Sunday, August 14, 2016

Principle Material Causality: Disproving ex apologist anti-God argument

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Someone calling himself "The exapologiost" argues against the truth of religious belief based upon the assumptions of classical materialism, ie there are  no solid objects that are not createdby material causes. This would rule out any traditional misunderstanding of God. In fact he couches his argumeht in terms of an assault on "cl;classical theism," [1]
The Argument
The argument I’ll defend can be expressed as follows:
1. All concrete objects that have an originating or sustaining cause have a material cause of their existence.
2. If classical theismcvc is true, then the universe is a concrete object that has an originating or sustaining cause without a material cause of its existence.
3. Therefore, classical theismcvc is false.

Defines classical theism as (1) God is wholly distinct from the world, (2) God is the ordering and sustaining cause of the world (3) created the world out of nothing (4) "classical view of creation" he doesn't say what that means. He asserts what he calls the principal of material cause (PMC) which states that "concrete objects have a material cause whenever they have an originating or sustaining cause." Of course God is not a material Cause so thiat let's God out. By material cause he means a cause made of the "same stuff from which" the effect is made.

 When we examine the exapologist's appeal it seems his real concern is incredulity regarding exnihilo creation, It's because he can't accept physical material coming from nothing. He does appeal to an empiricists assumption that since our uniform experience of materialist causes is contradicted then we are warranted in assuming that all causes must be materiel. In addition  to this observatory his only real argument seems to be that apart from matter there's no potential or existence because to exist a thing must be made out of something.

My first argument would be that he had no real reason for thinking p1 is the case. It's basically begging the question. We have to be careful here because the skeptic could liken it unto the reverse situation where William Lane Craig argues that we see no contradictions to principle of causality and things dom't seem to ever pop into existence out of nothing,[2] In fact the skeptic who argues the PMC must agree with the observation. But in limiting reality to just material causes she assumes we know all causes. Craig's argument is just about causes period. We can also assume that there is a point at which we must stop the chain and account for all causes or assert ICR which is illogical [3] The two assumptions are not on a par because Craig's is more general and allows for more possibilities.They are alike in that they both assert the weight of empirical observe to unergird an assumption about reality. But Craig's principle is less assumptive. 

Secondly,  there are aspects of reality that could well be non material causes such as libertarian free will.That would mean we live in an open system. The true cause mystical experience, gravity working at action at av distance, antimatter, since it is matter's mirror opposite wouldn't it have to be immaterial? Moreover,this kind of assumption made bye ex apologia, that we can assert from empirical observatory t o all causes might be the fallacy of composition.Just became each individual physical object has a material cause doesn't mean that the whole does.


Thirdly, it's far from certain thiat we know that there are any material causes, The whole issue is clouded by the limitation of human knowledge, The most fundamental limitation in this regard is our inability to really say what material really means, The exapologist defines it as "cause made of the same stuff from which" the effect is made. But the truth of it is we don't know what mater is made of. We assume there's a distinction between matter and spirit because one is solid and concrete and can be seen and the other can't be seen. That doesn't prove by any means that what we regard as solid and material really is solid or material. After we know it's all made out of atoms and atoms are composed of sub atomic particles. We assume because we have labels for these things we know what they are, That doesn't really tell us 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.[4]
Do we really know enough about matter and en ergy to say we can rule out all but"material" causes when we don't even know what they are? "But physicists now know that atoms are not solid little balls. It’s better to think of them as tiny electrical, “planetary” systems. They’re typically made up of three main parts: protons, neutrons and electrons. Think of the protons and neutrons as together forming a “sun”, or nucleus, at the centre of the system. The electrons orbit this nucleus, like planets." [5] 

The argument deal with material causes but all matter is energy. Energy is not matter so it's clearly not ture that everything has a material cause. This a technicality since they could just as easily argue "physical cause" and make the same point. Still we don't really know how physical physical things are since we don't really know what they are made of.

