Argument from Trancendental Signifiers.
Defending the premises of the argument:
(1) Organizing principles are necessary to development of complexity and systems.
With this premise there's an unspoken assumption that organization is crucial to existence. That's reasonable given the all-pervasive nature of organization. We speak of “laws” of physics. Modern science doesn't regard them as laws but as descriptions. Yet what are they describing but law-like regularity? The thing about the hold-over of antiquated language, such as calling descriptions “laws,” their law-like nature is reinforced by the notion that causes necessitate their effects. Premises necessitate their conclusions, generative grammar necessitates the structure of language. In every area where reality coheres to form complexity, systems, and mechanism organization is involved. What is a principle of organizing? When a singular phenomenon forms the basis for development that leads to complexity and systems we can think of that original point as a principle of organizing. An example would be the way Hawking attributed the existence and development of the universe to gravity. Gravity is an organizing principle.1 OP's are not limited just to the workings of the physical world. They also include language and other aspects of rule-making. There are philosophers who dispute that causes always necessitate their effects (Richard Sorobji) but still others who object to this (Armstrong and Davidson). Halper shows that the difficulty is in the way we describe laws rather than an actual lack of causal efficacy. We are willing to call some things causal events that do not necessitate effects..2 He finds that the difference is not one of principle but of how many conditions can be attached to the law. There's a problematic of describing laws and conditions. He sites Davidson who states that laws can be designated even when they can't be specified. “...[T]he difficulty we have in specifying a cause concerns its description rather than the causal event. Causal events do ...[Davidson] thinks, necessitate their effects; and events are governed by causal laws.”3go further into this line in the next chapter. For now suffice to say it is reasonable to assume that causes necessitate their effects.
If causes necessitate their effects, and if those effects involve the result of greater complexity, and if that is crucial to the development of the universe, then the original cause can be thought of as an organizing principle. This would seem to reflect what science tells us about evolution and the origin of the universe. The universe emerges from expansion from a single point, of gravitational field expands and sub atomic particles form atoms, atoms form molecules, molecules form elements and so on. All of this is driven by the engine of gravity. Of course the debate about God revolves around the issue of what makes gravity and what initiated the expansion (see FN 16)..The argument narrows down the number OP's to one original first OP at the top of the metaphysical hierarchy.
(2) understanding of organization is necessary for explanatory power If causes lead to greater complexity as a result of their effects, and that certainly seems essential, given what was said so far, then it seems that without an understanding of organization we would have no real explanatory power.
This seems self evident.To posses explanatory power an hypothesis must be able to account for the relationships leading to complexity. It's probably not possible to account for all such relationships but the more that an hypothesis can illuminate the more parsimonious it would seem. This aspect, the all pervasive nature of OP's, fits the criteria in the sense of being a complete explanation. But we must wait to see how the explanation of the TS fits this point.
(3) Organizing principles are all-pervasive
In every aspect of organized activity there is a principle of organizing; principle of organizing usually leads from simple to complex. This is found in all causal phenomena, in science, in language, in math. The complexity is hierarchical, it can be understood to proceed from single principle, as with gravity, with evolutionary development, generative grammar, in argumenation and logic.
Of course each of these areas is extremely complex. For example there are competing theories of generative grammar. That does not change the fact that in each area a basic hierarchical principal organizes complexity. Gravity is one aspect of physical “law” that leads to ever increasing complex development and makes a universe. Evolutionary development, part of the outgrowth in complexity for the single principle of attraction to the center of mass. Generative grammar is a theory of language that views grammar as a system made up of rules that generate words forming grammatical sentences..4iv In argument and logic premises warrant conclusions. That is hierarchical because it places the premise “above” the conclusion in being its necessity.
(4) no property of physicality is known or theoretically plausible to explain either the necessity or all pervasive nature of these transcendental aspects.
