Thursday, November 26, 2015

Fun-frillled-Friay on Thursdasy (Alice's Restaurant for Thanksgiving).

 photo Arlo-Guthrie-Alices-Restaurant-1967-Album-Cover-Art1_zpsfh6x1d1b.jpg
Original Album Cover

Alice's Restaurant, the great 60's song that lasts 18 minutes and takes up a whole side of the Album; it's the 50th anniversary of it's release. The song has become an unofficial anthem for Thanksgiving, because it's about what happened after the Thanksgiving day feat 1968. Half the radio stations in the country will play it today. The song was Written by Arlo Guthrie, son of the legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie (wrote "This Land Is Your Land").

The song is really about what happened to Arlo when he was drafted, but that was colored by the events of the previous Thanksgiving. This was the height of Vietnam war so the song became a major anti-war song. For those who have never heard the song, the big thing bout it is it's hilarious. Arlo had a real comedic talent. He wasn't the greatest singer, his guitar is good, but he was the Seinfeld of folksongs. The song is comparable to the movie Godspell and other media artifacts of the counter culture in it's laid back humor oriented approach to mocking authority and casually making a serious statement. I would also associate it with the movie Mash for that reason. The first season of the tv Mash, though great by tv standards was a pale watered down version of that sort of style..

Arlo and a friend went to a school (in the movie he's in first year of college, but I'm not sure in real life if it wasn't high school) and two of his teachers, Alice somebody and husband, bought a church and remodeled it to be a home and Restaurant. Arlo says "we would sneak away from school and go there and do what we did in the 60's." We know he does not mean protest. They were going to Thanksgiving at the Restaurant but had to clean the place up before they could make the feast;. It was the junck from the remodeling. The dump was closed so they had to dump the garbage on private land and were charged with littering. When he was drafted they turned him down because of that arrest. There was a movie made about it, it was a huge hit. Arlo acted in the movie. he's not a bad actor, he as playing himself.

The memories are flooding back. The feel of the times. Revolution was in the air. We questioned everything. All wasted in a stooper of pot smoke. I remember we used to swipe paregoric from a friend's father, he took it for his back surgery. We soaked Cigarettes in it, dried them, smoked them, wonderful opium high. I stopped doing that when I got saved because I have prayer. Prayer is a million times better. Pot doesn't love you back. The first time I smoked it I was working at a job where we drove around the city soliciting articles of clothing and stuff for a thrift store. People leave it out, we pick it up. Between areas we got high. I was so scared. The cool hipsters I worked with kept saying, "be cool, cops can sense fear." "Just like dogs," I said. Prayer is definitely better than degradation and jail time. I know some connections doing jail time.

 photo 51Wm5zmvhbL._AC_UL320_SR312320__zpsbfnjkdvc.jpg

Arlo too has turned to God. The restaurant he bought several years ago, saved it from being torn down, and turned it into a spiritual center, so it is a place of God again. He said "anyone can come to the thanksgiving feast the only requirement is be hungry."

Hear the song

see the movie

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

God, Mind, Biology

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

My version of the cosmological argument steers is way around the need to defend direct causality of the universe with the idea that all existing things that we observe have ontologically prior conditions. For example, the universe itself stems from a confluence of space, time, gravitational field, energy. All of this is has an ontologically prior condition in the singularity. I say “ontologically prior” because there is no time beyond event horizon, thus there is no “before” before the big bang. But ontologically prior doesn’t mean that came “before” chronologically. Time begins in the very same increment of nano second with the things that are contingent upon, but they are no less contingent. Take the example of the eternal flute player. As long as the player plays eternally the music is eternal. But if the player were to stop the music would cease. Thus the music is both eternal and contingent. This illustrates the idea that a contingency can be contingent upon a necessity that that does not come before it in time, but the necessity is ontologically prior.

I advance the argument that we have no examples of anything that is not contingent upon an ontologically prior condition. Everything we see in this life. From swizzle sticks to pigs, form dirt to salad cream, from dollars to donuts is contingent. Thus it is the power of inductive reasoning that forces us to accept the concept of a contingent universe, We have no examples, not one, of anything to the contrary. One must fly in the face of all experience of all humans in all of life to argue that we don’t need to assume any sort of ontological priority for naturalistic phenomena. Atheists have, however, turned the tables. They advance the argument that we never observe any form of mind or consciousness apart from brain. Thus, by the same force of inductive evidence that forces us to assume ontologically prior conditions to the universe, we should also assume that minds do not occur without brains. This would mean that God must be the product of a biology, or here cannot be a God possessed of consciousness, will, or volition.

While this seems like a reasonable “turn about is fair play” sort of argument on the surface, rendering Theistic objects as special pleading, it is actually a black-is-white-slide argument on the part of the atheist. This is so because the two cases are really not analogous even though they appear to be at first glance. First, there is nothing to compare to God We can say “we never see anything that is not contingent upon something else in this life, but we cannot say “we never see anything else that is like God, because we never see God, nor can we expect anything to be like God. God is not only unique, but God is beyond any scale of understanding we could produce. There is nothing we can compare to God. Thus, it is not a fair statement “we never see anything like God.” Of course we don’t, God is off scale. That may sound like special pleading but to say otherwise is merely a category mistake. One is trying to hold the absolute necessity the standards of all contingent being. The atheist is merely denying the fact that the two cases, God and naturalistic phenomena are totally different things, they are in different logically categories and one cannot be held in comparison to the to the other.

Moreover, the ontological priority of naturalistic necessities is much more fundamental in our field of experience than is consciousness. While it is true that everything we see in this life, every single physical object and everything we know about, anything and every thing that can be observed or quantified or even theorized based upon its effects upon other physical phenomena, is contingent, we do not know if it is true that minds are only found in connection with brains. That is begging the question, because the argument is made that consciousness is not merely the product of brain chemistry but is actually a basic property of nature, and is produced by the level of complexity in a system. Thus the atheist is imposing functionalistic assumptions based upon a materialist ideology, rather than appealing to any sort of actual observation we really make in the world. We do not know if we only observe consciousness as a product of brain chemistry because if it is a property of nature then we may be seeing it at work in everything. There is a school of thought that says nature is “ground up.” If that is the case it means that rocks and trees have a certain level of consciousness, presumably very low for rocks, because consciousness is a basic property. If this view is true, consciousness is like the electromagnetic spectrum; its in everything, you can’t see it, you can’t compare it to anything. The EM spectrum includes a lot of aspect that we cannot observe directly. Radio waves, microwaves, ultra violet, infa red and others are also aspects of the EM spectrum. So there may be more to consciousness than just brains. I am not suggesting that trees have feelings and are capable of conversation, but if consciousness is a basic property then there’s got to be a lot more to it than we know. To just say no it’s only caused by brain chemistry and is only found in biological organisms is foolish. God is not a biological organism and thus there is no reason to exact that God would conform to the same principles. The real difference in the two cases, is that the prior condition argument and the consciousness argument is that prior conditions are something we can observe and understanding as necessary for the emergence of all physical phenomena, while we do not know the answer to the assumption being made about consciousness and presume we do is merely begging the question.

