Monday, July 2, 2012

Who Created God?

The Question/Challenge
A fairly common question that I hear many atheists raise against any form of theism is "Who created God?". I've noticed that this question often comes around after a theist has presented the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA):

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe had a cause.

Even though the KCA merely concludes that the universe had a cause, the atheist wishes to undermine the theist when they use other arguments (such as the moral argument or teleological argument) to identify the cause as God. The question is designed to show that even God has a cause, and His cause had a cause, which also had a cause, etc. This could go on forever, thus requiring an infinite regress of causes. If, this challenge holds up, then it is a powerful argument against God's existence. So it does warrant a close examination. I have a couple of observations that I wish to bring to light about this challenge.

An Infinite Regress
First, there is a good point being implied with such a challenge: No worldview can have an infinite regress of causes.* All worldviews must have some eternal entity. Some people (atheists) believe the universe is that eternal entity (it has existed forever), some people (other atheists) believe that there is a multiverse that eternally exists outside of our universe that caused our universe, and others (theists) believe that God is the eternal entity that exists outside the universe and created the universe. The power from this challenge comes from our understanding that infinite regresses are not possible. The implication that the theist is not allowed an eternal entity while the atheist IS allowed one, seems awfully dishonest. But that may not be the intention of the atheist. Which leads me to my second point:

Created Gods
God is the eternal entity that theists posit in their worldviews. When the atheist asks "who created God", perhaps they are saying that God had a beginning. Unfortunately, for this to be a critique that applies to ANY of the theistic worldviews, those worldviews would have to teach that God is a created entity. One may examine the scriptures of the three major theistic worldviews (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), and they will not find anywhere that states that God was created. In fact, they all state that God is eternal. So, this critique, though devastating to worldviews that teach god is created, does not apply to worldviews that teach that God is NOT created.

Anytime that an atheist is debating a Christian, they cannot honestly bring up this challenge. When (if) it is, though, the theist can quickly correct the misunderstanding for the audience and move on.

Who's Arguing for What Now?
Unfortunately, the challenge does not always end there. The atheist may still insist that the challenge does apply- that God MUST be created. At this point they are not allowing the theist to have an eternal entity in their worldview unless that eternal entity is not God. But, if the atheist is not allowing God as part of the worldview they are critiquing, they are not critiquing theism. They are, in fact, critiquing their own atheism. In the event that an atheist does not immediately recognize that the challenge does not apply to the worldview they wish to challenge, the theist can always take their response to this next level of showing that the atheist is arguing against their own worldview.

The question of "who created God" is common, and it does hold persuasive power with people againt God's existence. But when investigated, it is understood to not apply to theism, and when examined deeper, it turns out to be a powerful argument against atheism.

*This is established by arguments against the existence of actual infinities. It, of course, assumes that time and cause is not cyclical, but linear. In worldviews where time and cause loop back around on themselves, events and causes can have a relationship where the "first cause" is caused by the "last event"- meaning that there is no real "first" cause or "last" event. Many eastern worldviews posit cyclical time and cause, so they would not fall victim to this critique by atheists or theists, without first overcoming the idea of cyclical time and cause.

More Articles Of Interest:
Why Doesn't God Need A Creator?

34 comments:

  1. I have a few blogs on this as well.

    http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/who-made-god/

    http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/reason-rally-and-dawkinss-boeing-crash/

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  2. I think that the use of the KCA to show that God doesn't have a cause misses the argument.

    First, there is nothing logically fallacious about an infinite regress. I think Graham Oppy explains this quite well in his book "Philosophical Perspectives on Infinity," so if you want me to go into greater detail about any thought experiment I will.

    But the main problem I see in your argument is that it is irrelevant if God had a beginning or not. It could be the case that God did not have a beginning (for whatever reason), but is contingent upon something else. Simply stating that "God didn't have a beginning" doesn't avoid this problem, just like saying "the universe didn't have a beginning" doesn't avoid the problem of contingency.

    If we are to conclude that God is not created, then you need to show that God is not contingent upon something else. How easy this will be to do is an entirely different question, but it is a question that should be answered nonetheless.

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    1. Thanks for offering that. I'm not familiar with Oppy's work, but in the post (the "fine print") you will see that I do grant that infinite regresses of causes and events are possible on cyclic time. Where there is a hard boundary for events and causes, one must begin (or end) the series. With cyclic time, there is no hard boundary, so an infinite regress is not only possible, but necessary.

