• Strange Notions Strange Notions Strange Notions

Important Features of the Metaphysical Proof for God

Wondering

NOTE: Today we wrap up our six-part series by Karlo Broussard on a metaphysical proof for God's existence. You can reach reach of the prior posts below:

 


 
The current post is the final installment of a six part series on a metaphysical demonstration for God’s existence from the notion of ontological conditions.   Although I completed the demonstration itself in the fifth installment, I wanted to highlight a few reasons why this sort of metaphysical demonstration is so important with an eye on some common objections from atheists.

First, this sort of approach to God’s existence is important in the modern debate between atheism and theism because for such an approach the temporal duration of the universe – whether it had a beginning or not – is irrelevant.

Upon hearing this metaphysical demonstration many will think that the series of conditioned realities spoken of in the first post is a temporal series that extends back into the past; therefore this approach is often perceived as an argument for the universe having a beginning and the Creator being the cause of that beginning. Such a perception inevitably gives rise to the whole debate about whether or not we can know that the universe had a beginning. But this is not what the argument of this series consists of.

Recall that the series of conditioned realities spoken of in the first installment did not extend back in time (e.g., I needed my father to come into existence, my father needed his father, etc.) but it extended downwards so to speak to the most fundamental levels of physical reality. This is what philosophers call an essentially ordered series (or a hierarchical series) versus an accidentally ordered series (or temporal series).

The accidentally ordered series is exemplified with the series of dependence involving me, my father, his father, and so on. The idea is that although I needed my father to come into existence, I do not need my father to exist in order for me to exist right here and right now. In other words, my father’s existence is accidental and not essential for me to exist right here and right now.

But, in an essentially ordered series, the existing conditions that a conditioned reality (e.g., the cat) is dependent on are essential for its very existence right here and right now. It is essential to the cat’s existence that the cells, the molecules, the atoms, the protons, the quarks, etc. exist right here and right now. This is the sort of series that the demonstration involves.

As such, an eternal universe (a universe without beginning and without end) would still need God as the ground of its eternal existence – eternally fulfilling the conditions necessary for its existence. God would still be needed to answer the question, “Why does the universe exists at all (even if eternal) rather than not?” So, if at some time in the future scientists discover some piece of data that begins to alter the common view of an absolute beginning of time and physical reality, there is no need for the theist to fret for he or she remains standing on solid ground with this sort of metaphysical demonstration.

The second reason why this demonstration is important is because it adequately responds to the misconception that our assertion that God is unconditioned is an arbitrary exception. Recall how we began in the first installment trying to account for the existence of the cat and such an endeavor led us to a series of conditioned realities that needed other conditioned realties to exist. We then arrived at an unconditioned reality, namely God, that stopped the series. Now, many think this is an arbitrary exception to the series of conditioned realities.

But our conclusion that God is unconditioned reality is not arbitrary at all. The reality that we arrive at in order to explain the existence of the cat here and now is unconditioned by logical necessity. As we demonstrated in the first installment of the demonstration, to postulate that there is no unconditioned reality (Hypothesis ~UR) in trying to explain the cat’s existence is to end up with an intrinsic contradiction – namely the denial of the cat’s existence when the cat in fact exists. Since hypothesis ~UR is false, then hypothesis UR, namely that there is an unconditioned reality grounding the existence of the cat, must be true.

The third point of importance follows from the second. Our claim that the series cannot regress ad infinitum is not one of probability but one of logical necessity. For example, some theists who argue for God’s existence using the Kalam cosmological argument stop the infinite regress of causes in a causal series by appealing to Ockham’s razor. It is argued that we need not posit anymore causes once we arrive at the transcendent cause of the universe because Ockham’s Razor states we should not multiply causes beyond necessity. In other words, we arrived at an explanation for the universe and there is really no need to explain the explanation.

But in the metaphysical demonstration as presented in this series, we’re not saying that the series cannot regress ad infinitum because of Ockham’s Razor but because of the very nature of the sufficient condition that we arrive at as the explanation for the cat existing right here and right now. The nature of this condition is that it is unconditioned; thus the series of conditions cannot regress any further.

The fourth reason for the importance of this approach to God’s existence is basically the same as the third but stated in a different way. We can see how the question, “Who created God?” is an incoherent question. If God by his very nature is unconditioned reality, then the question, “Who created God?” is tantamount to asking, “What is the condition for the unconditioned reality?” This is akin to asking, “Who is the bachelor’s wife?” Obviously this is an incoherent question if one understands that a bachelor has no wife. Similarly, to ask, “Who created God?” or “What is God’s condition?” is seen as incoherent if one understands that God, by definition, has no conditions. Therefore, the question, “Who created God?” is a moot point.

Finally, the fifth reason why this type of metaphysical argument is so important in the modern debate is because it escapes the common objection from the fallacy of composition. The fallacy of composition arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole. For example, it is fallacious to reason that because each Lego brick weighs 1.64 grams the whole wall of bricks weighs 1.64 grams.

Some atheists perceive this fallacy in the present argument. They will argue that even though each individual thing within the universe might need conditions fulfilled in order to exist it does not follow that the universe as a whole needs conditions fulfilled in order to exist. Therefore, it’s fallacious to argue that the universe as a whole is a conditioned reality that needs God to fulfill its conditions.

Now, besides the fact that this argument does not hold water because the conditionality of each thing in the universe is not quantitative in nature but qualitative (and thus the universe as a whole would be a conditioned reality needing conditions fulfilled in order to exist), the argument does not work against the metaphysical approach of this series because the demonstration never argues for God from the universe as a whole needing its conditions fulfilled. It starts with one thing in the universe, namely a cat, and then reasons to the one unconditioned reality as the ground of its existence.

It is true that in the end we must conclude that the universe as a whole finds its existence grounded in the one unconditioned reality but it is a consequence of the argument and not a part of it. At least for this argument, belief that the universe as whole finds its existence grounded in the one unconditioned reality presupposes that the one unconditioned reality exist. The reasoning is as follows: 1) Because there is only one unconditioned reality in all of reality, everything else in existence besides the one unconditioned reality (the universe and the whole of the created order) is a conditioned reality; 2) Every conditioned reality has its existence grounded in the one unconditioned reality. 3) Therefore, the universe as a whole (and the whole of created order) has its existence grounded in the one unconditioned reality. Since the universe’s existential dependence on God is a consequence of the argument and not a part it, this type of metaphysical demonstration escapes the fallacy of composition.

