes use in debates with Craig. They’ll bring up quotes from his past work on unrelated topics , make assertions about the bible promoting bad things and Christians being immoral and irrational and do everything possible to throw out stuff without addressing the arguments and claim they won. I quoted Craig to make a point on the moral argument and people started bring up his stuff on the holy spirit and his views on the death of Canaanites , the nature of space-time and stuff about the bible.
    I’m going to try to stick to the moral argument.

    And now has the gall to comment exclusively on a quibble about causation?

    WHAT!?

    Just a reminder (my comment):

    Here is a sample list of the things you have argued Kroos Control:

    The problem of evil is only a problem if you misunderstand God.
    Religious people are more charitable.
    Religious people are less violent.
    Swinburne!
    WLC is the most expert expert on the subject of time that he out-experts the most expert expert
    The Kalam
    BAAAAAW why don’t you take Billy Lane seriously?

    OH NOES CHANGING THE SUBJECT

    But according to Kroos, WE are Gish Galloping. In-fucking-deed.

    You are transparent liar. There is no memory hole that you can throw things into around here Kroos Control! People can remember your claims! And they can even double check on them and quote them to you to prove that you said them! It’s like a fundie’s worst nightmare!

  14. 514
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Rob and KC,
    This is NOT a purely academic issue. In the end, if there is a “cause” we can identify, then we can study that cause and predict individual events. Quantum mechanics says we cannot do that, and indeed that appears to be correct to double digits worth of decimal places.

    To say the W boson causes the decay of the muon is correct as far as it goes–but it merely removes the indeterminacy one layer back. The W is a virtual particle (not on mass shell), and we cannot predict when it will come into being and interact with the muon. In makes no sense to talk about the cause of a spontaneous transition in quantum mechanics.

    One problem you may be having is that there is more than one kind of probability–there is physical probability, where the indeterminacy is inherent to the physical system–and there is subjective probability, where we treat a process as probabilistic due to our ignorance of its full dynamics, initial state, etc.. Quantum mechanics is an example of physical probability.

  15. 515
    Sastra

    I’m going to repost #495, because Kroos Control apparently wants to focus on the moral argument (esp objective moral facts) and it’s confusing with the page change. Apologies.

    Kroos Control wrote:

    Which is closer to your view-
    1)moral facts exist and they are created by humans opinions/consensus
    2)moral facts exists and humans can discover them through shared reasoning

    Both — because it has to be a combination of both. Moral facts are facts about human beings in general and what we all value in equitable relationships with others. It is objectively true that basic human morals are inter-subjective and grounded in common “opinions.” These soft truths would exist abstractly in the absence of human beings only the same way truths about how to cook carrots would still be true even if carrots didn’t exist or never existed.

    As I said at #254, I think it is possible to express extremely general principles or moral statements which could be considered “objective” because they entail universal (or close to universal) inter-subjective agreement among members of the human species. All ‘reasonable’ people accept them because they’re anchored into the fundamental relationships and exchanges between people who need to work together harmoniously. Examples:

    Good is desirable. Evil is not.
    What causes the best things to flourish is good.
    Causing unnecessary harm is evil.
    Being fair is right.
    Cheating is wrong.
    Murder is wrongful killing.

    1)What kind of ontology do moral values have? I was giving an ontology when I said they were grounded in God’s good nature. Are they somehow existing in a realm outside the universe. Are they just brute facts about the universe and properties of the universe in the same way that density , temperature eg are properties of the universe.

    No, they are brute facts about human nature and reciprocal equity in relationships — and that is why God’s “good nature” MUST reflect our own good nature or we would not — COULD not — call God “good.”

    Think about it. Here we have a supernatural entity which is supposed to be OUTSIDE of human moral beliefs … and yet it is supposed to be RESPONSIBLE for human moral beliefs. This is a conflict. It reflects God’s dependence on us.

    If you doubt this, imagine a God whose nature did not include my examples — or who interpreted these examples as if dealing with humans was like dealing with lower beings. Which, by the way, is where you have put God. This means His values could go anywhere, like a powerful space alien from another planet … if you didn’t try to make sure our morals simultaneously “came from God” (which is a different type of question.)

    2) Why are people obligated to follow these moral values and why do they have duties to carry him out?
    You said people weren’t really obligated to follow unless they chose to. But then eg Hitler,Rafael Trujillo could merely say that they don’t chose to follow this code and absolve themselves of nay moral responsibility. This seems really incorrect. I think we can agree Hitler had moral duties to his fellow man that he violated , even if he disagreed on those duties.

    People recognize what is fair and just and are obligated to fulfill their duties if they want to be fair and just, and live in a world which is fair and just . This works the same for every moral theory, including Divine Command because what you’re talking about here is not establishing a system, but enforcing it.

    There are (roughly) two ways of doing wrong. One is to do wrong while knowing you are doing wrong — breaking your own moral code. Which you have. The other is to do wrong while thinking you are doing right. As I pointed out way, way back at #147, the Nazis were doing the latter. Their basic morals were normal, in that even Hitler would have agreed with my list. But the background facts inside this framework were both mistaken and not up for open, common debate. Sort of like if Hitler was elevated and unquestionable, like God. (This last sentence should be read with ominous music and a cymbal crash.)

  16. 516
    Al Dente

    I refuted the Kalem argument because YOU brought it up as something that showed the awesomeness of your hero William Lane Craig. I talked about how according to your religion’s own propaganda your god is immoral by doing something which you had claimed was “objectively moral.” I also chimed in, with others, about how Billy Lane C tries to justify the obvious immorality of your god by pretending immoral acts are somehow moral if Yahweh is involved.

    None of the things I’ve talked about were subjects I introduced into the discussion. They were all responses to topics YOU had originally mentioned. So don’t tell us we’re Gish Galloping. We’re responding to you.

  17. 517
    Sastra

    I’m also going to repost my Argument Against the Existence of God from Objective Morality:

    Part A
    A1) If objective moral facts and duties exist. then they must be grounded in humanist ethics.
    A2) Objective moral facts and duties exist.
    A3) Therefore, they are grounded in humanist ethics.

    Part B
    B1.) If morals are grounded in humanist ethics, then God’s existence is irrelevant to morality.
    B2.) Morals are grounded in humanist ethics.
    B3.) Therefore, God’s existence is irrelevant to morality.

    Part C
    C1.) If God’s existence is irrelevant to morality, then the Divine Command Theory fails.
    C2.) God’s existence is irrelevant to morality.
    C3.) Therefore, Divine Command Theory fails.

    Part D
    D1.) If God exists, then Divine Command Theory is true.
    D2.) Divine Command Theory is not true.
    D3.) Therefore, God does not exist.

    There. Now we’re all on the same page and Kroos Control can be happy.

  18. 518
    Rob Grigjanis

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space @514:

    One problem you may be having is that there is more than one kind of probability

    I have no problem with that. I’ve never seen your usage of the word ’cause’ in the physics literature I’ve read. But you’ve clarified, and I have no further issues with this topic.

  19. 519
    Al Dente

    Sastra @515

    Good is desirable. Evil is not.
    What causes the best things to flourish is good.
    Causing unnecessary harm is evil.
    Being fair is right.
    Cheating is wrong.
    Murder is wrongful killing.

    Humans are social animals. These sorts of rules are necessary to function inside a society (or an animal pack). Evolution would cause humans to obey these rules because those who don’t will be put outside the pack either by expulsion or death. Humans outside the pack are less likely to breed. Natural selection would reinforce these rules on members of the pack.

    Certain rules are inbred so well that some people think they’re “objective morality” and attribute them to gods. Atheists and non-Craig-influenced theists can attribute them to evolutionary psychology.

  20. 520
    Sastra

    Al Dente #519 wrote:

    These sorts of rules are necessary to function inside a society (or an animal pack).

    Right. There’s good evidence that many of group-dwelling mammals have a sort of proto-morality which could be loosely formed into similar statements — especially the other primates.

    The question of how (objective) morality could have evolved, though, is dealing with a slightly different question about morals than the one Kroos Control is introducing by bringing in Divine Command Theory. He or she is now committed to what I’ve labeled as D1, and like-comes-from-like counter ‘explanations’ such as “Morals come from a Moral Source Through An Obscure Process Which Involves Something Called Granting” don’t even apply anymore.

  21. 521
    anteprepro

    The issue with the objective morality argument is the same issue with the “natural laws” or “laws of logic” arguments for God: reification.

    These are not actual laws. They are not actual things requiring a magical dictator. They are not actual metaphysical objects floating in the stupornatural aether. They are guiding principles, descriptions of ways in the world works and how things tend to behave. In the case of objective morals, if they even are a thing, they would be the route by which we can maximize our collective well-being. Things are “objectively” immoral if they clearly run contrary to that goal. But it is still messy as fuck, not granted to us from on high, and involves a lot of subjectivity in determining what the “objective” best way of behaving is, and the “objective” best way to organize a society. Even then, differences of opinion on what constitutes “well-being” and who belongs in our “collective” all make the question of morality all the more complicated. But regardless, we simply do NOT need a God in order for their be answers on the matter. Anymore than God is needed for math, logic, or physics.

  22. 522
    David Marjanović

    Argh. No time to catch up with this thread now!

    Hey, so after 500 comments there’s now a fresh page of comments?

    It’s been this way since shortly after the beginning of FtB! Every [Lounge] and [Thunderdome] subthread surpasses this limit before being shut down.

  23. 523
    Amphiox

    I note how KC persistently (despite being shot down every time) likes to bring up the example of some historical society, like Nazi Germany, doing something considered today to be horrible, as an indication of an “objective” morality.

    But it’s still subjective.

    “Society” is a completely arbitrary human construct with a very fuzzy definition. Nazi Germany (or Attila’s Hunnic empire, or Ghenghis Khan’s Mongolian federation) may be a society, but so is the Nazi Party, the City of Berlin, and even the Munich Chapter of the Association of Lederhosen Manufacturers.

    Going in the other direction, the entire international community at the time of WWII is also a society, of which Germany was but one part.

    Going even further, the concept of society can span across time. Particularly when it is us in modern times who are being asked to *make* the moral judgment, that puts us into the society in question too.

    So the “society” from which the moral judgment is made can be, and often is, the entirety of humanity throughout all history.

    So how do we know that what Nazi Germany did was morally wrong? Only because humans have condemned it. Humans across time and space, each making that judgment SUBJECTIVELY.

  24. 524
    Sastra

    David Marjanovic #522 wrote:

    It’s been this way since shortly after the beginning of FtB! Every [Lounge] and [Thunderdome] subthread surpasses this limit before being shut down.

    Well, I don’t go often into those forums, but I would have thought I would have noticed in other threads if it’s been around that long. Of course, I’ve been coming to Pharyngula since it was a Blastula and these new-fangled ways are hard to get into my noggin. Why, in my day it would take hours to load a 6,000 Comment post over a dial up connection — in the snow, and uphill both ways. And we LIKED it that way!

  25. 525
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Ray

    but it merely removes the indeterminacy one layer back.

    There again. You keep assuming indeterminacy = uncaused

    You didn’t answer my question
    1) So you believe that any Stochastic process is by definition uncaused?
    2)Define cause

  26. 526
    Al Dente

    Now get off Sastra’s lawn!

  27. 527
    Al Dente

    Kroos Control @525

    Whatever happened to keeping the discussion solely on morality?

    BTW, since you’re such a great fan of the argumentum ab auctoritate (appeal to authority), I’ll use it myself to suggest you not try to argue quantum effects with a PhD physicist.

  28. 528
    anteprepro

    Kroos Control, why do you feel like your questions are relevant enough for us to bother answering? Why do you think you have the authority to demand an answer? You have shown yourself to be an utter hack. A clown. A laughing stock, deserving only mockery and contempt. Where did you get the impression that we are obliged to deal with you seriously anymore?

  29. 529
    Amphiox

    Whatever happened to keeping the discussion solely on morality?

    Poor schmuck is running away from that because it is finally beginning to dawn on him how badly he’s been beaten on that point.

    So now it is basically adding the second hamster to the wheel.

  30. 530
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    Sorry guys I got a bad case of SIWOTI
    Sometimes when people make illogical statements (like Ray)) , I have a terrible urge to correct them.

  31. 531
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    So you believe that any Stochastic process is by definition uncaused?
    2)Define cause

    Why don’t you define your unscientific and therefore perup religious term. So we all can laugh at your lack of reality….

  32. 532
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Sometimes when people make illogical statements (like Ray)) , I have a terrible urge to correct them.

    You make illogical statement, like your deity exists. Who the fuck cares what your delusions say to you?

  33. 533
    anteprepro

    Sometimes when people make illogical statements…., I have a terrible urge to correct them.

    Blatantly trolling here. Intentionally trying to detonate all of our irony meters.

  34. 534
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Sastra
    I think we need to remember that I distinguished between moral ontology (do objective morals exist and why we need to follow them) and moral epistemology (how we come to know there objective morals). My argument concerns the former. My argument is logically compatible with say ,a God who created the world and grounds moral values in such a way that its broadly in line with humanist values and wants us to discover these values through shared reasoning.

    With that in mind
    Disagree with A1
    How does humanistic ethics metaphysically ground anything?
    Does B1 means epistemologically irrelevant or ontologically irrelevant?
    I think that’s the most crucial part.

    Man I still can’t figure out what you believbe about morality
    Questions-
    You say people agree to follow these ethics to live in a just and fair society.
    Lets say someone was reading Nietsche and concluded that real justice and fairness was the “will to power”. And that the people with power could do whatever they wanted to and it was permissible to lie, cheat , steal and deceive in order to gain more power
    1)Can you say that his system is objectively wrong and your humanist ethics are objectively right?
    2) Is he obligated to follow your humanist system if he does not agree with the assumptions?
    3) Lets say this guys influence spread and the majority of people in Europe adopted Nietschian ethic. Would the humanist ethic still be the objectively right one in Europe?

  35. 535
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Man I still can’t figure out what you believbe about morality

    Easy, morality doesn’t need, and never did, your imaginary deity, and your trying to pretend it does if stupid fuckwittery.

  36. 536
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Sasha 520
    Attempt to say morality comes from herd behavior tends to run afoul of the naturalistic fallacy.

  37. 537
    anteprepro

    I think we need to remember that I distinguished between moral ontology (do objective morals exist and why we need to follow them) and moral epistemology (how we come to know there objective morals).

    You did not distinguish, you just baldly asserted that they are too separate, distinct things that have no bearing on one another. If you do not have evidence that your moral epistemology is sound, we have no reason to believe that your objective morals actually do exist or are actually know-able. But it doesn’t matter, because you haven’t been able to argue EITHER of those issues even halfway competently. Dunning-Kruger beckons for you.

    Attempt to say morality comes from herd behavior tends to run afoul of the naturalistic fallacy.

    And attempts to say morality comes from God tends to run afoul of the Euthyphro dilemma.

  38. 538
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Rob M

    Even if you pursue the causality angle, you’re still playing God of the Gaps. Causality is a principle within the universe, not of the universe.

    Craig call this the taxicab fallacy. you agree that causality applies for things in the universe , but once the implications become inconvenient for you , you abandon it like a taxicab There’s no reason to believe its not true of the universe.

  39. 539
    anteprepro

    Craig call this the taxicab fallacy.

    I get the impression that Tom Kroos didn’t learn anything about philosophy that didn’t ultimately come dripping down from the philosophy-to-sophistry living digestive tract that is William Fucking Lane Fucking Craig.

    you agree that causality applies for things in the universe , but once the implications become inconvenient for you , you abandon it like a taxicab There’s no reason to believe its not true of the universe.

    Oh good. Both you and Craig are complete and utter imbeciles. The universe is not a thing. It is the set of all things. If you think the set of all things needs to be treated the exact same as the individual things within the set, you are the one abandoning logic, not us.

  40. 540
    Al Dente

    Attempt to say morality comes from herd behavior tends to run afoul of the naturalistic fallacy.

    Tell the evolutionary psychologists their field of study is prone to the naturalistic fallacy. I’m sure they’ll be impressed by your insight.

  41. 541
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Kroos Control

    If everything in the universe needs a cause, then god needs a cause. If god doesn’t need a cause, then it is possible for the universe to also not need a cause.

    Whether there needs to be an ultimate first-cause or not, the case for your god being that cause is not advanced.

  42. 542
    anteprepro

    Daz’s argument just reminded me: Fuck you, Kroos. Fuck you and Craig both. “Taxicab fallacy”? You know who REALLY ditches the pretense that “everything needs a cause”? Both of you fucking asshats, because you toss away that idea by explicitly exempting Jeebus from causation, without justification at all. You fucking disingenuous twerp.

    “but once the implications become inconvenient for you , you abandon it like a taxicab”

    Indeed. Indeed.

    Do you completely lack self-awareness? Are you that hardcore of a fundie that you don’t even realize how ridiculous you look? How much you undermine your own arguments? How much you attribute your own failings to us? Do you realize any of that? Do you notice any of it? Are you completely clueless?

  43. 543
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    Tell the evolutionary psychologists their field of study is prone to the naturalistic fallacy. I’m sure they’ll be impressed by your insight.

    Basically every ethicist in the world has already said something similar.
    And many biologists such as PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne have criticized evolutionary psychology , so I’m sure they already know.

  44. 544
    anteprepro

    Basically every ethicist in the world has already said something similar.

    “Oh, and from the judges we get: 3.4, 2.7, and 3.1. It could certainly be worse, but I’m afraid that this appeal to authority was lackluster this time around. Maybe next time, Ted Kroos will remember to name drop some prestigious-sound philosophers, and include some quote mines in the mix. Well, there is always next round”

  45. 545
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    anteprepro

    Yeah, basically the argument is: “Everything needs a cause, therefore I posit an uncaused god.”

    Or “hogwash,” as I prefer to call it.

  46. 546
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Daz
    The difference is we have good reason to think the universe began to exist and needs a cause. , while most theist hold god never began to exist.

  47. 547
    Al Dente

    Basically every ethicist in the world has already said something similar.

    Actually I doubt that. I’m sure your hero Billy Lane Craig has said so, but considering his basic immorality, he’s not an ethicist worth listening to.

    And many biologists such as PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne have criticized evolutionary psychology , so I’m sure they already know.

    There’s a difference between criticism and outright rejection. For instance, there’s a faint possibility that you might criticize Craig and no chance you’d ever stop licking his ass.

  48. 548
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    while most theist hold god never began to exist.

    Which is why theists are irrational delusional fools who mistakenly believe in phantasms. Not worth listening to, as their minds are filled with bullshit.

  49. 549
    Al Dente

    The difference is we have good reason to think the universe began to exist and needs a cause. , while most theist hold god never began to exist.

    The universe MIGHT need a cause, or might not. Most likely it’s self-causing. There’s no way god could be caused because there’s no gods. Can’t cause something that doesn’t exist, can you?

  50. 550
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    And many biologists such as PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne have criticized evolutionary psychology , so I’m sure they already know.

    Yes, we know it is bad science. But there is no fallacy. The only fallacies exist in your delusional mind. Thinking that your theology ever trumps the reality of science.

  51. 551
    Amphiox

    Attempt to say morality comes from herd behavior tends to run afoul of the naturalistic fallacy.

    It only does so if one is straightjacketed into modes of authoritarian thought like you are.

  52. 552
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Kroos Control #546

    The difference is we have good reason to think the universe began to exist and needs a cause. , while most theist hold god never began to exist make shit up.

    FTFY

  53. 553
    Rob Grigjanis

    Kroos Control @538: Rob M? Whatever. The fallacy is in trying to extend principles we derive from living inside the universe to principles about the universe. Inconvenience has nothing to do with it. It’s all about the domains within which theories are valid. Venturing outside those domains with any semblance of certainty is the height of arrogance. Like hailing a taxi from the peak of Mount Everest. Good luck with that.

  54. 554
    anteprepro

    1. The difference is we have good reason to think the universe began to exist and needs a cause.
    2. while most theist hold god never began to exist.

    1. False. That “good reason” is simply ignoring alternative scientific explanations. And, of course, using a theory of time that ignores relativity is useful for that.

    2. So what if they hold that? Doesn’t make a true or evidenced opinion. It doesn’t even make it a coherent opinion. It does not make it the case that if you established an Uncaused Causer, it Must Be Gawd. It does not make it exempt from being one of the most blatant examples of special pleading I’ve ever seen.

  55. 555
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Rob G
    SO would you same the Universe just popped into being uncaused? It came from nothing?

  56. 556
    anteprepro

    Why do I imagine us a month from now, in comment 1600, arguing about Plantinga and evolution, still desperately trying to get any little trickle of information through Kroos Control brick wall of a skull.

  57. 557
    Sastra

    Kroos Control #534 wrote:

    I think we need to remember that I distinguished between moral ontology (do objective morals exist and why we need to follow them) and moral epistemology (how we come to know there objective morals).

    I think you need to keep in mind that due to the subjective nature of morality the two are necessarily connected, as I tried to explain in my comment at #411 (the one where I discussed what it would take to make a cake “objectively delicious.”) That wasn’t just epistemic, it was addressing the ontology, the underlying nature of what morality is and what it would take to make it universal — which is the only way it could seriously be considered “objective.” Not OUTSIDE of all human beliefs, but INTRINSIC to all human beliefs. In other words, humanist.

    Therefore, in order to be objective, a moral fact would not just need to be discoverable by everyone, it would have to be seen as valid — as right and true — from all perspectives. You need to distinguish between a trivially “objective” source of morality — if Joe’s standard is that good is better than evil then everyone can find out what Joe’s standard really truly is — and one which is objective in the right way — Joe’s standard is everyone else’s, too.

    My argument concerns the former. My argument is logically compatible with say ,a God who created the world and grounds moral values in such a way that its broadly in line with humanist values and wants us to discover these values through shared reasoning.

    Here’s the money question: is your argument also compatible with a God who created the world and grounds moral values in such a way that is NOT in line with humanist values at all?

    Think about this carefully.

    How does humanistic ethics metaphysically ground anything?

    Human morality is going to have to make sense to human beings, and work among human beings. You can’t “metaphysically” — foundationally — place its basis in anything other than human beings, our concerns, our wants, our needs, our aspirations — and a desire to get along within our group. And then we apply reason together. And humanism extends the tribal group to all humans, to all people, and even to God, if it exists. Why would God be appealing, if we didn’t first want the Good?

    God cannot metaphysically ground the “Good” UNLESS it meets this standard. That makes God not only epistemically irrelevant — we don’t need mystical revelations to figure out for ourselves that lying is wrong — it also makes God ontologically irrelevant. If God doesn’t exist, then the system still works exactly the same. Good is still better than evil to ourselves.

    The only thing left is the possibility that God is empirically necessary: morals could not evolve naturally, but are really spooky supernatural essences which are “granted” by a Moral Source which is Moral Essence. If we’re going to get into empirical claims, this “explanation” goes up against scientific ones. The results will not be pretty.

    You say people agree to follow these ethics to live in a just and fair society.
    Lets say someone was reading Nietsche and concluded that real justice and fairness was the “will to power”. And that the people with power could do whatever they wanted to and it was permissible to lie, cheat , steal and deceive in order to gain more power
    1)Can you say that his system is objectively wrong and your humanist ethics are objectively right?

    Would he agree to this system if he wasn’t going to be the one with power? No, so he knows upfront it isn’t really fair. One would use reason and the common ground to persuade him to recognize his own standard. And this would apply to any number of Nietzsche fans (who would presumably need to retake a course on Nietzsche.)

    You cannot persuade someone to change their mind by telling them they’re going against someone else’s moral standards — even God’s. You can only get them to change their mind by persuading them that they’re going against their own standards.

    Now my turn:
    1.) If God knows through consulting His Self-Assessed Morally Perfect nature that an Omnipotent Being can do whatever He wants and it is permissible for Him to lie, cheat, and steal lower beings in order to perfectly enjoy His power — can Divine Command Ethics show that His ethics are objectively wrong?

  58. 558
    David Marjanović

    SO would you same the Universe just popped into being uncaused? It came from nothing?

    I haven’t even tried to catch up with this thread, but… yeah, that’s quite likely; it’s a possibility taken very seriously by physicists.

    Perhaps also keep in mind that there are a lot more ways for there to be something than for there to be nothing. It’s like the 2nd law of thermodynamics…

  59. 559
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    SO would you same the Universe just popped into being uncaused? It came from nothing?

    Prove there was something. Like your imaginary deity, but do so scientifically, with physical evidence, and publish it in the peer reviewed scientific literature. Only then, could you claim you were right. Presuppositional assertions are dismissed without evidence, and that is every claim you make. Your word alone is dismissed as fuckwittery.

  60. 560
    Rob Grigjanis

    Kroos Control @555: Define ‘universe’, ‘popped’, ‘being’, ‘uncaused’, and ‘nothing’, and we might have a conversation, but I doubt it. Why is it so hard for you to say “I don’t know”, and leave it at that until we learn more? I wouldn’t say anything about the universe that I haven’t observed or learned. Why the need for answers when we don’t even know the meaning of the words in the questions?

    There are folk here who insist on ‘something from nothing’, without ever explaining what they mean by ‘nothing’. I’ve given up, and just curse Lawrence Krauss sotto voce.

    Fight it out amongst yerselves.

  61. 561
    Amphiox

    The universe being uncaused, popping into being from nothing, is no more or less likely than the universe needing a cause. Something coming from nothing is no more or less likely, a priori, than something coming from something, or something turning into nothing.

    Nothing is a type of something, just as the empty set is still a set.

    To insist that something “had” to have come from something is a categorical error in logical thought.

    Which it ACTUALLY is depends on what the actual evidence says. The evidence, so far, does not indicate any reason to believe that there was “something” qualitatively different from the universe that somehow caused the universe to come into being.

  62. 562
    Amphiox

    1)Can you say that his system is objectively wrong and your humanist ethics are objectively right?

    When our position is that there isn’t “objective” right or wrong, how can you honestly ask this question with a straight face?

    Your intellectual dishonesty is growing tedious.

  63. 563
    anteprepro

    There are folk here who insist on ‘something from nothing’, without ever explaining what they mean by ‘nothing’.

    You have the problem backward. You have folks here who refute the argument that you can’t “something from nothing” and that argument never explained what they meant by nothing. And that’s basically what it all comes to: what, actually, is “nothing”? I’ve noticed that the debate always seems to eventually converge on that issue.

  64. 564
    Amphiox

    The difference is we have good reason to think the universe began to exist and needs a cause

    On the contrary, we have NO good reason to think the universe needs a cause to begin to exist. None whatsoever.

