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Why an Infinite Regress Among Proper Causes is Metaphysically Impossible

Presuppositions, definitions, and purpose: This article presupposes the metaphysical first principles of non-contradiction, sufficient reason, and causality, which I defended earlier in a Strange Notions article.

By the principle of sufficient reason, I mean that every being has a sufficient reason for its being or becoming. This principle is recognized by virtually all mankind as essential to reality’s intelligibility.

By causality, I mean that every effect (a being whose sufficient reason is not totally intrinsic) has immediate dependency on a cause (an extrinsic sufficient reason). This also I defended in a more recent Strange Notions article. While that article employed common macroscopic examples of simultaneous causality, metaphysical first principles – since they are principles of existence, not of some particular essence – apply equally to submicroscopic physical realities. Nanosecond delays in field propagation between interacting particles do not avoid the metaphysical necessity for contiguity and simultaneous mutual causation between those fields. Nor do claims on behalf of modern physics undermine the classical metaphysical analysis of causality taking place in time as normally understood.1

Since non-being cannot ever produce being, and since the effect, as such, is in continual existential dependence on another for some accidental quality and/or its very existence in being, no effect can survive ceasing to be actively caused – even if that causal agency ceased only a nanosecond ago. Physics is inherently incapable of penetrating the depths of this metaphysical insight about being and causality.

Causes of being and coming-to-be: Metaphysics requires thinking of everything in terms of being, since it is the science of being considered precisely as being. Proper distinctions must be made. For many scientists, because of Hume’s influence, the term, “cause,” means merely an “antecedent” – something always coming temporally before an alleged “effect.” This entails that the antecedent as such cannot be the true cause, since it could cease to act or even to exist before the alleged “effect” appears, which is impossible in terms of principles of being. That is because every true cause must be simultaneous with its effect, since a cause is an extrinsic sufficient reason, and therefore, as St. Thomas says, “To take away the cause is to take away the effect.”2

Yet, an “antecedent” sounds like a cause of coming-to-be. Nonetheless, a true cause of becoming must be simultaneous with that which comes to be. It is not antecedent to it. Thus, a falling dominoes series is an invalid example of a series of simultaneous moved movers, since the first domino may be down before the last one starts to fall. Bearing in mind observations about submicroscopic physical causes made above, a valid example of simultaneous causation of becoming might be a series of contiguous gears in motion simultaneously, so that the earlier move the later in what is, in effect, a single motion. If the earlier gears quit moving, so do the later ones. Even more evidently, if a builder quits building a house, the house does not “finish itself.”

Causes of being appear intuitively more simultaneous, since they do not entail motion which takes place through time. But physical examples are sometimes challenged as being instances of becoming and, alternately, metaphysical instances require philosophical proof, for example, the argument St. Thomas makes that things which can possibly be or not be must be caused to exist.3

The key takeaway from all this is that it simply does not matter whether one is talking about causes of being or of becoming: the causes in both cases must be simultaneous with their effects. When the cause of coming-to-be ceases causing, the coming-to-be of the effect ceases – just as when the cause of being ceases causing, the being effected ceases to exist. Properly understood, causal series of becoming are just as temporally simultaneous as those of being.

Extrinsic causes may be efficient or final. Proper causes are those precisely required to produce a specific effect and prescind from accidental or causally non-relevant associations with either cause or effect. The purpose of this piece is to prove, not God’s existence, but solely that no proper causal regression to infinity is possible. In contrast, a merely accidentally ordered regression, such as the procreative one leading back through all our ancestors, could potentially go on to infinity – as Aristotle appears to say with respect to the possible eternity of species.

Since proper causes must be simultaneous with their effects, temporal causal regressions are irrelevant – including even nanosecond prior submicroscopic “events” that no longer exist. Proper causal regressions at issue are hic et nunc “vertical” -- in the present, not “horizontal” through past time.

Yet, it appears that even such “vertical” regressions can go to infinity. Consider a series in which the being of A is the final effect and B the sufficient reason for A, with C the reason for B, and D for C, and so forth. Since B explains A, and C explains B, and D explains C -- as long as the causally prior reasons regress to infinity, every link in the chain is explained, since each one is explained by the prior link. Since the whole chain is nothing but the sum of all the links and every link is explained, the entire chain is explained and there appears to be no need for a first sufficient reason for the being of A.

Or again, consider such a series from the standpoint of causality as such. We have a final effect which is explained by a regression of intermediate prior proper causes. Other than the final effect, every prior cause is intermediate, since each one is followed by an effect and preceded by its own proper cause. (Remember all causal links exist and act simultaneously in accord with proper causality.) Is there anything about an infinite regression of such intermediate causes that requires a first cause?

Each intermediate cause has two aspects: it is “intermediate” and it is a “cause.” But the term, “intermediate,” refers merely to a subsequent effect and a prior cause. It says nothing about a first cause. And “cause” refers only to a subsequent effect. As long as the causality of each intermediate cause is fully explained by a prior intermediate cause, and as long as the causal regression does not have a beginning point, each intermediate cause is fully explained. Since the whole chain is nothing but the sum of the intermediates, and each intermediate is explained by its prior intermediate, the whole chain appears to be explained without any need for a first cause.

Yet, to understand the opposing and correct side of the argument, imagine a surgical incision in the process of being cut. Since surgeons don’t make incisions with their fingers, a scalpel is needed – essentially to convert blunt motion into cutting motion. Since scalpels don’t normally do surgery by themselves, a hand is needed to move and direct the motion of the scalpel. And an arm is needed to move the hand. While this example is deliberately abbreviated, its initial elements are instructive.

The scalpel, hand, and arm are all intermediate causes. But, what makes them intermediate? What does each contribute to the causal chain? The scalpel contributes sharpness, the hand contributes “holding the scalpel,” and the arm directs the hand. But none are called “intermediate” in virtue of what they contribute of their own nature or role in the series. With respect to what they contribute, they actually act as something of a “first cause,” since what they contribute, they originate for the process.

On the other hand, they are called “intermediate” precisely because of what they do not contribute to the surgical process – something from a prior cause that they simply pass on to a subsequent effect. Each intermediate cause entails two distinct aspects: something they contribute originally to the chain and for which they are something of a “first cause,” and, critically important, something that they do not contribute of their own nature, but which they merely pass on from a prior cause and for which they themselves are termed “intermediate causes.” In the example, it is the motion that passes through the whole chain. As long as nothing but intermediate causes are operative in the chain, each contributes something original – but, and here is the key, none of them contributes that chain of causation or motion that passes through the whole chain and, with respect to which, they are properly called “intermediate causes.” If all such causes are merely intermediate, then some causal activity is passing through the entire chain, but no member of the chain can explain it. Whether the intermediate causes are limited or unlimited in number, they cannot alone explain the causal process that runs through the entire chain. Solely a first cause that initiates the entire chain can do that – a first cause uncaused.

Now, to reconsider that chain of intermediate reasons described above, we see that the same problem arises. The problem is that each prior reason is not really sufficient unto itself. If it were, it would be a first reason, not an intermediate one. It is called intermediate precisely because it is passing along a reason that it itself does not fully explain. Otherwise, the chain would stop right there. If one looks for the sufficient reason of A, it is not fully in B, since B depends on C to fulfill its own reason. If one regresses to infinity in looking at intermediate reasons, the fully sufficient reason will never be found, since none of the intermediate links provides the complete reason for the final effect. Each one leaves some of the needed reason lacking. If one regresses the chain to infinity, the total sufficient reason is never found – and thus, the final effect lacks a sufficient reason. But that is impossible. Thus, there must be a first sufficient reason, which is its own reason – otherwise the principle of sufficient reason itself would be violated.

As for the regression in the chain of intermediate causes, the problem is the same. The argument claims that “as long as the causality of the intermediate cause is fulfilled,” and as long as you never exhaust prior causes, no need exists for a first cause. But the catch is that the causality of each intermediate is not fulfilled in its prior cause, since that cause, too, is dependent on yet a prior cause to fulfill its causality. Regression to infinity means that the causality never gets completely fulfilled, and thus, the chain fails for want of an uncaused first caused.

Let me offer an easily evident example, even if it entails an accidental temporal aspect that is irrelevant in this case. Imagine six people going to a theater together. Imagine that they buy six tickets and walk toward the ticket taker. As the first person reaches the ticket taker, he tells him that the person behind him has his ticket. The next one does the same, and so on until the last person arrives and hands all six tickets to the taker. All is well.

But imagine a different scenario, one in which every person reaching the ticket taker tells him that the person behind him has the ticket. But this time the line of “referrers” is infinite! This means that there are actually no tickets, since no individual person has any tickets! The theater becomes overfilled and bankrupt at the same time!

That is the essential problem with an infinite regress of proper causes. The intermediate causes don’t have any “tickets.” They exist and act only in virtue of passing on some causal process that none of them ultimately originates or completely explains. As causes, they are an ontological welfare class. Whether they are finite or infinite in number, they explain nothing of the thread of causation that runs through them all and links them all together as a causal chain.

Each intermediate cause may contribute something novel to the final effect. Still, what denotes it as an intermediate cause is not what it originates or contributes to the final effect. Rather, it is called “intermediate,” because of what it does not originate or explain of its own nature. It is called “intermediate,” because of what it does not contribute to the final effect -- but rather merely receives from its immediately prior cause and merely passes on to the next cause or final effect.

One could literally write a book on this topic with many more examples and complex distinctions.4 Still, this is essentially the problem of infinite regress among any type or order of intermediate proper causes. Such a regression is simply impossible. One has to arrive eventually at a first cause that has no ontologically prior cause. For an excellent recent peer reviewed article supporting this same conclusion see here.

Again, this is not presented as proof of God’s existence, but merely as proof that an infinite regress among essentially subordinated causes is metaphysically impossible.

Still, if an infinite regression among proper causes of existence (extrinsic sufficient reasons) is impossible, then such a regression, if demonstrated, would require a first cause (extrinsic sufficient reason) which is its own sufficient reason for being – since nothing is prior to it. In other words, the universal principle of sufficient reason would then necessarily imply that at least one thing must be its own sufficient reason for existing. Such a first sufficient reason that fully explains its own existence would be, of course, not a brute fact, since a brute fact is alleged to have no reason at all – either within itself or from another.

An infinite regress among proper or essential causes is metaphysically impossible. And, yes, this conclusion may henceforth be employed as a universally true principle in any proposed demonstrations of God’s existence.

Notes:

  1. This article assumes the evident truth that real causes produce real physical effects in time, as human beings normally conceive it, that is, with the past no longer existing and the future not yet existing. Eternalists claim that past, present, and future all exist equally, based on special relativity theory’s denial of universal simultaneity for spatially separated events. Were it not for the “need” to conform timelike intervals to eternalism’s false hypothesis, the obvious reading of human experience and scientific observation within the same local world line would be that real causality occurs in “normal” time.  Of course, if that is done, then eternalism as a whole collapses, since all “events” in the cosmos suddenly fall into normal time sequences with the past no longer existing and the future not yet existing, even though absolute simultaneity for spatially separated events is still denied.
  2. Summa theologiae, I, q. 2, a. 3, c.
  3. Summa contra Gentiles, I, ch. 15, no. 5.
  4. Dennis Bonnette, Aquinas’ Proofs for God’s Existence: St. Thomas Aquinas on: “The per accidens necessarily implies the per se,” (The Hague: Martinus-Nijhoff, 1972). The subtitle focuses much of the book on the problem of infinite causal regress.
Dr. Dennis Bonnette

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Dr. Dennis Bonnette retired as a Full Professor of Philosophy in 2003 from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York. He taught philosophy there for thirty-six years and served as Chairman of the Philosophy Department from 1992 to 2002. He lives in Youngstown, New York, with his wife, Lois. They have seven adult children and twenty-five grandchildren. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1970. Dr. Bonnette taught philosophy at the college level for 40 years, and is now teaching free courses at the Aquinas School of Philosophy in Lewiston, New York. He is the author of two books, Aquinas' Proofs for God's Existence (The Hague: Martinus-Nijhoff, 1972) and Origin of the Human Species (Ave Maria, FL: Sapientia Press, third edition, 2014), and many scholarly articles.

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  • Richard Morley

    Bearing in mind observations about submicroscopic physical causes made above, a valid example of simultaneous causation of becoming might be a series of contiguous gears in motion simultaneously, so that the earlier move the later in what is, in effect, a single motion. If the earlier gears quit moving, so do the later ones.

    That is still not a chain of simultaneous 'proper' causes, as far as I can see. In a gear chain a light year long, if the first gear stops moving it will still take at least a year (in reality a lot longer) for the last gear to stop moving.

    So I have yet to see an example of physical causal chain that can undeniably be called essentially ordered. Abstract chains can be ordered essentially, e.g. a chain of relations such as Paddles the cat being First Cat because he belongs to Clarke the First Man who is married to the Prime Minister Jacinda who has no cat of her own. If she ceases to be PM, or married to Clarke, or if she gets her own cat, Paddles immediately ceases to be First Cat, opposable thumbs and twitter account notwithstanding. It is how human minds seem to work, but I have yet to see an example of the physical universe working that way.

    But imagine a different scenario, one in which every person reaching the ticket taker tells him that the person behind him has the ticket. But this time the line of “referrers” is infinite! This means that there are actually no tickets, since no individual person has any tickets! The theatre becomes overfilled and bankrupt at the same time!

    A) The cinema has apparently sold an infinite number of tickets, so they are doing fine as long as they get Hilbert to design the actual theatre.
    B) More to the point, you have asserted something (the tickets) that is possessed only by 'the first person in the line', presupposing the existence of that first person in the line. So you are apparently assuming that which you seek to prove.

    Much the same goes for the 'total sufficient reason' never being found in a finite subsection of an infinite causal chain. You have apparently defined a 'super sufficient reason' that goes beyond a sufficient reason and can only be satisfied by a first cause in the chain of sufficient reasons. If B is sufficient reason for C, then C's existence should (by my understanding of the term) be sufficiently explained by B. Sure, we look for a reason for B, which we find in A, then look a reason for A, and it is unsatisfying to think that this chain might go on forever, but I don't see that it is logically impossible for it do so.

    'Finite subsection' in italics above as I also don't really see why you can't say that the entire infinite series is not a 'total sufficient reason' - sure, you cannot reach a total explanation by a finite series of adding one more sufficient reason to the finite chain of sufficient reasons, but that is what infinite means. And sure, it is hard to wrap our minds around infinity except through manipulating symbols like ℵ (that is supposed to be an alef, if my Unicode skills fail me) but that is not a good reason for rejecting that horn of the Agrippan trilemma.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      This article involves several points that I knew would invite certain predictable objections. It must be read with great care. You raise an understandable difficulty that deserves explanation.

      I am not going to get into all the possible confusions about the infinite regress argument itself here, but I will address one important issue you raise:

      “So I have yet to see an example of physical causal chain that can undeniably be called essentially ordered. Abstract chains can be ordered essentially….”

      I have come to suspect that your observation is correct. Physical examples appear to inevitably entail temporal regresses. Physical causality turns out to be very complex to explain. That is why I referred readers to my prior statement:

      “Nanosecond delays in field propagation between interacting particles do not avoid the metaphysical necessity for contiguity and simultaneous mutual causation between those fields.”

      First, one has to distinguish between what we know from metaphysics vs. what is presented by physicists. From the metaphysical grasp of the universal laws of being, it is absolutely true that a proper cause must be
      simultaneous with its effect. I do not intend to debate that point for now.
      Still, what is also clear is that physics presents a different picture, since
      physical “chains” entail temporal regressions.

      And yet, at the final point of contiguity between, say, mover and moved, particles/fields appear to genuinely interact simultaneously. Otherwise, they would have no “interaction” at all and nothing would happen.

      What confuses the physical perspective is that all processes take place with at least speed of light limitations in their unfolding, which means that subatomic “events” can be abstracted and sequenced like frames of a motion picture. This makes the causality regress through time, making it actually a form of per accidens regression, much like our grandparents, who can be dead, while we still live.

      Thus, on a larger scale, we know the Sun could cease to shine, but we would still be impacted by photons up to eight minutes later. Submicroscopically, this is also true, which causes the confusion described
      above and why, I said that the gear example MIGHT illustrate simultaneous
      causation. Recall, that examples can be defective in certain respects, yet still illustrate a valid underlying truth. IF the gears are simultaneous, then the argument works.

      That said, at point of contact, causation MUST be simultaneous, and, if one rejects the common examples you rightly suspect, what you discover is that some cause must be sustaining “vertically” the whole series of temporal causes, whether they be of “becoming or being.” It is the physical causal CHAIN that is suspect, not the metaphysical chain of BEING that is in doubt – a chain that is not a mere abstraction, but ontological and
      immediate hic et nunc, as described in terms of being.

      As I said in the article: “Physics is inherently incapable of penetrating the depths of this metaphysical insight about being and causality.”

      I will attempt to stand aside for the commenters where possible -- but your valid observation about physical chains deserved a proper response.

      • Richard Morley

        I have come to suspect that your observation is correct. Physical examples appear to inevitably entail temporal regresses.

        But then you are left with a model of how you think the universe should work, but no actual examples of it doing so. Physicists are woefully familiar with this, which is why they and like minded folk are unlikely to take your model seriously until they have some example of at least one physical situation where it actually applies (even in theory), and ideally some experimental evidence that it does apply in such a case.

        All too often what looked like solid deduction fails because the truth was simply way outside of the hypothesis space one was considering.

        IF the gears are simultaneous, then the argument works.

        But the whole point is that the universe apparently does not allow that possibility. You cannot have a gear chain of perfectly rigid 'simultaneous gears' with no backlash that can also be turned or stopped.

        It comes back to this: When faced with the universe not acting according to your philosophy, do you assume that the way the universe works is more fundamental than the way your mind works or vice versa? Or consider both?

        You can get closer and closer to simultaneous cause and effect, by looking at smaller and smaller scales, but:
        A) you should recognise the pattern of 'God of the gaps' argumentation, where the 'proper cause' you hypothesise is always one level more abstracted from what we can currently observe and understand.
        B) you will run up against reaching quantum scales of time and space where cause and effect as we know it really does seem to break down, and where we really cannot discuss things meaningfully without a solid quantum gravity theory.

        Lacking a concrete example to discuss, consider a hypothetical example where time and space are quantised, that is to say the universe is divided up into discrete cells of spacetime. Would your idea of 'contiguous' and 'simultaneous' cause and effect be satisfied by cause and effect being in adjacent cells, or must they be in the same cell?

        • Dennis Bonnette

          I honestly want to put this gently as possible, but what you are asking me to do is precisely why I said in the OP with respect to an effect being immediately dependent upon its cause:

          “Physics is inherently incapable of penetrating the depths of this metaphysical insight about being and causality.”

          You are asking me to reduce metaphysics to physics, which is precisely what it is not. The “hypothetical example” you suggest I adopt is precisely the one which I dismissed in end note number one.

          I think what is at issue is two things: (1) Can I name an instance in which any cause is actually simultaneous with its effect? And (2), can I offer a series of proper causes that can be verified by physical science?

          My immediately preceding post reveals the complexity of addressing these issues. Because physics is, as Eddington once wrote, “a schedule of pointer readings,” it inherently abstracts from the very reality it seeks to comprehend, reducing its wholeness and continuity into measurements taken at discrete points in time and space that are converted into theories and formulae, all of which assume postulates
          and approximations that hopefully nearly approach reality, but never quite reach it.

          The metaphysical principles generated by the human intellect’s conformity to the nature of “being” itself are absolute, and thereby, universally applicable and true – totally independent of any empirical verification, such as the physicist would expect. That does not make them less certain, since they are defensible by the method of reductio ad absurdum.

          Now, to answer the two questions I pose myself above. With respect to the first, in a real physical world of causation, such as every scientist really believes is going on at every moment in the universe, causes are contiguous and simultaneous with the effects they are producing – even at the particle/field
          to particle/field level of interaction – or else, nothing would be happening in the cosmos at all and evolution itself would be a universal joke.

          As to the second question, that is where physics studies a series of per accidens temporal regressions exactly as I described in my preceding post above. These are not true simultaneous causes, except for whatever each cause of becoming was actually immediately causing just as I described with respect to my answer to the first question in the immediately preceding paragraph above. Such regressions can potentially go back to infinity, since they are not genuine series of proper causes.

          The bottom line then is that, if the only observable “simultaneous cause” is the one actually operative on its present effect is also an “intermediate cause,” then clearly the causal chain – even if unobservable -- must be “vertical” in terms of causes operating hic et nunc – necessarily ascending – either mediately or immediately – to a first cause that is itself uncaused.

          Metaphysics deals with intelligible laws of being, and is simply not to reducible physics. Trying to judge metaphysical truths by the methodology of physics occurs when physicists fail to realize the inherent limitations of their science.

          • Ray

            You deny that you are trying to justify your “metaphysical” views by appealing to the authority of physics, but it seems you are doing exactly that, here:

            With respect to the first, in a real physical world of causation, such as every scientist really believes is going on at every moment in the universe, causes are contiguous and simultaneous with the effects they are producing...

            It only makes matters worse that you seem to be appealing not to the stated beliefs of physicists, but to your own interpretation of what they “really” believe.

            I would add that your stated views concerning the spatiotemporal relationship of causes and effects is quite close to something that CAN be justified by appeal to standard textbook physics: the claim that effects are contiguous in both space and time with those spatiotemporal locations occupied by their causes (including any intermediate causes that may mediate between a given cause and effect.) Note here that contiguity in time does not imply simultaneity; for example, note that the nonnegative real numbers are contiguous, but do not overlap with, the negative real numbers. This makes me suspect that your view is not a deep insight into the true views of scientists, but a simple misunderstanding — albeit, likely a stubborn one, as it is necessary for the defense of the Thomist ideology.

          • Richard Morley

            Note here that contiguity in time does not imply simultaneity; for example, note that the nonnegative real numbers are contiguous, but do not overlap with, the negative real numbers.

            Excellent illustration, and I swear to gosh that I was thinking along the same lines before seeing that you had ninja'ed me.

            Dr Bonnette:

            The “hypothetical example” you suggest I adopt is precisely the one which I dismissed in end note number one.

            I don't see that a cellular model of space-time necessarily implies eternalism, which is what endnote #1 seems to be about. I could talk a lot more about your model of time and apparent rejection of a block universe, but that seems too big a topic to discuss alongside what we are already discussing, so for the moment let's just drop the cellular model:

            If the cause takes place up to but not including T=0, and the effect takes place starting at and including T=0, the two are contiguous in time but not simultaneous, terms you seem to use interchangeably, and between which I wanted to distinguish. (In a cellular model, T would be measured in integers, in a continuous model T would be in the set of real numbers)

            So does your philosophy require the cause to still exist at T=0 or not? Because even in a continuous model of time that is the limiting case of an example that flagrantly breaches conservation laws wherever the change being effected involves transfer of a conserved quantity such as energy or momentum.

            Note that the smaller the interval we are talking about (infinitely small in the case of T being in the real numbers) the bigger the problem with quantum effects. At intervals of less than roughly the Planck time unit, standard physics breaks down.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I can see that this thread is getting into the lengthy content that I prefer not to engage in, since I think the OP should stand by itself – perhaps with a few, if needed, clarifications from the author.

            I am still pondering how both you and Ray got this phrase, “contiguity in time,” from me. I never said it, nor would I.

            It is probably my fault for not making the grammar clearer, but please look at the text by me in question:

            “…in a real physical world of causation, such as every
            scientist really believes is going on at every moment in the universe, causes are contiguous and simultaneous with the effects they are producing….”

            First, I am not calling upon all scientists to attest to the last clause. Were that the case, the subordinate clause “every scientist really believes” would have been posterior to the clause “contiguous and simultaneous…”

            Second, I am not depending on scientists to affirm my
            statement about a “real physical world of causation,” since that is evident to all “including” every scientist. I am just noting that they do believe in it as do all.

            Third, it is I who am saying that the “causes are contiguous and simultaneous,” not the scientists.

            Fourth, the clause, “contiguous and simultaneous with the
            effects” does not mean “contiguity in time.” I realize you could read it two ways now, and that could be construed as my fault. I should have numbered the meanings: “(1) contiguous, and (2) simultaneous. I did not mean to convey any notion of “contiguity in time,” whatever that may mean. I see that when you are thinking about “slices of spacetime” as contiguous moments, you can get confused about the reality I refer to.

            For me, “contiguous” does not mean “immediately sequential, ” but rather its dictionary meaning of “touching.” This is a
            metaphysical meaning, NOT one relying on the attestation of the scientific community. I simply mean that the cause is actually “touching” the effect, which is what the metaphysical meaning of immediate dependence implies AND which common sense demands in a world of real physical causation.

            Finally, if the cause is “touching” the effect, it MUST be simultaneous with it.

            You may both disagree with that inference on my part, but
            I certainly was not intending to convey any notion of “contiguity in time” as you appear to have understood it in the explicit text of my statement.

            Perhaps, I will comment on your further points later on.

          • Ray

            Speaking for myself, I did not read your claim as anything other than "contiguous in space and simultaneous in time." My point was merely, that the claim "contiguous in both space and time" is similar enough that it is hard to think of the two as radically different kinds of claims, one physical and the other metaphysical. There are differences of course: The latter is justifiable within physics, while the former is not. The former supports an explicit claim made by Thomism, while the latter does not. I know they are different claims, but they are the same kind of claim.

            You seem to think that you can take a correct physical claim substitute a "less than or equal" sign for a "less than" sign and get a correct metaphysical claim. I think it more likely that this sort of transformation will simply result in an incorrect physical claim.

            As for your reference to what all scientists "really believe," I am not going to litigate the details of your grammar, but I really do not see the point of the reference if it is not meant to commandeer the authority of physics for your cause.

          • Speaking for myself, I did not read your claim as anything other than "contiguous in space and simultaneous in time." My point was merely, that the claim "contiguous in both space and time" is similar enough that it is hard to think of the two as radically different kinds of claims, one physical and the other metaphysical. There are differences of course: The latter is justifiable within physics, while the former is not. The former supports an explicit claim made by Thomism, while the latter does not. I know they are different claims, but they are the same kind of claim.

            It's not clear to me that they are the same kind of claim; one seems to merely associate events, while the other aims for a relation of necessity between events. The difference between regularity theory and necessitarian causation is qualitative in the same sense that "correlation ⇏ causation".

            It also seems dubious to discard simultaneity merely on the ground that causation travels at finite speed. Indeed, finite propagation of causation may well be crucial for us finite creatures to understand reality, at least for starters. But to really discard simultaneity altogether seems to necessitate discarding contact as well—and I have a hard time believing that's doable.

            Now, maybe the problem is that our intuitions are still too attached to the mechanical philosophy, which is founded upon contact forces. But are you really saying, for example, that Newton's third law—for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction—allows for action and reaction to have different time coordinates?

          • Ray

            But are you really saying, for example, that Newton's third law—for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction—allows for action and reaction to have different time coordinates?

            I think this is an excellent example of several of the confusions that seem to lead to this idea that causes and effects must be simultaneous.

            First of all, you seem to be implying that the "action" and "reaction" of Newton's third law should be identified as cause and effect. I presume you know the quoted terms are typically interpreted as "force exerted by B on A" and "force exerted by A on B." If you are to interpret these as cause and effect, which is cause and which is effect? What is your principle for deciding? (I don't think the "action" "reaction" pairs of Newton's third law can be interpreted as a cause-effect pair.)

            A less misleading reading of Newton's third law is conservation of momentum. Under this reading, the momentum gained by A is caused by the momentum lost by B, and vice versa. But, as Richard Morley pointed out earlier, momentum is only carried by A insofar is it is no longer carried by B. Thus under this reading (where it is actually clear what is cause and what is effect), the cause (momentum carried by B prior to time t) strictly precedes the effect (momentum carried by A at time t), as it should.

            I think the issues of "mechanical philosophy," "contact," and "necessity" are red herrings, and are irrelevant to the above argument.

          • First of all, you seem to be implying that the "action" and "reaction" of Newton's third law should be identified as cause and effect.

            I don't need to say that all instances of action & reaction must be clearly delineated into cause & effect, but surely all cause & effect is governed by Newton's third law? The only other option I see is to require that "cause and effect" is only sensible within open systems—where momentum is not conserved.

            Thus under this reading (where it is actually clear what is cause and what is effect), the cause (momentum carried by B prior to time t) strictly precedes the effect (momentum carried by A at time t), as it should.

            But the cause is not a cause until A makes contact with B and the effect becomes everything it will ever be only while A is in contact with B. You're welcome to have the interaction between A and B be extended in time, where there is some process of momentum exchange, but it's not like A's momentum gets transferred to some potential, hangs out for a bit, then gets transferred to B's momentum. That's the only way you wouldn't get simultaneity.

            I think the issues of "mechanical philosophy," "contact," and "necessity" are red herrings, and are irrelevant to the above argument.

            Curious; I'll be interested to see how you can remove the idea of "contact" from my penultimate paragraph and keep the content the same. Contact is deeply connected to the mechanical philosophy (it's set against stuff like action-at-a-distance). I suspect necessitarian causation is linked to proper causation, but I could be mistaken.

          • Ray

            Again, nothing I am saying is incompatible with Newton’s third law, or the idea that at some point during the process by which one billiard ball causes another to change directions, the two billiard balls touch. On my view, for example, the state of contact between the billiard balls may be viewed as being caused by the motion of the billiard balls prior to contact, and the state of motion of the balls after the contact may be viewed as being caused by the state of the balls during contact. What is at issue is whether the state of billiard ball A at time t can be said to be caused by the state of billiard ball B at exactly the same time t, or whether it is only appropriate to refer to the state of billiard ball B at earlier times as a cause of the state of A at t.

            The problems as I see it with the former view are many:
            1) if the causation involves a transfer of momentum, it seems that simultaneity asserts that there is a time when the transferred momentum is carried by both A and B. This violates conservation of momentum.
            2) If causation is meant to imply physically necessary relation of behavior, it seems that simultaneous, but distinct events cannot be so related, even if they are collocated. Why? Because I could leave A in its state while substituting a very different state for B, run the equations of motion backwards, and get a new physically possible scenario. This is in contrast to the fact that I am not physically free to choose the state of the past lightcone of A at any time prior to t while leaving the state of A at time t fixed, unless I choose a state that necessitates the state of A (insofar as physics is treated as deterministic.)
            3) Cause and effect generally implies an ordering principle where cause precedes effect, in some sense. Physics offers no natural ordering principle for simultaneous or spacelike separated events. Again, if we are to regard two touching billiard balls (presumably under an unstable condition of mutual compression) as a cause-effect pair, which is cause and which is effect?

            I see no reason not to hold the latter view other than confusion or a prior commitment to Thomism.

          • 1) But there is another conundrum: if there is any time between A losing momentum and B gaining that momentum, where did the momentum go in the meantime?

