Sunday, July 02, 2017

Opening argument Resolved : that belief in God is rationally warranted



My opening argument in my debate with  Bradley  Bowen of the Secular Outpost blog
Resolved  that belief in God is rationally warranted.

Terms

God: The transcendental signified, Universal truth at the top of the metaphysical hierarchy
Ground of being (or being itself): The eternal, necessary aspect of being
SON: Sense of the Numinous; an aspect of mystical experience that my have given rise to the very concept of religion
S/TC: Space/time continuum
Necessity: That which cannot cease or fail to exist. There may also be an implication of causality in relation to contingencies.
Contingency:  That which can cease or might have failed to exist.
Rational Warrant: I argue not to prove that God's reality is actually the case but that the universe so construed as the work of God is so construed rationally and I have good reasons for so construing things.


my first argumemt: amendment
Defending premises

1.All naturalistic phenomena are contingent and temporal.
2. Either some aspect of being is eternal and necessary unless or something came from nothing (creation ex nihilo)
3. Something did not come from nothing.
4. Some aspect of being is eternal and necessary [=GOB]. (from 2,and 3)
5. Some aspect of being does not consist of naturalistic phenomena. (from 1 and 4)
6. Some people experience a sense of the numinous [=SON].
7. The SON is not evoked by any naturalistic phenomena.
8. The SON experienced by some people is evoked by GOB.
9. GOB = God.
10. If 8 and 9, then some people are warranted in believing in God.
11. Therefore, some people are warranted in believing in God. (from 8, 9, and 10)
1.All naturalistic phenomena is contingent and temporal

Naturalistic is used by atheist as sort of a God free zome, but theconcept is derioed from nature.
The term nature comes the Greek Physis, and translated through Latin Natura, this refers to the realm of Life from life, that is the realm in which flesh and blood gives rise to offspring [1] What this means is the concept of nature going back to pre-scientific times always revolved around causes, the reproduction of life, mortality. The very concept of nature is that of a contingent temporal realm. "Naturalistic" the effects and products of causes apart from the direct action of God weather God set them up or not. That process I refer to somewhat in abstract as "nature." I associate that process with our S/TC.


I think it is reasonable to assume that nature is temporal, especially if we assume big bang cosmology,which is still the accepted "standard model." Space/time is the continuum of four coordinate system: three spacial dimensions and time.We have good reason to believe that physical law is limited to our S/TC. Time begins with our Big Bang expansion and physicists theorize that nothing can happen beyond space/time. There is no time beyond the continuum,[2][3]Physical law seems to be a temporally limited phenomena.[4] Therefore we should equate space/time with nature since both seem to be bound up with the law-like regularity that marks temporal reality. Even if there is a multiverse and one wishes to assume there's a unified source of physical law governing all the space/times  our own S/TC is the topos of temporal reality for us, our own time. This is the basis of the laws of nature and physical law that governs our world which is the space/time envelop imn which we live(the surface of the beach ball). Thus I equate naturalistic with nature and nature with S/TC and phyiscal law. 

In the case of a muliverse, if the laws are unified and produce the same rules for all universes then there must be a single unified source producing such laws, Hartshorne makes this argument [5] 
Naturalistic is not some inherent anti God substance. In a world created by God naturalistic things are still created by God. The natural is not some kind of God free zone. But this is why atheists and theists live in totally different worlds. In an atheist world Naturalistic causes are those that do not involve God at all. In a theistic world they are intermediary causes created by God to effect God's creation.

In terms of the concept of contingency, it is a habit of contemporary philosophy to talk about contingent in terms of  possible worlds. This is a matter of focus. There is clearly a causal dimension to the term contingent  (as seen in probably and determinism and issues like that). 


