Friday, July 22, 2016

Debate Challenge for atheists (God Argument Friday)

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(1) All contingencies require necessities to ground them.
(2) All natural things are contingent
(3) the universe is natural, therefore, the universe is contingent
(4) the universe requires a necessity upon which its existence is grounded, Therefore, the origin of the universe must be necessary. 
(5)Since the origin of the universe must be necessary (from 2,4 and 5) and not contingent the origin cannot have a cause.
(6)The origin of universe is necessary and must be eternal and first cause, since this is the definition of God (see Rational Warrant page) then the origin of the universe must be God.

44 comments:

Eric Sotnak said...

In the style (more or less) of Aquinas:
It seems that (1) All contingencies require necessities to ground them.
On the contrary:
(1*) Necessities can only ground necessities.
(Whatever follows from a necessity is itself a necessity. So contingencies can only follow from other contingencies.)

Joe Hinman said...

that is wrong it's one of the most ridiculous denies of modern atheism.

Joe Hinman said...

I asked Plantings that myself.

Joe Hinman said...

necessity can't be contingent

Eric Sotnak said...

What is necessary can't be contingent. Quite right. But what about what follows from a necessity?

Suppose P is necessary and Q follows from P. What is the modal status of Q? It all depends on whether P's implication of Q is, itself, necessary. If so, then Q also has to be necessary. So in order for it to be true that: 1. P is necessary, 2. P implies Q, and 3. Q is not necessary, then it must be that P only contingently implies Q. So now we have to answer the question of what "grounding" means. It seems that if P only contingently implies Q, we have only a partial account of Q's grounding, since we need to explain why P implies Q in this possible world, but not in all possible worlds.

But wait. If P's implying Q is itself a contingency, then by your account, P's implying Q must also be grounded in a necessity. But it can't be necessarily so grounded, so P's implying Q must be only contingently grounded in that necessity. But what grounds THAT contingent grounding? Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Joe Hinman said...

there is level of necessity where a contingency is necessary to another contingency, like with children from parents. but you can still trace it all back to final cause.I can't accept ICR.

Anonymous said...

Eric,

I think you and Joe are talking past each other. I’ve had something like this conversation with Joe before, and I don’t think he’s using “necessary” and “contingent” in their standard modal senses. I think by “contingent” he means something like “dependent on something for its existence.” And by “necessary” I guess he means “not contingent.”

If my interpretation is right, Joe’s argument is pretty clearly worthless. Joe seems to intend in premise (2)—“All natural things are contingent”—that the term “natural things” be understood to include the universe, or the whole of physical reality. So premise (2) entails all by itself that the whole of physical reality is dependent on something for its existence. Obviously, then, no metaphysical naturalist accepts premise (2), since it entails all by itself that metaphysical naturalism (on any definition I’ve heard) is false.

So if the purpose of Joe’s argument is to persuade us to reject naturalism in favor of theism, it begs the question. It assumes right there in premise (2) that naturalism is false. Joe’s argument is about as useful as an argument for atheism that starts from the premise that the universe does not depend on anything for its existence. No theist accepts that premise—no theist can consistently accept that premise—so it would be question-begging to use it in an argument against theism.

-John

Joe Hinman said...

John I don't know who you are, I don;t know if we have argued before, you are wrong, you are chaining the meaning to avoid the god argument; Obviously I' using it in more of a causal sense in relation to Clark's CA. in my mind that's the sort of thing i'm going for.


I think you and Joe are talking past each other. I’ve had something like this conversation with Joe before, and I don’t think he’s using “necessary” and “contingent” in their standard modal senses. I think by “contingent” he means something like “dependent on something for its existence.” And by “necessary” I guess he means “not contingent.”

No. the modal sense has to imply and relate to casual sense. I do not have access to Anytony Flew's documentary anymore. That's where i shaped my views om contingency, In modal terms as i understand them,which probably wrong, contingent means something like when a a state of affairs might or might not have come to be that is continent.

we are talking about origin in this argument so I connect it to nature, the way that plays out in relation to nature is that things have causes if their causes were different those things would not be, thus they re that which could have been otherwise, think they are contingent because they are caused,thus their raison d'etre is based upon a cause that might have been otherwise.





If my interpretation is right, Joe’s argument is pretty clearly worthless. Joe seems to intend in premise (2)—“All natural things are contingent”—that the term “natural things” be understood to include the universe, or the whole of physical reality. So premise (2) entails all by itself that the whole of physical reality is dependent on something for its existence. Obviously, then, no metaphysical naturalist accepts premise (2), since it entails all by itself that metaphysical naturalism (on any definition I’ve heard) is false.

is there a law in logic that says metaphysical naturalists can't be disagreed with: nay God argument by definition would not be accepted by atheistic no one can ever argue for God.I don't understand the mania to accrue agreement from a group whose world I hive set out to disprove.

Naturalists will have to accept the premise all natural things have causes thus they must accept my argument ordemy the obvious.


So if the purpose of Joe’s argument is to persuade us to reject naturalism in favor of theism, it begs the question.

go through line by liven and show me begging? you are merely defining my own belief as question begging bv because i argue for a thing yo agreeing with you see that as question egging.


It assumes right there in premise (2) that naturalism is false.

"All natural things are contingent"

all natural things are contingent,m that is a statement of fact,they are contingent in both senses,m they are states of affairs that did into necessarily have to be, unless you are an stress deterministic, and they are call caused,it doesn't start out assuming that the only possible causerie is God.at that point p2 cause could be naturalistic.