So, in conclusion, with the metaphysical demonstration and its importance in the modern dialogue on God’s existence now in place, I believe we can conclude that the acceptance of God’s existence stands on the firm foundation of reason. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 156, “faith is by no means a blind impulse of the mind.” The acceptance of God’s existence does not require that one leave his or her reason at the door. Furthermore, this type of metaphysical argument for God’s existence (and many others like it) shows how the perception that theism is intellectually shallow and naïve is simply a myth. Atheism by no means has the intellectual high ground. It is theism that does so since it is theism that gives a sufficient answer to the most fundamental question, “Why does something exist at all rather than not?” That answer, as demonstrated in this series of posts, is God.
 
 
(Image credit: Unsplash)

Karlo Broussard

Written by

After a three-year apprenticeship with Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. PhD., nationally known author, speaker, philosopher, and theologian, Karlo works as a full time apologist and speaker for Catholic Answers giving lectures throughout the country on topics in Catholic apologetics, theology and philosophy. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in theology from Catholic Distance University and the Augustine Institute, and is currently working on his masters in philosophy with Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He is one of the most dynamic and enthusiastic Catholic speakers on the circuit today. He resides in Murrieta, CA with his wife and four children. You can view Karlo's online videos at KarloBroussard.com. You can also book Karlo for a speaking event by contacting Catholic Answers at 619-387-7200.

Enjoy this article? Receive future posts free by email:

Note: Our goal is to cultivate serious and respectful dialogue. While it's OK to disagree—even encouraged!—any snarky, offensive, or off-topic comments will be deleted. Before commenting please read the Commenting Rules and Tips. If you're having trouble commenting, read the Commenting Instructions.

  • Bob

    It is essential to the cat’s existence that the cells, the molecules, the atoms, the protons, the quarks, etc. exist right here and right now.

    What is a cat apart from the cells, the molecules, the atoms, the protons, the quarks, etc?

    the existing conditions that a conditioned reality (e.g., the cat) is dependent on

    There is reality, singular, that a particular cat is a part of.

    Are you here referring to the concept, or idea of a cat as some sort of separate Platonic reality?

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      What is a cat apart from the cells, the molecules, the atoms, the protons, the quarks, etc?

      Not a puree of otherwise unorganized stuff.

      • Bob

        I asked "what is" and not "what is not".

        Give it a go.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          A cat is someone who is hip to the jive, daddy-o.

          • Bob

            Indeed and as such I recognize the jive that is this series of arguments.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            It don't mean a thing if you don't got that swing.

          • Mike

            I think you might like this debate:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmr2G8KmSQg

          • Garbanzo Bean

            A cool cat, indeed. I sometimes wonder whether current confusions stem back to avoiding the problem of universals.

  • As I and others mentioned, here and at Outshine the Sun, the argument as presented by Karlo contains a variety of flaws.

    Part 1 fails to justify use of the principle of sufficient reason in the first place.
    Part 2 shows that if the UR is singular, it is simple.
    Part 3 shows that if the UR is simple, it is singular.
    (Parts 2 and 3 together suffer from circularity)
    Part 4 suggests that the UR is not God. If the UR has beliefs, those beliefs should change as the world changes, but then the UR changes. But Part 4 argues that the UR doesn't change. If the UR doesn't have beliefs, it is more like a physical principle and less like a God.
    Part 5 rests on Aristotelian metaphysics, a metaphysics that is not justified by the argument. Further, everything in nature is all good, as one commenter pointed out, because everything perfectly succeeds in being as it is. Broken bottles succeed at being broken bottles.

    Due to the detail both of the argument and these objections, I won't be willing to elaborate about my problems with the argument here, but you are welcome to contact me via e-mail, and we can discuss this argument and my objections further.

    That said, there are many things I like about the argument. I think it could be developed into a strong argument for a Necessary Being. The Modal Ontological Argument from Divine Justice ends up with a being that better fits the name of "God" than this argument, and may be a good way forward. You can find the Argument from Divine Justice here (Part 1, Article 3).

    My favourite aspect of Karlo's argument is that it does not depend on the universe having a beginning, like the Kalam argument does. The universe could have started itself from nothing, as Hawking and Turok have suggested, and God would be necessary to explain the universe.

    If the apologists and theologians at Strange Notions would abandon the Kalam argument in favour of this kind of argument, that would make me very happy.

    • Hey, Paul! Thanks for your comment. As you yourself have admitted, there is wayyy too much here for me, Karlo, or others to engage in a single reply. So among all the flaws you detect, which do you consider to be the most critical? It stands to reason that if such a critical flaw is apparent, and not real, the rest of your perceived flaws could perhaps follow suit. I believe that if we focus on one particular hangup we will yield more fruitful discussion than us trying to engage all of your points simultaneously.

      "The Modal Ontological Argument from Divine Justice ends up with a being that better fits the name of "God" than this argument.."

      How so? Karlo's argument arrives at a single, absolute, unconditioned reality characterized by omnibenevolence, omnipotence, and omniscience. That's a pretty clear depiction of God, classically understood.

      "My favourite aspect of Karlo's argument is that it does not depend on the universe having a beginning, like the Kalam argument does."

      I agree. That's what makes it specially effective.

      "The universe could have started itself from nothing..."

      We've covered this problem several times. What you suggest is just logically impossible. If *nothing* exists, there is no "self" (i.e. "itself") with which to start something. Nothing can only yield nothing--it cannot produce anything, much less an entire universe. Yet as you admit, this point is irrelevant to Karlo's argument. The argument would remain strong whether the universe was created from nothing, "started itself" from nothing, or eternally existed.

      "If the apologists and theologians at Strange Notions would abandon the Kalam argument in favour of this kind of argument, that would make me very happy."

      Although we do care about your happiness (which is why we want you to become Catholic!), we're ultimately concerned with the truth, and thus sound arguments that lead to it.

      After reading yours and other's criticisms of the KCA, and studying the pro-KCA scholarship, I remain convinced that it's a sound argument, one with true premises, unambiguous terms, and valid logic.

      • Since it appears we are not going to come to an agreement about Kalam, and I think we've explored that argument as far as it will go, I won't revisit that particular discussion at this time.

        The two biggest problems I see for Karlo's argument are the problems for Part 1 and 2+3 that I mentioned above. I pointed out the circularity to Karlo in Part 2. He said that the issue would be resolved in Part 3. It wasn't. You can find the conversation Karlo and I had in Part 2 to learn about the circularity problem.

        The Part 1 problem is easier to express and just as difficult:

        Why is the principle of sufficient reason true? Maybe some things just are the way that they are for no reason at all.

        • Loreen Lee

          How about time is related to consciousness as space is related to well- matter or nothingness! Time being a dynamic reflective relationship of some kind. in a unity of its Being.and Nothingness within a per-temporal expression. (a la Hegel again) (I do try...grin grin) I certainly see the advantages of Science.

        • "Why is the principle of sufficient reason true? Maybe some things just are the way that they are for no reason at all."