      However, I am not assuming that time is cyclical. I am assuming that it is linear with a hard boundary at the beginning and the end. Thus an infinite regress of causes and events is not possible. Anyone who agrees that time is linear and has hard boundaries is stuck with this reality.

      As for the contingency issue- The Christian God is not one who's existence is contingent on anything outside God. If something's existence is contingent upon something else, it cannot be God. God, by Christian (and most theistic worldviews') definition is an incontingently existent being. Anyone who wishes to ascribe contingency to the Christian God, then argue for or against it, is not arguing for or against the Christian God. In order to argue against the Christian God's existence from contingency, it would have to demonstrated that all entities (including metaphysical/super natural) necessarily have contingencies.

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    2. Since my last comment above, I have looked into Graham Oppy's book. It appears that it will be an fascinating read and provide plenty to chew on. In the meantime, I have located a published review of the book by Dr. William Lane Craig. You can find it here.

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  3. Most of the time, when I've heard "Then who created God?", it's in direct response to the theist claiming that everything has a creator or something can't come from nothing. It's not the atheist point of view that everything has a creator, so they're not contradicting themselves to suggest the universe has no creator.

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    1. You are correct that that is another time that this objection is raised. In that case, the atheist is pointing to a flaw in the theist's articulation of their view (hopefully, its just the articulation).

      I agree that they are not contradicting themselves to posit that the universe has no creator when they bring it up in the context you mention. However, in the context that I mentioned in the post (of saying that God MUST have a cause), then they would be contradicting themselves.

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  4. It seems to me that premise 2 should actually be:

    2-The Universe began to exist.

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    1. Wow. I can't believe I did that. Thanks for the catch. It has been corrected. :)

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  5. Luke, the whole first chapter of my book "Who made God? Searching for a theory of everything" specifically addresses the 'Who created God?' question in some detail and in a reader-friendly (and, in fact, evangelistic) manner. I don't know whether or not this is the kind of thing you want to include (I'm happy either way).

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    1. Edgar, thank you. For other readers: here is where you can get Dr. Andrews' book.

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  6. So asking who created God isn't allowed because the religion teaches that God isn't created? Isn't that like saying that theists can't use the idea that God exists as an argument with atheists because atheism teaches God doesn't exist? Reality is a certain way regardless of what each worldview teaches. If you say that God is eternal, your explanation for this can't be "because I (or my religion) says so."

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    1. We have good reasons (both philosophical and scientific) for believing that the universe began to exist. We have no such reasons to think that God began to exist; in fact, it seems intrinsic to the very concept of God that God would not be something created. (If something created "god" then whatever that "god" is that we're referencing I don't think is quite worthy of the title after all.) Therefore, it's reasonable to say that the universe was created (and thus requires a creator) and God was not created (and thus does not). This conclusion, IMHO, is not the a priori conclusion of arbitrary religious theism, rather it's the reasonable conclusion based on the available information.

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    2. Grundy,
      Thank you for your comment. The fact that "reality is a certain way regardless of what each worldview teaches" is precisely how we can test them. If a worldview holds that there is something that is eternal (God, in the case of Christianity), and someone wishes to demonstrate the worldview false based on the impossibility of an eternal entity, they must first show that an infinite regress of causes is possible given other parameters of reality (e.g. that time is linear).

      My claim is not that God exists and is eternal because my religion says so. My claim is that we must look at what a worldview (including atheism) teaches, and see if it comports with reality. If reality necessarily excludes the existence of an eternal entity, then every worldview that cannot accommodate non-eternal entities have been proven false.

      By definition, asking how an entity without beginning began is illogical. Everyone is certainly allowed to ask the question, but they will receive the answer that it is illogical. Their offense to the answer will not change logic. Logic demands that some questions simply do not make sense- that is the nature of logic and reason. If one wishes to reject Christianity based on this, then they are being illogical, irrational and unreasonable.

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    3. Emmzee, we have good reasons (both philosophical and scientific) for believing the universe exists at all. That's a huge step over God. Defining the term "God" as "that which has no creator" makes God eternal, but not real.