  65. 565
    Sastra

    Amphiox #562 wrote:

    When our position is that there isn’t “objective” right or wrong, how can you honestly ask this question with a straight face?

    No, the question was asked to me, and I have been defending a modified version of objective morality.

  66. 566
    Al Dente

    Sean Carroll discusses how a universe can come from nothing.

    This kind of scenario is exactly what quantum cosmologists like James Hartle, Stephen Hawking, Alex Vilenkin, Andrei Linde and others have in mind when they are talking about the “creation of the universe from nothing.” In this kind of picture, there is literally a moment in the history of the universe prior to which there weren’t any other moments. There is a boundary of time (presumably at the Big Bang), prior to which there was … nothing. No stuff, not even a quantum wave function; there was no prior thing, because there is no sensible notion of “prior.”

  67. 567
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    anteprepro

    Why do I imagine us a month from now, in comment 1600, arguing about Plantinga and evolution, still desperately trying to get any little trickle of information through Kroos Control brick wall of a skull.

    Luke 15:7 :-)

  68. 568
    Al Dente

    Poor Sastra. Right now she seems to be the only one talking about morality. Kroos Control appears to have abandoned the one topic xe claimed xe was interested in talking about.

  69. 569
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control:

    SO would you same the Universe just popped into being uncaused? It came from nothing?

    Personally, I’m a fan of “I don’t know” as the answer. Followed closely by “I don’t care”.
    Your claims to the contrary, you don’t know either. You just assert that goddidit without the mountain of evidence you need to prove that.

  70. 570
    raven

    Not going to follow this thread very closely. It’s gone nowhere in days and my remaining life (of a few decades) is valuable to me.

    One of the main mistakes of Craig and KC is veryold. And very discredited.

    We don’t quite know what happened before the Big Bang. There are many theories, the leading one of which is probably the Multiverse. It was, after all 13.8 billion years ago and longer in distance.

    Craig and KC: Lack of Knowledge = God exists

    It doesn’t.

    Lack of Knowledge = Lack of Knowledge.

    It’s just god of the gaps.

    Stick god into the gaps in our knowledge. God has retreated so far that he is hiding behind the Big Bang. And in danger of being evicted by the Multiverse.

    Not much of a god. And not much of a claim. Lack of Knowlege = God exists is an assertion for which there is no evidence and a logical fallacy, Argument from Ignorance.

  71. 571
    Amphiox

    Suppose for a moment that the universe really does need a cause. Well, quantum mechanics shows us that every particle that makes up the universe can arise out of a spontaneous quantum fluctuation.

    So the cause of the universe, even if it needed one, need be no more complex than a quantum fluctuation over a Planck length.

    Suppose for a moment that there really is a source of objective morality. What does it actually take to be a source of objective morality? Nothing more than to be a repository of information upon which instructions are written.

    So perhaps somewhere out there is a big dumb mute voiceless rock, upon which are inscribed all the objective moral instructions.

    A quantum fluctation and a big rock. Are things like these worthy of being called “god”, and worshipped?

  72. 572
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Amphiox:

    Are things like these worthy of being called “god”, and worshipped?

    That depends.
    What’s their position on killing babies for fun?

  73. 573
    rorschach

    Quantum theory and things popping out of nothing is counterintuitive. That’s why the lying sleazy Christian fuckwit who keeps indoctrinating my son in RI class in his primary school can get away with his “God did it” bullcrap and get the kids to believe him. For now.

  74. 574
    Amphiox

    What’s their position on killing babies for fun?

    I could try to look it up on the big giant rock of absolute objective moral instructions, but I can’t seem to make out the writing from this distance….

    (It does, however, look suspiciously like my own….)

  75. 575
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @ Rob G
    Define ‘universe’-pretty much how the cosmologists define it
    ‘popped’- coming into being
    ‘being’- the state of existence
    ‘uncaused’- without any antecedent cause ie no thing is causally prior to X
    ‘nothing’- the complete absence of being. no things exist, no properties

    You quoted Lawrence Krauss[1], I think he’s really guilty of equivocating. He’ll say a virtual particle came from nothing or the universe came from ‘nothing’ when if you listen to him further he is really taking about a quantum vacuum or some sort of initial state of the universe. These things may not look like much to the naked eye , but they clearly are things governed by physical laws and with physical properties

    Why is it so hard for you to say “I don’t know”, and leave it at that until we learn more? I wouldn’t say anything about the universe that I haven’t observed or learned.

    There’s nothing wrong with saying I don’t know.
    But the way I see it we’re just looking at the balance of the scientific and philosophical evidence and concluding “There’s a better than even chance that the universe began to exist” and usiny sound metaphysical principles to conclude there was a trnscendant cayse.

    Why the need for answers when we don’t even know the meaning of the words in the questions

    We do

    [1] Have you read Krausshis book? Is it any good?
    I really dislike that guy cause of his general douchidness ,the sexual harrassment and personal attacks so I might get it used if it is good.

  76. 576
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Kroos Control #575

    …he is really taking about a quantum vacuum or some sort of initial state of the universe. These things may not look like much to the naked eye , but they clearly are things governed by physical laws and with physical properties

    If you’re looking for the Ultimate Reason Why Anything At All Exists, “I don’t know” is, I suspect, the best answer you’ll ever get. But—again!—the same question applies to any creator-god you can posit.

    So you have no evidence that such a being exists, and your “creator-god” hypothesis doesn’t even get you any closer to answering your Ultimate Question. What use, then, is your hypothesis?

  77. 577
    SallyStrange

    What use, then, is your hypothesis?

    Good excuse for giving your brain the weekend off?

  78. 578
    SallyStrange

    Well, an excuse, anyway.

  79. 579
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    SallyStrange #577

    Good excuse for giving your brain the weekend off?

    I’ll stick to beer. Unlike religion, it wears off by the morning.

  80. 580
    vaiyt

    You can’t sophismate Yahweh into existence, Kroos.

  81. 581
    Amphiox

    If god can exist without requiring a cause, then so can the initial state of the universe.

    Saying “god did it” is no more informative than saying “I don’t know.” But it is more intellectually dishonest because it pretends to be an explanation when it actually explains nothing whatsoever and just an arbitrary replacement of words.

    There are just two differences between the initial state of the universe and god.

    1. The initial state of the universe is much simpler than god and therefore much more likely to arise spontaneously without need for prior organizing cause.

    2. We actually have evidence that the initial state of the universe existed.

  82. 582
    Amphiox

    Is God a thing governed by laws, and with specific properties?

    If it is a source of “objective” morality, then it would have to be, and if it is, then by the same logic that claims the initial state of the universe requires a cause, then god too requires a cause.

  83. 583
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Something else to consider. Okay, you’ve got this god which popped into existence. It’s basically been born into a sensory-deprivation tank. No stimuli, no experience of anything outside its own body. As far as it can possibly be aware, the universe ends at its skin.

    How does this being even begin to imagine, let alone create, an external physical universe?

  84. 584
    chigau (違う)

    Daz #583

    How does this being even begin to imagine, let alone create, an external physical universe?

    I think that scenario actually goes a long way to explaining OurUniverse™.

  85. 585
    Snoof

    chigau #584

    Daz #583
    How does this being even begin to imagine, let alone create, an external physical universe?

    I think that scenario actually goes a long way to explaining OurUniverse™.

    It’s mostly empty space, and most of what isn’t empty space is hydrogen, which is about as simple as it’s possible to be. Sounds about right.

    That does suggest that complicated things like molecules and planets and life and minds weren’t entirely intentional, though. I’m now imagining a creator deity like this would feel like John Horton Conway when he discovered that his few simple rules led to ridiculous complexity.

  86. 586
    chigau (違う)

    Snoof #585

    I’m now imagining a creator deity like this would feel like John Horton Conway when he discovered that his few simple rules led to ridiculous complexity.

    No!
    Wait!
    Stop!
    That’s not what I meant!!!

  87. 587
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Daz
    I think this represents a misconception many atheists have about God , as if he’s just ‘some regular chap’.
    1) God may exist timelessly without the universe so he never came into being
    2) The Kalam argument doesn’t prove that God is omniscient/omnipotent , but most theist hold that God is omniscient/omnipotent and have the knowledge and ability to create the world
    3)even if you find it difficult to believe that God created the universe , its even more absurd to believe the universe popped into being without a cause.

    @Amphiox

    Is God a thing governed by laws, and with specific properties?

    He’s not governed by physical laws as such but he does have properties (eg moral goodness). No-one here was claiming every ‘thing’ requires a cause. Its things that begin to exist. Try to keep up.

    So the cause of the universe, even if it needed one, need be no more complex than a quantum fluctuation over a Planck length.

    We’ve got to ask the question of what caused the vacuum space that the fluctuation occurred in to begin to exist

    Suppose for a moment that there really is a source of objective morality. What does it actually take to be a source of objective morality? Nothing more than to be a repository of information upon which instructions are written.
    So perhaps somewhere out there is a big dumb mute voiceless rock, upon which are inscribed all the objective moral instructions.

    The objections in this thread keep getting dumber. Why would we have moral and duties and obligations to such a rock? What makes the laws on this rock true ?

  88. 588
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    )even if you find it difficult to believe that God created the universe , its even more absurd to believe the universe popped into being without a cause.

    God doesn’t exist. You haven’t shown otherwise with solid and conclusive physical evidence. Stop lying that your deity isn’t imaginary, existing only between your delusional ears.

    The objections in this thread keep getting dumber. Why would we have moral and duties and obligations to such a rock? What makes the laws on this rock true ?

    You are the one making it dumber. Your main contention never got off the ground. Your deity is imaginary. Humans have dealt with morals for a couple of hundred thousand years with any need for your imaginary deity. That’s reality. You can only change that with you providing real physical/scientific evidence, not bullshit presup fuckwittery.

  89. 589
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @ Sastra
    I’m strongly feeling your position is not coherent. It seems like you’re defending some version of subjective morality based on consensus and shared principles.
    However I don’t think you’ve been able to argue convincingly
    1) Why should we share these principles? What if someone does not agree to these principles?
    2) What happens when the consensus is wrong?
    3)Is this really objective morality? This just seems like a group of rules peoples invented for living together in society . Just as I’m sure PZ has a bunch of rules and conventions for say the grad students working in his lab. However no-one is obligated to follow these conventions , conventions can change and someone can easily come up with another set of conventions.

    I think some of the conflation of moral epistemology and ontology is really relevant here.
    I believe moral values exist (ontology) and we recognise them (epistemology). I define God as a maximally great being. God is the greatest good and morally perfect by definiton (ontology) and we can recognize his moral nature through direct perception. Humanists co-opted some of these values we collectively perceive, into their ethical system.
    I think you have it the opposite way around. I think you are saying humanists invented their ethical system and decided what was good , and then we compared these invented values with God and then concluded God was good based on that. I think that view is wrong

    You cannot persuade someone to change their mind by telling them they’re going against someone else’s moral standards — even God’s. You can only get them to change their mind by persuading them that they’re going against their own standards.

    Its not persuasion. More the illustration that someone is really wrong , rather than just behaving unconventially (ie not according to societal convention)

    Now my turn:
    1.) If God knows through consulting His Self-Assessed Morally Perfect nature that an Omnipotent Being can do whatever He wants and it is permissible for Him to lie, cheat, and steal lower beings in order to perfectly enjoy His power — can Divine Command Ethics show that His ethics are objectively wrong?

    I believe that certain moral facts are necessary (in a metaphysical sense). Just as for example the law of non-contradiction is necessarily true , it is necessarily true that certain acts are wrong. So God couldn’t make bad things moral any more than he could create a married bachelor.

  90. 590
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m strongly feeling your position is not coherent. It seems like you’re defending some version of subjective morality based on consensus and shared principles.

    Right, humans make up morals bases on shared principals and consensus. It is very coherent in that it ignores your imaginary deity, as it isn’t needed.
    Your unevidenced assertions, which are dismissed without evidence, start with your assertion that 1) your imaginary deity exists, and 2) is needed for morality. Since you won’t evidence these assertions, they have been and will continue to be dismissed without evidence.

  91. 591
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @ Amphiox

    The universe being uncaused, popping into being from nothing, is no more or less likely than the universe needing a cause. Something coming from nothing is no more or less likely, a priori, than something coming from something, or something turning into nothing.

    Nothing is a type of something, just as the empty set is still a set.

    To insist that something “had” to have come from something is a categorical error in logical thought.

    Of course I could go into all the philosophical reasons why this is wrong , but I think a simple analogy would suffice.
    The suspected murder is on trial. The police think they have found a definitive piece of evidence. The murder weapon was found in his possession. However the suspect has a new defence . He claimed the weapon spontaneously appeared , uncaused in his room. The police claim this is absurd because clear things do not come into being uncaused. But
    ” Something coming from nothing is no more or less likely, a priori, than something coming from something, or something turning into nothing.” argues the lawyer.
    Realising that it was equally likely that the weapon came from nothing , the accused was exonerated from his alleged crimes.
    Of course if you really believed things could come into existence uncaused this would be perfectly reasonable. I doubt you actually believe this.

  92. 592
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Of course I could go into all the philosophical reasons why this is wrong , but I think a simple analogy would suffice.

    Who gives a shit about your misunderstanding of philosophy. Nobody but you. In other words, you will make up shit on your own instead of checking with experts, and actually proving your imaginary deity exists. Anything other than saying you could be and probably are wrong. And you are WRONG.

  93. 593
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Sastra
    Out of curiousity you seem like a really logical person.
    What do you think of apologetics/philosophy of religion guys in general?
    Do you think there are good reasons to believe in God?
    Do you have a reason you think is most compelling?

  94. 594
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Do you think there are good reasons to believe in God?
    Do you have a reason you think is most compelling?

    Don’t you get it KC? She’s an atheist. There are no compelling reasons to believe in your imaginary deity.

    KC, your problem is that you didn’t fact check your philosophy. If your deity doesn’t exist, it all falls apart., making you look like somebody not knowing what they are talking about. I would want solid and conclusive physical evidence to back up that claim. Make it not a presupposition, but rather an evidenced based conclusion. Except, the evidence says your deity is imaginary.

  95. 595
    Amphiox

    So Sastra makes a case for a type of objective morality, and KC automatically thinks she believes in god?

    That’s….

    …actually completely typical and unsurprising given the kind of authoritarian thinking KC has so far displayed.

    Even if there was a thing as objective morality, there is so rational reason the presume its source has to be god (or that it even must have a source at all).

    Even if the universe requires a cause, there is no rational reason to presume that that cause has to be god.

  96. 596
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    I know Sastra is atheist. She just seems like the kind f logical person who has considered both sides.

  97. 597
    vaiyt

    1) God may exist timelessly without the universe so he never came into being
    2) The Kalam argument doesn’t prove that God is omniscient/omnipotent , but most theist hold that God is omniscient/omnipotent and have the knowledge and ability to create the world

    Just not in any way you (or they) can demonstrate.

  98. 598
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    She just seems like the kind f logical person who has considered both sides.

    And rejected yours as being insufficient. That is all you really need to know.

  99. 599
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    KC,
    There is nothing illogical in what I said. In quantum mechanics, things happen. They happen spontaneously–without cause.

    A muon decays–there is no “cause”. Yes, the decay involves the interaction with a virtual W boson, but said boson is virtual, popping into being and out at random.

    An excited atom decays to its ground state–we cannot predict when. Again, no cause.

    I am reminded of a story where a student of von Neumann’s complained that he was having trouble understanding a concept. Von Neumann replied, “Young man, in math you do not understand things. You just get used to them.” Quantum mechanics is like that.

    However, if you think acausal behavior in quantum mechanics is weird, the causal behavior is weirder: An observation causes a system’s wave function to collapse to a particular outcome. Prior to the observation, the system had existed as a superposition of all possible outcomes. Ponder that.

  100. 600
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Ray
    Could you answer my 2 question I’m trying to get at what you mean my cause.

  101. 601
    Arren ›‹ neverbound

    It’s the height of absurdity: Kroos Control solemnly proclaims his regard for Sastra’s logical acumen.

    How utterly flattered she must be…..

    What do you think of apologetics/philosophy of religion guys in general?
    ::snortleyeroll::

  102. 602
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Could you answer my 2 question I’m trying to get at what you mean my cause.

    He did. You don’t understand his answer.
    Quit trying to pretend your mental masturbatory theological musings pretending to be philosophy can ina any way refute science. Science is only refuted by more science. And your musing aren’t and never will be science.

  103. 603
    Sastra

    Kroos Control #589 wrote:

    It seems like you’re defending some version of subjective morality based on consensus and shared principles.

    Yes and no. I’ve been trying to explain that “this is good and right” and “this is evil and wrong” are evaluations, and you cannot have evaluations without a someone-who-values (whether this is God or Man.) So trying to define objective morality as “right or wrong regardless of what anybody believes (or what any human being believes)” is incoherent. The only sort of objectivity we can achieve is looking for universals: broad and general values and views which all people believe before they start to interpret and implement them.

    It’s not that morals become objective when we get a consensus. It’s that any consensus we already share points to an objective fact about subjective values. This is the only possible way to ground an ‘objective morality’ and if God exists it would already have to be in this system. In other words, God would have to be the sort of thing which, when clearly understood, is recognized as “good” through consensus and shared principles.

    The obligation comes from ourselves. As philosopher JLMackie pointed out, “God’s commands could create moral obligations if and only if there is an already existing moral obligation to obey God’s commands. Thus, even if God exists, there is at least one moral obligation, the obligation to obey God, that holds independently of God.”

    1) Why should we share these principles? What if someone does not agree to these principles?

    Not “should” — do. Keep in mind that these principles are very, very basic. If someone does not agree then they either have made errors in reasoning, are a sociopath, or are making a choice to be immoral. Remember, NO moral system — Divine Command least of all — has a way of forcing anyone to believe something different if they perversely don’t want to. That’s what Hell is for, isn’t it? And no moral system will work on a sociopath: that is how they are defined.

    2) What happens when the consensus is wrong?

    When the subjective consensus of a particular group of people goes against what is objectively just and fair for all, then the best way to correct the error is to guide them rationally. This may not be the most effective, but it’s the best long term solution. It’s all we have, whether God exists or not.

    Remember, even though I’m arguing for an “objective morality” that doesn’t mean I think all moral disputes are ultimately resolvable. On the contrary, value vs. value is a genuine ethical dilemma. What I’m pointing out is that Good vs. Evil is not a real ethical dilemma. Human beings share enough in common that we all have the same basic understanding of right and wrong. We peel away misconceptions, widen the in-group, and focus on discovering improvements towards our ideals.

    3)Is this really objective morality? This just seems like a group of rules peoples invented for living together in society .

    I think it the only way to talk about ‘objectivity’ in morality and still make sense. The “rules” were invented out of the ontological nature of human beings. We evolved as moral animals.

    I define God as a maximally great being.

    Unless you are inventing God as a concept, then you cannot define God as a maximally great being. Nobody can. They can only discover this fact. How did you discover this?

    And if God’s “maximal greatness” is to be objective — universally true from all perspectives — then all people would see it. Do they?

    You have far more problems than I do, because you are introducing a foreign element, an “authority” which doesn’t have to be recognized. What would you say if someone told you they looked carefully at “God” and don’t think He is very good (a bizarre thought experiment, but try to imagine it)? Can you do anything other than repeat “You’re wrong?” Do you try to make a rational case to excuse and explain apparent wickedness to persuade the denier that no, look here — under these circumstances, God is actually still good!

    An appeal to humanist common standards. It’s inescapable if you want to make sense enough to discover a common core truth in ourselves. You have it backwards, in other words.

    I believe that certain moral facts are necessary (in a metaphysical sense). Just as for example the law of non-contradiction is necessarily true , it is necessarily true that certain acts are wrong. So God couldn’t make bad things moral any more than he could create a married bachelor.

    In which case you just blew your whole argument out of the water. If certain objective moral facts are metaphysically necessary in the same way the laws of logic and math are necessary, then God is not required to somehow “ground” them. Such necessary facts are, as I have been explaining (or trying to explain) necessarily grounded in facts regarding human beings and our equitable relationships.

  104. 604
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    The question of causality becomes much more difficult when discussing chaotic systems. The usual approach to causality is that event A is said to cause event B if:

    I. Simple case: B has only a single cause
    1) If A occurs prior to B, then B occurs
    2) If A does not occur, then B does not occur.

    II Complex case: B may have several causes, A1, A2, A3,…
    1) If A1 occurs in the absence of A2…, then B occurs
    2) If A1 does not occur and all of the other causative factors (A2, A3…) are absent, B does not occur

    In practice, we also usually require that there exist some plausible and understandable mechanism whereby A can bring about B. This is not a “logical” requirement, but I don’t know many scientists who will attribute causality without understanding some mechanism. Usually, there would also be a requirement that there exist a timelike worldline between A and B.

    Note that the above mechanism can apply to an indeterministic system. So Rob is correct that a W boson (virtual or not) can cause the decay of a muon–there just isn’t much point in attributing cause to something that you cannot predict, observe or control. So, while causality exists in quantum mechanics, much of quantum mechanics occurs without cause.

    Consider this: Systems A and B are entangled quantum mechanically–that is: If I know the state of A, I also know the state of B, but A and B can exist in any of several states prior to observation. Now, A and B are moved far apart (world line between them is spacelike) taking care not to affect the total state. I observe A. I know that B’s state has collapsed to the single outcome that complements the state I observed in A. Did the observation of A cause the change in B’s state? If so, how did this happen since there exists no causal (timelike) path between A and B? If not, then what caused the change in state of B?

  105. 605
    Amphiox

    I know Sastra is atheist. She just seems like the kind f logical person who has considered both sides.

    Pretty much ALL atheists have considered both sides. Many of us have spent DECADES being indoctrinated in theist thinking growing up. For many of us it is BECAUSE we HAVE considered both sides that we ARE atheists. We have thought DEEPLY about theistic claims, and we have found them to be vacuous, self-contradictory, and non-sensical.

    If you knew anything at all about the regular Pharyngula commentariat, you would know that many of us, possibly even the majority among us, came to atheism through active rejection of prior theism.

  106. 606
    Sastra

    Kroos Control #593 wrote:

    What do you think of apologetics/philosophy of religion guys in general?

    As for apologists, I think many of them are very intelligent, but they are trying to support a foregone conclusion and their intelligence must then deteriorate into cleverness. They are “defending the faith.” When somebody really believes they have a good, solid case for a rational conclusion — scientific, political, economic, historical, geographical, whatever — they do not bring up the concept of “faith.” They don’t have to.

    Faith signals a commitment to believe no matter what the reasonable case is, as if you’re committing to a value. Instead of recognizing a mistake and changing your mind, you struggle as if you were trying to climb a mountain and rescue someone. You’re rescuing yourself from error: the voice of doubt you’re fighting is coming from your conscience. Apologists refuse to frame the issue this way.

    Philosophy of religion is a fascinating field. Not sure how wise it would be to major in it, given the job situation.

    Do you think there are good reasons to believe in God?

    I think that when it comes to the question of truth-seeking, there are reasons to believe in God which are “good enough” to pass muster if they’re not examined too carefully. Theists do not really believe in God only on faith, or because they read some esoteric medieval argument. People believe in God the way they believe in anything else — because evidence and experience convinces them it’s the most plausible explanation.

    If they care more about the truth though than they care about congratulating themselves on coming to such a satisfying conclusion, they will look deeper and change their minds. Not “lose their faith” in God, but change their minds about the topic. To do that, they only have to lose their faith in faith — the assumption that their intuitions are the gold standard against which reality is measured.

    Other “good reasons” would have nothing to do with the truth value, and would focus instead on the benefits. It would be like agreeing that someone has a “good reason” to be a Mormon or Wiccan: they made a lot of friends and are a happier person.

    Do you have a reason you think is most compelling?

    No; if I did I would believe in God and I’m an atheist.

    I used to be a sort of Transcendentalist — “Spiritual but not religious.” As I recall the Argument from Beauty (“Beauty cannot be explained through naturalism”) seemed particularly compelling at the time. It all fell apart when I really thought about it, though.

    That’s the thing. Every religious and spiritual belief falls apart when you go below the surface, really think about them, and consider whether they’re a reasonable conclusion as opposed to a way to express values or virtues. 3 things kill religious Faith: curiosity, clarity, and consistency.

  107. 607
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Kroos Control #587

    Oh good grief.

    @Daz
    I think this represents a misconception many atheists have about God , as if he’s just ‘some regular chap’.
    1) God may exist timelessly without the universe so he never came into being

    Wut? If God exists timelessly, then he cannot effect change or create anything, as these acts need time in which to be performed.

    2) The Kalam argument doesn’t prove that God is omniscient/omnipotent , but most theist hold that God is omniscient/omnipotent and have the knowledge and ability to create the world

    The Kalāam argument doesn’t “prove” anything, given that it is (a) unsupported by evidence, and is therefore merely playing with ideas, and is (b) faulty in its own internal logic.

    3)even if you find it difficult to believe that God created the universe , its even more absurd to believe the universe popped into being without a cause.

    “Absurdity” is not a valid reason to ignore what the evidence seems to be pointing to. Also, see (1), in which you claim your god to be timeless. Cause-preceding-effect relies on time.

  108. 608
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Ray
    You missed my first question.

  109. 609
    Amphiox

    So trying to define objective morality as “right or wrong regardless of what anybody believes (or what any human being believes)” is incoherent. The only sort of objectivity we can achieve is looking for universals: broad and general values and views which all people believe before they start to interpret and implement them.

    It’s not that morals become objective when we get a consensus. It’s that any consensus we already share points to an objective fact about subjective values. This is the only possible way to ground an ‘objective morality’ and if God exists it would already have to be in this system. In other words, God would have to be the sort of thing which, when clearly understood, is recognized as “good” through consensus and shared principles.

    And then humans, because humans have evolved an innate tendency to want to name things, decided to give a name to those broad and general values and views which all people believe. And some humans decided to make that name “god”.

    Those broad and general values themselves, assuming they exist, were created by evolution, hardwired into the neural circuitry of our brains, because they promoted our survival as individuals at some point in our evolutionary past. It was only later, after the fact, that we decided to call it “morality”.

    Why should we share these principles? What if someone does not agree to these principles?

    If they exist and are a basis for an objective morality, there is no why. They exist and are a basis for “objective” morality BECAUSE we share them. If we did not share them, they wouldn’t be. That an occasional individual exception may exist, who does not share them and does not agree, is what we would expect of any evolved system, as variation is inherent to evolutionary processes.

    What happens when the consensus is wrong?