          Perhaps. But let me ask three questions:

          1. When you reject the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR), which version are you rejecting?

          2. You ask why the PSR is true, but do you personally think it is?

          3. If the principle is not true, or even if its truth was in doubt, would you agree that all natural sciences would lose their grounding? After all, why search for scientific explanations if, perhaps, an explanation may not exist?

          One final point: due to our intuition and experience, most people agree explicability is the default position. Exceptions to this rule have to be explicable exceptions—some explanation is needed for why no explanation is possible. Saying "maybe the PSR is false" is not to disprove the PSR. You need to explain why it fails or why particular exceptions exist.

          One of the greatest defenders of the PSR today, the Catholic philosopher Alexander Pruss (whom I've invited to contribute here, but he's too busy) as defended the PSR extensively in shorter forms (see his chapter in the The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology) and in longer forms (see his book, The Principle of Sufficient Reason.)

          • Ignatius Reilly

            One final point: due to our intuition and experience, most people agree explicability is the default position. Exceptions to this rule have to be explicable exceptions—some explanation is needed for why no explanation is possible. Saying "maybe the PSR is false" is not to disprove the PSR. You need to explain why it fails or why particular exceptions exist.

            If an exception to PSR exists, why do you think an explanation as to why it is an exception necessarily exists? Since the event is an exception to PSR, I would not be certain that we could find an explanation for why.

            Seemingly causeless quantum events allow us to reject or at least withhold certainty about PSR.

            If the principle is not true, or even if its truth was in doubt, would you agree that all natural sciences would lose their grounding? After all, why search for scientific explanations if, perhaps, an explanation may not exist?

            No. Just because there are exceptions to PSR does not mean that we cannot find the reasons behind the things that are not exceptions to PSR. Science wouldn't lose it's grounding - we would just say that there are things that science cannot explain. We would agree to that statement even if PSR was true.
            I'll have to check out that book though. Thanks!

          • 1. Causal and/or grounding have been challenged by friends of mine, and I don't think I have an adequate response for them.

            2. I accept Shamik Dasgupta's version of the PSR.

            3. No, I don't think denial of the PSR undermines science. It is possible that a scientific explanation doesn't exist for certain facts. You must believe this is more than a possibility, since you believe that miracles happen. I believe that searching for an explanation is still worthwhile, even if there is none to be found.

            Exceptions to this rule have to be explicable exceptions—some explanation is needed for why no explanation is possible.

            Why?

          • "1. Causal and/or grounding have been challenged by friends of mine, and I don't think I have an adequate response for them."

            This doesn't really answer my question. In question 1, I asked, "When you reject the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR), which version are you rejecting?" We should note here that the Principle of Causality (PC) is not identical to the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR). The PSR in some sense presumes the PC, because a proposition about an event or about some object's existence will generally be explicable chiefly by reference to the cause of that event or object.

            At the end of the day, even thought I think the PSR is self-evidently true, the argument from contingency rests only upon the much simpler PC, which concerns the existence of substances, not the explicability of propositions.

            All that to say: let's not confuse the PSR with the PC.

            2. I accept Shamik Dasgupta's version of the PSR.

            Thanks! I'll have to check that out when I have time. It's interesting to me that you accept this version of the PSR, but question the PSR as Karlo references it. Why?

            3. No, I don't think denial of the PSR undermines science.

            And why not? Your answer continues:

            It is possible that a scientific explanation doesn't exist for certain facts.

            Agreed! But the PSR isn't the PSSR--the Principle of Sufficient Scientific Reason. It's the Principle of Sufficient Reason. There must be a reason for every contingent reality, whether that reason be scientific or not. The scientific enterprise assumes, and depends on, the assumption that scientific explanations undergird scientific realities. If you strip away that assumption, science loses its foundation.

            "You must believe this is more than a possibility, since you believe that miracles happen."

            Indeed! But miracles satisfy the Principle of Sufficient Reason. Again, we're concerned with the PSR, not the PSSR. A good scientist must assume that empirical realities have either scientific (and thus natural) explanations, or else miraculous (and thus supernatural) explanations that lie beyond his purview. I see no problem there.

            "I believe that searching for an explanation is still worthwhile, even if there is none to be found."

            I guess I don't see how such an empty, meaningless search could genuinely be considered "worthwhile," and I think most scientists would agree. Imagine you're a scientist and you spend 60 years searching for an explanation that doesn't exist. Would you die thinking the pursuit was "worthwhile"? Would you have resented the search? I personally would have preferred a more meaningful pursuit.

          • Brandon,

            Thank you for the detailed reply. I'm afraid that my response to you will not be nearly so adequate.

            I do believe that the PSR is true, not all versions (certainly not the teleological PSR), but the grounding and maybe the causal PSR. I don't think a good argument has been offered for the PSR, by Della Rocca, Pruss, or by Karlo. Shamik doesn't even try to argue for the PSR. He tries to build the case that you don't need to argue for the PSR; the default position should be to accept it (or at least to be neutral about it), and it's on the opposition to argue against it. I think this is probably right, but it's not very convincing to my friends. I was hoping to find a good argument for the PSR.

            If there's not a scientific reason for every contingent reality, this does not undermine science. Why is it if there is no reason for every contingent reality, that does undermine science? It would seem that all brute facts, if there are any, wouldn't have a scientific explanation since they don't have an explanation at all. I don't see how denying the PSR undermines science, or even provides much of a difficulty for doing science. It would remove much of my hope for science, that eventually physics will find the underlying law or fundamental principle that both explains itself and explains everything else: the Spinozist idea of the Unconditioned Reality.

            I guess I don't see how such an empty, meaningless search could genuinely be considered "worthwhile," and I think most scientists would agree.

            Just because there's no answer, doesn't mean it's an empty search. String theory may be a dead end, but the journey has been fruitful. We've learned a lot of amazing things along the way, even though String Theory itself might offer no explanations for fundamental reality, because it might well be wrong (or even meaningless).

    • Kevin Aldrich

      The physicist Gerald Schroeder agrees with Hawking and others that the universe could have arisen from a quantum fluctuation, but he points out that means the laws of nature “predate” the universe.

      That means, he says, that they must be something not physical, outside of time (since they “predate” time), and are able to create a universe.

      Further, Schroeder points out, this is also what philosophers call God: that entity that is not material, that exists outside of time, and is able to create the universe.

      • What do the scare quotes around 'predate' mean to you?

        • Loreen Lee

          Possibly the distinction between use and mention developed in analytic philosophy.

        • Kevin Aldrich

          Because predate means before.

          • If there's no before, what does 'predate' mean?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            I think we can conceive of a reality that is not temporal but the words we have all are time bound.