      Luke, if I need to show that an infinite regress is possible then you need to show that anything can be eternal by your definition. You need to show that "eternal" is even a real concept by your definition. I define eternal as existing since the beginning of time, which is the scientific consensus for the universe's existence. You need to show that it is possible to exist outside of time, along with all the other supernatural properties of God. The concepts that I need to except, some of which have no precedent in our experience, I admit, are much fewer then I'd have to according to the theistic world-view.

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    4. Grundy,
      When I say "eternal" I'm talking about outside of time or "timeless". If all physical reality (including time) came into existence at the Big Bang, then time came into existence. You are speaking of an "eternal" that has a beginning, while I am not. If I were to use your concept of "eternal" and ascribe that to God, then the question of "who created God" would make perfect sense, until you realize that you have a Big Bang without a cause (material or efficient). If you have something without a cause, then even on your own definition, God still does not require a cause.

      It is quite easy to show that there is existence beyond the physical universe- the laws of logic. Taking the universe: it either exists or is does not exist (law of non-contradition) and there is no half-existence or half-non-existence (law of excluded middle). If the universe exists, this is true; if the universe does not exist this is true. The laws of logic are independent of space, time, energy, and their beginning at the Big Bang. Therefore, logic must exist outside of time (timelessly). Without something being able to exist outside of time, the universe is not subject to them, but they to the universe- meaning that logic is dynamic and untrustworthy for finding truth. Logic is one of the many concepts that the atheist does not need to worry about accepting if his worldview is true.

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    5. I could get into a philosophical argument about whether or not logic exists without anyone to think of it or perceive it, but I won't. Even if I accepted that logic exists outside of time and space, logic is a concept, not a thing. It has no substance, no consciousness or agency. It's something completely different to say God could exist outside time and space, unless you want to say that God is only a concept. There is no reason to believe it and is contrary to logic itself. When did God create time? The question doesn't even make sense.

      If you ask me, logic is one of the many concepts that theists can't worry about accepting if their worldview is true.

      (by the way, thanks for approving my comments. It's nice to see that you are open to discussion. I hope my position isn't offensive.)

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    6. Grundy,
      I think that it is necessary to go into the philosophical discussion at this point.

      I want to be clear that I am not saying that God is merely a concept. I am saying that God actually exists. I also am saying that reality exists outside the physical universe (which time is limited to). So, yes, asking "when did God create the universe" does not make sense, because "when" is a chronological question. If time does not exist outside the universe, then ask "when" anything happened is nonsensical. Theists don't consider that a problem, because it is logically consistent.

      If you are to posit that logic is contingent upon agents conceiving of it, then you must explain how the universe adhered to logic prior to the arrival of beings with the capacity to conceive of (bring into existence) logic.

      If logic is grounded in the nature of God (as rational theists posit), then anything He creates will adhere to logic regardless of beings to conceive of logic. That means that we can explain not only why, but how the universe adhered to logic during its history when conscious agents did not exist to bring it into existence by conceiving of it.

      Subjective logic is not a concept that theism can accommodate if true.
      Objective logic is not a concept that atheism can accommodate if true.

      Objective logic is a concept that theism can accommodate if true.
      Subjective logic is a concept that atheism can accommodate if true.

      Because you require that conscious beings exist prior to concepts, I gather that you deny the existence of formal causes. Am I correct?

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    7. I don't necessarily require that conscious beings exist prior to concepts.

      How is something happening prior to time logically consistent? I may have missed something.

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    8. Grundy,
      "I don't necessarily require that conscious beings exist prior to concepts."

      Do you, then, accept the existence of formal causes?

      "How is something happening prior to time logically consistent? I may have missed something."

      Since time does not exist before it is created, we cannot use chronological senses of any words, including "prior". If we are to speak of something happening "prior" to the creation of time, we must be speaking in a sense other than a chronological sense. Let me explain using God. Theology is the study of the character of God. However, in order for someone to grant the legitimacy of this discipline, they must grant that God exists. God must exist in order for his character to exist. God's existence is logically prior to God's character. "Prior" is not a term of time, but of logic.

      Keep in mind too that "happening" is a chronological term also. "Happening" is the unfolding of a series of events over the course of time. If time does not exist, then "happenings" cannot exist. Events can still take place, but they do not take place in a series over the course of "time". They take place without any chronological relationship to one another. This existence outside of time is called "eternity".

      Since the term "prior" is not limited to a chronological sense, and logic must transcend time (i.e. time assumes logic or logic is logically prior to time), the term "prior" may be used in a logically consistent sense in eternity.