Joe’s argument is about as useful as an argument for atheism that starts from the premise that the universe does not depend on anything for its existence. No theist accepts that premise—no theist can consistently accept that premise—so it would be question-begging to use it in an argument against theism.


i'll accept that when you show me a state of affairs in nature that has no cause and hid to be as it is. mathematics doesn't count it hastobe something evovles like the universe

Joe Hinman said...

about question begging; it is equally so to assume that the universe is uncased and doesn't need a cause, the object of the argument is to show the universe needs a cause and God the best candidate.we have to start from a neutral position to me the best ay is to go factually .factually natural stuff needs causes,

another facet is that since I dom't claim to prove anything it can't begging the question it';s agood reason to think there's a God..

Eric Sotnak said...

Hello, John (and Joe, too, since I know you’re reading!),

I don’t think he’s using “necessary” and “contingent” in their standard modal senses. I think by “contingent” he means something like “dependent on something for its existence.” And by “necessary” I guess he means “not contingent.”

That’s somewhat my point. Joe and I have been over some of this territory before, as well. I have previously explained that I lean toward a Quine-ean view of necessity: It is a mistake to attribute necessity to things. But suppose I’m wrong about that. Let’s say call the modality of propositions “propositional modality” and the modality of things “ontological modality.” Now, either ontological modality behaves just like propositional modality, or it doesn’t. Let’s first suppose that it does.

In propositional modality, if P is necessarily true and P implies Q, is Q also necessarily true? No, because “P implies Q” could be only contingently true. But if P necessarily implies Q, then Q must also be necessary.

So now let’s see what happens with ontological modality. Let’s assume for the moment that we know what it means for one fact to ground another. If X necessarily exists, and X grounds Y, does Y also necessarily exist? No, because while it might be that “X grounds Y”, it might be only contingent that X grounds Y. But if X’s grounding of Y is necessary, then Y must also be necessary.

But since Joe wants to hold that contingencies can be grounded in necessities, the grounding relation itself can’t be necessary. All contingencies just happen to be grounded in necessities, but they don’t have to be -- in other words, it is contingent that contingencies are grounded in necessities (or perhaps I should say it is contingent that contingencies have to be grounded in necessities?).

Since, propositional modality seemingly allows Nec.(P), P implies Q, and Cont.(Q), it also seems that ontological modality would allow Nec.(X), X grounds Y, and Cont.(Y). No problem, right? Well, no, because Joe’s view is that ALL contingencies are grounded in necessities, so if Cont.(X grounds Y), then there must be some necessity Z such that (Nec.(Z), and Z grounds (X grounds Y)). But either this regress continues infinitely, or it terminates in a grounding relation that is necessary. Now Joe says he rejects infinite regresses, so it looks like the first option is unavailable to him. But he can’t take the second, because as soon as he does so, all subsequent grounding relations also become necessary, and we end up with: Nec.(X), and Nec.(X grounds Y), which yields Nec.(Y) – everything becomes necessary and contingency is banished from reality.

So the other option is that ontological modality does NOT mirror propositional modality. I’m willing to listen, here, but I really want to know what such an account of ontological modality would be like such that it escapes the problem outlined above.

Anonymous said...

Joe,

I don’t have time to respond to everything you wrote right now, so for now let me just explain to you something about how arguments work. If I want to persuade someone that a view he holds is false, it would be pointless for me to present an argument that relies on a premise he doesn’t accept.

For example, suppose I want to persuade my friend that Donald Trump would be a terrible president. It would be pointless for me to argue like this:

(1) 2 + 2 = 5 or Donald Trump would be a terrible president.
(2) It is not the case that 2 + 2 = 5.
(3) Therefore, Donald Trump would be a terrible president.

This argument is valid, and all of its premises are true. But in the dialectical context we’re imagining, the argument would be worthless—and question-begging—because anyone who rejects (3) would also reject (1). Premise (1) of my argument in effect assumes that I’m right about Donald Trump and my friend is wrong. By presenting this argument, I’ve only wasted my friend’s time.

Suppose at that point I say it’s my friend who’s begging the question; he’s just assuming that Donald Trump wouldn’t be a terrible president. If I said that, I’ve just misunderstood the dialectical context. My friend and I each think the other’s views are wrong—no sin in that—but I’m the one who claimed to be offering an argument. If my argument assumes at the outset that I’m right and my friend is wrong, it begs the question. But it’s not question-begging for my friend to just decline to accept the premises of my argument.

-John

Joe Hinman said...

Eric, I'm a historian not a philosopher You have professional specs I have q hobby. In ny discussions with Plantinga anf Thomas Crisp I've deterred that what you say about propositional modality is probably closer to it.

what I don't see is an answer to the relationship I discussed between a cauisal ephasis and necessity/contingency. Obviously when things in nature turn out ot be states affairs such taht they could have been otherwise than they are that is usually due to the multiple regression analysis of causality.

Joe Hinman said...

John says:"I don’t have time to respond to everything you wrote right now, so for now let me just explain to you something about how arguments work. If I want to persuade someone that a view he holds is false, it would be pointless for me to present an argument that relies on a premise he doesn’t accept."

the problem with that theory is we disagree about the fundamental premises It's fine theoretically but if you can't agree on the premises all you can do is disagree and try to convince the other guy even though he obviously is not listening.