    If the consensus exists as an objective morality, it is hardwired into the human brain. In Sastra’s formulation, the consensus is not “chosen”, it is a pre-existing condition of human biology, that likely arose in us BEFORE we obtained the capacity to even make choices. They are instincts that predate sentience, and is part of the ground state upon which choices are made. Thus it is in fact nonsensical to ask if the consensus is wrong, because the very concepts of “right” and “wrong” were invented after the consensus already existed instinctively in our brains, and were MADE with the consensus existing there in the background, influencing our choices in creating those concepts in the first place.

    Is this really objective morality? This just seems like a group of rules peoples invented for living together in society.

    The rules in Sastra’s formulation were never invented. They evolved. They pre-date humanity’s ability to invent things. We humans did not one day get up and consciously choose to create and live in societies, and then create moral rules to help us keep those societies stable. We were already in evolved societies before we evolved consciousness or the ability to choose. At the moment we first attained consciousness, we were already in societies, and the moral rules were already in our brains as hard-wired instincts, because they helped keep our societies functioning before we were conscious and sentient, and other sets of rules that evolved in our lineage but were not as effective in keeping societies functioning were outcompeted and eliminated, because as biological organisms we and our ancestors cannot survive outside of successful functioning societies.

    Keep in mind that these rules in Sastra’s formulation are much more basic than things like “genocide is wrong” or “we shouldn’t kill babies for fun”. They are the building blocks from which higher-order rules like “genocide is wrong” and “we shouldn’t kill babies for fun” are DERIVED. Thus if we take any historical example of a sub-society, like Nazi Germany, and look at their actions, we can judge a thing they did as objectively wrong even if the sub-consensus within that sub-society supported it by referring back to these basic building blocks of higher order moral instructions.

    That the hardwired moral instincts evidently failed to prevent the people of Nazi Germany from engaging in and pursuing and even supporting in large scale some of these objectively wrong moral acts is also what one would expect of any evolved system. It is subject to individual variation, and also kludge-like and fragile and often will not respond optimally if subjected to an environment that is too different from the one it evolved in, as the social conditions in which Nazi Germany developed were very different from the social conditions of early pre-human groups in which the moral instincts first evolved.

  110. 610
    Amphiox

    1) God may exist timelessly without the universe so he never came into being

    If God may do so, then so too the preconditions of the universe may also exist timelessly and never need to come into being.

    So again there is no need for God as a causative agent for the universe.

  111. 611
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Wow, I hadn’t paid much attention to Lane-Craig’s arguments before. He is even more clueless about the nature of physical reality than I had imagined possible.

  112. 612
    Amphiox

    Of course I could go into all the philosophical reasons why this is wrong , but I think a simple analogy would suffice.

    Nope. Your simple analogy fails utterly. It is also another ridiculously transparent intellectually dishonest category error.

    A priori there really is no reason to believe that the knife couldn’t have appeared out of nothing. However, in the case of the knife, we are not talking about a priori. We are talking post priori. We have, over the ages, accumulated mountains of evidence concerning the nature of knives and the substances they are made from, and it is THIS EVIDENCE that tells us that the knife would not be expected to pop into existence out of nothing.

    It is the EVIDENCE of prior experience, not logic, that determines the post priori likelihoods.

    However this is not so with the preconditions of the universe. For that we have NO evidence that they cannot arise out of nothing.

    Furthermore, since we are talking about the probability of the knife appearing spontaneously out of nothing WITHIN the PRE-EXISTING universe, we are talking a completely different category of phenomenon than the universe itself coming into being.

    Once we do the honest thing and move it back to the RIGHT category, we see quite clearly that it is entirely possible for the knife to have come into being spontaneously from nothing. It is just that the *process* of this spontaneously appearance was not instantaneous, but in fact took 13.8 billion years or so to unfold.

    To make a knife, first you create a universe.

  113. 613
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    KC, no. I did not miss your 1st question. My answer is that quantum systems include both causation and acausal events. Spontaneous emission of a photon by an excited atom is acausal. Stimulated emission of a photon by an excited atom is causal. Quantum fluctuations are acausal. And Lane-Craig’s assertion that they are “caused” by the “energy” in the vacuum is frankly absurd. Virtual particles are “off mass-shell”–that is they don’t have the energy they’d need to be “real”.

    There are also some things in quantum theory that cannot be described as either causal or acausal–for instance the collapse of the wave function in an entangled system. We typically say that observation of particle A in the entangled pair A-B caused A’s wave function to collapse. However, the observation cannot possibly have caused particle B’s wave function to collapse, because a “signal” from A to B would have to travel faster than light. In short, the situation is a whole helluva lot more complicated than Lane-Craig imagines, and you certainly aren’t going to develop any reliable understanding of the Universe applying human “intuition” to it.

  114. 614
    Amphiox

    He’s not governed by physical laws as such but he does have properties (eg moral goodness).

    More nonsensical idiocy.

    If a thing as properties then BY DEFINITION it must be governed by laws. It is the laws that govern a thing that DETERMINES what properties it has.

  115. 615
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Ray
    I wouldn’t listen to what people are saying here. They’ve been misrepresenting a lot of what he says and I haven’t been able to correct all the misrepresentations. I would check out his published work. He’s generally really rigorous and good about responding to objections.
    Did you answer my question on whether Stochastic process are uncaused by definition?

  116. 616
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    If a thing as properties then BY DEFINITION it must be governed by laws. It is the laws that govern a thing that DETERMINES what properties it has.

    Who’s friggin definition is that?
    You can’t make ignorant assertions like this without backing them up.
    stop acting like you know things you don’t.

    Quote any text on metaphysics that defines ‘property’ the way you do.

  117. 617
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    Sastra and Ray’s post deserve a little more analysis than I have time to post right now.
    To summarise Ray we agree that quantum mechanics are non-deterministic/probabilist , but he’s working with a highly idiosyncratic (and flawed) definition of cause that’s most likely wrong.

  118. 618
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    KC,
    It is his published work that let me know he’s clueless when it comes to physics! The idea that quantum fluctuations are “caused” by the vacuum is simply twaddle! It doesn’t mean anything and merely represents special pleading by Lane Craig.

    The idea of causation in a stochastic process is somewhat problematic, because you cannot 100% guarantee repeatability. However, there can be causation in a stochasitic process. For example in a 3 body collision, we cannot predict what the momentum of all three projectiles is, but we can say that projectiles 1 and 2 acting together caused the change in trajectory of projectile 3.

    Quantum mechanical indeterminacy is different–and that is where Lane Craig is failing to comprehend the nature of the sorts of things physicists are saying about the likely origin of the Universe as a quantum fluctuation.

  119. 619
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    KC: “To summarise Ray we agree that quantum mechanics are non-deterministic/probabilist , but he’s working with a highly idiosyncratic (and flawed) definition of cause that’s most likely wrong.”

    Really? Do tell. Perhaps you should publish and correct the entire community of physicists out there.

  120. 620
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Ray

    Are you saying that the majority of physicists believe in your definition of cause?
    (I don’t think its a very good one.)

  121. 621
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Are you saying that the majority of physicists believe in your definition of cause?

    No, he’s saying your misunderstanding of quantum physics is irrelevant to physics. Your definitions only work for your stupid mental masturbations. Other folks know better, like physicists.

  122. 622
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    KC, what do you propose as a definition for causality?

  123. 623
    Rob Grigjanis

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space @619: I understand what you mean, and that’s fine, but if you’re just talking about how physicists use the word ’cause’, I don’t think most would use it the way you do. Strassler uses it as I would.

    Paul | October 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM | Reply

    My lay understanding was that virtual particles “challenge” conventional notions of cause and effect, but you use the word “cause” in very conventional ways in this article.

    Matt Strassler | October 16, 2011 at 11:08 PM | Reply

    Could you try to help me figure out where this notion comes from? Do you know where you read it? I have some guesses as to where this conception comes from, but I wonder whether there are modern books promulgating the idea. While it is true that one has to be careful in general about assuming that all processes can be described in terms of cause and effect (even before accounting for quantum mechanics), and also true that quantum mechanics is weird, no doubt about it , there is no profound challenge to basic causality in this context. Certainly I do not think you will not find any discussion of challenges to causality from “virtual particles” (i.e. generalized disturbances in fields) in any modern quantum field theory book.

  124. 624
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space #622

    KC, what do you propose as a definition for causality?

    Godditit. Uncaused.

  125. 625
    Amphiox

    Are you saying that the majority of physicists believe in your definition of cause?
    (I don’t think its a very good one.)

    What you think is good with your dishonest, authoritarian, muddled brain is really irrelevant.

    Who’s friggin definition is that?

    Every sensible and rational individual’s.

    Laws, by definition, describe the properties of things. If a thing has properties, it has laws describing those properties.

  126. 626
    Amphiox

    The statement “it possesses moral goodness” IS a type of law, just as “it expands when heated”.

    And the statement “it possesses OBJECTIVE moral goodness” is a type of law on the order of “its attractive strength varies with distance with the inverse square”, except that you’re being more nebulous with exactly what “objective” entails.

  127. 627
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Rob Grigjanis, I agree that quantum mechanics doesn’t challenge most conventional notions of causality. However, Stassler’s approach is misleading. He says that a virtual particle is a disturbance of a field–I’ll buy that. However, to go from that to saying that these disturbances are “due to” other particles and fields is simply not the whole truth. Quantum fluctuations can occur in the absence of interaction with other particles and fields. They occur merely as a consequence of the Uncertainty Principle.

    So while there is causality in quantum theory (no one disputes that), some occurrences are acausal.

    The reason why I resist the idea that virtual particles are “caused” is because it hints at hidden variables–i.e. if we just study the “causal mechanism”, then somehow we’ll have a more complete description than quantum mechanics. We won’t. Quantum mechanics explains what we see to many decimal places, and it has always done better at such explanations than alternative theories purporting to be more complete.

    The quantum description of entanglement is also the only one that works–you can’t explain collapse of wave functions by a causal mechanism–it is inherently nonlocal..

  128. 628
    Rob Grigjanis

    a_r_i_d_s:

    Quantum fluctuations can occur in the absence of interaction with other particles and fields

    If you mean a field which is free, or at most self-interacting, such fluctuations would be undetectable, so kinda moot.

    you can’t explain collapse of wave functions by a causal mechanism

    Right. It’s correlation, not causation.

    Look, I understand your discomfort with ’cause’. I just don’t think most physicists share it, or even give it much thought. ‘shut up and calculate’ has always been my mantra (directed only at myself, I hasten to add!).

  129. 629
    Rob Grigjanis

    It’s correlation, not causation.

    I mean for entanglement, not general collapse. That’s just a principle.

  130. 630
    Sastra

    Kroos Control #617 wrote:

    Sastra and Ray’s post deserve a little more analysis than I have time to post right now.

    No problem — take all the time you need. I’ll check back every now and then. I think it’s a good discussion.

  131. 631
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control @587:

    I think this represents a misconception many atheists have about God , as if he’s just ‘some regular chap’.

    Your speculation is waaaaaaaay off base. A great many atheists are *extremely* knowledgeable about god and the bible. Many of them know more about the bible that some of your fellow believers. Atheists didn’t grow up in a vacuum you know. They grew up in societies across the planet. Many of them were indoctrinated into religion just like you were. Thankfully they ripped off the shackles of religion in time. There’s stil time for you too. You could read the Introductions post in the sidebar to get a feel for the background of many commenters here.

  132. 632
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control sez @589:

    I’m strongly feeling your position is not coherent.

    This comment highlights how deeply ignorant you are.
    In my time at Pharyngula, I’ve seen several people who are highly skilled at coherently arguing their well evidenced point. Sastra is *definitely* one of them. That you (and, likely, only you) feel hir position isn’t coherent is further evidence that you’re in waaaaaay over your head here.

  133. 633
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Rob,
    The Uncertainty Principle in and of itself says a self-interacting field will exhibit fluctuations, the maxima of which will be longer the longer we wait. That actually forms a basis for understanding the Big Bang in some theories. Merely because physicists don’t spend a lot of time thinking about causality doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do so. The nonlocality of quantum theory remains one of the biggest obstacles to a quantum theory of gravity, and the quantum theory of measurement remains a mess.

    And for entanglement to work, you have to give up some combination of:
    a)physical reality
    b)causality
    c)free will

    Bohr’s solution was to take a bit from columns a, b and c. The many world’s interpretation gives up physical reality (at least a single reality that persists through time). “Shut up and calculate,” only takes you so far, and it doesn’t allow you to address the distortions introduced by the likes of Lane Craig.

  134. 634
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control @615:

    I wouldn’t listen to what people are saying here. They’ve been misrepresenting a lot of what he says and I haven’t been able to correct all the misrepresentations.

    You’re accusing people of misrepresenting your hero, but won’t take the time to explain how they’re misrepresenting him, let alone attempt to “correct” them? Wow. That’s smarmy.
    What about others who have debunked your hero?
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/William_Lane_Craig

    Craig is well known for the Kalām cosmological argument (KCA). The KCA is a variation of the centuries old cosmological argument, originated in Islamic philosophy, that argues for the existence of a personal first cause for the universe. Cosmological goes back to Plato, but many are familiar with the Thomistic and Leibnizian forms. In 1979, Craig popularized this argument, and to many theists this has been a powerful tool to prove the existence of God. Craig presents the argument as the following:

    (P1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
    (P2) The universe began to exist.
    (C) Therefore, the universe must have a cause.

    The conclusion we are supposed to reach from this is that the God of the Bible created the universe. This is generally reached by a few additional sections of argument: that the cause must be a god, and furthermore that god must be the God of the Bible.

    There is “his” argument (not his at all, as the First Cause argument existed long before Craig).

    Why the Kalam Cosmological argument fails

    The first premise of Craig’s argument is flawed.

    In quantum mechanics, things happen that are not caused, such as radioactive decay, or when an atom in an excited energy level loses a photon. No cause is evident in the decay of a radioactive nucleus. Craig has said that quantum events are still “caused” just in a non-predetermined manner — what he calls “probabilistic causality.” Craig is thereby admitting that the “cause” in his first premise could be an accidental one, something spontaneous and not predetermined. He therefore destroys his own case for a predetermined creation. Even if the KCA was sound, why would the cause itself not be natural?

    The second premise of his argument is also flawed.

    The argument assumes that the universe has a beginning. Not enough is known about the early stages of the Big bang or about what existed before the Big bang. We don’t know what the universe was like before the first 10−43 seconds after inflation started to say with certainty that the universe had a beginning, various possibilities exist.

    Before the expansion started, the universe existed in a stable state eternally.
    The multiverse could have existed before our universe started.
    There could have been a Big crunch that finished occurring before the big bang
    Something else entirely could have existed.

    Furthermore, the conclusion is inconclusive.

    Even if we reason that the universe has a cause, we know nothing about the nature of this cause; certainly not enough to ascribe godhood (with properties such as awareness and intelligence) to it. The cause of the universe may very well lack mind or will. There is even less reason to assume the cause of the universe is the God of the Bible.

    The KCA is invalid and refuted because it commits the logical fallacy of begging the question. The phrase “whatever begins to exist” is not presumed to accommodate anything other than God, and that puts God into the definition of the premise of the argument that was supposed to prove his existence in the first place. This is also most likely an example of special pleading, as the first premise, “Everything that begins to exist has a cause”, can be rewritten as “Everything that is not God has a cause”, unless there exists some other thing or things than did not begin to exist. However, if other things exist but did not begin to exist, then even accepting the other broken premises does not lead to God being the answer. As there is never any positive evidence offered for a god, but merely the asserting that god must have been the cause if there was one, the argument from ignorance is also heavily at play.

    Compositional errors

    The two premises that support the conclusion both commit compositional errors. This is because the premise, “Whatever begins to exist has a cause” commits the fallacy of composition because, to quote Francois Tremblay, “The first premise tries to infer a necessary causality on a whole, the universe, on the basis of observation of such attributed in the parts, the exist around us. The attribute being transposed here, being caused, is relational and therefore cannot be transposed. Thus the KCA cannot generalize from caused entities around us to the universe in this matter.” We have no reason to assume that “Whatever begins to exist has a cause” because we don’t know enough.

    The second premise, “The universe began to exist” forces us to draw an inference between the items in the set (things within the universe) and apply it to the set as a whole (the universe itself). For that to be valid, one must fallaciously presuppose a realm beyond the universe, in which the universe can be taken as an item in a larger set itself, within which it is contained, limited, and defined.

    You really don’t know much about what you’re talking about. Hell, you don’t even understand Craig’s presuppositional apologetics. You’re parroting what he says without understanding what he’s talking about.

  135. 635
    Amphiox

    One problem with “shut up and calculate” is that one becomes limited to the existing mathematical framework and thus cannot push beyond the boundaries of the existing paradigm. To do that one must attempt to go further. One just has to accept the possibility of being spectacularly, embarrassingly wrong, perhaps more than once, and be willing to abandon one’s current line of thinking and start over from scratch if need be.

  136. 636
    David Marjanović

    One just has to accept the possibility of being spectacularly, embarrassingly wrong, perhaps more than once, and be willing to abandon one’s current line of thinking and start over from scratch if need be.

    That’s called “science”.

  137. 637
    Rob Grigjanis

    Thanks for the discussion, a_r_i_d_s. You’ve inspired me to do a bit of reading; Local Causality and Completeness: Bell vs. Jarrett.

  138. 638
    Rob Grigjanis

    Amphiox @635:

    One problem with “shut up and calculate” is that one becomes limited to the existing mathematical framework and thus cannot push beyond the boundaries of the existing paradigm.

    No, one isn’t limited. One does one’s work (without pondering QM interpretations while calculating, which is what the “shut up” refers to), and publishes it. It’s either borne out, or it’s not. If not, new frameworks/paradigms can be discussed, or someone could just point out a missing minus sign on page 3.

    Meanwhile, other folk publish papers on interpretations. It’s called division of labour.

    Some interesting (or not) history of the phrase.

  139. 639
    David Marjanović

    From this page:

    Of course, I’ve been coming to Pharyngula since it was a Blastula and these new-fangled ways are hard to get into my noggin. Why, in my day it would take hours to load a 6,000 Comment post over a dial up connection — in the snow, and uphill both ways. And we LIKED it that way!

    :-) There never was a post with 6,000 comments, and I never had a dialup connection, but I do remember The Great Desecration. PZ shut it down after more than 2,500 comments, and loading those – all on one page – did take a while.

    (And for a short time, the limit here on FtB was 800 comments. PZ changed it back to 500 because some people complained.)

    What use, then, is your hypothesis?

    Good excuse for giving your brain the weekend off?

    *steal* :-)

    even if you find it difficult to believe that God created the universe , its even more absurd to believe the universe popped into being without a cause.

    The argument from personal incredulity is a logical fallacy.

    We’ve got to ask the question of what caused the vacuum space that the fluctuation occurred in to begin to exist

    Why assume it ever began to exist?

    The murder weapon was found in his possession. However the suspect has a new defence . He claimed the weapon spontaneously appeared , uncaused in his room.

    First, virtual particles appear uncaused. They’re called “virtual” because they also disappear; as I’ve already mentioned, they do so the faster the more energy* they have. The knife still exists? Then it’s not virtual.

    Second, try to think about the sheer number of quarks and electrons a knife consists of. That many particles all appearing in the right spot? Unlikely.

    Third, the law of the conservation of energy can be cheated for a while; the other conservation laws cannot. Therefore, a single virtual photon can appear, but quarks or electrons can’t: quarks only come in quark/antiquark pairs, electrons only in electron/positron pairs. Where is the antiknife? Anybody died in a fucking gihugrongous explosion lately?

    * Mass being a lot of energy according to E = mc².

    So God couldn’t make bad things moral any more than he could create a married bachelor.

    Oh, interesting, a restriction on omnipotence. Just so you know, while many Christians are fine with this, many Muslims are not. They believe God can of course make 1 equal 0 whenever he wishes; he created the whole thing, he can mess with it as he wishes. If your Puny Human logic can’t keep up with that, too bad for you.

    …Uh… and… how is a married bachelor any more impossible than a trinity, or than the combination of being omniscient, -potent and -benevolent? :-)

    Who’s friggin definition is that?
    You can’t make ignorant assertions like this without backing them up.
    stop acting like you know things you don’t.

    Quote any text on metaphysics that defines ‘property’ the way you do.

    This isn’t metaphysics, it’s physics.

    The nonlocality of quantum theory remains one of the biggest obstacles to a quantum theory of gravity

    Surprises me, because it works so well for the other forces (QED is the best acronym ever).

  140. 640
    David Marjanović

    From the previous page:

    Timelessly existing entities that could have caused the universe- The only such kinds of entities are minds and abstract objects. Abstract objects are abstract and do not cause things to exist so it must have been a mind.

    …Minds? Timeless?

    Seriously?

    Arguments by John Bell have pretty much killed off such hidden variables approaches to quantum mechanics.

    Here goes!

    Technically, there are very few rules. However, PZ is the only “mod”, and his word is final. He may insist that you not use certain language, while others abuse you at will. This may not seem fair, but PZ is the objective arbiter of morality on this blog, and I’m sure that he has objectively good moral justification for the appearance of unfairness.

    *applause*

  141. 641
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    David Marjanović,
    The ultimate issue is that general relativity is a local theory. Remember Einstein’s insight–that a scientist in an elevator going up at a constant acceleration would not be able to distinguish between his frame of reference and a frame fixed in a uniform gravitational field. Of course, if your elevator were large enough, or you moved over a large enough distance, you could distinguish the two situations. Gravity is local curvature of spacetime.

    There is also the fact that the gauge bosons can only travel at the speed of light (maximum), while in quantum mechanics, the wave function must collapse at the same time no matter how far over the Universe it extends. Quantum mechanics and relativity are just very different and possibly incompatible theories.

  142. 642
    maddog1129

    @ Kroos Control #589

    Just as for example the law of non-contradiction is necessarily true , it is necessarily true that certain acts are wrong. So God couldn’t make bad things moral any more than he could create a married bachelor.

    YOU keep presenting “genocide is morally wrong” as one of those “objective” truths that you “perceive directly.” So, God could not make genocide — an objectively bad thing, that you directly perceive as such — moral.

    And yet,

    WLC is the one saying “God CAN make bad things moral,” as he (i.e., your hero, WLC) is the only one here defending genocide.

  143. 643
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Tony
    You are assuming that rationalwiki is accurately presenting his arguments. They’re not. Imagine I cut and pasted a conservapedia article on Dawkins view on evolution.
    Cut and pasting something from a wiki doesn’t prove anything.

  144. 644
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control:
    You keep fucking asserting that people aren’t accurately presenting WLC’s beliefs but you fail to present the accurate version of those beliefs.

    Put up or for the sake of your nonexistent god, SHUT THE FUCK UP.

  145. 645
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Cut and pasting something from a wiki doesn’t prove anything.

    Neither does asserting your imaginary deity exists without evidence to back up your fuckitted and WRONG assertion. Evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin.
    And your whole series of inane arguments falls apart without a deity existing.
    That is your Achilles heel. Why aren’t you showing your evidence that you aren’t a fuckwitted delusion fool believing in phantasms and other fictions….

  146. 646
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh, and KC, if reject legitimate criticisms of WLC from a respected source, you allow us to reject your arguments based on his fuckwitted and false theology. I believe that is called the “golden rule”, and is one of the basic morals humanity has developed for the tribe.

  147. 647
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Kroos Control

    Take it as a given. No one here holds WLC or his arguments in any esteem. No one here particularly wants to debate WLC by proxy.

    Try, instead, presenting your own arguments.

  148. 648
    Amphiox

    It’s not like KC is the first clueless creobot who has come here dictaphoning WLC without the slightest understanding. And it is not as if we haven’t already chewed WLC up by proxy for lunch dinner and desert with leftovers countless times already.

  149. 649
    anteprepro

    If Rationalwiki is misrepresenting Craig, so is Wikipedia.

    Rationalwiki:

    Craig presents the argument as the following:

    (P1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
    (P2) The universe began to exist.
    (C) Therefore, the universe must have a cause.

    The conclusion we are supposed to reach from this is that the God of the Bible created the universe. This is generally reached by a few additional sections of argument: that the cause must be a god, and furthermore that god must be the God of the Bible.

    Wikipedia:

    Craig’s primary contribution to philosophy of religion is his revival of the Kalām cosmological argument. In The Kalām Cosmological Argument, he formulates the argument in the following manner:
    Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
    The universe began to exist.
    Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

    What they do fail to note in the Rationalwiki article that they do in Wikipedia is that Billy The Craig predicates his argument on “Actual infinities” being metaphysically possible but not physically possible, which is basically seven different flavors of “It’s counter-intuitive, therefore it’s wrong!”. But yeah, that also doesn’t seem to be his focal points when he is actually debating either.

  150. 650
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Ray
    Ok causality

    I think basically you’re begging the question here. You’re really just assuming causality can’t include probabilistic causation. This is not true because probabilistic causation is a well-defined concept in philosophy of science. See here
    (If I was smug I’d tell you to go ppublish and correct the entire community of philosophers of science, but I’m not.)

    By definiton ,we know a cause as something which brings about or produces its effects.

    And virtual particles are neither caused nor correlated with the vacuum–they simply happen.

    Would it be correct to say that the virtual particle is an effect of the quantum vacuum ? That the virtual particle would not have come into being without ine quantum vacuum and a certain set of initial conditions? I’d agree the vacuum does not produce the particles in a deterministic manner.
    FWIW other philosophers of science seem to agree
    [Describing quantum creation events ] “a causal process leading from a primordial substratum with a rich physical structure to a materialized substratum of the vacuum. Admittedly this process is not deterministic, it includes that weak kind of causal dependence peculiar to every quantum mechanical process” (Bernulf Kanitscheider, “Does Physical Cosmology Transcend the Limits of Naturalistic Reasoning?”) quoted in Blackwell companion to Natural Theology.

  151. 651
    anteprepro

    Motley Kroos: Do you even realize how many things you’ve been wrong about so far? Do you even care?

  152. 652
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control:
    Still waiting on you to show us what WLC’s arguments are, so they can be properly refuted.
    Or, preferably, present your own arguments, as mentioned upthread.

  153. 653
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @David M.

    The argument from personal incredulity is a logical fallacy.

    I never made an argument from incredulity. I wasn’t using absurd to mean improbable or incredulous.
    The guy I responded to was actually using teh argument from incredulity against God creating the universe

    Minds? Timeless?

    Seriously?

    Is that an argument from incredulity?