          • What does 'predate' mean without time, though? I don't have any idea how the word is used here, or what it's supposed to signify.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Hawking said something like because something like gravity exists the universe could create itself from nothing. I think he means the laws of physics. The laws of physics already exist "before" the first event in the physical universe which inaugurated time. So we have something before or outside time.

          • I think Hawking's saying that there needs to be some underlying principle that explains why things are the way that they are and not another way. The universe could have created itself out of nothing, but it still seems to need an explanation beyond efficient causes. I think Karlo's after that explanation outside of the universe.

            I know Brandon doesn't like it, but I'm fine with A causes B causes A as a causal explanation for A and B. It doesn't answer why A and B and not something else.

          • "I know Brandon doesn't like it, but I'm fine with A causes B causes A as a causal explanation for A and B."

            Perhaps it's my own density, but this doesn't make any sense o me. "A causes B causes A", if you're using "cause" to mean "bring into existence," is simply illogical.

          • Mike

            I can't wrap my mind around it either without it seems everything i've ever known to be true or nearly true being thrown out the window with it...and that's a big sacrifice that i don't think needs to be made.

    • Phil

      Hey Paul,

      I do agree with Brandon that it would be interesting to hear what you perceive is the greatest flaw of the argument, but I will try and address your point (2) and (3).

      Part 2 shows that if the UR is singular, it is simple.
      Part 3 shows that if the UR is simple, it is singular.
      (Parts 2 and 3 together suffer from circularity)

      On (2): As long as I understand the argument correctly (I have read the book that this series was drawn out of), Karl does not argue that if the UR is singular, it is simple. Rather he first argues that a necessary "property" of the UR is ultimate simplicity. Singularity doesn't matter at this point.

      On (3): Karl does argue that if the UR is ultimately simple, then there can only be one. But there is no issue of circularity, because part (2) does not rely on part (3). Part (2) simply follows from part (1).

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      "The universe could have started itself from nothing..."

      What universe? If "it" does not yet exist what is starting what here?

      • It is possible that effect can come before cause. Near the beginning of the universe, 'cause' and 'effect' cannot be meaningfully distinguished. It is possible that the universe caused itself to exist. The universe may be it's own efficient cause.

        • Mike

          So i am curious do you think it's possible that the universe created itself and the laws of physics or the laws of physics somehow pre-existed the universe and they caused the universe to be created?

          • I don't think 'pre-existed' is the right language. They may have existed for as long as the universe has.

          • Mike

            Ok so they are co-existent somehow, they in a sense ARE the universe and the universe IS the laws?

            If the big bang theory is correct and the universe did have a temporal beginning do you suppose then that it never really "began" as much as it maybe entered another stage/phase of its existence? So now it's simply in another "phase" of its eternal existence, maybe it is cyclical?

            I don't mean this in a disparaging sense but have you considered the buddhist pov on this that the universe is cyclical and ultimately meaningless?

          • If the big bang theory is correct and the universe did have a temporal beginning do you suppose then that it never really "began" as much as it maybe entered another stage/phase of its existence? So now it's simply in another "phase" of its eternal existence, maybe it is cyclical?

            I think all of these are live possibilities. I don't know how the universe began.

            My suspicion is that we will eventually learn that all our present theories are all wrong, and that a more simple and beautiful explanation will reveal itself. Maybe God will be part of that explanation. I don't know.

          • Mike

            Thanks,I don't know either (how the universe came into existence) but it seems to me more plausible that the laws were "written" or "instituted" by some agent than by the thing they "became" or "created" namely the universe itself...but i know that you know that.

            Also as we are "internal" to the universe i don't think we'll ever be able to fully explain it; just seems like you'd have to be "outside" it to be able to do that sufficiently or accurately.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. I can see how an effect may be simultaneous with its cause, but now how it might precede it; especially as regards efficient causes.

          "To cause to exist" means to bring from non-existence to existence. Your claim is that the universe can move itself from non-existence to existence; but something that does not exist cannot do diddly-squat.

          I think what you meant was that "near the beginning of the universe, our models begin to break down." But that is true of all models near boundary conditions.

          • Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs.

            All I'm arguing is that it's physically possible. Not that it's true. In truth, I have no idea how the universe started.

            Some particles may move backwards in time. Particles that propagate backwards in time are physically allowed. Further, before inflation, the universe may have been in a state where time was a dimension indistinguishable from space, in which case cause and effect would not have the standard meaning.

            Your claim is that the universe can move itself from non-existence to existence

            No, it's not. My claim is that there was no time in which the universe didn't exist and that it contains within itself its own efficient cause.

          • Mike

            If Time=Space or time is actually a "property" of matter then yes the universe has existed for "all of time" bc time "began" or was created when it the universe came into being but how could the universe, in this case comprised of both time + matter, in a sense create itself? I don't mean how particles can pop into and out of existence in an already present universe or how a universe can theoretically pop into existence once the underlying laws of physics are in place but how a universe can pop into existence out of metaphysical nothing, real nothing no laws, no universe, no time, nothing.

            Is that a fair characterization of what you're saying?

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            My claim is that there was no time in which the universe didn't exist

            a) But then the universe did not "cause itself" in this case, either. An efficient cause is one that causes a thing to be.
            b) The claim is tautologous, since "time" is simply part of the universe. As Einstein claimed, time is a consequence of matter, not something independent of it. No "universe," no "time."
            c) "Time" is not necessary for causation, in any case. An eternal thing may have a cause, even though there is no time at which that thing did not exist. It simply cannot be, as a matter of logic, the cause of itself.
            d) This is a separate matter from whether anything needs a cause. A mereological sum, like the moonnrimmer -- the sum of Paul Rimmer and the Moon -- does not need an efficient cause, since the moonrimmer is not a "thing." It may be that the "universe," which is simply the collection of everything that physically exists is itself a very big heap or an actual thing.

          • (a) I think that the universe explains its own beginning and the beginning of time in terms of efficient causes. There's no time before the universe existed, because, even before inflation, it's not clear what 'time' means, or whether 'before' has any meaning. I suppose a fair question is whether in this case the universe needs an efficient cause, whether the concept of efficient cause itself makes sense in this context. I'd be willing to consider that option. In that case, the universe wouldn't be its own efficient cause. It wouldn't have one or need one. I'll have to think more on this way of understanding before commenting further.

            (b) I don't think time is a consequence of matter.

            (c) How do you make sense of an efficient cause if there is no time? Could you express your idea of efficient cause without referring directly or indirectly to concepts of "before" and "after"? Finally, within whatever meaning you come up for efficient cause without time, why can't something be it's own efficient case?

            (d) My belief is that the universe is in some fundamental sense the only thing, and we are part of the universe, in a way that waves are part of an ocean or my hand is part of me.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            (b) I don't think time is a consequence of matter.