            2) I'm sorry, but I don't see the problem you're pointing out.

            3) We don't need to pick which is cause and which is effect to deal with whether causation is simultaneous.

          • Ray

            1) No. Just as there aren't any real numbers that are neither non-negative nor negative, there aren't any times when neither A nor B has the transferred momentum. But likewise, just as there are no real numbers that are both negative and non-negative, there is no time when both A and B have the transferred momentum.

            Of course the above is a somewhat unphysical case of instantaneous transfer of momentum. In a realistic interaction, there would be a range of times during which some of the momentum would be held by A and some of the momentum would be held by B. What remains the case even in the more realistic interaction is that, at any given time t during the interaction, none of the momentum that has been transferred to A at time t is still present within B, although at least some of it was present in B at any time earlier than t.

            2) This is about initial value problems. If I give you the state of affairs at a time prior to an event E (including everything in the past lightcone of E), that tells me new information about the event, and in deterministic interpretations of physics (e.g. MWI) it physically necessitates everything there is to know about the event. This is what a cause should look like.

            On the other hand, if I describe two interacting objects (e.g. a photon and an electron) existing at the same time and place, anything I tell you about the one necessitates nothing about the state of the other. e.g. I could choose the probability density of electrons/positrons at a given time and place independently from the number density of photons at the same time and place. All the information about the electrons at time t is in the electron field at time t; all the information about the photons at time t is in the photon field

            (Note: I say photon field here, since there are some apparent degrees of freedom within the electromagnetic field proper that are not independent of the charge distribution, due to gauge symmetry. I believe you can make these problems go away by thinking of things in terms of a probability distribution for the location, momentum, and spin of photons and electrons.)

            3) I can certainly imagine concepts of causality where the order is ambiguous like that. For obvious reasons, they don't work in first cause arguments, though.

          • Richard Morley

            I am still pondering how both you and Ray got this phrase, “contiguity in time,” from me.

            Much as Ray said.

            You use the term 'simultaneous' for time and 'contiguous' for space, but it seems to me that time and space should be satisfying the same criterion and those two words have the crucial distinction I tried to illustrate above.

            Hence what you will note was a question.

          • Richard Morley

            You are asking me to reduce metaphysics to physics, which is precisely what it is not.

            I won't quibble about whether that is 'reducing' it or 'raising' it, but if you are talking about space, time and causality, those are topics covered by physics these days. With mathematical detail and rigour, and even supporting experimental results, in many cases.

            That does not prevent them also being covered by metaphysics, of course. But either way, having conclusions with concrete, testable implications is a strength, not a weakness, especially if they have successfully met those tests. Conversely, not having testable implications, or even worse having rigid certainty that your conclusions must be right, whatever the evidence says, is a weakness, not a strength. In my opinion, of course, but this may be an irreconcilable difference of scientific and philosophical worldviews.

            I think what is at issue is two things: (1) Can I name an instance in which any cause is actually simultaneous with its effect? And (2), can I offer a series of proper causes that can be verified by physical science?

            A single concrete instance of a 'proper cause' in the physical domain would be good, and an essentially ordered chain of them would be better, in either case testability would be the icing on the cake.

            It appears (to me) that the straightforward answer to both questions is a simple 'No'. Your answer to (1), for example seems to be just a re-assertion that "causes are contiguous and simultaneous with the effects they are producing" without actually giving a concrete example of that, after apparently admitting that none of the examples of physical causation given so far actually fit that description. Indeed, your first answer that you suspect that my "observation is correct" could be taken to mean that you suspect that there are no physical cases of 'proper causes', while at times you seem to imply that all physical causation must boil down to essentially ordered 'proper causes'.

            This leaves me, at least, simply uncertain what you are claiming, and the obvious way to clarify would seem to be to give a concrete example. Whether you are doing physics or metaphysics, clarity must surely be a principal goal. If 'proper causes' are limited to the realm of abstract things such as relations, then they don't really seem relevant. But if so, Paddles the cat seems a reasonable example for discussion.

            Alternatively, if what you are saying is that the accidentally ordered causal chains we have looked at so far would actually come down to 'proper causes' if we were able to look at small enough temporal and spatial scales, then my previous criticisms (of 'God of the gaps style argument' and coming up against QM limits) apply.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Let me try to be as clear as possible, but hopefully, not offensive.

            I claimed that physical causation hic et nunc required proper causality.

            I never said that this instance of proper causality would be defined by the rules of physics, nor of quantum mechanics or relativity.

            I gave such an example, but perhaps, not one that satisfies the perspective of physics. It need not do so. It is still a valid example. Metaphysically.

            Two of my posts back I mentioned the comment by renown
            physicist, Sir Arthur Eddington, in his famous book, The Nature of the Physical World (1928), to the effect that all we know from physics depends on “a schedule of pointer readings.” Eddington was well aware of both relativity and quantum mechanics, save, inter alia, for the recent discovery of quantum entanglement. Please reread my paragraph and the next one about metaphysics. Better yet, I recommend reading Eddington himself.

            As I explain in a previous OP, natural science entails certain logical weaknesses that forever prevent it from attaining true
            universality or genuine certitude. See https://strangenotions.com/does-modern-physics-refute-thomistic-philosophy/

            On the contrary, as I also point out there, philosophy, and especially the science of metaphysics, can validly attain such universality and certitude.

            The bottom line is that the metaphysical example of
            physical causation here and now being an instance of proper causality is true, whether quantum mechanics “gets it” or not. I think it may, since adequate comprehension of field to field contact appears to fulfill the needs of cause being present to
            its effect. If it does not, so much the worse for physics.

            But I don’t think most good physicists worry about such things.

            There are truths we know that physics can never verify,
            such as the principle of non-contradiction and the fact that you cannot get something from absolutely nothing. We cannot honestly doubt them, despite having no empirical verification of either truth.

            Metaphysics is based on the intellect’s grasp of the absolutely universal concept of being, not on a “schedule of pointer readings” that inevitably abstracts from such immediately given realities as the flow of time and the continuous nature of motion. In abstracting from such realities, physics erects a “frozen” world of points on graphs and universal formulae that inevitably tempts some physicists to do philosophy that sometimes ends badly.

            I still think it best to leave the commenting to others.

          • George

            "On the contrary, as I also point out there, philosophy, and especially the science of metaphysics, can validly attain such universality and certitude."

            What does this mean? What good is your certitude? What good does it do anyone else, or any other endeavor? I mean utility wise, what does any of this entail?

            Could I just make up whatever I want and justify it by saying I'm following metaphysical principles?

            Person A: "I built an engine that gets colder the longer I run it. You know, steel and ceramic, moving parts, all that stuff, and it gets colder, it creates a net reduction in entropy. Every single part of it gets colder!"

            Person B: "We measured the temperature, it's getting hotter."

            A: "It's getting colder."

            B: "You're wrong."

            A: (nods) "Look, I'm metaphysically right. It's lowering entropy overall."

            B: "What is your definition of entropy? What is your definition of cold?"

          • Rob Abney

            George, I read your comment then happened to read this definition of argumentum ad lapidem:

            The point is not to demonstrate a counter-position. The point is to persuade others that the position is obviously wrong and not even worth hearing.

            We have to distinguish between this logical fallacy and its more respectable cousin, the tactic known as the reductio ad absurdum. They can appear similar at first glance (as cousins often do), but one is a valid argument, while the other is not. A reductio ad absurdum demonstrates that the logic of a given argument necessarily leads to a conclusion that is self-contradictory, false, or unacceptable.

            You may not have intended it that way. But I don't see how you can imply that the OP is simply asserting unique positions and then inventing definitions since the metaphysics that he describes has been known for a long time.

          • George

            Yes, my example does not perfectly line up, but the difference between instant and lightspeed does matter in the end, despite it not mattering to everyday small scale human experience.

          • Richard Morley

            Let me try to be as clear as possible, but hopefully, not offensive.

            Please do. I would much rather have something to think about while sulking on Time Out than engage in endless polite chitchat without getting anywhere.

            I gave such an example, but perhaps, not one that satisfies the perspective of physics. It need not do so. It is still a valid example. Metaphysically.

            I'm not sure what that means, especially the example being one that "satisfies" or "is defined by" the rules of physics. The question is whether the cause and effect in question are actually rigorously simultaneous, and whether the effect (once it has come to be) can continue without the cause. I am assuming that the example you refer to is the gear chain, but that is not explicit.

            That example is not and cannot be truly simultaneous, if we are referring to the gears stopping or starting turning. Obviously once started, they can all be rotating simultaneously, but causes still take time to propagate down the chain. Further (assuming inertia but no friction) if the first gear which is driving all the rest ceases to exist rather than stopping once the gear chain is up to speed, the other cogs will continue turning and a recent change of speed would continue propagating down the chain. If you stop the first gear, the rest will eventually stop, but that is because a new cause intervened to actively stop the motion.

            So it is a reasonable mechanical illustration (to the human eye) of what you mean by an essentially ordered series of cause and effect, but not an example of the universe actually working that way.

            On the contrary, as I also point out there, philosophy, and especially the science of metaphysics, can validly attain such universality and certitude.

            Deduction can ideally lead to certainty as induction cannot, sure. But even the conclusions of deductive arguments are only as certain as the premises of the argument. (And, for completeness' sake, the validity of the argument itself.) It is not always immediately obvious when one or the other is invalid, which is why I and others prefer both apparently sound logical argument from reasonable premises and separate verification of the conclusion, and are suspicious of certainty to the point of just dismissing the validity of contrary evidence.

            If your premises refer to a model universe significantly different from the one we actually live in, the conclusions can still not apply to our reality. I doubt, for example, that you would claim that all philosophers agree with the A-theory of time which seems(?) to be central to your argument. Likewise, if the best example given of an 'essentially ordered' chain of causality is both physically impossible and not actually essentially ordered, the conclusions reached from assuming causality is based on such chains may be dubious.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am a bit short on time, but want to give you some reply -- so this may not be as "tight" as it should be.

            Still, I should have made clear that I was no longer using the gear argument. Like all physical examples, it doubtless entails a regression in time the moment you leave the immediate last field to field cause-effect instance.

            But I do want to make a bit clearer the difference between metaphysical reasoning and scientific reasoning. This may not be perfect, but it is something like this:

            In science, one observes a pattern of relations between phenomena and hypothesizes some consistency upon which to test predictability. This is inductive reasoning and necessarily requires experimental verification. Yet, no matter how many tests fulfill predicted results, at most, one can logically say only that the test results tend to support my hypothesis -- knowing always that a single negative result can invalidate the original hypothesis.

            This is why the scientific method both requires empirical verification and why it can never produce genuinely universal and certain "laws."

            Of course, if one has solely been educated to think in the above scientific terms, it is virtually impossible to contemplate as rational the seemingly overstated claims of classical metaphysicians to attain actual universal certitudes. Surely, they are departing from actual reality and merely speculating in a purely mental game.

            But metaphysical induction differs from that of natural science. We start with direct experience of things in the real world. From that experience, we derive not only judgments of the actual existence of natures in an initial and incomplete fashion (for example, of animals and inanimate objects), but also of the concept of being that is found in each and every experience of any thing whatever.

            It is the concept of being that is grounded in induction because it is derived from actual experience of reality. The intellect grasps its intelligibility and immediately forms certain first undeniable principles, such as non-contradiction and that you cannot get something from nothing. Exactly how it does this would be the topic of a more rigorous course in epistemology as well as metaphysics.

            But, and here is the crucial point, that first insight into the nature of being is itself grounded in immediate experience. The further inferences about being and its implications remain grounded in experience since they are simply the necessary deductive inferences that flow from that initial inductive truth -- immediately grasped in experience, and NOT simply an hypothesis about related phenomena that must be later "checked" by experimentation.

            Thus the metaphysical line of inference moves from experience to its necessary implications without the need to constantly recheck hypotheses by experimental verification. If you consider for a moment, this is exactly what the scientist himself does with certain facts that are assumed to be true, and from which certain implications are seen to necessarily follow. Only the scientific "facts" are often assumptions about underlying realities of which there is no certitude in the first place.

            Be that as it may, the key point in metaphysics is that the initial grasp of the concept of being itself is so absolutely certain that even the positivist scientist finds himself forced to use it absolutely, even though he really does not know that his grasp of it is had by a method alien to his presupposed epistemology of repeated empirical verification.

            "Being" is in a class by itself, since there are absolutely no instances of "non-being." That is why, while my primitive knowledge of the nature of "chickenness" may hold good for all possible chickens, it is always possible that the next object I encounter may not be a chicken. But my primitive knowledge of the nature of "being" is safely universal since it is not possible to encounter some new thing that is a "non-being," since non-being is not.

            I am not writing this with tight scholarly precision in the interest of saving time, but do think it helpful to try to share with you some insights that might illuminate basic differences in worldviews found in our discussions.

          • Richard Morley

            Still, I should have made clear that I was no longer using the gear argument.

            Then I do not know what metaphysically valid example you were referring to earlier. Nor what you mean by field to field contact.

            Of course, if one has solely been educated to think in the above scientific terms, it is virtually impossible to contemplate as rational the seemingly overstated claims of classical metaphysicians to attain actual universal certitudes.

            This seems to most neatly encapsulate what I see as your misapprehensions about scientific reasoning.

            Scientists are no strangers to deductive reasoning. Pure maths is even more absolute than your claims about metaphysics, and theoretical physics could be seen as taking pure mathematical objects and trying to match them to something in the real world. The pure mathematical reasoning behind a given physical theorem is as absolute as metaphysical logic, if not more so.

            But however solid the maths or logic, and however incontrovertible the premises seem to be, the whole edifice means nothing concrete unless it corresponds to something in reality. At the very least you have to be able to say what in reality is represented by your abstract concept, you cannot just say that (e.g.) 'quaternions' have 'something' to do with quantum field theory. So at the very least I really would want to see what specific concrete event or thing in reality (not a physics model) is represented by an 'essentially ordered' chain of 'proper causes', as defined. If only as the quickest way to clarify your point.

            At the moment you seem to be saying that finite 'essentially ordered' chains of simultaneous 'proper causes' are in there somewhere but you cannot for the life of you say where. It may be worth leaving this until after you get to where you use this conclusion that such chains cannot regress to infinity, just noting that many of us have reservations about the applicability of your theory. For example: If such chains only appear momentarily at events like the very point where a particle 'emits' a virtual photon, and such individual events are linked up in temporally and spatially extended, accidentally ordered chains, then fine. How does it matter whether such infinitesimally brief events break down to a finite or infinite chain of simultaneous 'proper causes'?

            Further point: Apparently bulletproof reasoning has fallen down when something comes along that was completely outside the hypothesis space of the original reasoner, such as non-euclidean space, or the lack of an absolute 'now'. I imagine that you agree that your own arguments do have premises, including hidden ones that may not be immediately obvious. They are thus no less vulnerable to such unexpected difficulties except in as much as absolute certainty that a conclusion cannot be wrong, and so contrary evidence can be dismissed out of hand, makes one more, not less, likely to have made such an oversight somewhere. Confirmation bias applies to reasoning as well as evidence gathering.

            To pick just one premise that seems, to me, to underlie your reasoning, and be both debatable and in the minority view among your fellow philosophers, I would point to your apparent assertion of presentism.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            if you are talking about space, time and causality, those are topics covered by physics these days.

            The first two are used by physics, although they are often mashed together as spacetime. However, Einstein denounced them as "metaphysical intrusions" into what should be an empirical science and said that his general relativity had stripped them of the last shred of objective existence. Einstein belonged to the last generation of physicists to have much grounding in philosophy. American universities tended to focus on pragmatism and turned out very competent technicians.

            Causality has been formally discarded by Modern physics ever since Hume banished it in favor of correlation. Although there is always the problem of do-as-I-say; not-as-I-do. One of the fun aspects of reading these comment threads is the tendency to find the same "side" in a debate citing first one position on causation then in another thread another position, depending on the horrid conclusion being avoided.

            But it is well known that ex nihilo, nihil fit, and in particular, no science can demonstrate its own axioms. Physics must take existence, and hence time and space, and hence motion for granted. They can dice and slice it in sundry ways, they can decide it is conserved or not in various forms, but they find it difficult to get a handle on what exactly it is without stepping outside. Like a denizen of Flatland, they are not able to make the required measurements. Hence, the insistence on "testability" of concepts that are not metrical properties of physical bodies while often simultaneously claiming essential causality for mere statistical associations. (I'm looking at you, social "sciences.")

          • Richard Morley

            The first two are used by physics, although they are often mashed together as spacetime.

            Nope, theoretical physics describes and explains them these days - subject of course to experimental verification that is still a wistful hope, but the theories can usefully push into these topics, and have made predictions about them (e.g. frame dragging) that have been verified. Just because there is no 'meta' before 'physicist' on their business cards does not mean that theoretical physicists cannot reason about such things using all the tools of standard metaphysics plus mathematics and empirical results.

            Einstein belonged to the last generation of physicists to have much grounding in philosophy.

            I must be hallucinating all those people I thought I knew with education, even degrees, in both. Such as everyone in this course and ones like it.

          • Metaphysics deals with intelligible laws of being, and is simply not to reducible physics. Trying to judge metaphysical truths by the methodology of physics occurs when physicists fail to realize the inherent limitations of their science.

            Your metaphysics is intelligible to me in the sense that when you describe it, I can understand what you're saying. But when you attempt to demonstrate that it is a necessary truth, I find your argument unpersuasive. As far as I can tell, the only reality I need be concerned about is that which is revealed through the natural sciences, beginning with physics.

            As for the limitations of science, be they inherent or a function of human fallibility, I believe they represent the limitations of what we can know about reality.

          • Rudy R

            The reason theists rely on metaphysical explanations for who (not how) created the universe is that there is no scientific evidence that supports their god as the first cause. Ask a Christian how the universe was created and they'll say god, which as I see it, is a category error. They don't know how, just who. The how is still a mystery. Ultimately, the theists explanation for how the universe was created is god magic, which has no explanatory value whatsoever.

          • Angry_Red_Barber

            You should probably talk to more Christians, it would seem.

          • Rudy R

            How many more?

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      In a gear chain a light year long, if the first gear stops moving it will still take at least a year (in reality a lot longer) for the last gear to stop moving.

      It's a lot of fun to read the phrase "in reality" in a sentence about a gear train a light year long. I have yet to see a physical example of a gear train a light year long. I suspect strength of materials would kick in before it is completed. But perhaps it is more of an epistemological problem than an ontological one. IOW, where is the observer of this gear train situated? If he is near the end of the gear train, how does he know when the first gear stops? If he is near the first, how does he know when the last gear stops? For surely, he does not observe that the second gear continues turning when the first gear stops! Nor the third gear when the second, and so on were he to hustle alongside!

      Sharon Kam playing Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A is an example. The clarinet has no magical power to produce music on its own: the reed does not vibrate, nor the keys open and close. If Ms Kam ceases to play the instrument, the instrument ceases to produce the music. It does no good to suggest that faint echoes of the music that has already been played continue to reverberate faintly in the air at greater distances. Echoes are not the thing itself. That's why the discussion ought to be made in the progressive tense, which is implicit in the Latin present. Or the presumption made that the observation is at the here-and-now.

      Then there is the priceless Ming vase supported on the round end table. The table is in turn supported by the floor, and the floor by the joists and supporting columns. These in turn are supported by the foundation. (There may be other floors in between.) And the foundation is supported by the earth, which sits upon four immense elephants perched upon the back of the Great Tortoise. Should any of these supports be removed, the priceless Ming Vase will go crashing into the Abyss to terrible financial loss. All of that is here-and-now. (Okay, Science!™ is not certain about the elephants and tortoise, but they are certain that there can be no infinite regress of tortoises all the way down.)

      Or consider the kitten moved to cross the room by a saucer of milk. Her act of crossing the room does not cause a reciprocal motion in the saucer, which for this motion really is an unmoved mover. If the saucer disappears, the kitten may become confused and may wander about in search of the Remembered Saucer, but will no longer be directed toward her final cause; i.e., the drink of milk she set out for.

      • Richard Morley

        It's a lot of fun to read the phrase "in reality" in a sentence about a gear train a light year long. I have yet to see a physical example of a gear train a light year long.

        My apologies. In responding to someone like Dr Bonnette it is easy to forget that others like yourself are also reading.

        You, and anyone sharing your difficulties, can simply consider a shorter gear chain and just think that it will take at least as long for the final gear to stop as it would take for a light signal to travel to the end of the chain.

        IOW, where is the observer of this gear train situated? If he is near the end of the gear train, how does he know when the first gear stops?

        Wherever he is, he sees the gear stop, and works out how long it took that light to reach him and so when the gear stopped.

        Is this relevant? Do you claim, for example, that there is a frame of reference that will see a signal traverses a light year in less than one year? You seem, again, to be trying to mimic arguments from those who comprehend (in this case) relativity, but without the underlying understanding.

        If the saucer disappears, the kitten may become confused and may wander about in search of the Remembered Saucer, but will no longer be directed toward her final cause; i.e., the drink of milk she set out for.

        Physically, there will be a tiny delay between the saucer vanishing and the kitten becoming aware of that. In the case of an astronaut setting out for a planet a light year away, the planet could have been devoured by a peckish Galactus as much as 364 days before he set out.

        Abstractly, we might consider that the kitten is no longer 'directed towards' the saucer (or the astronaut towards the planet) which no longer exists, on the very instant that it ceases to exist, but it seems to be only that kind of abstract relationship that follows the kind of rules that the OP assumes for the Universe. In terms of the actual physical processes, the transmission of data or energy or force, the idealistic Thomist causation seems to fail. As with your other examples.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          Physically, there will be a tiny delay between the saucer vanishing and the kitten becoming aware of that. In the case of an astronaut setting out for a planet a light year away, the planet could have been devoured by a peckish Galactus as much as 364 days before he set out.

          Hence, the confusion of the kitten. The sensitive soul of the kitten possesses the power of memory, so the kitten remembers having seen the saucer and, being somewhat familiar with the normal behavior of saucers of milk, will become bemused at its abrupt disappearance. But in the real world with which others here are otherwise enthralled, this will usually not be the case.

          Likewise, I know of no actual planet a light year away, but what the heck, let's pretend there is and let's pretend it has been devoured. Why should we suppose that the year's delay only applies to the disappearance of the planet and not to its appearance? That is, the cause of the expedition's setting forth was not the existence per se of the planet, but the apparent existence of the planet as observed a year later. Hence, the mover of the space explorers is this phantasm and the disappearance of the phantasm removes that mover.

          However, people being at least as curious as kittens, through proverbially possessing only 11% of the lives would probably continue their expedition because now the mover is their own memory of then-I-saw-it;now-I-don't, which we may abbreviate as WTF? Or IOW, motivation is more complex than mechanics.

          Abstractly, we might consider that the [astronaut] is no longer 'directed towards' the planet, which no longer exists, on the very instant that it ceases to exist

          Right. He [or she] is no longer directed toward the image of the planet, on the very instant that the image ceases to exist. Remember that he was not initially attracted by the sight of the actual planet itself.

          As with your other examples.

          So, WIle E. Coyote science works? If the table were to disappear, the priceless Ming vase would actually hover in the air for a split second, defined by the light speed lag, before plummeting to the floor? That does not seem reasonable, since Wile E. Coyote is a fool. (And the distinction between an ontological reality and a merely epistemological one is cleverly telegraphed by the fact that Mr. Coyote does not begin-to-fall until he notices that he is standing in mid-air.) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/34425427ab6234aeaec775d47b73d556d3c1a75ba506ea2a3cffe8c3baa55aa4.jpg

          • Richard Morley

            Likewise, I know of no actual planet a light year away, but what the heck, let's pretend there is and let's pretend it has been devoured. Why should we suppose that the year's delay only applies to the disappearance of the planet and not to its appearance?

            We don't, but it is only the abstract relationship of being headed towards an actual existing planet that might be said to cease (or come to be again) instantly the planet disappears (or reappears). The apparent existence of the planet, or rather the information about the planets existence conveyed by photons or gravity or other physically existing causal means, follows accidentally ordered causation, as far as I can see.

            So, WIle E. Coyote science works?

            For very very short periods of time, yes. The vase cannot start to fall until the information that the table has vanished, conveyed by the interruption in force carriers preventing the vase from falling, traverses the tiny gap between the table and the vase.

            That does not seem reasonable, since Wile E. Coyote is a fool.

            So so many responses to that. Are you by any chance trying to get me in trouble?

    • Angry_Red_Barber

      Hello Richard, have you engaged with Dr. Ed Feser on this topic? You seem to be an intelligent fellow. I'm not sure about your background but it would be fun to see if you and Dr. Feser could both be invited on the show Unbelievable? to debate this subject, or perhaps Aquinas's First Way.

  • Ben

    How timely. I was just discussing this kind of thing with someone the other day. This may be just another accidentally ordered regression example, but I like it…

    “You are at a deli counter to buy meat and you are told to first take a number. You are then told that you must take a number in order to take a number and this process of taking numbers to take the next will continue to infinity. Will you ever reach the deli counter? You then notice that others with the same instructions have meat in their cart from the same counter. You conclude that the processes of taking numbers must have ended at some point, at least for those with meat. It logically could not have continued to infinity as evident by the meat existing in the cart.”

    Without ever seeing the First Number and if you had to bet your life on it, what would you say? Is there a “First Number” for this deli counter or not? I would bet there is.

  • George

    Before there is being, can there be a rule that being cannot come?

    • Rob Abney

      No, the rule would first have to "be".

  • It has to be granted that an an infinitely regressing series of caused causes, no caused cause is “sufficient unto itself,” that is, that it does not cause itself. It is entirely possible, however, that in the causal series you present ending in effect A, for the caused cause B to be sufficient to cause A, for neither the cause C nor any prior cause is by-passing B and serving itself as an additional immediate cause of A.

    Richard E. Hennessey
    After Aristotle
    https://afteraristotle.net/

  • Since non-being cannot ever produce being, and since the effect, as such, is in continual existential dependence on another for some accidental quality and/or its very existence in being, no effect can survive ceasing to be actively caused – even if that causal agency ceased only a nanosecond ago. Physics is inherently incapable of penetrating the depths of this metaphysical insight about being and causality.

    How does the discovery of impetus and then inertia factor into this analysis? IIRC, Aristotle thought that a rock needed to be continually pushed in order to continue moving. But we know that if we give something a push in space, it'll just keep moving—modulo gravity wells.

    It's hard for me to interpret the gravity of statements like the quoted, without having some sense of how it would correct current scientific understanding; I don't see how one could be confident that it corrected anything unless it leads to new insights or improves utility in some other way. I'm happy for truth to take a while to manifest as utility, but if it never does, oughtn't we be suspicious?

    • Ben Champagne

      I would look at your gravity/rock contention more. It doesn't refute what he is saying as far as I can see. Absence, evidence, and all that.

      • I'm sorry, but that's too succinct for me.

        • Ben Champagne

          Not intended to be an argument. Sorry if it came across that way. I was more just implying that our interpretation of gravity is exactly that, and there is a lot of room for extrapolation into ideas like inertia and vacuums in that realm.

          Just meant for reflection, and an observation that I didn't see your issue as a refutation personally because of too many unknowns.

          • Dr. Bonnette wrote "no effect can survive ceasing to be actively caused"; what is actively causing Voyager 1 to be moving away from the Sun at 16.9995 kps? Maybe I'm really barking up the wrong tree, but it seems weird that science would have succeeded so spectacularly while operating on such a false premise (inertia).

          • Ben Champagne

            Can an object move from a stationary position in the vacuum of space?

          • Stationary with respect to what? I know of no way to identify a universally preferred frame of reference. But if we ignore that problem, surely a comet can smash into just about anything and impart momentum. But then the comet is done acting.

          • Ben Champagne

            Well that's half the point of the question. Are you really sure inertia acts exactly as previously posed? I don't know. You are touching on the other half in that what constitutes an object. Not saying I have answers, just that there is certainly enough that is unknown to draw questions without answers to your particular example with regard to what exactly 'done acting' means.

          • Oh, I'm not going to pull a Sean Carroll and argue that Seriously, The Laws Underlying The Physics of Everyday Life Really Are Completely Understood (update with nice visualization). But if someone comes along and says I am reasoning in a deeply flawed way, I think it's fair to ask for evidence that my ability to understand and navigate reality is harmed in comparison to my interlocutor. Maybe I'm just too pragmatic, but I just don't know what to do when I'm being confronted with what seem like abstract thought-castles. When they don't touch down on reality in ways I can understand, I feel lost.

          • Ben Champagne

            I wasn't intending to infer all that! I would just say that sometimes our descriptions are wanting of reality in general, and it is easy to assume more knowledge than what is at hand. I tend to lean into sufficient reason because I have yet to find an example that refutes it. But that doesn't mean there aren't still questions. I am mostly just riffing here as I am watching a show, but the conservation of energy would be another issue that comes to mind in the rock/gravity example and how it actually functions, our knowledge is very limited there.

          • Maybe you aren't saying that the non-Aristotelian/Thomist thinking about causation is deeply flawed, but I'm pretty sure Dr. Bonnette is. I even have intuitions which support his thinking—chiefly about values and human agency and the terrible state that is the human sciences (maybe because it makes errors in the domains Dr. Bonnette has indicated). But those intuitions are just that right now, and so the hard evidence that something is majorly amiss seems rather lacking.

          • Ben Champagne

            I have pondered something similar for a while. My main issue with 'hard evidence' or anything that relates to conceptions of 'concrete' reality are wholly limited to descriptive attribution. One can't ask science why, and I have yet to see any argument that properly contends with our ability to do so. Again, not really an argument here, more rather a similar intuition that something is majorly amiss, but maybe that evidence will never be found in certain disciplines.

          • One way to view science is that it tries to find teleologically neutral knowledge. That is, one can use the knowledge to do good or to do evil. Science yields nuclear bombs and nuclear power plants. This fits in perfectly with 'how'. But when it comes to 'why', the specter of a purpose-restricting telos is raised. Reality is such that things work better this way than that way. Such a discovery is not permissible within science, unless one says, "If you want X, then it is better to do Y than Z." It all has to be relativized, so that the substrate remains perfectly neutral. This might make science constitutionally unable to deal fully with 'why'.

          • Richard Morley

            Are you really sure inertia acts exactly as previously posed?

            It is close enough to (e.g.) plot orbits of interplanetary probes accurately enough for NASA (when it remembers the difference between metric and imperial units).

            There are, or were, models investigating whether inertia acts very differently at very low acceleration, which could be used to explain the behaviour of galaxies without invoking (as much) dark matter. I'm not sure where those stand now.

          • Richard Morley

            Even if there were initially no other object in the universe to give a frame of reference, the only ways to accelerate, given conservation of momentum, would involve producing another object moving away, whether rocket exhaust or photons or something more exotic. Which would then give you a point of reference.