He argues against several straw man arguments once is good:


Finally, the theist might resist premise 1 by appeal to agent causal views of the self. Thus, they might argue that there are good reasons to think that (i) humans possess libertarian free will, that (ii) this is best explained on the assumption that the physical realm isn’t causally closed, ... This reply won’t work, however. For even if (i)-(iii) could be adequately supported – contrary to the opinion of the majority of analytic philosophers[8] – the falsity of the causal closure of the physical wouldn’t require positing the creation of concrete objects ex nihilo. Rather, at most, it would require the transferof pre-existing energy from the agent (who acts from “outside” of the natural causal order) to the physical realm.[9] 

Sorry philosophers have as much chance of voting God out of existence as Republicans have of voting in a rational nominee. That's just appeal to authority it is not appeal to expert testimony because philosophers are not experts on free will they are merely questioners.





Sources


[1] Ex apologist Philosophy of religion, "Theism and Material Causality,", blog, Dec 4, 2014, blog URL: http://exapologist.blogspot.ca/2014/12/theism-and-material-causality.html (accesssed 8/12/16)
[2] William Lnae Craig, "The Existence of God anmd begiominmg of the universe" Reasonable Faith on line resource URL: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-existence-of-god-and-the-beginning-of-the-universe  (access8/13/16)
[3] ICR illiogical
[4] STFC “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
this is from the large Hadron colllider--I think they might something about the subject.
[5] Chris Baraniuk, "How do We Know that Things Are Really Made out of Atoms?" Earth, BBC, Nov 2015 on line URL:
http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20151120-how-do-we-know-that-things-are-really-made-of-atoms
(access 8/12/16)

23 comments:

Mike Gerow said...

Gawd! And analytic philosophy is what? The explicity non-transcendental spawn of Quine and Russell?

So what do you expect? ;-)

Joe Hinman said...

ahahaha don't let Ryan and Eric see that!

Ryan M said...

I won't defend the author's argument, but I will note a few things. His argument doesn't work from the assumption of physicalism. Physicalism could be false while his first premise is true. i.e. people who believe in mathematical realism would fail to be physicalists but they could accept the first premise without committing themselves to a contradiction.

If you want to discuss the argument, feel free to actually email the person who made it:

https://elcamino.academia.edu/FelipeLeon
http://www.elcamino.edu/academics/behavioralsocial/philosophy/faculty.asp

The argument comes from Dr. Felipe Leon.

You oddly claimed Dr. Leon made several strawman arguments, and then proceeded to list none. It does not appear to be the case that you understand what a strawman argument is, I will define it for you:

Definition of strawman - [A person S attacks a strawman argument of a person S* when the argument from S* contains a set of sentences T whereas the argument attacked by S contains a set of sentences T*, and the set of premises in T* does not capture the intended reasoning of the sentences of S].

The definition can be altered slightly to include groups of arguers. By that definition, Dr. Leon did not commit a strawman fallacy. Your attempt at showing one is not an example of a strawman since it is not an example of him attacking an argument by a theist. Rather, Dr. Leon was responding to a potential objection to his argument.

As a tip, you should not talk about science. Anti-matter is not the opposite of matter. If you want to read about particle physics then purchase:

"Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction"

Joe Hinman said...

Ryan M said...
I won't defend the author's argument, but I will note a few things. His argument doesn't work from the assumption of physicalism. Physicalism could be false while his first premise is true. i.e. people who believe in mathematical realism would fail to be physicalists but they could accept the first premise without committing themselves to a contradiction.

but he does make the assumption that there is nothing but material cauise no other kind of cause based upon empirical observation, does make him a materialist? i think so,of a type.

If you want to discuss the argument, feel free to actually email the person who made it:

https://elcamino.academia.edu/FelipeLeon
http://www.elcamino.edu/academics/behavioralsocial/philosophy/faculty.asp

The argument comes from Dr. Felipe Leon.


cool, thanks.

