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Old 24th January 2019, 06:44 PM   #1
Wonder234
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Free Will Argument For God

Tell me what you think of the following argument for God.

1. There are three ways that events come about in the world: free will, determinism and indeterminism.

2. The universe came into existence.

3.The coming into existence of the universe is an event.

4. The coming into existence of the universe can not be due to determinism. (This is because every deterministic event requires a prior event to bring it about and that event requires another event and so on to infinity. A deterministic system can not just initiate action out of nowhere or from a state of rest.)

5. The coming into existence of the universe can't be due to indeterminism (Since the macroscopic world is largely deterministic rather than indeterministic, what I'm referring to with this premise is the quantum or sub-atomic world. The reason the quantum world can not be indeterministic is because indeterminacy is incoherent and incoherent things can not exist. This turns quantum indeterminacy into determinism since it has causes rather than not having causes and since determinacy has already been ruled out as causing the universe, so too is the option of the universe beginning from quantum mechanical events ruled out.)

6. Therefore, the universe must have been brought into being through an act of free-will.(This is because there are only three ways events can happen and because determinism and determinism are insufficient, the only other thing that can bring the world into existence is free will. Free will works because it avoids the problem of determinacy (always needing prior events) by being able to begin a chain of events without needing a prior event.)

7. Only beings have free will. (Free will requires a mind in order to judge various options and choose)

8. Therefore, a being is responsible for the universe. (Since this description matches the idea of God, we can call this being God. But if not God then simply the creator of the universe.)
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Old 24th January 2019, 06:56 PM   #2
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Your problem starts with Step 4.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
1. There are three ways that events come about in the world: free will, determinism and indeterminism.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Your problem starts with Step 4.
Can you explain what went wrong?
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:02 PM   #5
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I was willing to grant Premise 1, since none of the three terms are actually defined.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Can you explain why?
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I was willing to grant Premise 1, since none of the three terms are actually defined.
They mean what they are normally defined as.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Can you explain what went wrong?
Sure. Deterministic events can and do initiate with no prior cause.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
They mean what they are normally defined as.
And what would that be? I'm not sure we'd all agree on how they are normally defined.

Once that's out of the way, you'll need to offer a convincing argument that those three cover all possibilities.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
They mean what they are normally defined as.
I don't know what that is. Can you explain?
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Sure. Deterministic events can and do initiate with no prior cause.
Is that claim self-evident? I don't think it is. And if it's not self-evident, then you need to provide proof.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
every deterministic event requires a prior event to bring it about
Is that claim self-evident? I don't think it is. And if it's not self-evident, then you need to provide proof.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:20 PM   #13
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Personally, I think this is a lot of words to say very little, and none of which is empirically correct or provable.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:28 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Is that claim self-evident? I don't think it is. And if it's not self-evident, then you need to provide proof.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_fluctuation
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:34 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Magrat View Post
Personally, I think this is a lot of words to say very little, and none of which is empirically correct or provable.

Couldn't have said it better.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:37 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jsfisher View Post
Is that claim self-evident? I don't think it is. And if it's not self-evident, then you need to provide proof.
Imagine a domino that is standing upright. Imagine that it all of a sudden falls over. If it doesn't have a cause for falling over, that's indeterminism, because indeterminism essentially means "uncaused event".

If you look up the definition of determinism, it states:The philosophical doctrine that every state of affairs, including every human event, act, and decision, is the inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs.

The important part is "is the inevitable consequence of antecedent affairs" meaning an event brought about by determinism must have a prior cause.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:38 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Imagine a domino that is standing upright. Imagine that it all of a sudden falls over. If it doesn't have a cause for falling over, that's indeterminism, because indeterminism essentially means "uncaused event".

If you look up the definition of determinism, it states:The philosophical doctrine that every state of affairs, including every human event, act, and decision, is the inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs.

The important part is "is the inevitable consequence of antecedent affairs" meaning an event brought about by determinism must have a prior cause.
Decent explanation, and from here I will start using these definitions, but as I suggested, there are events that are neither determinate by this definition or indeterminate. Or perhaps you could say they are both. Regardless, your three possible states do not cover all possible events.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:44 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Aren't quantum fluctuations indeterministic? Do you think premise 5 of my argument rules it out?
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:49 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Sure. Deterministic events can and do initiate with no prior cause.
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Decent explanation, and from here I will start using these definitions, but as I suggested, there are events that are neither determinate by this definition or indeterminate. Or perhaps you could say they are both. Regardless, your three possible states do not cover all possible events.
Originally Posted by Magrat View Post
Personally, I think [the OP] is a lot of words to say very little, and none of which is empirically correct or provable.
This is my POV as well, especially what Magrat said.