In thinking about what probability means, it’s important to sort out what is contingent and what relationship contingent events have to causality. Contingency simply means that what is could have been something else. That what will happen is not logical necessary. We can imagine the contingent. As with many things...A necessity chain of events is one where “we cannot conceive [one thing] occurring without the other.” Statements of logic and mathematics are examples where we start by accepting certain facts and rules which then inevitably lead to other facts, where those facts are necessarily so. Thus empirical events are contingent....Causality is the belief that (most? all?) events have a cause or causes which precedes them. It is a belief. There is no proof of it arising from simpler axioms. In particular, we have not and could not have deduced causality for contingent events from contingent events. Hume argued that we inferred the principle of causality from inspection of correlations; from noticing this event (almost) always followed this other happening. And since all events are contingent—they could have been otherwise—then our inference of causality is not a deduction, and thus doubt remains whether causality is real, especially for all events (each and every one of them).[6]
 This is the case the way I use the term.  Matthew Davidson tells us
It is commonly accepted that there are two sorts of existent entities: those that exist but could have failed to exist, and those that could not have failed to exist. Entities of the first sort are contingent beings; entities of the second sort are necessary beings.[1]We will be concerned with the latter sort of entity in this article.
There are various entities which, if they exist, would be candidates for necessary beings: God, propositions, relations, properties, states of affairs, possible worlds, and numbers, among others. Note that the first entity in this list is a concrete entity, while the rest are abstract entities.[2] Many interesting philosophical questions arise when one inquires about necessary beings: What makes it the case that they exist necessarily? Is there a grounding for their necessary existence? Do some of them depend on others? If so, how might one understand the dependence relation?[7]
This tells us contingent entities are those that could have failed to exist. Saying that contingent things are those that may not exist in all possible worlds is just another way of saying that. When we look at nature empirically we find that the only reason we know why a thing may not have existed is because the circumstances that brought it into being may have been different. Nothing we know of in nature lacks a cause. Nature is related to law because it possess a law-like order. There is not one example of anything in nature that lacks a cause that can be followed back up the chain of being to the beginning of big bang expansion. Even Hawking's no boundary condition does not assume no cause and effect. Our S/TC is contingent, as Paul Davies tells us: "There is not a shred of evidence that the universe is logically necessary. Indeed, as a theoretical physicist I find it rather easy to imagine alternative universes that are logically consistent, and therefore equal contenders for reality." [8]
There is only one example of anything in nature that might be construed as none causal and even that is debatable: that is Quantum Particles emerging from vacuum flux. Yet despite rhetoric to the contrary science does not prove that QM particles emerge from true absolute nothing.[9] So  vacuum flux must still be accounted for as a product of nature;we can assume it is continent upon some necessity.


2. Some aspect of being must be eternal and necessary unless we are willing to accept existence ex nihilo (something from nothing)
We never observe something coming from nothing and if p1  holds then it follows that something coming from nothing is a contradiction to all of our experiences. Thus it's more reasonable to assume there must be an eternal aspect of being that produces all other aspects as at least a first cause. 
3. In contrast to Human finitude the GOB evokes SON (sense of the numinous). 

SON is more than a "special feeling" it's a lot more than "feeling happy." It is a feeling of all pervasive presence of love,and the sense of the Holy is included (Mysterium Temendum). It's sense of awe of the sort that evokes worship. Since this feeling is taken by anthropologists and theologians to be bound up with the origins of religion we might conclude That anything that evokes such a sense is a fit object of worship theologically.[10] [11]Therefor that in itself is reasom enough to link the evocation of this feeling with the divine. 
5, Belief is warranted from 2 and 4.

