Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Why Does God Allow Suffering? Soteriological Drama

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The Free Will Defense is offered by Christian apologists as an answer to any sort of atheist argument such as the problem of pain or the problem of evil. The argument runs something like: God values free will because "he" ("she"?) doesn't want robots. The problem with this approach is that it often stops short in analysis as to why free will would be a higher value than anything else. This leaves the atheist in a position of arguing any number of pains and evil deeds and then crying that God had to know these things would happen, thus God must be cruel for creating anything at all knowing the total absolute pain (which usually includes hell in most atheist arguments) would result from creation.

The apologists answers usually fail to satisfy the atheist, because in their minds noting can outweigh the actual inflicting of pain. Something atheists evoke omnipotence and play it off against the value of free will, making the assumption that an "all powerful God" could do anything, thus God should be able to cancel any sort of moral debt, make sin beyond our natures, create a pain free universe, and surely if God were all loving, God would have done so.

The better twist on the free will defense would be to start from a different position. We should start with the basis for creation, in so far as we can understand it, and then to show how the logical and non self contradictory requirements of the logic of creation require free will. What is usually missing or not pointed out is the necessity of free will in the making of moral choices. This is the step that atheists and Christian apologists alike sometimes overlook; that it is absolutely essential in a non-self contradictory way, that humanity have free will. Thus, free will must out weight any other value. At that point, since it is a matter of self contradiction, omnipotence cannot be played off against free will, because God's omnipotence does not allow God to dispense with Free will!

Before moving to the argument I want to make it clear that I deal with two separate issues: the problem of pain (not a moral issue--tornadoes and diseases and the like) becasue it doesn't involve human choice. Pain, inflicted by accident and nature is not a moral issue, because it involves no choices. Thus I will not deal with that here. I am only concerned in this argument with the the problem of evil that is, the problem of moral choice. The free will defense cannot apply to makes where the will does not apply.


Basic assumptions


There are three basic assumptions that are hidden, or perhaps not so obivioius, but nevertheless must be dealt with here.

(1) The assumption that God wants a "moral universe" and that this value outweighs all others.


The idea that God wants a moral universe I take from my basic view of God and morality. Following in the footsteps of Joseph Fletcher (Situation Ethics) I assume that love is the background of the moral universe (this is also an Augustinian view). I also assume that there is a deeply ontological connection between love and Being. Axiomatically, in my view point, love is the basic impitus of Being itself. Thus, it seems reasonable to me that, if morality is an upshot of love, or if love motivates moral behavior, then the creation of a moral universe is essential.


(2) that internal "seeking" leads to greater internalization of values than forced compliance or complaisance that would be the result of intimidation.

That's a pretty fair assumption. We all know that people will a lot more to achieve a goal they truly beileve in than one they merely feel forced or obligated to follow but couldn't care less about.

(3)the the drama or the big mystery is the only way to accomplish that end.

The pursuit of the value system becomes a search of the heart for ultimate meaning,that ensures that people continue to seek it until it has been fully internalized.

The argument would look like this:


(1)God's purpose in creation: to create a Moral Universe, that is one in which free moral agents willingly choose the Good.

(2) Moral choice requires absolutely that choice be free (thus free will is necessitated).

(3) Allowance of free choices requires the risk that the chooser will make evil choices

(4)The possibility of evil choices is a risk God must run, thus the value of free outweighs all other considerations, since without there would be no moral universe and the purpose of creation would be thwarted.


This leaves the atheist in the position of demanding to know why God doesn't just tell everyone that he's there, and that he requires moral behavior, and what that entails. Thus there would be no mystery and people would be much less inclined to sin.

This is the point where Soteriological Drama figures into it. Argument on Soteriological Drama:


(5) Life is a "Drama" not for the sake of entertainment, but in the sense that a dramatic tension exists between our ordinary observations of life on a daily basis, and the ultiamte goals, ends and purposes for which we are on this earth.

(6) Clearly God wants us to seek on a level other than the obvious, daily, demonstrative level or he would have made the situation more plain to us

(7) We can assume that the reason for the "big mystery" is the internalization of choices. If God appeared to the world in open objective fashion and laid down the rules, we would probably all try to follow them, but we would not want to follow them. Thus our obedience would be lip service and not from the heart.

(8) therefore, God wants a heart felt response which is internationalized value system that comes through the search for existential answers; that search is phenomenological; introspective, internal, not amenable to ordinary demonstrative evidence.


In other words, we are part of a great drama and our actions and our dilemmas and our choices are all part of the way we respond to the situation as characters in a drama.

This theory also explains why God doesn't often regenerate limbs in healing the sick. That would be a dead giveaway. God creates criteria under which healing takes place, that criteria can't negate the overall plan of a search.

Objection:

One might object that this couldn't outweigh babies dying or the horrors of war or the all the countless injustices and outrages that must be allowed and that permeate human history. It may seem at first glance that free will is petty compared to human suffering. But I am advocating free will for the sake any sort of pleasure or imagined moral victory that accrues from having free will, it's a totally pragmatic issue; that internalizing the value of the good requires that one choose to do so, and free will is essential if choice is required. Thus it is not a capricious or selfish defense of free will, not a matter of choosing our advantage or our pleasure over that of dying babies, but of choosing the key to saving the babies in the long run,and to understanding why we want to save them, and to care about saving them, and to actually choosing their saving over our own good.