It's more naval contemplating trying to prove gods exist when it's clear they don't.
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:55 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
there are events that are neither determinate by this definition or indeterminate.
Do you have any examples?
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:55 PM   #21
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The cosmological argument is hardly new or robust and has been rebutted many times in many places well before the appearance of the world wide web.

Luckily for us, the web preserves those rebuttals, which makes me wonder why somebody would go "ta da" with it on a skeptic forum, rather than just read the rebuttals which are little more than a search phrase away...
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Old 24th January 2019, 07:58 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Imagine a domino that is standing upright. Imagine that it all of a sudden falls over. If it doesn't have a cause for falling over, that's indeterminism, because indeterminism essentially means "uncaused event".

If you look up the definition of determinism, it states:The philosophical doctrine that every state of affairs, including every human event, act, and decision, is the inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs.

The important part is "is the inevitable consequence of antecedent affairs" meaning an event brought about by determinism must have a prior cause.

Ok, then:

determinisim -- events have a prior cause.
indeterminism -- events do not have a prior cause.

I accept your definitions, but I will also note that you didn't leave any room for "free will", however you might choose to define it.
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Old 24th January 2019, 08:07 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Aren't quantum fluctuations indeterministic? Do you think premise 5 of my argument rules it out?
No, I don't, because Premise 5 of your argument is factually incorrect.
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Old 24th January 2019, 08:11 PM   #24
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To me this line of thought nearly requires a desire for a god to exist.

Otherwise one could simply accept things happen beyond our current understanding.
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Old 24th January 2019, 08:11 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by jsfisher View Post
Ok, then:

determinisim -- events have a prior cause.
indeterminism -- events do not have a prior cause.

I accept your definitions, but I will also note that you didn't leave any room for "free will", however you might choose to define it.
Determinism is when a previous EVENT causes another event.

Free will is not caused by an event but by a person.
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Old 24th January 2019, 08:13 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
No, I don't, because Premise 5 of your argument is factually incorrect.
How is it factually incorrect?
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Old 24th January 2019, 08:18 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
Otherwise one could simply accept things happen beyond our current understanding.
Do you know that it's beyond our understanding? If you don't then you could be wrong. And if you stop at accepting that some things are beyond our understanding when they're really not, then you miss out on an opportunity to understand fundamental truths about the universe.
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Old 24th January 2019, 08:18 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Determinism is when a previous EVENT causes another event.

Free will is not caused by an event but by a person.
That act of some person doing something is still an event. You need a more precise pair of definitions to separate determinism from free will. And depending on where you go with it, you will probably need to tighten up indeterminism as well.

Be that as it may, apparently the god you seek is a person. I find that curious.
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Old 24th January 2019, 08:21 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Kid Eager View Post
The cosmological argument is hardly new or robust and has been rebutted many times in many places well before the appearance of the world wide web.

Luckily for us, the web preserves those rebuttals, which makes me wonder why somebody would go "ta da" with it on a skeptic forum, rather than just read the rebuttals which are little more than a search phrase away...
I'm aware of that, but this argument isn't exactly the same, which is the whole reason why I post it.
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Old 24th January 2019, 08:21 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
How is it factually incorrect?
Because it's possible for the universe to have come into existence inteterministically. Obviously. Very smart physicists and cosmologists have actually discovered several different methods by which it's possible to have happened.
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Old 24th January 2019, 08:24 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Tell me what you think of the following argument for God.

1. There are three ways that events come about in the world: free will, determinism and indeterminism.

2. The universe came into existence.

3.The coming into existence of the universe is an event.

4. The coming into existence of the universe can not be due to determinism. (This is because every deterministic event requires a prior event to bring it about and that event requires another event and so on to infinity. A deterministic system can not just initiate action out of nowhere or from a state of rest.)

5. The coming into existence of the universe can't be due to indeterminism (Since the macroscopic world is largely deterministic rather than indeterministic, what I'm referring to with this premise is the quantum or sub-atomic world. The reason the quantum world can not be indeterministic is because indeterminacy is incoherent and incoherent things can not exist. This turns quantum indeterminacy into determinism since it has causes rather than not having causes and since determinacy has already been ruled out as causing the universe, so too is the option of the universe beginning from quantum mechanical events ruled out.)

6. Therefore, the universe must have been brought into being through an act of free-will.(This is because there are only three ways events can happen and because determinism and determinism are insufficient, the only other thing that can bring the world into existence is free will. Free will works because it avoids the problem of determinacy (always needing prior events) by being able to begin a chain of events without needing a prior event.)

7. Only beings have free will. (Free will requires a mind in order to judge various options and choose)
Besides the other valid objections which you've failed to overcome, you still haven't addressed the issue of how a high-entropy "being" could have come before the low-entropy Big Bang (violating the Law of Entropy, IOW).

There are many more objections too; just thought I'd throw this one out there.