For example, suppose I want to persuade my friend that Donald Trump would be a terrible president. It would be pointless for me to argue like this:

(1) 2 + 2 = 5 or Donald Trump would be a terrible president.
(2) It is not the case that 2 + 2 = 5.
(3) Therefore, Donald Trump would be a terrible president.

"This argument is valid, and all of its premises are true. But in the dialectical context we’re imagining, the argument would be worthless—and question-begging—because anyone who rejects (3) would also reject (1). Premise (1) of my argument in effect assumes that I’m right about Donald Trump and my friend is wrong. By presenting this argument, I’ve only wasted my friend’s time."

stop talking to me like I'm five years old, i understand the concept of startling from point of mutual agreement, we talking about the existence of God not tax policy, you dancing around the fact that all natural things have causes and there is huge gaff because your version of reality necessitates ICR which is illogical.

denying that contingencies need necessities is silly, it's obvious, I just described why you are ignoring it, I'm not talking about in all the theoretical contexts Ik talking out empirical world.,




Joe Hinman said...

"Distinction between kinds of truth. Necessary truth is a feature of any statement that it would be contradictory to deny. (Contradictions themselves are necessarily false.) Contingent truths (or falsehoods) happen to be true (or false), but might have been otherwise. Thus, for example: "Squares have four sides." is necessary. "Stop signs are hexagonal." is contingent. "Pentagons are round." is contradictory. This distinction was traditionally associated (before Kant and Kripke) with the distinctions between a priori and a posteriori knowledge and the distinction between analytic and synthetic judgment. Necessity may also be defined de dicto in terms of the formal logical property of tautology." Recommended Reading: Jules Vuillemin, Necessity or Contingency? (C S L I, 1995); Colin McGinn, Logical Properties (Oxford, 2001); Alvin Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon, 1989); and Margaret Dauler Wilson, Leibniz' Doctrine of Necessary Truth (Harvard, 1984).







necessary / sufficient
"Distinction between logical or causal conditions. In logic, one proposition is a necessary condition of another when the second cannot be true while the first is false, and one proposition is a sufficient condition for another when the first cannot be true while the second is false. Thus, for example: "I have a dog" is a necessary condition for "My dog has fleas," and "You scored ninety-five percent" is a sufficient condition for "You received an A." In causal relations, a necessary condition for the occurence of an event is a state of affairs without which the event cannot happen, while a sufficient condition is a state of affairs that guarantees that it will happen. Thus, for example: the presence of oxygen is a necessary condition for combustion, and the flow of electrical current is a sufficient condition for the induction of a magnetic field. Recommended Reading: Brian McLaughlin, On the Logic of Ordinary Conditionals" (SUNY, 1990); Conditionals, ed. by Michael Woods, David Wiggins, and Dorothy Edgington (Clarendon, 1997); and David Lewis, Counterfactuals (Blackwell, 2000). Also see SEP, Norman Swartz, and CE. [1]



Joe Hinman said...

Rather than sufficient I used contingent but the word has a causal dimension it is not a misue of the term. In the quotation abovevthe relivant part is:

"In causal relations, a necessary condition for the occurence of an event is a state of affairs without which the event cannot happen, while a sufficient condition is a state of affairs that guarantees that it will happen. Thus, for example: the presence of oxygen is a necessary condition for combustion, and the flow of electrical current is a sufficient condition for the induction of a magnetic field. Recommended Reading: Brian McLaughlin, On the Logic of Ordinary Conditionals (SUNY, 1990); Conditionals, ed. by Michael Woods, David Wiggins, and Dorothy Edgington"

Tim Holt.

Something is “necessary” if it could not possibly have failed to exist. The laws of mathematics are often thought to be necessary. It is plausible to say that mathematical truths such as two and two making four hold irrespective of the way that the world is. Even if the world were radically different, it seems, two and two would still make four. God, too, is often thought to be a necessary being, i.e. a being that logically could not have failed to exist.
Something is “contingent” if it is not necessary, i.e. if it could have failed to exist. Most things seem to exist contingently. All of the human artefacts around us might not have existed; for each one of them, whoever made it might have decided not to do so. Their existence, therefore, is contingent. You and I, too, might not have existed; our respective parents might never have met, or might have decided not to have children, or might have decided to have children at a different time. Our existence, therefore, is contingent. Even the world around us seems to be contingent; the universe might have developed in such a way that none of the observable stars and planets existed at all.
The argument from contingency rests on the claim that the universe, as a whole, is contingent. It is not only the case, the argument suggests, that each of the things around is us contingent; it is also the case that the whole, all of those things taken together, is contingent. It might have been the case that nothing existed at all. The state of affairs in which nothing existed at all is a logically possible state of affairs, even though it is not the actual state of affairs.

I have made the argument in causal terms and I chose to use the e\term "contingent," I could tweak the argument and use another term, I may do that, it doesn't matter. IMS has nothing to say so he refuses to accept the definition but the truth is her can't me a single example of some aspect of nature that doesn't have a cause. We trace those causes to the big bang and can trace o further but we have no proof of what caused the big bang.

