Author Topic: God's First Cause  (Read 1086 times)

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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #58 on: June 18, 2014, 11:31:30 AM »
Quote from: Azdgari
Immaterial?  That's a rash assumption.  Kind of like saying it was "supernatural".  I am very ware of that fallacious reasoning, and can't think of another discussion of this topic I've been in where the other person wasn't arguing for a deity.  Are you sure you're not motivated similarly?

Positing the immaterial was not an assumption. What Aquinas basically said was: If A can't be the case of A then the cause of A must be non-A.  Non-A is not "assumed" in this formula, that A can't be the cause of A is.

You asked two different questions here.

1. Weather "beginning to exist" is a meaningful concept for human beings, which it is. and,

Quote from: Azdgari
That is not at all what I asked.  If I had cut off that sentence after the word "humans" then it would be, but I did not cut off my sentence at that point.

If I edited your words in such a way that it didn't accurately reflect what you're saying, not only do I apologize but I am honor bound to retract the point until my error can be corrected. It was a mistake, not intentional.   

2. Weather "Beginning to exist" actually occurs in nature. which it does..... sort of.

Quote from: Azdgari
Nope.  In no way does "Beginning to exist" occur in nature.  It occurs in our language about nature.  "Beginning to exist" is a totally alien concept in nature.  Which brings up the question of why it's our go-to explantion for anything at all.

Now we're down to semantics, there was a time when stars didn't exist.

Everything that we see around us is an effect requiring a cause, but the same might not apply (and, I think, doesn't apply) to that which those effects are made of. I did not exist before I was conceived but that which I am made of did.

Quote from: Azdgari
The idea of "you" is an arbitrary, human-created distinction.  It began to exist in the minds of humans, not in nature.  Nature doesn't care what you call it.


Well, nature doesn't "care" about anything, but just because "me" is an intellectual construct doesn't mean that it's arbitrary or non existent.

Regarding the charge that "you" is arbitrary, if that were the case, I would be just as correct in saying that I wrote the post that you did and that you are writing this one. "you" or "me" are not arbitrary. You and I do not have the same experiences, dispositions, likes, dislikes, we are not occupying the same space, we do not live in the same place. there are all kinds of things that make us different and that make us unique. Our subjective experiences and personhood may not be quantifiable or observable, but that doesn't make them arbitrary.

This is a semantic problem, not an actual one. We need not even believe in the supernatural to believe in the self, matter is the principle of individuation. It is not an ordinary predicate but it is an indispensable one. By what right do I say that I am typing on the computer in front of me and not the one in front of you? We can make no such distinction unless we acknowledge that "this" computer and "that" computer are the same in kind but unique in character, which is really all we mean when we talk about the "self".

The question yet to be answered is weather or not the big bang was an effect. The jury is out on that, but there is some reason to think that the answer is no.

Quote from: Azdgari
Is that reason a physical one, or one that relies on our human biases, like your "I began to exist" thing?

So, the proposition that big bang was not an effect relies on human bias and the proposition that the big bang was an effect relies on human bias. I'm starting to feel as though you're just being contrary for the sake of being contrary. If your point here is that any concept or intellectual construct is just arbitrary and based on human bias, then we can't meaningfully talk about anything.

It depends on weather the cosmos requires a cause. I like to avoid begging the question and so I'm more comfortable assuming that the cosmos is eternal and everlasting, did not come into existence and will not pass away.

Quote from: Azdgari
Again:  What does it even mean that something comes into existence?  Why do we consider the idea meaningful?  It's not in evidence anywhere in our surroundings; it is a product of our biases and language, of symbols and labels.

Words are based on meaning, not the other way around. At one time there were no stars, then, at some point, there was a star. How would you like me to describe that phenomenon that doesn't imply something coming into existence?

To discover what happened at the instant of the big bang? Yes, they are.

Quote from: AzdgariThat is not what you said.  You said they were doing this:[/quote

Quote
But, my point here was in answer to the question of why God is said to be causeless. The answer is, because scientists and philosophers in the past who proceeded from he assumption that the world is an effect, needed to posit a cause that was its self uncaused to keep their brains from hurting.

Those were two separate responses. Scientists and philosophers in the past did indeed assume that, scientists today do not; they are currently trying to better understand the big bang.

Quote from: Azdgari
And trying to discover "such a cause".  They aren't trying to discover a first-cause.  They are trying to discover a cause - at least, the responsible ones are.  Big difference in terms of assumptions being brought to the table.

You keep using the word assumption as though it means "needless assumption" when applied to things like a first cause, creation, coming into being, etc. And "Warranted assumption" when it comes to materialism and empiricism. I'll let that observation speak for its self.
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Online Azdgari

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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #59 on: June 18, 2014, 02:18:40 PM »
Positing the immaterial was not an assumption. What Aquinas basically said was: If A can't be the case of A then the cause of A must be non-A.  Non-A is not "assumed" in this formula, that A can't be the cause of A is.

So Aquinas somehow proved that if we have a first cause, it cannot be material?  Are you sure he had enough data to work with, in order to conclude that?

If I edited your words in such a way that it didn't accurately reflect what you're saying, not only do I apologize but I am honor bound to retract the point until my error can be corrected. It was a mistake, not intentional.

All good, but I've noticed you often mistakenly cut my quotes.  Not in this case, but you usually do so by saying [-quote instead of [-quote-] (hyphens inserted to avoid messiness).  So the tag ends up finishing wherever the next "]" character is, usually at some text-formatting, rather than after the word "quote" where it should be.  I've been fixing it in my quotes of your posts.

Now we're down to semantics, there was a time when stars didn't exist.

A clumsy but efficient way of putting it.  Not accurate, though.  There was a time when matter was not yet arranged in a manner we would call "star".  But nothing, nothing, began or ceased to exist in the process.  Hell, there's even a fundamental physical law describing how it doesn't happen - the law of conservation of energy.  This isn't semantics, it's revealing an unwarranted assumption about how nature works, an assumption that comes about because of language.

Well, nature doesn't "care" about anything, but just because "me" is an intellectual construct doesn't mean that it's arbitrary or non existent.


Not arbitrary in practical terms, but in logical ones, it's totally arbitrary.

Regarding the charge that "you" is arbitrary, if that were the case, I would be just as correct in saying that I wrote the post that you did and that you are writing this one.


Just as incorrect, rather.  Stuff is happening.  The distinctions between bits of the universe that we apply labels to keep sorted out, those are human-made.

"you" or "me" are not arbitrary. You and I do not have the same experiences, dispositions, likes, dislikes, we are not occupying the same space, we do not live in the same place.

The same could be said of both halves of your body.  Or any two of your cells.  Are those individual "yous"?  You gloss over the fact that "me" and "you" are not unified things with ultimately meaningful borders.