            Take it up with Einstein.

            (c) How do you make sense of an efficient cause if there is no time?

            The standard example is that of the eternal foot planted in the eternal sand. The Foot is the efficient cause of the eternal Footprint, even though there is not temporal sequence to it.

            Could you express your idea of efficient cause without referring directly or indirectly to concepts of "before" and "after"?

            "Before" and "after" can mean before and after in a logical sense, not only in a temporal sense. That all men are mortal and that Socrates is a man are both prior to the conclusion that Socrates is mortal, even though Socrates' mortality is simultaneous to his humanity.

            Much of the confusion comes from considering causes as relationships between events rather than between things.

            why can't something be it's own efficient case?

            An efficient cause is one that effects the existence of a thing.
            If a thing does not exist, it cannot effect any consequence whatsoever, let alone itself.

            (d) My belief is that the universe is in some fundamental sense the only thing

            Very nearly by definition. The universe is the set of all things that physically exist. The universe exists iff any one physical thing exists.

          • Einstein enjoys no infallibility, even in matters of physics. The nature of time is not well understood. It is possible that, as you seem to suggest, time is an emergent property. Einstein, as far as I read him, seems to think that space-time can exist without matter. It doesn't really matter what he thinks, though. His equations allow as a solution space-time without matter.

            The standard example is that of the eternal foot planted in the eternal sand. The Foot is the efficient cause of the eternal Footprint, even though there is not temporal sequence to it.

            I think that this could be a good way to envision how something could be its own efficient cause. Eternal footless sand would take some eternal shape, and by the properties inherent in that shape could only have the sand as their efficient cause. The shape of the sand would be caused by that sand.

            "Before" and "after" can mean before and after in a logical sense, not only in a temporal sense.

            In that case, it seems that we are talking more about what grounds what, what is logically prior. In that case, we are talking more about explanation than about efficient cause, and we don't disagree on that.

            An efficient cause is one that effects the existence of a thing.If a thing does not exist, it cannot effect any consequence whatsoever, let alone itself.

            The thing would exist when it exists. In the case of the universe, there would be no time in which it doesn't exist. Inside time, retrocausality could allow something to be, effectively, its own efficient cause by A causes B, B goes back in time and causes A. So A causes A. A doesn't need to exist before it exists for something like this to work.

          • Mike

            Your last paragraph sounds like something that a Buddhist might believe; that it's all a grand illusion, a re-occurring reality without end and without beginning, something that we are "trapped" in and that we should try to escape?

          • I see it less as an illusion and more as a hidden deeper reality. Something subtle and magnificent and true. When I envision the universe as a single entity, I feel what would best be described as a religious experience.

          • Mike

            Me too i suppose but that leads me at least psychologically to posit "creator" or "artist"...doesn't that happen to you too?

            Maybe it does but then some part of you stops and say whoa hold on let's test this and then you find that there's not nearly enough evidence for "creator" and so you wind up back at what Hitchens called a "numinous sense" of the universe?

            Anyway, i guess i am just wired for belief i don't know and the Christian belief seems like it's the least wrong to me and most attractive.

        • Loreen Lee

          Kant's three categories of relationship are: substance/accident or better attribute; cause and effect; and reciprocity. The logical parallels are assetoric, hypothetical, and disjunctive. Kant's categorical imperative is thus by definition dependent on the first. It is an examination of element within 'mind', solely. Science generally is based on theory, and thus cause and effect which is consistent with the idea of the hypothetical. Reciprocity is a category that I feel is much under-valued.
          A category mistake could thus be exemplified in a possible case of applying the hypothetical to a 'subject' that would be better examined under another category. I argue that this is done in Aristotelian/Thomistic metaphysics. I believe in this regard, that possibly Spinoza's philosophy, unlike most metaphysics in the Western tradition is based on the first category. Thus his ease in finding 'necessity' within the universe he describes; for instance as in his Ethics.. (Freedom is the recognition of necessity- Hegel).

          Please understand that I'm merely speculating here.

    • Loreen Lee

      Regarding 2 & 3. The problem of simplicity constitutes one of the antimonies of Kant. I believe that a good philosopher might be able to reconcile all of these antinomies. Also. I have posted a comment made by Bertrand Russell on circularity in a Stanford article on kinds of definition. Be back once I get the link. In any case, you'll be able to understand it better than me. Thanks.

    • I agree with much of your critique, Paul.

      I stipulate to the metaphysical presuppositions embedded in the PC and PSR due to methodological not ontological necessities, i.e. to avoid any a priori blocking of ongoing inquiry.

      When confronted with paradox, I thus presuppose an epistemic indeterminacy, which may only be temporary and would not remain invincible should my methodological thwarting be overcome, later, by better tools. I wouldn't presuppose a permanent, in-principle, ontological occulting. This says nothing, however, about the precise nature of that paradox. In other words, this doesn't mean that the PC and PSR will necessarily hold (or not) both locally and globally, only that, if they don't, I'll be unfortunate.

       Still, I see beauty in the argument's deductive validity, inductive plausibility and abductive facility, which, from a cumulative case perspective, makes it eminently actionable, existentially. While arguments regarding primal realities may be, inescapably, a tad tautological, this doesn't render them untrue, only not wholly informative.

      When confronted with paradox, we won't a priori know which we will be able to 1) resolve, dialectically 2) dissolve, paradigmatically 3) evade, practically or 4) exploit, creatively. When it comes to something like the so-called problem of induction, we've evaded it, for all practical purposes, all these years. All things considered, embracing common sense and ignoring Hume still seems like a good default epistemic bias, something Wm. James might consider a forced, vital and live option, giving us what J.S. Mill might call a license to hope.

      So, whether or not the argument is sound, one has every epistemic right and normative justification for living as if it is. And should some defend and argue and believe in its soundness, they are certainly pragmatically justified and may very well be correct. My sneaking suspicion is that they're right. Thus I've wagered.

      Congratulations to Karlo for a great series.

      • Well, I accept the PSR, even though I don't have a good reason to. According to this fun website, http://necessarybeing.net/ , I hold to beliefs that logically entail the existence of a necessary being.

        I'd like to find a good argument for the PSR. As for the other problems with Karlo's argument, I do think that they probably can be overcome. Spitzer and Broussard's noble task of bringing Medieval arguments into the modern world is incomplete. I don't know if they will be successful, but I think it's worth the effort. There's quite a long ways to go still.