Joe Hinman said...

the source on that first quote:

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Joe Hinman said...


stanford Encyc. Phil

"Thomas Aquinas held that among the things whose existence needs explanation are contingent beings that depend for their existence upon other beings. Richard Taylor (1992, 99–108) discusses the argument in terms of the universe (meaning everything that ever existed) being contingent and thus needing explanation. Arguing that the term “universe” refers to an abstract entity or set, William Rowe rephrases the issue,“Why does that set (the universe) have the members that it does rather than some other members or none at all?” (Rowe 1975, 136). Or, why is there anything at all? (Smart, in Haldane and Smart, 35; Rundle). The response of the cosmological argument is that what is contingent exists because of the action of a necessary being."

Mike Gerow said...

Joe, does refuse not to accept an ICR commit you to a "creation ex Nihilo" sort of view? After all, even a totally disarrayed kind of primal chaos, or a absolutely regular stasis (without a 'swerve' so to speak) can have active 'causes', like particles 'randomly' colliding or whatever, and so would qualify to beban ICR, technically. But most people don't have trouble imagining a vast, eternal 'soup' like that, or find it an illogical idea.

I think when you talk about 'cause', you're already inferring something, that there is already an assumption of something 'meaningful' in existence, that somehow our uinverse is different in kind, in some real and objective way, than merely a vast, eternal, chaotic 'soup'.

But therein lies the rub....

Eric Sotnak said...

Traditionally, theists have felt extremely uncomfortable with the idea of a “brute fact” – that something could have just happened without explanation. Instead, they have committed to variations on the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR).

I think the main reason for this is that they know quite well that without PSR, they will have no way to rule out the hypothesis that maybe the universe is just a brute fact (no God required).

But I think theists could comfort themselves a bit by shedding their anxiety about this. Imagine a conversation like this between a theist (T) and an atheist (A):

A: I think the universe is a brute fact.
T: Not I. I think it was made by God.
A: But then where did God come from?
T: God is an eternal brute fact.
A: How does that make you better off than me, then?
T: Well, while no logical proof of God’s existence is possible, I have subjective or existential reasons for being a theist. It seems to me that I can feel the presence of God in the laughter of my children, for instance. For me, theism helps me to make sense of the world and comforts me with the hope that death isn’t final.
A: But if God is a brute fact, that means he could, logically speaking, have failed to exist.
T: Yup. So I feel extra lucky that he does.

The dialog could be continued, but you get the idea: I don’t see that the theist really loses all that much by abandoning the (logically pretentious) project of trying to PROVE God’s existence. What if it just can’t be done?

A: But wait, a God who isn’t logically necessary wouldn’t be God the way he is traditionally defined.
T: Defined by whom? By generations of philosophical theologians who have mistakenly bought into the thesis that God has to fit a definition of “maximally great” and the principle that the logical possibility of nonexistence is a way of failing in greatness. But I don’t buy that. Ontological arguments are just like logical puzzles: good mental exercise, but not necessarily (pun intended) applicable to reality.

I think 'Brute Fact Theism' should be more popular.

Mike Gerow said...

Eric, I think a lot of the younger theological crowd ( who tend to apophatic / mystical / postmodern modes of thought) would question whether God's existence is comprehsivle enough to us to even be called a 'brute fact.' They mostly prefer Meister Elkhart with his notion that "God is so mysterious, He cannot even be said to be or not to be" over Aquinas's solider assertions.

Joe Hinman said...

Joe, does refuse not to accept an ICR commit you to a "creation ex Nihilo" sort of view? After all, even a totally disarrayed kind of primal chaos, or a absolutely regular stasis (without a 'swerve' so to speak) can have active 'causes', like particles 'randomly' colliding or whatever, and so would qualify to beban ICR, technically. But most people don't have trouble imagining a vast, eternal 'soup' like that, or find it an illogical idea.

true but those alternatives can be eliminated.

I think when you talk about 'cause', you're already inferring something, that there is already an assumption of something 'meaningful' in existence, that somehow our uinverse is different in kind, in some real and objective way, than merely a vast, eternal, chaotic 'soup'.

yet no atheist has ever been able to give me an example of an uncased thing

Joe Hinman said...

Mike Gerow said...
Eric, I think a lot of the younger theological crowd ( who tend to apophatic / mystical / postmodern modes of thought) would question whether God's existence is comprehsivle enough to us to even be called a 'brute fact.' They mostly prefer Meister Elkhart with his notion that "God is so mysterious, He cannot even be said to be or not to be" over Aquinas's solider assertions.

I argue God cannot be a briquette fact by definition. But then there is more thasn one idea of what brute fact means

Joe Hinman said...

Traditionally, theists have felt extremely uncomfortable with the idea of a “brute fact” – that something could have just happened without explanation. Instead, they have committed to variations on the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR).



I think the main reason for this is that they know quite well that without PSR, they will have no way to rule out the hypothesis that maybe the universe is just a brute fact (no God required).

While that is true i think there is more to it than that.I reject BF's and accept PSR but there's more to it than that, it's not just to save belief in God as reasoned. It's because to me PSR is intuitive.BF's are worrisome because they contradict PSR.

The reason I reject your dialogue is because i think I can carry reason a step further so that one doesn't have to answer "why is there a God" just just "because there is," In fact i wrote a half chapter on it in my book, the one I sent you first chapter to.

can I carry it off? odds are against me but I have high hopes. I use Sartre's concept of being por soir and Tillich's notion of bedimming itself to solve the problem'

It's a thorny issue, like Derrida's issue does logic endorse itself? Does the Transcendental signfiier ground itself?

Mike Gerow said...

can I carry it off? odds are against me but I have high hopes. I use Sartre's concept of being por soir and Tillich's notion of being itself to solve the problem

Nice blurb! Yeah, I wanna read that....