On the other hand,

there is evidence that mind can appear apart from brain.While this can’t be proven, there are some good indications.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Question of Being part 2: Against ICR


I have done a previous post on the impossibility of ICR (Infinite Causal Regression). There are aspects of the subject that I didn't deal with in that so I am hoping to deal with them here. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has an excellent article on the Cosmological Argument. I am going to deal with issues raised in that article, issues pertaining to contingency and ICR. In counter to the argument of a necessary first cause Russell argues that the universe just is and requires no explanation. In the last post I argued that this is unsatisfying, Russell argued that we derive our concept of cause from observation, thus since we don't observe the final cause, or the cause of the universe (see objection 1 in link above). The obvious answer is that we don't have to observe ever aspect to extrapolate from what we do observe, that's the whole principle of inductive reasoning in scinece. I would argue that we do observe the contingency of the universe because it's all around at every moment, while we can't know the finality of it's contingency, we can see plainly that the only we have of the mode of being of the universe is contingency, which is in everything we see.

Rusell argued that the move from the parts to the whole, from contingent parts to wholly contingent universe, is the "fallacy of composition."

Russell correctly notes that arguments of the part-whole type can commit the Fallacy of Composition. For example, the argument that since all the bricks in the wall are small, the wall is small, is fallacious. Yet it is an informal fallacy of content, not a formal fallacy. Sometimes the totality has the same quality as the parts because of the nature of the parts invoked—the wall is brick because it is built of bricks. The universe's contingency, theists argue, resembles the second case. If all the contingent things in the universe, including matter and energy, ceased to exist simultaneously, the universe itself, as the totality of these things, would cease to exist. But if the universe can cease to exist, it is contingent and requires an explanation for its existence (Reichenbach, chap. 5).(from Stanford article above).
The assertion that the exact duplication of the building material in the overall wall is a red herring. The argument that the size of the bricks is the size of the all is not really analogous to the issue of contingency. The analogy would between the actual state of the material, not it's size divided into increments, but the material itself. A wall made out of all bricks is what we call "a brick wall" that is a wall made wholly of the materiel "brick." If a wall is made up of contingencies then it's a contingent wall.

Some reply that this argument for the contingency of the universe still is fallacious, for even if every contingent being were to fail to exist in some possible world, it may be the case that there is no possible world that lacks a contingent being. That is, though no being would exist in every possible world, every world would possess at least one contingent being. Rowe gives the example of a horse race. “We know that although no horse in a given horse race necessarily will be the winner, it is, nevertheless, necessary that some horse in the race will be the winner” (1975, 164).
Atheist answer:
Rowe's example, however, fails, for it is possible that all the horses break a leg and none finishes the race. That is, the necessity that some horse will win follows only if there is some reason to think that some horse must finish the race.
That is not a real answer because it doesn't prove that the universe is necessary it proves merely that there might be no universe at all. Since that means the universe itself could have failed to exist that makes it contingent (standard definition: that which could cease or fail to exist). The author of the article argues as a back up that we must have a reason to believe that something is necessary: "Similarly, his objection to the universe's contingency will hold only if there is some reason to think that the existence of something is necessary. " That's just the problem, we have no reason to assume the universe is necessary, we have an obvious reason to assume that being is necessary, since something can't come from nothing, there's ample reason to assume an eternal first cause. Being eternal it could not could not cease or fail, the logic of an eternal first cause makes it necessary a prori (ie Necessary: that which cannot cease of fail to exist). If something is truly eternal it could not cease or fail to exist. Consider the lunacy in saying that some thing has existed for ever with no cause but on June fourth, 1955 it cased to be. Why June 4, 1955, why not eons ago? It had infinite chances to cease, why would it do so on that one day and not another much sooner? Moreover, the concept of eternal being is limitless, unnumbered and infinite. To then have it cease would be to put a number to the infinite which is impossible. All of which is reason enough to assume eternal necessary being.

The article at that point goes off into what I think is a tangent arguing for the possible existence of a world with no contingent beings.

One argument given in defense of this thesis is that the existence of one contingent being may be necessary for the nonexistence of some other contingent being. But though the fact that something's existence is necessary for the existence of something else holds for certain properties (for example, the existence of children is necessary for someone to be a parent), it is doubtful that something's existence is necessary for something else's nonexistence per se, which is what is needed to support the argument that denies the contingency of the universe. Hence, given the contingency of everything in the universe, it remains that there is a possible world without any contingent beings.
I think he missed the point. The point is not that there must be a contingent being of some kind in every possible world, but that the state of contingency is mandated for all possible worlds (they are all dependent upon God) since they could all fail to exist. The author of the article, Bruce Reichenbach, argues in terms of individual beings. The point is that the whole is demonstrated as contingent because it is made up of contingent parts. This is not the fallacy of composition becuase if the parts are all the same the over all structure is the same as the parts. We can get off track by being literalistic and saying "the small bricks make a small wall" but they make a wall made of brick.

The fallacy of composition is when one reasons from the parts to the whole. In this case my argument (P2a) reasons from the fact that the universe is a collection of contingent things to the conclusion that the universe is contingent. But this is not my only argument for the contingency of the universe, be that as it may, it is not the fallacy of composition. The fallacy doesn't happen just any time one reasons in this way. It is not fallacious to argue form the parts to the whole if the parts are all alike.

Robert Koons on Leadership University


Phl 327
Contemporary Christian Philosophy
Fall 2000, University of Texas

The argument commits the fallacy of composition: from the fact that each part of the cosmos is caused, it fallaciously draws the conclusion that the whole cosmos is caused. Response: this is a misstatement of the argument. The argument assumes that all wholly contingent situations are caused. We can prove that the cosmos is wholly contingent, so it must have a cause.

The Nizkor Project

vistied 12/13/03

The second type of fallacy of Composition is committed when it is concluded that what is true of the parts of a whole must be true of the whole without there being adequate justification for the claim. More formally, the line of "reasoning" would be as follows:
The parts of the whole X have characteristics A, B, C, etc. Therefore the whole X must have characteristics A, B, C. That this sort of reasoning is fallacious because it cannot be inferred that simply because the parts of a complex whole have (or lack) certain properties that the whole that they are parts of has those properties. This is especially clear in math: The numbers 1 and 3 are both odd. 1 and 3 are parts of 4. Therefore, the number 4 is odd. It must be noted that reasoning from the properties of the parts to the properties of the whole is not always fallacious. If there is justification for the inference from parts to whole, then the reasoning is not fallacious. For example, if every part of the human body is made of matter, then it would not be an error in reasoning to conclude that the whole human body is made of matter. Similiarly, if every part of a structure is made of brick, there is no fallacy comitted when one concludes that the whole structure is made of brick.