          • Sure (assuming a closed system), but "a point of reference""a universally preferred frame of reference". I wasn't sure if Ben was aiming for Newton's absolute space and time.

          • Richard Morley

            Agreed. My only point was that while the particle in a vacuum with no point of reference illustrates the absence of a preferred frame of reference as regards velocity, there is no equivalent I can see for acceleration.

            So even in Newtonian physics, there is no obvious absolute velocity, there are preferred 'inertial' frames of reference for talking about absolute acceleration.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            The original impetus (a/k/a "momentum") imparted by the thrower is permanent unless corrupted by a contrary; so what keeps moving away from the sun is the action of the impetus that was imparted to it. Motus in the sense the medievals used it means something more like "change" and is more akin to "acceleration" than to "velocity." Voyager is not accelerating, except insofar as the sun is exerting a contrary impetus through its distortion of the spacetime manifold. That is, the mass of the sun "bends" spacetime and Voyager responds to this curvature by curling around an (open-ended) orbit. The manifold thus serves as an intermediate "contact" between them.

          • That makes much more sense to me than Dr. Bonnette's position.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      You open a question that could belong to an entirely new article. For now, just look at end note number 19 on this: http://drbonnette.com/articles/22/evolution-micro-macro-articles-home-variation-first-thomas-aquinas-part-notes/

      • Thanks; for the lazy, I'll include it here:

            Calling motion a “state” does not render it static. Nor does it lessen the truth that such motion entails the continuous reduction of potency to act -- which reduction, as Aquinas observes, requires a cause because “...nothing can be reduced (from potency) to act except by some being in act.”(18) Maritain’s alteration of “Everything which moves is moved by another,” so as to apply only to changes in states of motion or rest, is quite unnecessary. Even the constant state of motion that is described by the principle of inertia requires a continuous extrinsic cause of such motion.(19)

        [19] Newton himself is in explicit agreement with this philosophical conclusion. In his Optics, he writes, “The vis inertiae is a passive principle by which bodies persist in their motion or rest, receive motion in proportion to the force impressing it, and resist as much as they are resisted. By this principle alone there could never be any motion in the world. Some other principle was necessary for putting bodies into motion; and now they arc in motion, some other principle is necessary for conserving the motion.” Newton, loc. cit. Wallace writes, “The first law of motion and the concept of inertia that it involves state only partial truths. They are not verified of an entire physical reality, but rather abstract from efficient causality and its relation to compulsory motion. ...looking at the truth contained in the first law from the vantage point we have now attained, it can be seen that the former attains its full stature and most intelligent justification when understood as requiring the continued application of an extrinsic mover. ...Although it is not known to modern physicists, moreover, it was known to Newton, the father of their science, who knew better than they the limitations of the principles he first formulated.” Wallace, op. cit., pp. 363-364. (A Variation on the First Way of St. Thomas Aquinas - Part 1; Part 3 - End Notes)

        I await a future article expanding on this. Newton's claim that "some other principle is necessary for conserving the motion" reminds me of Sean Carroll's transition of "laws of Nature" → "unbreakable patterns". We go from thinking that the patterns are enforced to merely think that the patterns hold. Causation then disappears as a thing, as we see in fundamental physics. Instead you merely get statistical prediction from state to state. We conveniently ignore that the measurement is entirely dependent on the instrument used to measure, but hey—who has provided a better way of doing science? It is a potent objection.

        • Ray

          The Newton quote appears to be a bit of a quote mine. He is not saying that an "active principle" is required to maintain intertial motion of bodies in a vacuum. Rather he rightly points out that "motion" (he really should have described this using Leibniz's "vis viva" aka kinetic energy) is repeatedly lost to dissipatory forces like inelastic collisions and resistance by viscous fluids. He therefore posits "active principles" -- including gravity, the (then unknown) processes leading to the internal warmth of the sun and earth, and "fermentation" -- very roughly, metabolic energy.

          There's also some stuff in there arguing against Cartesian ideas of contact forces and "vortices" driving planetary motions, and in favor of "action at a distance."

          I have included below the full paragraph from Newton containing what Dr. Bonnette quoted. See for yourself:

          And thus Nature will be very conformable to her self and very simple, performing all the great Motions of the heavenly Bodies by the Attraction of Gravity which intercedes those Bodies, and almost all the small ones of their Particles by some other attractive and repelling Powers which intercede the Particles. The Vis inertiæ is a passive Principle by which Bodies persist in their Motion or Rest, receive Motion in proportion to the Force impressing it, and resist as much as they are resisted. By this Principle alone there never could have been any Motion in the World. Some other Principle was necessary for putting Bodies into Motion; and now they are in Motion, some other Principle is necessary for conserving the Motion.For from the various Composition of two Motions, 'tis very certain that there is not always the same quantity of Motion in the World. For if two Globes joined by a slender Rod, revolve about their common Center of Gravity with an uniform Motion, while that Center moves on uniformly in a right Line drawn in the Plane of their circular Motion; the Sum of the Motions of the two Globes, as often as the Globes are in the right Line described by their common Center of Gravity, will be bigger than the Sum of their Motions, when they are in a Line perpendicular to that right Line. By this Instance it appears that Motion may be got or lost. But by reason of the Tenacity of Fluids, and Attrition of their Parts, and the Weakness of Elasticity in Solids, Motion is much more apt to be lost than got, and is always upon the Decay. For Bodies which are either absolutely hard, or so soft as to be void of Elasticity, will not rebound from one another. Impenetrability makes them only stop. If two equal Bodies meet directly in vacuo, they will by the Laws of Motion stop where they meet, and lose all their Motion, and remain in rest, unless they be elastick, and receive new Motion from their Spring. If they have so much Elasticity as suffices to make them re-bound with a quarter, or half, or three quarters of the Force with which they come together, they will lose three quarters, or half, or a quarter of their Motion. And this may be try'd, by letting two equal Pendulums fall against one another from equal heights. If the Pendulums be of Lead or soft Clay, they will lose all or almost all their Motions: If of elastick Bodies they will lose all but what they recover from their Elasticity. If it be said, that they can lose no Motion but what they communicate to other Bodies, the consequence is, that in vacuo they can lose no Motion, but when they meet they must go on and penetrate one another's Dimensions. If three equal round Vessels be filled, the one with Water, the other with Oil, the third with molten Pitch, and the Liquors be stirred about alike to give them a vortical Motion; the Pitch by its Tenacity will lose its Motion quickly, the Oil being less tenacious will keep it longer, and the Water being less tenacious will keep it longest, but yet will lose it in a short time. Whence it is easy to understand, that if many contiguous Vortices of molten Pitch were each of them as large as those which some suppose to revolve about the Sun and fix'd Stars, yet these and all their Parts would, by their Tenacity and Stiffness, communicate their Motion to one another till they all rested among themselves. Vortices of Oil or Water, or some fluider Matter, might continue longer in Motion; but unless the Matter were void of all Tenacity and Attrition of Parts, and Communication of Motion, (which is not to be supposed,) the Motion would constantly decay. Seeing therefore the variety of Motion which we find in the World is always decreasing, there is a necessity of conserving and recruiting it by active Principles, such as are the cause of Gravity, by which Planets and Comets keep their Motions in their Orbs, and Bodies acquire great Motion in falling; and the cause of Fermentation, by which the Heart and Blood of Animals are kept in perpetual Motion and Heat; the inward Parts of the Earth are constantly warm'd, and in some places grow very hot; Bodies burn and shine, Mountains take fire, the Caverns of the Earth are blown up, and the Sun continues violently hot and lucid, and warms all things by his Light. For we meet with very little Motion in the World, besides what is owing to these active Principles. And if it were not for these Principles, the Bodies of the Earth, Planets, Comets, Sun, and all things in them, would grow cold and freeze, and become inactive Masses; and all Putrefaction, Generation, Vegetation and Life would cease, and the Planets and Comets would not remain in their Orbs. ( Newton Opticks Book III query 31 page 397-400 )

          • I'm afraid I have to agree with you. Returning to Aristotle's rock that had to be continually pushed to keep moving, Newton is pointing out air resistance as the reason a continual push is required. I wonder if Newton's use of "passive principle" is meant to deny anything like Lucretius' "swerve".

          • Ray

            While I agree there's some obvious Atomist influence on the cited text, I don't see any evidence that Newton was voicing an opinion one way or the other on Lucretius's "swerve" or anything like it. I think "passive" is simply used to contrast the principle of intertia that he sees as resisting change (gain or loss of motion), from "active" principles, like gravity and his other examples, that he sees as creating change (gain of motion.)

          • Isn't Lucretius' swerve inherently antithetical to inertia?

          • Ray

            Inertia just says that if a swerve happens, it involves a force. I don’t know of anywhere Newton denies the existence of inherently unpredictable forces. I certainly don’t see any such denial in the quoted passage. I admit that the swerve doesn’t really seem like Newton’s style, but again I just don’t see any plausible way to read that into the word “passive.”

    • Ben

      “I'm happy for truth to take a while to manifest as utility, but if it never does, oughtn't we be suspicious?”

      I am. When questions are answered and things are discovered in any discipline it leads to more questions and more unknowns. Full intelligibility is never obtained. It makes me suspicious that the human mind is capable of grasping all truth.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      The motus involved in the argument, though often translated as "motion," is better translated as "change." A change in motion-of-location is called "acceleration." An acceleration requires a "force" continually applied.

      "Intertia" is the Latin word for "laziness." It refers to the tendency of an object to maintain whatever state it is currently in. (And thus is the inanimate precursor to the animate "life" or "struggle for existence.") So the well-known dictum that "Whatever is "moving" is "being moved" by another can be translated modernly as "a body in motion remains in motion unless acted upon by an outside force." Jean Buridan de Bethune stated this in the 14th century when he said that the impetus given to a body is permanent unless dissipated by a countervailing impetus (such as friction or gravity).

      So, a body in "outer space" keeps moving because of the impetus (a/k/a 'momentum') it received initially and which has not been dissipated by a contrary acceleration.

      • Does this make sense of the bit of the OP I quoted? Here's a shorter chunk:

        … no effect can survive ceasing to be actively caused – even if that causal agency ceased only a nanosecond ago …

        Is the "effect" the Δv, not the resultant v?

      • Dennis Bonnette

        I have greatest appreciation of your enthusiastic defense of truth and sound philosophy. Moreover, on the point you make above you are in good company, since the outstanding French philosopher Jacques Maritain in his Approaches to God suggests the following revision of the principle to accommodate for inertia: “Every body which undergoes a change in regard to its state of rest or motion changes under the action of another thing.”

        That said, I am forced by truth to say that neither St. Thomas nor Isaac Newton would agree with the need for such a revision. St. Thomas, in fact, at one point, perhaps in his Commentary on the Physics of Aristotle, wrestles with how to explain the fact that a rock, when thrown, keeps moving after leaving the hand. He even suggests that the air accumulates in front of the projectile and then rushes to the back, creating an ongoing impetus! Inertia was rather confusing at that time.

        What is more enlightening, though, is the fact that Sir Isaac Newton himself insisted that a body in a state of moving inertia requires a mover.

        “Newton himself is in explicit agreement with this philosophical conclusion. In his Optics, he writes, “The vis inertiae is a passive principle by which bodies persist in their motion or rest, receive motion in proportion to the force impressing it, and resist as much as they are resisted. By this principle alone there could never be any motion in the world. Some other principle was necessary for putting bodies into motion; and now they are in motion, some other principle is necessary for conserving the motion.” Newton, loc. cit. Wallace
        writes, “The first law of motion and the concept of inertia that it involves state only partial truths. They are not verified of an entire physical reality, but rather abstract from efficient causality and its relation to compulsory motion. ...looking at the truth contained in the first law from the vantage point we have now attained, it can be seen that the former attains its full stature and most intelligent justification when understood as requiring the continued application of an extrinsic mover. ...Although it is not known to modern physicists, moreover, it was known to Newton, the father of their science, who knew better than they the limitations of the principles he first
        formulated.” Wallace, op. cit., pp. 363-364.” [Taken from my article on A Variation on the First Way of St. Thomas (note 19) posted in full on my web site: drbonnette.com]

        If you ask how this is so, the answer is that motion is a reduction from potency to act, and nothing can do this to itself. As long as a body in motion is constantly changing position in relation to some point of reference, it is also constantly gaining real new positions that require causal explanation. Of course, one can question as to which body is in motion and which is the point of reference. In either case, something is acquiring new positional qualities that demand an extrinsic reason or cause.

        I do not introduce this to criticize your good defense of the need for a mover of things moved, but merely to show that the breadth of the application of the principle is even greater than usually thought.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          I'm pretty sure it was Buridan, not Thomas who decided that an impetus once impressed was permanent unless opposed by a contrary, such as friction. That was several generations afterward and was said to have been inspired by the observation of posterior motion by a mill stone after the crown gear was disengaged. His statement that the magnitude of the impetus was proportional to the weight and speed of the body (for which we would say mass and velocity) clearly indicates that what he meant was what we now call "momentum." But to say that the body continues to move because it has "momentum" is no less mysterious in the end than the claim that one has "solved" Zeno's paradox of motion with the convergence of infinite series.

        • What is more enlightening, though, is the fact that Sir Isaac Newton himself insisted that a body in a state of moving inertia requires a mover.

          Would you address Ray's comment on this matter, especially the bit where Newton seems to be saying a continuous mover is required only because of various dissipative forces (e.g. friction)?

          If you ask how this is so, the answer is that motion is a reduction from potency to act, and nothing can do this to itself. As long as a body in motion is constantly changing position in relation to some point of reference, it is also constantly gaining real new positions that require causal explanation.

          Hmmm, you seem to be disagreeing with @yeoldestatistician:disqus:

          YOS: The motus involved in the argument, though often translated as "motion," is better translated as "change." A change in motion-of-location is called "acceleration." An acceleration requires a "force" continually applied.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I noted Newton's comment on inertia, but mostly as an interesting historical point. I had no clue at the time as to why he took this position. I am sure Ray is probably quite correct, but frankly if the reasons are from physics, they make no difference to the philosophical analysis. If Newton did it for insufficient philosophical reasons, I would not be all that interested in his comment either.

            What matters is that philosophical analysis demands an ongoing causal influence to keep a body in motion -- as long as we understand motion as entailing real newness in some aspect of the body's being, since it cannot give it to itself.

            Newton's principle is a description of how bodies in motion behave, not a metaphysical explanation as to why and how they can do what they do.

            And yes, what I am saying is a bit different from what Ye Olde Statistician is saying -- but only as a friendly strengthening of his position that every thing in motion requires a mover.

          • Richard Morley

            What matters is that philosophical analysis demands an ongoing causal influence to keep a body in motion

            Which poses the question of what alternative exists. What would happen if this causal influence ceased to act on just one object in the universe?

            Does it cease moving, and if so, relative to what? It was already motionless in its own frame of reference. If there is no such thing as absolute motion, how can that motion need causal influence to exist?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Good questions.

            Without getting into what would entail an entirely new OP!, let me just make a couple observations.

            First, if all motion is relative to a frame of reference, the minimum that must be said is that either that body or the body that is the point of reference to its motion must be changing in some manner -- or else, both of them are.

            If change entails the need for a continuous cause of coming-to-be, when the cause ceases causing, yes, indeed, the change would have to cease -- which would mean that the motion would cease.

            This is, of course, very counterintuitive, since it would entail that, say, a planet moving at hundreds of miles per second would suddenly cease to move -- and we are used to explaining this in terms of "momentum" which explains the continued motion. (Substitute "gravity" for momentum, or some other such physical theory, if you wish here.)

            But the whole point of this is to realize that "momentum" is simply a description of how physical bodies behave, not a metaphysical analysis of how this is possible in terms of the continuing actualization of reality (being) which continued movement entails.

            Straddling between physics and metaphysics in trying to explain observed phenomena begets the "counterintuitive" nature of this explanation. But then, are we not constantly being told that "counterintuitive" explanations are to be expected when we are dealing with a physical theory, such as quantum mechanics?

          • The problem is this view of physics is completely out of line with modern physics. The natural state of objects is to keep moving. It takes force to stop it, not to move it. And given relativity, if as you say, the perpetual cause stops then the object stops, an object moving relative to it would still see that object as moving, since there is no absolute rest. A planet suddenly ceasing to move would only cease to move relative to another object. It would still be moving relative to others.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Neo-modern physics is actually closer to Aristotle than paleo-modern physics. Much of Heisenberg and Einstein is more Aristotelian than was Newton. For example, the idea that everything natural is in motion just is the medieval idea of what is natural; so much so that Aristotle described things in eternal unchanging motion as being "at rest." Planets in their orbits were at rest, for example. So a better concept for rest state is "equilibrium state."

            When we say it takes force to stop a body, we mean it takes force to change a body's motion: for example, to move an apple from green to red or a satellite from one orbit to another. This was Thomas' dictum that "Whatever is changing is being changed by another" or Newton's dictum that "a body in motion will remain in that motion unless acted upon by an outside force." This tendency of a body to retain what it has of itself, "inertia," is simply the inanimate version of the animate "struggle for existence" or "life."

            The relativity of motion was noted in the Middle Ages by the Aristotelian Witelo and was cited by Oresme as the reason why the apparent motion of the heavens did not demonstrate that the heavens were actually in motion.

            The perpetual cause can be thought of as the spacetime manifold itself. It is warped or curved by the presence of mass and planets or satellites orbit the mass because the follow the curve of spacetime. (In their own frame of reference, they proceed rectilinearly. It is space that is curved.) For the object to stop, the central mass must disappear or the spacetime manifold must disappear. In either case, we have bigger worries than the nature of causation.

          • Neo-modern physics is actually closer to Aristotle than paleo-modern physics

            Nothing can be further from the truth. Einstein's theories showed nothing actually moves in the Aristotelian sense, because spacetime as a whole is a static entity.

            When we say it takes force to stop a body, we mean it takes force to change a body's motion: for example, to move an apple from green to red or a satellite from one orbit to another. This was Thomas' dictum that "Whatever is changing is being changed by another" or Newton's dictum that "a body in motion will remain in that motion unless acted upon by an outside force." This tendency of a body to retain what it has of itself, "inertia," is simply the inanimate version of the animate "struggle for existence" or "life."

            AT-metaphysics says a continual force is needed for an object to keep moving, and we know that's false today. AT-metaphysics assumes presentism, and we know that's false today. AT-metaphysics says many things that are simply untrue today.

            The perpetual cause can be thought of as the spacetime manifold itself. It is warped or curved by the presence of mass and planets or satellites orbit the mass because the follow the curve of spacetime. (In their own frame of reference, they proceed rectilinearly. It is space that is curved.) For the object to stop, the central mass must disappear or the spacetime manifold must disappear. In either case, we have bigger worries than the nature of causation.

            That's not a cause in any kind of Aristotelian sense. And I have no problem with "causes" simply being curved worldlines in spacetime, but the Thomist will surely have huge problems with this, since nothing truly flows.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            I'm not so sure. The idea of causes was far more nuanced back then and was not restricted as today to metrical efficient causes of accidental properties. For one thing, it included material, formal, and final causes, as well as efficient -- and the idea of efficient cause was much deeper.

            Einstein's theories are more easily modeled using Minkowski's 4-space geometry; but this is a mathematical model, not a physical fact. At one time, the cosmos was more easily modeled using epicycles, but that didn't make them physically real. The main difference back then was that the physicists understood the difference between physical theory and mathematical hypothesis.

            Hence, when Weyl states that the universe is static, I may mutter sotto voce, "Nevertheless, it still moves."

            Popper pointed out that change really takes place at least within consciousness itself. If we appeal to Minkowski to eliminate consciousness, we also eliminate the empirical evidentiary basis for the very theory in whose name we would be denying it. Hence, a problem if the Minkowskian interpretation is correct and if we want to say that the mind is a part of the natural world supposedly free of change. If otoh, we are willing to accept a form of dualism (an immaterial soul/mind), we can save Minkowski from incoherence -- but at the cost of buying the mind-body problem.

            Furthermore, even if there really were no actualization of potencies within an Einsteinian block universe, the existence of such a universe as a whole, governed as it is by contingent laws, would involve the actualization of potency and hence an actualizer (or "mover") distinct from the world itself. ("And this all men would call divine.")

          • The idea of causes was far more nuanced back then and was not restricted as today to metrical efficient causes of accidental properties.

            I think today's understanding of causality - the relationships of intersecting worldtubes as they precede or intertwine with one another in spacetime; they're a description of the relationship between patterns and boundary conditions - is pretty darn nuanced. It's so nuanced most people don't understand it.

            Einstein's theories are more easily modeled using Minkowski's 4-space geometry; but this is a mathematical model, not a physical fact. At one time, the cosmos was more easily modeled using epicycles, but that didn't make them physically real. The main difference back then was that the physicists understood the difference between physical theory and mathematical hypothesis.

            No comparison, because those epicycles were technically inaccurate. The 4d view not only is matched by all theory and experiment, it explains time dilation and length contraction. Length contraction on presentism becomes just a brute fact.

            Popper pointed out that change really takes place at least within consciousness itself. If we appeal to Minkowski to eliminate consciousness, we also eliminate the empirical evidentiary basis for the very theory in whose name we would be denying it. Hence, a problem if the Minkowskian interpretation is correct and if we want to say that the mind is a part of the natural world supposedly free of change. If otoh, we are willing to accept a form of dualism (an immaterial soul/mind), we can save Minkowski from incoherence -- but at the cost of buying the mind-body problem.

            Change within consciousness is no different from change in the land over some distance - here you have a mountain, there you have a lake - it "changes" while the landscape is static. Change is a relative term on eternalism. It doesn't require the idea of one thing flowing into another. No dualism required.

            Furthermore, even if there really were no actualization of potencies within an Einsteinian block universe, the existence of such a universe as a whole, governed as it is by contingent laws, would involve the actualization of potency and hence an actualizer (or "mover") distinct from the world itself. ("And this all men would call divine.")

            Nope. Because the block universe is eternal, it never came into existence, and therefore could not have an actualizer. A "mover" again presupposes a non-eternalstic ontology, the very thing you're trying to explain. Furthermore, since this block universe is eternal and not logically necessary, there's no logically necessary for why any god wanted to create it, and so any reason why god willed it to be, would not be a necessary one, but could only be a contingent one. And then you face a dilemma. If a necessary reason is off the table, your only two options are an infinite regress of contingent reasons, or a brute fact. And neither are good options for the Thomist.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            the block universe is eternal, it never came into existence, and therefore could not have an actualizer.

            This is what I meant when I said that people do not understand the argument. Aristotle, who originated the argument from "motion," and Aquinas, who famously promoted it, both assumed that the universe was eternal: Aristotle, because he believed it so, Aquinas, because he knew of no philosophical demonstration against it.

            I think today's understanding of causality - the relationships of
            intersecting worldtubes ... - is pretty darn nuanced

            It is actually an understanding of correlation, not causality, and it essentially means all scientific laws are merely long-standing coincidences.

          • This is what I meant when I said that people do not understand the argument. Aristotle, who originated the argument from "motion," and Aquinas, who famously promoted it, both assumed that the universe was eternal: Aristotle, because he believed it so, Aquinas, because he knew of no philosophical demonstration against it.

            Aristotle thought there was an infinite number of moments in the past. That is a different view than eternalism. Once you have eternalism, no prime mover or creator is possible because it is logically impossible to create something that exists eternally. And any attempt to assume the PSR as a way of saying god is required gets you into the dilemma I just mentioned, and that shows the PSR is self refuting.

            It is actually an understanding of correlation, not causality, and it essentially means all scientific laws are merely long-standing coincidences.

            Not at all. Scientific laws are our description of the patterns and regularity found inside the block universe. Visually it looks like this:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bc89525d1bbc198d4e75a4f138349c3db55a2e657f02c2a0bfca3b66114e09d0.png

          • Please address Dr. Craig’s explanation as to why eternalism isn’t a problem for the Christian metaphysic.

          • He think's it's a major problem, and that's why he rejects it.

          • Odd. He stated otherwise. He rejects Non-Theistic Eternalism. The Divine Mind, however, interfaces with Eternalism in some interesting ways per Dr. Craig. But, since you merely, so far, redefine or else expunge the (actual) Christian metaphysic, as per the case in point here, your reply is on point. That is why, so far, the Christian agrees with you as stated earlier: The Non-God you discuss does not exist.

          • I've never heard WLC express support for eternalism. In fact he's written two whole books trying to make the case against it (which I think he fails at). So the burden is on you to show he supports it.

          • I've never heard WLC express support for eternalism. In fact he's written two whole books trying to make the case against it (which I think he fails at). So the burden is on you to show he supports it.

            See down-thread for the comment which opens with,

            [A] “…..the presentist who says it's possible only one reference frame is the "correct" one….”

            [B] “….an experiment last year that shows how time can emerge….”

            The Presentist does not say only one reference frame is correct. To assert that is to assert that the contingent being, the contingent reference frame, is correct.

            Also see its followup / continued comment right after it. There is a difference between rejecting A vs. rejecting Non-A, as, from those comments etc., these allude to:

            [1] The fact that Craig and others are open to Actuality, Logic, Abstract Objects, and Eternalism in the setting of the Divine Mind as we move into reality’s fundamental rock-bottom.

            [2] The fact that there are no Christians who affirm Presentism in the setting of physics-full-stop, for such a paradigm must finally suffer the metaphysical baggage which all Non-Theism(s) suffer.

            Again as per the comment down-thread and that comments "continued" follow up comment.

          • [1] The fact that Craig and others are open to Actuality, Logic, Abstract Objects, and Eternalism in the setting of the Divine Mind as we move into reality’s fundamental rock-bottom.

            What? Craig just wrote a whole book arguing for nominalism, and he wrote 2 books arguing against eternalism. I have no idea where you're getting your information from.

            [2] The fact that there are no Christians who affirm Presentism in the setting of physics-full-stop, for such a paradigm must finally suffer the metaphysical baggage which all Non-Theism(s) suffer.

            What metaphysical baggage do all non-theisms suffer?

          • “What baggage?” That was specifically addressed in two of my comments. Maybe three. Search the thread for “baggage”.

          • All I see is you saying "I’m not interested in refuting your Non-Theism, nor in defending the Christian metaphysic."

            So you pronounce I have baggage and refuse to tell me what it is.

          • ...All I see is you saying "I’m not interested in refuting your Non-Theism, nor in defending the Christian metaphysic." So you pronounce I have baggage and refuse to tell me what it is...

            It is interesting that you give a half-quote. You managed to leave out the other half of that paragraph which describes my goal as to why I'm not interesting in refuting your Non-Theism nor in defending the Christian metaphysic.

            You're helping me. That reply is now still another demonstration on your part which justifies my claim about your fallacious methodology here as you take half-truths, equivocations, and hedges in order to "make a case" about this or that.

            You asked earlier what that baggage is, and, so, to repeat it again for a fourth or fifth time, which you've surely read and yet still asked about:

            I’m not interested in refuting your Non-Theism, nor in defending the Christian metaphysic. The goal here is to demonstrate your unwillingness to use the Christian's actual definitions EVEN AS you claim there are problems with the Christian metaphysic because of this or that bit of physics.

          • You managed to leave out the other half of that paragraph which describes my goal as to why I'm not interesting in refuting your Non-Theism nor in defending the Christian metaphysic.

            I didn't neglect it. You don't get to make all the demands. If you insist, then I will play your game too and simply say I'm not interested in our goal. And we can end it there.

          • .... then I will play your game too and simply say I'm not interested in our goal. And we can end it there....

            I need not insist. You've already demonstrated, and confirmed, quite nicely, that you're not interested in interfacing with the Christian's *actual* metaphysic.

            One cannot end what was never started.

          • Of course he rejects Eternalism. I didn’t say otherwise. Take smaller bites. Perhaps you feel he affirms Presentism Full Stop such that he finds no contradictions arising should he expunge his Theistic explanatory termini from Perception & the fundamental nature of reality as it relates to the coherence of this or that reference frame. But he doesn’t affirm “that” Presentism. Just as he doesn’t reject “that” Eternalism.

            You’re expunging what the Christian believes from your definitions of what the Christian believes. That would be okay IF you DIDN’T claim that there’s a problem with the Christian’s metaphysic.

          • There isn't a single Christian metaphysic, there are multiple, and they each have problems.

            And if you want less confusion, don't write in a confusion way. Be simple and clear as to what you're trying to communicate. Define your terms. Omit the unnecessary poetic language. Craig affirms presentism because he needs it to make his over-used and over-hyped kalam cosmological argument. It's circular really. In other words, presentism is true because god exists, and the kalam is true because presentism is correct.

          • Are you saying you find the following too opaque:

            And yet you still refuse to employ the Christian's definitions. About 14 times now in this thread I've asked you to justify your fallacious claim that [A] Being Itself [B] "becomes" [C] "physical" with respect to this:

            Given the Christian metaphysic, from whence physicality? Tie it all into Pure Act, Potential, the Creative Act, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, and so on with respect to Being Itself in fact "becoming" (as you say) "physical". Be sure to use the Christian's definitions and not your own equivocations thereof.

            ?? Too cryptic? Or is this now your 15th evasion?

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            it is logically impossible to create something that exists eternally.

            You are still thinking of creation as something that occurs in time as a sort of "kick-off." But creatio continuo occurs at every moment. It is the conjoining of an essence to an act of existence. Nothing restricts the act of existence to a finite span of time, although that has certainly been our experience empirically. Block universe models are a different matter, of course; though it is easy to confuse the two.

            those epicycles were technically inaccurate.

            Technically, they were very accurate and served to predict eclipses, oppositions, sunrises, and so on with excellent accuracy. They accounted for the observed facts that the planetary stars would sometimes speed up and slow down or fall into retrograde motion and would grow larger and brighter or smaller and dimmer. (Of course, there were alternative explanations, but they required different physics, not merely different mathematics: viz., the planetary stars seemed to speed up and slow down because -- wait for it -- they were actually speeding up and slowing down!)

            The 4d view not only is matched by all theory and experiment, it explains time dilation and length contraction.

            See comment on epicycles, previous. It takes little to match "all theory," since all theory is predicated on it. That's why you need a new theory to shift a paradigm.

            The Lorenz-Fitzgerald contractions are explicable simply by the speed of light being finite. Imagine a rod receding at high speed. At any moment, the image of the bow will be from an earlier instant than the image of the stern and hence the rod will appear foreshortened.

            In fact, in a changeless Parmenidean block universe, it's hard to see how any true contraction could have taken place.

            I think today's understanding of causality - the relationships of intersecting worldtubes as they precede or intertwine with one another in spacetime

            You realize that this was Aristotle's definition of chance, uncaused, events, yes?

          • You are still thinking of creation as something that occurs in time as a sort of "kick-off."

