The existence of an Absolute Intelligent First Cause has been proven to exist with absolute metaphysical certainty. So why are people still atheists? Are Atheists irrational?


#62

Sorry that you’re leaving.


#63
The existence of an Absolute Intelligent First Cause has been proven to exist with absolute metaphysical certainty. So why are people still atheists. Are Atheists irrational?

These arguments are very complicated, and take years of experience, study, meditation, prayer, and no small amount of talent to understand.

Furthermore, these arguments tend to be more convincing (or unconvincing) when coupled with the relevant appeal to irrational forces such as emotions, respect for the one making the argument, and so forth.

For example, I’m convinced by the Five Ways, especially the First Way, but I would probably find them far less convincing if I didn’t respect St. Thomas’ as a person and as an intellectual, and trust him.

And, of course, if you want to be an atheist, it’s going to be hard to convince you otherwise, just like with anything.

Christi pax.


#64

“For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God.”?

“Creature” is not quite the same as “world” (although, of course, both words have more than one meaning), and “proof of God’s existence” is not anywhere close to “revelation of the sons of God”.

Haydock’s commentary (http://haydock1859.tripod.com/id152.html) seems to confirm that… It mentions that “creature” might refer to all the animals, even to plants and inanimate objects, that “revelation of the sons of God” refers to the Second Coming. For example, “Several interpreters understand all creatures whatsoever, even irrational and inanimate creatures of this world, which are represented as if they had a knowledge and sense of a more happy condition, of a new unchangeable state of perfection, which they are to receive at the end of the world.”.

Thus no, it does not prove that “The world eagerly awaits [proof of God’s existence].”, especially if “world” is understood to refer to “worldly” people.

And I’m pretty sure that this your claim is false, and thus unprovable.


#65

It’s translated variously as the creation, all creation, the creature and the creatures. - http://biblehub.com/romans/8-19.htm

You’ll find a lot more commentaries here - http://biblehub.com/commentaries/romans/8-19.htm. The verse is acknowledged to be difficult, the general view is that it refers to gentiles, to people.

I’m more in tune with Wesley’s take on the passage - http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/wesleys-explanatory-notes/romans/romans-8.html

I meant it as a lighthearted skit on promised proofs compared to the good news, but thanks for the discussion.


#66

You seem to be confusing a number of different issues.

Since when does human wisdom get reduced to the capacity to provide a proof or a theory? I am unclear where that was ever asserted, except perhaps by you.

Your point about you not needing a proof to know that your wife exists, I assume, is to demonstrate an analogous relationship to God, that we don’t need a proof to know that God exists.

Agreed, but how does that demonstrate your argument?

Your claim, ostensibly channeling Paul, was that human wisdom can never know God. That does not mean human wisdom cannot prove the existence of God.

Point 1: How does the fact that we cannot know God through human wisdom demonstrate that human wisdom cannot prove that God exists? You could prove to me beyond reasonable doubt that your wife exists, but that wouldn’t automatically mean that accepting your proof entails that I know or love your wife. Seems like two quite distinct enterprises.

Point 2: Even if a normal man does not need “a proof” or an argument of his own wife’s existence to know or love his own wife, does not show that the existence of his wife cannot be reasonably proved.

Point 3: Knowing and loving God may not require a proof, but that does not mean strong proofs for God’s existence could not be made to the satisfaction of even the most skeptical atheist or agnostic. After all, even if the proof is finally accepted, the former disbeliever would not automatically become a knower or lover of God. As I may have mentioned those are two quite distinct enterprises.

Point 4: To know and love a spouse means that proofs for his/her existence are unnecessary precisely because his/her existence is known beyond a doubt. The knower and lover does not need a proof. A proof would be superfluous. Same, it would seem, applies to knowing and loving God. Are you saying proofs for God’s existence are superfluous even for atheists and agnostics?


