Another response to sillymuddle

He wants me to read this: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/so-you-think-you-understand.html
So, when I read it, I answered the major points…

  1. The argument does NOT rest on the premise that “Everything has a cause.”
    1. Good. It’s not my argument, I agree not everything has to have a cause. Especially the universe, especially with an understanding of the huge amounts of energy available in tiny bits of matter.
    2. I do hear it all the time and there is a counter argument: Even if something “happened” to kick off the universe, there isn’t a shred of evidence to support that it was the willful act of a “mind”.
  2. “What caused God?” is not a serious objection to the argument.
    1. I agree again. If there is a god, he could be eternal, uncaused, blah blab blah. The trouble is, you don’t have any reason to believe there is a god. No evidence. None.
    2. This idea that the universe needs “Sufficient Reason” is, to me, totally BS. What “reason” does a tree have? What reason do “I” have? Some things just “are”.
    3. Purely Actualized? What does this even mean? If god created a universe, it was actualized. If it popped in to being from nothing, it was actualized, if it always existed, it’s actualized.
    4. Perhaps I’m the anonymous doofus with a blog and a twitter account, but none of these arguments have anything what-so-ever to do with my atheism. They should have nothing to do with your theism either because the only intellectual answer to any of this is simply “We don’t know”. Whatever you believe about the origin of the universe is pure speculation and any of the physical evidences point to purely physical stuff anyway.
    5. We should all be reserving judgement until something concrete is known and if it can’t be known – while it might be fun to talk about – one can’t reasonably pin their “eternal soul” on it.
  3. “Why assume that the universe had a beginning?” is not a serious objection to the argument.
    1. I think that is a quote from me. ( : It is a serious objection to the argument and on two fronts. First, the universe could be infinite, could be a series of universes, could be (insert anything you want) because we don’t know.
    2. The author says: “You can try to rebut those arguments, but to pretend that one can dismiss the argument merely by raising the possibility of an infinite series of universes (say) is to miss the whole point.” – No, it doesn’t miss the point, it is the point. To argue for one of those possibilities without data is as dishonest as the claim that the universe HAD a beginning. When we don’t know the answer for something, again, it might be fun to speculate, we have to say “we don’t know”. We cannot inject our own answer and hope to be taken seriously.
    3. One more time, for emphasis, whether the universe did or didn’t begin to exist, doesn’t factor into my atheism and shouldn’t factor into someone’s theism. I’d posit that the only reason that it does factor for Christians is that their book says so.
  4. “No one has given any reason to think that the First Cause is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, etc.” is not a serious objection to the argument.
    1. Again, I accept that. I don’t think atheists do this by default unless they are led there by an opponent who, as the author admits proponents of the theory do, goes on to suggest that a creator would have all the “good god” attributes.
    2. A deist type god who is just exercising his powers creating universes wouldn’t need to be a “good god”
  5. “The argument doesn’t prove that Christianity is true” is not a serious objection to the argument.
    1. Right. So much so that I’ve never heard anyone do that. Not as an actual objection to the kalam. See number 4.
    2. The author says: “Establishing the truth of specifically Christian claims about this divine cause requires separate arguments, and no one has ever pretended otherwise.” Yeah, no one pretends that it does and no one argues that it should.
    3. Interesting side note though, what we don’t ever see is a argument wherein the theist is able to tie a creator god to Christian doctrine. It’s seems to me that if all these causal links are important to the Christian, someone should be able to make a good argument for that case.
  6. “Science has shown such-and-such” is not a serious objection to (most versions of) the argument.
    1. Are you kidding? That’s the whole objection. When we don’t know, we say… (what do we say?!) “we don’t know”. When we have data, then we can start to know some things. Science understands the “big bang” at about t=10-43 seconds. That is roughly when “traditional” physics “gel” and start to make some sense. Maybe god is in there somewhere, but what we have to look at is real data. That’s evidence. When we look at the evidence, we don’t see a god anywhere. If we saw a god, I’d believe it.
  7. The argument is not a “God of the gaps” argument.
    1. Basically, I agree. It is, however, a baseless assertion. God created the universe? Where is your evidence? Where is the data?
  8. Hume and Kant did not have the last word on the argument.  Neither has anyone else.
    1. I don’t care. This is the problem with god, any god, all gods. While you are talking about metaphysics and philosophy, there is real stuff happening. Real life being lived, real science being done and the author is busy studying other philosophers. I like philosophy when it asks things like “what does it mean to be moral”, but it’s useless when asking these questions and it boils down to my chief complaint:
    2. Where is god? Theologians study other theologians, not god. We haven’t learned anything new about god in 2000 years.
  9. What “most philosophers” think about the argument is irrelevant.
    1. Totally agreed, but I’d take it a step farther. What anyone thinks about it is irrelevant. When it can be shown to have any basis in the real world, if it can make a prediction as to what’s next or how something else works, then it will matter.

I don’t care about this argument. The Kalam is a theist’s argument and I think based on my answers and the bulk of your author’s answers, the Kalam can be summarily ignored. It requires no data, it has no tests, it predicts nothing, it answers nothing. Let me sum up my view on the origins of the universe, here is my big claim, ready?

“I don’t know, we’re working on it.”

I don’t know where the notion of infinite universes came from, perhaps that was just inferred from this stupid twitter conversation where we’re both so limited we can’t even communicate properly, but I don’t need infinite universes to explain anything. I’m not trying to explain it. I’m satisfied with what science knows about the origins of the universe and the origins of human beings and there is so much evidence to support evolution, it’s no doubt a fact. I reject the notion of the Christian God on the bible alone. I don’t need anything else to dismiss that. I don’t accept a deist god because there is no evidence to support one. I’m happy to debate my positive claim that the bible proves there is no god, but on the question of origins, evolution proves that the way the bible says it happened, obviously didn’t and the beginning of the universe is under investigation. I’ll get back to you when we have an answer.

So, what else should we talk about?



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