In deciding what values outweigh other values we have to be clear about our decision making paradigm. From a utilitarian standpoint the determinate of lexically ordered values would be utility, what is the greatest good for the greatest number? This would be determined by means of outcome, what is the final tally sheet in terms of pleasure over pain to the greatest aggregate? But why that be the value system we decide by? It's just one value system and much has been written about the bankruptcy of consequentialist ethics. If one uses a deontological standard it might be a different thing to consider the lexically ordered values. Free will predominates because it allows internalization of the good. The good is the key to any moral value system. This could be justified on both deontolgoical and teleological premises.

My own moral decision making paradigm is deontological, because I believe that teleological ethics reduces morality to the decision making of a ledger sheet and forces the individual to do immoral things in the name of "the greatest good for the greatest number." I find most atheists are utilitarians so this will make no sense to them. They can't help but think of the greatest good/greatest number as the ultaimte adage, and deontology as empty duty with no logic to it. But that is not the case. Deontology is not just rule keeping, it is also duty oriented ethics. The duty that we must internalize is that ultimate duty that love demands of any action. Robots don't love. One must freely choose to give up self and make a selfless act in order to act from Love. Thus we cannot have a loved oriented ethics, or we cannot have love as the background of the moral universe without free will, because love involves the will.

The choice of free will at the expense of countless lives and untold suffering cannot be an easy thing, but it is essential and can be justified from either deontolgoical or teleological perspective. Although I think the deontologcial makes more sense. From the teleological stand point, free will ultimately leads to the greatest good for the greatest number because in the long run it assumes us that one is willing to die for the other, or sacrifice for the other, or live for the other. That is essential to promoting a good beyond ourselves. The individual sacrifices for the good of the whole, very utilitarian. It is also deontolgocially justifiable since duty would tell us that we must give of ourselves for the good of the other.

Thus anyway you slice it free will outweighs all other concerns because it makes available the values of the good and of love. Free will is the key to ultimately saving the babies, and saving them because we care about them, a triumph of the heart, not just action from wrote. It's internalization of a value system without which other and greater injustices could be foisted upon an unsuspecting humanity that has not been tought to choose to lay down one's own life for the other.


Objection 2: questions


(from "UCOA" On CARM boards (atheism)

Quote:


In addition, there is no explanation of why god randomly decided to make a "moral universe".


Why do you describe the decision as random? Of course all of this is second guessing God, so the real answer is "I don't know, duh" But far be it form me to give-up without an opinion. My opinion as to why God would create moral universe:
to understand this you must understand my view of God, and that will take some doing. I'll try to just put it in a nut shell. In my view love is the background of the moral universe. The essence of "the good" or of what is moral is that which conforms to "lug." But love in the apogee sense, the will to the good of the other. I do not believe that that this is just derived arbitrarily, but is the outpouring of the wellspring of God's character. God is love, thus love is the background of the moral universe because God is the background of the moral universe.

Now I also describe God as "being itself." Meaning God is the foundation of all that is. I see a connection between love and being. Both are positive and giving and turning on in the face of nothingness, which is negativity. To say that another way, if we think of nothingness as a big drain pipe, it is threatening to **** all that exits into it. Being is the power to resist nothingness, being the stopper in the great cosmic drain pipe of non existence.

The act of bestowing being upon the beings is the nature of God because God is being. Those the two things God does because that's what he is, he "BES" (um, exists) and he gives out being bestowing it upon other beings. This is connected to love which also gives out and bestows. So being and love are connected, thus the moral universe is an outgrowth of the nature of God as giving and bestowing and being and loving.

Quote:
Thus the question isn't really answered. Why does god allow/create evil? To create a "moral universe". Why? The only answer that is given is, because he wants to. Putting it together, Why does god allow/create evil? Because he wants to?

In a nut shell, God allows evil as an inherent risk in allowing moral agency. (the reason for which is given above).


There is a big difference in doing something and allowing it to be done. God does not create evil, he allows the risk of evil to be run by the beings, because that risk is required to have free moral agency. The answer is not "because he wants to" the answer is because he wants free moral agency so that free moral agents will internatize the values of love. To have free moral agency he must allow them to:

(1)run the risk of evil choices

(2) live in a real world where hurt is part of the dice throw.


 objection 3:

Originally Posted by Darth Pringle View Post
Short response.

It can never be the case that an eternal being must allow evil because it is never the case that an eternal being must create anything.

Yes it obviously is. This is anther one of my "caaaAAAAAAaaasy" Idea tha NOOOOOOO body would eVVER consider!'

(1) If God is real, then God created the world (why he's called "God")

(2) If God is real and created the world we can assume that God is good an axiom of belief and as an empirical conclusion drawn postorori from the sense of the numinous.

(3) If God created the universe we assume he's smart.

(3) if God created the world (and he's smart) and if God is good, then he must have created the world with a calculation of good vs. evil in mind.