            But you're still assuming a presentist ontology. On eternalism nothing being to exist or ceases to exist, and to assume that continual creation is needed assumes a non-eternalist ontology.

            Technically, they were very accurate and served to predict eclipses, oppositions, sunrises, and so on with excellent accuracy.

            But they aren't accurate about the actual world, and they served like Newtonian physics that was good enough in a certain regime.

            See comment on epicycles, previous. It takes little to match "all theory," since all theory is predicated on it. That's why you need a new theory to shift a paradigm.

            I addressed your comment on epicycles and explained how it's a false analogy.

            The Lorenz-Fitzgerald contractions are explicable simply by the speed of light being finite. Imagine a rod receding at high speed. At any moment, the image of the bow will be from an earlier instant than the image of the stern and hence the rod will appear foreshortened.

            There's no reason why the speed of light would be finite or constant on presentism. Why shouldn't it be dynamic like everything else? And length contraction is not an optical illusion, which is what you're trying to say. Muons in the upper atmosphere live very short time and would never make it to the earth if they weren't time dilated, and the earth wasn't length contracted from the muon's reference frame.

            Again, your best attempt to explain length contraction so far is to say it's just an illusion.

            In fact, in a changeless Parmenidean block universe, it's hard to see how any true contraction could have taken place.

            That's easily explained, and comes right out of special relativity, which I assumed you have at least a basic understanding of. Consider the diagram below showing two objects at relative speeds with one another:

            https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Hpcr6LCcdW8/VxLWpGtNM5I/AAAAAAAABoc/vtdKL6MkINI84YN-d7g77r8VgQGvAaCBgCLcB/s1600/Length%2BContraction.png

            Two worldtubes, A and B, move with respect to t and t'. The three dimensional cross section L1' results from the intersection of worldtube A from an observer comoving with t'. It shows the relativistically contracted length of the body measured by that observer. The length contraction of a body is a manifestation of its worldtube. No deformation and no force is involved in this effect, as Minkowski argued. The contraction of worldtube A by an observer moving along t' is simply due to a different cross section of it P'P' existing simultaneously. According to an observer moving along t', worldtube A is in motion, and so is length contracted. Hence L1' is shorter from the reference frame of t' than in the frame of worldtube A who measures it as L1. "It must be stressed," physicist Vesselin Petkov writes in From Illusions to Reality, "that the worldtube of the body must be real in order that length contraction be possible because, while measuring the same body, the two observers in relative motion measure two three-dimensional cross bodies represented by the cross-sections PP and P'P'," and he adds that "a spatially extended three-dimensional object is defined in terms of simultaneity - all parts of a body taken simultaneously at a given moment." (p.81) This is seen even more dramatically when comparing L2 with L2'.

            Now consider the presentist who says it's possible only one reference frame is the "correct" one. Let's say it's an observer who's still relative to t. That would mean that worldtube B's actual length, that is to say, its objective length, is really the equivalent of L2 and not L2' at all times on the axis. And yet the length equivalent to L2' is measured from an observer comoving with t'. This can be done with light signals or a physical instrument like a measuring stick, or a number of other ways. How is that possible if the length of worldtube B objectively is L2L2' is the length of worldtube B from its reference frame; it is its simultaneous length from each end of it, shown as the distance between Q'Q', but the presentist says this length cannot exist because Q'Q' do not exist simultaneously! This would be impossible to measure and is incompatible with Special Relativity. The four dimensional world Minkowski showed us, which philosophically is eternalism, perfectly explains why length contraction exists, and why we get the measurements we get. These things are impossible if there is an objective space and time. Hence, the physical meaning of length contraction is a manifestation of the four-dimensionality of the world. On presentism, both observers would measure the same length in contradiction with relativity. And the presentist, it seems, is forced to take the position that the measurements of the length of objects simply just don't count as evidence of objective reality.

            So objects length contract because they are worldtubes that are sliced at different angles by relative moving observers. Presentism is lost on explaining this.

            You realize that this was Aristotle's definition of chance, uncaused, events, yes?

            Chance? This is not chance. Chance implies randomness. This is not randomness.

          • What you have done so far is trade away one hard stop and its forced absurdities for another. Perdurantism Full Stop and Endurantism Full Stop are both "on their own" unable to capture the whole show and if we follow either to their respective ends we are led, in either case, beyond those ends. Stopping "there" is neither rational nor evidence based.

            Expunging the Christian metaphysic from the Christian metaphysic and then proceeding to complain of such forced absurdities isn't helpful. You've not taken the Christian's terms to their explanatory termini and so you are left with nothing but the floor of your stock exchange upon which you trade bits here and debts there and so on back and forth amid Perdurantism full stop and Endurantism full stop.

            Meanwhile you a. ignore the forced absurdities of both and all while b. not actually including the Christian's explanatory termini with respect to the Divine Mind or Infinite Consciousness, Divine Simplicity, the progressions which we term Logos, Irreducible Intentionality, the Trinitarian Life, the journey *from* Non-Being and *to* Being, and so on down the proverbial ontic line.

            In the end you've expunged The Necessary as per the Christian's terms and, so, you unavoidably run with what is left. Well what CAN you do but conflate the Necessary for the Contingent and, upon finding the Contingent to be Non-Necessary, you shout No-God.

            And the Christian agrees: The Non-God your analytics discussed does not exist.

          • I take into consideration all those things can can easily show how the Christian's metaphysics are ultimately self-refuting, while the atheist's and eternalist's aren't.

          • Given that you’ve expunged the (actual) Christian metaphysic from the discussion you’re defining Presentism AND Eternalism along Non-Christian lines and stopping “there” as you claim this or that X is a problem for the Christian metaphysic. That’s either uninformed or disingenuous.

            So tell us, *HOW* is EITHER Presentism OR Eternalism with respect to what you concede is the Non-Necessary & Contingent universe a problem for the (actual) Christian metaphysic?

          • I thought that was obvious why eternalism is a problem. (1) on eternalism creation ex nihilo is impossible, and most, if not all Christians are committed to creation ex nihilo. (2) Free will doesn't exist, and most Christians are committed to that. (3) The idea of supernatural beings interfering with the universe becomes very hard to accept on eternalism. Presentism is much easier to justify on Christian theism because it doesn't have most of these problems or to the same extent.

          • Richard Morley

            If change entails the need for a continuous cause of coming-to-be, when the cause ceases causing, yes, indeed, the change would have to cease -- which would mean that the motion would cease.

            But it cannot be stationary in all frames of reference without shenanigans that would make relativity and QM look tame. Even if we restrict ourselves to inertial frames of reference (i.e. ones that are not accelerating compared to what we would consider to be normal frames of reference.)

            Imagine that you, Brandon and I are all in space. None of us are accelerating. We are spaced out in a line at 50 mile intervals:
            You -(50 miles)- Brandon -(50 miles)- Myself

            Each of us naturally thinks that he is stationary and the others are moving. So:
            Brandon thinks that you and I are each heading towards him at 50 miles per hour,
            You think he is heading towards you at 50 mph and I am heading towards you at 100 mph,
            I think Brandon is heading towards me at 50 mph and you are heading towards me at 100 mph.

            We all agree that we will meet in one hour.

            But then it turns out that Brandon forgot to pay the inertia bill this month, and suddenly your 'ongoing causal influence' switches off for him and he 'is stationary' in all frames of reference.

            From Brandon's point of view, he was stationary all along, so nothing changes. We all meet in one hour.

            From yours, he stops moving and so will never reach you. I am still approaching both at 100mph so will reach him in half an hour.

            From mine, you will reach him in half an hour, and I never will.

            So do we each inhabit a parallel universe of our own or what? That could explain some of the conversations here.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Well stated, but I am not trying to decide which body is actually in motion. If motion is occurring, that means some change between the objects in question. Whether that change is totally in object A or object B or a bit in both of them (or all three of us!), whatever object is manifesting new qualities of existence (even of spatial position), needs some extrinsic cause to explain its new status.

            Please. I am trying to save some of this for another possible piece. Besides, Brandon has to pay his bill!

          • Richard Morley

            Well stated, but I am not trying to decide which body is actually in motion.

            That is fine, if you don't mind your position leading to contradictions(!) I rather assumed you would.

            I am trying to save some of this for another possible piece.

            Fair enough. But consider the following as material you may wish to address in a future piece:

            You presume that without an 'active principle' velocity must snap to zero, even though that is a dramatic change with no active cause, and you do not (apparently) assume that the position must likewise snap to (0,0,0) without an active principle maintaining a steady non-zero position. We have three commonly used variables linked by integration or differentiation over time: position, its gradient over time (velocity) and its gradient over time (acceleration). We habitually assign no particular meaning to the rate of change of acceleration or the integral over time of position.

            I can see why Aristotle or Aquinas might assume that velocity relative to everything around them required some active principle to maintain (at least for sub-lunar physics), but what is your reason, other than historical inertia? Why assume that position is the variable expected to remain fixed and whose change requires explanation, rather than just saying that velocity fulfills that role, which is what Newtonian inertia amounts to. As velocity is the middle of the three linked variables, that seems to make more sense, not pose the same contradiction as your version, and (irrelevant to the True Philosopher, I know, but handy) it actually corresponds to observed reality.

          • BCE

            Sorry, I'm not exactly getting it.
            You start with the premise, equal distance 50 miles) no acceleration.
            So you're each a satellite with a fixed position, in a line equally spaced.
            If you are sensing you are "stationary" then each is maintaining the same speed.
            You don't sense the satellite behind you, racing toward you.

            I realize there is a later change, but if each start with a fixed position, and no acceleration(or loss of speed) how did you (initially) think Brandon was moving "toward" you ?

          • Richard Morley

            So you're each a satellite with a fixed position

            Ah, no, sorry if that was unclear. We were moving relative to each other all along, at least up until Brandon's inertia shut off at a point in time at which we were spaced out at 50 mile increments and heading towards a meeting in one hour.

          • BCE

            Thank you

          • From what I can tell, you're really suggesting that Newton and others made a colossal mistake in suggesting that without the active forces of resistance and gravity, one can get perpetual motion. They realized that Aristotle's observations of real bodies in the real world were always tainted by resistance and gravity—true movers—and thus one needed to create an abstract realm in one's head where these could be removed. In that abstract realm with no forces operating, one could have perpetual motion but zero change in motion—no motus.

            Now, you say it's ok if Newton et al are restricting themselves to mere description of behavior. Fair enough, but then what does a 'metaphysical explanation' add and how do we know the addition is important, other than some of us being more satisfied in our thought-castles? To repeat myself, I have no problem if my aesthetic choice takes decades to matter, pragmatically. But it's been 400 years since Galileo and 300 years since Newton; surely if they have damaged our ability to understand reality (while also enhancing it), we could point to some area outside of the realm of the abstract where that damage shows up?

            What kind of edge do Thomists have when it comes to understanding reality and acting in it? What truth is known and how does it set free?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I would not suggest Newton and other physicists made any mistake at all, since physics describes how matter behaves
            quite well. It is the role of philosophy to as “how” it can behave this way. Answering that kind of question, physics drills down deeper into the behavior of smaller things as reasons for the behavior of bigger ones – or offers more general descriptions of physical rules, such as those offered in relativity or quantum mechanics.

            But metaphysics looks at such phenomena as inertial motion in an entirely different way – seeking the existential causes for things that do not fully explain themselves. Briefly put, a being in a state of motion is not in a frozen “state” at all, but is
            progressively actualizing new modes of existence as measured by the very change entailed in its motion. However you define motion between bodies, it must entail some change in being somehow, or else, there would be no difference between the before and after, and hence, no change at all.

            Aristotle defines motion as the act of a being in potency insofar as it is in potency. One might think of it more intuitively as simply the reduction of potency to act. Since potency is
            essentially non-being in reference to act which is the succeeding “being,” and since non-being cannot beget being, it is evident that any form of motion – even if described as a state of inertia – requires some extrinsic cause.

            Thus inertial motion does not explain itself – despite the physics that assumes it does.

  • One could literally write a book on this topic with many more examples and complex distinctions.[4]

    [4] Dennis Bonnette, Aquinas’ Proofs for God’s Existence: St. Thomas Aquinas on: “The per accidens necessarily implies the per se,” (The Hague: Martinus-Nijhoff, 1972). The subtitle focuses much of the book on the problem of infinite causal regress.

    Hey neat, I first came across your book via @TubalCain42:disqus's blog post Review: “Aquinas’ Proofs for God’s Existence” by Dennis Bonnette. I don't [yet] understand the problems well enough to deeply engage this discussion of causation, but maybe enough blog posts like this and subsequent discussion will do the trick.

  • Peter

    One can be an atheist and admit that the universe could be created by an intelligence. An advanced intelligence in another universe could have configured our universe to create life and ourselves. It would be unscientific to rule this out as a possibility. But if it is a possibility, there must ultimately be an original intelligence upon which all intermediate intelligences are contingent.

    An atheist therefore has two choices: deny the possibility that an intermediate intelligence created our universe, which is unscientific, or accept that possibility yet deny the need for an original intelligence, which is unphilosophical. Either way, the position is untenable.

  • This principle is recognized by virtually all mankind as essential to reality’s intelligibility.

    Virtually all of mankind has made no serious attempt to understand reality any other way.

    • Rob Abney

      What other ways would be available to rational beings? Superstition, magic, less-than-sufficient reasoning; other ways have been tried and rejected.

      • What other ways would be available to rational beings?

        One of them is called empiricism.

        • Rob Abney

          And you are saying that virtually all of mankind has made no serious attempt to understand reality through empiricism?

          • And you are saying that virtually all of mankind has made no serious attempt to understand reality through empiricism?

            I'm saying that few have been consistent about it. Aristotle did a lot of empirical work, but he went beyond it when it suited him. His metaphysics was, at least in part, just a modification of Plato's, and Plato seems to have rejected empiricism.

          • Rob:

            A very useful exchange for a few reasons. That is to say, the landing zone of Positivism, or Empiricism, or Scientism, and/or a few other flavors of the same reductio ad absurdum are forced into the light of day.

            It's a useful progression down the proverbial ontic-line as it were for a few reasons. Most obvious is the demonstration of the simple fact that such contradictions are all that is available once one rejects the hard stop of Reason Itself as such relates to logic's demand for lucidity compelling us into a Reducitio Ad Deum.

            What is also useful is to carry the conversation up that hard "Y" in the proverbial road as per http://disq.us/p/1o5v88h and so on as such aids in a demonstration, *not* of the "A-" of A-Theism but in fact of what Non-Theism finally embraces and affirms within its "Non-".

            The use of the term "A-Theist" never made sense to me as it does not inform anyone of what one actually affirms. Whereas, the use of the term Non-Theist, perhaps as per https://www.metachristianity.com/atheism-world-flat-none-non-non-theist/ and so on, is far more informative on that side of the equation.

  • In your notes you write:

    Eternalists claim that past, present, and future all exist equally, based on special relativity theory’s denial of universal simultaneity for spatially separated events. Were it not for the “need” to conform timelike intervals to eternalism’s false hypothesis, the obvious reading of human experience and scientific observation within the same local world line would be that real causality occurs in “normal” time. Of course, if that is done, then eternalism as a whole collapses, since all “events” in the cosmos suddenly fall into normal time sequences with the past no longer existing and the future not yet existing, even though absolute simultaneity for spatially separated events is still denied.

    This makes no sense. Once you acknowledge that absolute simultaneity for spatially separated events is denied, you have eternalism my friend!

    You cannot have presentism, where the past no longer exists, and the future does not yet exist, if you deny absolute simultaneity. It's obvious that Dr. Bonnette doesn't understand special relativity enough to know what he's talking about. Eternalism is the same thing as special relativity, and SR doesn't say that timelike separated events cannot be simultaneous according to a particular reference frame. It also doesn't say that timelike separated events cannot have a past, present, future, linear assessment.

    According to SR, all timelike separated events will have a past, present, and future linear assessment from all reference frames. This has never been denied by the eternalist and is not part of the argument for eternalism. SR says all
    spacelike separated events will not be able to have a past, present, and future linear assessment from all reference frames.

    But none of this is relevant to why eternalism is true. The relativity of simultaneity is. And once you acknowledge it is true, you're forced to accept eternalism, because presentism and possibilism are not compatible with it. And once you have eternalism this entire blog post collapses.

    Anyone vaguely familiar with the basics of special relativity knows this.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      If my end note is examined with great care, it should convince readers that eternalism is an unwarranted and false philosophical hypothesis. Observe that my note does not even mention the philosophical hypothesis called presentism.

      All competent physicists agree that special relativity implies relativity of simultaneity, that is, that there is no absolute universal “now” in the cosmos. Beyond that, the relative merits of the philosophical implications of special relativity are debated. Among a survey of over 3200 philosophers conducted by PhilPapers, of those who took any time theory position at all, 63% defended B-theory and 37% defended A-theory, with some 58% opting to take no position at all. Since eternalism falls under the 26% of the entire sample supporting B-theory, the overall picture is hardly the consensus one would expect from a theory claimed to flow unequivocally from special relativity.

      Among scholarly articles disproving eternalism, we find one by Richard T.W. Arthur of McMaster University, entitled “Minkowski Spacetime and the
      Dimensions of the Present,” which concludes “that the block universe view founders on a kind of equivocation about the “reality” of events: although we represent events and their spatiotemporal relations as real, this does not license an inference to their “already” existing, or indeed to the existence of the spacetime manifold of events at any time.” http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~rarthur/Phil771/minkpresfinal.pdf

      One article in the high quality, peer-reviewed journal, Synthese, -- a journal that has a special interest in philosophy of science -- specifically aligns with my end note in recognizing the role of worldlines in defending the reality of becoming – an objective becoming that is inimical to the “frozen” slices of spacetime alleged by eternalism. In an article, entitled “The definability of objective becoming in Minkowski spacetime, R. Clifton and M. Hogarth argue that “there may, after all, be more than one way to define objective becoming in Minkowski spacetime once each observer's worldline is allowed to figure in the definition.” Moreover, they conclude that “standard Minkowski spacetime does make room for objective becoming, but in essentially only one way, despite arguments and proposals to the contrary.” (Abstract) https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF01089733

      And, despite all claims to the contrary, the raging debate among philosophers, especially philosophers of science – the vast majority of whom should be competent in the physics of special relativity -- shows that eternalism is a speculative “philosophical” theory – not a universally recognized “scientific” inference of special relativity.

      Moreover, speaking from within my own field of competence in philosophy, there exist valid demonstrations of the spiritual and immortal nature of the human soul. See my book, Origin of the Human Species – third edition (Sapientia Press, 2014), especially chapter six: “The Human Soul’s Spiritual Character and Divine Origin.”

      Because these demonstrations are metaphysical in nature, they trump any physics theory with its inherent inability to establish genuine universality and objective certainty -- not to mention a very speculative philosophical offshoot subordinate to a physics theory. See my paragraphs directly comparing the noetic status of physics and metaphysics here: https://strangenotions.com/does-modern-physics-refute-thomistic-philosophy/

      Since the human soul itself perdures fully intact through time, its spiritual nature is incompatible with eternalism’s claim that all reality is a series of distinct ontological “slices” of spacetime and that real change or becoming is impossible.

      Becoming manifests itself because a person’s soul would therefore perdure and be present to such alleged sequential “spacetime slices,” and thus undergoes the immediate experience of “this becoming that” as the “slices of spacetime” pass in order – a real change that eternalism does not admit.

      Also, the continuous existence of the soul itself through time violates the distinctness of the claimed “spacetime slices.”

      Not to mention the radical unintelligibility and lack of metaphysical foundation for “slices of spacetime” sequentially replacing each other through some totally inexplicable overarching cosmic “scheme.”

      This may not convince those who do not understand the philosophical demonstrations entailed in proving the spirituality of the human soul, but they are sufficient to end my own interest in the false theory of eternalism. That is one reason among others cited above why my comment regarding eternalism was relegated to the status of a mere note and why I have no intention of engaging in endless debate of this matter.

      • I examined your end note with great care, and as someone deeply familiar with the relevant subject matter I can easily spot its flaws.

        All competent physicists agree that special relativity implies relativity of simultaneity, that is, that there is no absolute universal “now” in the cosmos. Beyond that, the relative merits of the philosophical implications of special relativity are debated.

        Denis, you are denying eternalism, yet acknowledging the relativity of simultaneity. That makes zero sense. The relativity of simultaneity negates presentism and entails eternalism. You seem to have a contradictory view on this subject, simultaneously denying eternalism and believing presentism, yet affirming the relativity of simultaneity which negates presentism and affirms eternalism.

        Your numbers don't add up at all. Clearly the B-theory leads the pack with the largest percent when you filter by philosophers of science - the people most familiar with the issue.

        Among scholarly articles disproving eternalism, we find one by Richard T.W. Arthur of McMaster University, entitled “Minkowski Spacetime and the
        Dimensions of the Present,” which concludes....

        I can find any paper agreeing or disagreeing with any position on anything in science or philosophy. I can cite a dozen papers arguing against various theistic claims. I don't care much for quote mining, I care what you can actually show me in your own words to indicate you actually understand the subject matter. Given what you've written, you clearly do not understand that having timelike separated events that can be separated in terms of past, present, future orders has never been denied by anyone calling themselves an eternalist. Why you think this I have no idea.

        That second paper you link to doesn't even seem to deny eternalism, it seems to just suggest another way to interpret becoming from with in eternalism.

        And, despite all claims to the contrary, the raging debate among philosophers, especially philosophers of science – the vast majority of whom should be competent in the physics of special relativity -- shows that eternalism is a speculative “philosophical” theory – not a universally recognized “scientific” inference of special relativity.

        There is always debate among philosophers. But, if you want to appeal to consensus, the same philpapers survey showed 72% of philosophers are atheists, only 13.7 accept libertarian free will, and 56% accept physicalism regarding the mind. Clearly Thomistic views among philosophers are not popular. So going by consensus we can safely dismiss it.

        B-theorists are much more numerous than A-theorists. When you filter for philosophers of physical science, who are the most familiar with time theories, A-theorists make up about 50%, where as A-theorists make up about 12.5%. It is clear that the philosophers most familiar with the issue do not accept the A theory, and half prefer the B-theory.

        Consensus is not how you settle issues by the way, evidence is.

        Moreover, speaking from within my own field of competence in philosophy, there exist valid demonstrations of the spiritual and immortal nature of the human soul.

        Thank you for the reference but I've seen no valid demonstrations of the soul, and clearly a majority of your fellow philosophers are not convinced.

        Because these demonstrations are metaphysical in nature, they trump any physics theory with its inherent inability to establish genuine universality and objective certainty -- not mention a very speculative philosophical offshoot subordinate to a physics theory.

        No they don't, because none of them demonstrate anything ontological about the soul. And if a claim about the soul is in conflict with known science, like quantum mechanics, conservation of energy, momentum, etc., it is false. Physics trumps metaphysics when metaphysics is in conflict with physics.

        Since the human soul itself perdures fully intact through time, its spiritual nature is incompatible with eternalism’s claim that all reality is a series of distinct ontological “slices” of spacetime and that real change or becoming is impossible.

        Then the soul is false because eternalism is true.

        Not to mention the radical unintelligibility and lack of metaphysical foundation for “slices of spacetime” sequentially replacing each other through some totally inexplicable overarching cosmic “scheme.”

        What? Time slices don't replace each other. Because none of them begin to exist or cease to exist. I think you lack an understanding of SR enough to make your claims, and therefore make false conclusions about it.

        This may not convince those who do not understand the philosophical demonstrations entailed in proving the spirituality of the human soul, but they are sufficient to end my own interest in the false theory of eternalism. That is one reason among others cited above why my comment regarding eternalism was relegated to the status of a mere note and why I have no intention of engaging in endless debate of this matter.

        I am familiar with the philosophical demonstrations of the soul and I am still not convinced. The soul isn't compatible with anything in physics, not quantum mechanics, relativity, nothing.

        I have a proof of eternalism here. You've never refuted it or even attempted to do so.

        • Dennis Bonnette

          As I said, I don’t intend to debate this matter endlessly. Still, I am forced to correct a few of the misquotes and inaccurate interpretations I find in your reply.

          You say that I am “believing presentism,” when I clearly
          said that “my note does not even mention the philosophical hypothesis called presentism” -- and, it does not. Even you admit that, if I deny absolute simultaneity, I could not logically defend presentism – and I did say that special relativity denies a universal "NOW." YOU claim that means I must embrace eternalism. But that is a point to be proven, not merely asserted.

          You allege that I “appeal to consensus,” when the only statement I make about consensus is to say "… the overall picture is hardly the consensus one would expect …”

          More importantly, you say that I “…do not understand that having timelike separated events that can be separated in terms of past, present, future orders has never been denied by anyone calling themselves an eternalist.”

          What you say there about eternalists may be true, but it is NOT what my note says when I say that “…the obvious reading of human experience and scientific observation within the same local world line would be that real causality occurs in “normal” time. Of course, if that is done, then eternalism as a whole collapses, since all “events” in the cosmos suddenly fall into normal time sequences with the past no longer existing and the future not yet existing, even though absolute simultaneity for spatially separated events is still denied.”

          You said you examined my “end note with great care,” but
          “past, present, and future orders” is NOT the same thing as world lines with “normal time sequences with the past no longer existing and the future not yet existing….”

          Your “orders” are frozen in time with past, present, and future all existing – which is absolutely contradictory to the world lines I describe in which the past and future do NOT exist!

          Most importantly, you dismiss out of hand the “second paper,” alleging that it “doesn't even seem to deny eternalism, it seems to just suggest another way to interpret becoming from within eternalism.”

          Just suggests?!! If it allows “objective becoming” at all, you and I both know eternalism is false.

          What this peer reviewed paper in the highly respected academic journal, Synthese, says explicitly is that “…standard Minkowski spacetime does make room for objective becoming….”

          DOES make room for OBJECTIVE BECOMING? Are you and eternalism really comfortable with “objective becoming?”

          I said I do not intend to debate this matter endlessly. And I will not. If you read the above carefully you will see that I am primarily correcting the record on a few points. There could be others.

          Nonetheless, regardless of any proof for eternalism you may offer, the fact remains that many competent philosophers of science are debating this matter philosophically, which implies that it is not simply the obvious “scientific implication” of special relativity that you so forcefully keep asserting it to be.

          Finally, you say that you are not convinced by the philosophical demonstrations for the spirituality of the human
          soul (assuming you are actually as familiar with them as you assert).

          But, as you can see if you have read my book, I am.

          "Then the soul is false because eternalism is true."

          Then eternalism is false because the soul is true.

          • said that “my note does not even mention the philosophical hypothesis called presentism” -- and, it does not. Even you admit that, if I deny absolute simultaneity, I could not logically defend presentism – and I did not. YOU claim that means I must embrace eternalism. But that is a point to be proven, not merely asserted.

            Denis, you basically have 3 real options when it comes to theories on time. Presentism, where only the present exists, possibilism, where the present and past exist, and eternalism, where past, present, and future exist. Visually it looks like this:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ecd4e435db98372ff3e1f657d110af7550115f4eec5c776a7bf3a3b8b902a474.jpg

            If you deny presentism, and eternalism, that forces you into possibilism. But possibilism has the same problems as presentism, because it relies on absolute simultaneity, which you deny.

            If you acknowledge a relativity of simultaneity, that entails eternalism. The reason why is because on presentism, simultaneity is absolute, whereas on eternalism it is relative. If you and I disagree with what is simultaneous, events that are simultaneous to me can occur at different times to you, and that means that past events and future events for me will exist for you. And if they exist for you they must exist for me too. Too understand this watch this old video explaining what this looks like.

            https://youtu.be/lVuF5zrwMLY?t=163

            What you say there about eternalists may be true, but it is NOT what my note says when I say that “…the obvious reading of human experience and scientific observation within the same local world line would be that real causality occurs in “normal” time.

            What is "normal" time, especially when you deny presentism? I'm trying to get at a consistent stance from you since right now you're views are in contradiction with itself.

            Of course, if that is done, then eternalism as a whole collapses, since all “events” in the cosmos suddenly fall into normal time sequences with the past no longer existing and the future not yet existing, even though absolute simultaneity for spatially separated events is still denied.”

            No eternalism doesn't collapse, in fact, it is affirmed when you deny absolute simultaneity. What on earth is a "normal" time sequence? If by that you mean past, present, and future orders, you are wrong. Because spacelike separated events cannot be ordered in to objective past, present, and future orders, and once you have that, you have eternalism because different observers will have different events that exist simultaneous and one's future can be someone else's past. Anyone who understands special relativity knows this.

            You said you examined my “end note with great care,” but “past, present, and future orders” is NOT the same thing as world lines with “normal time sequences with the past no longer existing and the future not yet existing….”

            Your “orders” are frozen in time with past, present, and future all existing – which is absolutely contradictory to the world lines I describe in which the past and future do NOT exist!

            Denis, the very fact that you acknowledge worldlines existing means you're inadvertently supposing eternalism. On presentism, there are no worldlines. A worldline is a thing's existence in all of space and time.

            Just suggests?!! If it allows “objective becoming” at all, you and I both know eternalism is false.

            Have you even read the paper beyond the abstract? Or did you just google search for a paper that critiques eternalism? Seems you did the latter. Can you prove to me you've actually read and understood the paper by explaining to me what argument they've made that eternalism is actually false?

            DOES make room for OBJECTIVE BECOMING? Are you and eternalism really comfortable with “objective becoming?”

            Of course not! But I've seen so many issues with semantics on this topic, even by professional philosophers, who confuse the dialogue. Tell me Denis, what's his knock down argument that eternalism is false? Oh and peer reviewed doesn't meant correct. It just means peer reviewed.

            Nonetheless, regardless of any proof for eternalism you may offer, the fact remains that many competent philosophers of science are debating this matter philosophically, which implies that it is not simply the obvious “scientific implication” of special relativity that you so forcefully keep asserting it to be.

            I've personally debated this issue endlessly (it seems). And as Hume said, truth springs from arguments amongst friends. During my years debating and researching this issue I've seen exactly what one has to deny in order to deny eternalism, and it isn't pretty, especially for a Thomist like you who holds to the PSR. I've never seen any good arguments against eternalism. They all rely on postulating objective reference frames you can never detect in any way.

            In order to deny eternalism one has to deny either one or both of the following: (a) Deny that the speed of light travels at constant speed regardless of the speed of the light source, or (b) Deny that we can accurately measure two non-parallel distances as being of equal length with any physical instrument, such as a ruler or tape measurer, or even sense in any way that they are equal or unequal.

            You also have to accept brute facts, because eternalism explains Lorentz transformations.

          • Richard Morley

            Of course, if that is done, then eternalism as a whole collapses, since all “events” in the cosmos suddenly fall into normal time sequences with the past no longer existing and the future not yet existing, even though absolute simultaneity for spatially separated events is still denied.