But...

Quote:
8. Therefore, a being is responsible for the universe. (Since this description matches the idea of God, we can call this being God. But if not God then simply the creator of the universe.)
There is literally no reason to conflate the baggage-laden, assumption-riddled, means-whatever-to-whomever word of "god" with a simple "creator of the universe" unless it is wished to pull the old bait-and-switch routine (i.e., an agenda).

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Old 24th January 2019, 08:46 PM   #32
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This proof by exclusion reminds me a lot of Buddha’s proof from last year:

Originally Posted by Buddha View Post
Now, the proof itself. There are three contradictory statements:
1). The universe was not created, it always existed.
2).The universe came to be by itself, as a result of some process (quantum fluctuation, maybe)
3).Someone produced the universe.

I'll start with the first statement. Suppose you met someone who claims to be as old as the universe (obviously that person is not the Creator). He might be telling the truth or he might be a liar. However, his past is irrelevant to his claim. Naturally you would ask him what kind of evidence does he have to prove that the universe always existed. The best possible evidence would be a videotape showing all stages of the universe's development. Whether the tape is authentic or it is a fake is irrelevant -- it is of infinite length and it cannot be reviewed in its entirety. Being unverifiable, this statement is false.

Moving on to the second statement. Suppose you met an observer who came to be at the same time the universe was produced, as he claims. He also has a videotape showing the process of creation and further evolution of the universe. From the positivist's point of view this is an ideal scenario -- we have an Observer! But his account of events could be incomplete -- he might have been created after the universe had been produced, but he has no knowledge of this sequence of events. The authenticity of his videotape is irrelevant. His testimony neither proves nor disproves that the universe produced itself. For a positivist his claim is false. However, a person who subscribes to scientific realism might be willing to accept his testimony. Everything depends on the individual's personal views.

The only remaining possibility is that the universe was created by someone. Of course, a person who says that he is the Creator is, most likely, an impostor. But his sincerity or lack of it doesn't matter as far as my logical deduction goes.
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Old 24th January 2019, 08:49 PM   #33
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It reminds me of pretty much every cosmological argument anyone has made, ever. They're all made by people who don't have the remotest idea about what modern science has found about the origins of the universe, and they never fail to make the jump that since the universe was created, that creator must be the God of the Bible and therefore Jesus and sin and everything else.

Even if I do grant that the universe required a creator, which I don't, but even if I did, how can you demonstrate that the universe wasn't sneezed out of the nose of the Great Green Arkleseizure?
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Old 24th January 2019, 09:11 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Can you explain why?
Our best models of how the universe works posit a number of fundamental particles interacting in statistically predictable ways. That is either determinism with variables which remain hidden to us, or perhaps it is truly indeterministic. Larger systems resulting from these fundamental particles appear to be entirely deterministic, with perhaps a tiny bit of randomness at the margins. No scientifically testable evidence has been presented for the existence of a third possibility, in addition to randomness and determinism.
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Old 24th January 2019, 09:17 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by jsfisher View Post
That act of some person doing something is still an event. You need a more precise pair of definitions to separate determinism from free will. And depending on where you go with it, you will probably need to tighten up indeterminism as well.

Be that as it may, apparently the god you seek is a person. I find that curious.
An act of free will does not have a prior cause that initiates it. A deterministic event would just determine it. If free will were indeterministic then your actions would be erratic and not orderly. The act and cause of free will happen simultaneously. Where acts of determinism are dictated by physical laws, free will, although it must act within the boundaries of physical laws, is not dictated by them, rather it's dictated by the person.

And the part about God being a person: I don't believe that God is a human being. What I meant by person is a being with a mind and free will. I don't imagine how God could have free will without also having a mind in order to determine it's decisions.
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Old 24th January 2019, 09:28 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Because it's possible for the universe to have come into existence inteterministically. Obviously. Very smart physicists and cosmologists have actually discovered several different methods by which it's possible to have happened.
To be honest, I doubt that what they saw actually was indeterministic because indeterminism violates logic. It's saying that there is no mechanism behind an event. Rather, I think it's a different kind of determinism but determinism nonetheless.
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Old 24th January 2019, 09:28 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
An act of free will does not have a prior cause that initiates it. A deterministic event would just determine it. If free will were indeterministic then your actions would be erratic and not orderly. The act and cause of free will happen simultaneously. Where acts of determinism are dictated by physical laws, free will, although it must act within the boundaries of physical laws, is not dictated by them, rather it's dictated by the person.

And the part about God being a person: I don't believe that God is a human being. What I meant by person is a being with a mind and free will. I don't imagine how God could have free will without also having a mind in order to determine it's decisions.
This appears to be assuming a consequent in that there must be a god, so let’s work back from there and oh dear, we now need to have free will as a factor.