(4) Given what's been said above if we assume God is real we just assume he knows best based upon the calculation and had tabulated the results and found that creation is worth it.


see my answers to atheist attacks on this idea in my essay: "Twelve Angry Stereotypes"


Article by Atheist Philosoher Quentin Smith, supports Cosmological Argument



 photo imagesqtbnANd9GcSlVyierOQ2ZIkFDZxPh-PuzBMkiV-WPXYZ-PQ5gjhSelV0Ad-A.jpg


The concept here is that the universe could be uncaused but time still begins with singularity. The singularity would just not be caused by anything. There are many such theories but I'll look at an article for this idea by Quentin Smith, “The Uncaused Beginning of the Universe.”i Smith was a major atheist Philosopher during the last decade of the twentieth century and the first decade of this century. Smith posits the argument that the scientific data indicates no physical cause fr the singularity, he asserts no devine cause either.




There is sufficient evidence at present to justify the belief that the universe began to exist without being caused to do so. This evidence includes the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems that are based on Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, and the recently introduced Quantum Cosmological Models of the early universe. The singularity theorems lead to an explication of the beginning of the universe that involves the notion of a Big Bang singularity, and the Quantum Cosmological Models represent the beginning largely in terms of the notion of a vacuum fluctuation. Theories that represent the universe as infinitely old or as caused to begin are shown to be at odds with or at least unsupported by these and other current cosmological notions.ii

The first evidence he presents is the Doppler re shift which tells s that the universe is expanding uniformly in all directions. This might indicate expansion from an origin at a single point, the singularity. Through the Friedmann equations and the general theory of relativity (GTR) it can be assertained that arly in thye beginning of expansion “the entire universe is squeezed into at least one point of infinite density, infinite temperature, and infinite curvature. We have reached a space-time singularity.”iii He also argues that the singularity is real. He presents a great deal of data and examines many alternate theories eliminating them one by one. Of course is data is out of date (1988) but the major thing he's missing is the massive acceptence of inflationary theory (see above). That doesn't contradict anything he argues, but would enhance it.

He argues for a finite past based upon the amount of radiation and entropy. Each new cycle would the universe getting bigger and longer thus as we go back in time it get's smaller and shorter. “This disallows an infinite regress into the past, for a regress will eventually arrive at a cycle that is infinitely short and a radius that is infinitely small; this cycle, or the beginning of some cycle with values approaching the values of this cycle, will count as the beginning of the oscillating universe.”iv The amount of radiation present in the universe Indicates a finite past. Infinite past would mean infinite radiation, but the radiation present in the universe is finite.v “The conclusion that the past is finite also follows from facts about entropy; if an infinite number of previous cycles have elapsed, each with increasing entropy, then the present cycle would be in a state of maximum entropy-but in fact it is in a state of relatively low entropy.”vi

He then turns his attention to the assertion that the universe is uncaused. Being finite and eliminating possibilities of infinite time, having eliminated thye ideas of infinite series of oscillations, at that point he has a good argument for creation of the universe. But then he argues that it's uncaused, thus not created. Arguments for caused universe assume that macroscopic events are caused, and the singularity is assumed to be a macroscopic event. Yet the singularity is not macroscopic its smaller tan microscopic. Of course thyat's going to get back to the idea that quantum particle come from nothing. The singularity is a quantum event so it must cme from nothing. Of course we kow from discussion above that this is a fallacy. In addition to thyis the discovery that the singularity can't be extended beyond the space/time manifold means it must be uncaused. He argues that the definition of singularity rules out space/time extending beyond the bubble of the singularity; that rules out some other prior thing causing it.



Accordingly, if there is some point p beyond which it is possible to extend the space-time manifold, beyond which geodesics or timelike curves can be extended, then p by definition is not a singularity. This effectively rules out the idea that the singularity is an effect of some prior natural process.vii

The bubble (singularity, the mathematical point) could still expand and contract but not be caused by anything outside it. But the oscillations would be of a finite number.

From there, having eliminated natural causes for the universe, he moves on to argue against divine cause. He begins with William Lane Craig's Kalam argument, the first line of which is “We have reason to believe that all events have a cause...” Smith repudiates this based upon the mistaken notion that quantum particles are really coming from actual nothing. He quotes Craig: “Constantly verified and never falsified, the causal proposition may be taken as an empirical generalization enjoying the strongest support experience affords.” Then he adds “However, quantum mechanical considerations show that the causal proposition is limited in its application, if applicable at all, and consequently that a probabilistic argument for a cause of the Big Bang cannot go through.”viii Of course we know that's a misconception. Virtual particles are combinations of other kinds of particles in “vacuum flux.” They only go in and out of existence as virtual particles. Where the other particles come from we don't know. Smith's article is not disproof of divine cause but assertion based upon ill conceived notion that it is not needed.

The cause principle is applicable because we still have no examples of any violation. We have no examples of uncased events. The force of one example was enough to rule it out for the skeptic, it should be enough to rule it back in. Smiths article helps to eliminate other alternatives, including the next one. Of curse in the material he presents would tell us about where laws governing the process came from or why they are hierarchical.

i Quentin Smith, “The Uncaused Beginning of the Universe.” The British Journal of the Philosophy of Science, (1988, Vol., 55, no. 1), 39-57.


iiIbid.

iiiIbid.

ivIbid.

vIbid.

viIbid.

viiIbid.

viiiIbid.