You oddly claimed Dr. Leon made several strawman arguments, and then proceeded to list none. It does not appear to be the case that you understand what a strawman argument is, I will define it for you:

Definition of strawman - [A person S attacks a strawman argument of a person S* when the argument from S* contains a set of sentences T whereas the argument attacked by S contains a set of sentences T*, and the set of premises in T* does not capture the intended reasoning of the sentences of S].

The definition can be altered slightly to include groups of arguers. By that definition, Dr. Leon did not commit a strawman fallacy. Your attempt at showing one is not an example of a strawman since it is not an example of him attacking an argument by a theist. Rather, Dr. Leon was responding to a potential objection to his argument.

I will bracket that for a moment,


As a tip, you should not talk about science. Anti-matter is not the opposite of matter. If you want to read about particle physics then purchase:

"Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction"

I'vevreadvparts of it, bottom lime you can;t prove anti is solid or material. I think I will re work that swection.

Joe Hinman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Hinman said...

You did not deal with my major arguments against p1. That's really the brunt of my argument

I did not say that his argument is straw man I said p1 begs question. I said "He argues against several straw man arguments once is good:" that's the only reference I can find to myself of saying anything is straw.

I appreciate your critiques and I do take them seriously, what I find insulting is the assumption that I don't know basic things like what a straw man argument is, makes it worse when I find basic things I really don't know.

Eric Sotnak said...

I actually would reject ex-apologist's argument on somewhat different grounds than you do, though I would also reject the first premise. My response would be that the very concept of “material cause” is rooted in a defunct pre-20th century metaphysics that illicitly attempts to sort everything into absolute ontological categories like “matter” or “void”, and that embraces “matter can neither be created nor destroyed” as a core physical and metaphysical principle.

But I'm not going to go in that direction just now. Instead, I want to take issue with your claim that an ICR is “illogical”. How so? Consider the following counterargument:

If a particular finite thing F1 is caused by another particular finite thing F2, and F2 is subject to the same physical constraints as F1, then there is no reason to hold that F2 could not have been caused by another particular finite thing F3. But the same principle here is applicable to F2, F3, and so forth. There is no reason to think that any particular member of the series of particular finite things logically must differ in nature from all other particular finite things such that it could only have been preceded by a cause that was not a particular finite thing. But if an ICR is logically impossible, as you maintain, then it seems we must, in principle, be able to identify some particular finite thing within the series that COULD NOT have been preceded by another particular finite thing as its cause. But on what basis would we make such a determination?

Joe Hinman said...

I don't think that argument on ICR gets around the basic problem. With no starting point there would be no f1 or F2 to just assert their eternal existence is arbitrary. what I used to call arbitrary necessity.

Being itself is not arbitrary it's an eternal necessary starting point, There's no reason at assert that a contingency can just be part of an eternal series of contingencies that is not being itself.

Joe Hinman said...

I have several argumemnts omn ICR. Read this

Eric Sotnak said...

Thanks for the link. Please forgive the abbreviated character of this reply.

“A beginingless series of events is impossible.”

I don't see why. If a series of events of size n is possible, then a series of events of size n+1 is also possible. Since there is no limit on how big n can be, nothing prevents a series of events of infinite size from existing.


“If a man claims to have been counting for infinity and is at last about to reach zero, he says -3, -2, -1, he's finally finished. Yet, he should have finished eons before, an infinity of time passed eons ago, or centuries, or decades, so he should have finished by now.”

The reasoning here is flawed. To see why, suppose God decides to count an infinite series, beginning now. By the same reasoning as the foregoing objection, since the series is infinite, surely he should have begun decades, or centuries, or an infinite number of years ago? But there is no plausibility in this. The reason the man didn't finish earlier is that he was not yet to zero. When he is on -10, he isn't finished because he still has 10 more numbers to count. When he is on -9, he isn't finished because he still has 9 more numbers to count.

An Actual Infinite Cannot Be Achieved by Adding one event to the series, thus the series of events in time can never be actually infinite.