            (emphasis added)

            Possibly another point for a future article, but if the bolded bit isn't presentism (or at least the lowest common denominator for how that term is used) then I seem to be confused about its meaning. Or about your meaning in the bold bit.

            Either way I don't see how you reconcile it with relativity of simultaneity, unless you are making reality/existence itself relative, so something exists for one observer but not another.

            If you are planning a future(!) piece on whatever-you-call-your-theory-of-time, I am sure you are aware of the other common objection to A-theory, that if time flows, how is that flow measured? One second per second? That seems meaningless.

            Similar point: if you posit a timeless being (God or any other, or even just the hypothetical possibility) who can observe the universe, what does he/she/it see? If it sees a growing block or evolving present, that implies that it experiences change so is within time or something equivalent. If it sees the whole of time, the entire Minkowski 4-space or the block universe or whatever you call it, is that not eternalism?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I said earlier that I do not intend extended debate over
            eternalism – so I will respond to your reasonable enquiry about this end note -- and allow Thinker to have his eternal last word.

            That said, I will make one more attempt to explain why I
            neither am affirming presentism nor eternalism – even if some cannot understand how that is possible, since they assume they have proven that rejection of A-theory forces acceptance of eternalism. Not all agree that those are the only two possibilities.

            Special relativity does prove that it is impossible to give an univocal definition of simultaneity or temporal priority for spatially separated events (unless you arbitrarily choose a particular reference frame as the "correct" frame), but this has no bearing on the reality of time as the order in which real effect follows real cause (in what most people think
            of as temporal causation).

            While special relativity entails that it is physically impossible to observe whether two spatially separated events are absolutely simultaneous, the theory nevertheless has no bearing on whether there is such a phenomenon as absolute simultaneity.

            Therefore, the claim of absolute non-simultaneity is a philosophical interpretation of SR, not a necessary physical
            inference.

            I hate to repeat myself, but since it is clear that philosophers of science do not agree about the philosophical consequences of SR, it is simply overstatement to claim that eternalism is a necessary physical inference of SR.

            Objective non-simultaneity has no observable or testable consequences. It cannot be empirically verified.

            Hence, the same follows for B-theory and eternalism. Both are merely philosophical interpretations of SR that cannot be empirically verified.

            As much as this will offend some readers, any inferences drawn from SR that violate non-contradiction or sufficient
            reason, or that say that an effect can exist without its cause, or that an effect can exist before its cause, must be false, since metaphysical first principles are all logically prior to all of physics. And it is now clear that even the proofs for the spirituality of the human soul disprove eternalism.

            As for your last question, the existence of any changing phenomena in the created world has no impact on God
            whatever, since He is entirely outside of time. Time is but one aspect of physical creation. Changes in time or other limiting aspects of finite being are eternally known by God – entailing no change in Him whatever. Natural theology has no problem at all handling these types of objections. The fact that the entire panorama of finite existence is known by Him in a single act which is His very Being entails multiplicity and change for creatures, not for the Creator – not entirely unlike our own ability to see the whole visual field in a single unified act of perception.

          • Richard Morley

            First of all: for anyone reading this and bemused by terms such as 'eternalism' or 'A-theory', I recommend the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on 'Time'. Which also summarises many of the arguments against A-theory or presentism.

            I said earlier that I do not intend extended debate over eternalism

            So I am more than happy for you to defer answering to a later piece, if at all - certainly a detailed answer later is preferable to an instant but unclear one now. But if you are contemplating a future piece, knowing what points of your argument are unclear or contested seems worthwhile.

            For example, you seem to be clear that you espouse none of A-theory, B-theory, eternalism or presentism (whether or not those are redundant terms) but it is not clear, to me at least, what theory of time you do believe or how it differs from those - which would, I expect, take a full article as yours seems not to be any of the standard theories.

            At the very least I would like a term for it that you accept but is handier than "whatever-you-call-your-theory-of-time". N-theory for 'normal time', maybe?

            While special relativity entails that it is physically impossible to observe whether two spatially separated events are absolutely simultaneous, the theory nevertheless has no bearing on whether there is such a phenomenon as absolute simultaneity.

            I think that what physicists and philosophers of science call 'relativity of simultaneity' does indeed affirm exactly that: simultaneity is relative, not absolute, for spatially separated events. Within limits, of course, which happen to protect causality. But it is more than just seeming.

            I hate to repeat myself, but since it is clear that philosophers of science do not agree about the philosophical consequences of SR, it is simply overstatement to claim that eternalism is a necessary physical inference of SR.

            The Thinker gives his own arguments for why he feels that is the case, and philosophers do seem to recognise the problems with A-theory. Certainly the philpapers survey you cite makes clear that there is no overwhelming consensus against eternalism or a growing block universe or other alternatives to A-theory, and likewise strongly suggests that the absolute certainty that you claim for your assertions is not felt by many, possibly most, of your fellow philosophers.

            As the Stanford Encyclopedia entry says, if you wish to assert that SR does not entail relativity of simultaneity, you really do have to show what you claim it does show. To show absolute simultaneity for the whole of space without leading to paradox strikes me as not possible, but I am happy to be shown otherwise - if there is some hidden presupposition of mine that I have overlooked, I want to know.

            The fact that the entire panorama of finite existence is known by Him in a single act which is His very Being entails multiplicity and change for creatures, not for the Creator – not entirely unlike our own ability to see the whole visual field in a single unified act of perception.

            But if God, or any hypothetical timeless observer, perceives the entire timeline in that timeless moment (let alone being able to interact with it), then that surely implies that the whole timeline exists timelessly, as eternalism asserts, and that entities within time are just restricted in what parts of it they see and interact with.

            For a growing block universe to grow, or for the present to cease to exist as it becomes the past, requires time (or something like it) to pass.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            After that kindly invitation, I hate to tell you, but I have no desire whatever to write a piece about my own theory
            of time. That topic falls under cosmology or philosophy of nature (Aristotle’s Physics) and, as a metaphysician, I have no present interest in the matter, except insofar as claims arise from it which appear to contradict certain metaphysical tenets.

            I am certainly aware that SR entails that if we leave on a spacecraft from Earth in 2017 at a speed of >0.1c and arrive at a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri, certain events in the recent past of Alpha Centauri upon our arrival will be such that we cannot in general univocally determine whether they occurred before or after the time we left Earth in 2017 -- even though we may certainly know that our arrival on Alpha Centauri postdates our departure from Earth in any frame of reference. This alone is sufficient to make it impossible to determine the simultaneity of events on Earth at the time of our departure in 2017 with certain events on Alpha Centauri.

            This phenomenon in general renders that any determination of absolute simultaneity throughout the cosmos is impossible for spatially separated events, specifically since there is no preferred frame of reference in which to make such a determination.

            Nonetheless, it does not mean that the inhabitants of a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri do not have a real past, present, and future any more than do we not have a real past, present, and future in which the past no longer exists and the future does not yet exist. We both do have such objective "normal time" in our own worldlines. Nor does it render their and our experience of the present as purely subjective. Nor does it warrant the very speculative philosophical claims that all events past, present, and future equally exist, or that all reality is a block universe of “spacetime slices” ordered from past to future, but in which none have any preferred status of existence, or that effects can exist before their causes, motion does not exist, and time does not flow.

            That latter claims appears to be entailed by the highly speculative philosophical worldview called “eternalism” –
            and that I certainly do reject as violating both common sense and metaphysical reality. As I said, the very existence of local worldlines in which past really no longer exists and future really does not yet exist is sufficient to collapse eternalism’s false claims.

            That some physicists should enter the world of such speculative philosophical hypotheses as eternalism immediately places them outside their own sphere of competence as physicists and makes it understandable both that a majority of them could make metaphysically untenable claims and that at least a substantive minority of philosophers of science would defend an opposite worldview. Given that the vast majority of English speaking philosophers today are atheists in the materialistic analytic tradition, I am amazed to observe that many still appear to resist the B-theory of time.

            Since eternalism clearly violates certain philosophical tenets of Thomistic philosophy, it should be expected that Thomists would have good cause to reject it.

            If and when I should write another OP for SN, it may well contain elements fully inconsistent with eternalism.

            ”Time” will tell.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Now to answer your properly metaphysical question about God and his relation to a created universe existing in time (which I much prefer to spend my “time” on!), we have to remember that God is utterly outside of time, existing in his own eternal “now.” The whole “created timeline” does not exist like some “created entity spread over cosmic spacetime slices existing all at once.” That is eternalism’s gross mistake.

            In God, the “timeline” is simply his own understanding of that to which his causality extends – in a simple act of eternal self-knowledge. Putting that “timeline” into created reality, like it all existed at once is metaphysical nonsense.

            Creation in time simply does not exist at all until God creates it and sustains it in an act of ongoing creation as its future unfolds.

            Spiritual entities and their acts are simply not “spread out” through some imaginary space like things in the material world. God, in a simple act which is his own Being, knows creation as the finite unfolding reality that it is, with its own future, including free acts of creatures, that affect its outcomes. Since we are ourselves “in time,” many cannot conceive of how God can know our future. Hence, some claim that future events have somehow already occurred, when they have not. God knows our future by knowing himself and that to which his creative causality extends outside of time. For the creature its effects unfold in time; for God it is timelessly his singular mode of life we call "eternity."

            We have to remember that time is part of creation itself and that we are creatures existing in time. The essential error
            is to predicate -- even unwittingly -- our temporal existence to God, who is not limited by that existential limitation of creatures that exist in a physical world of becoming.

          • Richard Morley

            Now to answer your properly metaphysical question about God and his relation to a created universe existing in time (which I much prefer to spend my “time” on!), we have to remember that God is utterly outside of time, existing in his own eternal “now.”

            The concept of God (or any being capable of observing and interacting with the universe) being utterly outside of time and existing in his own eternal "now" is the whole point of the question, which I note you do not actually answer beyond reiterating your assertions.

            If the dinosaurs eons ago, and the ancient Romans, and ourselves, and the future empire of superintelligent cockroaches are all observable and present and existent to God in his timeless 'now', that surely means that they are timelessly existent. Time is a relation within the spacetime continuum, which exists as whole, timeless entity. In other words, eternalism.

            Yet another way of looking at it: the block universe has an obvious, noncontradictory answer to the question of how the universe looks to an entity outside of time. I don't see that the alternatives (presentism, growing block, moving searchlight, N-theory) do or can have a non-contradictory answer, beyond denying the possibility of such an entity.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            “If the dinosaurs eons ago, and the ancient Romans, and
            ourselves, and the future empire of superintelligent cockroaches are all observable and present and existent to God in his timeless 'now', that surely means that they are timelessly existent.”

            Let me give another try at directly responding to the issue you raise.

            The past, present, and future creatures are NOT “timelessly
            existent.”

            They do not exist at all in God, except as potential objects of his creative act. Nor do they exist "timelessly" in themselves somehow separate from God. The potency is with respect to them, not to God. They can come into being and go out of being as time passes. God knows that actual progression through time, with them being created and then ceasing, over time, to exist. It is not a change for Him, but for them.

            To God, the progression through time is not a progression in his knowledge, but a knowledge of creature’s progression through time – complete with them coming into being and passing out of being (as applicable to each creature).

            Being utterly outside of time does not mean that God is
            utterly inert and inactive, but rather as Pure Act, that He is the Eternal NOW, in which all things are known exactly as they are – including their temporal comings and goings.

            We must never forget that time itself is part of creation. As such it has no dominion or power over God’s mode of existence or His knowledge of creatures.

            Thus, in one single eternal act, God knows and creates
            all things as they actually are or come to be or pass away – without any change in Him, nor any need to observe creatures directly in order to do this. He knows creatures, not by observation (as we must), but simply by knowing Himself perfectly as the Pure Act whose creative activity creates them.

            Does this help any?

          • Richard Morley

            Let me give another try at directly responding to the issue you raise.

            Yet again, no response to the question of how the universe can logically appear to a timeless God if only the present exists.

            A carrot can vary in size and colour along its length, but you can perceive its full length without experiencing change or the passage of time (or moving along the length of carrot) yourself. But for you to experience the full carrot with only a section of carrot existing at a time, as though some insane technician had put their lunchtime carrot in a CAT scanner, something like time must pass for you even though you are outside the 'length' of the carrot (which is being used as an analogy for time within the universe, for those who need it pointed out.)

            Or try a similar, but subtly different way of looking at it. If a real existent entity can effect, and be effected by, a 'thing', that 'thing' must surely be said to exist. (Already this raises problems for presentism and its ilk, as you can only effect future me and be effected by past me, yet apparently claim that only present me exists. But passing on)

            So if God, in the exact same (timeless) instant can perceive and interact with the dinosaurs, our present selves, and our future insect overlords, surely all of those must exist. From a timeless point of view. Even if they cannot directly interact with each other.

          • This is a good point. Thomism's view of god's time would seem to entail eternalism. God is present at every moment, then every moment has to exist.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "... for you to experience the full carrot with only a section of carrot existing at a time, as though some insane technician had put their lunchtime carrot in a CAT scanner, something like time must pass for you even though you are outside the 'length' of the carrot..."

            Perhaps, I passed over this point too incidentally earlier, but your words above indicate a misunderstanding of how God knows creatures. He does not know them by observing them, as we do objects of knowledge. To know a thing as we do, we depend on the object presenting itself to us so that we can know it. That entails a kind of dependence of us on the object known. If God knew creatures that way, it would entail some form of pantheism, since then God would depend on the creature in some manner for his knowledge of it -- thereby implicitly making the creature part of the very definition of God.

            On the contrary, God knows creatures solely by knowing Himself in the act of creating them. Thus, He knows them perfectly -- from the causal "inside out" so to speak.

            Hence, in knowing the entirety of time unfolding, God is not trapped either (1) in some sort of "present moment" that He must follow (like following the CAT scan of the length of the carrot), or (2) somehow knowing all things as really existing all at once.

            Rather, the entire created world passes through its entire temporal existence -- from beginning to end -- exactly as it would in "normal" history -- with time flowing through its entire length. It -- in its entire nature as conventionally understood -- comes into being in time and wends its way through to its final destination. God knows it fully at every instant of its being -- BUT without ever being changed by it or having to create it all at once in all ITS parts, since He eternally wills and causes it to be as IT IS in its entire history -- according to ITS temporally unfolding nature, including free choices among some of its creatures.

            This is quite the opposite of eternalism, which would have all parts equally existent "at once." Rather, the parts of creation unfold through time exactly as its created nature entails -- and God knows it and causes it to do so through a single, unchanging act of causal willing and knowing.

            Difficult to understand? Yes, but not inconsistent or incoherent -- unless one unwittingly slips God into His own creation.

          • Richard Morley

            Still, I have to note, not directly answering the question.

            How God perceives or knows the universe is a bit of a red herring to the question of what he creates/perceives/knows. I thought I had chosen a pretty neutral term, but 'creation' is an even more stark proof of the reality of its object than 'perception', leading even more clearly to eternalism.

            A timeless entity cannot do things in a sequence, such as creating/perceiving/knowing the universe in a sequence of instants. It cannot experience change or time itself, such as watching a growing universe grow or 'the present' move along the timeline.

            Logically it can only create/perceive/know the entire timeline from start to end in one timeless moment.

            Therefore the entire timeline must exist in that timeless moment.

            A timeless entity can observe a spacetime continuum from the outside, as we can see the whole length of a carrot in one instant, but that is eternalism. There is no meaningful way it can perceive the whole of an A-theory universe as 'time flows', that I can see.

            On the contrary, God knows creatures solely by knowing Himself in the act of creating them.

            [...]

            God knows [the universe] fully at every instant of its being -- BUT without ever being changed by it or having to create it all at once in all ITS parts, since He eternally wills and causes it to be as IT IS in its entire history -- according to ITS temporally unfolding nature, including free choices among some of its creatures.

            This runs hard into the principle of non contradiction, even without getting into the issues of determinism and free will it raises. God logically must create the universe "all at once in all ITS parts" because he is timeless. He cannot create one part and then another because there is no 'and then' for such a being.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            “A timeless entity cannot do things in a sequence, such as creating/perceiving/knowing the universe in a sequence of instants.”

            I said this was hard to grasp, since it is easy to unwittingly thrust God into time. There is no “sequence of instants” in God. He is outside of time. Utterly.

            “It cannot experience change or time itself, such as watching a growing universe grow or 'the present' move along the
            timeline.”

            God is not “sitting there” watching events unfold. The “unfolding” is on the part of creation, not God.

            “Therefore the entire timeline must exist in that timeless moment.”

            The “timeless moment” sounds to me like it is merely a minimal extension in time, in which a “timeline” is stretched from one end to another. God, as a purely spiritual being has no such extension. The “entire timeline” is NOT “in Him.” It is solely in creation itself. God is not “looking at” the “time flow” of an A-theory universe. That is why I said it is so crucial to understand that God knows creation, not by looking at it, but by knowing Himself as Creator of that unfolding creation. It is the creation that is unfolding, not God.

            There is no contradiction in saying that God creates in this manner. God does not “create one part AND THEN another.” You say rightly “… because there is no ‘and then’ for such a being.”

            The “and then” is in the creation, NOT in God. You are still unwittingly putting God into time. God knows Himself as cause of a creation that entails “an thens,” but the “and thens” are in the creatures, not in God.

            I realize part of the problem is that you do not believe such a being exists, or even could exist. But God, understood as a pure spirit, existing in the eternal NOW, utterly outside of time, simply wills (causes) the existence of a universe that itself exists in time as an unfolding reality whose sequential aspects belong to it alone, not to its Creator.

            This is more the problem of how God, who is absolutely one and simple, can know and create multiplicity. The only analogy I can think of for us is our unified and simple experience of the whole field of sensory reality, which is very multiple, but which we grasp as a whole, meaning that many are experienced at once in a single, unified act of knowing.

          • Sample1

            Have you ever met someone who has been able to comprehend your god’s timelessness?

            Mike

          • Richard Morley

            I personally have no problem with the timelessness itself.

            The problem is with simultaneously asserting that:
            i) one cannot interact with something that 'does not exist'
            ii) a universe in which only the present exists, the past and future 'do not exist'

            iii) a timeless entity that interacts with the universe in (ii) including in the past and the future.

          • Sample1

            Yes, those three points are touched on by the SEP’s entry. Interestingly, William Lane Craig would not be on board with Bonnette.

            What definitional obstacles exist that prevents a philosopher/theologian from inventing another metaphysics called, say, supertranscendence that categorizes timelessness outside itself? Is it impossible to concede that an empirical understanding of time by the aid of further naturalistic discoveries will allow for such a metaphysics?

            Infinite regress challenges look unavoidable at least until more is known that might restrict them.

            Until then, I’ve enjoyed the speculations.

            Mike
            Edit: link removed

          • Richard Morley

            What definitional obstacles exist that prevents a philosopher/theologian from inventing another metaphysics called, say, supertranscendence that categorizes timelessness outside itself?

            I'm not quite sure if this is what you are asking, but it is certainly possible for our universe to have come into existence from a 'prior' universe which in turn came into existence from a yet more prior universe, with no obvious limit to how long that chain of causality could be and all the usual wrangles about whether it could go on forever.

            Such 'coming into existence from a prior universe' could be anything from a black hole in one universe spawning a whole new separate spacetime continuum, to a scientist (or bored teenager with the latest SimUniverse game) simulating a universe. Such universes could be very different from ours, possibly even lacking a timelike dimension. Given the breadth of possibilities, while it may be possible to find theoretical or experimental proof that there is a 'prior' or 'higher' universe, some of the possibilities would rule out us necessarily being able to prove that there is not - such as a simulation where the experimenter intervenes to prevent his playthings realising that they are in a simulation. It is just too far beyond our current understanding of what we can see to be susceptible to anything but sci-fi speculation, I think.

            I also think a metaphysician would say that metaphysics, since it does not start with this universe and try to work up (as physics must), presents us with conclusions about the ultimate First Universe. This might be one way to get out of observed reality not matching what the hypothetical metaphysicist claims must be the way reality actually is - the awkward reality we observe is just some pocket or simulation within the 'real' universe, which no doubt works the way he says it must.

          • Rob Abney

            I'm enjoying this discussion you're having with Dr. Bonnette; will you clarify for me, what interaction is occurring in the past and future by a timeless entity? Thanks.

          • Richard Morley

            Well, any interaction with any timeless entity would do, indeed even that may not be necessary (see later) but in this case we were discussing God as the timeless entity. What interaction he has with the universe is very much open to debate, but at the very least he must have created it in its first moment, and most theists seem to feel that he is aware of every moment in the universe and intervenes directly from time to time. Some, apparently like Dr Bonnette, feel that he is directly involved in each and every instant to maintain the universe in existence.

            So if God is timeless, and you feel that he interacts with the univers in any way - for example, he hears your prayers and answers them, if only with a warm fuzzy feeling - then every such act (now, ten years ago, ten years in the future) are the same timeless instant for him, so the universe at each of those times must be as real as the others to him. So this seems to rule out the present 'existing' while the past and future 'do not exist', in any absolute sense.

            Indeed, even if it were merely possible for the universe to be observed from a timeless point of view, even if there were no actual timeless entity to do it, it would therefore surely be necessary for there to be a timeless answer the question of what the universe looks like from the outside. Such a timeless view cannot surely be animated, which requires something like time to pass, which rules out the usual presentist models and seems to leave only the eternalist model of a static (from a timeless point of view) block universe where time is just one of its internal qualities. Like a carrot that appears to us as a static lump, but which changes along its length and so would appear animated to a 2D creature that experienced the length of the carrot as a timelike dimension.

          • Rob Abney

            So if God is timeless, and you feel that he interacts with the univers in any way - for example, he hears your prayers and answers them, if only with a warm fuzzy feeling - then every such act (now, ten years ago, ten years in the future) are the same timeless instant for him, so the universe at each of those times must be as real as the others to him. So this seems to rule out the present 'existing' while the past and future 'do not exist', in any absolute sense.

            If God created me and knows me so well that He can accurately predict my every action then our relationship is present at each present moment in my present life. His past relationship with me is in my past and His future relationship with me is known by Him because He knows me so well not because the future already exists from His all-knowing vantage point.
            I derive these attributes from other arguments that prove His perfection and His intellect not from special pleading or pious belief.

          • Richard Morley

            If God created me and knows me so well that He can accurately predict my every action then our relationship is present at each present moment in my present life.

            If God can predict your every action, does that not rule out free will? If I recall your definition of free will.

            His past relationship with me is in my past and His
            future relationship with me is known by Him because He knows me so well
            not because the future already exists from His all-knowing vantage
            point.

            So how does a timeless being see the future become the present? Does that not require his point of view to change, which cannot happen without something like time passing for him?

          • Rob Abney

            So how does a timeless being see the future become the present? Does that not require his point of view to change, which cannot happen without something like time passing for him?

            Probably the same way that we experience the future becoming the present, one moment at a time, and just as our point of view doesn't change but instead the view changes. But unlike us, He knows what the next moment will look like even if that moment contains a creature with free-will. He doesn't deprive us of free-will, He knows us so well that He can accurately predict our choices.

          • Richard Morley

            Probably the same way that we experience the future becoming the present, one moment at a time, and just as our point of view doesn't change but instead the view changes.

            But for God to experience our time one moment at a time requires him to exist in a timelike dimension where he can experience things one after the other.

            He doesn't deprive us of free-will, He knows us so well that He can accurately predict our choices.

            If he can predict our choices absolutely even 13.8 billion years ago, then not only are you putting God into time but you are asserting determinism for everything except (possibly) God.

          • Rob Abney

            Good question Mike, my guess is that Dr. Bonnette would say that no one can "comprehend" God's timelessness, at least not fully, it seems too foreign to our everyday experience of life. But with the great dialogue that is taking place here, especially between Dr. Bonnette and Richard Morley, a lot more of us have the possibility of comprehending it.

          • Sample1

            I suspect a sea sponge and your god experience the word timelessness identically.

            Mike

          • Rob Abney

            Have you known anyone who can comprehend how a sea sponge experiences timelessness? If so, it is still vastly incomparable to how God does.

          • Sample1

            If you have good warrant to believe an animal without a brain or nervous system can experience the word timelessness, please elaborate. Until then I’ll hold to the null hypothesis that it doesn’t. And the same position shall be held for your god’s ability to experience timelessness until evidence persuades me otherwise.

            Mike

          • Rob Abney

            Until then I’ll hold to the null hypothesis that it doesn’t. And the same position shall be held for your god’s ability to experience timelessness until evidence persuades me otherwise.

            Good plan, the same approach that I use.

          • Richard Morley

            The “timeless moment” sounds to me like it is merely a minimal extension in time, in which a “timeline” is stretched from one end to another.

            No, "timeless" is clear and unequivocal and does not in any way imply "in a very small amount of time", unless one is consciously or unconsciously trying to avoid and distract from the point.

            The whole point is that if God is timeless, one timeless act of being/knowing/creation, then the answer to my question (which you still have not answered yourself) is clear: He must know/create/interact with the whole of the universe, along the whole timeline, timelessly. Meaning that the whole universe, past present and future (as they appear to be, to us, from within time) must exist (for him) timelessly. It cannot change, from his point of view, except in the sense that the carrot changes over its length which we perceive all at once, and it surely(?) cannot be incomplete. i.e. We have eternalism.

            As you would put it, a careful reading of my answers to you will make this clear.

            I am not putting God into time, wittingly or otherwise, if anything it is the hypothetical A-theorist doing that. Nor do I say that God is "sitting there" or that the “entire timeline” is “in Him” or any of the other assertions being put into my mouth to avoid what I am saying.

            I realize part of the problem is that you do not believe such a being exists, or even could exist.

            That only highlights how little you understand my position. If anything the problem would seem to me to be you understandably struggling to accept the challenge to your world view, that two very central premises are in conflict, at the very least extremely difficult to reconcile, and you certainly seem not to have a clear route to doing so.

            Can you at least concede that there is no conflict per se between saying that God is timeless and that he creates/knows/perceives a static 4D block universe incorporating past present and future that exists timelessly, time only having meaning within the spacetime continuum?

            Or that there is such conflict with the naive presentist models whereby God is timeless yet creates/knows/perceives a universe that appears to him as growing block, or an ever changing slice of 'present time' or a moving searchlight? I anticipate an objection that you are not asserting any of those things, to which I can only suggest that you state what you are asserting.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I apologize if I am guilty of putting words into your mouth. That is not my intention. I am trying to understand what you are saying and then to respond directly to it.

            To that end, I will ignore all but the last two paragraphs of your comment above, since the preceding paragraphs dealt with clarifying misunderstandings and I hope your efforts have been successful in that regard.

            You are probably right as to my not accepting “any of the above” of the alternatives you describe. I suppose God could comport with a “static 4D universe,” but that means nothing to me since I know that change is real. That last is matter for a different discussion, but that is my position on it.

            As to presentism, I really have little interest in the term, since it is not mine and it sounds like it does entail some naïve suppositions from your description of it in terms of things such as a universe that “appears to him as a growing
            block” or an “ever changing slice of present time” or a “moving searchlight” – since all those expressions sound like (I may be misreading them) a process in which God is somehow reacting to progress toward the future or coming to know the future as it unfolds. Such expressions would imply to me changes in God that cannot be.

            I have tried to be as clear as possible, but apparently the concepts remain cloudy in some way. I am saying that one must absolutely distinguish God from his creation. All the finite aspects of creation, including time itself as creation ever changes, are known to God without him ever changing in any manner at all. That is why it is key to know that God knows creation by knowing his own unchangeable being as causing creation. He is immediately present in all creatures as a cause is present in its effects by way of power and causation, not location. The problem with naïve phrases, such as a “moving searchlight” is that they seem to depict God progressively “seeing” the development of creation, whereas nothing at all can “progress” in an Eternal Being. The “progress” through time is part of creation, not the Creator. I know this probably still will not clarify the matter to you, but perhaps it can lead to a closer understanding of what we are trying to sort out.

            If you forgive me barrowing your reply to Sample 1, it might help us here also. You posed to him this schema:

            The problem is with simultaneously asserting that:

            i) one cannot interact with something that 'does not exist'

            ii) a universe in which only the present exists, the past and future 'do not exist'

            iii) a timeless entity that interacts with the universe in (ii) including in the past and the future.

            Maybe by reacting to this schema, my position will be more clear.

            Regarding (i), I agree.

            Regarding (ii), the present exists “now,” but the past and future also exist “when they did or will,” although NOT when they don’t. Since they do not all exist at once, this is not eternalism.

            Regarding (iii), God wills, causes, and knows, by knowing himself and his causal relation to creation, each “present” in time as existing at the point in time in which it actually exists, but he also knows it does not exist when it does not. The point being that there is no contradiction here provided one does not simultaneously both affirm existence and non-existence. A thing exists when it does, and does not, when it does not.

            Put another way, if the cosmos is the sort of thing that can actually exist, change, and have a past, present, and future, then God can know it as it actually is, since, while he is entirely outside of time, he can create such an entity without becoming entangled in its finite limitations, including time.

            Another thought: God can make, and thereby know, anything that is possible. If a world can exist that passes through time as most people think this one does, then God can make it. If he can make it, He is compatible with it. To disprove this, one must prove that a cosmos with real change and time is impossible. I know eternalists claim precisely this last. Yet, for purposes of our present discussion, eternalists ought not assume what they are trying to prove in order to show that God cannot exist or know the world in a non-eternalist manner.

          • Richard Morley

            I apologize if I am guilty of putting words into your mouth.

            Oh, I am not offended, but you have repeated similar statements despite less blunt attempts to correct you. Sorry in my turn if that came across as too blunt.

            (emphasis all mine)

            You are probably right as to my not accepting “any of the above” of the alternatives you describe. I suppose God could comport with a “static 4D universe,” but that means nothing to me since I know that change is real.

            I absolutely agree. But I think it is at the heart of the confusion here, not 'for a different discussion.'

            Change is real, even change with time, but the eternalist claim is that from a timeless point of view the whole timeline exists equally, just at the corresponding points in time. As a whole carrot exists equally, just at appropriate points along the length of the carrot. The changes in the carrot along its length are real, but to a two dimensional being travelling along the length of the carrot, which it experiences as time, only the current slice of the carrot appears real. To such a being 'here', 'above' and 'below' (the carrot is vertical) would be analogous to 'now', 'future' and 'past'. It can make sense to talk about its 'timelike' coordinate (height) changing with our time, as those are two different variables, but to talk about height changing with height is obvious nonsense. The static 4D universe has to be static, as no time passes from a timeless point of view.

            This is what eternalism asserts: not that all of time exists in the same instant of time, but that all of time exists at the appropriate spacetime coordinate, or in other words that it is not the case that one moment of time ('the present') has special absolute ontological status of 'existing' while the rest does not. God illustrates this: he is outside of time, so to him all moments of time must surely be equally real. It is only to those of us within time to whom the relative terms 'past', 'present' and 'future' have meaning.