        • re: necessarybeing.net - Since my approach to phenomenology prescinds from the necessary to the probable, ontologically, that algorithm embeds its conclusion - not just in its premises, but - in its definitions and url. :)

        • Paul:

          Check out Michael Della Rocca's defense of PSR: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/p/pod/dod-idx/psr.pdf?c=phimp;idno=3521354.0010.007

          I'm not a Feser-bot by any means, but Edward Feser's Scholastic Metaphysics has a pretty good discussion too. It's not online though.

          I think the rejection of the PSR is actually quite puzzling, since it would compromise any sort of scientific realism. Of course, there are strong and weak forms of the PSR.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            I think the rejection of the PSR is actually quite puzzling, since it would compromise any sort of scientific realism. Of course, there are strong and weak forms of the PSR.

            Why do you say that? To reject PSR, it is enough to say that there exists a reality without an explanation. Every other reality could conceivably have an explanation. Does the PSR apply to God?

          • Ignatius:

            Did you read the link? The answer to your question is discussed there.

          • I read the article (since Karlo recommended it earlier on). I found it helpful, but I have some reservations about the argument. I don't think people who accept that there are brute facts will find Della Rocca's argument very convincing. I'm not sure if here is the best place to go into the details.

          • Bob

            I just read it.

            Is it me, or is the strong PSR argument that Della Rocca makes based on an equivocation of the word existence?

            Everything he discusses prior uses existence as referring to the combination of some stuff, thus PSR holds for it. However, he then uses these weaker versions to springboard the PSR onto stuff itself, for which I can find absolutely no justification anywhere in his paper.

            Did I miss it?

          • Could you say what the two (or more) definitions of "exist" are that you think Della Rocca is equivocating? I didn't see that, but maybe I read over the mistake.

            My problem with Della Rocca's argument is related to his use of existence. It seems to lead to modal collapse. This is no problem for me, since Spinoza's philosophy tempts me to think that all truths are necessary truths and that there is no alternative way things could have been.

            But, if you accept Della Rocca's use of existence (leaving to the side for a moment whether he uses the term consistently), and assume there's an explanation for the existence of things as they are, that explanation will mean that any alternative description of the world, especially stipulated possible worlds "Nixon might have lost the election", etc., are all in fact impossible. The world had to have the Holocaust; there's no other way things could have worked out.

            The power of the possible-worlds language, and the intuition that the world could have been different than it is, work against Della Rocca's argument.

            I suspect that a rejection of Della Rocca's argument is not entirely painless. It has a cost. Either you have to say that, deep down, explicability arguments don't work, or that some work and some don't, and that the lines dividing what explicability arguments work and what don't is also arbitrary.

          • Bob

            I think it is obvious that there is a real category difference between the things contingent on matter and, for instance, matter itself and as such two very distinct meanings of exist seem to be at work here.

            That is the equivocation I was referring to.

          • Bob

            Thinking about it some more, I would like to hear an argument proving that existence itself is not contingent upon matter.

          • That's an interesting direction to go. Do you think matter exists?

          • Bob

            If existence is contingent upon matter, I am not sure how to answer the question.

          • I should also say that I find Feser and Pruss very helpful for thinking about the PSR. I appreciate their work in this. Feser's book "Aquinas" is a brilliant book, one of my favourite books about the medieval philosopher.

  • Loreen Lee

    Thanks. This helped me understand better the former posts, although not completely, or as well as Paul Rimmer, for instance. It just made me think of Descartes argument, for instance which proceeded from him, as a single cat-like entity, but required God in order to establish the validity or possibility of both other creatures, and indeed the material universe.
    Hope I'm making progress here. Thanks.

  • Loreen Lee

    Question: St. Augustine's 'dictum': I error therefor I am. I have read many comparisons between this statement and Descartes I think therefore I am. My question. Did St. Augustine ever establish this as a premise in an argument for God's existence? Thank you.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      I don't think St. Augustine ever said that!

      • Loreen Lee

        I'm sorry I can't give you either any evidence or 'proof' that St. Augustine did in fact present the statement of 'belief' as I err therefore I am. Unfortunately I have it in my consciousness/memory that I have indeed read in my past the information I quoted above. I have read articles/essays which have contrasted for instance a 'humility' within the statement 'attributed' to Augustine in contrast to the - what - solipistic assurance that may be implied in Descartes' cogito.In any case, it is possibly at least interesting to speculate on the differences and possible inferences/consequences that could/do result from either/and/or both statements. Sorry I can't be more 'academic' here. Thanks Kevin.

      • Loreen Lee

        Hi Kevin. I remembered to Google. There are many entries but I chose this because it mentions both Descartes and Augustine. Enjoy.

        http://maartens.home.xs4all.nl/philosophy/Dictionary/C/Cogito%20ergo%20sum.htm

  • How is naturalism contradicted by this argument? My suspicion is that there is one reality, it is material. There are not "levels of physical reality" in the ontological sense, rather the categorical sense. A cat is not a "reality" or a level of reality, it is a human label for what is essentially a pattern. A cat is not distinct from its atoms, it IS its atoms in a certain arrangement.

    I think what Mr Broussard has done is established that it only makes sense to speak of one reality, in which all things that are possible... are possible. We have labels for all kinds of patterns we observe in reality, and no doubt there is much that we don't observe.

    But I see no reason to apply labels such as supernatural or god to any such pattern or concept we hold about aspects of the cosmos.

    I still do not know what "pure being" is supposed to be in an ontological sense, I think it has merely been asserted to be synonymous with UR. How is it distinct from "non-pure being".

    I think the so-called divine attributes have been watered down to meaninglessness.

    • Loreen Lee

      I too have been doing some 'rethinking'. I became conscious of this when I questioned why I was making such comments as (as per Lock's observation) 'Am I the only one who doesn't know what I am talking about', and falling back into a use of irony again, which I thought that I had 'outgrown' long ago.

      My question involves the extent to which the category of cause and effect underscores all of these arguments. Haven't had time to research it, but may I propose that the 5 ways of Aquinas, 'mirror', exactly the four proofs of Aristotle all of which are based on the four causes, with the First Cause, a particularly interesting application of the parameters of cause and effect.

      It's basis is not on for instance Leibniz' PSR, but on the criteria which perhaps was applied justifiably within the parameters of logical argument, but that when applied to whether or not God 'exists' implies a distinction between the material world and consciousness that I now question. The logical axiom used is that of 'infinite regress' in argumentation applied within a context of causation to the material world.

      This series has substituted the continual creation principle of Meserne for the once a time pronouncement in Genesis. This is in consistent with developments through Descartes to Kant, who made explicit the possibility of a parallel relationship between mind and matter in the antimonies. Of course both thesis are now accepted with respect to God, at least, if not the possibility that may be denied by some materialists that some form of consciousness is inherent in the natural 'world'. (With respect to the hosts of this series, I am not implying an acceptance of what they object to in the concept of pantheism. I am merely considering the possibility that different criteria could be established within different 'contexts'.).