Your position here amounts to "human labels are an ultimate universal truth".

there are all kinds of things that make us different and that make us unique. Our subjective experiences and personhood may not be quantifiable or observable, but that doesn't make them arbitrary.

I find it troubling that you don't even see the circular reasoning here.

This is a semantic problem, not an actual one. We need not even believe in the supernatural to believe in the self, matter is the principle of individuation. It is not an ordinary predicate but it is an indispensable one. By what right do I say that I am typing on the computer in front of me and not the one in front of you? We can make no such distinction unless we acknowledge that "this" computer and "that" computer are the same in kind but unique in character, which is really all we mean when we talk about the "self".

So it's an appeal to consequences now.

So, the proposition that big bang was not an effect relies on human bias and the proposition that the big bang was an effect relies on human bias.

I keep looking over the quote this responds, to, but I can't see where I said what you say that I said.  Strawmen now?

I'm starting to feel as though you're just being contrary for the sake of being contrary. If your point here is that any concept or intellectual construct is just arbitrary and based on human bias, then we can't meaningfully talk about anything.

If you cannot examine your own assumptions and why you hold them, then we can't meaningfully discuss this topic.

Words are based on meaning, not the other way around. At one time there were no stars, then, at some point, there was a star. How would you like me to describe that phenomenon that doesn't imply something coming into existence?

I wouldn't.  I would like you to acknowledge that the "coming into existence" part is only meaningful in the context of the description.

Everything is something changing into something else.  What "begins to exist" is the new arrangement of stuff.  That happens every moment - the old arrangement of stuff "ceases to exist" and a new arrangement "begins to exist".  Nature does not create divisions; nature doesn't have "objects".  It has stuff, and stuff happens to it.  Descriptions are the way that humans create a predictive map of that stuff and how it happens.  But the map is not the territory.  The territory has no divisions.  Those are created by us, and expressed in our language.

I am fairly shocked that you havn't encountered these ideas before, Pal.

Those were two separate responses.

The second of which was referring to the first.  It was the same chain of responses.

Scientists and philosophers in the past did indeed assume that, scientists today do not; they are currently trying to better understand the big bang.

Glad we agree.

You keep using the word assumption as though it means "needless assumption" when applied to things like a first cause, creation, coming into being, etc. And "Warranted assumption" when it comes to materialism and empiricism. I'll let that observation speak for its self.

I havn't done the latter.  This accusation simply untrue, Pal.  Was it an intentional, or unintentional, untruth?
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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #60 on: June 18, 2014, 03:01:21 PM »
So Aquinas somehow proved that if we have a first cause, it cannot be material?  Are you sure he had enough data to work with, in order to conclude that?

Aquinas didn't do that, that's simply a logical necessity. If A can't be the cause of A, then non-A must be the cause of A.

Quote from: Azdgari
All good, but I've noticed you often mistakenly cut my quotes.  Not in this case, but you usually do so by saying [-quote instead of [-quote-] (hyphens inserted to avoid messiness).  So the tag ends up finishing wherever the next "]" character is, usually at some text-formatting, rather than after the word "quote" where it should be.  I've been fixing it in my quotes of your posts.

I have a really difficult time with the quote system on this and other forums. That's a technical error on my part and usually my attempt to keep the entire post from being purple.

Now we're down to semantics, there was a time when stars didn't exist.


Quote from: Azdgari
A clumsy but efficient way of putting it.  Not accurate, though.  There was a time when matter was not yet arranged in a manner we would call "star".  But nothing, nothing, began or ceased to exist in the process.  Hell, there's even a fundamental physical law describing how it doesn't happen - the law of conservation of energy.  This isn't semantics, it's revealing an unwarranted assumption about how nature works, an assumption that comes about because of language.

That is a premise that I already accept and (I think) I already made. there was a time when stars didn't exist but never a time when that which a star is made of didn't exist.

Well, nature doesn't "care" about anything, but just because "me" is an intellectual construct doesn't mean that it's arbitrary or non existent.



Quote from: Azdgari
Not arbitrary in practical terms, but in logical ones, it's totally arbitrary.

I don't see how. If such distinctions and differentiations didn't exist in nature then they would be useless to us and meaningless to us. Nature doesn't "ordain" that a cow is different in kind and character than a tree, and it doesn't "ordain" that two cows are similar in kind but different in character than each other. Nevertheless, those distinctions and differentiations are things that we observe and build intellectual constructs and terms in order to describe them.

If that were not the case then natural selection and evolution would be meaningless gibberish. why do we say that humans have a common ancestor? There are no "ancestors" in nature?

We designate these classifications and distinctions by necessity, not arbitrarily. 

Regarding the charge that "you" is arbitrary, if that were the case, I would be just as correct in saying that I wrote the post that you did and that you are writing this one.



Quote from: Azdgari
Just as incorrect, rather.  Stuff is happening.  The distinctions between bits of the universe that we apply labels to keep sorted out, those are human-made.

But again, we designate those labels by necessity.

"you" or "me" are not arbitrary. You and I do not have the same experiences, dispositions, likes, dislikes, we are not occupying the same space, we do not live in the same place.


Quote from: Azdgari
The same could be said of both halves of your body.  Or any two of your cells.  Are those individual "yous"?  You gloss over the fact that "me" and "you" are not unified things with ultimately meaningful borders.

Why did you say both halves of "my" body? why did you say two of "my" cells? What compelled you to distinguish between "parts" of "my" body and "parts" of "other people's body.

This is why I say that, though "yours" and "mine" are illusive and not ordinary predicates, they are none the less indispensable.


Quote from: Azdgari
Your position here amounts to "human labels are an ultimate universal truth".

Not so, human labels are a necessity in describing the sameness and differentiation that exists in nature.

there are all kinds of things that make us different and that make us unique. Our subjective experiences and personhood may not be quantifiable or observable, but that doesn't make them arbitrary.


Quote from: Azdgari
I find it troubling that you don't even see the circular reasoning here.

How would I describe the fact that you have a headache and I don't without devolving into circular reasoning.

This is a semantic problem, not an actual one. We need not even believe in the supernatural to believe in the self, matter is the principle of individuation. It is not an ordinary predicate but it is an indispensable one. By what right do I say that I am typing on the computer in front of me and not the one in front of you? We can make no such distinction unless we acknowledge that "this" computer and "that" computer are the same in kind but unique in character, which is really all we mean when we talk about the "self".


Quote from: Azdgari
So it's an appeal to consequences now.

No, I'm asking a question. By what right do I say that, right now I'm typing on the computer in front of me and not the one in front of you?

So, the proposition that big bang was not an effect relies on human bias and the proposition that the big bang was an effect relies on human bias.