This point will be hotly contested. Some schools, such as the physical realists try to explain organizing through properties in the phenomena..5 For example, gravity forms the basis for a complete explanatory system. The property of attraction builds complexity as natural accumulation. Certain molecular structures are formed that create elements and because of their nature elements create further complexity..6 But that doesn't account for the attraction of gravity in the first place. Most people don't realize that Newton explained gravitational attraction (“action at a distance”) as the work of God's mind..7 Newton explained action at a distance by saying that the world was the “sensorium of God.” In other words, the world is in God's mind and he's using it to feel and know. Newton Wrote [God]... "is not duration or space, but he endures and is present. He endures forever, and is everywhere present; and by existing always and everywhere, he constitutes duration and space.... He is utterly void of all body and bodily figure.".8 We might well ask how God could be everywhere yet not be solid and be void of body? How could he constitute space and not have a body? Wouldn't the world be his body, or part of it? Newton doesn't spell it out but that is possible if the world is a thought in a mind (God being the mind). This point is extraneous to the argument. The point is that, first, Newton proposed God as best explanation for action at a distance. Secondly, in so doing he offers a single simple concept as the lynch pin of a whole system.
The force of attraction, Newton continued, is mutual between bodies. It is a function of the masses of the two bodies and the square of the distances between them. From this, Newton was able to derive the elliptical orbits of the planets and Kepler's law of their motion from observations. He generalized his results to the orbit of the earth's moon and those of Jupiter and Saturn. He also applied his results about mutual attraction to explain the tides in terms of the attraction of the sea by the sun and moon. The end product was a comprehensive "system of the world," based on a single explanatory principle—a monumental achievement..9
Mattey calls it an “explanatory principle” I call it an “organizing principle.” An organizing principle (gravity) pinned upon a transcendental signifier (G-o-d).
Newton's specific ideas are no longer taken seriously as a system of overarching explanations of the cosmos. No one thinks that God has to wind up the cosmos by use of comets. Yet Newton's methods are still the basis of modern physics and science still doesn't understand gravity completely. We understand the basic physical workings. We know that gravity is accounted for by special relativity..10
Albert Einstein explained how gravity is more than just a force: it is a curvature in the space-time continuum. That sounds like something straight out of science fiction, but simply put, the mass of an object causes the space around it to essentially bend and curve. This is often portrayed as a heavy ball sitting on a rubber sheet, and other smaller balls fall in towards the heavier object because the rubber sheet is warped from the heavy ball’s weight. In reality, we can’t see curvature of space directly, but we can detect it in the motions of objects. Any object ‘caught’ in another celestial body’s gravity is affected because the space it is moving through is curved toward that object..11
While the theory of special relativity is consistent with all findings and no study contradicts it, that is not the same as proof that it does explain gravity. It is a large body of mathematical and empirical observation that is consistent with the theory. That is saying a great deal, but it is not saying enough to rule out God. That is not proof that the law of gravity could create itself. Science is not about fact making but hypothesis destroying. According to Popper science does not prove truth it offers verisimilitude by testing hypotheses. The Last hypothesis standing is assumed to be right..12 There are inconsistencies, not in special relativity, but in the assertions of what the theory means in terms of belief in God. Despite the wealth of knowledge that science provides us a complete understanding of gravity still eludes us. The warping of space-time creates the attraction of gravity this is illustrated by example's such as balls on a sheet that is stretched out and the weight of the balls warps space as the balls weigh indentations in the sheet. Those indentations create the attraction of a smaller body into the groove caused by the larger one. But that's a metaphor. It is based upon the assumption of gravity already working to illustrate the point. The fact is we really don't know.
In a deep way, we actually don't know why there are gravitational fields in the universe and how matter and energy generate them. It seems to be just a part of the way the universe and the physical world exist. There are many of these kind of ultimate questions that have no answers at least right now. All we can do is describe how the forces act, and their relationships to one another. That's quite a lot to do just by itself!13 “So, what is gravity and where does it come from? To be honest, we’re not entirely sure.”14
What is gravity? We don't really know. We can define what it is as a field of influence, because we know how it operates in the universe. And some scientists think that it is made up of particles called gravitons which travel at the speed of light. However, if we are to be honest, we do not know what gravity "is" in any fundamental way - we only know how it behaves.15
We do know that gravity is a force of attraction between two objects of mass. We know it is connected to warping of space-time. But as the source above says we don't have a fundamental explanation. Newton's ideas of action at a distance, the modern version of a thought in the mind of God comes closer to offering a fundamental explanation. That's the point of the criterion for philosophical and transcendental answer. It offers a more fundamental answer. The physical description that gravity is connected to warped space-time but that is not the best explanation. The best explanation will tell us the why and will deal with reality as a whole.