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    9. I'm not sure what you mean by formal causes.

      I understand what you said, but it is completely baseless. I don't grant that God exists, so what is the basis for God's character? I don't grant that things happen before time, and why should I?

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    10. "I don't grant that God exists, so what is the basis for God's character?"

      There is none. And that is precisely my point. God's existence is logically prior to God's character. If you don't grant God's existence, then you have no logical basis for God's character. "Prior" is not only a term of time, it is also a term of logic. Its illogical to discuss what characteristics of God are true if you don't first grant that God exists. You have demonstrated my point precisely in that question.

      "I don't grant that things happen before time..."

      I don't either. I grant that events take place outside of time, not before.

      "...and why should I?"

      You shouldn't. We agree that "before" is a chronological term and it is illogical to use chronological terms outside of time. That is why I am talking about "prior" being a logical term, not a chronological term. Keep in mind that your question above affirms this point. With that affirmation, you are free to acknowledge that existence outside of time is, at least, possible.

      The reason I ask about formal causes is because a formal cause refers to a "form" (Platonic would be what most might be familiar with) that an effect is patterned after. You said that logic does not exist without a mind to comprehend it. But you also state that not all concepts need minds to comprehend of them. The problem is that in your worldview, minds do not come into existence until humanity comes on the scene- meaning that any concepts that are dependent upon minds do not exist until after humans are on the scene and don't exist until the human mind has comprehended them. Even if it were to be posited that humans were not the first beings with minds in the universe, the universe still must exist prior to those minds being coming on the scene. If we grant that the universe adheres to logic, then we grant that logic is logically prior to the existence of the universe. If logic existed without time existing, then we know there is existence outside of time.

      If you grant formal causes (existence outside of time), then you are granting that something eternal exists- a minimum of deism (and a denial of atheism). If you deny formal causes, then you have no epistemic grounds for truth-claims, especially ones about possible existences outside of this universe (including that a timeless god does not exist).

      These are your options at this point:

      1. The universe does not adhere to logic because the universe is the source of logic (implication: any type of investigation that is grounded in logic cannot be trusted to give us truth about reality- especially reality that existed prior to minds to conceive of and give existence to logic)
      2. Logic eternally exists outside of time (implication: a deistic entity exists as opposed to theistic- but still god)
      3. Logic is grounded in (part of the character of) the theistic God (implication: a theistic God exists)

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    11. "You said that logic does not exist without a mind to comprehend it." I never said that, I just said I didn't want to get into this argument...then you immediately got into this argument. :-)

      What is the definition of logic you are using? Logic is the study and use of valid reasoning. If no one if there to reason, there is no logic. Do you think reasoning happened before anyone was around to reason? If not, than logic wasn't around either.

      You grant that events take place outside of time. Why? The only reason I can think to grant such a thing is to have your worldview make a little more sense. There is no reason to believe this and goes against everything we know about reality.

      "If you deny formal causes, then you have no epistemic grounds for truth-claims" Since the definitions of formal causes, epistemic, and truth-claims can be different for theists and atheists, I'll reword my follow up question...

      Why would denying existence outside of time take away my ability to gain or have knowledge of other truths?

      Why do you grant or deny anything for wholly philosophical reasons? Why don't you follow the evidence or look for proof?

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    12. If you want to define "logic" as a study of valid reasoning, that is perfectly consistent with Christianity- God is a reasoning entity. So reasoning exists eternally as part of God's nature. Nothing has been shown to be inconsistent between logic and Christianity.

      The problem comes when you deny the existence of the laws of logic outside the universe. Let's just take the law of non-contradiction. If that does not exist independent of the universe and further, is only true after minds in the universe are created and conceive of it, then there is no reason to think that the universe is necessarily beholden to such a law. It might be (by shear chance); it might not be (by shear chance)- since observations cannot be made independent of the system, there is no objective way to test that- the chance is 50/50. The best we can do is say that we think that the universe adheres to this law. This is where the epistemic problem exists in a physicalistic (nothing exists outside of our universe) worldview- every claim of knowledge that we make is simply a guess and opinion. The entire scientific enterprise is based on the idea that the universe cannot violate the law of non-contradiction (reliable repeatability of experiments and observations is necessary). If we base conclusions on a 50/50 chance, how much more are the conclusions, themselves, guesses?