Thomas Rauchenstein.Copyright 1997, (link is no good)

The argument (Cosmological) does not commit the fallacy of composition. Just as every part of a puzzle is red, so must the whole be red; if every part of a structure consists of stone, so must the whole consist of stone. Likewise, if every possible being is in potentiality, so the whole of all possible beings is in potentiality, and thus, needs to be actualized (caused). The very nature of the parts demand that the whole be caused as well.

If all the horses break a leg and no one finishes that is analogs to failure to exist not a defeat for the example. There is no reason to limit the example to just individual beings. ICR is made up of a string of contingent universes. For example where ICR is conveyed by the oscillating universe, big bang => big crunch, black whole, pops back out into another big bang, and another big crunch, another black and another popping out, on and on forever with no beginning and no end; the whole is made up of contingent parts. Take out the contingent universes, and you have no eternal string or series of infinite regression. The term "regression" refers to tracing the sting of c/e back infinitely. If the c/e is gone there's no string. Thus there is a possibility the string could have ceased at any point. That means the whole is contingent becuase it's made up of all contingent parts. Koons reflects this answer in his mermological argument:

To avoid any hint of the Fallacy of Composition and to avoid these complications, Koons (198–99) formulates the argument for the contingency of the universe as a mereological argument. If something is contingent, it contains a contingent part. The whole and part overlap, and by virtue of overlapping, have a common part. Since the part in virtue of which they overlap is wholly contingent, the whole likewise must be contingent.

Mememological Aggregation Axiom shows us that wholly congingent sitautions are wholly contingent

Dr. Robert Koons UT (Logician)

1) Every wholly contingent fact has a cause. (facts that are partly or wholly necessary need not)

2) Applying aggregation axiom, anything of a kin dk = such a thing as arrgigate of all kinds.

3) Aggreagates can't exist unless all parts exist (which means necessary aggregate must have Necessary parts, contingent aggregate must have contingent parts. The result is necessary and contingnet facts which means contingent aggregate as a whole). 4) Absolutely necessary facts cannot be caused, therefore, wholly contingent facts (those whith only contingent parts) can be caused.

5) Causal principle can be thought of as empirically supported (effects not limited to a particular region of space/time in the case of physical laws for example, :. we have reason to suspect that all contingent facts have causes).

For an explaination of the fact token/type situation I turn to Dr.Koons himself:

Phl 356
Western Theism
Spring '98, University of Texas

LECTURE #7: Contemporary Versions: My Argument

Facts are the kinds of things that make declarative sentences, like "Caesar has died", true. Facts enter into cause and effect relations with other facts. We can distinguish between "types" and "tokens", to use terms introduced into philosophy by C. S. Peirce. Each individual penny is a token, and the property or kind of penny-hood is a type. Each penny is a token of one and the same type, which is multiply realized in different places at different times. My argument concerns fact-tokens, not fact-types. For example, we can use the phrases "that Caesar died", "Caesar's dying" or "Caesar's death" to refer either to a fact-token, the particular, actual occurrence that constituted the ending of Caesar's life, or to a fact-type, the kind of occurence in which the individual Caesar dies. Thus, the token of Caesar's death includes the actual thrust of Brutus's blade, and that very token would not have existed had Caesar died in some other way, of old age, for example. In contrast, the type, Caesar's dying, could have been realized in many different ways, including the actual assassination and the non-actual dying in old age. My argument focusses on the actual token I call the cosmos. This token includes all of the wholly contingent fact-tokens in the world as parts -- had the slightest detail been different anywhere at any time, the particular token I am calling 'the cosmos'would not have existed. It would instead be replaced by a different token. The fact-type, the existing of a universe, could have been realized by many different possible tokens.

For an explaination of Meremology I again turn to Dr. Koons:

"My argument focusses on the particular token that actually realized this type.If we assume that every fact has a cause, then there could exist no uncaused fact. Instead, I assume that every wholly contingent fact has a cause. Facts that are partly or wholly necessary need not, and indeed cannot, be caused. Since facts are concrete, actual things, we can talk meaningfully about the parts of a fact. Consequently, I use the principles of the mathematical theory of mereology, the theory of the part-whole relation. The most important principle of mereology is the aggregation axiom. This axiom states that, if there are any things of kind K, then there is such a thing as the aggregate of all the K's. For example, there is such a thing as water, so we can talk meaningfully about the aggregate or "mereological sum" of all the world's water. I assume that an aggregate cannot exist unless all of its parts exist. This means that a necessary aggregate must have only necessary parts, since if an aggregate has a contingent part, then that part might not exist, which would mean that the aggregate would not exist either. Aggregates are not like bodies or institutions, which can go on existing without the same parts. However, a contingent aggregate can have necessary parts. If we glue together some contingent and necessary facts, the resulting aggregate is contingent as a whole. I assume that an absolutely necessary fact cannot be caused. If a fact is caused, then all of its parts are caused. So, any fact that contains a necessary fact cannot be caused.

Therefore, it is only wholly contingent facts that can be caused. A wholly contingent fact is a fact that has only contingent parts.I argue that the causal principle should be thought of as empirically supported. We find that a wide variety of facts are caused. This includes conditions both small and large (from atomic physics to astronomy and cosmology), both recent and ancient, both transient and long-lasting. We even discover that many everlasting conditions have causes. For example, the fact that the physical world is approximately Newtonian is caused by certain features of general relativity. Similarly, the ideal gas laws are caused by the underlying dynamics of the gas molecules, and Brownian motion is caused by atomic collisions. In these cases, the effects are not limited to a particular region of space or time. Thus, we have good empirical reason to believe that every fact that can be caused, that is, every wholly contingent fact, has a cause.

Cyclial Universe
The concept that the universe is eternallay ocillating between big bangs and big crunches. When the matter from the explosion of a Big Bang reaches a certain point the gravitational pull draws it back, it callapses into superdense black hole and pops back out again. This notion does not require an initial cause, the cyclical universe is just always there always going through its cycles.

a) Universe continuing to expand

Evidence from three recent studies reveals that the final fate of the universe will be to drift apart and cease all useful functions capable of supporting life due to missing mass, which can't produce gravitational pull to bring it all back together and start again, and heat death in which case energy is useless for work. Several major studies show this to be the case.

[New Scientist Magazine, archive 11, April 98, archive; originally Oct. 96] you should be able to click here, but here's the url just in case) [

"ON THE night of 5 March last year, the huge telescope of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile intercepted a message from deepest space. Transmitted a billion years before the Earth was born, its contents have proved to be of truly cosmic significance. The message was barely readable after its journey halfway across the Universe, and an international team of experts laboured for months to decode it. In January, Saul Perlmutter of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California and his colleagues revealed to the world what they believe to be its gist: "The Universe will never end." A month later, a team led by Brian Schmidt of the Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories near Canberra in Australia published the decoded contents of more of these cosmic missives, which arrive as bursts of light from supernova explosions in far-flung galaxies. The message was the same. Now Chris Kochanek and his colleagues at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, are about to publish more evidence, this time from light that has been bent and sculpted by the gravity of unseen galaxies."

