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Thread: The Great Contradiction

  1. Top | #21
    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly_Penguin View Post
    Yeah. The way I got it told to me is that everything that exists in space and time needs a creator. God exists outside space and time. Whatever the fuck that means.
    Well I think that a 'thing' can exist in space and time without the need to have an explanatory cause of existence. A past-eternal, uncaused thing doesn't present an ontological or metaphysical problem as far as I can tell. Its perpetual existence could be its very nature - a brute fact.

    And I don't see any metaphysical problem with the existence of some (all powerful) thing 'outside' what we unimaginatively call "space/time". If space/time is a caused thing - created - then its prior cause can obviously be described as being outside the space time He created. If you don't like the term outside space time how about transcendent?

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    the baby-eater
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    If you don't like the term outside space time how about transcendent?
    How about "magic"?

    A past-eternal, uncaused thing doesn't present an ontological or metaphysical problem as far as I can tell.
    "Magic doesn't present an ontological or metaphysical problem as far as I can tell."

  3. Top | #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    Its perpetual existence could be its very nature - a brute fact.
    Yep. That's what the universe is. No need nor evidence for all manner of invisible, magical, mysterious, religious, woo creatures with abracadabra powers.

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  5. Top | #25
    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quick question, has scifi ever come true?
    I can recall the TV Guide listing for one movie as 'science, no longer fiction.'

    On the other hand, has any scientific research ever produced objective evidence that can only be explained by woo?

  6. Top | #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    The theologians have three stances they take on this issue.

    1. God is incomprehensible and mere mortals cannot 'explain' God.
    2. That everything that exists must be explained only counts for things that began to exist while God did not begin to exist but has always existed.
    3. That everything that exists needs explaining only applies to material things and not transcendent things, like God.

    Less than educated theists who use this nonsense usually don't have much of a grasp of these apologisms.
    I'd argue that the well educated theologians are just being dishonest with these clearly post-hoc ratrionalizations they put forth b/c they know that the uncaused cause argument is a contradiction.
    No theist actually believes God is incomprehnsible, b/c that would make it psychologically impossible to believe in God. Belief is assigning truth value to a concept held in the mind. If you cannot hold the concept (i.e., it's incomprehensible), then you cannot assign truth value to it. In addition, the motivation to believe in God comes from the particular conception of God as a human-like paternal entity in charge of everything. If God was some unknowable concept, no one would have motive to engage in the self delusion required to believe in it.

    Excuse 2 doesn't explain the contradiction, but rather highlight it. It presupposes that the universe had a beginning but God didn't, which is the contradiction needing explanation.

    Excuse 3 is just a variant of #2, just inventing without rationale an exception to its own invented rule, a rule that only has power if to infer a causal beginning if there is exception, and since the exception has no rationale, there is nothing to prevent it from applying to the universe as well.

  7. Top | #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I've been reading the religion section of Weber's 'Economy and Society' recently and he made a good point.

    The cause / effect fallacy of religion is only noticed when looked at retrospectively from the perspective of science, but from the perspective of those who believe in religion it would be considered economic, purposeful behavior. The rain-maker truly believes he / she is bringing forth rain.. etc. To those in a pre-scientific world effects have causes, the world is an effect, therefore it must have a cause. Without a scientific perspective this is a rational view point, and even with a scientific perspective it may be too - the universe must exist for some reason.

    So in a certain light it's not a contradiction, it's just that when the idea of spirits, Gods, God came into existence it was the best explanation to many minds, and still is to many. And it's only now that we're seeing nuanced alternatives that many are becoming pure materialists.
    That explanation only accounts for why a maker would be inferred, not why it would be believed that the maker has no maker. All maker's directly known to humans have their own beginning and end and were themselves "made". The concept of God (like all concepts) is derived entirely from experience and empirically observed concepts. Which is why all God's are basically super-humans. So, even in a prescientific world it never cognitive sense to view God as an uncaused cause. It's unlikely that most theists did hold this view. It's more of a rationalization created by authorities of monotheism to manufacture a seeming intellectual defense of a singular first and only maker. It serves emotional and political goals to presume an ultimate authority and that requires that their be nothing that preceded the authority.
    Last edited by ronburgundy; 11-10-2019 at 05:17 PM.

  8. Top | #28
    Deus Meumque Jus
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I've been reading the religion section of Weber's 'Economy and Society' recently and he made a good point.

    The cause / effect fallacy of religion is only noticed when looked at retrospectively from the perspective of science, but from the perspective of those who believe in religion it would be considered economic, purposeful behavior. The rain-maker truly believes he / she is bringing forth rain.. etc. To those in a pre-scientific world effects have causes, the world is an effect, therefore it must have a cause. Without a scientific perspective this is a rational view point, and even with a scientific perspective it may be too - the universe must exist for some reason.

    So in a certain light it's not a contradiction, it's just that when the idea of spirits, Gods, God came into existence it was the best explanation to many minds, and still is to many. And it's only now that we're seeing nuanced alternatives that many are becoming pure materialists.
    That explanation only accounts for why a maker would be inferred, not why it would be believed that the maker has no maker. All maker's directly known to humans have their own beginning and end and were themselves "made". The concept of God (like all concepts) is derived entirely from experience and empirically observed concepts. Which is why all God's are basically super-humans. So, even in a prescientific world it never made sense to view God as an uncaused cause. It's unlikely that most theist did hold this view. It's more of a rationalization created by authorities of monotheism to manufacture a seeming intellectual defense of a singular first and only maker.
    I'm not really coming at the problem from pure rationalism, but rather why such a contradiction would come to be. To the pre-modern, average human God or Gods are a compelling argument, and just one option in an array of metaphysical possibilities, one being pure materialism.

    It's very easy to break the argument retrospectively from the perspective of the natural sciences, but to the Inca, or the Frank the world was a very different and mysterious place.

    I agree with you though - at some point theology was being built to rationalize power structures.

  9. Top | #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    It serves emotional and political goals to presume an ultimate authority and that requires that their be nothing that preceded the authority.
    The Christian, Inca, Aztec religions and others certainly all do this by their rulers claiming direct descendancy from these magic beings.

  10. Top | #30
    Deus Meumque Jus
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    It serves emotional and political goals to presume an ultimate authority and that requires that their be nothing that preceded the authority.
    The Christian, Inca, Aztec religions and others certainly all do this by their rulers claiming direct descendancy from these magic beings.
    I'm not sure where you would draw the line between true belief, and being disingenuous for political goals. In practice political goals may often have been served, although my reading of history so far suggests that more often rulers truly believed their power was divinely inspired.

    To the indigenous, or Ancient Egyptians, Ancient Chinese, it was an entirely different world, which is my point. Imagine having no naturalistic explanation for something as simple as the sun, for example. Surely living in a world like this would precipitate extreme religiosity. So it's really only in retrospect from the perspective of naturalism that these people look like living contradictions. Where in practice religious thought was reality back then.

    Maybe it makes sense to point out the contradiction now, but I think we can at least respect that in 21st century North America it's an utterly different world.

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