 


 


 

Other stuff

Under construction

Science

Jesus

Bible

God

Atheism

Under construction

Monday, February 08, 2016

Uncaused Universe? Article by Major Atheist Helps support Cosmological Argument


 photo imagesqtbnANd9GcSlVyierOQ2ZIkFDZxPh-PuzBMkiV-WPXYZ-PQ5gjhSelV0Ad-A.jpg


The concept here is that the universe could be uncaused but time still begins with singularity. The singularity would just not be caused by anything. There are many such theories but I'll look at an article for this idea by Quentin Smith, “The Uncaused Beginning of the Universe.”i Smith was a major atheist Philosopher during the last decade of the twentieth century and the first decade of this century. Smith posits the argument that the scientific data indicates no physical cause fr the singularity, he asserts no devine cause either.





There is sufficient evidence at present to justify the belief that the universe began to exist without being caused to do so. This evidence includes the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems that are based on Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, and the recently introduced Quantum Cosmological Models of the early universe. The singularity theorems lead to an explication of the beginning of the universe that involves the notion of a Big Bang singularity, and the Quantum Cosmological Models represent the beginning largely in terms of the notion of a vacuum fluctuation. Theories that represent the universe as infinitely old or as caused to begin are shown to be at odds with or at least unsupported by these and other current cosmological notions.ii

The first evidence he presents is the Doppler re shift which tells s that the universe is expanding uniformly in all directions. This might indicate expansion from an origin at a single point, the singularity. Through the Friedmann equations and the general theory of relativity (GTR) it can be assertained that arly in thye beginning of expansion “the entire universe is squeezed into at least one point of infinite density, infinite temperature, and infinite curvature. We have reached a space-time singularity.”iii He also argues that the singularity is real. He presents a great deal of data and examines many alternate theories eliminating them one by one. Of course is data is out of date (1988) but the major thing he's missing is the massive acceptence of inflationary theory (see above). That doesn't contradict anything he argues, but would enhance it.

He argues for a finite past based upon the amount of radiation and entropy. Each new cycle would the universe getting bigger and longer thus as we go back in time it get's smaller and shorter. “This disallows an infinite regress into the past, for a regress will eventually arrive at a cycle that is infinitely short and a radius that is infinitely small; this cycle, or the beginning of some cycle with values approaching the values of this cycle, will count as the beginning of the oscillating universe.”iv The amount of radiation present in the universe Indicates a finite past. Infinite past would mean infinite radiation, but the radiation present in the universe is finite.v “The conclusion that the past is finite also follows from facts about entropy; if an infinite number of previous cycles have elapsed, each with increasing entropy, then the present cycle would be in a state of maximum entropy-but in fact it is in a state of relatively low entropy.”vi

He then turns his attention to the assertion that the universe is uncaused. Being finite and eliminating possibilities of infinite time, having eliminated thye ideas of infinite series of oscillations, at that point he has a good argument for creation of the universe. But then he argues that it's uncaused, thus not created. Arguments for caused universe assume that macroscopic events are caused, and the singularity is assumed to be a macroscopic event. Yet the singularity is not macroscopic its smaller tan microscopic. Of course thyat's going to get back to the idea that quantum particle come from nothing. The singularity is a quantum event so it must cme from nothing. Of course we kow from discussion above that this is a fallacy. In addition to thyis the discovery that the singularity can't be extended beyond the space/time manifold means it must be uncaused. He argues that the definition of singularity rules out space/time extending beyond the bubble of the singularity; that rules out some other prior thing causing it.



Accordingly, if there is some point p beyond which it is possible to extend the space-time manifold, beyond which geodesics or timelike curves can be extended, then p by definition is not a singularity. This effectively rules out the idea that the singularity is an effect of some prior natural process.vii

The bubble (singularity, the mathematical point) could still expand and contract but not be caused by anything outside it. But the oscillations would be of a finite number.

From there, having eliminated natural causes for the universe, he moves on to argue against divine cause. He begins with William Lane Craig's Kalam argument, the first line of which is “We have reason to believe that all events have a cause...” Smith repudiates this based upon the mistaken notion that quantum particles are really coming from actual nothing. He quotes Craig: “Constantly verified and never falsified, the causal proposition may be taken as an empirical generalization enjoying the strongest support experience affords.” Then he adds “However, quantum mechanical considerations show that the causal proposition is limited in its application, if applicable at all, and consequently that a probabilistic argument for a cause of the Big Bang cannot go through.”viii Of course we know that's a misconception. Virtual particles are combinations of other kinds of particles in “vacuum flux.” They only go in and out of existence as virtual particles. Where the other particles come from we don't know. Smith's article is not disproof of divine cause but assertion based upon ill conceived notion that it is not needed.