Omega force = Continued expansion forever (no Big Cruch)

"These three sets of cosmic missives all suggest that instead of collapsing in on itself in a big crunch, our Universe will go on expanding forever. And that's not all. They also hint that the expanding Universe is in the grip of a mysterious force that is fighting against gravity--a force that pervades the entire cosmos and springs literally from nothing."(Ibid.)

[mysterious force = "omega" ie the equation of gravitational force vs. mass needed to close the universe; omega must = 1 to close]

Missing Mass.

[New Scientist article April 1999] "If it [the universe] contains enough matter, gravity will eventually slow its expansion, stop it, and reverse it--producing a cataclysmic big crunch billions of years hence. But if there is too little matter--or if there is an extra source of "oomph" at work in the cosmos--then the Universe will expand forever.... Cosmologists call the ratio of the actual density of matter in our Universe to this critical density 'Omega.' And whole armies of astronomers have spent decades trying to work out if Omega is less than, more than or equal to 1.,... "Studies of the gravitational effects of clusters of galaxies have revealed that there must be at least 10 times as much mass tied up in invisible "dark matter" in the Universe as there is in the familiar form of luminous stars and gas. Yet even when all this dark matter is thrown into the equation, it still doesn't make the theorists happy. Despite searching every cosmic nook and cranny, astronomers have never found anything like the amount needed to make Omega equal to 1."

"So the take-home message looks the same as that now emerging from the supernova and quasar surveys: the Universe is going to expand forever, and it may yet prove to be flat. Certainly the idea of the big crunch seems to have gone for good, but the exact values of Lambda and Omega, and the fate of the cosmologists' theories, are still up for grabs. These values may finally be nailed early in the next century, with the launch of NASA's Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) and the European Space Agency's PLANCK missions. These will use the heat left over from the big bang to try yet another way of measuring Omega and Lambda, which may lay the question to rest for good ("Genesis to Exodus", New Scientist," 19 October 1996, p 30).

Flat Universe means no contraction

Andre Linde, Scientific American, Sept 1997

"A second trouble spot is the flatness of space. General relativity suggests that space may be very curved, with a typical radius on the order of the Planck length, or 10^-33 centimeter. We see however, that our universe is just about flat on a scale of 10^28 centimeters, the radius of the observable part of the universe. This result of our observation differs from theoretical expectations by more than 60 orders of magnitude." [Messuer is a leading physicist and one of the first to invent the inflationary universe theory]

ABC Scientists: Universe is Flat another link Physics.

Wayne Hu of the Institute for Advanced Studies, School of Natural Sciences in New Jersey said "temperature maps of the CMB form a snapshot image of the Universe when it was extremely young." "The...result supports a flat universe, which means that the total mass and energy density of the universe is equal to the so-called critical density," Wu wrote. "A perfectly flat universe will remain at the critical density and keep on expanding forever, because there is not enough matter to make it recollapse in a 'big crunch.'"

c) End of Universe reveals beginning--universe would have already ceased.

Energy of the universe is being expended, as it burns up,it becomes useless for work. The fate of the universe will be eventual death in ciy darkness as all of its suns burn out and their energy dissipates][New Scientist, April 1999, oct. 96

"But even if the Universe lives forever, its inhabitants will not be so lucky. A mere thousand billion years from now, all the stars will have used up their fuel and fizzled out. There will still be occasional flashes in the perpetual night: the death throes of stars so large that they have collapsed in on themselves to form black holes. Even these will eventually evaporate in a blast of radiation. For the next 10122 years, this Hawking radiation will be the only show in town. By then even the most massive black holes will evaporate, leaving the Universe with nothing to do for an unimaginable 10 to the power of 1026 years. Quantum theory then predicts that atoms of iron--the most stable of all elements--will undergo "tunnelling" and disappear into tiny black holes, which will themselves end in a final fizz of Hawking radiation. In the beginning there may have been light, but in the end, it seems, there will be nothing but darkness. ".[New Scientist April 1999]

Given infinite time and possibility all potentialities would have already come to fruition, the chain would have already been broken before our universe came into being. This just illustrates the impossibility of an infinite series of events. (being a series of events it would be "in time" so it's really redundant to say "an infinite series of events in time.") In other words, if this universe drifts apart because it lacks mass to produce omega, than the last universe would have too because energy and matter would be the same amount, just formulated differently (energy cannot be created or destroyed). The absurdity of the notion of an infinite series of big bang/crunches is driven home; how could there be an "infinite" series if one of the links in the chain can't make it? It can't "already be infinite" and then stop because infinite means no beginning and no end.

Note: If the Skeptic does not agree to this principle, that given infinite time every possibility comes to fruition than he can neither argue infinite chances nor multiple universes against the fine tuning argument.

d) Universe contains finite stock of order, connote be eternal (because it would have burned out by now)

*Scientific consensus:

Paul Davies, in his article, "Space-time Singularities and Cosmology," says,"If we extrapolate this prediction to its extreme,we reach a point when all distances in the universe have shrunk to zero. An initial cosmological singularity therefore forms a past temporal extremity to the universe. We cannot continue physical reasoning, or even the concept of space-time, through such an extremity. For this reason, most cosmologists think of the initial singularity as the beginning of the universe. On this view, the Big Bang represents the creation event; the creation not only of all the MATTER and ENERGY in the universe, but also of space-time itself."[ P. C. W.Davies, "Space-time Singularities in Cosmology," in The Study of Time III, ed. J. T. Fraser (Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1978), pp. 78-79.]

* Laws of Physics break down at singularity

The laws of physics break down at the singularity. 1st Thermo. would apply after the Big Bang, then the fixed amount of energy that is "put in" to the universe (as Davies puts it) would be finite (in quantity) and subject to 1st and 2nd Thermo.

* 1 LTD applies to matter also. Thirdly, the 1st Law of Thermo. applies to matter ALSO. If you argue that energy is eternal, you've got to argue that matter is eternal, which goes against all the empirical evidence we have for the Big Bang.

* 2 LTD Energy burn to heat death

Fourthly, if you opt for 1st Thermo. before the Big Bang, try being consistent and applying 2nd Thermo. as well. If the energy (AND matter) of the universe is eternal, it would have reached MAXIMUM heat death an INFINITE amount of time ago.

Theoretical physicist Paul Davies, in his book God and the New Physics, states:

"If the universe has a finite stock of order, and is changing irreversibly towards disorder - ultimately to thermodynamic equilibrium - two very deep inferences follow immediately. The first is that the universe will eventually die, wallowing, as it were, in its own entropy. This is known among physicists as the 'heat death' of the universe. The second is that the universe cannot have existed forever, otherwise it would have reached its equilibrium end state an infinite time ago. Conclusion: the universe did not always exist."

If you deny that the universe has a finite stock of order, you are essentially denying the 1st law of thermodynamics, as it requires a fixed finite amount of matter and energy. (check your Encyc. Britannica)

In your wider universe, does the 1st law of Thermodynamics apply WITHOUT the second? What reversed the entropy of this eternally existent universe? As we saw above, a universe containing eternal matter and energy would have reached maximum entropy an INFINITE amount of time ago. What organizing principle intervened 11-15 billion years ago and organized all that energy and matter that was no longer available for work? What or who (or Who) wound the universe up?

