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Argument for God
Posted: 13 September 2010 05:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 211 ]
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bettervalue - 13 September 2010 03:28 PM

Facts can be used to re-evaluate premises. But if the premises are true the facts cannot alter this.

Right, but I’m saying the premises may not actually be true because the facts may contradict them. See this thread: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/8663/ for example.

How have you established number 2?
My post was my interpretation of the author’s argument. #2 is an implicit premise. If #2 was not an implicit premise, then he must already know what caused the universe to exist (God), which makes it a circular argument. Either way, the jump between 2 and 3 cannot be reconciled. If I have misunderstood his argument, please correct me.

But you make jump from 2 to 3 the article does not. I can’t fathom how you have established 3. The argument is laid out with 5 premises and a conclusion.

Yes, but there are a number of missing premises that can be inferred from his elucidations of each premise. I am just stating them explicitly.

I have put a good amount of work into reading and understanding the author’s argument. If I have misunderstood it please clarify it for me.

The cause of the movement of the hand will be necessarily existent or contingently existent. Both necessarily existent and contingently existent have been elaborated upon. I still don’t see how you have established 3. You will need to elucidate. 

I am reading his elucidation of premise 5 and interpreting what I read. See, specifically, the arguments that “the atheist” and “the agnostic” put forth and his responses to them - the argument I outlined is the logic I am seeing from him.

By the admission of the agnostic, transcendence was a requirement for terminating the regress. In addition to that, we have shown in the previous paragraph that the Entity must also have been alive, willing and knowing. Otherwise, He could not have caused the first event in order to trigger the chain reaction.
Chain reaction? I thought God caused every event?

If that is what you thought at this stage in the article then that is an assumption of yours. The author is simply detailing what has been proven up to this point.

Fine, it was a minor point.

We further argue, that the power, will, and knowledge of this Entity cannot have been restricted only to the first event, but rather, by rational necessity, these attributes must also be “perfect”. By perfection, we mean they must extend to all the subsequent contingent events in the chain leading up to the movement of my hand. Otherwise, positing that the four attributes are restricted to only the first event would disqualify this Entity from its role in terminating the regress, because He would then need another Entity in order to specify the application of His attributes to the first event and prevent them from applying to all others, in which case He would not be the Entity we were seeking.

Couldn’t He just restrict Himself by his own choice?

Why could he not be restricted anyway through his own choice or not?

Because the author’s argument is that IF his attributes are only restricted to the first cause, then you would need to posit another entity that restricts those attributes after the first cause, which doesn’t solve the infinite regress. Therefore, the author concludes, God’s attributes must not only be constant but also that God is necessarily existent (non-sequitor) and brings about all events (another non-sequitor). This is flawed because

a. God can restrict himself.
b. Even if there is no entity to restrict God’s attributes that doesn’t mean God is necessarily existent. He could still have been created by another being, just a being who didn’t restrict his attributes. In other words, how do you know when to stop the infinite regress? You can stop it at any arbitrary entity. If I choose to stop it one entity above our God, His attributes could be changed to support that and I would come to a different conclusion that is still valid under the same logic.
c. Even if God’s attributes are constant, that doesn’t mean he necessarily has to apply his powers to all events.

He would just be another contingent being posited outside spacetime. The regress would thus continue without being terminated. He wouldn’t be able to end the regress, rather he would just contribute to extending it.

I reject this because of the above.

Notice that two paragraphs earlier, the author states he will support the “necessary existence” conclusion, yet in the following paragraphs he never does.

If he’s saying that God always existed (if that’s what he means by “necessary existence”), and that is why He is exempt from having a cause - how is that different from saying the universe always existed and is therefore exempt from having a cause? It solves the infinite regress as well, which is the only reason he is proposing the “necessary existence” attribute for God in the first place.

Its not different. The universe may be necessarily existent but how would that solve the regression?

Because then there is no need for a God (or anything else) to create it. Once you reach a necessarily existent entity, that ends the infinite regress, doesn’t it? I feel this is the more important point, since the other one above already assumes a God exists at all.

Also, I request that you please learn to use quote tags better. Use “Preview Post” to figure it out. Thanks


“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

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