Quote from: Azdgari
I keep looking over the quote this responds, to, but I can't see where I said what you say that I said.  Strawmen now?

then let me restate that in the form of a question. Which view of the big bang would not be based on human bias?

I'm starting to feel as though you're just being contrary for the sake of being contrary. If your point here is that any concept or intellectual construct is just arbitrary and based on human bias, then we can't meaningfully talk about anything.


Quote from: Azdgari
If you cannot examine your own assumptions and why you hold them, then we can't meaningfully discuss this topic.

I've said time and again what they are and why I hold them. My point here is that if all of our words, descriptions and concepts are just arbitrary then we couldn't have a meaningful conversations about anything.

Words are based on meaning, not the other way around. At one time there were no stars, then, at some point, there was a star. How would you like me to describe that phenomenon that doesn't imply something coming into existence?


Quote from: Azdgari
I wouldn't.  I would like you to acknowledge that the "coming into existence" part is only meaningful in the context of the description.

In what other way could it be meaningful?


Quote from: Azdgari
Everything is something changing into something else.  What "begins to exist" is the new arrangement of stuff.

I agree.   


Quote from: Azdgari
That happens every moment - the old arrangement of stuff "ceases to exist" and a new arrangement "begins to exist".

Quite right. 


Quote from: Azdgari
Nature does not create divisions; nature doesn't have "objects".

You're right to say that nature doesn't create divisions, but I think you're wrong to say that it doesn't have objects. If it didn't we could not make the very designations that you're objecting to. they would be meaningless and utterly inconsistent.   

*EDIT you would be right to say that nature doesn't "ordain" division, but there are divisions in nature, observable divisions. A stone and a drop of water are not the same. A Dog and the pain in my arm are not the same. How is this comprehensible to you if there are no divisions in nature?


Quote from: Azdgari
It has stuff, and stuff happens to it.  Descriptions are the way that humans create a predictive map of that stuff and how it happens.

If stuff happens and stuff happens to it and we devise words and designates in order to describe that, then what's the problem? How does one not correspond to the other? 


Quote from: Azdgari
But the map is not the territory.  The territory has no divisions.  Those are created by us, and expressed in our language.

But again, we create and express those divisions by necessity. If those divisions and expressions are necessary in order to describe the world, then they are part 'of' the world.


Quote from: Azdgari
I am fairly shocked that you havn't encountered these ideas before, Pal.

I assure you I have read David Hume. 

Scientists and philosophers in the past did indeed assume that, scientists today do not; they are currently trying to better understand the big bang.


Quote from: Azdgari
Glad we agree.

Likewise.

You keep using the word assumption as though it means "needless assumption" when applied to things like a first cause, creation, coming into being, etc. And "Warranted assumption" when it comes to materialism and empiricism. I'll let that observation speak for its self.

I havn't done the latter.  This accusation simply untrue, Pal.  Was it an intentional, or unintentional, untruth?
[/quote]

That's what it sounded like to me, but then, it's hard to gauge tone of voice through text.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 03:06:40 PM by Philosopher_at_large »
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Online Azdgari

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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #61 on: June 18, 2014, 05:25:48 PM »
Aquinas didn't do that, that's simply a logical necessity. If A can't be the cause of A, then non-A must be the cause of A.

Unless another instance of A is the cause of the observed instance of A.  That would be not-A in a sense, being a different instance, but still qualifying for the same descriptive category as A.  There's no reason to posit something else just because "there has to be something different from A!"

That is a premise that I already accept and (I think) I already made. there was a time when stars didn't exist but never a time when that which a star is made of didn't exist.


And I'm pointing out that the rules of what qualify for the term "star" are man-made.  I am not decrying our use of labels!  We have to use them in order to communicate, as you've been at pains to point out to me.  What I am saying is that doing so can cause us to bring assumptions to the table that may not be warranted, such as the assumption that things really do come into and out of existence in some ultimate sense as a matter of course.  In the scope of our language, they do; physically, they don't.

I think this ^^ addresses most of our other quote-exchanges at the moment as well.

then let me restate that in the form of a question. Which view of the big bang would not be based on human bias?

To some degree, no view of it.  That doesn't mean that we can't be cognisant of our biases.

I've said time and again what they are and why I hold them. My point here is that if all of our words, descriptions and concepts are just arbitrary then we couldn't have a meaningful conversations about anything.

Just to make it clear:  Logically arbitrary, not practically arbitrary.  Some systems of labelling are more practical than others.  A system of labelling that refrains from making distinctions is pretty useless.  That doesn't mean that something special and objective is happening when something ceases to qualify for one label and begins qualifying for another.

*EDIT you would be right to say that nature doesn't "ordain" division, but there are divisions in nature, observable divisions. A stone and a drop of water are not the same. A Dog and the pain in my arm are not the same. How is this comprehensible to you if there are no divisions in nature?

It is comprehensible because those are differences within a unified nature.  The word "differences" already carries the assumption of distinct objects, because there already have to be at least two things to be different from each other.  I comprehend nature to be in essence one object with details that we descibe with predictive models, formally or otherwise.  When we talk about nature, we are referring to those models - to the map.  Not to the territory, because the territory is nameless.

If stuff happens and stuff happens to it and we devise words and designates in order to describe that, then what's the problem? How does one not correspond to the other?

What's true of how the map works may not be true of how the territory works.  To extend the analogy, a literal map that perfectly describes a territory as a predictive model is still fold-able and burn-able, neither of which are necessarily true of the territory.

I assure you I have read David Hume.

As have I, but not that much, and nothing bearing strongly on what we're talking about.  Am I unwittingly parroting him?

That's what it sounded like to me, but then, it's hard to gauge tone of voice through text.

What what sounded like to you?
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Offline dloubet

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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #62 on: June 19, 2014, 02:53:24 AM »
We don't know if things that are created have causes.

We've seen plenty of things re-configured, and they all seem to have causes. We've seen nature assembling things from already existing material, and we can point at the chain of cause and effect leading up to it. We've re-configured pre-existing matter into things ourselves, and claimed we "created" them. But we're always just playing with stuff that's already there.

The only things we've detected that are created ex-nihilo are virtual particles. And as far as we can tell, their creation is completely random, which is pretty much the very definition of uncaused. So the only evidence of true creation that we can study indicates that true creation is uncaused.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 04:35:34 AM by dloubet »
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #63 on: June 20, 2014, 08:21:05 AM »
Wouldn't dimensional arguments come into play. Wait i better think this thru some. anyhoo tunneling shows cause and effect lose their conventional meaning.
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #64 on: June 20, 2014, 11:51:21 AM »
That is a premise that I already accept and (I think) I already made. there was a time when stars didn't exist but never a time when that which a star is made of didn't exist.