The cause principle is applicable because we still have no examples of any violation. We have no examples of uncased events. The force of one example was enough to rule it out for the skeptic, it should be enough to rule it back in. Smiths article helps to eliminate other alternatives, including the next one. Of curse in the material he presents would tell us about where laws governing the process came from or why they are hierarchical.

i Quentin Smith, “The Uncaused Beginning of the Universe.” The British Journal of the Philosophy of Science, (1988, Vol., 55, no. 1), 39-57.


iiIbid.

iiiIbid.

ivIbid.

vIbid.

viIbid.

viiIbid.

viiiIbid.

 


 


 


Saturday, February 06, 2016

Come Debate me atheists: Modal argumemt existence of God


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1) If God exists, he must exist necessarily, if God does not exist his existence is impossible.

(2) Therefore, God is either necessary or impossible.

(3) God can be conceived without contradiction

(4) therefore, God is not impossible

(5) Since God is not impossible he must be necessary.

(6) Since god is necessary he must exist.


The assumption that God cannot be contingent is implicit in the concept of God itself.Therefore God cannot exist contingently.

Friday, February 05, 2016

fun filled challenge to atheists: Ontological argument


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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2016/02/01/three-ontological-arguments/#disqus_thread

" All we can say is that the universe is all matter and energy that exist."
The relationship between spacetime and matter/energy is not such that you can easily separate the two. They do not exist apart from one another, so far as we know. When I say "universe" I mean all the stuff and all the substrate, taken as a whole.
I'm entirely unclear on what it would mean for anything to "contain the reason for its own existence." So far as I can tell, the reason for any one thing existing requires that we invoke the operation of physical laws operating on its constituent elements over time.
 

  • what makes the physical laws? you have only energy to go by and along you limit reality to that you can't explain anything or break out of ICR.

       

      • I can only begin to guess as to why we have to particular natural laws and physical constants that we do. Isn't that more of a question for the fine-tuning post?

           
         


    What you seem to be saying is that if X exists necessarily, that implies that the nature of X provides the explanation of why X exists. And you think that the phrase "exists necessarily" is useful, because...?
    In other words, is there some particular X (or aggregation of things) which we have discovered to exist in this unique and peculiar way? If not, why do we need to posit the concept?
     
     


    • we don't. all of you are missing the point about the nature of necessity as it is used in the OA. At least in terms of the modal argument.
       

      • Can you point to some phenomenon X which exists necessarily in the sense that people invoke in order to make the modal ontological argument valid and sound? If not, why have any confidence that anything exists necessarily? Indeed, why invent the concept of necessary existence if we've never observed something existing in that very peculiar way? 

        • sure. being itself. let's suppose that there is an X such that X is the basis of Y...whatever.. Whatever that X stands for has to be there or nothing else would be. so that is true regardless of X being a quark a boson or God. you asserted physical laws that make things happen which is really not done any more but let's go with that. what made the laws? you want special plead and sayIdomn't have to say that I can just assert that it must be naturalistic because burden of proof is on the theist. The very heart and sould of special pleading.
          ...
          so there is an X and since it's the basis of all else we can call it being, the others things are "the beings" so the challenge is to fill in the X.I say we need not assume that X has to conform to our puniy understanding just because we think we can control nature.
          \...
          that gives us a theoretical basis for using the G word at least in a metaphorical sense if not for more.

             

      Asking to see something else like eternal necessary being is a silly thing. Like asking show me something in the world that is like the laws of mature.

      Wednesday, February 03, 2016

      Schleiermacher: the Feeling of Utter Dependence


        photo friedrich-schleiermacher--874--t-232x250xffffff-rw.jpg
       Schleiermacher (1768-1834)




       In the Recent past I published a piece called "Phenomenology and Theological Method."  That was about how we can use phenomenological methods to understand various kinds of religious experience as the "co-determinate." That is the signature of God in the world. Like a foot print in the snow, or a fingerprint at a crime scene the co-determinate is the thing that correlates to the evidence. God is the co-determinate of religious experiences. Conversely religious experiences are the co-determinate of God. They are the trace,t he foot print, the track. God is not an empirical issue becuase he's not given in sense data, but we can establish that religious experience is the correlate to the God concept, thus its co-determinate it's trace. The correlate is a matter of  empirical data.

      This concept comes from Frederick Schleiermacher, whose concept of the feeling of utter dependence was the first indication of the trace, it is one of those kinds of experiences that forms the co determinate. He first unveiled this notion in On  Religion: Speeches to It's Cultured Despisers. [1]The early version of the feeling was very crude. It went this: I know God must be real because I feel love for him when I pray to him." By the time he wrote the huge tome Glaubenslehre (the Christian faith)[2] He had a much more sophisticated version of it. First I'm going to try to communicate my simplistic understanding of that and then talk about it in a more complex way.

      When people hear "feeling" they often make the mistake of thinking that he's saying something like God makes me feel good so there must be a God. I've seen major theologians make the mistake of assuming he meant this kind of feeling. It was the notion of Dr. William S. Babcock (Perkins school of Theology SMU) when I took his history of doctrine class, that he mean something more along the lines an intuitive sense. I have discussed this with Babcock many times through out the years. When hear utter dependence they think it's control or an unhealthy sense of need. What I think he was getting at there is more on the order of contingency.  It's really more like we sense the unity in the world around us. We sense the unity in the world but then we also sense it's dependence upon some higher basis. So the unity is pinned to a higher necessity. In a sense it's like  feeling the realities that the cosmological argument only speculates about, in action. We catch the basis of cosmological necessity as it does it's thing.