#67

Point 5: Human wisdom and human knowledge are somewhat related. To be wise requires knowledge, although merely having knowledge does not make one wise. Wisdom, without getting into much detail, is something like “showing some level of competency in the practical application of knowledge.” Given your analogy between knowing and loving a spouse and knowing and loving God, and that you seem to be claiming that, according to Paul, human wisdom did not come to know God, are we to extend the analogy and say that human wisdom did not bring anyone to know and love their spouse? I mean if you want to reduce human wisdom to the capacity to give proofs and the like, it would seem that human wisdom would be completely ineffectual with regard to human marital relationships, as well. We may as well toss all reason and common sense out of our relationships since human wisdom does not rise much above the level of useless when it comes to knowing and loving persons.

Point 6: In your response to IWantGod, you said, “Paul says “God’s invisible qualities…have been clearly seen”. The invisible is seen - he’s making a play on words, meaning the invisible can be inferred from observation. Not deduction, as in proof. Inference, as in science.” Now, isn’t making inferences and the like another instance of “human wisdom” which you insist Paul holds in contempt and categorically states is useless in coming to know and love God?

Point 7: If you want to exclude making inferences from the realm of human wisdom, and insist Paul was okay with making reasonable inferences as a valid human endeavor, but that only deductive reasoning was what Paul was decrying, well you are going to have to make the case why Paul would pick on deductive reasoning and not inductive.

Point 8: You are going to backtrack, I bet, and claim that what you meant is that we can never, according to Paul, come to know and love God by human wisdom, whether deductive or inductive just as we cannot know and love our spouse by inductive or deductive reasoning. Sure, but that is an entirely different enterprise from proving the existence of God by deductive reasoning. One would still have to come to know God – up close and personal, so to speak – after making the proof. So it would be correct to have Paul claim one cannot know and love God by human reasoning and proofs – even if successful – precisely because knowing God, in the sense he means, requires much more than reasoning. It does not, however, preclude the possibility of proving the existence of God because knowing and loving him is quite a different thing. You shouldn’t go around confusing the two.


#68

I think your response to IWantGod’s point is weak, at best.

This was IWantGod’s quote from Romans:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of humanity who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that humans are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:18-21)."

If Paul is claiming that what may be KNOWN about God is “plain to them,” what he is saying is that they have clear (plain) knowledge that is beyond all rational doubt. If humans “are without excuse” that means they cannot punt weakly to “well it’s only inferential reasoning and not deductive, as in proof, so we can’t know for certain that God exists.” I.e., in your words: "Not deduction, as in proof. Inference, as in science.”

Paul is saying that God himself has made it clear to them and that is why they are without excuse. I mean if the omniscient God, who, presumably, knows what it means to know something, says that he showed them in a way that is indubitable (plain to them), how is that not comparable to “a proof” beyond all possibility of refutation?

In fact, Paul says “for although they KNEW God” which is pretty much on par with your analogy of someone knowing his wife and, therefore, no longer needing a proof precisely because his knowledge of her is beyond what any proof could possibly provide. Ergo, if Paul says, “for although they KNEW God,” he means with certain knowledge in the same way that your knowledge of your wife’s existence means you do not require a proof of her existence. That is why, as Paul says, they are “without excuse.”

That is not “knowing” the possibility of God’s existence in some scientific or inductive way that is open to doubt. They are blameworthy because they KNEW God and forsook him in the same way a man KNOWS his wife but then betrays or abandons her.

Just as an aside, IWantGod never used “ad hominems” in his/her responses to you. There were observations made about your responses, but never was the claim made that your responses were incorrect BECAUSE of something about you. Your responses were just weak. That is not an ad hominem, it is merely an observation.


#69

3 very good posts by HarryStotle


#70
  1. The universe exists (physical reality). So the question is, is the universe necessarily actual?

The universe is changing, its parts are constantly in a state of becoming. New forms become actual whereas before they were only potential. The universe is a sequence of potential states. The universe has emergent properties non of which are necessarily actual and yet they are a part of what the universe is. If physical reality was necessarily actual it would not have emergent properties or new forms or new states of being. This is to say it would not be in any respect potentially actual, but rather everything that it is or could possibly be would be fully actual from all eternity. There would be no evolution of forms because they would all be actual - necessarily real…

Thus the universe (physical reality) cannot be considered to be a necessarily actual being or collection of beings.