Quote from: Azdgari
And I'm pointing out that the rules of what qualify for the term "star" are man-made.  I am not decrying our use of labels!  We have to use them in order to communicate, as you've been at pains to point out to me.  What I am saying is that doing so can cause us to bring assumptions to the table that may not be warranted, such as the assumption that things really do come into and out of existence in some ultimate sense as a matter of course.  In the scope of our language, they do; physically, they don't.

I think this ^^ addresses most of our other quote-exchanges at the moment as well.

It does, most of my digressions away from his point were just that, digressions, so let me address this head on:

It was my impression earlier that your position was that all descriptions of nature are mere impositions by our minds. Based on what you said above, I'm not sure that you were saying that at all, so let me build a kind of starting point:

I want to address the difference between what we impose upon nature and what we merely describe, to the best of our knowledge, about nature. Not necessarily as an argument or a refutation but just as a reference point for the kinds of observations and impositions that we make regarding nature.


You have said that “The map is not the territory”.

Let us consider that analogy.

1. Say a man drives his boat around a continent. He takes out a pencil and paper, and draws a line for all of the coast that he observes as he sails around. By the end of the trip, whatever shape appears on the paper will be a rough sketch of the thing that he had just sailed around. What appears on the paper and the exact shape of the land mass will be different, but nothing has been “imposed”, only the degree of detail differs between sketch and object. In fact, he is only drawing the land on top of the water. Continents are much bigger than what we see on the surface, but if he had a diving apparatus, he could indeed sketch all of the land, both submerged and on top of the water and the shape would look different, but nevertheless, it would be a blind sketch of a distinct object that he is experiencing.

2. Say that the man claims ownership of the continent that he just drew a sketch of, and wants to divide it up among his relatives. He will, according to some criteria, draw lines on the sketch indicating the territories that his relatives will be given possession of. Here something has been imposed, IE: the lines that were drawn on the sketch. The boundaries that he's drawn on the sketch are different than the boundaries of the sketch its self. They are not an inexact representation of something that he experienced; they are impositions that were not experienced, but given.   

In the first case, the line was a rough estimate of the object that the man was sailing around, but there was an object none the less.

In the second case, the lines are drawn according to preference; there was no object that the man was trying to represent on a piece of paper.

And so, I ask you.

1. How could there be a difference between the first instance and the second if every distinction we make is in our minds and not in nature? If that were the case, then every distinction that we make would be like the second example, we could not make a distinction according to the first example. We impose upon nature the idea that mammals give birth and trees conduct photosynthesis, but if we chose, we could impose upon nature the idea that trees give birth and mammals conduct photosynthesis. If there are really no differentiations in nature, why not? I submit that the answer is that these classifications are a necessary description of nature, not an imposition that exists only in our minds.

2. When biologists classify objects that they observe, would you say that they do so in a way similar to the first example or more like the second? I would say more like the first. 





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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #65 on: June 20, 2014, 12:43:55 PM »
The outline of the continent is not distinct.  The continent is attached to the surrounding sub-aqueous landmass, and to some degree even to the water that contacts it.  It is one object.  The idea that there is some fundamental disconnect between "continent" and "non-continent" is imposed.  It is helpful to make such a map in order to help us interact with nature - for example, to sail to that continent, or to divide it up into property.  But the whole idea of separate continents is one we made up.

If nature is operates in a coherent, unified manner, then any categorical distinctions we make between parts of it must be artificial.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 12:46:47 PM by Azdgari »
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #66 on: June 20, 2014, 12:59:47 PM »
Does Biblegod know how he came to be?
What does this mean?

Quote
If Biblegod exists and one were to ask him; "How did you come to exist?", surely he could only reply in one of two ways?

1. I have always been here.
2. I came to exist because (insert reason).

If his answer is; "I have always been here", then surely he cannot be omniscient as he does not know how he came to be?
If he replies; "I came to exist because (insert reason)", then that implies that he was caused by something outside himself?
I suppose one might say that 'Biblegod created himself', but unless you can show how this is possible I would consider it a nonsense answer.

Why would I have always been here not be a sufficient answer?  Assuming he has always been then there is nothing to explain.  God is because he IS.

"How did you come to be?"

"I have always been so I did not come to be"


I would think that by your logic the universe can not exist by natural means because there has to be a reason for first energy.  If first energy has no source then it has always been .  Therefore it is your contention that the universe is not here???  perhaps if there is a god the only right answer is I have always been.

"I AM because I AM" when dealing with infinite I think is correct.




PS you for got option number 3

3) you wouldn't understand or I am not going to tell you.  Which is much more in keeping with God's MO.  God like to be mysterious.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 01:11:39 PM by epidemic »

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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #67 on: June 20, 2014, 01:26:27 PM »
The outline of the continent is not distinct.  The continent is attached to the surrounding sub-aqueous landmass, and to some degree even to the water that contacts it.  It is one object.  The idea that there is some fundamental disconnect between "continent" and "non-continent" is imposed.  It is helpful to make such a map in order to help us interact with nature - for example, to sail to that continent, or to divide it up into property.  But the whole idea of separate continents is one we made up.

If nature is operates in a coherent, unified manner, then any categorical distinctions we make between parts of it must be artificial.

Why is that I can walk on the land but not the water? If there is no fundamental disconnect between continent and non continent and all categorical distinctions are artificial then why wouldn't my boat work just as well on the land as on the water? I submit that the answer is that there are real and artificial categorical distinctions that we make regarding how nature operates, not just artificial ones.

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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #68 on: June 20, 2014, 01:33:29 PM »
Why is that I can walk on the land but not the water? If there is no fundamental disconnect between continent and non continent and all categorical distinctions are artificial then why wouldn't my boat work just as well on the land as on the water?

Nothing I said implies this.

I submit that the answer is that there are real and artificial categorical distinctions that we make regarding how nature operates, not just artificial ones.

On no basis do you do this, except by circular reasoning.
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #69 on: June 20, 2014, 01:41:39 PM »
Why is that I can walk on the land but not the water? If there is no fundamental disconnect between continent and non continent and all categorical distinctions are artificial then why wouldn't my boat work just as well on the land as on the water?

Quote from: Azdgari
Nothing I said implies this.

then what did you mean when you said:


"The idea that there is some fundamental disconnect between "continent" and "non-continent" is imposed."

and

"If nature is operates in a coherent, unified manner, then any categorical distinctions we make between parts of it must be artificial"


I submit that the answer is that there are real and artificial categorical distinctions that we make regarding how nature operates, not just artificial ones.

On no basis do you do this, except by circular reasoning.

By pointing out that I can't walk on water but I can walk on land, thus demonstrating that water and land are different and distinct, thus we designate words to describe those real differences called "categories".

« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 01:44:21 PM by Philosopher_at_large »
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #70 on: June 20, 2014, 02:03:51 PM »
then what did you mean when you said:


"The idea that there is some fundamental disconnect between "continent" and "non-continent" is imposed."

and

"If nature is operates in a coherent, unified manner, then any categorical distinctions we make between parts of it must be artificial"

I meant precisely what I said, with the specific words I used.  I also didn't mean the things that I didn't say.

By pointing out that I can't walk on water but I can walk on land, thus demonstrating that water and land are different and distinct, thus we designate words to describe those real differences called "categories".

The circular reasoning is getting tiresome, Pal.  If you start from the assumption that there are two categorically different zones and that you are categorically separate from them, then of course you're going to reach that conclusion.

If you start with the premise that object-distinctions are fundamental to nature, as you must in order to carry out the path of reasoning you've used, then you will not be free to reach any other conclusion.
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #71 on: June 20, 2014, 02:14:37 PM »
The circular reasoning is getting tiresome, Pal.  If you start from the assumption that there are two categorically different zones and that you are categorically separate from them, then of course you're going to reach that conclusion.

We need not make any such assumption at all. If land and water were not distinct then I would be able to walk on the water just as easily as on land. How would you like me to describe this difference without designating classifications?

If you start with the premise that object-distinctions are fundamental to nature, as you must in order to carry out the path of reasoning you've used, then you will not be free to reach any other conclusion.

Let's assume that there are no object distinctions in nature, how do we explain the difference between a solid and a liquid if there are none?

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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #72 on: June 20, 2014, 03:15:22 PM »
We need not make any such assumption at all. If land and water were not distinct then I would be able to walk on the water just as easily as on land. How would you like me to describe this difference without designating classifications?

Difference between what?  Stop with the circular reasoning!

Let's assume that there are no object distinctions in nature, how do we explain the difference between a solid and a liquid if there are none?

The question makes no sense as worded, in the context of the assumption you describe.
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #73 on: June 20, 2014, 03:45:37 PM »
Why would I have always been here not be a sufficient answer?  Assuming he has always been then there is nothing to explain.  God is because he IS.

"How did you come to be?"

"I have always been so I did not come to be"


I would think that by your logic the universe can not exist by natural means because there has to be a reason for first energy.  If first energy has no source then it has always been .  Therefore it is your contention that the universe is not here???  perhaps if there is a god the only right answer is I have always been.

"I AM because I AM" when dealing with infinite I think is correct.


Sounds like Biblegod cannot explain or doesn't know where his omniscient knowledge and omnipotent powers came from. His answer is "I don't know how I came to be, I've just always been."

Maybe the creature that made Biblegod wants Biblegod to have faith in him? You know, without affecting Biblegod's free will.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #74 on: June 20, 2014, 05:03:50 PM »
We need not make any such assumption at all. If land and water were not distinct then I would be able to walk on the water just as easily as on land. How would you like me to describe this difference without designating classifications?

Difference between what?  Stop with the circular reasoning!

The difference between what happens when I walk on water as opposed to land.

Where was my reasoning circular?


Let's assume that there are no object distinctions in nature, how do we explain the difference between a solid and a liquid if there are none?

Quote from: Azdgari
The question makes no sense as worded, in the context of the assumption you describe.

The question "How do we describe the difference between a liquid and a solid?" makes no sense as worded? What assumption did I make? I'm not assuming that there is a difference between the two, we can demonstrate that there is. I'm asking how I should describe that difference without differentiating the two. 

You never answer any of my questions you just keep saying that my reasoning is circular and without telling me where or how.

Let me put it another way: One day I drive over a bridge made of concrete, the next day I drive over a bridge made of cardboard. Would those events yield different results? If so, why. 

Lastly: Every time I've given an example of two distinct, describable objects in nature, you've objected either on the grounds that my reasoning is circular or that I'm making assumptions. I would really like to know what you think I can describe about nature that makes no assumptions.

Just as an aside: You said a while back that you were surprised that I hadn't heard any of these arguments before, and I said that I had. But that was before I understood (or at least I think I understand) the crux of your point here. You may be right, I may never have encountered this argument before.

I am quite familiar with the argument that there is "Part" and "Whole" in objective reality.

I am familiar with the argument that there is only "Part" in objective reality but no "whole" which the constituent parts make up. IE: Hume's challenge to imagine an object without properties.

What you seem to be saying is that there is no "Part" there is only "whole". Which I have indeed never encountered and is, I think self-evidently false.  That objects in nature are distinct from one another is demonstrable.
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #75 on: June 20, 2014, 05:13:55 PM »
Philo curious, is yr quest to find proof of gods existence thru logical argument?
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #76 on: June 20, 2014, 05:17:13 PM »
Philo curious, is yr quest to find proof of gods existence thru logical argument?

Is this regarding my above conversation as to whether or not there are distinctions in nature? Because that has nothing to do with any argument for God, that's an epistemological difference between me and Azdgari. Either one could be true and it would have no barring on the question of God. 

If your question is directed at me in general, No. I am on no such quest, that is a fools' errand.
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #77 on: June 20, 2014, 05:34:12 PM »
I meant in general ie yr second choice . just curious mind you. my quest is truth, growth and perfection.  can i ask what motivates yr various lines of inquiry.
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #78 on: June 20, 2014, 05:49:35 PM »
I meant in general ie yr second choice . just curious mind you. my quest is truth, growth and perfection.  can i ask what motivates yr various lines of inquiry.

Curiosity and boredom.
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #79 on: June 20, 2014, 06:11:23 PM »
The difference between what happens when I walk on water as opposed to land.

Where was my reasoning circular?

It's evident in your wording right here:  Your language already invokes a distinction between "you", "water", and "land".  Nature has detail, to be sure, but these details are un-named and un-grouped.  Language is what names and groups them.

The question "How do we describe the difference between a liquid and a solid?" makes no sense as worded? What assumption did I make? I'm not assuming that there is a difference between the two, we can demonstrate that there is. I'm asking how I should describe that difference without differentiating the two.

You are assuming that they are distinct entities in you very wording.  There are not two things to compare unless you already assume that distinction - which you did in asking the question.

You never answer any of my questions you just keep saying that my reasoning is circular and without telling me where or how.

I don't answer them because they're not useful questions, because of the circular reasoning you're using.  You are assuming distinction to exist objectively within questions about how to make distinction-free descriptions...about the things that are only describable entities once you make those distinctions.

Let me put it another way: One day I drive over a bridge made of concrete, the next day I drive over a bridge made of cardboard. Would those events yield different results? If so, why.

Of course.  Cardboard is the term we use to describe matter that, among other things, can't support a car.  That is entirely off-topic to what I'm talking about, of course.

Lastly: Every time I've given an example of two distinct, describable objects in nature, you've objected either on the grounds that my reasoning is circular or that I'm making assumptions. I would really like to know what you think I can describe about nature that makes no assumptions.