Fifthly, we observe that the universe is expanding uniformly in all directions. Had the universe existed for an infinite period of time, the density of matter would have become zero. (Koons) How do you explain the observable expansion of the universe? We measure the recession velocity of distant galaxies by using Cepheid variables, type Ia supernovas, and now Red Clumps as standard candles. And the microwave background radiation and redshift (Doppler effect that skews the red portion of the spectrum of starlight in proportion to the distance of the star) confirm this expansion also. Furthermore, within the very field equations of General Relativity, is embedded the fact of the expansion and deceleration of the universe. There are now 19 proofs of General Relativity in 12 isolated areas of Physics,making it the most exhaustively proven principle. Are you saying that General Relativity does not apply to our universe as a whole?!! It is accurate to better than a trillionth of a percent precision. Where is your scientific evidence for A) separate portions of the universe which General Relativity does not describe B) separate universes? If its not falsifiable, and there's no evidence for it, then its just not a threat to the standard BB model as it is not scientific.

Since the oscillating universe is the only workable mechanism for ICR it's really a theory in trouble. The other alternatives such quantum tunneling require that the particles cause themselves (soemthing form nothing) then travel in time into he past to continually cause themselves again and again. The other answer is string membranes which is still unproved

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fun Filled Friday: My Zen Bigfoot Sighting: The Time I did NOT see a BF

patterson photo bigfoot.gif
Patty Patterson

Since I did the Review of Boggy Creek recently, I thought it would be fun to tell my own Bigfoot story, or non story. The time I did not see one. What's so fun about that? First it was at summer camp. secondly, I did not see it but I was with those who saw something, I can tell by their reaction it was something that scared the hell out of them. Now this is an absolutely true story but I don't know what they saw and I have always wondered. I'll never know. I male light of it but it is serious. Nevertheless pull up a campfire, make some smores and here we go:

Summer of 1967 I was 11 years old. Summer camp with my twin brother, Ray. We were at a church camp at Lake Texoma. Between Texas and Oklahoma, on the red river, Back then it was very remote. Just for comparison they did pull a hoax. It was badly done we knew it was the counselors dressed as aliens. Lights hooked up to car battery on the hill at night was a landing space ship. It was fun it was "gott'cha" and "you should have seen your face." The situation after the nature walk was very different,. Rather than a gott'cha moment it was a "we don't talk about that" moment.

Every evening after our hilariously fun day, swimming, arts and crafts, sneaking into the bushes to smoke, I would go to edge of the light right by the woods just before lights out. I was also considering baptism (I was baptized in Lake Texoma that summer). One night I heard something. It was distant so that I wasn't sure I heard it, it was out of place I had to notice. It was fait and distant, a scream. It sounded like a woman screaming. I heard it again the next night this time a bit clearer and closer to camp. The next day I heard kids teasing another kid. I learned they were mocking him because the claimed to have heard a woman screaming in the woods. I told them that I heard it. We all agreed it was probably a bob cat. At least probably not the same woman screaming every night. There were no bob cats around there but we had no concept of Bigfoot. I had never heard of it, no idea such a thing was rumored to exist.

The next day they lined up the boys and we all went single file in to the woods on a nature hike. We saw the remains of the car battery from the great invasion hoax. We walked into a little path through the woods. In those days Lake Texoma was remote. There's big town now but there was nothing there then. It was surrounded by woods for miles. We walked down the path, trees on both sides. There was a little incline you go down, then a rise then broke into a clearing. I estimate we might have been 150 yards or 200 maybe into the woods.

They stopped us in the depression and told us to inspect the nature around u. The counselors kept going up to the clearing and looking at something and talking among themselves. Eventually I had began to realize we were stopped a long time. They were deliberating a lot and they seemed worried about something. I kept saying "what's taking so long?" First they said they had to check something out. Then that they had to make sure conditions were right. Finally when I asked again they said there was something they could not explain and that when this guy came (call him Dan) he would know. Apparently Dan grew up in that area, his last name was Boone. Not really but he was a regular Daniel Boone.

They just would not say what was confusing them, But they said they needed someone who knew a lot about the woods. I was so intrigued because they were being so mysterious. I told them that I knew all about the woods. I lied. But they did let me go up and see "it." This other guy went too. He said we had to get down, hide behind the bush and don't get out in the clearing and look over across it. I saw nothing. He kept saying be quite. I said what am I looking for? he said "you will know when you see it. I kept telling him I didn't see it so he looked and said it moved. We went back and I kept demanding to know what it was. They looked so worried. They were nervous. They said there was something and could not tell if it was a man or an animal. This just meant nothing. How could such a thing be? What the hell were they talking about?

Finally Daniel Boone came, took one look and said something half whispered to the head guy, I heard it. He said "we need to get these kids back to camp immediately. and don't make any noise." They told us to go in single file, and no noise, then marched us back. To the end of camp they would not let us talk bout it. Every time my brother or I brought it up they would say "Mr. (head guy) says not to talk about that. We never did any more nature walks. No one was allowed to go into the woods. At one point I snuck off to see for myself. Got half way back to the spot but chickened out.

We drove home,Ray and I, with a woman who worked in the kitchen and was a friend of my mother's. It was a large Church and everyone at the camp had some connection with it. On the trip hoe there was also one of the counselors. Most of the way back he talked to the woman about why he didn't believe in the Vietnam war. Ray and I found that interesting. There was a ou8l and suddenly Ray says "hey what was the deal with that nature walk? why did we have to turn back?" I said, "yea, we are not at camp now Mr. (so and so) can't control what we say here." The counselor said "we finally decided it was a naked hobo." A naked hobo? When he said "finally decided" that reminded me and I said "why would it be hared to tell if it was human? They said they couldn't tell if it was a man or an animal." He said "He was real tall and covered with hair, real hairy like all over his body, and he had no clothes." Ray said "so what makes it as hobo?" He said it "he walked on two legs and had hands." He also said it was trying to sleep under a tree most of the time but they did see it get up and move around a bit. So when I looked it was moving around.

After we got back I told our friend Barry about it. I've kept in touch with Barry all my life, and to this this day he remembers ,he remembers me telling him about it. So it's not just a reconstructed memory. I still have no idea what it was. I just excepted that it was a large harry hobo. Put it out of my mind, though I did think that sounded fishy. For one thing why were we forbidden to talk about it? What is so hush-hush abut a hairy hobo? I guess it was latter that summer the Patterson film came out. I saw it n the news and immediately thought "I wonder if that's what they saw?" But dismissed it because hen I asked my father he said if they exist they are only in the northwest like northern California, He didn't believe they existed. He grew up hunting the woods of East Texas and never heard of such a thing.

