Intelligent Design

Richard Goode's picture
Submitted by Richard Goode on Wed, 2012-12-05 12:05


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Logic and Philosophy 101

ding_an_sich's picture

"You are right. Let discard definitions, forget that words have any meaning, everybody could mean anything by anything, and then let have a meaningful discussion. As for Logic 101-you asked for it by trying to escape an inherent regression of creationism using nonsensical " no time, no space" eternity argument."

Nice slippery slope argument. The reason why I said that (what you originally quoted) is because "eternal", "sempiternal", and other words of that sort have strict philosophical meanings imparted on them by philosophers. This is what you miss time and time again: philosophers, if they need to, will take a word that is already used and give a very technical meaning to it. Physicists, mathematicians, and the like take words we use everyday and give them meanings that are technical and precise too (think of "heat", "velocity", "acceleration", etc). Hasnt' Seddon taught you anything?

Here's a link that proves this:

"http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/eternity/"

So let's come back to a creator that is eternal. "Eternal", according to SOME philosophers (I think Augustine and Boethius), is existing (or involves existing) outside of space and time. God, if He is defined as eternal, bears no relation to these two things. If this is the case, and it is also the case that God is a necessary being, then there cannot be a creator of this eternal being. It is a contradiction. For, if there is a being prior to this one, then God stands in some relation to this being (this being who is "greater" than God). If this is so, then the God talked about here is a contingent being, and not a necessary one, for it is also possible for this being who is greater than God to not have any relation to God (the relation is contingent). We then have a contradiction, because we have a being that is both necessary, by definition, and contingent, based upon our assumption. Therefore, there cannot be a being who created God.

Now let's focus solely on an "eternal" God. If God is eternal, then He is outside of time and space. Now, if there is a being prior to God, then we have a contradiction, precisely because there would be a time prior to which God's existence began, wihch means He would have to begin in time. Therefore, etc.

So, ex hypothesi, God could not have been created by another being. It doesn't make any sense.

Now, whether or not this defintion of "God" and "eternal" is worthwhile remains to be seen. But this is not the problem here, O' Son of Lion. The problem here is that you fail to notice the technical meanings imparted by philosophers onto certain words. YOUR DICTIONARY WILL NOT REMEMDY THIS ISSUE. Maybe a philosophical/theological dictionary, but not your ordinary dictionary. Ordinary dictionaries are good for, well, pretty much everything outside of philosophy (although they may by chance provide strict philosophical definitions).

But I am in agreement with you: I agree that it does not really make a whole lot of sense to talk about a being who is outside of space and time (notice that "outside" is a spatial reference). Nevertheless, ex hypothesi, God could not have been created by another, nor that one created by another, and so on ad infinitum; that doesn't make any sense given the defintion of God presented here. This is not to say that there are no problems with this definition of God, only that you cannot use the asinine argument used by the new atheists, in particular Dawkins. It's really crappy, so crappy that even an atheist (me) would dare not use it, aside from poking fun at theists.

O' Heavenly Father!,
May you teach these Randroids and new atheists how to philosophize and reason,
So that they may gain the knowledge and wisdom,
To properly engage in philosophical debate and inquiry,
And may they not be ensnared by hubris and sophistry,
So that their paths remain aright and shining,
Forevermore,
Forevermore,
Amen.

How come God did not create more stuff? Was he at the beach?

Tom Burroughes's picture

One of the arguments used by ID'ers is what is called the Anthropic principle (Tipler, etc) and that for life to have existed was so improbable that there must have been a Creator out there, somewhere. To which my response is: how come we haven't encountered any Aliens yet? Where are the little green men? Is the entire Universe all about us? But God is supposed to be quite a creative and energetic sort: I mean, wasn't he/she going to get a bit bored after just coming up with Earth? Wasn't he going to start a franchise?

Forgive the undertone of sarcasm. It is so hard not to be.

Evil

Reed

Richard Goode's picture

... but that doesn't mean we don't choose does it?

No, it doesn't mean that. We choose. But, do we choose freely? That's the question.

If you make a free choice then, after the fact, you can truly say, "I could have chosen otherwise."