I never said that you could, nor have I advocated that you do so.

Just as an aside: You said a while back that you were surprised that I hadn't heard any of these arguments before, and I said that I had. But that was before I understood (or at least I think I understand) the crux of your point here. You may be right, I may never have encountered this argument before.

Perhaps, but I would be surprised if you have not.

I am familiar with the argument that there is only "Part" in objective reality but no "whole" which the constituent parts make up. IE: Hume's challenge to imagine an object without properties.

That is a similar concept, yes.

What you seem to be saying is that there is no "Part" there is only "whole". Which I have indeed never encountered and is, I think self-evidently false.  That objects in nature are distinct from one another is demonstrable.

No, I'm saying that distinctions[1] between parts are arbitrary.  An example might help.  Hold a deck of cards.  How many objects are you holding?  Pick one number and say why.
 1. Not differences, distinctions.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 06:19:59 PM by Azdgari »
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #80 on: June 20, 2014, 06:21:35 PM »
^ Yr card example is lost on me brain.
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #81 on: June 20, 2014, 06:54:16 PM »
Quote from: Azdgari
It's evident in your wording right here:  Your language already invokes a distinction between "you", "water", and "land".  Nature has detail, to be sure, but these details are un-named and un-grouped.  Language is what names and groups them.

Well there you have it. Nature has detail, and we use language to describe that detail. This contradicts your accusation that I was merely assuming that there was a difference between "land" and "water". It's an observation requiring no proof. We experience these differences and name them as a consequence. 

The question "How do we describe the difference between a liquid and a solid?" makes no sense as worded? What assumption did I make? I'm not assuming that there is a difference between the two, we can demonstrate that there is. I'm asking how I should describe that difference without differentiating the two.

Quote from: Azdgari
You are assuming that they are distinct entities in you very wording.  There are not two things to compare unless you already assume that distinction - which you did in asking the question.

I didn't assume anything, my wording is based on experience and observation.

You never answer any of my questions you just keep saying that my reasoning is circular and without telling me where or how.

Quote from: Azdgari
I don't answer them because they're not useful questions, because of the circular reasoning you're using.

Again, my wording was based on experience and observation, not assumption.

Quote from: Azdgari
You are assuming distinction to exist objectively within questions about how to make distinction-free descriptions...about the things that are only describable entities once you make those distinctions.

I step into water and I sink, I step on land and I don't. Remove the nouns, hell, remove all the words, examine only what I'm experiencing, there is a difference between the one and the other weather I use words to describe them or not.

Let me put it another way: One day I drive over a bridge made of concrete, the next day I drive over a bridge made of cardboard. Would those events yield different results? If so, why.

Quote from: Azdgari
Of course.  Cardboard is the term we use to describe matter that, among other things, can't support a car.  That is entirely off-topic to what I'm talking about, of course.

Why do you assume that there is "matter" and that "it" can "do" one thing but not another? I'm calling circular reasoning. (See how annoying that is?)

Lastly: Every time I've given an example of two distinct, describable objects in nature, you've objected either on the grounds that my reasoning is circular or that I'm making assumptions. I would really like to know what you think I can describe about nature that makes no assumptions.

Quote from: Azdgari
I never said that you could, nor have I advocated that you do so.

Are you saying that we can't describe nature without making assumptions?

What you seem to be saying is that there is no "Part" there is only "whole". Which I have indeed never encountered and is, I think self-evidently false.  That objects in nature are distinct from one another is demonstrable.

Quote from: Azdgari
No, I'm saying that distinctions[1] between parts are arbitrary.  An example might help.  Hold a deck of cards.  How many objects are you holding?  Pick one number and say why.
 1. Not differences, distinctions.

I have no way of answering how many objects I'm holding because I can't measure the exact number of particles that make up the cards, but that doesn't change the fact that I am holding 52 cards.

How would you answer the question?
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #82 on: June 20, 2014, 07:11:02 PM »
Well there you have it. Nature has detail, and we use language to describe that detail. This contradicts your accusation that I was merely assuming that there was a difference between "land" and "water". It's an observation requiring no proof. We experience these differences and name them as a consequence.

I didn't say that you were assuming that.  I said you were assuming an objective distinction, not an objective difference.  This miscommunication has informed the rest of your responses to my post on this point as well, so I'm going to ask that you re-read them with that in mind.

I step into water and I sink, I step on land and I don't. Remove the nouns, hell, remove all the words, examine only what I'm experiencing, there is a difference between the one and the other weather I use words to describe them or not.

A difference between two states of being of the universe, that would be described in two different ways?  Sure.  But I am talking about coexisting states, not alternate states.  Alternate states don't exist on any scale above the quantum.

Why do you assume that there is "matter" and that "it" can "do" one thing but not another? I'm calling circular reasoning. (See how annoying that is?)

Thoughtless parroting and turning-around of words isn't cute when john316 does it, and it's not cute when you do it, either.  But the difference is that between us, only I acknowledge that I am making the assumptions you describe here.

Are you saying that we can't describe nature without making assumptions?

We can't describe it without inventing abstract categories.  Doing so without realizing the human role in doing so is what leads to making assumptions.

I have no way of answering how many objects I'm holding because I can't measure the exact number of particles that make up the cards, but that doesn't change the fact that I am holding 52 cards.

"Unknown but lots and lots" would be a concise answer for the particles.  I didn't ask how many cards, I asked how many objects.  And for a single number.  You couldn't give that, because you didn't have enough information about how I was defining the objects, and were wary[1] of making assumptions about that.  How many objects you're holding depends on how we are defining the objects.

If we define the boundaries of the objects in the way we would for our idea of "cards" then you are holding 52 (jokers aside).
If we define the boundaries of the objects in the way we would for our idea of "deck of cards" then you are holding one.
If we define the boundaries as we would for molecules, we get some insane number.  Ditto atoms, quarks, etc., only more so.
If we define the boundaries as we would for, say, "half-cards" then you are holding 104 objects.

All of this is up to human decree.  Our definitions determine the boundaries of the objects within nature's details.  The definitions are not objective.  They are human conceptual tools.

How would you answer the question?

I would say "which objects are we defining?"
 1. Understandable, given the context.
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #83 on: June 20, 2014, 09:32:06 PM »
Well there you have it. Nature has detail, and we use language to describe that detail. This contradicts your accusation that I was merely assuming that there was a difference between "land" and "water". It's an observation requiring no proof. We experience these differences and name them as a consequence.

I didn't say that you were assuming that.  I said you were assuming an objective distinction, not an objective difference.  This miscommunication has informed the rest of your responses to my post on this point as well, so I'm going to ask that you re-read them with that in mind.