      The sense of the feeling is found in reflection but is of an intuitive nature.  It's much like Heidegger describes being, as "ready to hand." Like a carpenter who doesn't have to think about using his tools, he uses them as extensions of his hands because he's so use to them they are part of him. So our place in being is so a part of us we don't think about it. "Life world," or Labeinswelt is a term used in German philosophy. It implies the world of one's culturally constructed life, the "world" we 'live in.' Life as we expeirence it on a daily basis. The unity one senses in the life world is intuitive 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 intuitive sense that everyone can grasp of this whole, this unity, being bound up with a higher reality, being dependent upon a higher unity. In other words, the "feeling" can be understood as an intuitive sense of "radical contingency" (in the sense of the above ontological arguments).

      He goes on to say that the feeling is based upon the ontological principle as its theoretical background, but doesn't depend on the argument because it proceeds the argument as the per-given per-theoretical per-cognitive realization of what Anselm 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? Because in the heart we know God. To deny this is to deny the most basic realization about reality.


      As Robert R. Williams puts it:

      There is a "co-determinate to the Feeling of Utter dependence.

      "It is the original pre-theoretical consciousness...Schleiermacher believes that theoretical cognition is founded upon pre-theoretical inter subjective cognition and its life world. The latter cannot be dismissed as non-cognative for if the life world praxis is non-cognitive and invalid so is theoretical cognition..S...contends that belief in God is pre-theoretical, it is not the result of proofs and demonstration, but is conditioned solely by the modification of feeling of utter dependence. Belief in God is not acquired through intellectual acts of which the traditional proofs are examples, but rather from the thing itself, the object of religious experience..If as S...says God is given to feeling in an original way this means that the feeling of utter dependence is in some sense an apparition of divine being and reality. This is not meant as an appeal to revelation but rather as a naturalistic eidetic"] or a priori. The feeling of utter dependence is structured by a correlation with its whence."[3]

      Schleiermacher is often called the Father of liberal theology. He moved belief over from an intellectual position buttressed by argument, to a phenomenological realization grounded in experience and one's own existential realization and thus freed belief from the need to prove. This is why liberal theological types usually don't worry much about arguments for God. They don't think arguments are necessary. They weren't for them. In class I said we are freed from the need to prove the existence of God, Babcock stopped me there and said "say it again" this time when I go tot "need to prove" he said "just stop there." We are freed from the need to prove.

      Atheists are obsessed with the need to prove. You can't believe anything unless its proven. There are deep ways of knowing and they are afraid of them. They label them "subjective" and try to stay away from them. Although I think if they faced the truth they would have to come to terms with fact that their faith that scinece will one once and for all free us from the big mean angry God is the same subjective sense of seeking a deep assurance that transcends proofs on paper. I don't think they will ever get it. The fact that they reject looking for it says that they will never find it.

      It's not exactly mystical experience. It's something one can sense on a quite evening listening to the sounds of traffic from while sitting in the garden. It's a realization of a reality that we sense at some level all the time. It's more akin to an eastern appraoch than a Western. That's not to say that eastern mediation is just wool gathering. The feeling of utter dependence is not something one can apply in a formulaic way as one does meditation. It's just there, we can realize it's presence. One of the primary concerns of Schleiermacher was that religion not be reduced to other aspects such as knowledge. Religion is not jumped ethics or failed primitive knowledge. It's not about knowing more stuff it's about transformative experience. Certain forms of knowledge are an outgrowth or side effect of that. The kind of knowledge it gives us is exitential and phenomenoloigcal.





      Sources


      [1] Frederick Schleiermacher, On Religion: Speeches to it's Cultured Dispisers

      construction of the doctrine of God.



      [2] ___________________. Glaubenslehre (the Christian faith). James Duke Trans. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.

      Google books version



      [3]  Robert R. Williams, Schleiermacher the Theologian: Construction of the Doctrine of God. Minneapolis MN: Fortress Press, 1978.  4.

      on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Schleiermacher-theologian-The-construction-doctrine/dp/0800605136

      Monday, February 01, 2016

      Can Science really prove the basis of modern Physics?


       photo European-lab-Close-to-finding-God-particle-NAN19NH-x-large.jpg



       
      Realms Beyond

      I've demonstrated in other posts,  that transcendent realms were not the origination comcept of suernatural. That is, however, the modern Western concept. Thus, we might as well ask, are there realms beyond our knowing, is this possible? If so, is there any possibility of our investigating them? Scientists have usually tended to assume that metaphysical assumptions about realms beyond are just out of the domain of science and can’t be investigated so they don’t bother to comment. Victor Stenger, however, wants to be able to assert that he’s disproved them so he argues that the magisteria do overlap. “There exists a widespread notion, promulgated at the higher levels of the scientific community itself, that science has nothing to say about God or the supernatural…”[1]
       
      He sights the national academy of sciences and their position that these are non overlapping magisteria, “science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Weather God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.”2 Stenger disagrees. He argues that they can study the effects of prayer so that means they can eliminate the supernatural.