Mike Gerow said...

yet no atheist has ever been able to give me an example of an uncaused thing

But if everthing is really just energy whirling around, just a big cosmic soup, then , as Eric said, don't concepts like 'cause' and/or PSR sound a little pretentious? Like, as if something of some significance was already assumed, as if there was some point to it, and so perhaps,merely projections of humanity's (perhaps ultimately vain) hopes?

Ie is '' a depthless reality' illogical? ;-)

Joe Hinman said...

what makes it become a universe? I have reason to think it takes a mind, that warrants a search and the experiences ai encounter in searching warrant belief.

JBsptfn said...

The "cosmic soup" Mike mentioned reminds me of the flawed primordial soup idea that evolutionists like to (or use to like to) use to show that life came from nothing.

Ryan M said...

POST 1/2

(1) All contingencies require necessities to ground them.

Response to P1 - can we prove this?

(2) All natural things are contingent

Response to P2 - can we prove this? A thing can be contingent in three senses:

Sense 1 - a thing G is contingent if the existence of G depends on the existence of some F.

Sense 2 - a thing G* is contingent if the existence of G* is not metaphysically necessary but not metaphysically impossible(So there is at least one metaphysically possible world where G* does not exist and one metaphysically possible world where G* does exist).

Sense 3 - a thing G" is contingent if the existence of G" has a cause.

In either sense, can we show that it is true for all natural things, including all of natural reality?

(3) the universe is natural, therefore, the universe is contingent

Response to P3 - this is covered in the last response. Unless we know that "For all x, if x is natural then x is contingent" then we do not know that 3 is true.

(4) the universe requires a necessity upon which its existence is grounded, Therefore, the origin of the universe must be necessary.

Response to P4 - this is a quibble, but you cannot add conclusions into your premises. The conclusion that "the origin of the universe must be necessary" must be on a different line.

(5)Since the origin of the universe must be necessary (from 2,4 and 5) and not contingent the origin cannot have a cause.

Response to P5 - this seems to imply that the use of contingency refers to sense 3 as I laid it out. A contingent thing then is any being which has a cause. But it seems a necessary being then is any being which "Cannot" have a cause. Suppose a being popped into existence without a cause. This being would not be contingent, and it could not have a cause since one of its properties related to its identity is how it came to be, so it must be necessary. This isn't good since it implies that a being can be necessary yet fail to exist in every metaphysically possible world.

(6)The origin of universe is necessary and must be eternal and first cause, since this is the definition of God (see Rational Warrant page) then the origin of the universe must be God.

Response to P6 - as I have pointed out to you before, 6 is a blatant non sequitur. Your argument as a result is invalid. I will symbolize the argument to demonstrate this:

Cx = x is contingent
Gyx = y grounds x
Ny = y is necessary
Sx = x is natural
u = the universe
Wx = x is without a cause
Ey = y is eternal
Fx = x is a first cause
Tx = x is God


1. (∀x)(Cx → (∃y)(Gyx & Ny & y =/= x)) (Premise)
2. (∀x)(Sx → Cx) (Premise)
3. Su (Premise)
4. Cu (2, 3 conditional elimination)
5. (∃y)(Gyu & Ny)(1, 4 conditional elimination)
6. (∀x)(Nx → Wx) (Premise)
7. (∃y)(Gyu & Ny & Wy)(5, 6 conditional elimination)
8. (∃y)(Gyu & Ny & Wy & Ey & Fy & Ty)

It is easy enough to see how 7 would logically follow from 1 through 6. However, line 8 is not an inference from any premise or subconclusion in the argument. It comes from nowhere. Since 8 comes out of nowhere, we can easily create a model where 1 through 7 is true but 8 is false so the argument is invalid.

Ryan M said...

POST 2/2

With respect to fixing line 8, you need to add these:

Addition 1 - (∀x)((Gxu & Nx & Wx) → Fx)

Addition 2 - (∀x)((Gxu & Nx & Wx & Fx) → Ex)

Addition 3 - (∀x)((Gxu & Nx & Wx & Fx & Ex) → Tx)

There are problems with each addition.

Issue with addition 1 - even if we can infer that there is some x such that Gxu, Nx and Wx, it does not logically follow that Fx. On the contrary, we can come up with a logically consistent model where there are multiple causes of the world such that each for each x, Gxu, Nx and Wx. In such a case, there is no first cause since there are multiple causes. This is one of the problems people point out with respect to Aquinas' arguments.

Issue with addition 2 - even if we can infer that there is some x such that Gxy, Nx, Wx and Fx, it does not logically follow that Ex. On the contrary, we can come up with a logically consistent model where there is some x that satisfies all those conditions but fails to be eternal. A being is eternal if either it exists timelessly or will always exist through any temporally possible world. Since your definition of necessity seems to be equivalent to Wx, we can create a logically consistent set of possible worlds where some x is necessary, x caused the universe, but x does not exist at each world. We can easily make a frame where there is some x such that (Gxu & Nx & Fx) but x fails to be eternal since x does not exist in every possible world. On that interpretation of eternality we have satisfied your antecedent without satisfying the consequent so the conditional would be false.