  1. Therefore that which is necessarily actual is not that which is changing or a process. It is not the Universe.

#71

How refreshing !

I meet many western supposed devotees of eastern religions, and western supposed Buddhists , who NEVER make such simple, direct statements.

Maybe you’re an easterner.


#72
  1. Therefore the universe does not exist because of its own nature, because if it did it would be pure actuality - having no emergent properties or potential parts or forms. Therefore it exists because of some other nature.

A thing either has the reason for its actuality in its own nature or it is contingent upon the actuality of another nature distinct from itself for its existence. Therefore the universe (physical reality) and anything that is not necessary is contingent on the existence of a being that exists because of its own nature - its nature is to exist.


#73

Yes. If God wanted to prove he exists, he would have done so. Scripture would be a series of proofs, every one of them watertight. Yet scripture isn’t. Scripture doesn’t even ask you to make proofs. It doesn’t say blessed are the proof-makers. It says the pure in heart will see God.

Neither scripture nor your Church command you make proofs. Instead they ask you to have faith. Because proofs can only lead to worldly wisdom, otherwise they would be in scripture.

Yikes. I never said Paul decries deduction, of course he doesn’t. I said he would know that an a posteriori argument cannot form a proof. Deduction => proof, induction => disproof. Surely anyone with any training in reasoning knows all this without it having to be spelled out.

What the?

Again, you’re making this up, I never said it’s inferior. You’ve written two long posts about a tiny point that there are different kinds of reasoning. Sorry but I couldn’t unravel what you wrote after that. Can we move on now?

And you’ve used that to make another ad hominem. I gave up with you on another thread because of your own behavior.

OK, this also needs to be spelled out. Ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attacking the person rather than the argument itself. Your opinion of “just weak” and the other poster’s comments such as “I think you should learn to read scripture”, “You’re not very good at this”, his accusation of fideism, none of these has any bearing on the truth or falsity of my arguments. They are fallacies, since they do nothing to disprove my arguments.

btw Readers may conclude persons making that kind of ad hominem are subject to the Dunning–Kruger effect, so be careful making them.


#74

Can you edit your post please as I didn’t write the quote - wasn’t it you who wrote it?

Also, not sure you have the right term with emergent properties. It’s usually defined as a property of a complex system which none of the components has. For instance water has properties which neither hydrogen nor oxygen have. And water is just as actual as its component parts. btw isn’t emergence usually thought of as one main branch of physicalism, along with reductionism?

Also (:grin:) I doubt you could describe the universe as “a sequence of potential states”. You might get away with saying that about individual systems in the universe, but for instance events outside our ‘light cone’ can have no effect on us.

Also, (:grin: :grin:) etc.


#75

What if I ascribe that attribute to the Universe itself? You know, apply a bit of parsimony (Occam’s razor), get rid of the complicating entities, and just decide the universe’s nature is to exist, and that existence isn’t contingent on another entity.


#76

Asimov had the answer in his short story: ‘The Last Question’:

The story deals with the development of a series of computers called Multivac and their relationships with humanity through the courses of seven historic settings, beginning in 2061. In each of the first six scenes a different character presents the computer with the same question; namely, how the threat to human existence posed by the heat death of the universe can be averted. The question was: “How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?” This is equivalent to asking: “Can the workings of the second law of thermodynamics (used in the story as the increase of the entropy of the universe) be reversed?” Multivac’s only response after much “thinking” is: “INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER.”

The story jumps forward in time into later eras of human and scientific development. In each of these eras someone decides to ask the ultimate “last question” regarding the reversal and decrease of entropy. Each time, in each new era, Multivac’s descendant is asked this question, and finds itself unable to solve the problem. Each time all it can answer is an (increasingly sophisticated, linguistically): “THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER.”

In the last scene, the god-like descendant of humanity (the unified mental process of over a trillion, trillion, trillion humans that have spread throughout the universe) watches the stars flicker out, one by one, as matter and energy ends, and with it, space and time. Humanity asks AC, Multivac’s ultimate descendant, which exists in hyperspace beyond the bounds of gravity or time, the entropy question one last time, before the last of humanity merges with AC and disappears. AC is still unable to answer, but continues to ponder the question even after space and time cease to exist. Eventually AC discovers the answer, but has nobody to report it to; the universe is already dead. It therefore decides to answer by demonstration, since that will also create someone to give the answer to. The story ends with AC’s pronouncement,

And AC said: “LET THERE BE LIGHT!” And there was light.