            If there is an apple on the table in front of me, I would say that it exists, even though it does not exist at the same spatial coordinate as me. Likewise, a past event exists, just at a different temporal coordinate. As no point in space has special ontological status, neither does any point in time.

            Another way of looking at it: you like to say that something cannot come from nothing, from non-being. So surely the present, being something, cannot come from the past if the past is nothing, non-being.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Perhaps, I should ask a simple question. You say that change is real, even change with time.

            How do you define "change?" Would you accept the Aristotelian notion that change or motion means that "this" becomes "that," with some kind of real underlying continuum that connects those extremes? Or, are the "spacetime slices" that constitute the before and after of the change ontologically completely separate?

            As I see it, something coming to be may entail past causes that effect the coming to be, but which themselves are, in fact and truth, done with their active causing of the coming to be, and thus, now are non-being. What exists in the present, if contingent, must be being caused to be here and now by causes operating in the present. But, they may have been caused to come to be by causes operating in the past which no longer exist or act upon them at all -- but were nonetheless really existentially connected to the process through time in which they came to be.

            I suspect it is the continuum that connects the past causes with the present things that came to be that is the sticking point here.

            We need to be clear about our differences as well as our agreements.

          • Richard Morley

            Perhaps, I should ask a simple question.

            That is often a good way to clarify the other side's position, as long as they actually answer the question directly (hint, hint).

            How do you define "change?"

            Essentially, just 'difference', but between two (or more) things that can reasonably be considered to be instances of 'the same thing'.

            Temporal changes are only one example. As mentioned, we can talk about properties of a solution changing with concentration, or geology of a continent changing with location, or a graphical representation of a mathematical formula changing with the value of a constant, or changes in the latest iPhone compared to the previous one, or changes between two nearly identical images. Or a carrot changing along its length.

            Would you accept the Aristotelian notion that change or motion means that "this" becomes "that," with some kind of real underlying continuum that connects those extremes?

            There are potentially a whole slew of assumptions in there, such as the nuances of what is meant by 'become', or by the 'underlying continuum'. For some changes the different instances can be indexed by integers (e.g successive models of iPhone) or rational numbers (e.g. concentration of a solution) rather than real numbers (which is what I would mean by continuum).

            Or, are the "spacetime slices" that constitute the before and after of the change ontologically completely separate?

            Not according to me. According to presentism, it would seem so. I think.

            According to you, I thought so, if the present 'exists' and the past and future are 'non being'. The use of tenses and terms such as 'not yet' and 'no longer' when applied to time itself also raise again the point about talking about a variable changing with itself.

            As I see it, something coming to be may entail past causes that effect the coming to be, but which themselves are, in fact and truth, done with their active causing of the coming to be, and thus, now are non-being.

            So are objects elsewhere in space also "non-being"?

            If you don't accept contiguous causation, where (e.g.) the cause is constrained to the negative numbers (in time or space coordinates) and the effect is constrained to the non-negative numbers, how does any cause effect anything outside the point in space and time at which it occurs? Even motion from one point to a contiguous point requires the new point to be effected by something not at that coordinate.

            Once you accept some causes that produce effects that survive them, what evidence do we have of these other 'proper causes' existing or being necessary?

            For that matter, are you not slipping in a special exemption for God, who is not in space or time at all, to effect things in space time? Or are you asserting God to be omnipresent instead of not in space or time?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Well, I really thought I asked a simple question, but now find myself more confused than before!

            You defined for me the meaning of a cause as, “Essentially, just 'difference', but between two (or more) things that can reasonably be considered to be instances of 'the same thing'.”

            Now, THAT sounds more like the Aristotelian definition to me! One thing becomes another or undergoes some gain
            or loss of a property while still somehow being the same thing or at least some underlying principle, like prime matter, remains.

            That was the intent of the definition I offered you, that is, “the Aristotelian notion that change or motion means that "this" becomes "that," with some kind of real underlying continuum that connects those extremes?”

            Then, I offered this: “Or, are the "spacetime slices" that constitute the before and after of the change ontologically
            completely separate?”

            To which you reply: “Not according to me. According to presentism, it would seem so. I think.”

            Honestly, I am confused. I thought that this was more like the eternalist position, not the presentist one – understanding, of course, that the before and after are more like simply adjacent, but with an order corresponding to time.

            Just to save time, I do accept contiguous causation – assuming we mean the same thing. The cause must be “present” to its effect. I do not accept that causes produce effects that survive them, since to take away the cause is to remove its effect. Yet, and this entails a nuance here, previous causes can, let us say, “affect the history of being” so that what exists now exists because some causes in the past affected things in the past so as to alter what we encounter now. Yet, what exists now depends on causes existing now. It depends on how you use the word, “depends!”

            As for God, as St. Thomas says, God is present in all things – not physically – but as a cause is present to its
            effect. God is “nowhere,” but He holds all things, down to the last physical unit, in existence by continuous creation.

            I am sorry if my attempt to clarify has led to even more misunderstanding. Yet, seeing a misunderstanding is the
            first step to removing it.

          • Richard Morley

            Well, I really thought I asked a simple question, but now find myself more confused than before!

            Look on the bright side, noticing that you are confused is often the signal that you have found where one side or another is missing something.

            Now, THAT sounds more like the Aristotelian definition to me!

            I should hope so. Had I defined 'change' (not 'cause', BTW) as "a Japanese savoury pancake" you would probably have concluded that our world views were too far apart for communication to be possible.

            I would expect our meanings to be alike, but not identical, and the nuances are what are likely to be important.

            Then, I offered this: “Or, are the "spacetime slices" that constitute the before and after of the change ontologically completely separate?”

            To which you reply: “Not according to me. According to presentism, it would seem so. I think.”

            Heavy emphasis on "I think". To nick a quote, defining ‘presentism’ in a way that saves it from being trivially false yet is metaphysically substantively distinct from eternalism is no mean feat.

            To me 'eternalism' merely implies that all points in time are equally 'real', as most people would (I think) accept that all points in space are equally real, including those we cannot perceive or interact with. (You never did answer whether you consider other points in space to be nonexistent) This allows, but not require, all "spacetime slices" to not be 'ontologically completely separate', if by that you mean what I think you do.

            (Another parenthetical aside: talking about slices of spacetime is, I assume, just a convenience(?) There are models that have not just time but spacetime intrinsically divided into discrete, well defined cells, as opposed to a continuum, but that is not, I thought, what we are discussing(?) Some of your comments could be taken to imply that eternalism asserts that time is intrinsically divided into slices)

            Presentism, on the other hand, says that only the present is real. Which would seem to me to imply that the present is 'ontologically completely separate' from past and future, and since every moment in time is 'the present' at that moment, that would seem to imply that all moments in time are 'ontologically completely separate' from each other.

            It is not clear, to me, how your own position differs from this idea of presentism. Perhaps you could at least say how you understand the terms 'presentism' and 'eternalism'?

            Just to save time,

            Hold that thought..

            I do accept contiguous causation – assuming we mean the same thing. The cause must be “present” to its effect.

            I don't think so. Ray tried to explain this, and I still think his example is best.

            The non negative numbers and the negative numbers are contiguous but do not overlap. There is no number on the number line that is both negative and non negative (PNC) but there is absolutely no interval in between the two blocks of numbers, no number that is neither negative nor non negative, whether we are using integers, rational or real numbers.

            In contrast, if we include zero in both sets, there is an infinitesimal (single point) of overlap. If we exclude zero from both sets, there is an infinitesimal (single point) interval between them.

            If you allow contiguous (in the sense above) causation, and allow effects to persist, then we have no problem with (for example) a wave or particle propagating through spacetime. If you allow neither, then I don't see how you avoid a universe of completely independent points in spacetime with absolutely no interaction between them, something to make Leibniz's monads look tame.

            This is the kind of nuance best covered by mathematical tools of thought, and is where I wonder if you are not hampered by a lack of regard for mathematics and the physical sciences.

            I do not accept that causes produce effects that survive them, since to take away the cause is to remove its effect. Yet, and this entails a nuance here, previous causes can, let us say, “affect the history of being” so that what exists now exists because some causes in the past affected things in the past so as to alter what we encounter now.

            This does not make sense to me. Assuming 'affect' means 'have an effect on', then causes cannot produce effects that survive them, but causes in the past can affect things in the present? How is that not contradictory? If one thing alters another, it affects it.

            As for God, as St. Thomas says, God is present in all things – not physically – but as a cause is present to its effect. God is “nowhere,” but He holds all things, down to the last physical unit, in existence by continuous creation.

            Again, this is clearer in mathematical language where obfuscation is a lot lot harder. Briefly, if you have a rule that things that do not exist at a point in spacetime cannot affect that point in spacetime, then for God to affect that point he must exist there. So you have a God who pervades all spacetime, as opposed to one who is outside it.

            If, on the other hand, it is not the case that things that do not exist at a point in spacetime cannot affect that point in spacetime, then I don't see what your rule of causation actually is. Again, a God outside of spacetime could, I think, be said to be contiguous with all of spacetime without being in it, but I don't rule out some pure mathematician jumping in to tell me what a horrible solecism that is.

            I am sorry if my attempt to clarify has led to even more misunderstanding. Yet, seeing a misunderstanding is the first step to removing it.

            Or answering questions. Hint hint hint.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            The more I look at the language we employ to describe out positions, the more I fear we are in danger of befalling
            Wittgenstein’s warning about becoming befuddled by our own language-games. Of course, I realize that he was precisely trying to avoid language falsely leading us into metaphysics!

            That is why I prefer to say what I hold than to try to fit it into prescribed terms, such as presentism or eternalism, whose own advocates appear at times to take divergent paths.

            That said, all points in space do exist when they exist, just as all points in spacetime do exist when they exist. But they do not when they do not. How is that for a Delphic response? We need to dig further.

            For much the same reasons Wittgenstein objected, I am hesitant either to affirm presentism or condemn eternalism – at least until I am firmly sure of the meaning of each term and its parts. The moment one starts talking about “slices” of reality, I fear we are engaging in unrealistic abstractions. That is why I rather talk about real causes acting on real effects in real time entailing real changes in the effects.

            I do not allow “contiguous” simply to mean adjacent, like numbers, but rather the dictionary definition of “touching,” meaning actually impacting on the effect here and now, which also does mean that you cannot remove the cause and have the effect remain. That precisely does mean that we have a problem with waves and particles propagating through spacetime, if by that, you mean the ongoing propagation can proceed without further active causation from some agent. Why I hold this, I prefer to defer to another piece I may write. But that that is my position is a direct reply to your question, is it not? This is precisely where physics and metaphysics have different “takes” on what is going on.

            You wrote, “Assuming 'affect' means 'have an effect on', then causes cannot produce effects that survive them, but causes in the past can affect things in the present? How is that not contradictory? If one thing alters another, it affects it.”

            There are no contradictions here (or elsewhere). Causes of becoming can alter the way a thing exists in the past.
            When those causes cease changing that thing, it remains the way it is in virtue of other causes keeping it in existence that way. Thus, if I stick my finger into clay, the clay now has a hole in it, which remains after I withdraw my finger – not because of the finger, but because of the “stiffness” of the clay that keeps its now changed shape. Thus the clay is in the new shape that it is because of causes now operative, but it has this depression in it because of something I did to it in the past.

            Frankly, I am not all that impressed by mathematical language any more than by modern physics – at least with respect to solving philosophical problems. Both disciplines tend to abstract from actual reality in ways that invite metaphysical errors – as when formulae express in static terms realities that are actually dynamically changing.

            Again, I think you are right in saying that, while God is totally outside of spacetime, he can be actively creating it throughout its entire existence, from beginning to end. This is no ontological blunder – just getting it right! And no mathematician can prove it is wrong, since it is a metaphysical explanation outside his field.

            There is nothing inherently incoherent about saying that God can know and cause to be a kind of creation in which there is a beginning and an end, and in which reality progresses through the passage of time in such fashion that at every moment of that passage, the past no longer exists and the future does not yet exist. If such a reality itself is possible, then God can create it and know it as such. Possibility entails that the elements of such a reality are not inherently self-contradictory. I do not see that it is.

            Nor does this entail any impossible changes in God, since the changes and temporal nature of creation are in the
            creatures themselves, not in God, who utterly and atemporally transcends his finite and changing creatures.

            If we don't end this exchange soon and/or make the comments briefer, I shall never have time to write another OP.

          • God can know and cause to be a kind of creation in which there is a beginning and an end, and in which reality progresses through the passage of time in such fashion that at every moment of that passage, the past no longer exists and the future does not yet exist. If such a reality itself is possible, then God can create it and know it as such.

            Well stated. However, the problem with this is that you've permitted God to exceed a particular boundary which our Non-Theist friends do not wish for Him to exceed. Perdurantism Full Stop and Endurantism Full Stop are both "one their own" unable to capture the whole show and if we follow either to their respective ends we are led, in either case, beyond those ends. Given the dual landscapes of a. Immaterial ↔ Simplicity amid b. Material ↔ Parts we in fact expect that. That is to say – given the Christian metaphysic we expect that. That seems to be in part why our Non-Theist friends who appeal to one but not the other do so from the Non-Theistic perspective, conveniently expunging from the discussion the Theistic metaphysic which is actually being discussed.

          • The category error of equating God Creates to God Is Changed is addressed by Edward Feser as one can use his blog's search box and the terms of divine simplicity and also Cambridge Properties. That said, we can add to that content still far more as Logos presses in amid the interface of the Necessary and the Contingent, amid the B Theory & A Theory of Time. After all, ontological cul-de-sacs are logical impossibilities.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Thank you. Good article by Dr. Feser. As you know, I have been trying to make exactly that kind of point. All the change and becoming is in the created world; never in God.

          • Agree. Change in God, per the Multiple Gods Challenge, requires changing definitions. The definition of “concrete / real / actual” is the opposite from the way our Non-Theist friends conceive of “real / actual” when they speak of “change”. In Logos vis-à-vis Infinite Consciousness / Divine Mind we find the concrete, the uncreated, the unchanging – there in seamless simplicity amid the Irreducibly Intentional.

            We cannot just expunge what the phrase concrete reality actually means with respect to change nor the metaphysic of Divine Simplicity ↔ Irreducible Intentionality ↔ the Trinitarian Life.

            Cambridge Properties remind us that [A] Logos: To Know in the Tense-less & Unchanging interfacing with [B] Logos: To Actualize within Time and Tense is in fact an interface amid [A] God or that which is Actual & Un-created & Concrete and [B] that which is the Created & Non-Concrete & Non-Actual and Non-Real but-for the Pure Act that is the Actual & Un-created & Concrete.

          • To take that further we we have your observation that for a World to stream from Being Itself in and by the Principle of Proportionate Causality with respect to Logos such that God can and does Know and Cause To Be a kind of creation in which there is a beginning and an end, and in which reality progresses through the passage of time in such fashion that at every moment of that passage, the past no longer exists and the future does not yet exist, carries us not to a contradiction but rather to the fact that because such a reality itself is possible, then God can create it and know it as such.

          • Dr. Bonnette a clarification: The interface amid the A Theory and B Theory of Time forces absurdity if one holds to either A Full Stop or else B Full Stop. One must expunge far too much in either case. Whereas per my earlier comments it is only in and by Logos where we expunge *neither*. It may have appeared that I was advocating expunging both, however, it is just the opposite. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

          • Richard Morley

            The more I look at the language we employ to describe out positions, the more I fear we are in danger of befalling Wittgenstein’s warning about becoming befuddled by our own language-games.

            I agree, but I think it applies to yourself too. Case in point:

            (emphasis added:)

            That said, all points in space do exist when they exist, just as all points in spacetime do exist when they exist

            Two points: you inevitably use the innate tenses of natural language, which tacitly put time on a different footing to space. That is one way to get confused in the debate.
            Second, the bolded 'when's explicitly avoid the question, which was whether a point in space 'exists' despite being at a different spatial coordinate from you. So it is not about whether other points in space exist when they exist, but whether they exist, even to observers at other points in space. Obviously the apple on the table in front of me does not exist on top of the wardrobe, it is on the table not on top of the wardrobe, but that is 'bewitching yourself with your own language' by equivocating on the meaning of 'exist'. Saying that it does not exist on top of the wardrobe is saying something about its location, not saying that it is nonexistent in an absolute sense.

            Likewise, an apple I ate last year does not exist at the point in time where I am now, but that is not necessarily the same as saying that it is nonexistent in an absolute ontological sense.

            Likewise, if God is timeless, and every moment in time is real to God at that point in time as seen from inside the universe, then surely every moment in time must be timelessly real to God. Saying that an event in 1066AD was real to God in 1066AD, but is not real to God today, is indeed to slip God into time. Instead, I would argue, it is real full stop, but with 'happening in 1066AD' being one of its attributes.

            That is why I rather talk about real causes acting on real effects in real time entailing real changes in the effects.

            But that is where I have yet to see an example of a real effect in real time working the way you claim 'proper causation' must.

            I do not allow “contiguous” simply to mean adjacent, like numbers, but rather the dictionary definition of “touching,”

            This is where you seem to be hamstrung by disdaining maths. The negative numbers do touch but not overlap the non negative ones. What you 'allow' leads to very real problems you seem not to understand, as I can express them, let alone resolve.

            When those causes cease changing that thing, it remains the way it is in virtue of other causes keeping it in existence that way.

            So the effect survives the cause. Which is what I said, setting aside for the moment the reasons for its survival.

            Thus, if I stick my finger into clay, the clay now has a hole in it, which remains after I withdraw my finger – not because of the finger, but because of the “stiffness” of the clay that keeps its now changed shape.

            No, the stiffness is only needed to counter other forces that might try to change the shape of the clay, such as gravity or surface tension. Absent those, the natural tendency (I would assert) is for the clay to remain in its new state, active causes are needed to change it back. A superfluid with no stiffness or self gravity or surface tension, once at rest in whatever shape, would remain in that shape in the absence of any other force reshaping it.

            Again, I think you are right in saying that, while God is totally outside of spacetime, he can be actively creating it throughout its entire existence, from beginning to end.

            What I actually said was that for these two assertions to be concurrently true requires you to accept 'contiguous' causation, rather than causation solely by something existing at the same point in space and time as the effect. Otherwise, again, you are unwittingly inserting God into time and space.

            If such a reality itself is possible

            That is the question. Can something exist and not exist, in an absolute sense. Not in the sense of where or when it exists, but seen timelessly (e.g. by God) can it meaningfully exist and not exist, as opposed to existing timelessly, but with certain qualities including the spacetime coordinates over which it exists.

            And no mathematician can prove it is wrong, since it is a metaphysical explanation outside his field.

            Fundamental misunderstanding here: mathematics (which I would argue is even more purely absolute than metaphysics) just provides tools to help analyse the situation. Numerous, very powerful tools. Applying those tools to causation or space or time would then be metaphysics, or physics, just very much more enabled [meta]physics.

          • That is the question. Can something exist and not exist, in an absolute sense.

            A and Not-A isn't the stopping point with respect to A-Time and B-Time unless we expunge the Christian metaphysic, which outreaches both. That is why your own question there is not a question your tools even CAN answer simply because, unlike the Christian, you must commit to EITHER the A-Theory OR the B-Theory. At some ontological seam somewhere you must abort your own observation as the conscious observer as a contamination of this or that World Tube, or else you must do the reverse. Unfortunately the Illusory is not a better (or worse) option than Brute Fact.

            No, the stiffness is only needed to counter other forces that might try to change the shape of the clay, such as gravity or surface tension. Absent those, the natural tendency (I would assert) is for the clay to remain in its new state, active causes are needed to change it back.

            Agree but I think you've missed B.'s point in some sense. As in: You've repeated B.'s statement only you've changed the focus from the hole in the clay to what happens afterwards as it just sits there as a clay with a hole in it. Unless you mean to say that B.'s "stiffness of the clay" is somehow UNTOUCHED by reality's collocation of forces, as if the clay is somehow standing in midair, being what "it" "is" in a vacuum, UNTOUCHED by nature's proverbial "fundamental forces". Or, perhaps you mean to imply that B. is claiming the hole in the clay and Gravity are NOT touching. I'd dare to say that you have set the clay free, that you are smuggling in an *absence* of "Gravity / Quantum Flux", as it were. Where "touching" is concerned, none of us have the means for any sort of safe-house in any sort of ontological Cul-De-Sac. Which BTW is another reason the Non-Theist must commit EITHER to Perdurantism Full Stop OR to Endurantism Full Stop. He cannot go beyond Physics Full Stop and this entire discussion begins and ends there.

          • Perdurantism Full Stop and Endurantism Full Stop just can't do the work which is done by Logos which we find as a. all Progressions vis-à-vis the Divine Mind amid ↔ the Infinite Knower ↔ the Infinitely Known and, → that which we also find as → b. that by which all that is made is made. In Logos vis-à-vis Infinite Consciousness / Divine Mind we find the concrete, the uncreated, the unchanging in seamless simplicity amid the Irreducibly Intentional in what D. Hart describes as the metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility. We arrive in the topography of Divine Simplicity ↔ Irreducible Intentionality ↔ the Trinitarian Life.

            We ask those who foist Perdurantism Full Stop and those who foist Endurantism Full Stop to carry on and follow through to their inevitable contradiction as they approach the nature of the unavoidable interface amid the Necessary & Unchanging also called The Always & The Already on the one hand and on the other hand the Contingent, Time, & Change. They must smash all of their premises into a logical impossibility → into an ontological cul-de-sac and endure a fracture beneath the weight of absurdity → Else Infinite Consciousness.

            Whence Timeless Procession ← → Timed/Tensed Motion? Whence the B-Theory of Time ← → A-Theory of Time? Whence all such vectors given the relentless force of logic which reminds us that there are no such things as “ontological cul-de-sacs”?

            The interface amid the A Theory and B Theory of Time forces absurdity if one holds to either A Full Stop or else B Full Stop as one must expunge far too much in either case. Whereas, in and by Logos we expunge *neither* as we set sail and traverse that which in fact owns and also drives *both*.

          • Richard Morley

            In the nicest way possible, I could not make sense of most of that post. If nothing else, when we are already discussing a 'B theory of time', also using 'B' as a nickname for Dr Bonnette (and elsewhere as a label for a bullet point) seems needlessly confusing.

            Trying to separate out the bits of which I can make some sense:

            That is why your own question there is not a question your tools even CAN answer simply because, unlike the Christian, you must commit to EITHER the A-Theory OR the B-Theory.

            Remarks about what I 'CAN' answer or what I 'must' commit to seem unnecessary. There are more than two theories of time on the table, and I am happy not to commit to any of them until I have reason to believe one over the others, or for that matter I am happy to discuss one I actively disagree with on its own terms, (e.g.) to try to explain why I reject it, or to try to understand how its proponents understand it.

            Perhaps it would be more useful to say what your belief on this actually is, rather than to make derogatory remarks about mine?

            He cannot go beyond Physics Full Stop and this entire discussion begins and ends there.

            It ends, as far as I am concerned, unless you can both express your own point of view more clearly, and show a little more respect for others' point of view.

          • RM ~

            There are more than two theories of time on the table, and I am happy not to commit to any of them until I have reason to believe one over the others…

            I know you’re happy to commit to Physics-Full-Stop, and that you missed, or else ignored, the invitations to address the significance of that with respect to ANY theory of time is unfortunate.

            Perhaps it would be more useful to say what your belief on this actually is…

            Was it not clear that I counted both the A-Theory and the B-Theory as unable to capture the “whole-show” as it were? I mean of course ANY Non-Theistic description.

            …it ends, as far as I am concerned, unless you can both express your own point of view more clearly…

            That you missed, or ignored, the invitations to address the significance of the interface of the Christian metaphysic – as per Divine Simplicity & Irreducible Intentionality & the Trinitarian Life & Logos Etc. – with respect to ANY theory of Time is unfortunate.

            Physics-Full-Stop just can’t do the work you need it to do within ANY theory of time – as per:

            a. http://disq.us/p/1o5v88h
            b. http://disq.us/p/1o8wdkx

            If you wish to point out inabilities to capture this or that nuance of this or that interface of cause, effect, time, space, and so on, that is fine. However, when it is pointed out that there is not ANY Non-Theistic theory of Time which can even in principle successfully traverse that minefield, its curious that you don’t address that, again as per the two links just provided.

            Perhaps it would be more useful to say what your belief on this actually is…

            The other half of that is the explanatory reach of a metaphysic which so far you’ve not included, as in Logos and all which comes with it. Or, is it possible that you really do believe that Dr. B. means to find NO NEED for that as you explore the various interfaces of cause, effect, time, space, and so on? That is to say, where your X’s force absurdity you seem to want to attribute such to a supposed “problem” within Dr. B’s analysis, which again is fine, but if you mean to assert a “problem” WITHOUT including the actual paradigmatic content with which he comes to the table, then how is it that you even CAN assert a “problem”. You must first follow through with THAT content AND your own proverbial “paradigmatic content”. If that means some flavor of empiricism or physics-full-stop, well that is fine. But to avoid BOTH is just to go on and on about what we KNOW sums to less than what is actually brought to the table by all participants.

          • Also, FWIW:

            With respect to "...in the nicest way possible..." There's no need to be concerned as, obviously, the esoteric nature of what we encounter when we dive into the nuances of "the Trinitarian Life" and "Logos" and "Divine Simplicity" and so on is appreciated. That said, it is not as if it's all brand-new-stuff nor is it as if it's all trivial with respect to our respective explanatory termini here. The Edge of both Reason and Reality are, after all, unavoidably impacted, or "TOUCHED" by the content under review. To discount it, or to leave it out, just won't do.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            “Likewise, if God is timeless, and every moment in time is real to God at that point in time as seen from inside the universe, then surely every moment in time must be timelessly real to God. Saying that an event in 1066AD was real to God in 1066AD, but is not real to God today, is indeed to slip God into time. Instead, I would argue, it is real full stop, but with 'happening in 1066AD' being one of its attributes.”

            Grammar does not make a thing real or not. We may add a predicate saying when an event was real according to our
            time measurements, but that does not affect the fact that it is or was real at only one point in time. Since God is totally outside of time, he knows creation’s progress through time without time passing for himself. He knows it as what it is, a finite creation with the attribute of time, which means that
            it has a beginning and end and progresses from one to the other according to its nature as temporally unfolding. We cannot conceive how God does this because we are not outside of time ourselves. All we know is that he created,
            or creates, the world, and the world has the property of time. Since his causality extends to the creation of this world, in knowing himself perfectly he knows the world as an entity in time. Again, the key question is not how God knows the world, but whether such a cosmos as conventionally conceived in time can exist. If it can, he can create it and knows it as it is. Your real line of attack should be on whether this world in time is coherent in itself, not in relation to God.

            As to that last point, I do not intend to get fully into the intractable discussion of eternalism. Still maybe the following line of reasoning will help make clear why judgments based on the assumption of ontologically contradictory states of existence are problematic in special relativity:

            Since you can only make ontological judgments from your own reference frame, there is no way of determining whether diverse observers in diverse reference frames are actually observing events that are ontologically non-simultaneous, since all judgments are perception-based in special relativity and one only knows his own reference frame.

            So, this question that you raised sometime back, “Can something exist for you, but not for me? Can *I* (the me at one point in time) exist for you (at one point in time) even if the you at that selfsame point in time is (in my past and so)
            nonexistent?”, has no objective meaning, since all judgments are perception-based, and thus no ontological inconsistencies in existence can be proven.

            I don’t intend to chase down this aspect deep in this thread, and I know there are a lot of other aspects of the physics here that could give us endless discussion, yet I just want to raise this one consideration that is seemingly overlooked by some who forget that all physics is perception-based and that that alone has significant implications for ontological claims.

            One final point: I still insist that the effect does not survive the causality of the cause. The example of sticking my finger into the clay stands up to inspection, since the only thing my finger is doing is reorganizing the shape of the clay and the reorganizing ceases the moment I withdraw my finger. You are right that the clay stays where it is then because of its own nature. But my example aimed not at the specific shape of the clay, but at the action of my finger in changing that shape. When I quit changing its shape, the shape quits changing. Does this mean that the effect I produced remains after the cause is removed? No, because I was not making the clay have a shape, but only changing the shape it had. History does matter. But my finger is no longer having any existential impact whatever on the being of the clay after I withdraw it. That causes of coming-to-be really alter the “shape” of the world is undoubted, and the residuals remain after the cause is gone. But they remain for reasons other than the continued active presence of the causes that changed them.

            This has been interesting and illuminative, and I appreciate how you present your differences in a gentlemanly manner. Nonetheless, at this “point in time,” I must let you have the last word.

          • Tim Maudlin's Interesting View of Time:

            Part 1: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/tim-maudlins-interesting-view-of-time-part-1/

            Part 2: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/tim-maudlins-interesting-view-of-time-part-2/

            They are Podcasts but if you scroll down each has its own transcript as well. Also, Paul Brandon Rimmer gave a link at http://disq.us/p/1o96v4p to a discussion between Arif Ahmed and Ed Feser on several of the concepts involved.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Aristotle says that time is the measure of motion.

            The key is the defense of real motion in creation.

            If motion is real in the Aristotelian sense, then eternalism is false.

            Of course, then, also, if time is real, so is motion.

            Beware Alice in Wonderland redefinitions of time and motion.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Thank you for the link. Many people may not realize that Dr. Feser's intellectual journey to theism led him through all the back alleys of the full deck of atheistic philosophy -- and that he taught the Thomistic proofs for God for many years while totally convinced of their falsity. It was only when he was literally dragged by the truth to the realization that the proofs actually worked that he became a theist. Those who mock the classical proofs for God's existence simply betray their lack of understanding them correctly. How complex are the details of their careful exposition is not grasped by casual readers. I know something of this matter since I published in 1972 a book, entitled "Aquinas' Proofs for God's Existence," which analyses each way and the highly detailed historical commentaries on each one provided by classical commentators, such as Banes, Capreolus, Ferrara, Cajetan, and John of St. Thomas, as well as modern commentators, such as Lagrange, Gilson, and Maritain. Those who easily dismiss these proofs know little of the critical history of scholarship that maintains their validity.

          • With respect to the Empirical, and the notion of Change, and Time, and other proverbial Metrics:

            As links trigger deletion and/or going to the spam box, you can search E. Feser’s blog for the following six titles:

            [1] Maudlin on the philosophy of cosmology
            [2] Oerter on indeterminacy and the unknown
            [3] A note on falsification
            [4] Causality and radioactive decay
            [5] Q.E.D.
            [6] Nagel and his critics part v

            The concept of change is interesting and is looked at more closely in all six, though [2] is less about change and more about something else which has a bit of overlap.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Thank you for the leads in Dr. Feser's works. His analysis of change in a new book is really exhaustive and convincing.