    First, virtual particles appear uncaused.

    id you read teh post I was responding to ? He was claiming it was equally likely that things could come into being out of nothing

    Oh, interesting, a restriction on omnipotence. Just so you know, while many Christians are fine with this, many Muslims are not.

    Meh

    …Uh… and… how is a married bachelor any more impossible than a trinity, or than the combination of being omniscient, -potent and -benevolent? :-)

    none of those imply a contradiction

    This isn’t metaphysics, it’s physics.

    Not really. Of course physics can study the physical properties of certain things , but the definiton of property is in the domain of philosophy/metaphysics

    (QED is the best acronym ever).

    Deffo

  154. 654
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @ Ray
    There’s this really good argument btw, and the idea of uncaused events(events without deterministic or probabilistic caused). The PSR is basically a version of the causal principle for our purposes.

    Start with the observation that once we admit that some contingent states of affairs have no explanations, a completely new sceptical scenario becomes possible: No demon is deceiving you, but your perceptual states are occurring for no reason at all, with no prior causes.

    Moreover, objective probabilities are tied to laws of nature or objective tendencies, and so if an objective probability attaches to some contingent fact, then that situation can be given an explanation in terms of laws of nature or objective tendencies. Hence, if the PSR is false of some contingent fact, no objective probability attaches to the fact.

    Thus we cannot even say that violations of the PSR are improbable if the PSR is false. Consequently, someone who does not affirm the PSR cannot say that the sceptical scenario is objectively improbable. It may be taken to follow from this that if the PSR were false or maybe even not known a priori, we wouldn’t know any empirical truths. But we do know empirical truths. Hence, the PSR is true, and maybe even known a priori.

  155. 655
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I never made an argument from incredulity. I wasn’t using absurd to mean improbable or incredulous.
    The guy I responded to was actually using teh argument from incredulity against God creating the universe

    Actually, those are both arguments from personal incredulity, since no third party evidence. Was presented to back your WRONG assertions.

  156. 656
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Kroos Control #653

    Uh… and… how is a married bachelor any more impossible than a trinity, or than the combination of being omniscient, -potent and -benevolent? :-)

    none of those imply a contradiction

    You can have any two, but not all three, unless you happen to live in a world in which suffering does not exist.

    If he is omniscient and omnipotent, but doesn’t end suffering, then he isn’t omnibenevolent.

    If he is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent, and doesn’t end suffering, then the only conclusion we can draw is that he hasn’t seen it: so, not omniscient.

    If he is omnibenevolent and omniscient, but doesn’t end suffering, it must be because he is not omnipotent.

  157. 657
    Amphiox

    It should be pretty obvious to almost everyone, but KC’s latest wankfest on first causes is conceptually identical to his earlier wankfest on objective morality.

    Yadda yadda preconceived notions I pull out of my ass and claim to be a first principle without any evidence that it should be regarded as so yadda yadda yadda therefore god.

  158. 658
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Dang, messed up my#655 posting from my iPad during dinner. The last borked blockquote was my response, and should read:

    Actually, those are both arguments from personal incredulity, since no third party evidence was presented to back your WRONG assertions.

    KC doesn’t understand that since he lies and bullshits about the existence of his imaginary deity, all xis claims must perforce be backed with evidence outside of WLC, or it is simply dismissed as mere opinion from a delusional godbot telling lies and bullshitting us.

  159. 659
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Nerd #654

    Kroos Control is right. My 583 is a statement of incredulity. Twasn’t meant to be so much as an argument as a general observation, but they had no way to know that.

  160. 660
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Daz

    My 583 is a statement of incredulity. Twasn’t meant to be so much as an argument as a general observation, but they had no way to know that.

    Sorry, KC has made so many statements from personal incredulity I didn’t even notice yours. And KC needs to apologize for every such statement of xis personal incredulity if xe expects to be able to criticize your post. We could be here for a long time if Xe has any honesty and integrity *snicker*.

  161. 661
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control @653:

    I never made an argument from incredulity. I wasn’t using absurd to mean improbable or incredulous.
    The guy I responded to was actually using teh argument from incredulity against God creating the universe

    Ok, Argument from Absurdity it is. I note you don’t define how you were using the word absurd.

    As for your second sentence, @587, you said:

    3)even if you find it difficult to believe that God created the universe , its even more absurd to believe the universe popped into being without a cause

    I *think* this was in response to the comment by Daz @583*

    Something else to consider. Okay, you’ve got this god which popped into existence. It’s basically been born into a sensory-deprivation tank. No stimuli, no experience of anything outside its own body. As far as it can possibly be aware, the universe ends at its skin.

    How does this being even begin to imagine, let alone create, an external physical universe?

    Let’s see, what is the Argument from Incredulity?

    personal incredulity
    Because you found something difficult to understand, or are unaware of how it works, you made out like it’s probably not true.
    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/personal-incredulity

    Daz did not say “I find it hard to understand how god could create the universe”.
    Moreover, built into your assertion that Daz committed that fallacy is the presupposition that god exists. There is no proof that any god-including yours-exists. You’ve shown no evidence (tentative or conclusive) that any deity (let alone yours) exists or that said entity created the universe.

    You are so clueless, yet smugly arrogant at the same time.

    *This is one reason why I appreciate people including nyms and/or comment numbers in their response. I had to search to find Daz’s comment and I’m still not certain I found the correct one you were referring to.

  162. 662
    vaiyt

    You say the creator God of this universe shares characteristics with the God of the Bible?

    Well, what kind of God creates an universe that’s 99.9999999999999999999% empty space, with most of the remainder hostile to life? What kind of God creates the cruel kludge of evolution, or worse, creates the deception of evolution just for the sake of making the humans most interested in finding the truth fall in unavoirdable error? What kind of God lets so much evil exist in this little rock he supposedly cares about so much?

    Saying that this universe could only have been created by Biblegod does NOT reflect well on Biblegod.

  163. 663
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Does the Argument from Incredulity even apply to understanding how the minds of imaginary entities works? Since we cannot know how their minds work-they’re imaginary-where’s the fallacy?

  164. 664
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    I don’t understand how Odin and his brothers could have created the Earth and the heavens, therefore Zeus did it.

    I guess it follows the form of the Argument from Incredulity, but we’re still talking about imaginary entities that we’ll never acquire an understanding of.

  165. 665
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Agreed, it’s a different level of incredulity from “quantum physics is difficult, therefore absurd,” which seems to be WLC’s argument.

  166. 666
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Sastra
    You make a good point with the Mackie quote. Any metaethical theory is going to have some kind of explanatory stopping point. With divine command theory (DCT) it stops with God. With you it would stop with human agreements and conventions. With the guy who said morality came from a magic space rock he could insist we had to see the values in this space rock and we had duties to this space rock and it was just an inexplicable fact , no matter how absurd it seemed In DCT , God is by morally perfect , perfectly justand the supreme creator and ruler of the cosmos.
    Under the naturalist view , we’re following conventions just like a pride of lions would have conventions. People who commit moral actions or don’t agree with shared principles are just acting unconventionally. People like Pol Pot and Hitler were just guilty of not following the herd mentality. Under DCT, they were violating the creator and perfect law of God and are abominations. I would submit that this fits better with our moral experience.

    I think we probably hit the bottom turtle , and I’m not sure there’s much more to say.

    @ wrt to the general questions

    I think you’ll find different ideas of faith among Christians. JP Holding , on of my favorite writers argues tat faith should be based on strong evidence. There are a lot of guys who share this view. And as you probably expected , I disagree with you as to whether there was good reasons to believe in God.

  167. 667
    anteprepro

    …JP Holding , on of my favorite writers argues…

    *groan*

  168. 668
    anteprepro

    Tony:

    Does the Argument from Incredulity even apply to understanding how the minds of imaginary entities works? Since we cannot know how their minds work-they’re imaginary-where’s the fallacy?

    There’s a thin line between a fallacious argument from incredulity and a legitimate argumentum ad absurdum. Fallacious reasoning doesn’t mean that conclusions are necessarily wrong. Logic is useless if you accept useless and nonsensical premises as true. And in regards to argument from incredulity, it really isn’t one if you show why you are incredulous, which usually constitutes other lines of reasoning.

    (I think sometimes a pre-occupation with fallacies has us missing the forest for the trees)

  169. 669
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control:

    And as you probably expected , I disagree with you as to whether there was good reasons to believe in God.

    Do you really want to remind us of one more thing you’ve failed to deliver on?
    “Hey I have good reasons to believe in god!”
    .
    .
    .
    crickets chirping
    .
    .
    .
    Kroos Control remains silent
    .
    .
    .
    still waiting

  170. 670
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control:

    People like Pol Pot and Hitler were just guilty of not following the herd mentality. Under DCT, they were violating the creator and perfect law of God and are abominations.

    Genocide by humans-bad
    Genocide by god-Aok

    There are a lot of guys who share this view.

    Men are not the only people who believe in superstitious nonsense.

  171. 671
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @antepropo
    Not a fan of Holding?

  172. 672
    Jacob Schmidt

    Under the naturalist view , we’re following conventions just like a pride of lions would have conventions. People who commit moral actions or don’t agree with shared principles are just acting unconventionally. People like Pol Pot and Hitler were just guilty of not following the herd mentality. Under DCT, they were violating the creator and perfect law of God and are abominations. I would submit that this fits better with our moral experience.

    So fucking what?

    I’m tired of this assertion. It’s been trotted out by for thousands of years, but it’s fucking meaningless. Even if I accept that without god, morality is merely convention, that doesn’t demonstrate god. That doesn’t indicate god. That doesn’t even hint that maybe there might be a god. All that says is that morality cannot be objective without god. It says precisely nothing about whether or not a god exists.

  173. 673
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Jacob
    You should probably go back in the thread. We had established that morality was not merely convention and people can directly perceive objective moral values.

  174. 674
    anteprepro

    Good reasons to believe in God:

    -”Um, rainbows…those are pretty, right?”
    -”Um…uh….morals…because morality needs to be supernatural….because otherwise…life ain’t fair…”
    -”Oh…um….God exists because God is defined as existing….yup…I like that one…”
    -”Ermmm…um….I know the science still isn’t in, but science totally proves that God caused the Big Bang”
    -”Because the problem of evil isn’t a problem. Why? Ummm…I’m sure I’ve got that down somewhere…”
    -”I know. Because the universe was fine-tuned for human life! Like the sun being fine tuned for a helium atom!”
    -”Ermm…um…because other smart people believe the same things I do!”
    -”Because some people not dying of cancer totally counts as miraculous divine intervention!”
    -”Just look around you? Ain’t it all swell? Ain’t it the most designedy designs that were ever designed?”
    -”Well, I’d like you try to explain everything about everything better than Magic does, Mr. Science Man!”

  175. 675
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I think you’ll find different ideas of faith among Christians. JP Holding , on of my favorite writers argues tat faith should be based on strong evidence. There are a lot of guys who share this view. And as you probably expected , I disagree with you as to whether there was good reasons to believe in God.

    There is no evidence for your imaginary deity. Which is why we refer to it as imginary. Your mere OPINION is dismissed as presuppositionalism. You simple can’t/won’t believe your deity is imaginary, but you can’t put up evidence to show otherwise.

  176. 676
    anteprepro

    We had established that morality was not merely convention and people can directly perceive objective moral values.

    In case you needed confirmation: Kroos is bullshtting, Jacob. Kroos has established no such thing. Sastra was trying to argue from a limited, secular view of objective morals and even she didn’t concede this point.

    Kroos, you are fucking sleazy liar.

  177. 677
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    Who do you guys think was the best apologist to ever post on this blog? Was it Sye Ten?

  178. 678
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    We had established that morality was not merely convention and people can directly perceive objective moral values.

    No liar and bullshitter. Nobody agrees with you in any shape or form, other than you are a lying and bullshitting evidenceless presuppoitionslist, making anything you say up for nothing but ridicule. When will you stop lying to yourself? Until you do, you won’t stop your lying to us. We know better, as your idiocy is now for posterity.

  179. 679
    anteprepro

    Not a fan of Holding?

    1. Not a fan of Holding
    2. Not a fan of you continuing to outsource your arguments.
    3. Not a fan of you continuing to add more topics for you to be wrong about.
    4. Not a fan of you bringing up yet another lame apologist to tout as an authority figure.

  180. 680
    PZ Myers

    Sye Ten Bruggencate was one of the worst. Total flaming fool. Are you planning to continue to follow in his footsteps?

  181. 681
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Who do you guys think was the best apologist to ever post on this blog? Was it Sye Ten?

    None of them even came close to making us to anything other than laugh at their feeble efforts. Solid and conclusive physical evidence, like this for evolution: Lenski 1, Lenski 2, and Schneider, is what is required to not be laughed at.
    All are third party sources from outside of myself, and considered conclusive by the scientific community. Which is the level of evidence you must present….

  182. 682
    anteprepro

    Who do you guys think was the best apologist to ever post on this blog?

    “Hey fellas, what’s your favorite flavor of urine?”

  183. 683
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    Nah. Not really a fan of his brand of philosophy. I guess you’re not a fan either

  184. 684
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    The last comment was in response to PZ

  185. 685
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The last comment was in response to PZ

    Why not just go away and realize you wasted your time trying already refuted fuckwittery on people who know better? You are poster we point at and laugh at. If you want to be taken seriously, pony up real evidence. Otherwise, you should just fade into the bandwidth…

  186. 686
    anteprepro

    Yes, Kroos and Sye have very distinct differences in fauxlosophical discource.

    Sye will set up his goal post in the same place, every time, and if you get something in the goal, he will say “Nope” and you shall get no points. Rinse and repeat.

    Kroos will set up their goal post in one place. You get something in the goal, ask if you get a point, and you never know, but you do notice that suddenly the goal post is now 5 ft further down the field. After repeating that three times, next time it’s actually 13 ft closer. Rinse and repeat.

  187. 687
    ChasCPeterson

    People like Pol Pot and Hitler

    N=. arguably, zero.
    Let’s stipulate that the set of “Pol Pot and Hitler and People ‘Like Them’” is as numerous as, I don’t know, 10.
    Ten of how many billion people that have ever existed (define “people” however you want)?

    what was my point?

    I forget.

    posting anyhow, ha!

  188. 688
    Amphiox

    It would appear that KC is aiming to be a DIFFERENT brand of total flaming fool.

    And succeeding admirably.

  189. 689
    Amphiox

    We had established that morality was not merely convention and people can directly perceive objective moral values.

    We had established no such thing. In fact we had pretty much established the exact opposite.

    What a pathetic liar KC is.

  190. 690
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control:

    We had established that morality was not merely convention and people can directly perceive objective moral values.

    Wait, what?
    No the hell *we* didn’t. I don’t know of a single person-you included-that established that. You asserted it, over and over again, but never established it.
    That’s a fucking lie.

  191. 691
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control:

    Who do you guys think was the best apologist to ever post on this blog? Was it Sye Ten

    In case you haven’t noticed, troll, apologists aren’t highly regarded around here.

  192. 692
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Tony!
    I presented arguments for it and addressed the attempted ‘refutations’

  193. 693
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control:

    I unsuccessfully presented someone else’s arguments for it and addressed the attempted ‘refutations’ (although I failed to succeed at that as well)

    Fixed that for you troll.

  194. 694
    Amphiox

    I presented arguments for it and addressed the attempted ‘refutations’

    You *attempted* to address refutations, and failed miserably.

    The only thing you did was vividly demonstrate that the morality that you yourself claimed to perceive and follow was in fact subjective, not objective, and that if any form of objective morality could be said to exist, humans, again with you as the demonstration case example, cannot perceive it, except subjectively.

    With your endless and still ongoing spiel of utterly unconscionable intellectual dishonesty, still in pathetic evidence in all your postings, you pretty unequivocably proved that the “morality” that humans like you think you perceive, and follow and act upon, is not objective. Or for that matter, moral.

  195. 695
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    You still haven’t even made clear how “directly perceiving” is different than “perceiving”.

    You keep using the phrase, so it’s obvious it has some significance to you,

    Tell me please, since you keep saying we “perceive” morality in ways analogous to perceiving sights and sounds and textures, when you are saying one can perceive objective morality in the way that one can perceive the objective presence of a table, which neurons activate under what conditions to signal the presence of an objective moral fact?

    Once we have that, then we can talk about the firing of those neurons as perception and whether or not they are a reliable indicator of some objective underlying fact in the way that the firing of neurons at the back of the retina records the objective underlying fact that light has entered the eye after being produced or reflected by some physical object.

    We have all this down for so many senses. How come there is no mechanism of perception with specialized neurons to which you can point for a moral sense?

  196. 696
    Amphiox

    Once we have that, then we can talk about the firing of those neurons as perception and whether or not they are a reliable indicator of some objective underlying fact in the way that the firing of neurons at the back of the retina records the objective underlying fact that light has entered the eye after being produced or reflected by some physical object.

    As any brief inspection of the nature of optical illusions can show, what the human brain perceives is not the objective facts of the light being produced or reflected by some physical object, but a subjective interpretation of those facts created within the brain, honed by evolutionary processes to produce, enable, or promote behavioral responses that promote survival and/or reproduction.

    We humans cannot know that ANYTHING is objective just by perceiving it. We have to verify the objectivity of anything we perceive subjectively and suspect to be objective through additional means.

  197. 697
    maddog1129

    @ Tony #670

    Kroos Control:

    People like Pol Pot and Hitler were just guilty of not following the herd mentality. Under DCT, they were violating the creator and perfect law of God and are abominations.

    Genocide by humans-bad
    Genocide by god-Aok

    Except that God never commits the genocide. To an outside observer, all the killing is still done by humans. The outside observer can’t see or hear the hallucinations in people’s heads explaining WHY they are committing the genocide.

    So it’s

    Genocide by humans — bad
    Genocide by humans — A-OK … sometimes

  198. 698
    maddog1129

    And another thing … if God is all-powerful, or omnipotent, or maximally powerful, or whatever, then nothing that happens can ever be contrary to what God wills. That leaves Pol Pot and Hitler carrying out God’s will, because mysterious ways, it has to have some overriding “good” that only God knows about and is not available to us. Therefore:

    Genocide by humans — we might think it’s bad, but it’s not because mysterious ways and no one can oppose God’s will
    Genocide by humans — A-OK and we’re not even supposed to think it’s bad, because anything God wants or wills is by definition good.

  199. 699
    maddog1129

    @ Kroos Control #673

    by Jacob Schmidt #672
    I’m tired of this assertion. It’s been trotted out by for thousands of years, but it’s fucking meaningless. Even if I accept that without god, morality is merely convention, that doesn’t demonstrate god. That doesn’t indicate god. That doesn’t even hint that maybe there might be a god. All that says is that morality cannot be objective without god. It says precisely nothing about whether or not a god exists.

    Kroos Control #673
    @Jacob
    You should probably go back in the thread. We had established that morality was not merely convention and people can directly perceive objective moral values.

    You have ESTABLISHED no such thing. You repeatedly CLAIMED such, but you never *established* it.

    Instead, what we observe in real human societies throughout time is that many general principles are common to most societies in most places and most times, but we also observe that human moral rules and general agreement on common values has changed over time. You still seem to think that the only choices are: (A) Morality must be eternal, unchanging, absolute, and derived externally from humans OR (B) there are no real moral rules and everything is moral chaos. That’s simply not true. It is simply not the case that the only 2 choices we have are external absolutism and internal chaos.

    What we actually observe in real human social groups and societies is that morality is NOT completely up to the whim of every single individual, such that the preferences of a sociopath are morally equivalent to the moral preferences and idiosyncrasies of every other individual. Instead, rules are inculcated, reasoned about, arrived at and enforced inter-subjectively. Morality is not 7 billion rugged individual moralities, but belongs to larger and smaller social units — families, tribes or clans, nations, etc. Morality is taught and enforced — externally to the individual — by the agreement of the larger group. The derivation of which things are moral and which things are not appears to be rooted in those social rules that enable the greatest well-being of the most people in a society. When societies get larger and more inclusive, and as science has shown how closely related we all are, and as technology has made the world “smaller” in the sense of a greater number of interconnections among more people, our common solidarity and the wellbeing of more human beings has caused us to change our ideas about what is most healthful for all members of the society. We include more members IN a society.

    So there is a middle position. Morality is not wholly “subjective” in the sense of whim, individual arbitrariness or caprice. We also don’t observe universal agreement on all the rules. Instead, we observe large areas of agreement, not universal agreement. We also see that such agreements change over time, so it’s observably not the case that morality is “objective” in any sense of immutability or permanence. Morality is not either (A) permanent, external (“objective”) or (B) totally idiosyncratic, chaotic, and individual (“subjective”); morality is inter-subjective. It’s “objective” (in a different sense from what you mean by “objective”) in the sense that it is somewhat external to the individual, bc it is created, taught and enforced by OTHER human beings, external to the individual. You have steadfastly refused to address this middle position, or even to acknowledge that it exists, even though it has been presented to you multiple times by multiple posters.

    You’ve also not demonstrated that you actually can “directly perceive” moral values; you have ASSERTED that you do, but you haven’t shown that you do. You cannot describe the mechanism of this “perception,” direct or otherwise, even though you have been asked repeatedly. HOW, precisely, are you doing this “perception”? Suppose you say, “X is objectively moral, and I directly perceive this value.” How do you explain that other people don’t agree with you? What is the mechanism of their perception, such that you know yours is correct and theirs is wrong? What we actually know and observe is that reasonable people may differ on moral issues and on what constitutes a particular moral value, or whether a particular value or proposition is or is not moral. How can anyone determine who is right and who is wrong? You haven’t explained any of that yet.

  200. 700
    Jacob Schmidt

    We had established that morality was not merely convention and people can directly perceive objective moral values.

    I’m actually gonna go ahead and agree with this, with emphasis on one word: perceive. People perceive morals as objective; people assert their morals are objective; people feel their morals are objective; etc.

    It’s quite a leap to assert that those people are correct. Actually, given that many of those people disagree, and strongly, those people (by and large) cannot be correct; objective morality that disagrees with itself is a contradiction. Given that majority of people perceiving their morals as objective must be incorrect, it follows that its entirely possible that all of them are incorrect. At the very least, it establishes that the perception of objective morality is a very unreliable method of determining objective morality.

  201. 701
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Jacob Schmidt 700

    Yes! Finally someone who’[s honest and not disingenuous,.
    Now In this thread I made arguments from epistemology that we should trust our moral perception unless there are good reasons to think they are false\. Did you see them?

  202. 702
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    To everyone else who denies that people perceive objective morals.
    Thought experiment
    Imagine a society in some foreign nation. This society treats women like second class citizens and denies them many basic rights. The laws has declared all atheists , homosexuals and apostates are to be put to death.
    Now think about this situation. Think about it deeply.
    Which is closer to your reaction?
    1) This seems to be objectively wrong
    2) Morals and conventions are made up by humans and societies , so this seems to be objectively neutral

  203. 703
    chigau (違う)

    It’s like there’s a script…

  204. 704
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yes! Finally someone who’[s honest and not disingenuous,.
    Now In this thread I made arguments from epistemology that we should trust our moral perception unless there are good reasons to think they are false\. Did you see them?

    Ah, a person is smart if they agree with your idiotic presup babbling? What a liar you are. There are no good reasons to think anything you say is true. Your deity doesn’t exist, and won’t until you provide solid can conclusive physical evidence. Your objective morality requires said imaginary deity, and since it doesn’t exist, it is a moot point. You haven’t evidenced your spot in your meager brain that would receive these morals anyway. You haven’t refuted with evidence one bit of refutation
    By the way, science is a branch of philosophy. It works, unlike theology, as it both does reality checks, and isn’t dependent on the twin fallacies of the existence of your imaginary deity, and having a holy book that is anything other than mythology/fiction.
    To quote an old commercial, “Where’s the beef?” Beef being your hard evidence.

  205. 705
    Jacob Schmidt

    Now In this thread I made arguments from epistemology that we should trust our moral perception unless there are good reasons to think they are false\. Did you see them?

    An entirely separate matter from whether or not those morals indicate any sort god.

  206. 706
    Amphiox

    re: 702;

    Still dishonestly sticking the word “objective” in there, presupposing the issue at contention, I see.

    What a disgusting display of immoral argumentation.

    Pitiful.

  207. 707
    Amphiox

    Now In this thread I made arguments from epistemology that we should trust our moral perception unless there are good reasons to think they are false\. Did you see them?

    1. Also an entirely separate matter from whether or not those morals are objective.

    2. Also another pathetic bald faced lie from subjectively immoral debater KC, since in this thread he HASN’T been arguing this at all. He’s been arguing that those moral perceptions are objective.

    3. If it is possible for there to even exist a good reason to think the moral perception is false, then the moral perception is not objective.

    Thank you KC for once again conceding the whole argument, you sad immoral liar.

  208. 708
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Kroos Control:

    What is considered moral changes. If morality is objective, how could it change?

  209. 709
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    KC,
    OK, first, what you are calling “probabilistic causation” is a conflation of what a scientist would call a contributing factor. Smoking causes cancer. However, we cannot look at a particular cancer and say definitively that it was caused by smoking–there are too many confounding factors, making it impossible to repeat trials. In this case, however, there are identified mechanisms whereby smoking related issues (e.g. inhalation of radioactive particles and mutagenic compounds in cigarette smoke) can result in cancer. There are only two ways to establish causation–repeated trials and/or demonstration of a causative mechanism.

    However, the phenomenon of virtual particles and radioactive decay are different. These occur spontaneously–and there is no cause. If there were a cause (e.g. a hidden variable) we could study it and improve our ability to say precisely when a decay will occur (for example). We cannot do this, and every attempt to do this has resulted in predictions that deviate from experiment. There is no event A that invariably precedes event B, do there is no cause. This provides a clear example in contravention to the cosmological argument. Moreover, writ large it provides an understanding of the origin of the Universe–that is, as a sufficiently large quantum fluctuation to inflate hidden dimensions of space time from the usual Planck Length scales.

    Ultimately, this is the difference between science and a presuppositionalist approach like that of Lane Craig–science ultimate finds out how things work. Lane Craig just says GODDIDIT.

  210. 710
    Jacob Schmidt

    Also,

    Now In this thread I made arguments from epistemology that we should trust our moral perception unless there are good reasons to think they are false\.

    So the morals one might perceive as objective are not really objective. After all, there exists a separate standard by which to measure morals, and this separate standard can disagree with one’s perception and is superior (else it could not give one reason to think one’s perception is false).

    Have you actually thought about what your premises mean? They disagree with you, and blatantly.

    Ah, a person is smart if they agree with your idiotic presup babbling?