Issue with addition 3 - the issue with this addition is how to make the existence of a thing with all those predicates a sufficient condition for there being a thing that is God. God is defined as omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect, and sometimes timeless or omnipresent. But For each of the predicates, some x having any of those predicates in particular is not a sufficient condition for being God, and some x having those predicates jointly is not a sufficient condition for being God. The predicates on their own nor jointly get you to omnipotence, omniscience, consciousness, etc, so they fail to give us God. While we could infer that there is mammals from the existence of tigers, we cannot infer that God exists from those predicates since none of them on their own nor jointly imply God.

Advice from me:

Advice 1 - learn how to form valid arguments and test arguments for validity. Your arguments, in my experience, are always logically invalid (In the case of deductive arguments). As I have said before, if you know how to ensure arguments are valid then perhaps your issue is that you know what premises you are implicitly using so you know why your argument is implicitly valid. But we are not mind readers so you need to list every premise and every inference that is necessary for the reader to understand your complete reasoning.

Advice 2 - do not use premises that your opposition will obviously deny unless you are prepared to defend them. A naturalist will probably deny that the universe (If it refers to all physical reality or just a proper subset of it) is contingent, and they might very well deny that all contingent things require a cause. You can fix this by making arguments for controversial premises and clearly defining your terms (Contingent, necessary and other terms in your argument have no clear use). If you fail to do this then you essentially make a circle argument from the perspective of the naturalist (I define a circular argument as any argument with a conclusion that is controversial to some particular person uses a premise to derive it which is equally controversial to said person).

Ryan M said...

JBsptfn said:

"The "cosmic soup" Mike mentioned reminds me of the flawed primordial soup idea that evolutionists like to (or use to like to) use to show that life came from nothing"

Response:

"Nothing" is ambiguous. It could mean "no pre-existing material" or it could mean "non living material". The former is probably something no evolutionist has ever believed. The latter is something many evolutionists have believed. I should note that "evolutionist" may as well denote "Scientifically literate person".

JBsptfn said...

Ryan,

Nobody usually means no pre-existing material when they talk about that, but they usually mean non-living material, which can't form life in any way, shape, or form.

If you want to debate more on Evolution, I know someone who is more knowledgeable than me on the subject. He has an open thread about it now:

Atheism-Analyzed: Discussion Zone for Evolution

Stan would love to debate with you.

Ryan M said...

JBsptfn,

How do you know non living material cannot form life in any way, shape or form? Theists such as Peter van Inwagen would definitely disagree. I don't see how we could soundly deduce such a fact or show it is probable given our limited knowledge.

I do remember Stan. He's the same one Jeff Lowder responded to in the following posts:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/03/20/stan-on-materialism-and-morality/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/03/29/stan-stephenss-categorical-misunderstandings-of-atheism/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/03/31/stan-stephenss-categorical-misunderstandings-of-atheism-part-2/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/03/21/theistic-prejudice-a-case-study-with-stan/

I had brief interaction with him in some of those posts, but it wasn't exactly a fruitful interaction. Among theists in the blogsphere, I would rather speak with Luke Breuer and Simon K than Stan.

Unfortunately, I am not a scientist so I should not be debating the adequacy of evolutionary models. Or more specifically, I am not a biologist, or a scientist with a specialty in something related to biology (A bio-physicist is not exactly a biologist but has relevant expertise to biology), so I am not the one to defend the adequacy of evolutionary models. If we wanted to talk about modal ontological arguments then I'd be more capable of contributing. If Stan wants to debate evolution then he shouldn't merely be seeking out atheists, but rather he should seek out scientists at universities. I am actually baffled by the amount of people debating scientific issues when they don't even have working knowledge of elementary algebra/calculus. That applies to atheists and theists alike. i.e. even among atheists, many like to defend models of physics when they do not even have the necessary mathematical knowledge to discuss elementary mechanics. This is not to say Stan is not a scientist or is unfamiliar with calculus.

I noticed you mention I post on Skep's blog. If you could look through the threads, you'll see I am far more critical of IM than I am accepting. Joe actually likes to say that I destroyed IM on his argument against the hard problem of consciousness. My point in posting there and my point in posting here is to correct arguments I believe are bad, whether they be made by atheists or theists. At this point I probably have more blog posts correcting atheists than I do theists (I am also banned from Debunking Christianity due to challenging their lack of familiarity with the philosophical arguments they criticize). If I see a theist making an argument about atheism being identical to material then I will correct them. Likewise, if I see an atheist rebutting a modal ontological argument yet not even understanding S5 modal logic then I'll correct them.

Mike Gerow said...

The main question I wanted to ask Joe was whether or not that version of the CA depended on an "ex nihilo" creation? If not, then it seems like the argument would be suggesting that what God created/is creating is more kinda like "forms" (or perhaps "meaningfulness") rather than "stuff."

That seems problematic, since the argument fails as soon as any Atheist simply denies any ultimate "meaning"--or a "direction in evolution" or whatever. But otoh, if all you're talking about is "stuff", then ... where are you? All it seems that you sould really conjecture is some kind of Aristotelian "unmoved mover" which could as easily be some form of "stuff" (or maybe "ur-stuff?") itself in that case, and not a conscious or intentional "being" / "supra-being"?

Joe Hinman said...

(1) All contingencies require necessities to ground them.

Response to P1 - can we prove this?

It's true by definition and empirical observation

(2) All natural things are contingent

Response to P2 - can we prove this? A thing can be contingent in three senses:

no known counter examples, fair assumption


Sense 1 - a thing G is contingent if the existence of G depends on the existence of some F.