      If the law of non-contradiction exists solely because someone conceived of it, then we must ask "why the law of non-contradiction? Why not accept paraconsistent logic instead?" If the answer is "because the law of non-contradiction exists independent of a mind that perceives it", then we must ask if it exists due to the universe. If it does, then we are back to the universe being the origin of something that it is not necessarily beholden to, and the consequences above follow necessarily. If it does not (and the universe is, in fact, beholden to it), then we are stuck with existence outside the universe.

      Denying existence outside the universe does not remove your ability to make claims. It does remove your ability to say that those claims are anything more than guesses. If physicalism is actually true, we can only guess that it is true. The problem (gulf) comes in the connection between what is true and our ability to apprehend what is true. Christianity has no such problem.

      If I can only guess that the law of non-contradiction is necessarily being followed by the universe, why should I think that any evidence or "proof" from the universe will lead me towards what is true? Looking at evidence and evaluating if it constitutes "proof" requires that the universe be beholden to the law of non-contradiction. We must hammer out the philosophical issues before natural "evidence" will have any significance in regards to our discovery of what is true. If you use natural evidence to support the exclusivity of a worldview, then you implicitly accept that the universe is necessarily beholden to the law of non-contradiction. If you accept that the universe is necessarily beholden to the law of non-contradiction, you accept that it exists independently of the universe.

      What you must demonstrate for your view to make any logical sense is how the universe can be necessarily beholden to something that didn't exist until after the universe existed.

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    13. I feel like relying on this philosophical logic is blinding you to reality. "This sentence is false." should send your mind into an unescapable paradox, if philosophical logic is your guide. Is the sentence true or false? Can it be neither? Both? BAM, head explodes.

      I bet you'd suddenly dismiss this strict adherence to philosophical logic if I pointed out than an omnipotent God could not both create a stone so heavy that He couldn't lift it and, in fact, lift it. Or that an omniscient God could not know what it feels like to learn if He already knew everything. I already know the apologetic "explanations" for these paradoxes and they are a departure of logic. Such an idealized God is a departure from valid reasoning.

      Science doesn't require anything outside of our universe to explain our universe. Hell, it may even disprove non-contradiction. Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment that puts quantum theory into layman's terms. In it, the cat is both alive and not alive. Contradiction.

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    14. Grundy,
      A paradox is not a violation of the law of non-contradiction (LNC). If you grant that something is a paradox (including that one sentence), then you grant that it ultimately does not violate the LNC. Thus it is not evidence against my position.

      I am curious to know how you think the question of omnipotence applies to theism (considering God is not subject to gravity). I would also like to know what "explanations" you have heard regarding your challenge to God's omniscience and why you believe that they necessarily violate logic.

      What you offer regarding Schrodinger's Cat is from the Copenhagen interpretation- one of several possible interpretations of the equations of quantum mechanics. Implied in your assumption of this particular interpretation (which, if correct, necessarily requires that reality be able to violate the LNC), is that all the others are wrong and this one is right. The Copenhagen interpretation is either right or it is not. To claim that the Copenhagen interpretation is correct, you must affirm that which the interpretation necessarily violates. That forces the acceptance of at least paraconsistent logic. But even that acceptance requires that you are making a decision based on the LNC (either paraconsistent logic reflects reality or it does not). If paraconsistent logic accurately reflects reality and the LNC CAN be violated, then we have to ask whether we actually observed what led us to believe the Copenhagen interpretation is true or not (another affirmation of the LNC). If we can and cannot trust our observations (and equations and reasoning) then do we or do we not accept the Copenhagen interpretation (a question based on the LNC)? Science may prove the LNC correct or prove against it? Does that not assume that it will or it will not? The law of non-contradiction cannot be escaped- even by science. If you say that it can, you have just affirmed it cannot (either science can escape the LNC or is cannot escape the LNC).

      Let us not forget that your challenges to God's omniscience and omnipotence only stand if the LNC is granted. You are trying to show a violation of internal consistency in theism by bringing up those challenges. Consistency is based on the LNC. If science undermines the LNC, your challenges are illogical, thus there is no need to address them. But if you wish for them to be addressed, you must accept the reality of the LNC. And if you accept the reality of the LNC, you grant that the universe, from the Big Bang, has been beholden to it. If you grant that the universe is beholden to the LNC, you grant existence beyond the universe. The problem is that that is precisely what you are trying to disprove. Can your argument assume to be true what you wish to conclude is false? If science "disproves" the LNC, would you answer that question differently?