    I should point out that I’m not agreeing with Kroos Control in any meaningful sense. I’m only shoing the disconnect between KC’s premise (perceived objectivity) and the KC’s conclusion (objective morality/god exists).

  211. 711
    Sastra

    Kroos Control #666 wrote:

    You make a good point with the Mackie quote. Any metaethical theory is going to have some kind of explanatory stopping point. With divine command theory (DCT) it stops with God.

    Let’s revisit that Mackie quote:

    “God’s commands could create moral obligations if and only if there is an already existing moral obligation to obey God’s commands. Thus, even if God exists, there is at least one moral obligation, the obligation to obey God, that holds independently of God.”

    If you concede that this is a good point, then you now realize that even in Divine Command Theory, it does not stop with God. It can’t. A moral obligation to obey God would have to be based on something independent of God’s nature.

    What are the candidates?

    1.) We ought to obey God because otherwise He will punish us.

    Not a moral reason. Why? Might does not make right.

    2.) We ought to obey God because God is the supreme creator and ruler of the Cosmos.

    Not a moral reason. Why? We would have no obligation to obey an evil creator and ruler .

    3.) We ought to obey God because God is morally perfect and perfectly just.

    Not a moral reason yet because it is incomplete. We can still ask why. It requires a previous step.

    4.) We ought to be moral and fair.

    Tell me this: if we haven’t already accepted step #4 — would we accept step #3?

    I’ll answer for you: no. Somebody who wants to be immoral and unfair — someone who admits they love only evil — has no sense of obligation to obey God. That’s because they have no sense of obligation to their fellow humans even though they are a human. That’s where ethical foundations lie: our obligations to those we deal with, if we want to be dealt with the same way.

    The naturalist view is not that we are following “common conventions.” We’re not talking about majority rule. The naturalist view is that human nature itself establishes the ground of right and wrong and good and evil from our perspective. A very basic ground — which is then interpreted and implemented within various groups.

    Humanism, by definition, is extending the in-group to include all of humanity. We are all accountable to each other.

    People like Pol Pot and Hitler were just guilty of not following the herd mentality.

    No. Hitler thought he was saving his culture from a dangerous cancer, and was claiming self-defense. He was also working from an assumption that there was such a thing as a “Master Race” and that God destined His new chosen people to rule for the good of humanity. Self-defense is not wrong; doing things for the good of humanity is not wrong. So the basic moral rules were still on the common ground.

    Those pesky facts, though. The “cancer,” the “Master Race,” “God,” a “Divine Plan for Humanity” — none of that stands up under rational analysis. The background assumptions fail, the situation changes. Even the Nazis would agree with that. IF the Jews are not a malignant threat, then there is no reason to eliminate them. “But oh, they are…!” THAT is where the dispute lay.

    That’s where they went wrong — and were then guilty of failing to allow their critics to REASON them out of it. They were acting on faith in what could not be demonstrated to outsiders. The Nazi ideology was a Romantic rebellion from the ideals of the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on reason and human rights. They shut down voices of dissent because they could just intuit and feel the rightness of their cause. A godly cause in line with the Will of their Creator.

    Under DCT, they were violating the creator and perfect law of God and are abominations.

    No, under Divine Command Theory they simply misinterpreted what God wanted. Maybe. If they had been right about God making them a Master Race and commanding them to purge the unholy Jews and establish His plan on earth, then they were actually following Divine Command Theory.

    How do you get around this?

  212. 712
    Nick Gotts

    Which is closer to your reaction?
    1) This seems to be objectively wrong
    2) Morals and conventions are made up by humans and societies , so this seems to be objectively neutral – Kroos Control@702

    *sigh*

    Neither, because both presuppose in their very language that moral judgements are objective. The view that morality is a human creation does not imply that any type of behaviour is “objectively neutral” – because “neutral” is, in the context of a discussion of ethics, as much a moral judgement as “wrong”. You keep trying to make us accept your view by linguistic sleight-of-hand, but we’re not falling for it. Don’t you think it’s time to try another tack? Or even time to try to understand why we don’t accept your view?

  213. 713
    Nick Gotts

    You should probably go back in the thread. We had established that morality was not merely convention and people can directly perceive objective moral values. – Kroos Control@673

    You should probably stop lying.

  214. 714
    anteprepro

    Fuckwit: “Oh, I have proven objective morality already”
    Pharyngula: “How so?”
    Fuckwit: “As I have stated time and time again, thus making it true, we can perceive morals”
    Pharyngula: “And as we have said, you can’t do so reliably. So how do we know it is objective and not subjective?”
    Fuckwit: “Ah, but that’s just epistemology”
    Pharyngula: “SO IS THE CLAIM THAT YOU ARE PERCEIVING SOMETHING”

    Also, Jacob’s argument that Kroos to exclaim that he has finally found someone honest? Virtually identical to arguments made earlier in this thread. Just none of those arguments involved the word “agree” so Kroos is mostly just reacting to that aspect of Jacob’s phrasing, rather than the actual substance of the argument. Surprise surprise surprise.

    Amazingly, Kroos is still finding more ways to be wrong! Without even adding more subjects to the conversation! Such an impressive feat.

  215. 715
    anteprepro

    This society treats women like second class citizens and denies them many basic rights. The laws has declared all atheists , homosexuals and apostates are to be put to death.

    How’s that religious objective morality workin’ out again?

  216. 716
    busterggi

    “Author: Kroos Control
    Comment:
    To everyone else who denies that people perceive objective morals.
    Thought experiment
    Imagine a society in some foreign nation. This society treats women like second
    class citizens and denies them many basic rights. The laws has declared all
    atheists , homosexuals and apostates are to be put to death.
    Now think about this situation. Think about it deeply.
    Which is closer to your reaction?
    1) This seems to be objectively wrong
    2) Morals and conventions are made up by humans and societies , so this seems to
    be objectively neutral”

    My reaction? This society sounds exactly like all Abrahamic religion dominated nation’s standard policy for the past few thousand years – and it still is practiced where fundamentalist predominate.

    And they all claim that this is objectively moral and their god’s law. So how come all these millions & millions of people for so long have not been able to determine that injustice is not only morally wrong but objectively morally wrong?

    Could it be because there is no such thing as objective morality, or perhaps even their god?

  217. 717
    Nick Gotts

    Under the naturalist view , we’re following conventions just like a pride of lions would have conventions. – Kroos Control@666

    This is a gross misrepresentation. No, we’re not following conventions like a pride of lions, because we, unlike lions, can question the conventions we or others have been following. We can consider what their consequences are likely to be, what their history is, what alternatives there are. Are you really too stupid to grasp this, or are you just pretending?

  218. 718
    raven

    Kroos Control:

    People like Pol Pot and Hitler were just guilty of not following the herd mentality. Under DCT, they were violating the creator and perfect law of God and are abominations.

    Thought we would get to Hitler sooner or later. It’s Godwin’s law.

    1. Hitler was a Catholic. He mentions god and jesus 33 times in Mein Kampf. Darwin isn’t mentioned at all. He was also a creationist.

    2. His millions of willing followers were all xians, Catholics and Lutherans.

    3. The group that actually killed the Jews, the SS prohibited atheists. Himmler didn’t like or trust atheists.

    4. The Holocaust traces back to the bible, John and Matthew were antisemitic. The Catholic church carried the antisemitic torch for 2.000 years. Martin Luther came up with the first Final Solution.

    Xianity has never been a good source of morality. It never will be. Today in our society it causes a lot more harm than good. They are still practicing the barbaric rites of human child sacrifice to their Monster god. It’s called faith healing and they sacrifice around 100 children a year in the USA.

    In the third world they are still killing alleged witches, around 1000 a year, mostly children.

    PS Have we hit Craig’s Empty Tomb myth yet?

  219. 719
    Amphiox

    People like Pol Pot and Hitler were just guilty of not following the herd mentality. Under DCT, they were violating the creator and perfect law of God and are abominations.

    “Gott mitt uns.”

    Hitler believed to his dying breath that he was doing gods work on earth. So did Osama bin Laden. So did the all 9/11 bombers. So did any score of serial and mass murderers throughout history.

    They PERCEIVED that their actions were “objectively” moral, and divinely commanded.

    So much for human perception of “objective” morality.

    Thanks again, KC, for bringing up yet another example that proves your position wrong.

  220. 720
    Sastra

    Kroos Control #702 wrote:

    Imagine a society in some foreign nation. This society treats women like second class citizens and denies them many basic rights. The laws has declared all atheists , homosexuals and apostates are to be put to death.
    Now think about this situation. Think about it deeply.
    Which is closer to your reaction?
    1) This seems to be objectively wrong
    2) Morals and conventions are made up by humans and societies , so this seems to be objectively neutral

    When I think deeply about the wording of your question, I have trouble answering it because your definition of “objective” and what you mean when you talk about humans “making up” morals is unclear. Or, rather, I know from past discussions that we’re not necessarily talking about the same things … yet.

    Way back at #127 you used WLC’s definition of “objective morality” — “To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so.” Since morals involve beliefs this is incoherent and I think you’ve now dropped it .

    Have you? As maddog 1129 pointed out in #699, the third position of intersubjectivity is a valid one and I’m not sure that your question captures this. It seems to be anchored into an either/or situation of morals being extra-human and invariant, or morality being inter-human and relative.

    I have been agreeing that there is a broad and general “objective” human-based moral sense and thus there can be moral progress towards its goals, so if I had to pick I’d pick your first one. But be careful of the terms because they may not capture the concepts.

  221. 721
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    OK, first, what you are calling “probabilistic causation” is a conflation of what a scientist would call a contributing ftheactor.

    No you’re the one conflating probabilistic causation with correlation.
    There’s a really good explanation here

    Concerning this question, even genuine quantum indeterminacy affords no evidence for an affirmative response. For if an event requires certain physically necessary conditions in order to occur, but these conditions are not jointly sufficient for its occurrence, and the event occurs, then the event is in principle unpredictable, but it could hardly be called uncaused in the relevant sense. In the case of quantum events, there are any number of physically necessary conditions that must obtain for such an event to occur, and yet these conditions are not jointly sufficient for the occurrence of the event. (They are jointly sufficient in the sense that they are all the conditions one needs for the event’s occurrence, but they are not sufficient in the sense that they guarantee the occurrence of the event.) The appearance of a particle in a quantum vacuum may thus be said to be spontaneous, but cannot be properly said to be absolutely uncaused, since it has many physically necessary conditions. To be uncaused in the relevant sense of an absolute beginning, an existent must lack any non-logical necessary or sufficient conditions whatsoever.

    to simplify there’s a set of necessary antecedent conditions to the effect, though not always sufficient.
    In the case of the virtual particle it would be the quantum vacuum. In the case of the radioactive decay it would be the atom that undergoes decay. Even though the process is spontaneous there is a set of physical initial conditions. You might protest that this only seems true , because everything comes from something , but that is what Craig was friggin saying all along. Something can’t come from nothing and nothing comes into being without a prior set of causes.

    Smoking is a bad example because it is not necessary to smoke to get lung cancer.
    The most obvious example would be that it is necessary to have lung cells to get lung cancer. Cancerous lung cells do not spontaneously pop into existence where there was no material before and without an antecedent set of physical conditions. That’s all Craig is saying. Something can’t come from nothing.

    1) You keep saying “Scientists would call .. ” but it is what you would call it. Unless you took a survey among practising scientists I’m not sure how you would know it.
    2) Analysis of causation has typically been the domain of philosophy of science and metaphysics so their opinions would be more relevant to causation

    However, the phenomenon of virtual particles and radioactive decay are different. These occur spontaneously
    This is true

    There is no event A that invariably precedes event B, do there is no cause.

    This isn’t true. Could radioactive decay happen , without any atoms to decay? it seems clear that there are many conditions that invariably precede decay to use your term.

    This provides a clear example in contravention to the cosmological argument. Moreover, writ large it provides an understanding of the origin of the Universe–that is, as a sufficiently large quantum fluctuation to inflate hidden dimensions of space time from the usual Planck Length scales.

    Craig actually allows for this in his section on quantum cosmologies in his book! If this did happen it would represent a caused origin to the present state of the universe , because the present state of the universe would be caused by a fluctuation in a particular vacuum space. This quantum region however would not be past eternal and need a cause.

    Ultimately, this is the difference between science and a presuppositionalist approach like that of Lane Craig–science ultimate finds out how things work. Lane Craig just says GODDIDIT.

    Craig’s arguments are not presuppositionalist by any definition of the word. Craig uses deductive arguments to conclude the universe had a transcendent personal cause. This is just a intellectually lazy way to justify not addressing the man’s argument.

    Ray PRESUPPOSES atheism. His answer is always NOTHINGDIDIT!!

    See how easy that was?

    If you’re going to really insist that something can come from nothing , please address the previous argument I make from knowledge of empirical truths.

    If you going to keep , take up that challenge I put to Nerd of Redhead when I asked him to show explicitly how the premises of Craig’s argument presuppose Gods.

  222. 722
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Kroos Control:

    Ray PRESUPPOSES atheism. His answer is always NOTHINGDIDIT!!

    No. Scientists, who were seeking to glorify gods’ creation, presupposed that gods created everything. And they looked for evidence of that creation. And found evidence for naturalistic explanations. Including, but not limited to, biology, cosmology, geology, palaeontology, chemistry, and, eventually, reality itself. Scientists did not presuppose that there was no creator. Evidence led them to the naturalistic explanations. There is overwhelming evidence for naturalistic explanations (including the birth of the universe — natural, not created). Please point to actual, replicable evidence for the existence of any god (doesn’t even have to be the Abrahamic gods).

  223. 723
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yawn, WLC isn’t a physicist, but a professional liar for his imaginary deity. What he says about any science might be like a stopped watch, correct twice a day, but most of the time it bears no relationship to real science and reality. If you presuppose WLC is wrong, you will be right most of the time…

  224. 724
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Please point to actual, replicable evidence for the existence of any god (doesn’t even have to be the Abrahamic gods).

    QFMFT
    No evidence, no deity.
    QED.

  225. 725
    Sastra

    @Kroos Control:

    I’m going to ask you a favor. Could you please lay out Divine Command Theory (again?) in simple form — and then explain

    1.) how we can figure out that God is good

    2.) where we get out ethical obligation to obey God, and

    3.) whether God’s moral nature is constrained by anything other than God’s unique and individual choices?

    Thanks. It would help clarify things for me.

    I’m going to ignore for now how we can find out what God wants (or is) — but that’s a biggie. If you feel up to it, then feel free to throw that one in , too.

  226. 726
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    In this thread I made arguments from epistemology that we should trust our moral perception unless there are good reasons to think they are false\
    </blockquote.

    In this thread you haven't even made arguments that morals are **perceived** rather than **created** by human minds.

    Moral "perceptions" cannot even be taken to exist, much less trusted, until you establish that.

    We know what neurons perceive balance, perceive proprioception, perceive heat, perceive light, perceive environmental vibration, perceive chemical impurities in the atmosphere, perceive certain qualities of food.

    Which neurons perceive morals?

    If you have no clue, why? Could it be that we aren't actually "perceiving" morals in the way that we "perceive" taste?

    There are good reasons to believe that our brains can make things up and unless a datum is sourced to our organs of perception, it should not be trusted to be a reflection of a fundamental external reality.

    Tell me why morality should be the exception to this and/or show me the papers that establish through experiment the location and function of the neurons of moral perception.

  227. 727
    anteprepro

    I’m sure this will be utterly shocking to everyone: Guess where Kroos gets their sophistry regarding some imaginary distinction between “moral ontology” and “moral epistemology”. Come on. Guess.

    We are “arguing” with a fucking parrot.

  228. 728
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    antepropro:

    We are “arguing” with a fucking parrot.

    er, Beautiful plumage?

  229. 729
    Amphiox

    “presupposing” nothing?

    Will we have to explain parsimony to this brick wall?

  230. 730
    Amphiox

    Not just any parrot. The Monty Python parrot.

    The one that’s pining for the fjords.

  231. 731
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Amphiox:

    But just look at the beautiful plumage!

  232. 732
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    KC@721
    Oh, I am sorry, but that is just sad. Establishment of causation implies predictability. If your relationship has zero predictive power, it ain’t science.

    You claim that a prerequisite for radioactive decay is the existence of an unstable nucleus–granted. However, that in no way allows you to predict when decay would occur. You will also tell me that the existence of a space-time continuum is essential if virtual particles are going to pop into being. OK, tell me how I can use that.

    And if we are going to accept the mere existence of spacetime as a cause, where is the need for your deity? If there is a field, it will fluctuate, and at some point the fluctuation will be sufficient to inflate spacetime. No need for any deity. You will ask, so where did your field come from. I will ask where your deity come from. And we know spacetime exists. Your deity…not so much. Parsimony wins, and congratulations, you’ve disproved the existence of gods.

  233. 733
    anteprepro

    There’s a really good explanation here

    Guess what master of physics and philosophy that good explanation comes from folks! Just guess!

    You might protest that this only seems true , because everything comes from something , but that is what Craig was friggin saying all along. Something can’t come from nothing and nothing comes into being without a prior set of causes.

    Let me put it this way:
    1. Every time we observe something it comes from something else.
    2. We have not observed something coming from nothing only because we have never observed nothing.
    3. To assume that something cannot come from nothing is just an assumption.

    Something= X
    Nothing= Not X

    X comes from X
    Therefore, X does not come from Not X.

    It doesn’t follow. You don’t know that that is true. You just assume it. You can’t both word game “nothing” out of existence and also claim with supreme authority that you know what “nothing” can and can’t do.

    Ray PRESUPPOSES atheism. His answer is always NOTHINGDIDIT!!

    Null hypothesis, burden of proof, etc. etc.

  234. 734
    anteprepro

    arids:

    Establishment of causation implies predictability. If your relationship has zero predictive power, it ain’t science.

    You claim that a prerequisite for radioactive decay is the existence of an unstable nucleus–granted.

    Also notable: despite Kroos’s distaste for “conflating causation and correlation” or something like that, Kroos is now conflating “prerequisite” with “cause”. Those are two different ideas, Kroosy.

    Example: In order to paint a house, both the paint and the house are prerequisites. But the house is certainly not “causing” the painting, and (more arguably) neither is the paint.

    Honestly, I think part of the issue is that it is overly simplistic to look at elements of the universe in terms of “cause” to begin with.

  235. 735
    Amphiox

    And if we are going to accept the mere existence of spacetime as a cause, where is the need for your deity?

    We could actually plug spacetime right into the silly Kalam argument. Spacetime, since it includes all of time within it, doesn’t have a beginning. And per Kalam, only the things that begin to exist need a cause. Thus, per Kalam, spacetime doesn’t require a cause, and spacetime can be the cause for everything else.

    A poof, KC’s sad small god disappears, even by the tenets of Kalam.

  236. 736
    anteprepro

    William Lane Craig is a murderer.

    1. I can directly perceive the possibility that Craig is a murder.
    2. William Lane Craig’s objective morality does not forbid mass murder (see: endorsement of divine genocide)
    3. I cannot tell you how to obtain knowledge that Craig is a murderer, but that’s just a question of epistemology.
    4. I cannot imagine that Craig is not a murderer.
    5. Logic dictates that every murder must have a cause. I define this cause as “William Lane Craig”
    6. Something cannot come from nothing. So these murder claims had to have come from something!
    7. My imagination is still Something.
    8. That knife in Craig’s kitchen obviously didn’t appear from nothing either!
    9. Even if Craig just gave directions to the murderer, he was a prerequisite to the murder, which is the same as the cause of the murder. Which we call “murderer”.
    10. Finally, we are convinced that there are no such thing as corroborating circumstances in this case, because we cannot mentally perceive or imagine any.

    Now I say to you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, if Kroos isn’t full of shit, you must convict. Thank you.

  237. 737
    Jacob Schmidt

    They are jointly sufficient in the sense that they are all the conditions one needs for the event’s occurrence, but they are not sufficient in the sense that they guarantee the occurrence of the event.

    Then they are insufficient. The author seems to be confusing “necessary” with “sufficient,” which is just silly. Something can be unnecessary and insufficient; necessary but insufficient; unnecessary but sufficient; or necessary and sufficient. The author is describing the second one.

    To be uncaused in the relevant sense of an absolute beginning, an existent must lack any non-logical necessary or sufficient conditions whatsoever.

    Ok, here’s where the debate starts. We have a system that is necessary but insufficient in creating a given event. Does that count as a cause? Not really. Anteprepro had it right: a house does not cause a painted house.* What it does mean is that there exists some prerequisite for the event. It means the event can’t “come from nothing,” so to speak, and that something (i.e. a necessary but insufficient set of conditions) must come before it.

    Here’s the problem when this is applied to the universe: we don’t understand the nature of the universe’s beginning. We don’t know if the universe has any sort of necessary precondition; we don’t know of the universe has any sort of sufficient precondition.

    Even if we accept that the universe has a cause (it seems reasonable, after all), we can’t say anything about the nature of that cause. We don’t know. Any sort of leap from that point to “the cause was personal and transcendental”; to “the cause was a deity of some sort”; or to “the Christian god was the cause”; is nothing but an assumption. An assumption about the nature of a conclusion that, at best, came from sloppy inductive reasoning. The argument gets us nowhere.

    *Excluding certain philosophical definitions of “cause.” The “material cause,” for instance.

  238. 738
    Jacob Schmidt

    Actually, Kroos Control, before this debate goes further, how do you define “cause”? I define it by sufficiency: if its sufficient, it’s a cause. Otherwise, its not. There are other definitions, most of them irrelevant, but I’d like to know how you’re using the word.

  239. 739
    Al Dente

    Jacob Schmidt @738

    how do you define “cause”?

    This has been the point we continually return to. Kroos Control will throw out some word or phrase and the Pharyngulites will ask for a definition. KC will flap and flail and the goal posts get moved.

  240. 740
    Jacob Schmidt

    This was rattling around in my head:

    The appearance of a particle in a quantum vacuum may thus be said to be spontaneous, but cannot be properly said to be absolutely uncaused, since it has many physically necessary conditions.

    “God” is not a spontaneous cause. Its a directed cause; rather the opposite of spontaneous.

    Al Dente

    You can imagine my surprise.

  241. 741
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    I think Lane Craig takes a quasi Kantian approach to causality (e.g. that humans perceive causality), while scientists tend more toward Hume (causality inferred by induction). It doesn’t matter–Lane Craig’s approach is sterile. Even if it were logically valid and not presuppositionalist, the most it would do is establish some initial cause of the Universe, not that that cause had to be a deity.

  242. 742
    Al Dente

    I like Dara O’Briain’s comment:

    But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.

  243. 743
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Al Dente, #742

    I like Dara O’Briain’s comment:
    But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.

    QFMFT
    Very appropriate. *adds to citation list*

  244. 744
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @_Ray_

    Oh, I am sorry, but that is just sad. Establishment of causation implies predictability. If your relationship has zero predictive power, it ain’t science.

    There are so many things wrong with this
    1)”Establishment of causation implies predictability.” Why? This is just asserted. This seems to be wrong too. If for example I know a carpenter and wood and tools that caused my desk , does it predict anything? If I know OJ caused Nicole Simpson’s death , does it predict anything? Sometimes its just useful to know where things come from even if it doesn’t have predictive value.
    2) I never claimed to be doing science and there are hundreds of philosophers who analyse causation without claiming to do science
    3) Doesn’t probabilistic causation have predictive power? Don’t scientists make models of stochastical processes all the time? if for example I knew there was a 50% chance of a nucleus decaying within its half-life , its probabilistic information , but its certainly useful to science

    With regards to the vacuum space , Craig points out that this state would still have begin to exist and as per the Kalam , still requires a cause.

    I think Lane Craig takes a quasi Kantian approach to causality (e.g. that humans perceive causality), while scientists tend more toward Hume (causality inferred by induction).

    Craig’s always said that the Kalam is not predicated on any specific concept of causality. All you really need to affirm is that something can’t come from nothing. (which some people seem to have a hard time getting) If you really have a hard time defining cause , just say that . something does not come from nothing , being does not come from non-being.

    Even if it were logically valid and not presuppositionalist,

    Craig’s argument is clearly logically valid, its a Modus ponens and none of the premises presuppose the existence of God. Are you just saying stuff now?

    the most it would do is establish some initial cause of the Universe, not that that cause had to be a deity.

    Craig’s produces deductive arguments that it must be a transcendent personal cause. I guess you’re right its not necessarily any particular deity.

    @Jacob Schmidt 738
    See my talk with Ray about causation. You’re interpreting causation in a deterministic sense.
    Your defintion of sufficient is probably wrong because Probabilistic causation is a thing.

  245. 745
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Craig’s produces deductive arguments that it must be a transcendent personal cause. I guess you’re right its not necessarily any particular deity.

    Sorry fool, it’s NO DEITY. There are no gods, you are a delusional fool without evidence, an abject loser who won’t even get out of a wet paper bag of their own making.
    Your deity is either real or it only exists between your ears. So, show us the evidence that says you aren’t delusional, and that requires hard and conclusive PHYSICAL evidence. Mentally wank all you want, but clean up afterwards, and otherwise keep your personal hygiene up. In other words, forget thinking you have a case we will accept. You and your inane and unevidenced OPINIONS are damaged goods, so move along. Try your fapwitterey elsewhere…

  246. 746
    Jacob Schmidt

    See my talk with Ray about causation.[1] You’re interpreting causation in a deterministic sense.
    Your defintion of sufficient is probably wrong because Probabilistic causation is a thing.[2]

    1) I was quoting from your source in 737. I’ve seen it.

    2) Probabilistic causation is a model, nothing more. It says nothing about the literal cause of an event. That scientists and others use probability theory to model cause and effect does not justify asserting insufficient necessities as causes.* In fact, you’ll notice that scientists (particularly epidemiologists, to my understanding) are quite leery of calling anything a “cause” until an actual mechanism of causation is shown.

    You still haven’t defined your terms.

    And finally, none of this constitutes any sort of evidence for any sort of imagined deity.

    *This is actually rather strange, as probabilistic causation deals with things that are neither sufficient nor necessary. Neither term should be showing up in a discussion about probabilistic causation, yet you’ve brought them here.

  247. 747
    Jacob Schmidt

    Craig’s produces deductive arguments that it must be a transcendent personal cause.

    Conceding Craig’s (completely aweful) arguments only demonstrates a cause. There’s nothing in Craig’s arguments that even hints at anything transcendental or personal.

  248. 748
    Jacob Schmidt

    If for example I know a carpenter and wood and tools that caused my desk , does it predict anything?