      I am particularly questioning whether the application of cause and effect as explanation is always 'necessary'. It is but one of the categories of relation in Kant's classification, for instance. But it dominates Western Theology and philosophy. (I posit that the philosophy of Spinoza may be an exception).

      There is a similar reference to the application of the PSR found in the philosophy of Leibniz. If for instance God is conceived as a 'Necessary Being' this would perhaps eliminate any necessity to speak of the need for a principle of sufficient reason. Although within the application of these concepts merely within logical considerations, (even those applied to 'matter') necessary and sufficient conditions, as well as criteria of logic, do not run into the same 'contradiction'?

      Any I'm just wondering. If these comments are just in pointing out that even the genius of Aristotle can be questioned in later generations, I make no assumption with regard to my attempts at mere understanding. However, I have regarded as a subjective truth at least within my personal experience that I do indeed have the capacity to conceive of being within the world under the category of necessity rather than contingency.

      I did get excited by this post because it implied for me an acceptance of Descartes, as interpreted as promoting intuition over the logic, particularly, (and I remember long arguments about this) in the interpretation of his cogito as an expression of awareness self-consciousness, (Buddha like?)
      rather than a logical proof.

      I am now attempting to reconsider Kant, (Qualitative categories of Actuality, Nothing, and either infinity or limitation, depending on whether the context is ontological or epistemological, and even Hegel's Being Nothing and and ('Becoming' dialectical relationship between the intuitions of time and space within a phenomenological context., with the understanding that the rationally intuitive concepts of freedom and immortality proceed from (or are interrelated) to the 'physical phenomena'. It is this capacity that allows for an intuition of necessity (even as being) within the materiality of the universe, may I propose. I would not categorize this under the category of 'cause and effect'.

      My apologies if I have gone on too long.

      • I don't think I am the person to address these issues, but I don't think mr Broussard is relying on cause and effect in a temporal basis. I think he was clear about that.

        I think the issue is one of equivocation and circularity. I think he sets us up to think about "realities" meaning different conceptual levels of matter such as the sub atomic, atomic, chemical, all the way up to species. He talks about these as separate "conditional" realities and says he proves these are not unconditional. But I think what he is really doing is showing they are not "realities" as he is using the term. He then redefines divine attributed as to be vague enough to apply to "reality". In other words, he proves there is reality, and labels it God.

        My question is, if we propose that there is one reality, and it is natural as opposed to natural and supernatural or divine, are we also consistent with this proof, just using different labels? I think so.

        • Loreen Lee

          Yeah. I've been 'speculating' on this as with a comment to Paul. Recently I have been considering the concept of category mistake. (Analytic philosophy). I have been thinking this through with respect to Kant's categories of relationship. At the moment I am contemplating a 'reciprocity' (third category, either or/both-and) in a possible relationship between the categories of substance/attribute (mind?) and cause and effect (hypothetical? matter, as in applied science. So far I have come to accept what Hume said about such things as cause and effect, and can see in a new context Kant's response in the development of the mind a priori, with regard to conceptual thinking.applied to 'experience'.

          It's working out even into a realistic, rather than merely logical application of the modal categories. At least -in my head. I will merely conclude that it might be beneficial to look into thee matters as a relationship, with respect to both categorical/logical concepts and their application to material 'reality', and not assume that a specific category has been applied correctly within any specific case.. Thanks for replying. Am still attempting to find coherence within my life and 'thinking?' grin grin.

  • Ignatius Reilly

    Part 1
    I would object to the conclusions in part one, by noting that I am not convinced that we could not have a finite set of conditional objects. A is conditional on B if and only if A cannot exist without B. Or in other words, B is necessary for A to exist. We write this as A->B.

    I am not convinced that we could not have a situation where A->B->C and C->A.

    Nor am I convinced with the argument against infinite regress. As I understand Karlo's argument, suppose we have a reality X which is conditional on an infinite number of realities, written as X-> X1->X2->,....Xk->... (Note: This assumes that we have an infinite regress of a countable number of realities. Why can't we have an uncountable regression). As I understand the reasoning, we note that at any Xk, the conditions for X being fulfilled have not yet been met, because Xk needs X(k+1), so Xk does not exist and so on done the line until we get to X. However, this line of reasoning makes two mistakes. One, it disproves that X has an infinite regress by assuming a finite regress. X1....Xk are a finite set of conditional realities. Of course they don't fulfill X! It was explicitly stated that X requires an infinite regress to be fulfilled. Secondly, the reasoning makes the mistake of thinking that the chain of realities an be iterated down. We could have a uncountable set.

    Parts 2 and 3 I agree with Paul that the arguments presented here are circular. With regard to simplicity, I am not convinced that it is well defined. For instance, what is simpler a right triangle or a isosceles triangle?

    Part 5 I don't agree that we can say that realities have well defined natures. For instance, is it in the nature of a tree to bear fruit? Are trees without fruit imperfect?

    • Phil

      For some reflection:

      Part 1

      I would object to the conclusions in part one, by noting that I am not convinced that we could not have a finite set of conditional objects. A is conditional on B if and only if A cannot exist without B. Or in other words, B is necessary for A to exist. We write this as A->B.

      I thought the essay explained this pretty well, but I'll give it a shot:

      You have two options if there only exists conditioned realities in all reality:
      (1) There exists at least one "entity", whose conditions for existence have not been met.

      This is of course an absurd belief. One is saying that something exists that can't exist (because its conditions for existence have not been met). So is rationally false.

      (2) We have some sort of a circular existence. (A) conditions (B), (B) conditions (C), and (C) conditions (A).

      This means that for A's conditions for existence to be met, C has to exist. But for C's conditions for existence to be met, A has to first exist. Well, nothing can pre-exist its own existence. So this hypothesis is concluded as being rationally absurd.

      --------
      On Infinite regress

      It was explicitly stated that X requires an infinite regress to be fulfilled.

      Let's put out an example. Let's say that an infinite regress does exist right now to explain your existence. You, Ignatius Riley, exist because an infinite amount of entities have existed before you that meet the conditions for your existence. This means that an infinite amount of realities have come into existence, to explain your existence. Well, this is absurd! An infinite amount of realities cannot ever be "complete". Infinite means that it is never-ending!

      So there is an infinite amount of entities that could never be completed to explain your existence right now. This means that you don't exist right now! But wait, good news--you do exist. This means that there is only a finite amount of entities that explain your existence. And these entities either existed before you, or exist right now.

      Therefore, we can rationally conclude, an infinite amount of realities, does not exist. There can only ever be a potentially infinite number of entities into the future--never an actual infinite.