But if your statement, 'I could have chosen otherwise,' is true then there must be a fact or facts that make your statement true. (The "truth-makers".)

Your statement, 'I could have chosen otherwise,' is not true unless it corresponds to the facts of reality. But what are the facts that make it true that you could have chosen otherwise? That's the question.

Richard

reed's picture

I can see that from entirely deterministic components it is impossible to get a non deterministic outcome but I don't see the problem you express here...

It doesn't make sense. How can I choose other than I actually do? No one has ever chosen otherwise. There is no otherwise.

I can see that there is no free will experiment and we will choose what we will choose (A is A Sticking out tongue ) but that doesn't mean we don't choose does it?

I'm just not getting this problem.

Reed

Richard Goode's picture

Rand says

Any natural phenomenon, i.e., any event which occurs without human participation, is the metaphysically given, and could not have occurred differently or failed to occur; any phenomenon involving human action is the man-made, and could have been different.

This is as good a statement as any of what philosophers call libertarian free will. This is the variety of free will that both Objectivists and (most) Christians believe in.

It doesn't make sense. How can I choose other than I actually do? No one has ever chosen otherwise. There is no otherwise.

Reed

Richard Goode's picture

Smiling

Proverbs 16:33

reed's picture

We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.

Perhaps ...

Richard Goode's picture

... God does play dice with the universe

Richard

reed's picture

The observation that things happen, for no discernible reason, is a reason to think that things happen for no reason.

Oh... I see... the no other reason than no reason reason.

Proof of intelligent design

Richard Goode's picture

Proof of intelligent design

Reed

Richard Goode's picture

There must be no reason (cause and explanation) for random behaviour otherwise it is not random.

This is by definition.

The observation that things happen, for no discernible reason, is a reason to think that things happen for no reason.

Greg

Richard Goode's picture

Change your pic. It's not you - but it does give the accurate sense of nihilist abandon, if we are to read into it.

I read into it a man, trapped in a room with the Drooling Beast, crying out in rage, desperation and anguish. You read into it the Drooling Beast itself. Good art is like that, I suppose.

(You're right, it's not me. It's George Fisher.)

Richard

reed's picture

There must be no reason (cause and explanation) for random behaviour otherwise it is not random.
This is by definition.

Reed

Richard Goode's picture

You can not have reason to believe in random processes by definition.

I don't understand why not.

Of the many interpretations of quantum mechanics, the Copenhagen interpretation is standard. According to the Copenhagen interpretation, causation is fundamentally probabilistic, i.e., random, and properties such as velocity and location are fundamentally indeterministic. The results of the Bell test experiments do not support hidden variable theories. See also the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

I don't have a good grasp of any of the above, but nonetheless I think I have sufficient reason to believe that at its deepest level nature is random and unpredictable.

You can accept randomness but can't accept free will???

I don't understand what it is I'm supposed to accept.

Objectivists consider free will impossible too

No, Objectivists consider free will to be axiomatic. It's the foundation stone of their religion.

Shit happens randomly

Richard Goode's picture

LOL.

Lol

Jules Troy's picture

Shit happens

Are you hinting that there

reed's picture

Are you hinting that there are deterministic processes ... and reasons (i.e., volitional processes) ... or am I reading too much into your remark?

I think it's funny you'd suggest random processes. You can not have reason to believe in random processes by definition.

You can accept randomness but can't accept free will???

Note: Objectivists consider free will impossible too - they might accept a deterministic foundation but one with free will is impossible. How can we I convince objectivists that we are not just the result of some deterministic process?

Reed

Richard Goode's picture

I don't believe in random processes nor do I have any reason to.

Are you hinting that there are deterministic processes ... and reasons (i.e., volitional processes) ... or am I reading too much into your remark? Smiling

There are random processes

reed's picture

There are random processes ... and deterministic processes ... and ... that's all.

I don't believe in random processes nor do I have any reason to. Smiling

Richard

gregster's picture

Change your pic. It's not you - but it does give the accurate sense of nihilist abandon, if we are to read into it.