          • With respect to the arrow of time, Meta means Meta, as per https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-arrow-of-time/

          • Feser with a few more inroads:

            Actuality, Potentiality, and Relativity’s Block Universe

            I. Introduction

            The distinction between actuality and potentiality (or, in the more traditional jargon, act and potency) is fundamental to Aristotelian metaphysics, especially as it has been developed in the Thomistic tradition. It is the heart of Aristotle’s account of how, contra Parmenides and Zeno, change is possible. The Aristotelian hylomorphic analysis of physical substances as composites of form and matter is an application of the distinction, with form corresponding to actuality and matter to potentiality. The Thomistic theory of the real distinction between essence and existence is another application, with essence corresponding to potentiality and existence to actuality. The Aristotelian-Thomistic account of God as Unmoved Mover (or “purely actual actualizer”) of the world crucially depends on the distinction. And so forth.

            It might seem that the distinction has been rendered obsolete by Einstein, and in particular by the Minkowski space-time interpretation of the Special Theory of Relativity (STR). Michael Lockwood sums up a common view:

            To take the space-time view seriously is indeed to regard everything that ever exists, or ever happens, at any time or place, as being just as real as the contents of the here and now. And this rules out any conception of free will that pictures human agents, through their choices, as selectively conferring actuality on what are initially only potentialities. Contrary to this common-sense conception, the world according to Minkowski is, at all times and places, actuality through and through: a four-dimensional block universe.

            Leave aside the question of…..

            From: Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Science). Taylor and Francis.

            Obviously it is a proverbial slice of a, well, book and reading, well, whole books or, instead, whole metanarratives – makes all the difference.

          • Rob Abney

            Here's a breif summary of the interview.

            WLC: I tend to agree with Maudlin though that there is no reason to think of time as an emergent property especially if you think of time in the way I do as a metaphysical reality that isn't dependent upon physics or its laws.
            Maudlin says, to close out the interview,
            And for me, again, the notion of temporality or of time seems like a very good place to think I’ve hit a fundamental feature of the universe that is not explicable in terms of anything else.

            WLC: Time is at the bedrock of our understanding of reality. And for Maudlin, time, as we've seen, I think, involves the objectivity of tense and temporal becoming. What that implies is that if there was an initial state of the universe then that initial state just popped into existence from nothing unless you have a transcendent personal creator of the universe to bring it into being.

          • Also, part of the content there is from https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-defense-of-the-reality-of-time-20170516/

            That links to Quanta-Magazine’s article which opens with:

            ….A Defense of the Reality of Time. Time isn’t just another dimension, argues Tim Maudlin. To make his case, he’s had to reinvent geometry. Physicists and philosophers seem to like nothing more than telling us that everything we thought about the world is wrong. They take a peculiar pleasure in exposing common sense as nonsense. But Tim Maudlin thinks our direct impressions of the world are a better guide to reality than we have been led to believe. Not that he thinks they always are. Maudlin, who is a professor at New York University and one of the world’s leading philosophers of physics….

            Emergent Time? An interesting concept is that perhaps Time is an emergent feature of reality, rather than one of its fundamental features. The problem there is that to emerge is to become, which presupposes that which it seeks to deny. The essay or article ends with the following:

            ….I’ve never been able to quite understand what the emergence of time, in its deeper sense, is supposed to be. The laws are usually differential equations in time. They talk about how things evolve. So if there’s no time, then things can’t evolve. How do we understand — and is the emergence a temporal emergence? It’s like, in a certain phase of the universe, there was no time; and then in other phases, there is time, where it seems as though time emerges temporally out of non-time, which then seems incoherent. Where do you stop offering analyses? Where do you stop — where is your spade turned, as Wittgenstein would say? And for me, again, the notion of temporality or of time seems like a very good place to think I’ve hit a fundamental feature of the universe that is not explicable in terms of anything else.

            Parts of that are also looked at in the Podcasts / Transcripts.

          • Richard Morley

            Nonetheless, at this “point in time,” I must let you have the last word.

            Fair enough. In that case, first of all, thank you for an interesting discussion, and for far more of your time than I had anticipated.

            We may add a predicate saying when an event was real according to our time measurements, but that does not affect the fact that it is or was real at only one point in time.

            That is where I have difficulty finding an understanding of a 'presentism' that is not trivially false or equivalent to eternalism.

            I would say that the apple on my table as I write this is real, and saying that it is so 'at that point in space and time' is a separate detail. (Or more thoroughly, it is real over the volume of space and time that it sweeps out over the course of its existence.) But the facts of where and when it exists do not detract from the fact that it is a real thing, a statement which I think has meaning in and of itself. In contrast, 'the pineapple on my table as I write this' is not real, neither 'at that point in space and time', nor in any absolute sense - the phrase 'the pineapple on my table as I write this' does not refer to anything existent whatever qualifiers one adds to it.

            So I would say that only the pineapple is nonexistent in an absolute sense that would, among other things, justify saying that it cannot affect reality (as non being cannot do anything.) The apple, I would claim, can be said to be 'existent' in an absolute sense without qualifiers - obviously not meaning that it is present throughout time any more than it exists at all points in space or has all colours for that matter, but it is a real thing that can have real effects in the sense that the pineapple cannot. I can pick up the apple and throw it at a window or the cat, for example. I see it is wet, so it could leave a black mark on the wood.

            So 'real' or 'existent' in that sense is a real quality, not a relational or Cambridge quality such as "existing now" (or just 'exists' but taking the present tense literally). In a year's time it would still be accurate to refer to that apple as a real, not a nonexistent, thing. It could still have enduring effects, such as a black water mark on the table or being visible to someone a light year away (with a really good telescope), as the pineapple cannot. And I don't see in what sense saying that the apple does not exist 'now' (in a year's time) is more meaningful than saying that it does not exist on top of the wardrobe. That is an assertion about its location, not its reality.

            Your real line of attack should be on whether this world in time is coherent in itself, not in relation to God.

            I believe that I do. Such as the point about the incoherence of time 'flowing' in relation to itself.

            God is just a convenient referent for the argument of how 'the present' changing or having special status as seen from a timeless point of view is apparently nonsensical. For a timeless entity to see all of time, where each moment is 'the present' and each point in space is 'here' as seen from that point, so in the Cambridge relationship sense, is trivial and is eternalism. For him to timelessly see a universe where each point is time is 'real' in an absolute non-Cambridge sense, and only at that time, while all other points in time are 'nonexistent' or 'unreal' in an absolute sense, leads to contradiction. A point must timelessly be real and be timelessly unreal.

            Since you can only make ontological judgments from your own reference frame,..

            Well, you can compare notes with others in other reference frames. But special relativity is a logical conclusion drawn from seeing how one can reconcile two postulates without leading to contradiction:
            The principle of relativity: that the laws of physics are the same in all inertial frames of reference.
            The light postulate: that the speed of light in vacuum is the same in all directions in all frames of reference.
            One can, of course, deny either of those, but otherwise the logic is I think pretty sound - there have been and still are attempts to get around either the logic or one of the postulates. This paper for example. The conclusion stands on its premises and argument, as much as metaphysical arguments do, and I doubt you would discard your own conclusions because you cannot experimentally prove them.

            So, this question that you raised sometime back, “Can something exist for you, but not for me? Can *I* (the me at one point in time) exist for you (at one point in time) even if the you at that selfsame point in time is (in my past and so) nonexistent?”, has no objective meaning, since all judgments are perception-based, and thus no ontological inconsistencies in existence can be proven.

            Strange to see a Thomist metaphysicist apparently arguing for strict empiricism. The question has meaning if it can be shown, as I think it can, that the only way to defend presentism (or any given theory of time) is to make existence relative. That is, if assuming that 'existence' (not at position {x,y,z,t} but existence as opposed to nonexistence, apple vs pineapple) is an absolute property and a given theory of time leads to contradiction, then asserting that theory of time rationally requires one to assert that reality is relative, not absolute.

            I still insist that the effect does not survive the causality of the cause. The example of sticking my finger into the clay stands up to inspection, since the only thing my finger is doing is reorganizing the shape of the clay and the reorganizing ceases the moment I withdraw my finger. You are right that the clay stays where it is then because of its own nature. But my example aimed not at the specific shape of the clay, but at the action of my finger in changing that shape.

            Some effects are ephemeral and cease once no longer being actively caused, sure. But others persist, and your assertion was surely that all effects do not survive the causality of the cause? So one example of an effect surviving its cause refutes the claim, so trivially that I still doubt the claim is really what it seems to be if taken literally. The argument that the past is non-being so cannot affect the present would apply to all effects, yet if I find that my half finished bust of Me has grown a hole in its forehead overnight, I do not assume that the present mechanical properties of the clay caused that hole, I take a thumbprint from the bottom of the hole and go looking for the culprit. i.e. a cause in the past for the ongoing effect of a hole in the clay. (PS, next time wear gloves)

            The reorganisation of the clay, incidentally, only ceases because of the properties of the clay. If you stick your finger into a wet clay bust, the shock wave dissipates almost immediately. Had you poked your finger into an initially static head-shaped cloud of dust in free fall, the particles would have carried on moving once set in motion by your finger, until the shock wave came out of the other side of the head like a gory special effect in CSI.

            This is where the philosopher who disdains maths and physics hamstrings himself, I think. Those disciplines have tools such as calculus that really do help think about such things.

          • RM,

            The reorganisation of the clay, incidentally, only ceases because of the properties of the clay. If you stick your finger into a wet clay bust, the shock wave dissipates almost immediately.

            No one here disagrees with that.

            The apple, I would claim, can be said to be 'existent' in an absolute sense without qualifiers - obviously not meaning that it is present throughout time any more than it exists at all points in space or has all colours for that matter, but it is a real thing that can have real effects in the sense that the pineapple cannot.

            No one here disagrees with that definition of real.

            For [God] to timelessly see a universe where each point is time is 'real' in an absolute non-Cambridge sense, and only at that time, while all other points in time are 'nonexistent' or 'unreal' in an absolute sense, leads to contradiction. A point must timelessly be real and be timelessly unreal.

            You're expunging the Divine Mind amid Logos from your analysis of.... the Divine Mind and of Logos. You're also conflating the Necessary for the Contingent when it comes to Being, Non-Being, and Logos on the one hand and the Created X on the other hand. You seem to be sliding, somehow, all the stuff of the journey *from* Non-Being and *to* Being into some sort of Pantheistic genre.

            Your X’s and definitions there force absurdity and you seem to want to attribute such to a supposed “problem” within Dr. B’s analysis, which again is fine, but if you mean to assert a “problem” WITHOUT including the actual paradigmatic content with which he comes to the table, then how is it that you even CAN assert a “problem”. You must first follow through with THAT content AND your own proverbial “paradigmatic content”. If that means some flavor of empiricism or physics-full-stop, well that is fine. But to avoid BOTH is just to go on and on about what we KNOW sums to less than what is actually brought to the table by all participants.

          • The argument that the past is non-being so cannot affect the present would apply to all effects, yet if I find that my half finished bust of Me has grown a hole in its forehead overnight, I do not assume that the present mechanical properties of the clay caused that hole....

            No one here disagrees with you. That you think someone does, or that Dr. B. at least does and etc., is informative.

          • Richard Morley

            That you think someone does, or that Dr. B. at least does and etc., is informative.

            That you think that I think that, and feel the need to point it out as 'informative', is informative. ;)

            That kind of assumption about what I believe, combined with your incredibly hard to read fractured syntax and idiosyncratic expressions, do mean that I don't plan to engage with you as long as those two conditions prevail.

            If I cannot understand you, and you are not understanding me, there seems little point in continuing. It may not be something that you can help, but it most certainly is not something that I can help. Sorry.

          • Sorry, the quote was of you so I didn't think it needed explaining for you. The reality of the apple and the effects on the clay all seemed to be points which you found problematic given Dr. B.'s definitions. It seemed worth while to clarify that there were no such problems.

          • “....But others persist, and your assertion was surely that all effects do not survive the causality of the cause? So one example of an effect surviving its cause refutes the claim....”

            Inertia seems to be overlapping here. But, before that, briefly there is this about the quote there:

            Removing one's finger from the clay removes one of millions of interfacing causal X's within the expanse of the causal ecosystem. It does not remove the ecosystem. Once the finger is removed, "THAT" becomes the past and is no longer act-ing-on the clay. It is that which act-ed-on the clay. Here we also have to avoid equating "The Clay" to the whole ecosystem. The "push" of the Finger in the B Theory of Time is in "another slice and not in the presently observed slice" and, in the A Theory of Time it is, again, not presently observed push-ing-on.

            Then, regarding inertia, we have to avoid various category errors:

            Because links to Feser and others triggered “going to review” and/or deletion of the comment just now, perhaps this will work:

            Search at Feser’s blog for:

            [1] Oerter on motion and the First Mover

            [2] Oerter on inertial motion and angels

            [3] and, also, Feser has an essay titled The medieval principle of motion and the modern principle of Inertia opening with “The purported contradiction”, which is on point. It is online in a PDF, via Volume 10, 2012 of the Proceedings of the Society for Medieval Logic and Metaphysics or the SMLM and it is on page 4. I linked all of those in my comment but as is common the enclosed links triggered deletion, so the search terms will have to do.

            [4] One can search for “Will the real God Please Stand Up”, by Scott Church at Aron Wall’s Blog focusing on physics, which is called Undivided Looking.

            There's more but typing out search terms is, well, silly in the year 2017.

          • Richard Morley

            After that kindly invitation, I hate to tell you, but I have no desire whatever to write a piece about my own theory of time.

            Can't say I blame you. To be clear, nothing I said was intended to pressure you into doing so, just to explain my continued responses when you keep saying that you do not wish to discuss a topic further, or only in a future piece. Others can think about it or respond, or you can bear it in mind for a future response (or not), but I am not going to read anything into you not responding in this thread or at all.

            That topic falls under cosmology or philosophy of nature (Aristotle’s Physics)

            Be that as it may, if your assertions rely, as they seem to, on your theory of time, and specifically your rejection(?) of the existence of past events (or of eternalism in general), then your argument is incomplete without a defense of that premise, and indeed it is vague without a clear statement of what exactly that premise is. At the moment we seem to be guessing, largely from statements of what it is not.

            Judging by that Philpapers survey, it seems that at best a tiny minority of philosophers accept that reality of past events is self evidently false. So Physicists can quite rationally continue to use 4-space or infinite regresses or accidentally ordered causation or whatever assumptions you object to, until faced with unequivocal proof that they must be false.

            (Arguably even after that; some insights have been gained from considering absurd hypothetical models)

            This phenomenon in general renders that any determination of absolute simultaneity throughout the cosmos is impossible for spatially separated events, specifically since there is no preferred frame of reference in which to make such a determination.

            Effectively, although I would stress that it is not (as I understand it) just a question of knowing whether events are simultaneous, we can determine that for a given frame of reference, but the truth actually varies from one frame of reference to another. It is ontological, not epistemological.

            Sure, this does not change the fact that any observer will agree on a sequence of events for a given object, or indeed for any path in space-time that could conceivably be followed by an object (including photons travelling at light speed). So for a given event (being used as a point of reference called 'now') on such a path, all will agree that other events on that path will be before or after the reference point 'now', a.k.a. whether they are 'in the past' or 'in the future' as seen from the point 'now'. What it does cast doubt on is whether you can talk about events 'in the past' not existing without making hairy assertions such as existence itself being relative. Can something exist for you, but not for me? Can I (the me at one point in time) exist for you (at one point in time) even if the you at that selfsame point in time is (in my past and so) nonexistent? Is 'reality' transitive, such that if A is real to B, and B is real to C, A must be real to C?

            (Quote elided for clarity, I don't think I have misrepresented the original:)

            Nor does it warrant the very speculative philosophical claims that [...] time does not flow.

            Flow with respect to what?

            Normally when we talk about a variable changing, it is with respect to something else. Temperature changes over time, or as one moves north, or the freezing point of brine changes as one increases the concentration of salt. To talk about time changing with time seems meaningless.

            Unless and until A-theory (or N-theory) is proven, physicists are entitled to continue to consider B-theory. Which so far has considerable supporting grounds.

          • After that kindly invitation, I hate to tell you, but I have no desire whatever to write a piece about my own theory
            of time.

            You should, because your views are not coherent. You deny both eternalism and presentism, and yet you're presupposing presentism to make your metaphysical arguments. That's simply inconsistent. It shows you have not developed a well thought out coherent position on the issue of time, and as such, none of your metaphysics can be shown to be true.

            Nonetheless, it does not mean that the inhabitants of a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri do not have a real past, present, and future any more than do we not have a real past, present, and future in which the past no longer exists and the future does not yet exist.

            Again, you've been told numerous times that this point is completely irrelevant to whether or not eternalism is true because eternalism doesn't make such claims. Nothing about eternalism says that any given frame won't have it's own past, present, and future. (Past, present, and future by the way are determined by the direction entropy increases.)

            Nor does it warrant the very speculative philosophical claims that all events past, present, and future equally exist, or that all reality is a block universe of “spacetime slices” ordered from past to future, but in which none have any preferred status of existence, or that effects can exist before their causes, motion does not exist, and time does not flow.

            That latter claims appears to be entailed by the highly speculative philosophical worldview called “eternalism” –
            and that I certainly do reject as violating both common sense and metaphysical reality.

            Eternalism is the block universe. They are just two different ways of stating the same thing. And the thing is, if you keep referring to eternalism as "highly speculative" then you must be aware that presentism is even more highly speculative because unlike eternalism, which is completely compatible with special relativity, presentism isn't. It's backed up by no evidence at all.

            And this goes back to your inconsistency with regard to your view on time. If you deny eternalism and presentism, but assume presentism, you're assuming the theory on time which is the most speculative, while chastising eternalism for being highly speculative.

            As I said, the very existence of local worldlines in which past really no longer exists and future really does not yet exist is sufficient to collapse eternalism’s false claims.

            Sure, but you haven't shown that. All you've said on the matter is "it does not mean that the inhabitants of a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri do not have a real past, present, and future any more than do we not have a real past, present, and future in which the past no longer exists and the future does not yet exist," and again this point is completely irrelevant to whether or not eternalism is true because eternalism doesn't make such claims.

            I'm afraid you don't understand the subject matter enough to know what you're talking about.

            Given that the vast majority of English speaking philosophers today are atheists in the materialistic analytic tradition, I am amazed to observe that many still appear to resist the B-theory of time.

            Only philosophers of physical science really understand the subject matter enough, and only 11.5% of them subscribe to the A theory of time.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b1e39f8918b0ad668c19724a7f2ac6c3dcab16d64fbe75cc1df08364db149de8.png

            Since eternalism clearly violates certain philosophical tenets of Thomistic philosophy, it should be expected that Thomists would have good cause to reject it.

            Yes but you don't have any good arguments to reject it. Calling it "speculative" ignores the fact that your alternatives are even more speculative.

            If and when I should write another OP for SN, it may well contain elements fully inconsistent with eternalism.

            Please do. Right now your views on the subject are highly inconsistent. But please if and when you write on the subject matter, no strawmen. It will be obvious if you do. If you have any questions on the subject matter, feel free to ask me.

          • Phil

            I have to say that my own position is very close to Dr. Bonnette's. So maybe the confusion in my denying the coherency of eternalism is that I am then not affirming the exact truth of presentism (which I would have mispoken in some of my responses that my view did align with presentism, which it actually may not).

          • Dr Bonnette I hate to tell you is woefully ignorant on special relativity, and is therefore ignorant on eternalism. He rejects it because he simply doesn't understand it. It just like what many Thomists like him claim atheists do when they reject Thomism because he says they don't understand it. Just learn special relativity.

            You can do it online for free, see here: http://www.atheismandthecity.com/2017/10/learn-special-relativity-online-for-free.html

          • Phil

            When it comes down to it, eternalism is a metaphysical theory of time, and therefore what the scientific theory of special relativity proposes is pretty irrelevant.

            Eternalism can be argued for or against on its philosophical merits using reason and logic.

            One can then interpret special relativity in a way that is in line with eternalism or is not in line with it.

          • When it comes down to it, eternalism is a metaphysical theory of time, and therefore what the scientific theory of special relativity proposes is pretty irrelevant.

            Eternalism is special relativity taken at face value - without supposing (on faith) that there's an objective reference frame. It is completely derived from SR and so SR is supremely relevant.

            One can then interpret special relativity in a way that is in line with eternalism or is not in line with it.

            In order to deny eternalism, one has to deny one or both of the following. They have to either:

            1. Deny that the speed of light travels at constant speed regardless of the speed of the light source.
            2. Deny that we can accurately measure two non-parallel distances as being of equal length with any physical instrument, such as a ruler or tape measurer, or even sense in any way that they are equal or unequal.

            The reason why is because logic demands it.

            If...

            (1) the speed of light is constant for all observers and isn't changed depending on whether or not the light source is moving,

            And...

            (2) we are able to physically measure two perpendicular distances accurately using any device such as a ruler or tape measurer,

            Then...

            (3) if two beams of light travel an equal distance to a single point and arrive at the same time, they must have been emitted at the same time and the events that emitted them must have been ontologically
            simultaneous.

            And...

            (4) if two beams of light travel an equal distance to a single point and arrive at different times, they must have been emitted at different times and the events that emitted them must have not been ontologically simultaneous.

            In order to deny (3) and (4) you must deny either (1) or (2) or both (1) and (2). There is no other logically possible way to do so.

            See here: http://www.atheismandthecity.com/2017/04/heres-what-you-have-to-believe-in-order.html

          • Phil

            Whose reference frame are we viewing the events of (3) and (4) from in your above points?

          • 3 and 4 must be different reference frames.

            Watch this for some more info:

            https://youtu.be/wteiuxyqtoM

          • Phil

            Ah, are (3) and (4) referencing the same light particle(s)? Just viewed from different reference frames, correct?

            (I'm sorry, that wasn't clear above. It sounded like (3) and (4) could be different light particles)

          • Phil

            A further question would be, when you say "simultaneous" in (3) and (4), simultaneous from what reference frame?

          • From 2 different reference frames.

          • Phil

            I want to make sure I have this correct: (3) and (4) are referencing the same event of 2 light particles being emitted and traveling, correct?

            It is simply viewing this same event from two different reference frames, correct?

            If those two things above are true, what specifically are those two different reference frames that we are viewing this event from?

          • Did you not watch the video? It explains everything: https://youtu.be/wteiuxyqtoM

          • Phil

            (And to follow up, I am very familiar with this thought experiment in the video above. It is the same one Einstein used when forming his special theory of relativity. It shows, as I've said, that there is no absolute simultaneity or order of events. But it does not then follow that past, present, and future exist all at once. It simply says that different reference frames can experience the past, present, and future in a different order, not that past, present, and future are all equally existent or that they don't exist at all.)

          • But it does not then follow that past, present, and future don't exist.

            Agreed! It follows that past, present, and future do exist.

          • Phil

            Sorry, that was confusing, the ultimate point of that is some make the claim that there is no real ontological distinction between past, present, and future (like with eternalism), while I hold that there must be on ontological distinction.

          • Define what you mean by ontological distinction.

          • Phil

            Define what you mean by ontological distinction.

            To say that the past states of the universe, the present states of the universe, and the future states of the universe equally exist is to say that there is no real ontological distinction and difference in the status of their existence.

            In short, it means that all these states are equal and there is no true difference between them.

          • What do you mean by "true difference between them"? You and I both exist, right? We're both equally real, but you can't from that also say there is no true difference between us. So you need to be extra clear on what you mean.

          • Phil

            What do you mean by "true difference between them"? You and I both exist, right? We're both equally real, but you can't from that also say there is no true difference between us. So you need to be extra clear on what you mean.

            Correct, we are different people, but there is no ontological difference in our existence. We both fully exist right now.

            But, it could be said that there is an ontological distinction between you and how you will exist in the future. How you exist now and how you exist in the future cannot be equally existent less one proposes that there is more than one of you right now, or you both exist and don't exist right now, which is contradictory.

            So your future self's ontological status is different from your present self's ontological status.

          • But, it could be said that there is an ontological distinction between you and how you will exist in the future. How you exist now and how you exist in the future cannot be equally existent less one proposes that there is more than one of you right now, or you both exist and don't exist right now, which is contradictory.

            Of course there's a distinction between us and hence no contradiction in saying we both exist. The me of the future that exists is me because it's all part of my worldline (or worldtube if we're talking in non-2D terms). So "how" I exist now is different from "how" I will exist in the future.

            So your future self's ontological status is different from your present self's ontological status.

            Not really, if by ontological status you're referring to existence, they both exist. They just aren't the same exact physical instance of me since my worldtube obviously isn't the same throughout it's length.

          • Phil

            Where there are 2 events, but both 3 and 4 see the same 2 events, not different ones. The ontological status of both events are real from 3 and 4.

            And it could be said that the ontological status of the future physical instance of yourself is different from the ontological status of the present physical instance of yourself.

            So again, they could both be said to "exist" in some fashion, but they can't equally exist at each present moment.

          • Their ontological status is the same, just one physically exists in the future (which exists) and one exists now (which also exists).

            But they don't exist at the same time like NY and Boston don't exist in the same place.

          • Phil

            Their ontological status is the same, just one physically exists in the future (which exists) and one exists now (which also exists).

            But they don't exist at the same time like NY and Boston don't exist in the same place.

            If you are saying that your future self doesn't exist right now, while your present self does exist right now, then there is an ontological difference in their existence right now.

          • Sure, right now, but right now is not the only moment that exists because all moments exist. They just don't exist right now.

          • Sample1

            Maybe if you discuss the Hamiltonian for the universe Phil will at least see the logic of how one can indeed claim to know all moments? I don’t know, just a lurker enjoying your discussion.

            Mike

          • That's difficult.

            I know my Present Self even as I know my Future Self

            In the end the blips on the screen are not what we are discussing vis-à-vis the Conscious Observer.

          • Of course, one can equivocate and hedge on what one means with respect to "I know I" within the noetic frame of knowing self.

          • Actually, there isn't any ontic-difference because the Change-In-Perception between the Now Self and the Future Self and the Past Self does not happen. You are actually a "Part" of the Block, which has many "Parts", even as you are, simultaneously, sort of hovering outside of it and looking down / over / across it and seeing different slices through different frames of reference. As the Conscious Observer your perception changes even as your perception never changes because there is no change nor anything to Q or Cause said change in your Perception as the Conscious Observer. "You" as the Conscious Observer are "simultaneously" both a Static / Motionless "Part" of the Block and an Observer hovering outside of the Block looking down / over / across it and seeing different slices through different frames of reference. Which carries us full Circle as we repeat the cycle given that as the Conscious Observer you are, now, even still, a static / motionless "Part" of the Block such that your perception never changes, ,and, also, you are hovering / moving "such that" your perception changes as you look across / over different slices of the Block, because there is no change nor anything to Q or Cause said change your Perception as the Conscious Observer. Your perception as the Conscious Observer never changes even as your perception as the Conscious Observer changes as you observe things from different frames of reference.

            Got it? Don't ask questions. Just believe.

            :-0

          • Of course, as we move past Physics-Full-Stop, we begin to see why it is that the Christian does not reject the concrete reality of abstract objects, logic, eternalism, presentism, actuality, and so on in the setting of the Divine Mind and all which sums to Logos with respect to the "...metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility...." But, to get "there" we have to arrive "at", say, Intuition and/or Physics, and Etc., and then keep going to what is found beyond such vectors. The fun but absurd parties hosted by the Three Stooges in the Town of Heavy-Meta, who go by the names of Solipsism, Scientism, & Positivism, just won't do for more than a few hours of, well, that fun but absurd party.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Brilliantly stated.

          • Phil

            (3) if two beams of light travel an equal distance to a single point and arrive at the same time, they must have been emitted at the same time and the events that emitted them must have been ontologically
            simultaneous.

            And...

            (4) if two beams of light travel an equal distance to a single point and arrive at different times, they must have been emitted at different times and the events that emitted them must have not been ontologically simultaneous.

            The more I think about it, it seems that your conclusion from these above is that the same 2 particles during the same event are, ontologically, both emitted (3) and not-emitted (4). But of course this is a contradiction. Something cannot ontologically exist and not exist at the same moment.

            So that means something has went wrong in your thinking. The easiest explanation is (3) and (4) are two different events and not the same event.

            You also could have mixed up how something "appeared" to be for how it exists ontologically. (Like the same event *appearing* differently because of a different reference frame.) Things can appear to exist in many different ways because of relativity, but that doesn't mean they ontologically exist like that.

            But what we can know for sure is that a particle cannot ontologically exist and not-exist at the same moment. That is incoherent.

          • Your perception as the Conscious Observer never changes, because change does not exist, even as your perception as the Conscious Observer changes as you observe things from different frames of reference.

          • Don't worry about Evidence and Reason with respect to all of that. Just have Faith. Well, not the Christian brand of faith. But, rather, the Non-Theist's straw-man "definition" of "what Christians mean by faith" as per:
            a. http://disq.us/p/1gaid51
            b. http://disq.us/p/1nppieu

          • Feser makes the observation regarding the notion that ALL change is illusion:

            First, what we would have in this case is one more instance of the common strategy whereby science (as the moderns have defined “science”) attempts to unify phenomena by relativizing the apparent differences between them to the observer. Hence “heat,” “sound,” “red,” “green,” etc. are redefined so that what common sense means by these terms (features which are irreducibly qualitative rather than quantitative, and which can vary from perceiver to perceiver) is relativized to the “mental” or “subjective” point of view of the observer, and what is allowed to count as “objective” or “physical” heat, sound, or color is only what can be captured in a quantitative model – the motions of particles, compression waves, surface reflectance properties, and the like. So too, time and change, when treated as if they do not really exist in the external world, are relativized to the mind of the observer as mere projections onto external reality.

            But the observer himself remains. And as Popper pointed out, there is no getting around the fact that change really occurs at least within the observer’s consciousness itself. To deny this is implicitly to deny the very empirical evidential base on which physical theory is supposed to rest ....in the blog itself there is a link here to Democritus’ Paradox.... Hence if Einstein really were Parmenides redevivus, his position would face incoherence just as the Eleatic philosopher’s did, at least if the Minkowskian interpretation is correct and if we want to say that the conscious subject is a part of a natural world that is purportedly free of change. Alternatively, we could adopt a dualist view according to which the conscious subject is not a part of that world. That will save the Minkowskian view from incoherence, but at the cost of merely relocating change rather than eliminating it.

          • Objective non-simultaneity has no observable or testable consequences. It cannot be empirically verified.

            Hence, the same follows for B-theory and eternalism. Both are merely philosophical interpretations of SR that cannot be empirically verified.

            What are you talking about? The empirical evidence all shows that there is no absolute simultaneity, because all the empirical evidence shows that time is relative, a consequence of non-simultaneity.