Sense 2 - a thing G* is contingent if the existence of G* is not metaphysically necessary but not metaphysically impossible(So there is at least one metaphysically possible world where G* does not exist and one metaphysically possible world where G* does exist).

Sense 3 - a thing G" is contingent if the existence of G" has a cause.

In either sense, can we show that it is true for all natural things, including all of natural reality?

valid assumption since there are no known contradictions

(3) the universe is natural, therefore, the universe is contingent

Response to P3 - this is covered in the last response. Unless we know that "For all x, if x is natural then x is contingent" then we do not know that 3 is true.

as is my response


(4) the universe requires a necessity upon which its existence is grounded, Therefore, the origin of the universe must be necessary.

Response to P4 - this is a quibble, but you cannot add conclusions into your premises. The conclusion that "the origin of the universe must be necessary" must be on a different line.

I see that done all the time


Ryan
"Response to P5 - this seems to imply that the use of contingency refers to sense 3 as I laid it out. A contingent thing then is any being which has a cause. But it seems a necessary being then is any being which "Cannot" have a cause. Suppose a being popped into existence without a cause. This being would not be contingent, and it could not have a cause since one of its properties related to its identity is how it came to be, so it must be necessary. This isn't good since it implies that a being can be necessary yet fail to exist in every metaphysically possible world."

we are not in real danger of that happening.when you see that happen let me know and I'll deal with it



Joe Hinman said...

The main question I wanted to ask Joe was whether or not that version of the CA depended on an "ex nihilo" creation? If not, then it seems like the argument would be suggesting that what God created/is creating is more kinda like "forms" (or perhaps "meaningfulness") rather than "stuff."

I assume ex nihilo but Aquinas version doesn't so I assumeoit works either way

That seems problematic, since the argument fails as soon as any Atheist simply denies any ultimate "meaning"--or a "direction in evolution" or whatever.


nonsense they can't deny the necessity /contingency paradoigm without equivocation. The argument Eric and Rayan are making I think turns on propositions rather an things, logo cal necessity rather than Plantingas broadly logoical or Aquinas causal necessity

But otoh, if all you're talking about is "stuff", then ... where are you? All it seems that you sould really conjecture is some kind of Aristotelian "unmoved mover" which could as easily be some form of "stuff" (or maybe "ur-stuff?") itself in that case, and not a conscious or intentional "being" / "supra-being"?

I'm talkimg about the oriogin of the universwe.

Joe Hinman said...

I am pretty sure that the distinction in their argument and mine is the difference in logiocal necessity and the kind of causal related necessity of the cosmological argument, Aquinas, Samuel Clarke, Hartshorne.

Mike Gerow said...


nonsense they can't deny the necessity /contingency paradigm without equivocation.


Hehe! Okay, now you gonna have to contend with Quentin Meillasoux...

"The only actual necessity is the contingency of everything." What's equivocal about that? He seems to have done pretty well with it, and both these guys here have also already put forward the possibility that contingent things ultimately just pop into existence contingently.

The problem with conjecturing an "unmoved mover" seems to be it ignores the possibility that there were always "things," and things were always just moving, that movement, not stasis, is the normal state of affairs--which is the case Newton, Heraclitus, Epicurus, and a whole host of others believed in.

Ryan M said...

Joe,

"It's true by definition and empirical observation"

It's not clear that this is true by definition. You have not provided a definition of "contingency" or "necessity". If by "contingent" you mean "dependent" then your claim is not true by definition. The existence of a contingent being could be grounded in the existence of another contingent being without contradiction. You would need to actually advocate that the set of contingent beings must be grounded in a necessary being, but that is not what premise one says. This seems to bring up some of the worries Eric has mentioned in that other post. Incoming Big Conjunctive Contingent Fact!

"no known counter examples, fair assumption"

No, you can't do that. You want naturalists to respond to your argument, and since premise 2 makes it circular you must defend the premise before we ought to respond. Defend the premise and then we can get something going.

"we are not in real danger of that happening.when you see that happen let me know and I'll deal with it"

It doesn't matter that we do not have examples. We also do not have examples of eternal beings, or first causes, yet presumably you do not think that is an issue. Your argument is a deductive argument, so the strength of the conclusion depends on the strength of the premises. If there is at least one premise that we do not know is true then we do not know the argument is sound. In addition, the challenge to the argument might make the argument invalid if the use of necessity implies that the being could fail to exist.

To fix your argument, define your terms, ensure that every relevant premise has been stated, and defend any premise which your opposition will find equally as controversial or nearly as controversial as the ultimate conclusion they deny.

SinSeeker said...

"All contingencies require necessities to ground them”

Why? The Buddhist doctrine of pratītyasamutpāda does not require a necessary “being” (i.e. “God”).

"All natural things are contingent”

Are quantum fluctuations “natural”? On what are they contingent?

Joe Hinman said...

SinSeeker said...
"All contingencies require necessities to ground them”

based upon the definitions of terms the way I'm using them.

Why? The Buddhist doctrine of pratītyasamutpāda does not require a necessary “being” (i.e. “God”).

I'm not thinking in Buddhist categories. But actually you re wrong, Buddhism has something called the Bhudda mind that is a lot like what I call Being itself" and God is being itself.

"All natural things are contingent”

Are quantum fluctuations “natural”? On what are they contingent?
1:11 AM

Joe Hinman said...