Free will is irrelevant to your argument if you don’t start with an assumption of a god.
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Old 24th January 2019, 09:33 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It reminds me of pretty much every cosmological argument anyone has made, ever. They're all made by people who don't have the remotest idea about what modern science has found about the origins of the universe, and they never fail to make the jump that since the universe was created, that creator must be the God of the Bible and therefore Jesus and sin and everything else.

Even if I do grant that the universe required a creator, which I don't, but even if I did, how can you demonstrate that the universe wasn't sneezed out of the nose of the Great Green Arkleseizure?
I am not religious and am actually as against religion as most atheists. I have no interest in validating a certain God of a certain religion because I think that all religions, at least the ones I know of, are wrong. I am a secular theist, therefore, I don't attach to God all the attributes that religion has attached to God. What I am referring to when I talk about God, is a being with a mind and free will that created the universe.
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Old 24th January 2019, 09:40 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Do you know that it's beyond our understanding? If you don't then you could be wrong. And if you stop at accepting that some things are beyond our understanding when they're really not, then you miss out on an opportunity to understand fundamental truths about the universe.
In your words it is an argument for god. It is designed to prove god made it, did it or caused it.

Tell me what else there would be to learn.

We are all sort of specialists now. I do not need to know everything. I need to know well my part. Let others pick up where I left off.
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Old 24th January 2019, 09:41 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Tell me what you think of the following argument for God.

I think it's not only terrible and fatally flawed in many ways, but that it's not even original. This was claimed and debunked so long ago that it's great-grandchildren have great-grandchildren.


Quote:
1. There are three ways that events come about in the world: free will, determinism and indeterminism.

And right out of the gate, we hit a major roadblock. Why should we believe that there are as many as (or only) three ways things happen?

And why is free will different from determinism or indeterminism? Those to concepts, being opposites, would seem to cover every eventuality.

Do you have evidence free will even exists? Could you devise a test that would be positive only if there is free will and/or negative only if there is not? I just ate an apple. To a certain extent, I ate it of my own will. I chose an apple of my own accord, nobody had a gun to my head.

And yet, I ate the apple because I was hungry. I was going to eat something. I needed a low sodium snack but my house held only an apple, a bag of potato chips, and a raw squash. So, my choices were constrained against my will. Heck, even if I was in a grocery store with thousands of items, I'd still only have finite choices. I am not free to eat whatever I want. I can't eat a Volkswagen.


Quote:
4. The coming into existence of the universe can not be due to determinism. (This is because every deterministic event requires a prior event to bring it about and that event requires another event and so on to infinity. A deterministic system can not just initiate action out of nowhere or from a state of rest.)

Are you sure about that? We absolutely cannot know the state of things before the universe began. That's the definition of "universe." It's all things. We can never get outside it or observe it from a distance. By definition, we cannot know what existed before the universe and/or how any of it might have caused the universe to come to be. Heck, even the word "before" in my last sentence is meaningless. There was no time before the universe because time is a function of the universe.

In any case, if you'd like to stick to this point, I'd ask you to remember it. You're going to contradict yourself in about two sentences.


Quote:
5. The coming into existence of the universe can't be due to indeterminism (Since the macroscopic world is largely deterministic rather than indeterministic, what I'm referring to with this premise is the quantum or sub-atomic world. The reason the quantum world can not be indeterministic is because indeterminacy is incoherent and incoherent things can not exist.

Plenty of incoherent things exist. Your argument is incoherent. And yet it exists. In any event, I know of no way of testing any of this. Do you? Do you have any experimental evidence that falsifiably demonstrates that quantum events are not random?

If you have no such evidence, then there's no reason to discount the possibility. If you have such evidence, you should publish it immediately. You'd be as guaranteed to win a Nobel Prize as Sheldon is in the series finale of The Big Bang.

Quote:
Therefore, a being is responsible for the universe. (Since this description matches the idea of God, we can call this being God. But if not God then simply the creator of the universe.)

And there it is. Except, your conclusion contradicts one of your premises. You said everything must have a cause. Yet you haven't identified what caused this thing you're calling "God." You said, "every deterministic event requires a prior event to bring it about." So what prior event brought about your God? If God used free will to create the universe, then who used free will to create God?

What you've done is built a marvelous, towering castle on a foundation of undefined words, unevidenced opinions, and logical inconsistencies. Iron those out and then try again.


ETA: I've never understood why a deist would resort to a definition of god that's as flimsy as, "creator of the universe." Even if we granted that a god created the universe, how would it affect anything? The proof doesn't support the idea the god knows or cares what the universe is doing, let alone what primates living on a clump of dirt are doing to each other. It doesn't even support the idea that this god still exists at all. It's a rather impotent and irrelevant god, as deities go.
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