Flash up to 1972 the first feature lengthy documentary about Big foot was shown in theaters. We went to see it, my brother, parents and I. Because I had never connected it with Bigfoot I had put it out of my mind. I was not thinking about that when we went to the movie. The movie was called "Bigfoot: Neither Msn nor Beast." I did not find the topic particularly scary but when I got home I was terrified. I was afraid to go to my room alone. I was shaking. A deep-seated blind unreasoning fear settled on me and I was afraid that a Bigfoot was going to look in my window. I knew it was stupid. I kept thinking "I know there4 can't be a Bigfoot outside my house in the middle of Dallas, even if they exist, which they probably don't." At school one of my teachers and a couple of kids see it and through mocking it with them I was able to just forget it. I wonder if the title "neither man nor beast" didn't trigger a latent fear due to the phrase "can't tell if it's a man or an animal.".

I forgot about until years latter. Way up in the early ought's I had not though about it in 30 years, my brother and I mocked Bigfoot people and called belief in Big foot "wacy." I was one day looking at Bigfoot stuff on the net for fun and found a sighting at Lake Texoma and that reminded me of that event; do I believe in Bigfoot? What day is it? Friday? No my BF believing days are Tuesday/Thursday. I drought that they exist but I'm open to the possibility. I have researched it, the evidence is just good enough to justify looking. The bigfoot searchers are just silly enough to make it doubtful..

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Phenomenology and Method

, Photobucket

Many Atheists are hung up on empirical knowledge. Thats why so many of them (not all by many) insist that we have no info about God, you can't verfy God and so forth.Many posts on CARM lattely have criticized "religious subjectivity." Even many christians have fallen into the trap of dicotomizing between subect and object, such that they think: subjectivity = bad, objectivity = good.
But God cannot be the subject of empirical data becasue is not given in sense data. That's becasue God is not just another object along side objects in creation. God is not just another thing, God is the basis of reality. That's like a fish scientist saying "they assinged me to study this thing called 'water' but I can't find any water." he says that because it never dawns on him that its' all around him, the medium in which he lives and he's always looking through it. he can't see the water because he's looking through it.

That's sort of the case with God because God is the basis of reality, the ground of Being. "in him we live and move and have our being." When we try to look at God and see him directly we look through him because in a sense he's the medium in which we live.

The only answer to this is to search for something else. We don't look for empirical evdience of God, we look for a "co-detemrinate." That is, we look for the signatrue of God, or to use a Derridian term the "trace of God." Like the arua of a neutrino. We can't photogrpah neutrinos directly but we have photographed their auruas that are the reaction of Nuetrinos with other particals. When you see that aurua you know you have one.

But the trace of God has to be the result of a subjective or intersubjective understanding. So rather than subject it to empirical means, we need allow the sense data to determine the categories under which we organize our thinking about God.

Schleiermacher was the originater of this kind of thinking (prior to Brintono who is attributed to be the inventer of Phenomenology). Here is Schleiermacher's take on God consciousness. We don't search for God in objective terms we search for "God consciousness."


Phenomenology is very important because it is the altenative way of htinking to either empirical science and hangs ups on iductive data, or deudtive reasoing and hang ups on the a prori. When I say "allow the sense data to determine the categories," what do I mean? (this is very crucial to understanding every point I make on message boards):

What that means is, you have a bit of qualia, an impression of the say sense data strikes us,the way something appears to us. Let's say the desk my computer sits upon. Our tendency is to tuck it away into a neat category based upon our preconcieved notions of desks. This is a bit of wodden furniture, it's funciton is proving a surface for writting and bit of storage for what we write. We plug in the label "made in Hong Kong" and we say "it's a cheap desk." Now we have a sub category. all that is pre set in our minds based upon our understanding of the universe vis a vie writting surfaces. But if we appraoch the desk phenomenologically, we don't say "o a cheap peice of furniture for holding my computer--manufactured in formerly British colony, the home of Jackie Chan, thus a Kung fu capitalist cheap desk. but we just say "there is this object that appears in my sense data, and it seems to provide uses x,y,z. So it may not be a desk at all in terms of its functionality, perhaps it would work better as a door stop. Or perhaps this door put across two saw horses would make a better desk. That's not part of my preconcieved notion because it's not made to be a desk, but it might work better."

Ok that's a trivial example, so much for my understanding of desks and their place in the univrese. But, when we consider other thins, things of more gravity such as empirical science and reilgion, or religious belief and expeirnce, the nautre of myth and religious texts, you can see how the outcome might might be a lot more significant if we do it one way as oppossed to another.

The way the atheists want to to it is to demand certian things, and those things require sense data and that sense data is preconcieved to belong in certain categories and to rule out other sense data. Thus they wind up asking for probability of miracles when in fact by defition a miracle cannot be probable. So they rule out any kind of miracle based upon the pre convieved category of "things that do no happen because we don't observe them so they are too impoprobable." Whereas in reality, since miracles are things taht are impossible, but happen anyway because some higher law overrides that of probablity, they are just arbitrarly crossing out the category of the possible and arbitraily arranging their understanding of the universe to exclude the SN, then demanding that, well there's no evidence for it (because we have filed all the evidence under the preconvcieved category of "that which does not happen.").

Religion not Reduceable to Knowledge

Frederick Schleiermacher, (1768-1834) in On Religion: Speeches to it's Cultured Dispisers, and The Chrisitian Faith (Glogenschleurer) (I know my German spell has to worse than my English spelling),sets forth the view that religion is not reduceable to kowledge or ethical systems. It is primarily a phenomenoloigcal apprehension of God consciusness through means of religious affections. Affections is a term not used much anymore, and it is easily confussed with mere emotion. Sometimes Schleiermacher is udnerstood as saying that "I become emotional when I pay and thus there must be an object of my emotional feelings." Though he does vinture close to this position in one form of the arugment, this is not exactly what he's saying.

In the earlier form of his argument he was saying that affections were indicative of a sense of God, but in the Christian Faith he argues that there is a greater sense of unity in the life world and a snese of the dependance of all things in the life world upon something higher.

What is this feeling of utter depenedence? It is the sense of the unity in the life world and it's greater reliance upon a higher reality. It is not to be confussed with the stary sky at night in the desert feeling, but is akin to it. I like to think about the feeling of being in my backyard late on a summer night, listening to the sounds of the freeway dying out andrealizing a certain harmony in the lfie world and the sense that all of this exists because it stemms form a higher thing. There is more to it than thatbut I don't have time to go into it. That's just a short hand for those of us to whom this is a new concept to get some sort of handle on it. Nor does"feeling" here mean "emotion" but it is connected to the religiousaffections. In the early version S. thought it was a corrolate between thereligious affections and God; God must be there because I can feel love for him when I pray to him. But that's not what it's saying in the better version.

The basic assumptions Schleiermacher is making are Plaontic. He believes that the feeling of utter dependence is the backdrop, the pre-given, pre-cognative notion behind the ontological argument. IN other words, what Anselm tried to capture in his logical argument is felt by everyone, if they were honest, in a pre-cognative way. In other words, before one thinks about it, it is this "feeling" of utter dependence. After one thinks it out and makes it into a logical arguemnt it is the ontological arguement.