      Two things are wrong with Stenger’s approach. First, he doesn’t use Lourdes or any other empirical record of miracles. He’s going entirely by double blind studies which can’t control for prayer from outside the control group; that makes such studies virtually worthless. So in effect Stenger is taking the work of people who try to empirically measure what is beyond the empirical, then when it doesn’t work he says “see, there’s nothing beyond the empirical.” That proves nothing more than the fact that we can’t measure that which is beyond measuring. Secondly, he doesn’t deal with the real religious experience studies or the M scale. That means he’s not really dealing with the empirical effects of supernature. I’ve just demonstrated good reason to think that supernature Is working in nature. It’s not an alien realm outside the natural, it’s not a miracle it’s not something that sets its self apart form the daily regular workings of the world. Supernature is of God but nature is of God. God made nature and he works in nature. We can tell the two apart by the results. Now I am going to deal with the other two issues, are there realms beyond the natural? Are there evidences of a form of supernatural in the world that stand apart from the natural such that we can call them “miracles?”

      Are there realms beyond the natural? Of course there can be no direct evidence, even a direct look at them would stand apart from our received version of reality and thus be suspect. The plaintive cry of the materialists that “there is no evidence for the supernatural” is fallacious to the core. How can there be evidence when any evidence that might be would automatically be suspect? Moreover, science itself gives us reason to think there might be. Quantum physics is about unseen realms, but they are the world of the extremely tiny. This is the fundamental basis of reality, what’s beneath or behind everything. They talk about “particles” but in reality they are not particles. They are not bits of stuff. They are not solid matter.3 Treating particles as points is also problematic. This is where string theory comes in.
      This is where string theory comes in. In string theory fundamental particles aren't treated as zero-dimensional points. Instead they are one-dimensional vibrating strings or loops. The maths is hair-raising, and the direct evidence non-existent, but it does provide a way out of the current theoretical cul-de-sac. It even provides a route to unifying gravity with the other three fundamental forces - a problem which has baffled the best brains for decades. The problem is, you need to invoke extra dimensions to make the equations work in string-theory and its variants: 10 spacetime dimensions to be precise. Or 11 (M-theory). Or maybe 26. In any case, loads more dimensions than 4.
      So where are they then? One idea is that they are right under our noses, but compacted to the quantum scale so that they are imperceptible. "Hang on a minute", you might think,"How can you ever prove the existence of something that, by definition, is impossible to perceive?" It's a fair point, and there are scientists who criticize string theory for its weak predictive power and testability. Leaving that to one side, how can you conceptualize extra dimensions?4
      There is no direct evidence of these unseen realms and they may be unprovable. Why are they assumed with such confidence and yet reductionsts make the opposite assumption about spiritual realms? It’s not because the quantum universe realms are tangible or solid or material they are not. Scientists can’t really describe what they are, except that they are mathematical. In fact why can’t they be the same realms?

      Then there’s the concept of the multiverse. This is not subatomic in size but beyond our space/time continuum. These would be other universes perhaps like our own, certainly the size of our own, but beyond our realm of space/time. Some scientists accept the idea that the same rules would apply in all of these universes, but some don’t.

       
      Beyond it [our cosmic visual horizon—42 billion light years] could be many—even infinitely many—domains much like the one we see. Each has a different initial distribution of matter, but the same laws of physics operate in all. Nearly all cosmologists today (including me) accept this type of multiverse, which Max Tegmark calls “level 1.” Yet some go further. They suggest completely different kinds of universes, with different physics, different histories, maybe different numbers of spatial dimensions. Most will be sterile, although some will be teeming with life. A chief proponent of this “level 2” multiverse is Alexander Vilenkin, who paints a dramatic picture of an infinite set of universes with an infinite number of galaxies, an infinite number of planets and an infinite number of people with your name who are reading this article.5


      Well there are two important things to note here. First, that neither string theory nor multiverse may ever be proved empirically. There’s a professor at Columbia named Peter Woit who writes the blog “Not Even Wrong” dedicated to showing that string theory can’t be proved.6 There is no proof for it or against it. It can’t be disproved so it can’t be proved either.7 That means the idea will be around for a long time because without disproving it they can’t get rid of it. Yet without any means of disproving it, it can’t be deemed a scientific fact. Remember it’s not about proving things it’s about disproving them. Yet science is willing to consider their possibility and takes them quite seriously. There is no empirical evidence of these things. They posit the dimensions purely as a mathematical solution so the equations work not because they have any real evidence.8

      We could make the argument that we have several possibilities for other worlds and those possibilities suggest more: we have the idea of being “outside time.” There’s no proof that this is place one can actually go to, but the idea of it suggests the possibility, there’s the world of anti-matter, there are worlds in string membranes, and there are other dimensions tucked away and folded into our own. In terms of the multiverse scientists might argue that they conceive of these as “naturalistic.” They would be like our world with physical laws and hard material substances and physical things. As we have seen there are those who go further and postulate the “rules change” idea. We probably should assume the rules work the same way because its all we know. We do assume this in making God arguments such as the cosmological argument. Yet the possibility exists that there could be other realms that are not physical and not “natural” as we know that concept. The probability of that increases when we realize that these realms are beyond our space/time thus they are beyond the domain of our cause and effect, and we know as “natural.” It really all goes back to the philosophical and ideological assumption about rules. There is no way to prove it either way. Ruling out the possibility of a spiritual realm based upon the fact that we don’t live in it would be stupid. The idea that “we never see any proof of it” is basically the same thing as saying “we don’t live it so it must not exist.” Of course this field is going to be suspect, and who can blame the critics? Anyone with a penchant for the unknown can set up shop and speculate about what might be “out there.” Yet science itself offers the possibility in the form of modern physics, the only rationale for closing that off is the distaste for religion.