One major counter argument must be dealt with right away. I have not argued that naturalistic (that is something not involving God's action) things could not be eternal. Thus some might argue the eternal  necessary aspect of being could be impersonal and free of any sort of divine presence, that may be possible. But Tillich suggests a tie breaker in the concept of the depth of being. He says if you see that being has depth you can't be an atheist. That means  if you understand being as having  more than just the sheer existing, then you have to vest being with a sanctity and holiness that bespeaks religious understanding thus not a God free zone,


This is called Tie-breaker because it moves us past the log jam that results in saying God is uncased and timeless always has been always will be with cause, vs. the atheist argument that this is no better than  just saying the universe happens to be here for no reason. My friend Eric Sotnak, who has a great gift for sarcasm that is not lost on me, set's it up as a matter of brute facts. There is a huge literature on brute facts but I wont go into it because I don't have time and I'm no expert. A brute fact is a thing that exists for no higher purpose, it has no reason for being it just is. [12] Now some will argue that brute facts can have physical causes or not. Since we have no examples of anything in nature that has no cause that just leaves and the universe as a whole. So the comparison between atheism and theism is between  God who has no cause vs a universe that has no reason for being weather it has a physical cause o not Having no reason means it could as easily not be. Sotnak turns this into an argument agaisnt the existence of God, but couches it in terms of God as a brute fact:


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.
Since God cannot fail to exist (definition of  necessary),that is an intrinsic part of the definition of God; then to say God is a BF in this sense is to say there is no God. One might believe in a demoted god who is not the God but a sort of very power strange being we don't know about. Zeus or something. This is why we need a tie breaker because there is a supposed tie between God as BF and the Universe as BF. God cam't be abrute fact and still be God in the Christian sense. Yet there is this seeming tie between un-caused God and uncaused universe. We have to do this in such a way that the universe can't be withouut a cause and God who has no cause cannot be a brute fact.

To break the tie we just need to distinguish between the two kinds of un-caused nature. The argument is going to turn-on the concept of a BF. The nature of God's un-caused state is not the same as the nature of BF. To be a BF a thing must have no connection to a higher purpose. God can't have a purpose higher than himself but he can have a purpose higher than mere brute facticity. Semantically the two are different, Brute facts have higher purpose, God has asaiety not brute facticity. That it is part of the definition of what God is that he eternal and necessary. It's not part of the definition of the universe that it exists. That's existence as a predicate. On that basis Bertrand Russell ruled out the ontological argument. Existence is not a quality to be defined as part of the object, "I have one of those brick houses it;s the kind that exists." That goes beyond the semantic aspect and it can be understood in terms of the nature of being.

God is being itself of the ground of being.[13] The universe is not the ground of being. Even if it has no cause and has always existed the universe cannot be called the ground of being without attaching to it some higher sense of special nature such that we can think of it ass "holy being." But before we do deifying the universe there is no reason to assume that the universe is eternal or uncased. If it was, if we could call it God there would be a God and atheists would be wrong , even if Christians were wrong too. We can eliminate that possibility.  We know the universe is not eternal [14] and It did not pop out of nothing.[15] The rea contest is between a meaningless accident that somehow came to be for no reason with no higher purpose ,which we call "the universe" vs.  the ground of being or holy being which eternal, necessary (could not have failed to exist) and eternal cohere's within the infinite folds of a core purpose upon which the all existence coheres. That is not  purpose higher than itself but is it;'s own purpose (that the universe doesn't have). 

Now I hear the question "so what is God's big purpose?" God is not just being itself but as such is being por soir. Jean-Paul Sartre's term meaning being for itself. The alternative is being in itself. (en soir). In itself is inanimate (universe) and for itself is conscious and purpose; the purpose is set by God's nature which is love. Love is the will to the good of the other. Being for itself means it has will, volition and purpose. That purpose is to love to create more being and to provide for the good of such being. That is going to open a lot questions about the nature of life and theodicy, that has to wait for another time, This breaks the tie because it gives God a  purpose, self authorized, which the BF doesn't have.

a couple of notes on Eric's dialogue:


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.