Unity in the Life world.

"Life world," or Labeinswelt is a term used in German philosophy. It implies the world of one's culturally contructed life, the "world" we 'live in.' Life as we expeirence it on a daily basis. The unity one senses in the life world is intuative and unites the experiences and aspirations of the individual in a sense of integration and belonging in in the world. As Heidegger says "a being in the world." Schleiermacher is saying that there is a special intuative sense that everyone can grasp of this whole, this unity, being bound up with a higher relatiy, being dependent upon a higher unity. In other words, the "feeling" can be understood as an intuative sense of "radical constingency" (int he sense of the above ontolgoical arugments).

He goes on to say that the feeling is based upon the ontological principle as its theoretical background, but doesnt' depend on the argument because it proceeds the argument as the pre-given pre-theorectical pre-cognative relaitzation of what Anslem sat down and thought about and turned into a rational argument: why has the fools said in his heart 'there is no God?' Why a fool? Becasue in the heart we know God. To deny this is to deny the most basic realization about reality.

All religions seek to do three things:

a) to identify the human problematic, b) to identify an ultimate transformative experience (UTE) which resolves the problematic, and c) to mediate between the two.

But not all religions are equal. All are relative to the truth but not all are equal. Some mediate the UTE better than others, or in a more accessible way than others. Given the foregoing, my criteria are that:

1) a religious tradition reflect a human problematic which is meaningful in terms of the what we find in the world.

2) the UTE be found to really resolve the problematic.

3) it mediates the UTE in such a way as to be effective and accessible. 4) its putative and crucial historical claims be historically probable given the ontological and epistemological assumptions that are required within the inner logic of that belief system.

5) it be consistent with itself and with the external world in a way that touches these factors.

These mean that I am not interested in piddling Biblical contradictions such as how many women went to the tomb, ect. but in terms of the major claims of the faith as they touch the human problematic and its resolution.

A religious tradition is like a language, and theology is a converation. Since God is mystyical reality, beyond words, to speak of our experiences of God one must encode those experinces into cutlural constructs, that makes for the differences in different religons. Traditions are like languages in that they furnish a vocabulary for dealing with such experinces based upon past experiences in an inter-subjective fashion. The point of the discussion is to mediate transformation. One moves into mediation through the conversation of theology. One is then able to come terms with mediation on a personal and experiential level as is still able to relate intersubjectively with others who have similar expeirnces.

The question then,is not which religion is "true," but which one best mediates transformation. For the individual who answers that question, and comes to identify with a tradition, that is the conversation to take up; join that traidion. For me its Christianity. As part of the conversation one can set up cirteria for understanding the conversation, criteria such as those listed above.

How Does the Bible fulfill these criteria? First, what is the Bible? Is it a rule book? Is it a manual of discipline? Is it a science textbook? A history book? No it is none of these. The Bible, the Canon, the NT in particular, is a means of bestowing Grace. What does that mean? It means first, it is not an epistemology! It is not a method of knowing how we know, nor is it a history book. It is a means of coming into contact with the UTE mentioned above. This means that the primary thing it has to do to demonstrate its veracity is not be accurate historically, although it is that in the main; but rather, its task is to connect one to the depository of truth in the teachings of Jesus such that one is made open to the ultimate transformative experience. Thus the main thing the Bible has to do to fulfill these criteria is to communicate this transformation. This can only be judged phenomenologically. It is not a matter of proving that the events are true, although there are ensconces where that becomes important.

Thus the main problem is not the existence of these piddling so-called contradictions (and my experience is 90% of them stem from not knowing how to read a text), but rather the extent to which the world and life stack up to the picture presented as a fallen world, engaged in the human problematic and transformed by the light of Christ. Now that means that the extent to which the problematic is adequately reflected, that being sin, separation from God, meaninglessness, the wages of sin, the dregs of life, and so forth, vs. the saving power of God's grace to transform life and change the direction in which one lives to face God and to hope and future. This is something that cannot be decided by the historical aspects or by any objective account. It is merely the individual's problem to understand and to experience. That is the nature of what religion does and the extent to which Christianity does it more accessibly and more efficaciously is the extent to which it should be seen as valid.

The efficacy is not an objective issue either, but the fact that only a couple of religions in the world share the concept of Grace should be a clue. No other religion (save Pure Land Buddhism) have this notion. For all the others there is a problem of one's own efforts. The Grace mediates and administrates through *****ures is experienced in the life of the believer, and can be found also in prayer, in the sacraments and so forth.

Where the historical questions should enter into it are where the mediation of the UTE hedges upon these historical aspects. Obviously the existence of Jesus of Nazareth would be one, his death on the cross another. The Resurrection of course, doctrinally is also crucial, but since that cannot be established in an empirical sense, seeing as no historical question can be, we must use historical probability. That is not blunted by the minor discrepancies in the number of women at the tomb or who got there first. That sort of thinking is to think in terms of a video documentary. We expect the NT to have the sort of accuracy we find in a court room because we are moderns and we watch too much television. The number of women and when they got to the tomb etc. does not have a bearing on whether the tomb actually existed, was guarded and was found empty. Nor does it really change the fact that people claimed to have seen Jesus after his death alive and well and ascending into heaven. We can view the different strands of NT witness as separate sources, since they were not written as one book, but by different authors at different times and brought together later.

The historicity of the NT is a logical assumption given the nature of the works. We can expect that the Gospels will be polemical. We do not need to assume, however, that they will be fabricated from whole cloth. They are the product of the communities that redacted them. That is viewed as a fatal weakness in fundamentalist circles, tantamount to saying that they are lies. But that is silly. In reality there is no particular reason why the community cannot be a witness. The differences in the accounts are produced by either the ordering of periscopes to underscore various theological points or the use of witnesses who fanned out through the various communities and whose individual view points make up the variety of the text. This is not to be confused with contradiction simply because it reflects differences in individual's view points and distracts us from the more important points of agreement; the tomb was empty, the Lord was seen risen, there were people who put there hands in his nail prints, etc.

The overall question about Biblical contradiction goes back to the basic nature of the text. What sort of text is it? Is it a Sunday school book? A science text book? A history book? And how does inspiration work? The question about the nature of inspiration is the most crucial. This is because the basic notion of the fundamentalists is that of verbal plenary inspiration. If we assume that this is the only sort of inspiration than we have a problem. One mistake and verbal plenary inspiration is out the window. The assumption that every verse is inspired and every word is true comes not from the Church fathers or from the Christian tradition. It actually starts with Humanists in the Renaissance and finds its final development in the 19th century with people like J. N. Drably and Warfield. (see, Avery Dulles Models of Revelation).

