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