Leonid

Richard Goode's picture

He believes that life determined by antecedent divine cause and denies its nature as self-generated

By 'self-generated', do you mean that life is generated by life? That doesn't bode well for abiogenesis.

Reed

Richard Goode's picture

How can we convince Richard that it's is not just the result of some deterministic process.

Well, I suppose it could be the result of natural selection and chance mutation. Eye

There are random processes ... and deterministic processes ... and ... that's all.

Go for the pharyngula

Richard Goode's picture

Expelling PZ Myers? What a great publicity stunt!

Reed

Leonid's picture

I don't think we can. Everybody who invokes Creationism in any form is essentially a determinist. He believes that life determined by antecedent divine cause and denies its nature as self-generated, self-sustained goal orientated phenomenon. By doing so he also denies man's volition and mind.

Leonid

reed's picture

How can we convince Richard that it's is not just the result of some deterministic process.

You are right.

Leonid's picture

"I could care less what your dictionary says."

You are right. Let discard definitions, forget that words have any meaning, everybody could mean anything by anything, and then let have a meaningful discussion. As for Logic 101-you asked for it by trying to escape an inherent regression of creationism using nonsensical " no time, no space" eternity argument.

Indeed. This is true evidence

Leonid's picture

Indeed. This is true evidence

You know...

ding_an_sich's picture

"I don't know what this means and I suspect you also don't. In my dictionary eternity means "Time without beginning or end; infinite time." Everlasting and sempiternal mean the same. Outside of space and time, no creation is possible. The act of creation means creation of time and space which Creator cannot escape. However, no matter how you define eternity, it doesn't rescue you from the inherent regression of Creator's premise. This is logic 101:

P1 Existence requires Creator.

P2 Creator exists

Ergo-Creator requires Creator which is infinite regress and even Wittgenstein couldn't help it."

I could care less what your dictionary says. Some metaphysicians have used it in this way. Once again, I am not claiming that there isn't a contradiction in an eternal being creating the world, I am saying that there is a contradiction in there being a cause to something eternal. That's it!

And don't give me that "logic 101" horseshit. Very fucking annoying.

Incontovertible Evidence of Intelligent Design

reed's picture

Richard Goode

Leonid's picture

I did watch the part you recommended and still couldn't find an answer to my question. Besides, the premise of intelligent design has zero explanatory power. Suppose we never will know how life started. Creationism doesn't explain it either. We don't know and cannot know in principle the nature of Creator and its mysterious ways. This hypothesis simply substitutes one unknown for another.

ding_an_sich

Leonid's picture

"Eternity means outside of space and time,"

I don't know what this means and I suspect you also don't. In my dictionary eternity means "Time without beginning or end; infinite time." Everlasting and sempiternal mean the same. Outside of space and time, no creation is possible. The act of creation means creation of time and space which Creator cannot escape. However, no matter how you define eternity, it doesn't rescue you from the inherent regression of Creator's premise. This is logic 101:

P1 Existence requires Creator.

P2 Creator exists

Ergo-Creator requires Creator which is infinite regress and even Wittgenstein couldn't help it.

"A new term?" Nah. An old

ding_an_sich's picture

"A new term?"

Nah. An old term that is new to you. I believe Dr. Goode brought it up at some point.

A new term?

Tom Burroughes's picture

"the universe is sempiternal".

I need more coffee. WTF?

Fine

ding_an_sich's picture

""Depends on your "designer". If it is an eternal being, then you cannot have a cause for that being, because it would entail a contradiction."

But the notion of eternity contradicts the notion of creation. One can apply such a notion to everything which exists, so there is no need for designer or creator."

Where's the proof? This is for all the theists out there.

""Objectivists do the same thing: the universe is eternal; ergo it cannot have a cause."

You are wrong about that. Objectivism rejects the notion of eternity. Eternity means time without identity. Nothing could exist as nothing in particular. However, you are right in regard to cause-existence cannot have cause, because it would mean transcendence of existence, something which exists outside of existence which is contradiction in terms. From the other hand, if one postulates that existence requires a designer, nothing contradicts a notion of another, more intelligent designer and so on ad infinitum. More than that, such a notion implies, that creator is not part of existence and therefore could be transcended. Nothing stop you to have as many creators as you wish."