One of my major reasons for rejecting this model of revelation is because it is not true to the nature of transformation. Verbal plenary inspiration assumes that God uses authors like we use pencils or like businessmen use secretaries, to take dictation (that is). But why should we assume that this is the only form of inspiration? Only because we have been conditioned by American Christianity to assume that this must be the case. This comes from the Reformation's tendency to see the Bible as epistemology rather than as a means of bestowing grace (see William Abraham, Canon and Criterion). Why should be approach the text with this kind of baggage? We should approach it, not assuming that Moses et al. were fundamentalist preachers, but that they experienced God in their lives through the transformative power of the Spirit and that their writings and redactions are a reflection of this experience. That is more in keeping with the nature of religion as we find it around the world. That being the case, we should have no problem with finding that mythology of Babylonian and Suzerain cultures are used in Genesis, with the view toward standing them on their heads, or that some passages are idealized history that reflect a nationalistic agenda. But the experiences of God come through in the text in spite of these problems because the text itself, when viewed in dialectical relation between reader and text (Barth/Dulles) does bestow grace and does enable transformation.

After all the Biblical texts were not written as "The Bible" but were complied from a huge voluminous body of works which were accepted as "holy books" for quite some time before they were collected and put in a single list and even longer before they were printed as one book: the Bible. Therefore, that this book may contradict itself on some points is of no consequence. Rather than reflecting dictation, or literal writing as though the author was merely a pencil in the hands of God, what they really reflect is the record of people's experiences of God in their lives and the way in which those experiences suggested their choice of material/redaction. In short, inspiration of text is a product of the transformation afore mentioned. It is the verbalization of inner-experience which mediates grace, and in turn it mediates grace itself.

The Bible is not the Perfect Revelation of God to humanity. Jesus is that perfect revelation. The Gospels are merely the record of Jesus' teachings, deposited with the communities and encoded for safe keeping in the list chosen through Apostolic backing to assure Christian identity. For that matter the Bible as a whole is a reflection of the experience of transformation and as such, since it was the product of human agents we can expect it to have human flaws. The extent to which those flaws are negligible can be judge the ability of that deposit of truth to adequately promote transformation. Christ authorizes the Apostles, the Apostles authorize the community, the community authorizes the tradition, and the tradition authorizes the canon.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Elimijating Cosmological Alternatives to God: (1) Inflationary Theory


There are competitive alternatives that vie for acceptance as explanations for hierarchical and ultimate oriogin in conceptualization as opposed to belief in God. It is important to recognize the validity of such alternatives. On the other hand we can eliminate these alternatives through sound analysis. The alternatives I will consider are: inflationary theory, quantum theory, gravity, Higgs boson, eternal universe (either no singularity or uncased, or ICR—infinite causal regress), multiverse, M theory, and scientific realism. Each of these alternatives presents a possible explanation, they are scientifically credible, and while none of them compete for the same ground as religious belief they do offer plausible explanations, and they are sometimes used as alternatives to belief abductive argument the skeptic could assert that one or more of these alternatives is best explanation.

All of these alternatives are interrelated. They all form the basis of a modern scientific outlook and they have the added advantage of being probably mostly true. At least they are the product of the state of the art of scientific knowledge. It's when their proponents take them beyond the domain of science and use them to bolster proponents about belief in God, or lack thereof, that we must become critical. Gravity and Higgs boson are elements or mechanisms in the larger system of theorizing. I include them separately because some emphasize that aspect as the answer to certain aspects of the problem. For example Higgs boson is thought to be responsible for helping form matter. I document below.

Inflationary theory, quantum theory, gravity, Higgs boson, eternal universe (either no singularity or uncased, or ICR—infinite causal regress), multiverse, M theory, and scientific realism.

Inflationary theory

Inflationary theory is the idea that the universe expanded to huge size from a single point very quickly, almost instantaneously, like a balloon being blown up with a single breath.

(a period of accelerating expansion in the very early Universe) is now accepted as the standard explanation of several cosmological problems. In order for inflation to have occurred, the Universe must have been formed contaiInflationning some matter in a highly excited state. Inflationary theory does not address the question of why this matter was in such an excited state. Answering this demands a theory of the pre-inflationary initial conditions. There are two serious candidates for such a theory. The first, proposed by Andrei Linde of Stanford University, is called chaotic inflation. According to chaotic inflation, the Universe starts off in a completely random state. In some regions matter will be more energetic than in others and inflation could ensue, producing the observable Universe.1
Inflation explains the large scale structure of the universe.2 But it does not explain hierarchical order. There's nothing in inflationary theory that proves inflation to be totally naturalistic in origin. Moreover, the statement above clearly demonstrates that inflation assumes the preexistence of matter, laws, and some kind of excitation. That would mean hierarchical order, organizing principles, and physical conditions already existed, so inflation can't explain them.

Physicist Paul Steinhardt, one of the originators of the theory, had doubts about it as early as his first paper on the subject (1982). He admits that the point of the theory was to eliminate fine tuning (a major God argument), but the theory only works if one fine tunes the constants that control the inflationary period. “The whole point of inflation was to get rid of fine-tuning – to explain features of the original big bang model that must be fine-tuned to match observations. The fact that we had to introduce one fine-tuning to remove another was worrisome. This problem has never been resolved.” 3Nor is inflationary theory backed by observation. Many great observations have been made to back up the original theory. But as Steinhardt points out the theory has evolved such that, “we no longer believe that inflation makes any of those predictions so that none of the magnificent observations made over the last 30 years can be viewed as supporting inflation.”.4 What's more one prediction that has not worked out is gravitational waves, predicted before '83, that should have been detected by WMAP and Planck satellites and was not..5

This argument has no implications for the cosmological argument, but it does for and fine tuning. Inflation doesn't actually explain the final cause o it's not directly a threat to the CA. But it was brought in to eliminate fine tuning, instead of doing that it actually helps it. It doesn't prove fine tuning but it weakens inflation as a means of taking it our. The real threat to the CAS is quantum theory and that's what I'll deal with next time.


1 CTC, “Origins of the Universe: Quantum Origins,” The Stephan Hawking Center for Theoretical Cosmology, University of Cambridge, online resource, URL: accessed 10/5/15.
2 Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith, Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, NY: W. W. Norton & Co., 2004, pp. 84–5.
3 John Horgan, “Physicist slams Cosmic Theory he Helped Conceive,” Scientific American Blogs, December 1, 2014. on line, URL accessed 10/5/15. Horgan interviews Steinhardt.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Vive La France!

 photo liberty_zpsqsh5bs7h.jpg
Marianne, French Uncle Sam, French Revolution.

I have only supported one war since I was eight. I protested Vietnam when I was 12. I protested against the contra war in Nicaragua. The only war I supported was Afghanistan: Until now. We mourn the deaths of the people in Paris. We all agree with President Obama it was an attack on all humanity. We care about France, our nation's fiorst ally and the center of civilization; we are touched by their pain, we wish them the best. We can't allow this barbarous murder to go on. We have to stop them now. Time to be cowboys. Time to avail ourselves of some o' that God old American intervention, so wrong in Vietnam' but these guys are not the Vietcong.

hear the French national anthem La Marseillaise,one of the most stirring anthems in the world, With English Lyrics.