#77

I see, but making inductive and deductive arguments cannot possibly “lead to worldly wisdom,” so they are okay?

Only making proofs is suspect. Must be the absoluteness of a proof that makes it so devilishly taboo in Scripture and to the Church.

Or maybe you are being just a tad pedantic and arbitrary in your bias against proofs?

From Wikipedia:

Proofs are examples of exhaustive deductive reasoning or inductive reasoning and are distinguished from empirical arguments or non-exhaustive inductive reasoning (or “reasonable expectation”). A proof must demonstrate that a statement is always true (occasionally by listing all possible cases and showing that it holds in each), rather than enumerate many confirmatory cases.

So your claim is that it is okay to make deductive and inductive arguments provided they are not proposed as exhaustive, i.e., as proofs, otherwise they infringe on your rule that proofs puff up the thinker and make them prideful of their worldly wisdom. So I just need to stay within the bounds of non-exhaustive reasoning and I won’t become puffed up – according to both Scripture and the Church. I am deeply humbled by the fact that I have missed this insight since forever.

  1. Test argument (regarding exhaustive and non-exhaustive reasoning and their relative influence on becoming puffed up by worldly wisdom.)

1=1
1+1=2
Ergo, 2-1=1

Seems exhaustive to me. Any puffing occurring? A little under my eyes, maybe?

  1. Test argument (regarding exhaustive and non-exhaustive reasoning and their mitigation of the use of ad hominems.)

You: The sum of two even integers is always odd.
Me: I think your understanding of integers is just weak, the sum of two even integers is always even. Take two even numbers, X and y. The sum of x+y always has 2 as a factor and, by definition, that makes it always even, exhaustively so.
You: Saying my math is weak is an ad hominem. An ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attacking the person rather than the argument itself. Your opinion of “just weak” and the other poster’s comments such as “I think you should learn to read scripture”, “You’re not very good at this”, his accusation of fideism, none of these has any bearing on the truth or falsity of my arguments. They are fallacies, since they do nothing to disprove my arguments.
Me: :open_mouth:

Si, I am an imbecile.


#78

While I agree that apparent effects as the result of research into ‘Quantum Mechanics’ can seem strange, that is mainly because they are not fully understood, and often get speculated upon, usually in accordance with the researcher’s core ‘feeling’.
The idea that ‘something’ can actually emerge out of absolute ‘nothingness’, without a cause, is truly irrational. Mass and motion = energy - nothingness = nothingness. You can’t have an ‘effect’ without there being a ‘cause’. Yes, I have read up on Hawking assertion of there being a pre-existing ‘Law of Gravity’ - BUT ‘Laws’ are as subject to the thing(s) they ‘Effect’, as the things that they ‘Effect’ are to the ‘Laws’ - can’t have one without the other.


#79

Don’t you believe in evolution? If you do, then you believe that human intelligence is caused. Why are you now asking for proof?

If you don’t believe in evolution, then do you believe that humans have existed from eternity?


#80

They have a rationale. But we don’t agree with it. Their rationale is that without God they can rule themselves anyway they want. They decide what is right and wrong and under what circumstances.


#81

[quote=“inocente, post:2, topic:450782, full:true”]
What proof is this? The world eagerly awaits.[/quote]

You must be late to the party. The world received the news years ago.

Its very simple, too.

Science discovered the codified language of the body. They call it “dna”. Science says that this codified language exists in every living thing.

Do you know of any codified language which is used by non-intelligent beings? For example, if you found the words “Johnny loves Nancy” written on a piece of paper, would you assume that a bird wrote it?

I wouldn’t. I’d assume a human being wrote it.

Therefore, if there is a codified language in the body and that has been proven by science beyond a shadow of a doubt, then there must have been a supernatural intelligence that put it there. There can be no other explanation.


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