(5) Therefore, no one organizing principle explains the whole as does TS
Hawking says gravity created the universe out of nothing (see above, fn16). Yet this is inadequate as I have just shown. I will have more to say about that in subsequent chapters. It's the atheists burden of proof to show a competing hypothesis because gravity is the best candidate they have for explaining reality without God. I will offer others. Higgs Bozon, mathematics, evolution, They will all come back to gravity eventually. Higgs might be offered as an explanation for gravity, but more latter. Another candidate is the multiverse, M theory.
(6) Given the all pervasive and necessary nature of the TS, the fact of a real TSEd best explains the situation.(in chapter one I establish the link from Tsed to God).
1 Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design, New York: Bantum Books, 2010, 180.
see also chapter six, 121-147.
2 Edward C. Halper, Form and Metapysics: Essays in Metapysics. New York: SUNY Press, 1993, 156.
Edward C. Halper: Distinguished Research Professor and Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, (Ph.D. University of Toronto) is interested in the classical problems of metaphysics.
3“what is Linguistics?” Online source by Princeton University, URL: http://www.princeton.edu/~browning/gg.html accessed 8/11/15. no author listed.
Alan Chalmers, “Making sense of laws of physics,” Causation and Laws Of Nature, Dordrecht, Netherlands : Kluwer Academic Publishers, (Howard Sankey, ed.), 1999, 3-4.
also see preface xii-xiii.
6 G. J. Mattey, Philosophy 22 Lecture notes, UC Davis, 1995-2001, online resource URL: http://hume.ucdavis.edu/mattey/phi022old/newtlec.htm accessed 8/17/15.
Mattey says this of newton's view of gravity. The same general sense also fits Hawking's view of gravity as the basic explanatory principle of the universe, Hawking, grand design, op.cit.
7 Alexander Koyré, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1968, originally 1957, 235-275.
8 Issac Newton, quoted in, Gideon Freudenthal, Atom And Individual in the Age of Newton: on the Genisis of the Mechinistic World View, Frankfurt am Main: D. Reidel Publishing Company, Translated from the German by Peter MacLaughlin, Boston Studies in Philosophy of Science Vol. 88, 1986.
9 Mattey, op. cit.
10 Sten Odenwald, “Gravity Basics,” Astronomy Cafe, Online resource, URL http://www.astronomycafe.net/gravity/gravity.html accessed 8/17/15.
11 Nancy Atkinson, “Where does gravity come from? Universe Today, Dec 5, 2013.online resouirce, URL
http://www.universetoday.com/75705/where-does-gravity-come-from/ accessed 8/18/15.
Universe Today is an educational non profit that seeks to build education about space and interest in space exploration among the “lay People.” Nancy Atkinson is a science writing jouirnalist.
12 Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery. London, New York:Routledge Classics, original English publication 1959 by Hutchison and co. by Routldege 1992. On line copy URL:
http://www.cosmopolitanuniversity.ac/library/LogicofScientificDiscoveryPopper1959.pdf digital copy
13 Sten Odenwald, “why do bodies produce gravitational fields?” Astronomy Cafe,op,cit. accessed 8/17/15
14 Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today, op.cit.
15 Laura A. Whitlock and Starchild Team. The StarChild site is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/ GSFC.
Online resource URL:
Star child is NASA public relations, they have access to all the scholarly sources they need.StarChild Authors: The StarChild Team StarChild Graphics & Music: Acknowledgments
StarChild Project Leader: Dr. Laura A. Whitlock
Curator: J.D. Myers
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman
I know It sounds absurdly new age but it is NASA.