      -----

      So, in part 1, Karl would be correct in concluding that we have very good rational, and logical reasons so hold that at least one unconditioned entity exists in all reality.

  • Krzysztof

    Yes. Aristotle and St.Thomas Aquinas arealways o.k.+ modern set theory gives more tools against the illiterate esp. in logic for ex. on: names, principles, laws, rules,etc. or for ex. the axiom of choice applied to set the ordered one;then, there must exist the first cause in the set of causes- a pure math!

    • guest

      The concept of the anthropic principle had me
      wondering whether there could be a reverse process: that 'life' evolves
      only in those areas, but perhaps that life could also 'affect' the
      universe.

      Interesting thought, I didn't think of that. But as I said, I make no claim to understanding this stuff in anything other than the most superficial way. I am sure that my knowledge and understanding of this stuff is not any more vast than your own. You seem very well read in general and as to your knowledge of philosophy and metaphysics I without a doubt am sure, surpasses my own. To further muddy the cosmic waters I submit the following for your perusal....not for your approval necessarily, :-). But As Guth himself admits neither he or other quantum physicists understands this to stuff any satisfactory degree. But it is interesting lto see them all floundering around in the middle of the spider web of "theory".....while the rest of us mere mortals are quivering on the periphery in thrall anxiously awaiting the pronouncements from the modern day high priests on high.:-)
      http://sententias.org/tag/alan-guth/

      The Humility of Alan Guth is apparent in this video.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn985KyDpb8

  • Krakerjak

    This is an excellent video, and has the potential to foster a greater understanding between theists and atheists for each others POV.

    Well worth watching.

    Oxford mini series Is God Explanatory
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1AVckrgWT8

    • Loreen Lee

      The multi-verse theory was said to be a priori. A concept of the gaps? The universes 'created' by scientists are indeed greater than the universe understood by the writers of scripture.

      • Krakerjak

        Since you seem interested in the "multiverse I think you may find this interesting.If anyone knows about this stuff it is Alan Guth. I make no claim to understand this stuff in anything other than the most superficial way . But I take comfort in the fact that Alan Guth says physicists don't understand it either:-)

        In this video Guth talks about the repulsive gravitational force, dark energy, the expanding accelerating universe, eternal exponential inflation, the multiverse and and pocket universes. He also seems to give credence to the anthropic principle. I found that the really interesting part of the video for me started at around Minute 45:00 to the end.

        Is Our Universe Part Of A Multiverse - Professor Alan H. Guth

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhGRV8cD_tY

        • Loreen Lee

          Wow. My mind grasped the lecture only 'passively'. The concept of the anthropic principle had me wondering whether there could be a reverse process: that 'life' evolves only in those areas, but perhaps that life could also 'affect' the universe. I do tend to be somewhat 'crazy' about these things.

          I have only been attempting to understand 'classifications' within philosophy. But did he not talk about 'metaphysical' theories within cosmology as well.

          Now I wonder also just what constitutes an 'explanation'. So much of what he said seemed to be descriptive, although I inferred that his theories were related to cause and effect.
          I am tentatively associating 'theories of mind' with ideas of substance/attribute. What something 'is' in contrast to what it 'does'. This definition was also given me on EN, but with the doing taking 'precedence' even if only historically as process. Am I correct in perceiving that his lecture did take into consideration such a distinction, and possibly a relationship between them? Or is that just a product of my ignorance?
          In any case, although I could not 'understand', just listening was an amazing experience. Thanks.

          • guest

            The concept of the anthropic principle had me wondering whether there could be a reverse process: that 'life' evolves only in those areas, but perhaps that life could also 'affect' the universe.

            Interesting thought, I didn't think of that. But as I said, I make no claim to understanding this stuff in anything other than the most superficial way. I am sure that my knowledge and understanding of this stuff is not any more vast than your own. You seem very well read in general and as to your knowledge of philosophy and metaphysics, I have no doubt that it surpasses my own. To further muddy the cosmic waters I submit the following for your perusal....not for your approval necessarily, :-). But As Guth Guth himself admits neither he or other quantum physicists understands this stuff. But it is interesting lto see them all floundering around in the middle of spider web of "theory".....while the rest of us mere mortals are quivering on the periphery in thrall anxiously awaiting the pronouncements from the modern day high priests on high.:-)
            http://sententias.org/tag/alan-guth/

            The Humility of Alan Guth is apparent in this video.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn985KyDpb8

            Krakerjak here.....I don't know any of this got onto "krzystof" as a reply...as I was replying to you Loreen. All I can think of is a disqus glitch? Anyway.....take care

        • Loreen Lee

          Just to let you know ' I Got your message'. I really appreciate your support. Sometimes it seems I match the speculation of the physicists with 'imagined scenarios', too. I guess we would ideally all lo 'create' our own universes. grin grin. Hope to talk to you soon. Loreen.

          • Krakerjak

            "I Got your message"

    • Mike

      Well i think i can answer the q without watching the video:

      No God is certainly NOT explanatory IF we are talking about the hypo's ability to explain natural phenomenon aka natural science;

      Yes God is certainly explanatory IF we are talking about the hypo's ability to explain the meaning of existence itself aka why we are here in the first place.

  • Krzysztof

    To remind: "ultimate reality" - what does it mean? Why people invent sth new instead of the one perfect language and methods of Aristotle? You 10 categories of being; by the term "being" you know it means; the term "reality" what it is? A concrete cat, person, John,...an electron,...plus a process (or processes) like evelution as one of 10categories here a "relation". St.Thomas rightly speaks about "let's call it the first cause (being) God"- it is not a being, it is a principle or meta-meta-...principle (different from law. Fools both in philsosphy and science (pro and contra God) do not know it! They on God as an object? What Hell does this term "object" mean? The same refers to "reality".Be precise or go to Hell before Christmas

  • I had posed an objection in Step 2, to which Karlo said he didn't currently have an answer, and I wonder whether any response to the objection has come up in the mean time.

    To recap, Step 2 assumed that two incompatible realities can only relate to each other through a simpler reality. To counter this objection, I proffered the Aristotelian/Thomist notion that things like space and time are not realities extrinsic to entities (substances) but relations between substances.

    If this is conceptually possible, then the argument no longer follows a priori. And if, to rule out such a case, one has to rely on modern physics, one is relying on a rather shaky foundation. For while protons and electrons may require a simpler reality to interact, it does not follow that all realities require a simpler reality, unless we reduce all realities to what can be studied by modern physics.

    In other words, my objection, if plausible, vitiates the a priori nature of Step 2. And, if Step 2 is to be converted to an a posteriori argument via the examples from physics, the argument seems to rely on some version of physicalism.

    I'd be interested in hearing a response to this objection, and I suspect that there is a way to reframe Step 2 to still be successful.