No that is the wrong answer. He misidentifies aseity as brute fact which it is not. God has a purpose and is self perpetuated, the universe has no purpose and is not perpetuating itself. It has nothing to do with its own existence. Now we come to Eric's real gift of sarcasm:


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.
That's mockery of mystical experience, Yes God ks beyond our understanding, All the things we say about god are either very limited or metaphorical. The fact is the life transformation chances are proven fact established by 200 or more empirical scientific studies in peer reviewed journals. For more on this see my book The Trace of God by Joseph Hinman, on amazon.[16]


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.

That would be a conceptual contradiction at the heart of the God concept, thus no God. Such is not the case.
This depth of being is signified by the Sense of the numinous. That connects us to a depth and a meaning to being that marks life as more than just existence.








Sources



[1] Matthias Joseph Scheeben, Nature and Grace, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009 (paperback) originally unpublished 1856.

[2] Sten Odenwald, "Beyond the Big Bang," Astronomy (may 1987) Copyright (C) 1987, Kalmbach Publishing. Reprinted by permission quoted on website, Astronomy Cafe URL (accessed June 29, 2017)
http://www.astronomycafe.net/cosm/beyondbb.html


"Theories like those of SUSY GUTS (Supersymetry Grand Unified Theory) and Superstrings seem to suggest that just a few moments after Creation, the laws of physics and the content of the world were in a highly symmetric state; one superforce and perhaps one kind of superparticle. The only thing breaking the perfect symmetry of this era was the definite direction and character of the dimension called Time. Before Creation, the primordial symmetry may have been so perfect that, as Vilenkin proposed, the dimensionality of space was itself undefined. To describe this state is a daunting challenge in semantics and mathematics because the mathematical act of specifying its dimensionality would have implied the selection of one possibility from all others and thereby breaking the perfect symmetry of this state. There were, presumably, no particles of matter or even photons of light then, because these particles were born from the vacuum fluctuations in the fabric of spacetime that attended the creation of the universe. In such a world, nothing happens because all 'happenings' take place within the reference frame of time and space. The presence of a single particle in this nothingness would have instantaneously broken the perfect symmetry of this era because there would then have been a favored point in space different from all others; the point occupied by the particle. This nothingness didn't evolve either, because evolution is a time-ordered process. The introduction of time as a favored coordinate would have broken the symmetry too. It would seem that the 'Trans-Creation' state is beyond conventional description because any words we may choose to describe it are inherently laced with the conceptual baggage of time and space. Heinz Pagels reflects on this 'earliest' stage by saying, "The nothingness 'before' the creation of the universe is the most complete void we can imagine. No space, time or matter existed. It is a world without place, without duration or eternity..."

[3] Stephan Hawking, "The BeginingofTime," Hawking. Org,Website no date listed,URL (accessed June29 2017) http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html

"The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago.The beginning of real time, would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down. "  He goes on to support the no boundary condition but that has been contradicted by data of expansion,

[4] Thomas Hertog, "Cambrodge Realatoivoty," Quantum Cosmology, online resource, 1996. URL
http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/gr/public/qg_qc.html 

 "University of Cambridge The physical laws that govern the universe prescribe how an initial state evolves with time. In classical physics, if the initial state of a system is specified exactly then the subsequent motion will be completely predictable."
Hertog: Institute for Theoretical Physics

[5]  Donald Wayne Viney and George W. Shields, "Charles Hartshorne Dipolar Theism," Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy a peer reviewed Academic Resource

[6] William M. Briggs, "Contimngnecy, Causality, Determiinism," William M.Briggs Blog, (Nov 14,2011) URL (accessed 29 June, 2017)
http://wmbriggs.com/post/4677/

Donald Wayne Viney: Pittsburg State University
George W. Shields: Kentucky State University

[7] Matthew Davidson, "God and Other Necessary Beings", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2015/entries/god-necessary-being/>.

First published Fri Apr 29, 2005; substantive revision Sat Dec 28, 201
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/god-necessary-being/

[8] Paul Davies First Things: Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address (1999)

[9]Gordon Kane, “Are Virtual Particles Really Constantly Popping In and Out of existence? Or Are They Merely a Mathematical Bookkeeping Device For Quantum Mechanics?” Scientific American, (Oct. 9, 2006) on line version URL: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-virtual-particles-rea/ accessed 10/12/15
Kane is director of the Michigan center for theoretical physics at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.  