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    15. Grundy,
      There is also the possibility that you have misrepresented the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. It may not actually violate the LNC; it may just give us plenty of paradoxes (situations that do not ultimately violate the LNC, but appear to on the surface) to work through. If that interpretation merely gives us paradoxes and no true violations of the LNC, then even Schrodinger's Cat does not offer any evidence against my position.

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    16. A lot of this makes zero sense to me. I'm trying to follow, I really am, but it seems like circular word salad to me. I accept that I may be the idiot here, but surely one of us is. :-)

      You're basically saying that for all my claims to have worth, I must accept the LNC. In order to verify or deny the LNC, don't I have to use the LNC? It's self-refuting. And I still don't get why I'd have to accept existence beyond the universe simply because of the LNC.

      If something disproves the LNC, like quantum theory, then it certainly doesn't prove the LNC. That's ridiculous.

      The apologetic responses for the logical paradoxes of omni-whatever usually cite's God's nature or something. Have you got something better?

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    17. You are actually catching a lot more than you might think. :)

      "In order to verify or deny the LNC, don't I have to use the LNC?"

      Short answer: Absolutely! But let's take a closer look. We have two options: affirm or deny. Here are the two statements:

      "The LNC is true."
      "The LNC is not true."

      There is nothing wrong with the first statement (affirmation). The statement that is being made is consistent with its assumption. The statement does not negate itself, so it is not self-refuting.

      The problem comes in the second statement. The assumption that the LNC true is in direct conflict with the statement itself. The statement negates itself, so it is self-refuting. Because it is self-refuting, it is necessarily false. This is the one that you have detected is the problem.

      Since the second statement self-destructs, it is a false statement, with no possibility of ever being true. Because of that this statement also false:

      "Quantum theory can prove the LNC false."

      It is essentially the same statement as above; we've just added "quantum theory" to it. Notice that that statement assumes the LNC ("can" not "cannot"). Because it assumes the LNC, but denies the LNC in statement, this is also a self-refuting statement. Thus it is necessarily false. If there are only two options, and one of them is necessarily false, the other is necessarily true. So, if that statement is necessarily false, then the necessarily true state is this:

      "Quantum theory cannot prove the LNC false."

      The statement affirms the assumption of the LNC. The statement does not negate itself, so it is not self-refuting. Of the two possible statements this one is true by necessity.(Thus, any interpretation of equations at the quantum level that necessarily denies the LNC needs to be set aside- all attempts to prove an interpretation that denies the LNC will necessarily fail. This includes the Copenhagen interpretation, if it necessarily denies the LNC.)

      Now, since quantum theory cannot prove the LNC false, we should not believe that it can, and further we certainly should not form a worldview that anticipates that the LNC will one day be proven false.

      Where you run into a problem is that the universe had a beginning. If the second statement above is self-refuting, then there is no point in time or outside of time (with or without conscious minds to conceive of it) that that statement was/is true- meaning that the LNC is a brute fact of reality. If the universe had a beginning (with time) and the LNC is true outside of time, then the LNC exists logically prior to the universe (outside of time). If the LNC exists outside of the universe, then there is existence outside of the universe.

      If you grant that the "omni's" are only paradoxes, then there is no necessary violation of the LNC. A paradox is not an impossibility- its just something that we don't completely understand. A lack of understanding also does not mean that something is false. If you wish to raise the "omni's" as a true problem with theism, then you need to strengthen your challenge to say that they necessarily violate the LNC. At that point, then you have raise a true challenge to theism. But keep in mind that that challenge requires you to assume that the LNC is true by necessity. If it is not, then a contradiction is no problem for any worldview, and all challenges (including the omni's) to every worldview (including theism) fails necessarily. We should probably hammer out the necessity of the LNC before we address the challenge of the omni's, if you want to say that they violate the LNC and are not just paradoxes.

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    18. I wasn't saying that the statement "The LNC is not true." is self-refuting. I was saying the LNC itself is self-refuting. The laws of logic only make sense within the scope of the laws of logic. It's like saying that God exists because we wouldn't be here to question if God exists if he didn't. This line of thinking does nothing to prove or disprove God, it just starts off with an assumption and works backwards.