An actual infinite cannot be completed through successive addition in a finite amount of time, but it can be completed in an infinite amount of time.

if they dont' accept the word of the mathematicians that are quoted, there isn't much you can do about it.

Not all mathematicians agree that actual infinites are impossible. As far as I know, there isn't even a consensus view among mathematicians about it. Hilbert did not prove that actual infinites canot exist. All he really proved is that transfinite mathematics is so weird that any existing infinite collection would exhibit properties that are very different from those of finite collections. This does not constitute a proof of impossibility.

Tristram Shandy

I have suggested a resolution to the TS paradox in the following article: http://infidels.org/library/modern/eric_sotnak/kalam.html

Joe Hinman said...

this is really a cheat because ti's not what the post was about,


“A beginingless series of events is impossible.”

I don't see why. If a series of events of size n is possible, then a series of events of size n+1 is also possible. Since there is no limit on how big n can be, nothing prevents a series of events of infinite size from existing.

it has no cause there's nothing to make it go it;s arbitrray,


“If a man claims to have been counting for infinity and is at last about to reach zero, he says -3, -2, -1, he's finally finished. Yet, he should have finished eons before, an infinity of time passed eons ago, or centuries, or decades, so he should have finished by now.”

The reasoning here is flawed. To see why, suppose God decides to count an infinite series, beginning now. By the same reasoning as the foregoing objection, since the series is infinite, surely he should have begun decades, or centuries, or an infinite number of years ago? But there is no plausibility in this. The reason the man didn't finish earlier is that he was not yet to zero. When he is on -10, he isn't finished because he still has 10 more numbers to count. When he is on -9, he isn't finished because he still has 9 more numbers to count.
it underscores the impossibility of the arbitrary necessity, it has no cause no reason for vit bel

An Actual Infinite Cannot Be Achieved by Adding one event to the series, thus the series of events in time can never be actually infinite.

An actual infinite cannot be completed through successive addition in a finite amount of time, but it can be completed in an infinite amount of time.

no it can never end, it would go forever that's why it has no cause, it just always is and there's no reason for it,


if they dont' accept the word of the mathematicians that are quoted, there isn't much you can do about it.

Not all mathematicians agree that actual infinites are impossible. As far as I know, there isn't even a consensus view among mathematicians about it. Hilbert did not prove that actual infinites canot exist. All he really proved is that transfinite mathematics is so weird that any existing infinite collection would exhibit properties that are very different from those of finite collections. This does not constitute a proof of impossibility.

I know not all agree but those who do are right,

Tristram Shandy

I have suggested a resolution to the TS paradox in the following article: http://infidels.org/library/modern/eric_sotnak/kalam.html

you really haven't answered the arbitrary necessity argument, I can't accept a brute fact as the basis of everything, it's like saying the universe popped into being from the tail pipe of a celestial 1956 Studebaker golden hawk. maybe it did but no reason to think so,

Eric Sotnak said...

- Being "arbitrary" is not the same as being logically impossible.

- "those who do are right," Lol - your saying so doesn't convince me.

- I think you (and others who ague against ICR) are asserting impossibility based on an at least implicit endorsement of PSR. But PSR, itself, is problematic.

Joe Hinman said...

yes it is. that's what "arbitrary" is aimed at saying. There;s reason or it, where did the endless stream come from? where did the Studebaker come from before there was south bend Indiana? to just blow that off with a technical answer about logic is what I'v e been on about with the illusion of technique, the technicality doesn't make it any more warranted.

that's like saying its ok if its not sound as long as its valid.

Joe Hinman said...

I guess we are going to run into PSR eventually, I don't know if anyone has ever distinguished diferent kinds of reasons? I accept PSR iff by that is meant explanatory reason not purpose reason. It doesn't have to be a plan by the powers on high just it does have to have reason in relation to causes and probability.

Ok pertains to arguing that ICR is unwarranted not that it's . I thin it is but I think I can come closer to pulling pulling off that it's unwarranted.There's less reason to accept it than accepting final cause.

Eric Sotnak said...