    That arranging the wood in that particular order causes a desk. The cause is the mechanism by which the desk came to be. Really, this isn’t hard.

  249. 749
    Amphiox

    That arranging the wood in that particular order causes a desk. The cause is the mechanism by which the desk came to be. Really, this isn’t hard.

    That prediction is not dependent on the carpenter being the cause for the desk, though. You can make that same prediction with pretty much anything being the cause of the desk.

    What unique prediction does positing that a carpenter made the desk, absent anything else specifically about the carpenter, make that distinguishes the carpenter-desk hypothesis from the not-carpenter-desk hypotheses (or even Carpenter A-desk hypothesis from Some-Other-Carpenter-Who-Is-Not-A-desk hypotheses)?

  250. 750
    Amphiox

    Craig’s produces deductive arguments that it must be a transcendent personal cause.

    Well, he *attempts* to. But he fails rather spectacularly.

  251. 751
    Jacob Schmidt

    That prediction is not dependent on the carpenter being the cause for the desk, though. You can make that same prediction with pretty much anything being the cause of the desk.

    Well, yeah. That’s a distinction between sufficiency and necessity.

    What unique prediction does positing that a carpenter made the desk, absent anything else specifically about the carpenter, make that distinguishes the carpenter-desk hypothesis from the not-carpenter-desk hypotheses (or even Carpenter A-desk hypothesis from Some-Other-Carpenter-Who-Is-Not-A-desk hypotheses)?

    I’m not sure what how this question is relevant. Ray brought up predictability (though I think Ray meant the mechanism, rather than predictability; predictability is a mite fuzzier). Uniqueness is a separate issue.

  252. 752
    Amphiox

    I’m not sure what how this question is relevant.

    I was responding to your comment without reference to Ray’s. Think of it as a new tangent to the conversation if you cannot see the relevance.

    One which you don’t have to pursue if you don’t want to, of course.

  253. 753
    anteprepro

    Craig’s produces deductive arguments that it must be a transcendent personal cause.

    Even by Craig’s standards, his argument for the cause being “personal” is blatant, illogical handwaving. But you obviously don’t give a shit about anything, Kroos, so I’m not sure why I’m telling you. You will continue to shovel Craig’s shit down your throat for decades to come, and insist that it is nothing but Michelin Star quality filet mignon. We don’t believe you, we won’t ever believe you, please take your disgusting display out of the dining room, thank you.

  254. 754
    Jacob Schmidt

    I was responding to your comment without reference to Ray’s. Think of it as a new tangent to the conversation if you cannot see the relevance.

    Ah, K, sorry.

    What unique prediction does positing that a carpenter made the desk, absent anything else specifically about the carpenter, make that distinguishes the carpenter-desk hypothesis from the not-carpenter-desk hypotheses (or even Carpenter A-desk hypothesis from Some-Other-Carpenter-Who-Is-Not-A-desk hypotheses)?

    There’s nothing really “unique” about the prediction. Any carpenter can build a desk. A freak storm that happens to arrange wood in the correct order could build a desk. The only consistent factor in the creation of a desk is the arrangement of the wood.

    But it’s entirely true that Carpenter A arranging the wood will create a desk. That prediction is accurate, if trivial.

  255. 755
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control is flailing about, desperate for any of his bullshit to stick. He doesn’t know much about any of the topics under discussion. I guess he is going with the Argument from Bullshit since his ‘Argument from Brilliance’ is not working.

  256. 756
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Kroos:

    With regards to the vacuum space , Craig points out that this state would still have begin to exist and as per the Kalam , still requires a cause.

    One cannot “point out” something that is wrong. I believe the phrase you are seeking amounts to,

    Craig attempts to bullshit us into believing that this state would still have begun to exist, and as per the Kalam, still requires a cause.

    To “begin” or to be “caused” there must be a time prior when such a thing did not exist. There is no time prior to the existence of the universe. It did not begin to exist, and therefore the Kalam doesn’t even begin to touch it and we don’t even have to analyze whether or not Kalam is correct in its premise that everything that begins to exist must have a cause.

    I ain’t a physicist and I know that before space-time there was neither space nor time. Why are you lying about the nature of the problem being discussed?

  257. 757
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Crip Dyke:
    I wonder if kroos control believes every piece of bullshit he’s been feeding us.

  258. 758
    ChasCPeterson

    before space-time there was neither space nor time

    You can type these words and even swear that you “know” it–or “believe” it–but there is no way anybody–physicist or not–can possibly understand</i. that. Brains just can't do that.

  259. 759
    ChasCPeterson

    preview, dumbass.

  260. 760
    Rob Grigjanis

    What’s north of the North Pole?

  261. 761
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Rob Grigjanis’

    Kroos’ lost critical thinking skills.

    @Tony!, #757:

    The scary part is that I rather think he does. Sigh.

  262. 762
    Amphiox

    There’s nothing really “unique” about the prediction. Any carpenter can build a desk. A freak storm that happens to arrange wood in the correct order could build a desk. The only consistent factor in the creation of a desk is the arrangement of the wood.

    But it’s entirely true that Carpenter A arranging the wood will create a desk. That prediction is accurate, if trivial.

    The reason I raised this point was to demonstrate the difference between a REAL scientific hypothesis of design and the ID/creationism inanity.

    If we first define the specific properties of Carpenter A we can make predictions about what kind of desk he will design. So for example if we knew that Carpenter A was a master carpenter, we can predict that his desks will likely be of excellent quality. If it turns out that Carpenter A is 4 feet tall, that might be reflected in the dimensions of his desk. If Carpenter A lived in X location where Y wood was not available, we might hypothesize that his desk will not contain Y wood.

    Similarly, an honest hypothesis of design going the other way (ie we have desk but we don’t know which carpenter made it) would attempt to predict the properties of the designer based on the desk he made. The dimensions of the desk can be used to make predictions about the carpenter’s body size. The type of wood in it may predict where the Carpenter lives. The quality of the workmanship may predict how experienced or skilled the carpenter is.

    One doesn’t presuppose the carpenter’s characteristics like KC has been doing and then ignore every feature of the desk that contradicts those presuppositions.

  263. 763
    Amphiox

    With regards to the vacuum space , Craig points out that this state would still have begin to exist and as per the Kalam , still requires a cause.

    Craig PRESUPPOSES that vacuum space needed to begin to exist. He PRESUPPOSES everything needing to begin to exist except for his god which he PRESUPPOSES did not need to begin to exist.

    There is no evidence and no reason to believe that vacuum space ever needed to begin to exist, and no reason or evidence to suggest that it could not have always been there, eternally, just as with God.

    The only difference is, we have EVIDENCE that vacuum space really does exist, unlike with Craig’s god.

  264. 764
    chigau (違う)

    Rob Grigjanis #760
    Once upon a time, I read a news article that referred to ‘the north coast of Antarctica’.

  265. 765
    vaiyt

    Now In this thread I made arguments from epistemology that we should trust our moral perception unless there are good reasons to think they are false\.

    Kroos, I’m going to tell this as nicely as I can.

    Nobody else can hear the voices in your head.

    The “objective morality” you so clearly perceive (and it’s totally not the result of growing in Christian-dominated culture, no way)? Means jack shit to the rest of us 7 billion people.

  266. 766
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Tony!
    man its almost like you have no self-awareness

    I wonder if kroos control believes every piece of bullshit he’s been feeding us.

    I’ve been offering you guys logic and reasoned argument. You guys have offered illogic and special pleading.

    Stuff like “I’ll make up my own idiosyncratic definiton of cause and insist you are wrong because of this definiton I made up.”

    I wonder if people really believe what they saying here
    News: Laws enacted in Uganda condemn homosexuals to be put ot death. Laws in Afganistan say Muslim apostates are to be put to death
    “That’s morally fine and objectively neutral. Societies make up morals and they are subjective anyway, so if these societies decide its immoral do those those things , that’s how it should be.”

    “Hey someone egged this house”
    “How do you know that , those eggs could have sprung into existence uncaused and from nothing!”

  267. 767
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    News: Laws enacted in Uganda condemn homosexuals to be put ot death. Laws in Afganistan say Muslim apostates are to be put to death
    “That’s morally fine and objectively neutral. Societies make up morals and they are subjective anyway, so if these societies decide its immoral do those those things , that’s how it should be. I don’t perceive anything morally wrong with this state of affairs”

  268. 768
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Amphox

    Craig doesn’t PRESUPPOSE anything. You are one who thinks TYPING IN ALL CAPS constitutes some kind of argument.
    Why don’t you describe what cosmological model you are talking about , why cosmologicsts take it seriously and what evidence there is for it .

  269. 769
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Kroos Control:

    Ray PRESUPPOSES atheism. His answer is always NOTHINGDIDIT!!

    No. Scientists, who were seeking to glorify gods’ creation, presupposed that gods created everything. And they looked for evidence of that creation. And found evidence for naturalistic explanations. Including, but not limited to, biology, cosmology, geology, palaeontology, chemistry, and, eventually, reality itself. Scientists did not presuppose that there was no creator. Evidence led them to the naturalistic explanations. There is overwhelming evidence for naturalistic explanations (including the birth of the universe — natural, not created). Please point to actual, replicable evidence for the existence of any god (doesn’t even have to be the Abrahamic gods).

    While we’re at it, since morality changes over time, how is morality objective?

  270. 770
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Scientists did not presuppose that there was no creator. Evidence led them to the naturalistic explanations. There is overwhelming evidence for naturalistic explanations (including the birth of the universe — natural, not created). Please point to actual, replicable evidence for the existence of any god (doesn’t even have to be the Abrahamic gods).

    KC, Ogvorbis is right in his explaination that the early scientists were believers. But, they also were trying to figure out how god worked. But after a century or so of study, it became obvious that there wasn’t anything that required a god, and it was working on its own. So, the concept of god was slowly dropped from science, until now, where the null hypothesis is that your deity is imaginary. Why? Not one shred of solid and conclusive evidence that required your deity. Which is why you avoid showing any evidence. You don’t have any, so you must imagufacture some bullshit to convince yourself your presuppositions aren’t bullshit. But they are bullshit.

  271. 771
    Jacob Schmidt

    Stuff like “I’ll make up my own idiosyncratic definiton of cause and insist you are wrong because of this definiton I made up.”

    You mean like asserting insufficient necessities as causes?

    You’ve yet to give your definition, for that matter.

    I don’t perceive anything morally wrong with this state of affairs

    Are you still confusing perceptions for reality?

  272. 772
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    KC: “3) Doesn’t probabilistic causation have predictive power?”

    Oh, you’re so close–so if it doesn’t have predictive power, it ain’t probabilistic causation!

    KC: “Craig points out that this state would still have begin to exist.”

    No, he asserts this–with no justification whatsoever. Time and space begin with the Universe. What goes before can only be glimpsed very dimly. This no doubt suits you–you rely on obscurity so no one can see that your sky daddy ain’t there. Why do you presume time exists prior to the creation of the Universe? Why do you presume it exists in the unidirectional, linear manner in which we, in this Universe, experience it?

    Also, the scientific notion of causality (which is essentially that of Hume) presupposes that causality be established either by repeated trials where A is present and we observe B or (a bit different from Hume) a known mechanism exists whereby A could cause B. Neither of those conditions apply to the putative creation of the Universe by your sky daddy.

    KC: “All you really need to affirm is that something can’t come fr nothing.”

    Ah, there it is–the affirmation. That is what one does with FAITH, KC, not science. By stating that Lane-Craig’s argument is Modus Ponens, you are admitting that its validity is contingent on the validity of the antecedent. So, it seems you have a problem–either virtual particles come out of nothing OR the vacuum is a sufficient cause. And if the vacuum is a sufficient cause for virtual particles, then why is it not a sufficient cause for the Universe? Either way, your argument deflates. But thank you for playing.

    Logic–how does it work ,anyway?

  273. 773
    Amphiox

    You perceive a problem with ALL CAPS, KC? For single words and phrases, I just use it for emphasis, where others might bold or italicize. If I wish to “shout” as some others do with all caps, I DO IT WITH WHOLE SENTENCES, LIKE THIS.

    I obviously perceive no problem with this. Others may disagree. You apparently are among them.

    But apparently your vaunted perception cannot even perceive the objective ness of something as simple as an internet convention.

    So much for your vaunted perception of “objective” morality.

    Thanks for conceding the argument, and demonstrating, once again, how pitifully wrong you are.

    (And how utterly pathetic you are, reduced to lamely sputtering about someone’s choice of usage of the caps lock key, after all your arguments, if one can even call them that, have been shot to ribbons? WLC doesn’t PRESUPPOSE? What a pathetic liar you are.)

  274. 774
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control:
    You are pathetic. All this time in this thread and you have accomplished only two things:
    1- showcasing your intellectual dishonesty
    2- showing commenters and lurkers that you have remarkably poor understanding of physics, philosophy, logic, argumentation, and presuppositional apologetics.

  275. 775
    anteprepro

    Ted Kroos sez:

    man its almost like you have no self-awareness…

    I’ve been offering you guys logic and reasoned argument. You guys have offered illogic and special pleading.

    Holy Nacho Cheese flavored Jesus fucking Christ on bath salts in a vat of gravy, that’s a lot of fucking irony.

  276. 776
    chigau (違う)

    anteprepro #775
    ayup
    My irony meter vaporized.

  277. 777
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @jacob

    You’ve yet to give your definition, for that matter.

    I did. It was something that brings about an effect.
    With relevance to the first premise of Kalam (everything that begins to exist has a cause) .
    (Note that this does not deny that certain events can be uncaused, just that something cannot begin to exist without a cause.)
    A cause would be something that brings something else into existence.

    @ Ray
    I see you ignored my 2 other points

    (Regardiing the origin of the universe in a quantum vacuum)

    No, he asserts this–with no justification whatsoever.

    You need to read Craig’s work and stop misrepresenting what he says. He points out several scientific reasons why such situations would have a beginning. Also he’s presented 2 arguments for the finitude of the past

    Why do you presume time exists prior to the creation of the Universe?

    The Kalam argument doesn’t assume this in any of its premises. Craig hold that the cause exists timelessly sans the universe..

    Also, the scientific notion of causality (which is essentially that of Hume) presupposes that causality be established either by repeated trials where A is present and we observe B or (a bit different from Hume) a known mechanism exists whereby A could cause B.

    1) Where’d you get these definitions from?
    2)Some events are by their nature unrepeatable. To conclude OJ caused Nicole Simpson’s death do we have to see him kill her multiple times? Can’t we look at the evidence after the event and conclude what the cause was?

    sky daddy.

    Real mature terminology. You might want to look into why you’re so resentful of the idea of a heavenly father.I’ve read an interesting psychological theory about that

    . That is what one does with FAITH,

    Alright. When I go outside I’m going to take it on faith that an anvil doesn’t materialize uncaused over my head out of nothing and crush me. Thats a BIZARRE ARGUMENT.

    Lane-Craig’s argument is Modus Ponens, you are admitting that its validity is contingent on the validity of the antecedent

    No ,its valid whether or not the antecedent is true. Its truth depends on whether the antecedent is true.

    See above regarding the vacuum. If there’s a particular cosmological model you have in mind I guess we can talk about that.

    Logic–how does it work ,anyway?

    Its not too hard
    http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~pconrad/cs40/lessons/logic/modusPonensModusTollens.html

  278. 778
    Jacob Schmidt

    It was something that brings about an effect.

    Insufficient necessities don’t do that, by definition. Thus, the particles Craig describes are uncaused. We can see this clearly by your own stipulation:

    A cause would be something that brings something else into existence.

    Except the “cause” Craig describes often does not bring those particles into existence.

    Some events are by their nature unrepeatable. To conclude OJ caused Nicole Simpson’s death do we have to see him kill her multiple times? Can’t we look at the evidence after the event and conclude what the cause was?

    You do realize that Nicole Simpson is not the only murdered person, yes? Murder is repeated, at an unfortunately large rate.

  279. 779
    Sastra

    Kroos Control #767 wrote:

    News: Laws enacted in Uganda condemn homosexuals to be put ot death. Laws in Afganistan say Muslim apostates are to be put to death
    “That’s morally fine and objectively neutral. Societies make up morals and they are subjective anyway, so if these societies decide its immoral do those those things , that’s how it should be. I don’t perceive anything morally wrong with this state of affairs”

    Now, now — you already know that wouldn’t characterize my position. I have been arguing in favor of what you might consider “objective morality” from a humanist standpoint, and trying to show that Divine Command Theory actually undercuts any attempt to universalize ethics.

    So here is my real response:
    “That’s morally and objectively wrong, because it’s a moral action which both goes against the secular facts, mistakenly frames the situation, and therefore ultimately fails to treat other humans as the Ugandan Christians and the Afganistan Muslims themselves would want to be treated. Humanism ontologically grounds right and wrong in human beings and our desire for fairness and respect in the societies we deal with. Let us reason about this issue and see if we can persuade them.”

    And here is YOUR response:
    “That’s morally fine as long as it’s what God commands. But if the Christians or Muslims are wrong about what they think God wants, then they are abominations. I know they’re wrong because I correctly perceive God and they don’t; they only think they do. Right and wrong are ontologically grounded in God’s Nature. So let us all pray about this issue and see what God wants us to do.”

  280. 780
    Rob Grigjanis

    Kroos Control @777:

    He points out several scientific reasons why such situations would have a beginning.

    He makes heavy use of this Borde-Guth-Vilenkin paper. He seems to ignore a fairly important part of the discussion;

    …inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the Universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary [20]. This is the chief result of our paper.

    But let Vilenkin explain;

    I then asked Vilenkin, “Does your theorem prove that the universe must have had a beginning?” He immediately replied.

    No. But it proves that the expansion of the universe must have had a beginning. You can evade the theorem by postulating that the universe was contracting prior to some time.

  281. 781
    anteprepro

    Kroos wanks:

    I did. It was something that brings about an effect.

    Really? That’s, for real, the definition you are going with? Are you even trying to hide the fact that you are a moronic troll at this point?

    I see you ignored my 2 other points

    I see you are really not letting up on the irony angle.

    No, he asserts this–with no justification whatsoever.

    You need to read Craig’s work and stop misrepresenting what he says.

    Go fuck yourself you clueless wanker. We don’t need to read more Craig: You need to read LESS Craig. Because it is obvious you know fuck-all about the myriad of the subjects you have brought up, save the little morsels that you are regurgitating exclusively from Craig’s nonsensical apologetics.

    The Kalam argument doesn’t assume this in any of its premises. Craig hold that the cause exists timelessly sans the universe..

    “He doesn’t assume it! He just holds that is true without actually proving it! Silly atheists!”

    To conclude OJ caused Nicole Simpson’s death do we have to see him kill her multiple times? Can’t we look at the evidence after the event and conclude what the cause was?

    Dumbfuck, that scenario would fall under ” a known mechanism exists whereby A could cause B.” The other half of the part you quoted. Really, you just keep finding new ways to be pathetic.

    Real mature terminology. You might want to look into why you’re so resentful of the idea of a heavenly father.I’ve read an interesting psychological theory about that

    Yeah, I bet you’ve “psychological” “theory” on that. Let me guess: Fox News darling Keith Ablow?

    Alright. When I go outside I’m going to take it on faith that an anvil doesn’t materialize uncaused over my head out of nothing and crush me. Thats a BIZARRE ARGUMENT.

    No ,its valid whether or not the antecedent is true. Its truth depends on whether the antecedent is true.

    Yay for sophistry!

  282. 782
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    No ,its valid whether or not the antecedent is true. Its truth depends on whether the antecedent is true.

    Nope, it is presuppositional bullshit to explain why WLC believes in his imaginary deity. Hence fails the EVIDENCE. No theological presuppositional argument is SCIENTIFIC evidence. Science rules what is evidence for it, not you and your fellow delusional fools.

  283. 783
    anteprepro

    And of course, I fucked something up: Twice I cut and pasted in quotes from Kroosy that I didnt’ wind up using, but didn’t remember to remove. So now they are still in there, unblockquoted. Go me.

  284. 784
    Sastra

    News: Laws enacted in Uganda condemn homosexuals to be put ot death. Laws in Afganistan say Muslim apostates are to be put to death

    Kroos Control, the more I think about your choice of examples here, the more perplexing I find it. You apparently deliberately picked out examples of moral evils specifically justified by Divine Command Theory in an attempt to show why we need to use Divine Command Theory to prevent their justification.

    Don’t you find this problematic?

  285. 785
    Amphiox

    The Kalam argument doesn’t assume this in any of its premises. Craig hold that the cause exists timelessly sans the universe..

    That IS assuming the premise, you poor pathetic fapwit.

    You need to read Craig’s work and stop misrepresenting what he says.

    Some of those replying to you on this form HAVE read Craig, through and through. This thread is not the first one here where Craig’s idiocies have been eviscerated, you poor pitiful fapwit.

    News: Laws enacted in Uganda condemn homosexuals to be put ot death. Laws in Afganistan say Muslim apostates are to be put to death

    The people who put those laws in place perceived that they were objectively moral, and indeed, directly commanded by god. You KC, appear to perceive those same laws as immoral.

    So much for any human ability to perceive any “objective” morality.

    Thanks for conceding the argument yet again, you sad sorry specimen.

  286. 786
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    KC,
    Oh, Dude, you are so lost. First, I’ve seen no “points”–merely unjustified assertions. Second, I will note that you nicely avoided most of my post–to wit: if “the vacuum” or “space-time” is a sufficient cause for virtual particles, then why would it not also be so for the Universe as a whole? How is asserting the transcendence of a deity any different that asserting the transcendence of space-time or of a field?

    If one must “affirm” that all events/things have causes (and I contend that this is simply a bald-faced assertion with no justification whatsoever), even then, there is no grounds for attributing that cause to a deity or any other “personal” entity. That has always been the weakness of the cosmological argument–it presupposes everything must have a cause (first fallacy) and then it equates that cause with its desired result (also presupposition and also a fallacy). It is a giant cosmic divide by zero error.

    Unfortunately, when Lane Craig chooses cosmology as a vehicle for the proof of his sky daddy, he has chosen a field where progress has become rapid–the gaps are closing before he can fit his deity into them.

    As to his moral arguments, it seems to me that anyone who asserts universal morality must have a problem–they must assume that ALL the Germans and others who cooperated with the Nazis and all the Hutus that took part in the genocide and on and on were evil. This is neither a parsimonious not historically correct interpretation. If you read the writings and listen to the interviews of participants, they felt that cooperating with their fellows was their moral duty–that they were defending their people against a threat. Voltaire comes closer to the mark in one sentence than Lane Craig in a tome:

    “If they can make you believe absurdities, they can make you commit atrocities.”

    This, more than anything else sums up why I am an atheist. I have never come across a religious approach to life that at some point did not require that I believe absurdities.

  287. 787
    Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    And I’m going to go ahead and call this one for the home team.

    An determined attempt by the amateur Kroos to defeat a professional team, at their own sport, by using Calvinball rules. The pros were kind enough to let you run aimlessly all over the field, but the crowd just thinks you are an idiot. The only points you scored, Kroos, were in your own head.

    Thanks for playing.

  288. 788
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Sastra
    I was mostly thinking about things that happened recently that people have a strong moral response theory. The fact that they applied DCT wrongly doesn’t bother me any more than the fact that social Darwinists/secularists have wrongly applied the evolution theory to get morals bothers you.
    @Rob Grigjanis
    I can’t reproduce his entire chapter here but in his latest publication on Kalam in the blackwell companion to natural theology he does talk about the models that are exception to the BGV theorem
    @Jacob Schmidt

    Insufficient necessities don’t do that, by definition.

    Only if your definiton assumes determinism.
    We can clearly identify the vacuum as a cause , the particles clearly would not have come into being without the vacuum.
    Enough quibbling over the definiton of cause. Do you think something can come from nothing?

  289. 789
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Kroos Control @788:

    I was mostly thinking about things that happened recently that people have a strong moral response

    You do realize that what people think of as moral changes? Our moral standards today are not the same as moral standards in the past. Look at punishment of criminals — in the late 18th and early 19th century, minor theft (say, theft of bread to feed one’s self or family) could lead to long terms served in an overseas prison colony.

    By a lonely prison wall
    I heard a young girl calling
    Micheal they are taking you away
    For you stole Trevelyn’s corn
    So the young might see the morn.
    Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay.

    (Fields of Athenry, Peter St. John)

    Not quite what we would, today, view as a morally acceptable punishment. Other examples of how moral standards change are rife through history. During certain periods of time in Europe, apostasy was punishable by death. Now, it is considered (among most Christian sects) as fairly normal. Into the 1980s, there were states in the USA that did not recognize the existence of spousal rape. Into the 1980s, drunk driving was considered unacceptable and normal at the same time — we winked when someone drove under the influence, we wept when they died.

    So, please explain how objective morals change through time?

    (META: no idea why I am bothering as Kroos Control has failed to respond to any of my questions)

  290. 790
    Amphiox

    KC claimed that the “proof” that DCT was real was that humans could “objectively” perceive it. Bow he claims that other people “misapply” it. That is only possible if the perception is subjective, not objective.

    Thanks for conceding the point yet again, you poor schmuck.

    (oh I know! Only KC has been divinely gifted with the “objective” moral perception! KC’s version of morality is the one true morality, all others are false. And he just knows this because something something. What a disgusting display arrogant pretension.)

  291. 791
    maddog1129

    @ Kroos Control #767

    News: Laws enacted in Uganda condemn homosexuals to be put [to] death. Laws in Afganistan say Muslim apostates are to be put to death
    “That’s morally fine and objectively neutral. Societies make up morals and they are subjective anyway, so if these societies decide its immoral do those those things , that’s how it should be. I don’t perceive anything morally wrong with this state of affairs”

    That is a complete and utter misrepresentation. You are STILL making the mistake of thinking that there are only two options: God-given, written-in-stone, immutable “objective” morality, vs. individual whim, caprice and moral chaos. That is NOT TRUE. You are still missing that there is another possible position.