      All that is solid melts into air


      This line by Marx deals with society, social and political institutions, but in thinking about the topic of SN it suggests a very different issue. The reductionst/materialists and phsyicalists assume and often argue that there is no proof of anything not material and not ‘physical” (energy is a form of matter).  The hard tangible nature of the physical is taken as the standard for reality while the notion of something beyond our ability to dietetic is seen in a skeptical way, even though the major developments in physics are based upon it. Is the physical world as tangible and solid as we think? Science talks about “particles” and constructs models of atoms made of wooden tubes and little balls this gives us the psychological impression that the world of the very tiny is based upon little solid balls. In reality subatomic particles are not made out of little balls, nor are these ‘particles” tangible or solid. In fact we could make a strong argument that no one even knows what they are made of.

      We keep talking about "particles", but this word doesn't adequately sum up the type of matter that particle physicists deal with. In physics, particles aren't usually tiny bits of stuff. When you start talking about fundamental particles like quarks that have a volume of zero, or virtual particles that have no volume and pop in and out of existence just like that, it is stretching the everyday meaning of the word "particle" a bit far. Thinking about particles as points sooner or later leads the equations up a blind alley. Understanding what is happening at the smallest scale of matter needs a new vocabulary, new maths, and very possibly new dimensions.
      This is where string theory comes in. In string theory fundamental particles aren't treated as zero-dimensional points. Instead they are one-dimensional vibrating strings or loops. The maths is hair-raising, and the direct evidence non-existent, but it does provide a way out of the current theoretical cul-de-sac. It even provides a route to unifying gravity with the other three fundamental forces - a problem which has baffled the best brains for decades. The problem is, you need to invoke extra dimensions to make the equations work in string-theory and its variants: 10 spacetime dimensions to be precise. Or 11 (M-theory). Or maybe 26. In any case, loads more dimensions than 4.9
      Particles are not solid; they are not very tiny chunks of solid stuff. They have no volume nor do they have the kind of stable existence we do. They “pop” in and out of existence! This is not proof for the supernatural. It might imply that the seeming solidity of “reality” is illusory. There are two kinds of subatomic particles, elementary and composite. Composite are made are made out of smaller particles. Now we hear it said that elementary particles are not made out of other particles. It’s substructure is unknown. They may or may not be made of smaller particles. That means we really don’t know what subatomic particles are made of. That means scientists are willing to believe in things they don’t understand.10 While it is not definite enough to prove anything except that we don’t know the basis of reality, it does prove that and also the possibilities for the ultimate truth of this are still wide open. To rule out “the supernatural” (by the wrong concept) on the assumption that we have no scientific proof of it is utterly arrogance and bombast. For all we know what we take to be solid unshakable reality might be nothing more than God’s day dream. Granted, there is end to the spinning of moon beams and we can talk all day about what ‘might be,’ so we need evidence and arguments to warrant the placing of confidence in propositions. We have confidence placing evidence; it doesn’t have to be scientific although some of it is. That will come in the next chapter. The point here is that there is no basis for the snide dismissal of concepts such as supernatural and supernature.






      1 Victor Stenger, God and The Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion. Amherst: New
      York: Prometheus Books, 2012. 225.

      2 Stenger, ibid, quoting National Academy of Sciences, Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science. Washington DC: National Academies Press, 1998, 58.

      3STFC “are there other dimensions,” Large Hadron Collider. Website. Science and Facilities Council, 2012 URL: http://www.lhc.ac.uk/The%20Particle%20Detectives/Take%205/13686.aspx

      4 ibid

      5 George F.R. Ellis. “Does the Miltiverse Really Exist [preview]” Scientific American (July 19, 2011) On line version URL: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=does-the-multiverse-really-exist
      George F.R. Ellis is Professor Emeritus in Mathematics at University of Cape Town. He’s been professor of Cosmic Physics at SISSA (Trieste)

      6 Peter Woit, Not Even Wrong, Posted on September 18, 2012 by woi blog, URL: http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/

      7 ibid, “Welcome to the Multiverse,” Posted on May 21, 2012 by woit

      8 Mohsen Kermanshahi. Universal Theory. “String Theory.” Website URL: http://www.universaltheory.org/html/others/stringtheory5.htm

      9 STFC ibid, op cit.

      10  Giorgio Giacomelli; Maurizio Spurio Particles and Fundamental Interactions: An Introduction to Particle Physics (2nd ed.). Italy: Springer-Verlag, science and Business media, 2009, pp. 1–3.