[10] Bernard Spilka, Ralph Hood Jr., Bruce Hunsberger, Richard Gorwuch. The Psychology of Religion: An Empirical Approach. New York, London: the Guildford Press, 2003. 331

[11] Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God:Rational Warrant for Belief. Colorado Springs: Grand Viaduct, 2014, 69, 179.




[12] There's a problem with the definition of a brute fact. Different philosophers have different definitions. Atheist from is at work. the definition is changed from the way I learned it (no reason for being) to a definition that has to include god (something we can't explain)I disagree, I don't that as a BF. God being beyond understanding and explainable for that reason is totally different than saying "X just just happens to be for no reason." The chief difference is for the one the could be a reason we just don't understand it,for the other there is none, The fact of a purpose involved with God as being i think breaks the tie

http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2017/06/tie-breaker-god-cannot-be-bruste-fact.html


[13] Ground of being is a concept made famous by Paul Tillich and other theologians, I've written about it vociferously. It basically amounts to saying God is the basis of reality. My A"Introduction to Paul Tillich's Existential Ontology" Metacrock's Blog http://metacrock.blogspot.com/2010/02/introduction-to-paul-tillichs.html

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

[15] Joseph Hinman, "Quantum Particles Do not prove universe from Nothing," The religious a priori, website URL: http://religiousapriori.blogspot.com/2016/03/quantum-particles-do-not-prove-universe.html
accessed 7/23/16


[16] Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God:op cit


4 comments:

Eric Sotnak said...

Joe, your opening argument is logically invalid as given. I have taken the liberty of attempting a reconstruction that I think remedies this defect while faithfully preserving the substance of the original.

1.All naturalistic phenomena are contingent and temporal.
2. Either some aspect of being is eternal and necessary unless or something came from nothing (creation ex nihilo)
3. Something did not come from nothing.
4. Some aspect of being is eternal and necessary [=GOB]. (from 2,and 3)
5. Some aspect of being does not consist of naturalistic phenomena. (from 1 and 4)
6. Some people experience a sense of the numinous [=SON].
7. The SON is not evoked by any naturalistic phenomena.
8. The SON experienced by some people is evoked by GOB.
9. GOB = God.
10. If 8 and 9, then some people are warranted in believing in God.
11. Therefore, some people are warranted in believing in God. (from 8, 9, and 10)

Ryan M said...

I'm not sure why Paul Davies was quoted. His assertion seems to be this:

Davies' assertion - [If there is a logically consistent alternative universe to our universe, then our universe is not a logically necessary universe]

I'm not sure why Davies would speak of logical necessity rather than weaker forms such as metaphysical necessity. But if we wanted to go that route, then by the same standard we should conclude that any theistic interpretation of reality is logically contingent since there are logically consistent interpretations of reality where theism fails to be true.

Joe Hinman said...

I'm not sure why Davies would speak of logical necessity rather than weaker forms such as metaphysical necessity. But if we wanted to go that route, then by the same standard we should conclude that any theistic interpretation of reality is logically contingent since there are logically consistent interpretations of reality where theism fails to be true.

(1) I don't believe it, They mostly seem to hitch hike on unbelief, for example the assumption that I don';t see god in this universe therefore I can imagine a world without God, that is not what is meant by that phrase.

(2) a lot of atheists over the years have argued tome that the universe is logicality necessary, so I am spiking it out

(3) Plantinga andI (if I can speak of myself in the same sentence with him) argue not for logiocal necessity in the tautological se se but for broadly logical necessity,

Joe Hinman said...

I've seen determinists argue that the universe had to turnout as it has no other option,That;swhyI quote Davies saying it didn;t have to be as it is.