Eternity means outside of space and time, not "time without identity". Time doesn't apply! And again, depends on the designer. If you have a designer who is eternal, then there cannot be a time prior to this being in which he did not exist, precisely because this designer is outside of all space and time (whatever that means). So, once again you cannot have a designer prior to a designer. Depends on the definition. Not saying there aren't contradictions at all in the definition of a designer (God) that is eternal, only that you cannot have infinite designers based upon that definition.

Let me change "the universe is eternal" to "the universe is everlasting (was,is,will be)" or "the universe is sempiternal". Happy?

How's that 9th commandment working out for you?

Don E. Klein's picture

ding_an_sich

Leonid's picture

"Depends on your "designer". If it is an eternal being, then you cannot have a cause for that being, because it would entail a contradiction."

But the notion of eternity contradicts the notion of creation. One can apply such a notion to everything which exists, so there is no need for designer or creator.

"Objectivists do the same thing: the universe is eternal; ergo it cannot have a cause."

You are wrong about that. Objectivism rejects the notion of eternity. Eternity means time without identity. Nothing could exist as nothing in particular. However, you are right in regard to cause-existence cannot have cause, because it would mean transcendence of existence, something which exists outside of existence which is contradiction in terms. From the other hand, if one postulates that existence requires a designer, nothing contradicts a notion of another, more intelligent designer and so on ad infinitum. More than that, such a notion implies, that creator is not part of existence and therefore could be transcended. Nothing stop you to have as many creators or designers as you wish and all of them could be "eternal".

ding_an_sich

Leonid's picture

"One could dismiss a Leonid so easily."

Not so fast. You took things out of context. We discuss here an Intelligent Design. If you imply that such a design is axiomatic, then it doesn't need any proof, not in molecular biology, nor in any other field of knowledge. However the notion of creationism is inherently regressive, it in principle doesn't allow an end in line of explanation. So your objection simply doesn't apply.

""Explanations come to an end

ding_an_sich's picture

""Explanations come to an end somewhere."

I "like" these kind of answers-somewhere, somehow, by somebody. One could dismiss oneself so easily."

Especially since that statement is de dicto ("somewhere" does not directly refer to a particular end, but an end in one's line of explanation, e.g, axioms, theories, etc). One could dismiss a Leonid so easily.

Nonsense

ding_an_sich's picture

"Could well be. But who designed him? If life and intelligence presuppose design, then it should apply to intelligent designer as well. How do you escape infinite regress?"

Depends on your "designer". If it is an eternal being, then you cannot have a cause for that being, because it would entail a contradiction. Objectivists do the same thing: the universe is eternal; ergo it cannot have a cause. Atheists pull this crappy line of reasoning all the time: "if God created everything, then who/what created God"? -Nothing you dipshit! He's eternal by definition!

Leonid

Richard Goode's picture

It's 1h 38 min of my time.

Time well spent, I assure you. It's an excellent documentary. I watched the whole thing and I have attention deficit disorder. That's how good it is.

Don't be cruel.

OK. Smiling Watch from 1:25:58 ...

Richard Goode

Leonid's picture

"You'll have to watch the documentary to find out."

Don't be cruel. It's 1h 38 min of my time. Cannot you summarize?

"Explanations come to an end

Leonid's picture

"Explanations come to an end somewhere."

I "like" these kind of answers-somewhere, somehow, by somebody. One could dismiss oneself so easily.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Richard Goode's picture

How do you escape infinite regress?

Explanations come to an end somewhere.

Leonid

Richard Goode's picture

But who designed him?

You'll have to watch the documentary to find out.

Good question, Leonid.

Tom Burroughes's picture

Good question, Leonid.

Richard Goode

Leonid's picture

"that designer could well be a higher intelligence ..."

Could well be. But who designed him? If life and intelligence presuppose design, then it should apply to intelligent designer as well. How do you escape infinite regress?

Richard Dawkins

Richard Goode's picture

I suppose it's possible that you might find evidence for [Intelligent Design] if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer and that designer could well be a higher intelligence ...

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