Consider this statement: (P) There exists a series of events E such that every member of E is caused by a temporal predecessor.
P is not explicitly self-contradictory, so if you think that P states a logical impossibility, you will need at least one additional statement. What statement will you suggest?

Joe Hinman said...

I think it's more important to understand why the idea is false. We dan always find a better way to word it latter, William Abraham who studied positivism at Oxford always used to say logic just tells you how to put your sentences in order.

If we have reason to think that naturalistic things need causes then the eternal series of causes needs a first cause or there's no reason to think it could be, that the arbitrary aspect, no reason for its just there, brute fact - arbitrary because no reason.

if you ask how did this string of causes come to be the answer "it didn't its just always been is unwarranted since natural things need causes.

now this opens up the fallacy of composition gambit and I have an answer for that

Joe Hinman said...

here is what the 56 Studebaker has to do with it Natural things have causes they have prior conditions, but if you keep pushing the priors back you have no cause,There's never a time when the series was caused.

I loan my lawn mower and then go to get it back the person says I loaned it to ted, I go to ted he loaned t to George., I go to Georges e loaned it to Dick, detect infinitely I never et my mower back. If that is an infinite string I am always changeling mower vI never get it so I don't have a mower if the mower is the cause i never have a cause.

just as there was no southbend Indiana* and no Studebaker plant and no auto workers before the universe to create the 56 hawk that spewed out the universe, there is no assembly plant ror the uiverse because youare forever going back to a cause that never was.



*Studebaker made cars in Southbend not Detroit

Eric Sotnak said...

In an ICR of natural things, each of them has a cause - there are no uncaused members of the series, so your requirement that every natural thing be caused is satisfied.

So now you ask why the particular series of causes exists. This could mean either of two things. I'll take them singly.

First, you could be asking for a reason why we have the particular series of causes we have rather than a series composed of different members. The answer here is that we have each member, rather than a different one, because each member is caused by the predecessor it has, rather than a different predecessor. The members of the series are not "arbitrary" - each is a consequence of the causal powers of its predecessor.

Second, you could be asking why we have the causal laws we have rather than different laws. The answer is that causal laws depend on the particular things that are causally related. So it is a mistake to think of them as existing apart from the things to which they apply.

Joe Hinman said...

In an ICR of natural things, each of them has a cause - there are no uncased members of the series, so your requirement that every natural thing be caused is satisfied.

no it's not you never get to the cause, There is no origin for the series

So now you ask why the particular series of causes exists. This could mean either of two things. I'll take them singly.

First, you could be asking for a reason why we have the particular series of causes we have rather than a series composed of different members. The answer here is that we have each member, rather than a different one, because each member is caused by the predecessor it has, rather than a different predecessor. The members of the series are not "arbitrary" - each is a consequence of the causal powers of its predecessor.

since there is no beginning to the series it has no cause and never came to be.

Second, you could be asking why we have the causal laws we have rather than different laws. The answer is that causal laws depend on the particular things that are causally related. So it is a mistake to think of them as existing apart from the things to which they apply.
1:18 PM

both good, I don't think you can answer either.

Joe Hinman said...

Eric, If I get a chance I will write on this or Monday, Although I jay post the original article on Monday for the rears and give new answers to this discussion on Wednesday.

Eric Sotnak said...

"it's not you never get to the cause, There is no origin for the series"

Of course not - that's what it means for the series to be infinitely regressive.

"there is no beginning to the series it has no cause and never came to be."

If you mean by "it never CAME TO BE" that it never had a beginning, that's right. Again, that's what it means to be an infinitely regressive series.

Joe Hinman said...

what is the reason for a stinting of contingencies to exist with no begiming?

Mike Gerow said...

... but it still could have 'come to be' all at once, as a completed thing, right? Not temporally, but in terms of logical causation?

That would just mean 'causation' (and/or 'time') as we understand them are ... at least somewhat dubious in a wider view. But neither of those concepts is hardly a brand new idea.