    Morality is a human institution, and at least a minimal standard of how to get along with one another for mutual benefit and survival. When social groups were very small (kinship groups, tribes, clans) the in-group with whom you had those moral agreements was relatively small also. Other tribes or clans were outsiders, and when competing with them for territory or food or herding pasture or whatever, the rules about how you treat your in-group didn’t apply to them. However, EACH social group had similar norms for their own insiders: e.g., don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t lie. As the dragon used to say, thinking about the Hebrew tribes wandering in the desert for 40 years after escaping Egyptian slavery, it cannot be the case that they only received such morality from God at the foot of Mt. Sinai in the form of written stone tablets, and that before that happened they had no idea that it was wrong to murder or steal or perjure themselves. “They wouldn’t have gotten that far” if they hadn’t ALREADY known that such things were wrong. Even if you assume the story of Moses and the ancestors of the Jewish people wandering in the desert is true (and it’s been archaeologically affirmatively DISproven), it shows an interior contradiction — moral law does not come from on high, from God, from a source outside humanity. The tribe could not have made the journey if, up until the stone tablets were received, they had no notion that killing each other, stealing from each other, and lying were wrong. Morality is obviously human-made, and derived from our solidarity with one another, which we all need to survive. It just depends how big the “in-group” is with whom we have ties of solidarity.

    When social groups became larger (city-states or nations) more people were included in the in-group (to whom moral obligations and duties apply). There were other competing social groups who were outsiders, to whom such duties didn’t necessarily apply. That’s how you get wars. You don’t kill (murder) insiders, but you can kill outsiders in war. That doesn’t mean that morals are whimsical. The social group most definitely enforces the rules on its members. It will punish or expel those who don’t conform or comply.

    Now, with the advances in science and technology, we know that we have kinship with ALL other human beings. We have interconnections and interdependence on ALL other human beings that weren’t there before. Now, ALL other human beings are included in the social in-group, with whom we have solidarity, so that we may all survive and all thrive, and all benefit, and all enjoy the fruits of civilization and wellbeing.

    So, when we now recognize that we are all members of the same tribe, to whom moral obligations and duties are owed, and now that we know principles of liberty and charity, we CAN say that it is wrong for a nation-state to murder some of its citizens for being different in a way that harms no one and which constitutes a form of love. We CAN say that it is wrong for a religious group to murder others whose consciences do not lead them to agree with the religion’s claims.

    It’s not either/or, black/white, absolute God-given rules/moral chaos. We have intersubjective morality. When EVERYONE belongs in the in-group, it is wrong to murder members of the in-group. And we have the ability, through our solidarity, to enforce that intersubjective morality on others. So we can condemn Uganda for its repressive laws, and we can do things to eradicate those laws or take away the ability of the religious thugs in Uganda to kill people under the aegis of those immoral laws.

    You should take back your statement in #767: it is a total misrepresentation of what people here have said.

  292. 792
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    KC,

    Oh, Dude, you are so lost. First, I’ve seen no “points”–merely unjustified assertions. Second, I will note that you nicely avoided most of my post–to wit: if “the vacuum” or “space-time” is a sufficient cause for virtual particles, then why would it not also be so for the Universe as a whole?

    As I said before , this quantum vacuum that our bubble of space–time originated from would have to be finite in the past for scientific and philosophical reasons , and would have been caused

    How is asserting the transcendence of a deity any different that asserting the transcendence of space-time or of a field?

    because such fields are inherently spatial and temporal entities with physical properties. As such they cannot be transcendental

    If one must “affirm” that all events/things have causes (and I contend that this is simply a bald-faced assertion with no justification whatsoever),

    So the fact the something can’t come from nothing has no justification? Do you really believe that? Would you accept that explanation for anything else you encountered?
    How’d that get there? It just popped into being from nothing . No biggie. Don’t bother looking for a cause.
    And of course I did make an argument for this , from our knowledge of empirical truths. You seem to have missed this.

    even then, there is no grounds for attributing that cause to a deity or any other “personal” entity.

    Craig actually presents 3 deductive arguments that the cause of the universe is a personal being. I actually haven’t been able to present that because you can’t seem to wrap your head around the idea that something can’t come from nothing.

    That has always been the weakness of the cosmological argument–it presupposes everything must have a cause (first fallacy)

    I’m not sure you understand what a fallacy is. What you’re trying to say is that you think the first premise is false and things can come into being without other things to bring them into being. You’re saying something can come from nothing.

    and then it equates that cause with its desired result (also presupposition and also a fallacy).

    As I said there are deductive arguments for a personal cause , but you don’t seem to have reached there yet.

    It is a giant cosmic divide by zero error.

    If something can come from nothing , maybe the zero will spontaneously turn into a 1?

    Unfortunately, when Lane Craig chooses cosmology as a vehicle for the proof of his

    Craig has never called it a proof and says he’s not in the business of absolute proof.

    sky daddy,

    all this father resentment from you

    As to his moral arguments, it seems to me that anyone who asserts universal morality must have a problem–they must assume that ALL the Germans and others who cooperated with the Nazis and all the Hutus that took part in the genocide and on and on were evil.

    I distinguish between the actions of people and the people themselves. I affirm that the holocaust was objectively evil and killing the Jews was objectively wrong.
    Do you think it was objectively wrong?

    This is neither a parsimonious not historically correct interpretation. If you read the writings and listen to the interviews of participants, they felt that cooperating with their fellows was their moral duty–that they were defending their people against a threat.

    To quote Peter Haas who studied this in depth

    “the perpetrators acted in strict conformity with an ethic which held that, however difficult and unpleasant the task might have been, mass extermination of the Jews and Gypsies was entirely justified. . . . the Holocaust as a sustained effort was possible only because a new ethic was in place that did not define the arrest and deportation of Jews as wrong and in fact defined it as ethically tolerable and ever good”

    One poster here said that societies invented morality. Nazi Germany invented their own ethic , their own morality and said it was Ok to kill Jews.
    What are your views on this? Are you saying that morality is subjective and since they felt they were doing right , that was OK?

    Voltaire comes closer to the mark in one sentence than Lane Craig in a tome

    Cause why read opposing views?

    This, more than anything else sums up why I am an atheist. I have never come across a religious approach to life that at some point did not require that I believe absurdities.

    I guess that’s why I think atheism is wrong. I think its absurd to say something can come from nothing. I clearly perceive that the extermination of millions of Jews was an objectively evil act and it seems absurd for me to deny this. Your worldview seems to have some absurdities of its own.

  293. 793
    Jacob Schmidt

    We can clearly identify the vacuum as a cause , the particles clearly would not have come into being without the vacuum.

    Which requires equivocation between necessity and cause. You’ve yet to demonstrate such an equivocation is valid, or anything but ad hoc bullshit.

    Further, as I’ve already shown, your own words preclude insufficient necessities as causes.

    Finally, deities are deterministic causes. A deterministic cause is what you need to demonstrate.

    Do you think something can come from nothing?

    A) Irrelevant to whether or not the universe had a cause
    B) Especially irrelevant to whether or not your preferred deity is that cause.

    (Seriously, I answered this already)

  294. 794
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I guess that’s why I think atheism is wrong.

    Who gives a shit what a fuckwitted presuppositionalist thinks about atheism. You have it wrong. Your deity doesn’t exist. Period, end of story. You present no EVIDENCE that it does, and your little theology sophistry is not and never will be that EVIDENCE.

  295. 795
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Jacob Schmidt

    Do you think something can come from nothing?
    A) Irrelevant to whether or not the universe had a cause

    Yes it is relevant
    Answer yes or no. Then we can move on to A.

  296. 796
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    Let me rephrase for Jacob
    If something comes into being , is it reasonable to believe there is something else that brought it into being?

  297. 797
    chigau (違う)

    Hi Oggie
    Wanna chat?
    What ever happened to objective morality?
    Is “invisible sky fairy” a better term than “sky daddy”?

  298. 798
    Jacob Schmidt

    Answer yes or no. Then we can move on to A.

    Nope. If the answer is yes, there may still be a cause. If the answer is no, there must be a cause. Neither answer precludes any precondition or cause; neither answer gives any indication of the nature of a the purported cause.

    It does not matter in the slightest.

  299. 799
    Jacob Schmidt

    If something comes into being , is it reasonable to believe there is something else that broughht it into being?

    This is very irrelevant.

  300. 800
    Sastra

    Kroos Control #788 wrote:

    @Sastra
    I was mostly thinking about things that happened recently that people have a strong moral response theory. The fact that they applied DCT wrongly doesn’t bother me any more than the fact that social Darwinists/secularists have wrongly applied the evolution theory to get morals bothers you.

    Your analogy doesn’t work. Using a science theory (gravity) to derive a moral rule (people must keep low to the ground) is a category error. Science theories are not moral theories nor meant to be moral theories.

    But Divine Command Theory IS a moral theory. And technically the Christians and Muslims didn’t misapply Divine Command Theory at all. On the contrary, they did it exactly right. They followed it to a T.

    Right and wrong are grounded in God’s Perfect nature and commands: obedience to God is good; disobedience is evil. They consulted God as best as they could and followed through exactly as the theory said they should. God values transcendent purity and requires that His followers value it also. Killing homosexuals and infidels makes sense according to sacred scripture and a spiritual moral guide: it is not rationally justified or justifiable on secular grounds. There is no further possible argument against God; there is no way to even approach much less resolve a dispute except on religious ground: faith vs. faith.

    They didn’t misapply it. They “misheard” the command. They misinterpreted God. They put faith in the wrong version of God. There is nothing more subjective than what people believe God is.

    But there is a more serious problem than just what you’re calling “wrong application.” It’s that IF they’re right about God, then you have to change your total stance regarding whether or not it’s okay to kill homosexuals and infidels. I can say it’s wrong because I stand on not just common human nature, but — as maddog12129 points out — we stand on reason. We can improve our standard. We can use ethical reasoning and consider harm, rights, outcomes, consistency.

    You can’t do that. If you’re arguing in favor of the unquestionable perfection of God’s Nature and inflexible justification of God’s commands (which are “always” good regardless of whether you and I think they are good) then you must admit that IF God commands that you kill the homosexual and infidel, then you do not have the status, the ability, nor the means to question this command.

    It’s a deep flaw in the system. Far from allowing you to point confidently at a moral rule that can’t be wrong, Divine Command Theory forces you to be so flexible you can jump to the opposite side IF it turns out your sensus divinitus was slightly off track and the morally perfect God is throwing its moral perfection into another direction. Divine Command Theory unhinges morality from its human consequences and objective common ground and allows it to go in any subjective direction the One True Subject vibrates its perfect intrinsicity into.

  301. 801
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    If something comes into being , is it reasonable to believe there is something else that broughht it into being?

    Fuckwit then how did your imaginary deity come into being? And how did that being come to be? Since your doesn’t exist, except as a delusion in your mind, it is a moot question. But it is required for you to answer if you expect us to answer you, and by saying “eternal”, you acknowledge you don’t have any explanation, so we don’t need on either.

  302. 802
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    KC’s definition of cause: “By definiton ,we know a cause as something which brings about or produces its effects.”

    This really doesn’t tell us what a “cause” is, does it. I mean all you have done is replace “cause” with its synonym “bring about” or produce. How would I identify a cause by your definition?

    KC: ” this quantum vacuum that our bubble of space–time originated from would have to be finite in the past for scientific and philosophical reasons , and would have been caused”

    OK, let’s analyze the phrases that make up this turgid sentence:

    ” this quantum vacuum that our bubble of space–time originated from”–OK, we’ll call our space-time bubble “the Universe”, but we frankly do not know exactly what it originated from. There are competing theories.

    KC: “would have to be finite in the past”

    Some mighty big assumptions here–but even if we allow for finiteness of space-time “in the beginning”, how do we know that our Universe did not start out as a small subset of a much larger Universe (as some cosmologies suggest)? How do we know it wasn’t the product of a “big bounce” from a black hole’s collapse in another Universe. The inflationary epoch would have effectively destroyed all contact with this previous Universe. And again, you use the word “transcendent”–transcending what? Time comes into being with our Universe. What can you possibly mean by speculating about what existed “before time”?

    Does it maybe occur to you that the reason why you are having difficulty defining “cause” and coming up with a justification for the cosmological argument is because your argument is ultimately circular. Again, either virtual particles come ex nihilo, or the vacuum itself is sufficient cause. Now you want to assert that it is insufficient cause for the Universe because it doesn’t transcend the Universe. Why? Who says?

    for scientific and philosophical reasons

    , and would have been caused

  303. 803
    Amphiox

    If something comes into being , is it reasonable to believe there is something else that broughht it into being?

    No.

    It is reasonable to believe in the something else if there is actual evidence for that sonething else. And that is it.

  304. 804
    Jacob Schmidt

    Totally off topic:

    Due to the inefficiencies of a tablet, I accidentally added an ‘h’ to the word ‘brought’ in my quote from KC. That error has propagated.

    I find that kinda interesting, is all.

  305. 805
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Ray

    Cool. The defintion of cause isn’t overly important to kalam. What’s important is that something can’t come from nothing.

    SO yeah , you can say maybe the universe existed in a previous state , or their was a universe prior to our that caused it.
    But if you grant the past is finite, the first universe , the first state , it must have had an origin at t=0. Now the cause of the universe would have brought space and time into being so it must transcend space and time. Agree?

  306. 806
    David Marjanović

    how do we know that our Universe did not start out as a small subset of a much larger Universe (as some cosmologies suggest)?

    Eternal inflation for example.

    How do we know it wasn’t the product of a “big bounce” from a black hole’s collapse in another Universe.

    …as proposed for example by the theory of cosmological natural selection.

  307. 807
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    chigau @797:

    What ever happened to objective morality?

    The Gish-gallop is alive and well. Kroos Control is a living testament to the creative stylings of Duane Gish.

  308. 808
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @jacob

    That error has propagated.

    Random mutation?

    The question is super-relevant . Answer it

  309. 809
    Jacob Schmidt

    The question is super-relevant . Answer it

    Your assertions mean shit.

    Move on.

  310. 810
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Now the cause of the universe would have brought space and time into being so it must transcend space and time. Agree?

    Only if you agree your imaginary deity doesn’t transcend space and time fuckwit. We know how you stupid presups operate. It was totally predictable you would try to force agreement where there isn’t any, and won’t be any, until you admit YOU ARE WRONG.

  311. 811
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Wow. People still take the Kalām cosmological argument seriously? It’s nothing more than an argument from ignorance dressed up in philosophical robes for Halloween.

    What’s next, a serious argument for personal invulnerability based on Zeno’s arrow paradox?

  312. 812
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The question is super-relevant . Answer it

    Your answer to the question, where does one find the conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity? is also super relevant. Answer it, or shut the fuck up.

  313. 813
    Amphiox

    But if you grant the past is finite,

    IF. You cannot grant that. You must present evidence to that effect. You must also define what you mean by past when you are talking about the “origin” of time itself.

    the first universe , the first state , it must have had an origin at t=0.

    False. You presuppose this “must” without evidence. You must also first define what you mean by “origin at t=0 when time itself did not exist until after the origin.

    Now the cause of the universe would have brought space and time into being so it must transcend space and time. Agree?

    False again. Once more PRESUPPOSING that the universe needs a cause.

    As well as PRESUPPOSING that a cause for space and time would need to transcend space and time.

    Which it doesn’t.

  314. 814
    Amphiox

    KC has some nerve demanding anyone to answer his questions when he has been dishonestly evading and ignoring so many of the questions directed at him. And this disgusting immoral liar claims to be able to perceive “objective” morality?

    Pathetic.

  315. 815
    Christopher

    A great nail in the Kalam coffin has been reported in pre-publication:

    https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/d5d3dc850933

    There is evidence (real evidence that we can measure and repeat, not a big idea someone came up with while high on shrooms revelations style) that time is an emergent property of matter. Time inside our universe only has meaning for those of us in the universe. Using human terms seeped in our experience of time, like “before” and “after”, don’t make much sense in a reference frame lacking time.

  316. 816
    Sastra

    Common sense intuitions about space, time, cause, and relationships are going to break down when you’re dealing with physics. After all, don’t we “know” that a heavy object will fall faster than a light one? Add in quantum levels and questions regarding the origins of space/time itself and all our experiences with situations we think are similar ‘enough’ to use as analogies just don’t work. It’s new territory … and there’s usually math.

    WLC also appeals to personal insights regarding how minds are obviously “timeless” and “simple causes” outside of the laws of nature — insights which nobody with any serious understanding of how we get mind from brain will endorse. They are wrong. His arguments were first made hundreds of years ago. This ought to be a red flag that no, they’re not going to snugly fit into a scientific view.

    As for KC and the Gish Gallop — aw, give the kid a break. There are about dozen of us and about 4 different arguments going on. I’m not saying that I’m sure he or she would of course stick beautifully to the topic if there wasn’t all the noise, but it takes a lot of discipline to ignore pointed criticisms about being ignored.

    The flip side of the Gish Gallop is the rather laudible one of trying to make sure that every one of your opponent’s arguments gets addressed. Craig, who is skilled in debate, is usually pretty rigorous on this one. It’s why he can so effectively complain when the other side “drops” something to focus on a more interesting or more complicated area. Craig has a sound bite for everything. They’ve been practiced on till they sound like clear, common sense explanations well-attested and aimed at the moderately bright.

  317. 817
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Christopher:

    There is evidence (real evidence that we can measure and repeat, not a big idea someone came up with while high on shrooms revelations style) that time is an emergent property of matter.

    Hey! I was coming back to post almost this exact same thing — that quantum mechanics suggests that causality may very well be an emergent property of the universe, rather than an intrinsic property — only with historical QM work (the delayed choice quantum eraser experiment, for instance).

    This new paper looks extremely interesting. Thanks for the link.

  318. 818
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Sastra

    Thanks Sastra. Sometimes I tend to group similar arguments in my head when I have time to write posts and some definitely get dropped. And its definitely hard to ignore certain criticisms when you feel they’re wrong.

    IMO the main problem with the Gallop , was that it was off topic. I don’t think its unreasonable in a debate to point out when the other guy hasn’t answered a relevant point.
    So what premise of Kalam do you disagree with?

  319. 819
    vaiyt

    News: Laws enacted in Uganda condemn homosexuals to be put ot death. Laws in Afganistan say Muslim apostates are to be put to death
    “That’s morally fine and objectively neutral. Societies make up morals and they are subjective anyway, so if these societies decide its immoral do those those things , that’s how it should be. I don’t perceive anything morally wrong with this state of affairs”

    They certainly don’t. So much for your “objective” morality that one can “clearly perceive”.

  320. 820
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    “The universe had a beginning”

    is one I clearly disagreed with upthread.

    There has been no attempt by you to show that it did have a beginning.

    Moreover, since a cause must precede an effect, there must be an earlier moment in which the cause may operate. “Before time started” makes no sense.

    There is no cause of the beginning of time in the sense of “cause” you and WLC wish to employ.

    Demonstrate otherwise, or KALAM is bunkum.

    Moreover, sidestepping the gallop and getting back to the original matter, you still have not explained what you mean by “perceiving” morality.

    What organs and what neurons are involved in this perception? I know how light activates opsins in certain cells that then trigger neurons to communicate with the occipital lobe. Because I know how this happens and under what conditions it happens, I can say that my experience of sight, absent a hallucination, reflects an underlying reality.

    What is the mechanism you propose for “perceiving” morality and how does our knowledge of that process compare with our knowledge of the process of sight?

  321. 821
    maddog1129

    further @ Kroos Control #767

    News: Laws enacted in Uganda condemn homosexuals to be put [to] death. Laws in Afganistan say Muslim apostates are to be put to death
    “That’s morally fine and objectively neutral. Societies make up morals and they are subjective anyway, so if these societies decide its immoral do those those things , that’s how it should be. I don’t perceive anything morally wrong with this state of affairs”

    This is also an example of how morality changes over time.
    Once upon a time, liberty of conscience was not deemed a moral value. It was perfectly all right for various religious in-groups to suppress different-believers and un-believers, because such people were regarded as outsiders. Since the Enlightenment, liberty of conscience, as an individual freedom, is esteemed as one of the highest moral values. Another outgrowth of Enlightenment philosophy is the consideration that all human beings are related, and should belong to the in-group, toward whom mutual duties and obligations are owed.

    Yet another development is the moral status of the death penalty. Once upon a time, human morality saw nothing wrong with the death penalty. The Hebrew and Christian bibles are chock-full of death penalty offenses. The God of the Bible, as represented in those books, thinks the death penalty is morally fine and just. Not only that, the Christian God thinks it is moral to torture people for eternity.

    By contrast, many people today think that the death penalty is wrong in all cases. There is not universal agreement, yet, on this moral value, but the consensus that “the death penalty is wrong” is growing all the time, and may even be a majority view by now.

    To the extent that human beings now consider ALL human beings as included in the “in-group,” to whom mutual moral obligations and duties are owed, and as to whom we stand in solidarity for mutual benefit and wellbeing, the larger social group (all of humanity) can inter-subjectively determine that it is wrong to inflict the death penalty on people, or that it is wrong to punish people for religious (liberty of conscience) disagreements, or that it is wrong to punish people for loving someone, or it is wrong to punish/kill someone for being honest. In this larger society, Uganda is now acting like the sociopath, and murdering people for no good reason. The larger society may sanction Uganda until it brings its behavior into line with the morality of that larger society. In the same way, the fundamentalist Muslims who want to murder apostates are acting like the sociopath. The larger society, which has an agreed moral value that individual liberty of conscience applies to all people, can bring pressure to bear to enforce the moral value held by the larger society.

    In actual fact and practice, this is what we see happening. The larger society DOES hold a morality different from that of Uganda and fundamentalist Islamism. And it does use social means to enforce the moral values of the larger community, the family of all human beings. Just because morality doesn’t come from God doesn’t mean that everything is up for grabs and no one can say anything about what other people (including sociopaths) are doing. So stop acting as if the only two choices are God-given morality and moral chaos, and please stop misrepresenting what other people have said.

  322. 822
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    KC:

    So what premise of Kalam do you disagree with?

    As cause and effect exist only because of time, the fact that time “started” with the start of inflation means cause and effect didn’t exist before the universe “began.” This invalidates the core premise of Kalam.

    Further, even if you disregard that rather troublesome point, the conclusion that the “first cause” must be God is an arbitrary assumption. David Marjanović mentions two far more plausible alternatives in #806. These alternatives avoid the rather sticky problem of creating a completely new and unknowable entity whole-cloth, and are quite a bit more logically satisfying.

    And finally, there is just the base philosophy of it. The KCA is an argument crafted to justify belief, not to help understand our universe or ourselves. The product of the KCA, God, is ultimately unknowable. This God does not have to have any specific attributes, other than the ability to kick off a universe. It could be that God killed itself when creating the universe. It could be that God is a malevolent creature who is only interested in torturing spiders when wasps lay eggs inside them. The KCA provides no reason to assume any aspect of the God it attempts to prove, other than the role of first cause. Yet that is exactly what people who invoke the KCA attempt to do — to prove their own preconceptions of what God is.

    So, the KCA is useless both as a tool for understanding our universe, and as a tool of theology. It is philosophically weak, as its assumptions have been shown to be false. It is logically weak, as it attempts to define God as any entity or process that could start a universe. (This conflation is at the heart of William Lane Craig’s crafting of the KCA.) It is epistemically weak, as it was built not from premise, but from conclusion.

    The KCA is a useless logical puzzle that relies on false assumptions and creates neither knowledge nor insight.

  323. 823
    vaiyt

    So what premise of Kalam do you disagree with?

    All of them, because the conclusion does not follow.

    Sorry, bud, minds are not timeless, they’re generated by brains which are perfectly ordinary 4-dimensional objects. That also makes the whole “the only timeless thing that causes timed effects is conscious action” line of argument fall apart, and leaves Craig with no argument to show that A mind created the Universe, let alone that it was Yahweh’s.

    The rest is just ordinary special pleading. The universe is finite and material, therefore the cause had to be the opposite. How did that cause came about? It didn’t, because… because, that’s why! Also, Yahweh is infinite and immaterial, so there! If infinite and immaterial things couldn’t cause finite and material things, how would Yahweh part the Red Sea and impregnate Mary? Checkmate, atheists!

  324. 824
    Amphiox

    Cause preceding effect, effect following cause, cause producing effect, all this is true only because time exists. (And in fact it is how we measure the passage of time)

    It is completely nonsensical to even talk about cause in the absence of or prior to time. There is no such thing as a “first cause” for time, because the very concept of “cause” cannot exist without their first being time. Time, in fact, is the “cause” of cause.

    An entity that transcends space and time would not in fact be able to be a cause for anything.

  325. 825
    David Marjanović

    https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/d5d3dc850933

    Oh, wow. I need to read this tomorrow (…which begins in 40 minutes).

    Common sense intuitions about space, time, cause, and relationships are going to break down when you’re dealing with physics.

    The problem here is that KC still hasn’t grasped that physics flatly contradicts anything remotely resembling common sense about these topics – while the Kalām argument presupposes that common sense is correct!

    Once upon a time, human morality saw nothing wrong with the death penalty.

    The Hittite empire had largely abolished it; there’s a law table preserved that says if someone doubts the word of the Great King in his capacity as supreme judge, “then let their house be a rubble heap”, but nobody is killed. A later letter to the pharaoh implies that the death penalty had been abolished even for murder.

    Texas: three thousand two hundred years behind the times. (And never mind China or *barf* North Korea.)

    It could be that God killed itself when creating the universe.

    The Big Bang was when God exploded, and matter is sort of His ash…? :-)

  326. 826
    David Marjanović

    40 minutes? 25 by now.

  327. 827
    Weedless Monkey

    The Big Bang was when God exploded, and matter is sort of His ash…? :-)

    Plausible explanation as most, and as Ash has a chainsaw, it’s also groovy.

  328. 828
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    So what premise of Kalam do you disagree with?

    The presupposition that your imaginary deity even exists or is needed. DUH.

  329. 829
    Dhorvath, OM

    “Good? Bad? I have the gun.” Yep, sounds like most deities.

  330. 830
    Amphiox

    The problem here is that KC still hasn’t grasped that physics flatly contradicts anything remotely resembling common sense about these topics – while the Kalām argument presupposes that common sense is correct!

    It occurs to me that one of those common sense concepts that KC and WLC and Kalam cling to is that the something/nothing dichotomy is all there is, whereas an argument could be made that space and time are not things and therefore neither something nor nothing. Space instead is the dimension(s) in which things exist, while time is the dimension in which events that happen to things occur.

  331. 831
    chigau (違う)

    I’m still having a hard time processing the un-ironic use of “heavenly father”.

  332. 832
    Rey Fox

    I’m still having a hard time processing the un-ironic use of “heavenly father”.

    Heh, indeed.

    You might want to look into why you’re so resentful of the idea of a heavenly father.I’ve read an interesting psychological theory about that

    Was it called “growing up”?

  333. 833
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The problem with presuppositionalists.