If there is an objective distinction then we aren't imposing anything by simply applying different names to the different things, and thus making a distinction.

I step into water and I sink, I step on land and I don't. Remove the nouns, hell, remove all the words, examine only what I'm experiencing, there is a difference between the one and the other weather I use words to describe them or not.

Quote from: Azdgari
A difference between two states of being of the universe, that would be described in two different ways?  Sure.  But I am talking about coexisting states, not alternate states.  Alternate states don't exist on any scale above the quantum.

A difference between two states of being in the universe is the only thing I've ever been talking about.

Why do you assume that there is "matter" and that "it" can "do" one thing but not another? I'm calling circular reasoning. (See how annoying that is?)

Quote from: Azdgari
Thoughtless parroting and turning-around of words isn't cute when john316 does it, and it's not cute when you do it, either.  But the difference is that between us, only I acknowledge that I am making the assumptions you describe here.

I didn't see that you made any assumptions at all.

Are you saying that we can't describe nature without making assumptions?

Quote from: Azdgari
We can't describe it without inventing abstract categories.


Why? If such catagories do not exist in objective reality, what possible use could they be to us?  If objectively discernible differences don't exist, then why not dispense with the abstraction altogether?

I have no way of answering how many objects I'm holding because I can't measure the exact number of particles that make up the cards, but that doesn't change the fact that I am holding 52 cards.

Quote from: Azdgari
"Unknown but lots and lots" would be a concise answer for the particles.  I didn't ask how many cards, I asked how many objects.  And for a single number.  You couldn't give that, because you didn't have enough information about how I was defining the objects, and were wary[1] of making assumptions about that.  How many objects you're holding depends on how we are defining the objects.

If we define the boundaries of the objects in the way we would for our idea of "cards" then you are holding 52 (jokers aside).
If we define the boundaries of the objects in the way we would for our idea of "deck of cards" then you are holding one.
If we define the boundaries as we would for molecules, we get some insane number.  Ditto atoms, quarks, etc., only more so.
If we define the boundaries as we would for, say, "half-cards" then you are holding 104 objects.
 1. Understandable, given the context.

Fair enough.

Quote from: Azdgari
All of this is up to human decree.
You didn't decree anything above, you said that the answer depends on what we're talking about, not that we can give any answer we decree.

Quote from: Azdgari
Our definitions determine the boundaries of the objects within nature's details.  The definitions are not objective. They are human conceptual tools.

I think that this is as close as I've come so far to understanding your point.

If our definitions, not the objects them selves, determine the boundaries of objects, and are not objective, then how could they be relied upon to create an accurate enough picture of the world to allow us to do everything from discuss a work of art to building cars that run, to calculating the orbit of Jupiter?

Our concepts are a close approximation of what we experience in objective reality, that they are an approximation says nothing about their objectivity.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 09:34:24 PM by Philosopher_at_large »
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #84 on: June 20, 2014, 10:07:04 PM »
If there is an objective distinction then we aren't imposing anything by simply applying different names to the different things, and thus making a distinction.

If there is an objective distinction between two things, then what is the objective label for those two things?  I presume it's not in English.

Quote from: Azdgari
A difference between two states of being of the universe, that would be described in two different ways?  Sure.  But I am talking about coexisting states, not alternate states.  Alternate states don't exist on any scale above the quantum.

A difference between two states of being in the universe is the only thing I've ever been talking about.

Jesus H. Christ, please read more carefully!

I didn't see that you made any assumptions at all.

That's why we're having this argument.

Why? If such catagories do not exist in objective reality, what possible use could they be to us?  If objectively discernible differences don't exist, then why not dispense with the abstraction altogether?

Abstraction is the only way that we can relate to nature.  Nature's details don't exist in our heads.  We need to make a map of it that makes sense to us, and work with that.  There are details in nature that are discernable, and they're objective.  The boundaries we create between them in our language are useful in order for us to relate to it practically, but they only exist in our heads.  Nature's details are objectively nameless.

You didn't decree anything above, you said that the answer depends on what we're talking about, not that we can give any answer we decree.

I took pains to spell out pedantically what I was saying, and it wasn't this.  If you're going to just go and state blatant falsehoods about my posts, then there's little reason to continue this.

I think that this is as close as I've come so far to understanding your point.

If our definitions, not the objects them selves, determine the boundaries of objects, and are not objective, then how could they be relied upon to create an accurate enough picture of the world to allow us to do everything from discuss a work of art to building cars that run, to calculating the orbit of Jupiter?

We paint a conceptual map of the terrain.  The places where we deem it fit to draw lines on the map don't have any special significance to the terrain.  They are arbitrary, except to our convenience.

Take the orbit of Jupiter, for example.  What is Jupiter?  Is the planet's rocky interior "Jupiter"?  Is the lower atmosphere?  The upper?  Are its moons?  We could choose to apply the label "Jupiter" to any subset of these, and there's no physical law of nature saying we couldn't.  We could say that Jupiter is the rocky core, and shares the orbit with an atmosphere and moons.  We could say that Jupiter includes the moons, and that's what a "planet" means to us.  Labels are arbitrary.  There is no objective language, no objective label.  Labels can encompass anything we want.

I think it's long past time that you give evidence for your position by providing an example of an objective, non-human-created object-label for discussion.  Feel up to the task?  Or are these labels like gods, invisible but you have to have faith in them?

Our concepts are a close approximation of what we experience in objective reality, that they are an approximation says nothing about their objectivity.

If a map is an approximation of the terrain, then why can it burn so much better than rock?
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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #85 on: June 20, 2014, 10:57:12 PM »
If there is an objective distinction then we aren't imposing anything by simply applying different names to the different things, and thus making a distinction.

If there is an objective distinction between two things, then what is the objective label for those two things?  I presume it's not in English.

There are no "labels" in nature, nature doesn't construct things in neat little boxes and decree that this one is a cow and this one is a horse and this one is a strand of hair and this one is a, etc. You're quite right to say that only we give things names but you aren't right to say that only we give things distinctions. things 'are' distinct and we give them names.

Quote from: Azdgari
A difference between two states of being of the universe, that would be described in two different ways?  Sure.  But I am talking about coexisting states, not alternate states.  Alternate states don't exist on any scale above the quantum.

A difference between two states of being in the universe is the only thing I've ever been talking about.

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Jesus H. Christ, please read more carefully!

I can clearly see the word that I inserted that wasn't the word that you used. Reading the response as you wrote it, I have to admit, you've completely lost me.

Why? If such catagories do not exist in objective reality, what possible use could they be to us?  If objectively discernible differences don't exist, then why not dispense with the abstraction altogether?

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Abstraction is the only way that we can relate to nature.

Why? 

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Nature's details don't exist in our heads.