Joe,

"It's true by definition and empirical observation"

It's not clear that this is true by definition. You have not provided a definition of "contingency" or "necessity". If by "contingent" you mean "dependent" then your claim is not true by definition. The existence of a contingent being could be grounded in the existence of another contingent being without contradiction. You would need to actually advocate that the set of contingent beings must be grounded in a necessary being, but that is not what premise one says. This seems to bring up some of the worries Eric has mentioned in that other post. Incoming Big Conjunctive Contingent Fact!

yes I did provide a definition, I said two kinds of cotingency and that Hatshorne links the two, I also quoted a more obscure pfof of phil (Garth Kimmerling) who links it to Aquinas defintion and then Stanford Encyclopidia of Phl:

stanford Encyc. Phil

"Thomas Aquinas held that among the things whose existence needs explanation are contingent beings that depend for their existence upon other beings. Richard Taylor (1992, 99–108) discusses the argument in terms of the universe (meaning everything that ever existed) being contingent and thus needing explanation. Arguing that the term “universe” refers to an abstract entity or set, William Rowe rephrases the issue,“Why does that set (the universe) have the members that it does rather than some other members or none at all?” (Rowe 1975, 136). Or, why is there anything at all? (Smart, in Haldane and Smart, 35; Rundle). The response of the cosmological argument is that what is contingent exists because of the action of a necessary being."


"no known counter examples, fair assumption"

No, you can't do that. You want naturalists to respond to your argument, and since premise 2 makes it circular you must defend the premise before we ought to respond. Defend the premise and then we can get something going.


sorry Ryan. I'm a debater, in debate we can't defend premises until they are attacked. I ma defending it now.

"we are not in real danger of that happening.when you see that happen let me know and I'll deal with it"

It doesn't matter that we do not have examples. We also do not have examples of eternal beings, or first causes,

This is my argument for those things. The fact that no empirical evidence supports non causal coming to be is evidence for creator first cause the eternal aspect of being (not eternal beings, there's only one)


yet presumably you do not think that is an issue. Your argument is a deductive argument, so the strength of the conclusion depends on the strength of the premises. If there is at least one premise that we do not know is true then we do not know the argument is sound. In addition, the challenge to the argument might make the argument invalid if the use of necessity implies that the being could fail to exist.



Dr, Koons at UT and i think Plantinga as welo told me that you can use empirical arguments to defend a permission in a predictive argument IO dom't use it in thye strucgtuire itself. it;sv second line

I know I'm I am going to open a can of worms here I dare not utter this dreaded name but the dreaded WLC uses this very move, that's right the enemy of the Secular outpost, William Lane Craig.


To fix your argument, define your terms, ensure that every relevant premise has been stated, and defend any premise which your opposition will find equally as controversial or nearly as controversial as the ultimate conclusion they deny.

I should have defined my terms

12:46 PM Delete

Ryan M said...

So lets use the definition of contingency that follows from Aquinas:

Contingent being - [if x is contingent then there is some y such that y =/= x and the existence of x depends on the existence of y].

With that definition it is not the case that contingencies require necessities by definition. All that definition stipulates is that no single contingent being is self existent. There is no incompatibility between that definition and there only being contingent beings. Some naturalists, as you well know, will deny that infinite regression of causation is impossible so might deny that there cannot be an infinite regress of contingent beings causing one another to exist.

As for the "We do not have examples" objection that you have made, it seems you again have not defended it, or I do not understand your objection. By parallel reasoning it seems we can conclude that God does not exist since we only have examples of causes coming from material beings. i.e. You seem to think that it's true that "If we do not have examples of x then it is fair to conclude that ~X". Given that, if we do not have examples of causes that do not come from material beings then it is fair to conclude that all causes come from material beings, so theism is false.

Joe Hinman said...



With that definition it is not the case that contingencies require necessities by definition. All that definition stipulates is that no single contingent being is self existent. There is no incompatibility between that definition and there only being contingent beings. Some naturalists, as you well know, will deny that infinite regression of causation is impossible so might deny that there cannot be an infinite regress of contingent beings causing one another to exist.

every one of the three philosophers that I appealed to used Aquinas. I Aquinas said a contingent thing can be eternal but only if it is contingent upon a necessity his example is a eternal flute player. as long as he plays the music is eternally continent,




As for the "We do not have examples" objection that you have made, it seems you again have not defended it, or I do not understand your objection. By parallel reasoning it seems we can conclude that God does not exist since we only have examples of causes coming from material beings. i.e. You seem to think that it's true that "If we do not have examples of x then it is fair to conclude that ~X". Given that, if we do not have examples of causes that do not come from material beings then it is fair to conclude that all causes come from material beings, so theism is false.

we need to transcend ICR to final cause and my tie breaker is reason to think final cause is not merely a brute fact thus the naturalistic contingent things can't be final cause

Ryan M said...

Aquinas might have said a contingent thing must ultimately be grounded in a necessary thing, but we must not simple assume he was correct. We need an argument for that claim since without one we might as well conclude that only contingent beings exist.

In addition, as I noted earlier, if a contingent being is simply a dependent being then this does not imply that all finite beings are contingent beings. On the assumption that a being came into existence without an efficient cause we would find that it is finite yet not contingent since it did not depend on any being for its coming into existence. Now I would not personally take this option but your argument seems to leave that option open so for that reason it also might be invalid.

I don't think you have even slightly escaped the parallel reasoning I am using to challenge your assumptions about natural and contingent beings.