      Even if I granted that the LNC is true, it still doesn't show existence outside of time and space. Logic is a concept. "Nothing" is also a concept. Would saying that nothing exists outside of time and space somehow show that something exists outside of time a space? The notion is absurd.

      The faith you put in logic is only part-time if you say that paradoxes only show a lack of understanding. Would you accept it if I passed off the LNC conversation as a "lack of understanding." We either understand contradictions or we don't. Please place God under the same logical scrutiny, just for the sake of consistency.

      I tried reading that other site about why there can't be infinite regress...it made no sense to me. Can you explain any clearer?

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    19. "I wasn't saying that the statement "The LNC is not true." is self-refuting. I was saying the LNC itself is self-refuting."

      So would you affirm or deny the statement "The LNC is not true"?

      "Even if I granted that the LNC is true, it still doesn't show existence outside of time and space. Logic is a concept."

      If logic is merely a concept, then why do we rely on it in science to give us truth about the universe?

      "Would you accept it if I passed off the LNC conversation as a "lack of understanding.""

      Are you saying that I do or that I don't have a lack of understanding?

      "We either understand contradictions or we don't."

      Are you sure?

      "Please place God under the same logical scrutiny, just for the sake of consistency."

      How can I if the LNC does not really exist?

      "I tried reading that other site about why there can't be infinite regress...it made no sense to me. Can you explain any clearer?"

      That'll be a topic for a different post. :)

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  7. I don't get that you accept an infinite regress of causes, even if the time is cyclical.

    If there is an infinite regress, it must have been an infinite chain of events to get to the present. So, since an infinite chain of events is impossible to finish (by the same definition of "infinity"), we would never have got to the present.

    Am I wrong. I admit being very weak in philosophy so please enlighten me.

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  8. imnobody00,
    Thank you for that comment.

    It doesn't sound like you are too weak to me. :) You make a very good point.

    Allow me to nuance the view to clear up that inconsistency. When we speak of time (and the corresponding events) being cyclical, we are speaking of an infinite series of events only- not an infinite number of unique, independent events.

    If you trace a circle until you reach the finish, you will find that you will continue forever. However, you will also find that you are tracing the exact same line over and over and over and over again. Cyclical time is like that circle, there is no beginning or ending in the tracing (series), but the line (events) just keep repeating. The implication is that even with cyclical time (an infinite series of events) you are still stuck with a finite number of unique, independent events...one event leads to the other in a huge circle that necessitates that each event ultimately causes itself and every other event. All events are causes and effects of each other and themselves.

    The infinite regress is found in the series, not in the unique events. If someone wishes to posit that an infinite regress is actually found in the unique events, then they are positing linear time. An infinite regress in series and an infinite regress in unique events are mutually exclusive. If someone wishes to claim that both infinite regresses exist, they are also claiming that reality violates the laws of logic, and if reality violates the laws of logic, then we cannot use logic to discover reality.

    Does that help?

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  9. Great website

    Cyclical is just a trick it doesn't actually defeat an infinite regress.

    Its essentially the same as old Johnny going back in time to pass themself (young Johnny) a book.
    Young Johnny them lives his life and when he's old goes back in time to give the book to young Johnny. In this cycle the book is eternal and has no origin.

    The incoherent part is there has to a **FIRST run through or the book has no author(besides, being a physical object made from atoms it will eventually decay). On the first run through Middle age Johnny buys the book.

    Same if old Johnny is the cause of the universe. On the first run through Johnny must arrive at a time where there was **Nothing and create the world. A leads to B leads to C leads to A still must have beginning that although is not necessary once it completes one cycle, is present on its First run through.. in this examples first run through "Nothing exists at a point on the supposed circle(Nothing is on the circle before Johnny gets there)--making the entire circle incoherent because he creates himself.

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    Replies
    1. John,
      I think that what you describe still results in linear time. The repeated events involve the same characters (and book), but the repeated events are not the same events since each event prior adds another instance and changes the context. On a view of truly cyclical time, everything is repeated (characters, objects, circumstances and events). The repeated contexts are identical in the logical sense (law of identity). However, what I think you have shown is that it is impossible for there to exist identical contexts if time moves at all. So, it seems that cyclical time is still an impossible trick, but in a bit more nuanced way. What do you think?

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