That's what I've been arguing the whole time. 

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We need to make a map of it that makes sense to us", and work with that.
 

I would say "We need to make a map it that is as accurate as possible, but so far we seem to concur.


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There are details in nature that are discernable, and they're objective.

Granted

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The boundaries we create between them in our language are useful in order for us to relate to it practically, but they only exist in our heads.  Nature's details are objectively nameless.

I can't say that in the history of my internet life, I have ever not understood a person for so long and to such a degree. Of course natures details don't have names. If, this whole time, you thought that I was arguing that the "names" that we give things exist in nature, or that nature ordains objects, then I haven't been making my self clear. Which is probably the case.

I think that this is as close as I've come so far to understanding your point.

If our definitions, not the objects them selves, determine the boundaries of objects, and are not objective, then how could they be relied upon to create an accurate enough picture of the world to allow us to do everything from discuss a work of art to building cars that run, to calculating the orbit of Jupiter?

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We paint a conceptual map of the terrain.  The places where we deem it fit to draw lines on the map don't have any special significance to the terrain.  They are arbitrary, except to our convenience.

Putting aside my kneejerk instinct to ask why we deem it fit to draw the lines where we do, it is at this point a moot question. You're right to say that the lines on the map don't have any special significance to the terrain. That which, and that by which we experience the world are different.

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Take the orbit of Jupiter, for example.  What is Jupiter?  Is the planet's rocky interior "Jupiter"?  Is the lower atmosphere?  The upper?  Are its moons?  We could choose to apply the label "Jupiter" to any subset of these, and there's no physical law of nature saying we couldn't.

No, but although though the exact definition of "Jupiter" is contingent upon the context in which we use the term, if I were to say the word "Jupiter", you might ask me to specify which aspect I'm talking about, but I doubt that it would cross yours or anyone else's mind that I might be talking about Earth.

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We could say that Jupiter is the rocky core, and shares the orbit with an atmosphere and moons.  We could say that Jupiter includes the moons, and that's what a "planet" means to us.  Labels are arbitrary.  There is no objective language, no objective label.  Labels can encompass anything we want.

In France, the word for "Cow" is "Vache". I agree.

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I think it's long past time that you give evidence for your position by providing an example of an objective, non-human-created object-label for discussion.  Feel up to the task?  Or are these labels like gods, invisible but you have to have faith in them?


It is not my position that there are objective, non-human-created object-labels. it was my position that, whatever we call a Cow, or weather we call it anything at all, it is objectively distinct from a Tree.   

Our concepts are a close approximation of what we experience in objective reality, that they are an approximation says nothing about their objectivity.

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If a map is an approximation of the terrain, then why can it burn so much better than rock?

the map is an approximate description of the terrain, of course it isn't the terrain its self.
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

Online Azdgari

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Re: God's First Cause
« Reply #86 on: June 20, 2014, 11:40:14 PM »
There are no "labels" in nature, nature doesn't construct things in neat little boxes and decree that this one is a cow and this one is a horse and this one is a strand of hair and this one is a, etc. You're quite right to say that only we give things names but you aren't right to say that only we give things distinctions. things 'are' distinct and we give them names.

Without any labels (be they names, or just an unnamed thought), there cannot be any distinctions.  You could prove me wrong easily by giving an example of a distinction that exists without using any labels.  Go for it.

I can clearly see the word that I inserted that wasn't the word that you used. Reading the response as you wrote it, I have to admit, you've completely lost me.

I am saying that for example, "Pal standing on shore" and "Pal standing in the water" cannot be compared for simultaneous contrast because they cannot both exist at the same time.  They are alternate states, not coexisting states.  You standing in the water and you standing on land at time X, are essentially descriptions of two different hypothetical universes.  The lack of distinction I speak of is within our universe, not between universes.

Why?

Because our brains can't be in physical contact with every particle of everything we observe?  And even if they could, it wouldn't be helpful?

I can't say that in the history of my internet life, I have ever not understood a person for so long and to such a degree. Of course natures details don't have names. If, this whole time, you thought that I was arguing that the "names" that we give things exist in nature, or that nature ordains objects, then I haven't been making my self clear. Which is probably the case.

Encoded in the name-label we give to something, is information about the boundary conditions that qualify something for that label.  For example, "deck of cards" includes a boundary that similar-shaped components are not a part of the deck if they have a different image on the back.  Humans are the ones who invented that rule, though, Pal.  The same holds true of all other labels and their encoded boundary conditions.

A label isn't just the word.  The whole definition of the object in question is also a part of the label.  And definitions are subjective.

Putting aside my kneejerk instinct to ask why we deem it fit to draw the lines where we do, it is at this point a moot question. You're right to say that the lines on the map don't have any special significance to the terrain. That which, and that by which we experience the world are different.

You were aware that I was making analogy to the mental map we create of our reality, and its relationship to the "terrain" that is that reality, right?

No, but although though the exact definition of "Jupiter" is contingent upon the context in which we use the term, if I were to say the word "Jupiter", you might ask me to specify which aspect I'm talking about, but I doubt that it would cross yours or anyone else's mind that I might be talking about Earth.

If my definition of "Jupiter" was "the 3rd planet orbiting the sun Sol" then I might very well make that mistake.

In France, the word for "Cow" is "Vache". I agree.

That isn't really what I mean.  I don't mean that we can have different words for the same idea (though of course we can).  I mean that the word itself could in principle be attached to any idea.

It is not my position that there are objective, non-human-created object-labels.

It is a necessary consequence of your position.  Even if the labels don't have sounds attached to them, they have to exist objectively in order for your position (as you state it below) to be true.

it was my position that, whatever we call a Cow, or weather we call it anything at all, it is objectively distinct from a Tree.

Everything is objectively different from everything else.  No subset of nature is identical to any other subset of nature.  The degree of difference it takes to merit the use of a different label is a matter of practicality, not of a hard-and-fast line in nature.

Example:  The organisms we call "cows" evolved from similar ancestors.  What was the first "cow"?  Why does it merit a different label from its ancestors?

A practical answer, and one that would actually be used in biology, is that the first "cow" is the last animal of that line that could successfully mate with present-day cows to produce reproductively viable offspring.  But while that condition applies in nature, the idea that that is the necessary boundary condition for what we call a "cow", is a totally human invention.  Nature didn't even invent the concept of a "species" - humans did, in order to categorize and better understand nature.  The concept of "species" is an artificial distinction, no matter how useful it is in categorizing and understanding the real details of nature.  No matter how useful it is to the metaphorical map-making.

the map is an approximate description of the terrain, of course it isn't the terrain its self.

Agreed.  And the description is a mental construct.  The description did not exist until humans created it.  The terrain has no description until humans describe it; it simply is.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 11:41:48 PM by Azdgari »
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.