    We often get godbots trying their latest presuppositional argument here, trying to convert the “heathens”. They have lots of problems here, all due to their own ignorance.
    The first problem they have is with the nature of their deity. Either it interacts with the universe, or it is a deist type of deity, and created the universe, doesn’t give a shit about it, and went off to do other god-like things. The deist deity can and is dismissed as irrelevant. If it started the universe, it has been AWOL since, and for all intents and purposes can be ignored by parsimony. The Xian deity of the babble, did interact with the universe, and if the babble isn’t a book of mythology/fiction, the traces of said interaction should be there fore science to see. And science sees nothing. And will see nothing based on the typical theological presuppositional sophistry arguments, be they “how do you know”, “absolute morality”, “objective morality”, or “something created needs a creator”. All are false do to the lack of physical evidence for the imaginary deity.
    The second problem is simply evidence for the imaginary deity. If it is doing something, then there should be evidence out there for its existence. Evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. But until said evidence has been presented, the presuppositionalist has the problem that honesty and integrity demand, either they do have that physical evidence for their deity, or they shut the fuck up about. Only liars and bullshitters, who can’t put up, and can’t/won’t shut up, continue to pretend that which they can’t evidence properly. At this point, everything they say can and is considered bullshit, for refutation and laughs only. Nothing they say is to be believed without confirming third party evidence.
    Third, presuppositionalists lie about the nature of the preaching they are doing. A common tactic is to pretend that full refutations, like the inability to present physical evidence for their deity, can be ignored. Only if they want to tacitly admit they are lying and bullshitting, as that evidence doesn’t exist, they know it, but don’t care they lie and bullshit. A subset of this is to try to find “agreement” where none really exists, by actually lying and bullshitting it does exist. Never did, never will, and their sad pathetic attempts at this tactic are nothing but further conformation they are nothing but liars and bullshitters.
    The fourth problem presuppositionalists have is when their fuckwittery, lies and bullshit are exposed, they try to pretend nobody has answered their a questions, and other bullshit. But, until they answer where the fuck is the conclusive physical evidence for their imaginary deities, nothing but more prima facie evidence they are nothing but liars and bullshitters.
    The fifth problem they have is that at heart, they are squeamish about being called what they are, liars and bullshitters, and tone troll. If you don’t want your claims dismissed, or be shown to be a copypasta expert, never, ever, accuse one of your opponents of doing the same.
    So KC, you have been exposed to the lurkers for the utter contemptible liar and bullshitter you are. Your word is bullshit and can be and dismissed as irrelevant fuckwittery. Your chance of a convert, zero. So, are you up to changing your tactics, or will you continue to demonstrate your opinion should be dismissed on sight? Your choice Cricket. You should choose wisely, but I sincerely doubt that. You are simply too ignorant to realize you lost before you even started.

  334. 834
    Rob Grigjanis

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space @604:

    there just isn’t much point in attributing cause to something that you cannot predict, observe or control

    So why not toss ’cause’ out of the dictionary (not ‘causality’, as that would require a lot of rewriting of QFT textbooks)? What do you think is caused?

    In QM, effects are multi-valued. Answers are no longer ‘a or b or c, etc’, but ‘a with probability x, b with probability y, etc’. It’s been that way for a hundred years or so. When did this become controversial?

    It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that your framing is designed specifically to counter theist first cause arguments. “look, here’s something which has no cause!”. Which is pretty lame, if true.

  335. 835
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that your framing is designed specifically to counter theist first cause arguments. “look, here’s something which has no cause!”. Which is pretty lame, if true.

    Which is wrong how? Since the theists and their fuckwitted first cause argument are WRONG?

  336. 836
    Sastra

    Kroos Control #818 wrote:

    So what premise of Kalam do you disagree with?

    Way back in #365 I said that I thought all the premises were debatable, but that for me personally the arguments which try to bring in intelligent agency as a special kind of cause existing outside of time, space, and the laws of physics were both the most crucial to the argument — and the weakest. Anything up to that section could apply in theory to a large variety of mindless causes.

    But by suddenly (and almost casually) introducing Pure Mentality with the power of intention as something we ‘recognize’ as true, the Kalam finally brings in the supernatural — and crashes spectacularly under the weight of its ancient and simplistic folk theories of mind.

  337. 837
    anteprepro

    Kroos says, TO US:

    IMO the main problem with the Gallop , was that it was off topic . I don’t think its unreasonable in a debate to point out when the other guy hasn’t answered a relevant point.

    Hahahahahaha…..

    hahahaha…

    hahaha…

    ha….

    ha….

    heh….

    GO. FUCK. YOURSELF.

  338. 838
    Amphiox

    Intelligence is the manipulation of information.
    Information is encoded in sequences of events.
    Time is what separates events and allows for the existence of sequences.
    Without time there can be no sequences nor any manipulation of them.
    Without manipulation of sequences there can be no intelligence.
    An intelligence transcendent of time is a non-sensical concept.

  339. 839
    vaiyt

    IMO the main problem with the Gallop , was that it was off topic.

    Oh lol. The problem with the Gish Gallop, KC, is that it’s a dishonest tactic. Its only purpose is to overwhelm your opponent in so much superficial bullshit, they don’t have the time or the expertise to answer it all at once. Once Gallopers are forced to stay on one specific topic, the vacuity of their non-arguments is apparent.

  340. 840
    Jacob Schmidt

    It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that your framing is designed specifically to counter theist first cause arguments. “look, here’s something which has no cause!”. Which is pretty lame, if true.

    It’s more that, from what I can see, KC wants to have it both ways. KC wants to shoehorn something like QM, where a given state may or may not lead to a given event, into the idea that god created the universe. The latter states that some being intentionally creates the universe; the act of causing is something that being controls. QM, being a matter of probability rather than control, precludes that.

  341. 841
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kroos Control:

    I guess that’s why I think atheism is wrong. I think its absurd to say something can come from nothing

    You don’t know what atheism is. Atheism is not a position that attempts to answer yes/no or right/wrong. It’s not beliving in deities. I suppose if one were to ask “Is it reasonable to be an atheist?”, that would be a yes/no answer. Of course my answer to that is YES. There is no logical, rational, evidence based reason to believe in any deity-including your malevolent sky daddy. Moreover, atheism doesn’t say something can come from nothing-you tacked that on (if atheism “says” anything, its given the lack of evidence for the existence of deities, there is no reason to believe the universe was created by any god or gods).

    As for your pitiful whinging about “sky daddy”, there’s this movie where they talk about The Man in the Sky and, well, theists are the ones who decided yahweh was male (plus, he is referred to as “the father”).

  342. 842
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Somewhere, up in the clouds, God has his head buried in his hands. He is thinking, “With friends like Kroos Control, who needs enemies?”

    Or possibly not. But I would be.

  343. 843
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Daz:

    Somewhere, up in the clouds, God has his head buried in his hands. He is thinking, “With friends like Kroos Control, who needs enemies?”

    I bet you know this objectively, huh?

  344. 844
    Amphiox

    I guess that’s why I think atheism is wrong. I think its absurd to say something can come from nothing

    This quote here really demonstrates KC dishonest presuppositionalism. Because whether something can come from nothing or something must come from something is actually immaterial to atheism. Even if a first cause is required, atheism merely posits that the first cause, whatever it is, is not anything that could be called a god. EITHER “something can come from nothing, the universe came from nothing” OR “something cannot come from nothing, and the universe had a first cause, which was not god” is compatible with atheism.

    So we plainly see how thinking “it’s absurd to say something can come from nothing” cannot a EVER be an HONEST reason for thinking atheism is wrong. KC, once again, is lying. He does not reject atheism because of the issue with something coming from nothing, as he dishonestly claims. He rejects atheism because he has already presupposed a god. The something from nothing bit is simply the excuse he has made up afte the fact to justify his presupposition, in order to pretend it is not a presupposition.

  345. 845
    Sastra

    I guess that’s why I think atheism is wrong. I think its absurd to say something can come from nothing

    As others are pointing out, atheism does not entail that “something can come from nothing.” What it does say is that it is very unlikely that something like matter and energy could have come out of a preexisting mental-ity.

    Do you think that you can create an elephant just by imagining an elephant and willing it into existence? No, that would be absurd. But this is how you explain the existence of the cosmos. This is the intuition you appeal to in order to solve what is, at heart, a scientific question.

    Except in your scenario the person who wills existence into existence has no brain, no body, no history of development, no environment, no location, no experience of other minds or elephants or any clear reason to want them in the first place. God dangles on nothing, formed in your image but without any bit of your background and limitations.

  346. 846
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Rob Grigjanis: “It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that your framing is designed specifically to counter theist first cause arguments. “look, here’s something which has no cause!”. ”

    I hope that you won’t mind if I refuse to take responsibility for a lack of imagination on your part.

    Do you agree that attribution of cause in science is inductive? To say A causes B requires
    1) A precedes B.
    2) B occurs if A is present and does not occur if A is not present.

    But this is simple correlation, and so cannot equate to causation. In addition, there must be a mechanism by which A causes B. If there is no known mechanism, then one must be found. One can conduct ever more controlled repetitions of trials in which A is realized and we note whether B occurs. We form theories that eventually lead to a theory of a mechanism, which we can verify.

    Now look at the example of the production of a virtual particle–what causes the fluctuation of the field that generates the momentary appearance of the particle. There simply is no way to establish a cause. Now let us imagine that there is some entity that does “know” exactly where, when and for how long the particle appears. If we call this entity God and posit that it can communicate to us whatever knowledge it possesses, then quantum mechanics is incomplete. That runs contrary to our experience, as no experiment quantum mechanics has been verified to more zeros than any other theory. It is also problematic vis a vis John Bell’s relations. It is also problematic from the point of view of the very existence of delayed choice/quantum entanglement.

    So, yes, I do have a problem with the concept of deities–it is very difficult to square a deity who jams its thumbs into the celestial clockwork with an understandable universe. And I a deity has no observable effect, why bother?

    So, causality, free will or physical reality–what and how much of each do you give up?

  347. 847
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    KC, to presume a t=0 presumes a linear conception of time. How do you know time is not cyclic?

  348. 848
    Rob Grigjanis

    @846:

    I hope that you won’t mind if I refuse to take responsibility for a lack of imagination on your part.

    Don’t mind at all, sunshine. You can refuse to take responsibility for whatever you like.

    A causes B, where B is a set of outcomes with associated probabilities. The mechanism is particle interactions. Not complicated.

    Now look at the example of the production of a virtual particle–what causes the fluctuation of the field that generates the momentary appearance of the particle. There simply is no way to establish a cause.

    There’s no cause because there’s no event! Again, you’re bringing classical notions to a QM context. You see a lowest order Feynman diagram, and see a ‘particle’ being exchanged, as though this is an event. It’s not. There are states going in, and (possibly different) states coming out, and field interactions between. We see the in and out states, not any exchange.

    Discussions of ‘vacuum fluctuations’ are even worse. People talk as though particles pop in and out of existence, again, as though those are real events. And of course, if they are events, one can ask whether they are caused. You’ll even see this in textbooks, which is an example of a popularization leaking backwards. But in textbooks, you’ll never see calculations which involve anything popping in and out (unless I missed some – let me know). You’ll see, in the Casimir effect, sums over zero (ground state) modes with definite energy. But we can’t shake the classical view that, in the ground state, ‘virtual particles’ must be doing something. Heinz-Dieter Zeh;

    In classical theory, a system in thermal equilibrium would require an ensemble that is based on incomplete information or coarse graining, which are in turn often justified by time-averaging over some chaotic motion (using ergodic theory). This classical picture seems to have given rise to the quite inadaquate [sic] misnomer of “quantum fluctuations”, although it represents exactly time-independent quantum states.

    There’s nothing wrong with a nice explanatory picture, until you take it too seriously.

    The rest – deities, Bell’s theorem, etc has nothing to do with what we’re discussing. This is terminology, and weird ideas about ‘virtual particles’, and that’s all.

    Anyway, this is my last word on the subject. Probably.

  349. 849
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tony! #843

    I am, like Franklin Blake, pretending to consider the Objective-Subjective, whilst actually just bullshitting, and hoping I get something right by luck.

    Maybe I should take up theology…

  350. 850
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    unless we somehow assume there is an absolute morality.

    Absolute morality requires a non-imaginary deity. Now KC, where the fuck is your conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity? Put up or shut the fuck up.

  351. 851
    Kroos Control , persona non grata

    @Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Welcome to the brawl down here!
    You obviously seem familiar with teh argument and that’s a plus.
    I think I’m suffering a bit with the format. I’ll be defending premise 1. and someone would object to step 4. I’m usually really good at keeping people on topic and establishing a premise before moving on when I talk to people in real life.
    To sketch the premises
    (p1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause
    (p2) The universe began to exist
    (c3)The universe has a cause
    (analysis-4) The cause of the universe is a transcendent personal agent
    With regard to 4,. The cause of the universe would have brought time and space into being, so
    3 lines of arguments to suggest the cause was a personal being
    1)distinguish between state-state and agent-state causation- a timeless cause would give rise to a timeless effect. The only way to get a temporal effect from a timeless cause would be the free action of an libertarian agent
    2)distinguish between personal and physical/impersonal explanations
    (Impersonal explanations usually involve reference to laws of nature and initial conditions. Causally prior to the universe there were no laws and initial conditions , so the explanation must be a personal one.)
    3)Timelessly existing entities that could have caused the universe- The only such kinds of entities are minds and abstract objects. Abstract objects are abstract and do not cause things to exist so it must have been a mind.

    Objections to 1.
    You guys can debate the definition of cause/necessary pre conditions all you want.Its not super-relevant what you want to call it. You would have to affirm the universe came into being out of nothing with no preconditions/causes to escape the conclusion.
    I made an argument from the PSR and our knowledge of empirical truths earlier you need to address if you really want to say something can come from nothing.
    “There was no time before the universe”
    True , but we can clearly conceive of causes being simultaneous with their effects and have examples of such. I hold that God’s act of creation was simultaneous with the universe and time coming into being
    (2)
    “inflation. model”
    Well for scientific reasons like the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem show most inflation models would be finite in teh past. There are also philosophical reasons like the impossibility of traversing an infinite series of past events to say teh past is finite and must have had a beginning. Even in the models where the universe exiisted in a different state or caused by another universe , if the models are finite in teh past , the first universe or first state of teh universe would have had an absolute beginnig
    (3)
    follows from the premises

    (4)
    @Avo

    The product of the KCA, God, is ultimately unknowable.

    Maybe , but if there was one, most people would want to know. I know i would want to know

    The KCA provides no reason to assume any aspect of the God it attempts to prove, other than the role of first cause.

    True , but hey , if you want to start talking about God , you’ve got to start somewhere. There are other arguments for other aspects.

    @ Sastra

    but that for me personally the arguments which try to bring in intelligent agency as a special kind of cause existing outside of time, space, and the laws of physics were both the most crucial to the argument — and the weakest. …
    introducing Pure Mentality with the power of intention as something we ‘recognize’ as true, the Kalam finally brings in the supernatural

    I think teh Kalam really just assumes such an entity is possible. i.e. it is possible for God or for a disembodied mind to exist. All you need to affirm is that such a thing is metaphysically possible. And it is possible , there’s nothing logically self-contradictory of about the implication.
    And regarding God willing the universe into being. We might not have an exact analogy. But an analogy regarding the activity of human mind might not be amiss.
    Craig has a nice analogy

    And in human productions, many people think that things like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina exist and they are not identical to particular marks on paper or particular published books. These exist as sort of abstract entities. A physical copy of Anna Karenina or a score from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is just an instance of that. It is not the thing itself. Now, where did these come from? Well, most people would say they were created by Tolstoy and Beethoven – they created these things. So some people would say these would be examples of things that exist that have been created out of nothing. That example is, I think, especially provocative because in this case you have the creation of something by sheer thought, by a mind. And God is a mind, so maybe as an infinite mind God has somehow thought the universe into being. Maybe by thought he produces and creates a physical universe just as we by thought can create a symphony or a novel.

    And of course while it might be difficult to understand God bringing something into being, the alternative is that something came into being from nothing which is metaphysically impossible.

  352. 852
    brianpansky

    @851
    Kroos Control

    you are using some kind of invention and calling it a “mind”, but it bears no resemblance to anything we apply that word towards.

    (p1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause

    citation needed.

    (p2) The universe began to exist

    citation needed.

    1)distinguish between state-state and agent-state causation- a timeless cause would give rise to a timeless effect.

    again, this category you are refwerring to as an “agent” is a fiction which you are disguising by using a familiar word.

    1)The only way to get a temporal effect from a timeless cause would be the free action of an libertarian agent

    i’m pretty sure libertarian agents operate a-causally.

    so you have only multiplied the unlikelihood of your god. not only does it simply exist, against the rule that a universe cannot simply exist, but even the internal operation of its mind after it is magically poofed into existence is an infinite stream of thoughts that are magically poofed into existence.

  353. 853
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    KC *851, not one citation to the scientific literature to show your imaginary exists. Your theological sophistry is not and never will be evidence of its existence, only your delusional thinking of its existence. Which is why you are considered to be nothing but a liar and bullshitter, without evidence. Try upping your game.

  354. 854
    brianpansky

    also, lol, using WLC!

  355. 855
    Amphiox

    And now the pitiful KC invents his own definition for “mind”.

    Might as well keep going and dream up an entire new language at this rate.

  356. 856
    Amphiox

    Also, once again, both causes and effects are events in sequence, and sequences cannot exist without time. There is no such things as timeless causes and timeless effects.

  357. 857
    brianpansky

    haha ok i just have to go into the wlc video. i thought i could leave it but it’s too funny everyone!

    craig tries to justify that the cause is personal:

    this event must be beyond space and time.

    therefore it cannot be physical, or material.

    now there are only 2 kinds of things that fit that description. either abstract objects (like numbers), or an intelligent mind.

    oh boy, where to start?

    his use of “physical” is undefined here. he is probably is defining it in terms of space and time.

    this then means that his assertion about “2 kinds of things” is unsupported, a priori, because we simply do not know what lies “beyond” our space and time, it could be any number of things, other universes which operate on strange laws of physics involving neither space nor time, completely alien to us.

    but the last part is the best.

    how does he back up his assertion that the cause must be a personal mind.

    with another assertion!

    he just asserts that an “intelligent mind” (with no support for the “intelligent” part either!) is a thing that can indeed exist beyond time and space.

    and we cannot even know anything about what he means by this wording (our only use of the word “mind” comes from the behavior of deterministic computation devices which require both time and space!!). he is simply incoherent. and it’s hilarious.

  358. 858
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    PZ has commanded:

    Kroos Control: you are metastasizing. Enough. At this point, you are only good for being a chew toy, so you are now confined to posting only in Thunderdome. Comment anywhere else, and you’ll be banned.

    We should take all further responses there.

  359. 859
    chigau (違う)

    Kroos Control
    On the off chance that I get this in before you type,
    the big red letters mean that you should not even acknowledge the order outside of the Thunderdome.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/02/28/thunderdome-41/comment-page-1/#comment-765246

  360. 860
    anteprepro

    Kroos Conartist:

    I’m usually really good at keeping people on topic and establishing a premise before moving on when I talk to people in real life.

    Are you good at staying on topic yourself in real life? Because I think it is pretty clear your strategy is this:
    1. Say Stupid Shit
    2. Say More Stupid Shit.
    3. Complain that refutation doesn’t address Stupid Shit from 1.
    4. Say Nuh Uh.
    5. Repeat Stupid Shit.
    6. Return to 1.

    1)distinguish between state-state and agent-state causation- a timeless cause would give rise to a timeless effect. The only way to get a temporal effect from a timeless cause would be the free action of an libertarian agent

    Since “timeless cause” is bafflegab and libertarian free will is nonsensical, I get the strong sense that the above is bullshit. I can perceive its bullshittiness directly, in fact.

    (Impersonal explanations usually involve reference to laws of nature and initial conditions. Causally prior to the universe there were no laws and initial conditions

    So NOW we suddenly acknowledge that causes can’t possibly exist before time and space existed. Only so that we can use ridiculous pseudologic to prove that the cause you claimed was logically necessary is fucking impossible unless it is also a magical entity that defies logic. Slow-fucking-clap.

    Timelessly existing entities that could have caused the universe- The only such kinds of entities are minds and abstract objects.

    Minds are not timeless. Ergo: There is no such thing as known “timelessly existing entities” aside from abstractions. Ergo, using your logic, whatever the fuck “abstract objects” created the universe. Congratulations on your new god.
    .

    True , but we can clearly conceive of causes being simultaneous with their effects and have examples of such.

    Aaaaaand bullshit. I doubt that your examples would hold water.

    it is possible for God or for a disembodied mind to exist. All you need to affirm is that such a thing is metaphysically possible. And it is possible , there’s nothing logically self-contradictory of about the implication.

    If all that is required for something to “metaphysically possible” is that it isn’t self-contradictory, than “metaphysical possibility” is an incredibly low threshold for holding an idea to be true or false.

    Also: a world where the problem of evil holds makes an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent interventionist deity “metaphysically impossible”. Again, congratulations on your new god.

    Craig has a nice analogy

    For fuck’s sake, are you applying for a position as president of his fan club?

    And of course while it might be difficult to understand God bringing something into being, the alternative is that something came into being from nothing which is metaphysically impossible.

    You have not established that metaphysical impossibility. Most likely because you are a clueless sophist regurgitating the talking points of a slightly less clueless sophist.

  361. 861
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Rob Grigjanis,
    I have no idea how you got the idea that I have a problem with the probabilistic nature of quantum theory.

    Rob: “There’s no cause because there’s no event!”

    And yet this non-event has consequences–e.g. the Casimir effect, beta decay…

    Rob: “There are states going in, and (possibly different) states coming out, and field interactions between. We see the in and out states, not any exchange.”

    As I said, one approach to the weirdness of quantum theory is to ignore the physical reality underneath–it is a valid approach. It was advocated by Heisenberg on occasion, among others. Yet, the notion of physical reality is a useful one. It guarantees a sort of order to our perceptions and prevents the sort of silliness favored by Bishop Berkeley. It is also useful in terms of formulating theory–Feynmann diagrams are a lot easier to understand than are a bunch of integral equations, even if they do represent the same phenomenon. That is why Niels Bohr’s devoted as much time and effort to his ideas on complementarity–to preserve a notion of underlying physical reality. The many worlds approach is another example.

    Then there is the whole issue of entanglement–nothing “causes” the change of state of the correlated particle. So you can “shut up and calculate” all you want. It doesn’t negate the weirdness of the theory. And it does pretty much illustrate that the cosmological argument is wrong. Nothing “causes” a particular neutron to decay at a particular time–or if you insist on probabilistic causes, then what is to stop us from applying just such reasoning to the birth of the Universe.

  362. 862
    EnlightenmentLiberal

    @Kroos Control

    I think there are a lot of ethical assumptions we make that are difficult to justify on a materialistic/atheistic basis. Its not morally wrong for a lion to forcibly copulate with a female and kill the cubs of another lion. Why is it wrong for humans to do the same? Stuff like human dignity/rights/equality only really makes sense if you are coming from a view that humans are somehow special and have moral obligations/duties that other animals do not.

    I agree that there are some very important propositions which are difficult to justify “on materialism / without gods”. Impossible actually. However, your mistake is that the existence of a god helps in any way. It does not. Might makes right is a completely discredited moral “theory” – or at least it should be – and that’s all a god brings into the analysis. If such a thing exists, a god’s existence affects morality just as much as my existence, and a god’s commandments and preferences are just as important – and also just as irrelevant – as my commandments and preferences. Only with a might makes right starting point can you draw any difference, or some equally inane argument.

    You’re looking for justifications for our starting moral values. Sorry. It’s futile. It’s impossible, with or without a god. See wikipedia on the Münchhausen trilemma and Hume’s is-ought problem.

    However, note this: Anyone who sees a hammer released and fall a dozen times and expects it to float to the ceiling the next time it is released, is insane. Our inability to reason with a person who dismisses evidence and science in no way means that there is no truth about hammers and falling. Similarly, anyone who thinks that it’s ok to hurt others for no reason, who works against human happiness, safety, material wealth, self determination, freedom, human well-being, and the other values of humanism, is also insane. Our inability to reason with who a person who is evil in no way means that there is no truth about morality.

  363. 863
    EnlightenmentLiberal

    @Kroos Control

    I believe there are compelling reasons to believe in objective morality [...]

    First, you have to define your terms. There are many meanings of “objective” which you may be conflating.

    1- A rule system is objective in the sense that all (most) reasonable observer who is honestly following the proscribed judging rules will come to the same conclusion. Example: soccer is objectively judged, and figure skating is not.

    2- A system is objective in the sense that it is derivable from other already-accepted premises. – Here, it depends on what premises are allowed. Presumably you’re not going to allow an unjustified moral premise. You can take that and throw on Münchhausen trilemma and Hume’s is-ought problem, and it follows that no moral system is objective under this meaning.

    3- Something is “objectively true” if it exists in our shared reality apart from any consensus. I argue that this chair I sit on exists apart from any consensus. I’m still sitting on this chair no matter if we have a majority vote otherwise. I don’t know what it might mean for morality to exist in this sense. You cannot see morality in a microscrope. You can see people in the act of moral reasoning, and you can see the consequence of actions, but you cannot see morality. Challenge: If you think this world has objective morality in this sense, describe to me a world with humans where there is no objective morality. What would be observably different? Anything? If nothing would be different, then you are describing a non-thing. If you cannot describe such a world – if its nonexistence is incoherent – then its existence is also incoherent.

    Further note that it is my belief that god beliefs are generally invented by humans. IMHO, this belief in “objective morality” arose in a universe without “objective morality”. (However, again, “objective morality” is not only not right – it’s not even wrong. (Borrowing Wolfgang Pauli.))

    4- Something is objective in the sense that it is absolute and non-relative. In other words, an objective morality is a morality that is the same across all human cultures. It may take into account local traditions and values, but it cannot do a 180 on basic stuff like valuing human happiness, freedom, material wealth, safety, self determination, and the other values of humanism.

    I’m probably missing some important meanings offhand, but this is a good start.

    I happen to hold to a system of morality which is: objective in the sense that soccer is objectively judged and objective in the sense that it is not completely culturally relative. I reject the possiblity of a coherent morality which is derived from some other, more basic, non-moral starting point. I reject the possibility of moral realism (described in #3).

  364. 864
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    EnlightenmentLiberal:

    Kroos Control has been confined to the Thunderdome. You may want to repost your comment to him there.

  365. 865
    EnlightenmentLiberal

    Mm.. sorry.. thanks. I was in the process of catching up on the thread.

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