            There was also an experiment last year that shows how time can emerge from quantum entanglement given the static nature of time on eternalism: Time from quantum entanglement: an experimental illustration

            Also, to give just one piece of evidence regarding the experimental evidence for eternalism, length contraction is explained by eternalism. Consider the diagram below:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/76ae37411f15ce18418ad6e3e8b7a5a08105e38fd2868622bc01b6d2df0af485.png

            Two worldtubes, A and B, move with respect to t and t'. The three dimensional cross section L1' results from the intersection of worldtube A from an observer comoving with t'. It shows the relativistically contracted length of the body measured by that observer. The length contraction of a body is a manifestation of its worldtube. No deformation and no force is involved in this effect, as Minkowski argued. The contraction of worldtube A by an observer moving along t' is simply due to a different cross section of it P'P' existing simultaneously. According to an observer moving along t', worldtube A is in motion, and so is length contracted. Hence L1' is shorter from the reference frame of t' than in the frame of worldtube A who measures it as L1. "It must be stressed," Petkov writes, "that the worldtube of the body must be real in order that length contraction be possible because, while measuring the same body, the two observers in relative motion measure two three-dimensional cross bodies represented by the cross-sections PP and P'P'," and he adds that "a spatially extended three-dimensional object is defined in terms of simultaneity - all parts of a body taken simultaneously at a given moment." ([1]p.81) This is seen even more dramatically when comparing L2 with L2'.

            Now consider the presentist who says it's possible only one reference frame is the "correct" one. Let's say it's an observer who's still relative to t. That would mean that worldtube B's actual length, that is to say, its objective length, is really the equivalent of L2 and not L2' at all times on the t axis. And yet the length equivalent to L2' is measured from an observer comoving with t'. This can be done with light signals or a physical instrument like a measuring stick, or a number of other ways. How is that possible if the length of worldtube B objectively is L2? L2' is the length of worldtube B from its reference frame; it is its simultaneous length from each end of it, shown as the distance between Q'Q', but the presentist says this length cannot exist because Q'Q' do not exist simultaneously! This would be impossible to measure and is incompatible with Special Relativity. The four dimensional world Minkowski showed us, which philosophically is eternalism, perfectly explains why length contraction exists, and why we get the measurements we get. These things are impossible if there is an objective space and time. Hence, the physical meaning of length contraction is a manifestation of the four-dimensionality of the world. On presentism, both observers would measure the same length in contradiction with relativity. And the presentist, it seems, is forced to take the position that the measurements of the length of objects simply just don't count as evidence of objective reality.

            I hate to repeat myself, but since it is clear that philosophers of science do not agree about the philosophical consequences of SR, it is simply overstatement to claim that eternalism is a necessary physical inference of SR.

            Half of philosophers of physical science them agree with the B-theory, and only 11.5% agree with the A-theory. Clearly there is very little support for presentism among the people most familair with the issue and the B-theory is the most popular view. So please don't pretend like it's a 50/50 split:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b1e39f8918b0ad668c19724a7f2ac6c3dcab16d64fbe75cc1df08364db149de8.png

          • [A] “…..the presentist who says it's possible only one reference frame is the "correct" one….”

            [B] “….an experiment last year that shows how time can emerge….”

            The Presentist does not say only one reference frame is correct. To assert that is to assert that the contingent being, the contingent reference frame, is correct.

            No Christian asserts that. Granted, your Physics-Full-Stop straw-man of "What Christians Believe" defines such a contingent stopping point as the Christian's stopping point. But that is, now again, another demonstration of where your objection to the purely physics-based Presentism is fallaciously tied into your claim that there is a problem with the Christian metaphysic.

            But then you go on to describe, not becoming, as in emerging, but the illusion of becoming, as in the illusion of emerging, vis-à-vis your Non-Theistic brand of Eternalism (…there is a Theistic Brand which is actually coherent…) and its bizarre and inexplicable abstraction which the Non-Theist Eternalist never manages to show us in any intelligible sense – the supposedly Non-Changing Perception Of The Conscious Observer. An interesting concept is that perhaps Time is an emergent feature of reality, rather than one of its fundamental features. The problem there is that to emerge is to become, which presupposes that which it seeks to deny.

            That is discussed a bit more in the earlier comment which opens with, “…..That links to Quanta-Magazine’s article which opens with A Defense of the Reality of Time. Time isn’t just another dimension, argues Tim Maudlin….” I tried linking to the comment but including the link to various comments or to Feser essays triggers my comment to go to deletion and/or moderation, while pointing to them in this rather archaic mode does not. So you can perhaps use the search box via control-f and search for, say, Tim Maudlin, and so on in this thread.

            Continued in the next comment…….

          • An interesting concept is that perhaps Time is an emergent feature of reality, rather than one of its fundamental features. The problem there is that to emerge is to become, which presupposes that which it seeks to deny.

            Well, unless one equivocates on “emerge” and unless one BOTH attempts to show us AND attempts to hide from us that bizarre and inexplicable abstraction which the Non-Theist Eternalist never manages to show us in any intelligible sense – the supposedly Non-Changing Perception Of The Conscious Observer.

            Continued in the next comment....

          • The Presentist does not say only one reference frame is correct. To assert that is to assert that the contingent being, the contingent reference frame, is correct.

            Presentism is the view one reference frame is correct. So you're wrong.

            No Christian asserts that. Granted, your Physics-Full-Stop straw-man of "What Christians Believe" defines such a contingent stopping point as the Christian's stopping point. But that is, now again, another demonstration of where your objection to the purely physics-based Presentism is fallaciously tied into your claim that there is a problem with the Christian metaphysic.

            Um, Dr. Craig asserts that. He thinks god's reference frame is the right one. Presentism is based in physics. It's based in intuition. So I don't know what this "purely physics-based Presentism is" you're talking about.

            But then you go on to describe, not becoming, as in emerging, but the illusion of becoming, as in the illusion of emerging, vis-à-vis your Non-Theistic brand of Eternalism (…there is a Theistic Brand which is actually coherent…) and its bizarre and inexplicable abstraction which the Non-Theist Eternalist never manages to show us in any intelligible sense – the supposedly Non-Changing Perception Of The Conscious Observer.

            Um what? So far all I'm getting from you is incoherent babble. You say "Non-Theistic Eternalism" is incoherent? Prove it. You say "Theistic Eternalism" is coherent? Prove it.

            An interesting concept is that perhaps Time is an emergent feature of reality, rather than one of its fundamental features. The problem there is that to emerge is to become, which presupposes that which it seeks to deny.

            That's false. Emergence is simply just understanding things at different levels of ontology. Cell phones don't exist fundamentally, only quarks and electrons do. But that doesn't mean cell phones don't exist. The property of the whole doesn't exist in the property of the parts. This is weak emergentism.

            That is discussed a bit more in the earlier comment which opens with, “…..That links to Quanta-Magazine’s article which opens with A Defense of the Reality of Time. Time isn’t just another dimension, argues Tim Maudlin….”

            Thanks but I think Mauldin et al are wrong.

          • Now you are claiming that Christians believe that Presentism Full Stop gives us the correct stopping point for interpreting reality. By extension you're also claiming that Christians do not find any contradictions if and when we stop at our own contingent perception with respect to the fundamental nature of the physical world.

          • I meant to write, Presentism isn't based in physics. It's based in intuition.

          • So now you're asserting that the Christian metaphysic is based in Intuition-Full-Stop. Yes? No? Is that where the Christian Begins and Ends? Is that the A through Z of the Christian's metaphysic?

            Here's the 15th-ish or 16th-ish time:

            And yet you still refuse to employ the Christian's definitions. About 14 times now in this thread I've asked you to justify your fallacious claim that [A] Being Itself [B] "becomes" [C] "physical" with respect to this:

            Given the Christian metaphysic, from whence physicality? Tie it all into Pure Act, Potential, the Creative Act, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, and so on with respect to Being Itself in fact "becoming" (as you say) "physical". Be sure to use the Christian's definitions and not your own equivocations thereof.

            Recall from earlier the goal here:

            I’m not interested in refuting your Non-Theism, nor in defending the Christian metaphysic. The goal here is to demonstrate your unwillingness to use the Christian's actual definitions EVEN AS you claim there are problems with the Christian metaphysic because of this or that bit of physics.

          • I'm not answering anymore of your comments until you tell me what baggage my view has.

          • According to you, your view has no baggage. Granted.

            According to you, on the Christian metaphysic Being Itself "becomes" "physical". Not granted.

            Given the Christian metaphysic, from whence physicality? Tie it all into Pure Act, Potential, the Creative Act, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, and so on with respect to Being Itself in fact "becoming" (as you say) "physical". Be sure to use the Christian's definitions and not your own equivocations thereof.

          • ... Emergence is simply just understanding things at different levels of ontology....

            Yes, we know you don't mean "emerge" when you say "emerge" and that is why it was pointed out that you must first equivocate on “emerge” and then appeal to the Non-Theist's bizarre and inexplicable abstraction of the supposedly Non-Changing Perception Of The Conscious Observer.

            You didn't seem to find that accurate, but, as pointed out, that specific quibble about that bizarre and inexplicable abstraction of Non-Theistic Etenralism (…the Theistic Brand is a different state of affairs all together…) isn’t the point. Rather, the point of that observation about your use of the term “emerge” is to add layers to the primary demonstration of our exchanges here, which is your use of fallacious terms and nuances in order to build your case NOT against Presentism per se, but against the Christian metaphysics specifically.

            For example, the Christian Presentist does not say only one reference frame is correct. Why? Think it through: Reference Frames do not begin and end with us. Again, think it through: For the Christian to assert such a thing is to assert that the contingent being and/or the contingent reference frame is “the correct stopping point” in interpreting reality. But “that” would be to reject Natural Theology and the Philosophy of Science, and far, far more.

            No Christian asserts anything close to that with respect to perception and the fundamental nature of reality. You may want to consider two facts to help you move out of those fallacious Physics Full Stop definitions of “What Christians Believe”, as in:

            [1] The fact that Craig and others are open to Actuality, Logic, Abstract Objects, and Eternalism in the setting of the Divine Mind as we move into reality’s fundamental rock-bottom.

            [2] The fact that there are no Christians who affirm Presentism in the setting of physics-full-stop, for such a paradigm must finally suffer the metaphysical baggage which all Non-Theism(s) suffer.

            You asked earlier what that baggage is, and, so, to repeat it again: I’m not interested in refuting your Non-Theism, nor in defending the Christian metaphysic. The goal here is to demonstrate your unwillingness to use the Christian's actual definitions EVEN AS you claim there are problems with the Christian metaphysic because of this or that bit of physics.

          • Yes, we know you don't mean "emerge" when you say "emerge" and that is why it was pointed out that you must first equivocate on “emerge” and then appeal to the Non-Theist's bizarre and inexplicable abstraction of the supposedly Non-Changing Perception Of The Conscious Observer.

            I do mean emerge. There's multiple definitions of things. You seem to be unaware of that.

            Rather, the point of that observation about your use of the term “emerge” is to add layers to the primary demonstration of our exchanges here, which is your use of fallacious terms and nuances in order to build your case NOT against Presentism per se, but against the Christian metaphysics specifically.

            Anytime you want to show my terms are fallacious, let me know.

            For example, the Christian Presentist does not say only one reference frame is correct. Why? Think it through: Reference Frames do not begin and end with us. Again, think it through: For the Christian to assert such a thing is to assert that the contingent being and/or the contingent reference frame is “the correct stopping point” in interpreting reality. But “that” would be to reject Natural Theology and the Philosophy of Science, and far, far more.

            They do say so. Craig has said for years that "cosmic time" could be god's objective reference frame: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/is-the-kalam-cosmological-argument-circular/

            So I'm afraid you're just ignorant in knowing what you're talking about when you say no Christian presentist has ever said there's only one correct reference frame. You can't be a presentist and say there isn't only one correct reference frame.

            Do you know anything of the subject matter?

          • I'm asking you now again: Justify your fallacious claim that [A] Being Itself [B] "becomes" [C] "physical" with respect to this:

            Given the Christian metaphysic, from whence physicality? Tie it all into Pure Act, Potential, the Creative Act, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, and so on with respect to Being Itself in fact "becoming" (as you say) "physical". Be sure to use the Christian's definitions and not your own equivocations thereof.

            As we scan this thread we've accumulated a nice collection of what is now demonstrative.

            You're forever managing to leave out far too much of the Christian's actual definitions as you opine about the Christian's definitions.

            You're helping me. Your reply here is now still another demonstration on your part which justifies my claim about your fallacious methodology as you take half-truths, equivocations, and hedges in order to "make a case" about this or that.

          • While not the whole of it, both syntax and source with respect to http://disq.us/p/1jmalut weigh in across several layers as well.

          • I'm doing no such thing. Again, I'm not answering anymore of your comments until you tell me what baggage my view has.

          • Echoes abound:

            .... then I will play your game too and simply say I'm not interested in our goal. And we can end it there....

            You've already demonstrated, and confirmed, quite nicely, that you're not interested in interfacing with the Christian's *actual* metaphysic. One cannot end what was never started.

          • I think I actually am. But you prefer to go around in circles.

          • It's not the Christian claim that the Necessary becomes Contingent. As per http://disq.us/p/1oej5el and of course "actual" Christian definitions. That odd claim is, instead, yours.

            You made a claim. Someone asks you to justify it. You evade and hedge. In the end you accuse the person asking you to justify your claim of being evasive. As does Sample1.

            And, so, we can add now a second line of evidence for the agenda here: Sample1 approves of "A" when "A" makes a claim. Then "B" asks "A" to justify it. Then "A" evades and hedges. In the end "A" and Sample1 accuse "B" of being evasive. It seems now we have two lines of evidence affirming the overall theme of this particular "tactic" by some, well actually very few, of our Non-Theist friends, of injecting Non-Christian definitions "as-if" they are the Christian's claim and then opining that the Christian's claim has a "problem".

            This is a simple topic, as per, say, the example given earlier as to the question here: Do Christians claim [A] that iron floats on water "full stop"? Or, instead, do Christians claim [B] that Causal Agents can and do suspend physical systems on top of / in water, and so on? Well it's not uncommon for our Non-Theist friends to inject "Christian's claim [A] but if that is true then... and then... and so... and well therefore that's just silly....."

            It's reasonable to point out such an error by our Non-T friends. Whether or not the Non-Theist is making the error knowingly or unknowingly is not relevant. At least not to me. Now, at some point it does seem to become a matter of intention and not of information, and perhaps that adds a layer or two, but, at bottom, the basic "substrate" is the error.

          • You made a claim. Someone asks you to justify it. You evade and hedge. In the end you accuse the person asking you to justify your claim of being evasive.

            Evade? What are you talking about? You've been asking me to explain something impossible for a week and I keep telling you no one can do that logically. Are you testing the definition of insanity here with me?

            This is a simple topic, as per, say, the example given earlier as to the question here: Do Christians claim [A] that iron floats on water "full stop"? Or, instead, do Christians claim [B] that Causal Agents can and do suspend physical systems on top of / in water, and so on? Well it's not uncommon for our Non-Theist friends to inject "Christian's claim [A] but if that is true then... and then... and so... and well therefore that's just silly....."

            That is not what I'm doing with you. I've never relied on "physics full-stop" in any claim or argument I've made. In fact, I've assumed the theist's own metaphysic to make my point.

          • Your claims don’t need to start or stop in physics. They need to interact with the Christian metaphysic.

            Is that too cryptic for you? It’s very simple with respect to the source of “physicality”. As in:

            1. There’s no problem given the Christian definitions of Pure Act, Potential, Being, and so on.

            2. Given your definitions there’s a problem.

            You’re now up to about 16 demonstrations of your unwillingness to interact with the actual Christian metaphysic.

          • Repeating your evasion doesn't help you. Hence even if there are these supposed different definitions, none of them claim that the Necessary "becomes" Contingent with respect to "from whence physicality".

            Or, to put it another way:

            None of the definitions here are new and, having been looked at for centuries – and centuries – they all deny, quite specifically, your fallacious claim that the Creative Act contradicts Pure Act, Potential, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, Being, Perfection, The Good, and so on. Given those rather long-standing definitions please explain, "From whence physicality?"

            You're being asked to use the Christian's definitions and then carry through to the end of his explanatory termini and be sure NOT to stop in Physics Full Stop. Rather, be sure to carry through to the Christian’s actual explanatory termini there in Reason Itself, there in Being Itself there in The Good, there in the Trinitarian Life, and all Progressions therein with respect to Logos, and so on, and tell us "...from whence physicality..." given, for the 17th-ish time now, that same topography in that same – Christian – metaphysic.

            So far you've either [A] expunged far too much of all of that or else you've [B] simply changed such definitions into what you WISH they "meant". But what you've NOT done yet is to carry through as described above.

            Etc.

          • While “Progressions” will do in this context, all “Processions” with respect to Logos is better....

          • You like to foist claims about the Creative Act and then when pressed on it you evade and claim that Christendom has disagreements about something else, rather than about the Creative Act. Shedding light on that sort of behavior from some of our Non-Theistic friends is, as stated, the point of this exercise.

            When it is pointed out to you that you’ve made a claim about people’s claims which isn’t coherent with what those same people actually claim, you should consider slowing down, stopping, backing up, and trying again amid clarification and qualification. But you don’t do that. Instead, you press forward, fists clenched, eyes closed.

          • When I read the actual definitions of Pure Act I see the lucidity of the possibility of the Creative Act. Then, when I read your "take" on "Pure Act", I'm wondering what religion you're talking about, as it's nothing like the content of the Christian metaphysic.

            More peculiar, you seem to believe that putting God outside of Time or inside of Time can help you on that point. As if mixing in a few three-quarter truths will soften the silliness of your initial half-truths.

          • We're still asserting there's one Christan metaphysic? Oh boy..

          • There are several apparently:

            http://disq.us/p/1oj2y2m
            http://disq.us/p/1oj03sm

          • Coherence within rational explanatory termini is of course why Feser and Craig converge centrally – despite their more peripheral disagreements – as Feser is happy to just GRANT the Non-Theist this or that model:

            “….The universe, however physics and scientific cosmology end up describing it – even if it turned out to be a universe without a temporal beginning, even if it is a four-dimensional block universe, even if Hawking’s closed universe model turned out to be correct, even if we should really think in terms of a multiverse rather than a single universe….”

            As per his blog in the essay titled Carroll on Laws and Causation.

            Another reason Craig and Feser converge more centrally, again despite their more peripheral disagreements, is because, unlike the Non-Theist's commitments in this topic, they both understand that neither Cosmology nor Physics are convertible with Ontology.

            The unifying metaphysic of The Trinitarian Life outreaches all lesser, weaker edges within Christendom's various internal discussions.

          • -https://disqus.com/home/discussion/strangenotions/why_an_infinite_regress_among_proper_causes_is_metaphysically_impossible/#comment-3660566609

          • …single non-debatable Christian metaphysic…

            First: Did you forget the goal of this exercise?
            Second: Huh? You should interact with what is actually stated to you by others and not by that sort of misrepresentation of others. Non-debatable? Christendom doesn’t have its own internal discussions on these topics?

            Re-read once again: God-In-Time, God-Out-of-Time, …Both…, Craig, Feser, Convergence, The Trinitarian Life vis-à-vis Christendom’s explanatory terminus, and, of course, my stated goals for "embarking" on this exercise. It’s all there freely offered to you, so there’s no need to take it, twist it, and then pretend to be interacting with it.

            http://disq.us/p/1ojey38
            http://disq.us/p/1ojdtlc

          • Given your fallacious definitions of the Christian metaphysic, there is a problem with the Christian metaphysic with respect to “whence physicality”.

            The Christian observes your use of his terms as you point out said “problem” and wonders, “What on earth is The Thinker talking about? He thinks X means THAT? Where did ever get such a silly idea?”

          • Then define pure act and tell me how a being of pure act can do anything.

          • It's your fallacious "Pure Act" that I'm interested in here. It's your fallacious claims which are my agenda. If you're not interested in your own fallacious definitions and if you're not interested in justifying them, I'd find that quite satisfying.

            So are you done then?

          • Prove it's fallacious.

          • [1] It's your claim that your reconstruction of the Christian's claim isn't fallacious.

            [2] It's pointed out to you multiple times that your version of the Christian's definitions, referents, and premises are not accurate in a few key places.

            [3] You're still plowing forward, head down, fists clenched, eyes closed.

            ....Now, when someone like Coyne keeps attacking the same straw men over and over and over again, over the course of many years and despite the fact that even people who otherwise agree with him gently advise him to stop doing it, when he gets touchy even with atheist readers who call him out on it, when he doubles down on the rhetoric about how obviously stupid his opponents' arguments are, etc. -- well, that sort of behavior is pretty consistent with that of someone who is interested in convincing himself that he was right all along rather than that of someone who really wants to find out if he is in fact right. That is to say, it sounds like classic self-deception. And that's the kind of intellectual dishonesty I'm talking about.

            Second, it is true that analytic philosophers do, at least "officially" if (unfortunately) not always in practice, highly value a willingness and ability to try to reconstruct an opponent's arguments in as plausible and fair-minded a way as possible. Certainly that was something drilled into me in grad school, and I have always been grateful for it. Again, there are analytic philosophers who do not live up to this ideal, and I can certainly think of some analytic philosophers with a prominent online presence who do not even try to live up to it at all when they think that refraining from doing so might further some political cause they favor. Still, it is an ideal that analytic philosophers all know they should strive to live up to. It is also an ideal that Scholastic philosophers value highly.... (by E. Feser)

            You're not the first.

          • [1] It's your claim that your reconstruction of the Christian's claim isn't fallacious.

            Yes and can you show that it is?

            [2] It's pointed out to you multiple times that your version of the Christian's definitions, referents, and premises are not accurate in a few key places.

            Then I will proceed by asking you questions:

            Let me ask you this: God is timeless.
            True or false?

            You're not the first.

            I've read and reviewed one of Feser's books and he does the exact same thing he claims atheists are doing: unbelievable straw manning of the atheist's POV.

            So please, spare me the hypocrisy.

          • ....is God timeless...

            See above.

            ...strawmaning of the Atheist's point of view...

            Show us one of Feser's descriptions of Coyne's arguments wherein Coyne is attempting to show a "problem" with the Christian metaphysic, as only vintage Coyne can, and show us where Feser gets Coyne all wrong.

            BTW, when it is pointed out to you that you’ve made a claim about people’s claims which isn’t coherent with what those same people actually claim, you should consider slowing down, stopping, backing up, and trying again amid clarification and qualification.

            Instead, now, you move the goal posts and take the discussion of Coyne by Feser to be the "new" "topic" and seem to miss the point of an analogy, or example, employed to shed light upon what is happening right here, in this thread, right now.

            Peculiar. Quite Coyne-esc.

          • Speaking of Coyne and so on:

            1 of 2 so look for Feser's followup to this first of two comments he makes:

            http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/10/walter-mitty-atheism.html?showComment=1444541683395#c5184040431704814012

          • Show us one of Feser's descriptions of Coyne's arguments wherein Coyne is attempting to show a "problem" with the Christian metaphysic, as only vintage Coyne can, and show us where Feser gets Coyne all wrong.

            Irrelevant to our conversation.

            BTW, when it is pointed out to you that you’ve made a claim about people’s claims which isn’t coherent with what those same people actually claim, you should consider slowing down, stopping, backing up, and trying again amid clarification and qualification.

            Which is why I asked you if god is timeless 15 times now and you utterly refuse to answer. So clearly you're not being serious above.

            Instead, now, you move the goal posts and take the discussion of Coyne by Feser to be the "new" "topic" and seem to miss the point of an analogy, or example, employed to shed light upon what is happening right here, in this thread, right now.

            Peculiar. Quite Coyne-esc.

            I have no interest in talking about Coyne/Feser issues. You brought it up and I showed that Feser is a hypocrite merely to address that point. You then accuse me of moving goal posts. This is a level of dishonesty I expect from trolls.

          • Do you even realize that now you again move the goalposts and that it DOES matter GIVEN the goal of this exercise?

            You've moved them off of the Creative Act now somehow conveniently long forgotten. You’ve moved them off of my plainly stated agenda for this exercise now somehow conveniently expunged. You’ve moved them off of your twisting of my words which make it look as if I’m claiming there’s no such thing as internal discussions within Christendom on these topics, now somehow left off to the side. You’ve moved the goalposts back to your links above in the past few minutes to Feser being dishonest or some such something-y, but failing to connect it to THIS interaction as I specifically did.

            And now you move them again but this time BACK to your seeming “need” for MY definition in order for you to lay out your argument against, say, Craig, or Feser, or both EVEN THOUGH you were told long ago of my agenda for this exercise, which didn’t include refuting your Non-Theism nor defending Theism.

            Did you forget that? Expunge that? Ignore that?

            That’s a lot of movement on your part. Meanwhile, I’ve been unwilling to move off of exactly what I told you this was about: finding demonstrations of that pesky Non-Theistic “pattern” of these sorts of dances.

          • Do you even realize that now you again move the goalposts and that it DOES matter GIVEN the goal of this exercise?

            Don't assume we have the same goal. And I'm not moving goal posts. Whether or not god is timeless is relevant to your goal.

            You've moved them off of the Creative Act now somehow conveniently long forgotten.

            Define 'Creative Act' for me please and explain to me how it's done metaphysically.

            Did you forget that? Expunge that? Ignore that?

            No, you're just mistaken that it's not relevant. If you claim I am incorrectly defining god or 'the' Christian metaphysic, then defining god is relevant.

            Meanwhile, I’ve been unwilling to move off of exactly what I told you this was about: finding demonstrations of that pesky Non-Theistic “pattern” of these sorts of dances.

            Which is nonsense because if that was your goal you'd have answered my question a day ago.

          • Your entire comment is captured with this:

            ...If you claim I am incorrectly defining god or 'the' Christian metaphysic, then defining god is relevant....

            Of course definitions matter. That's why I've asked you to justify your claim that, given the Christian definitions, it all breaks down when we get to the Creative Act.

            I've simply presented a statement that what you've presented is misguided, and, I've told you I would not be refuting Non-Theism nor defending Theism, and, I've sat back and tossed in a few God-Inside-of-Time's and a few God-Outside-Of-Times and even BOTH in order to give you as much room for Christian-Error as you could possibly want, and, I've merely waited for you to draw out YOUR VERSION of the Christian argument, even as I informed you with my plainly stated agenda of merely looking for demonstrative evasions in the proverbial Non-Theistic "mode".

            In fact I've EVEN told you that BOTH Presentism and Eternalism are FALSE IF we stop with physics and/or ONE frame of reference, and, also, that I've EVEN stated that BOTH are TRUE in key, fundamental modes IF we carry through to the end of the Christian's explanatory terminus in order to provide you even MORE "opportunity" to show us where it all falls apart for the Christian.

            Of course, all the while I felt comfortable that you'd not ACTUALLY draw out "your" "version" and go the distance and carry through to the End that is Reason's Terminus there in Reason Itself, there in The Trinitarian Life.

            And so on.

          • Sample1

            Interfacing? Ah.

            Mike

  • “Such a regression is simply impossible. One has to arrive eventually at a first cause that has no ontologically prior cause.”
    One invalidation of your argument is that it is a discussion of causality within the scope of the essences of material entities, but its conclusion is at the level of ontology, i.e. being. In contrast, the first cause of Aquinas’ is properly at the level of ontology. His argument is within a discussion “On Being and Essence”.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      There is an element of truth in what you say. But the word, "ontological," is often used in philosophy as simply a fancy word for the less elegant term, "real."

      It is true that the point of departure of all proofs for God is taken from the evidence of our senses in this physical world. Physics, in the Aristotelian sense, is the study of ens sensibile et mobile, sensible and mobile being. But what the "essences of material entities" also entails is "beings." It is the "ens" part of the "ens mobile" that the metaphysician focuses upon to begin examination of a chain of causes the can lead to a transcendent First Cause.

      That is also why physical science as such can never prove God's existence. In order to reach that transcendent conclusion, since physics, as such, can never leave the order of materiality. It is necessary to abstract from the materiality of sensible beings in order to focus on their "being," which is not as such limited to the material order. That is why an analogical middle term is needed in such arguments.

      But my concern at present is solely to show that no infinite regress is possible in any form of causal chain. That is why the point of my argument was that we ultimately must reach, in any order, a first cause that has no "ontologically (real) prior cause."

      • ....But the catch is that the causality of each intermediate is *not* fulfilled in its prior cause, since that cause, too, is dependent on yet a prior cause to fulfill its causality. Regression to infinity means that the causality never gets completely fulfilled, and thus, the chain fails for want of an uncaused first caused....

        Well stated.

        Physics-full-stop, rationally followed, leads one beyond physics-full-stop. What typically follows is a. various sorts of category errors related to some flavor of the fallacy of composition ↔ god-of-gaps, b. the pains of brute fact, and, c. at some ontological seam somewhere, the end of reason itself which lands not in the convertibility of the necessary transcendentals with respect to *being* but, rather, in the illusory shadows of non-being. Which is to say that *reason*, rationally followed, leads one beyond one's own unavoidably contingent reason and into the Necessary & Irreducible vis-à-vis Reason Itself. The Divine Mind presses in. From there, well, the nature of the entire discussion immediately hits a hard "Y" in the road, wherein on one arm the Non-Theist is eager to abort lucidity's necessary means and ends, while the Theist refuses such reductions to absurdity.

  • I wonder about the infinite series. You seem to say because each element has to add something to it therefore it can only be finite. Yet mathematics has infinite series where each element adds something and it converges. I am wondering why this sort of thing could not happen with intermediate causes.

    The whole thing still needs a cause. Infinite series of causes don't just happen without some explanation for why they happened but it is not clear to me why they can't be infinite at all.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      Of course, mathematical series can be potentially infinite, just as per accidens series running back through time can be. But proper causes acting here and now have a thread of causation running through each intermediate cause that is not explained by any of them taken singly or collectively. It is all in a careful reading of the OP, especially if you look at all the various examples and definitions.

      • I don't know that it is explained but I get one point. An infinite series of explanations that does not have some overarching explanation seems quite implausible. Is it impossible? Not sure.

      • enchess

        That's not really an explanation to what he asked and it's questionable if it's even valid. Let's put ourselves back in time say 6000 yrs ago. From scientific knowledge at a primitive time like this, there wouldn't be scientific evidence yet that humans or the universe had a beginning. So say on the cave art predecessor of Strange Notions, some human suggests that knowledge of fire was passed down from our ancestors, who in turn received it from theirs, and so on forever. I don't see any logically conclusive argument that there must be some first human to discover fire if we assume humans have been around for an infinite period of time. Perhaps there is no time when humans did not possess fire and no time when they did not learn it from an ancestor. There is no Adam in this model, so there is no need for the inventor of anything, not inherently at least. To actually answer Randy's question, you need to either prove or point to a proof that time has a definite beginning where the universe is defined at t=0 (if the universe approaches some state as it approaches t=0 but is not defined at t=0, then you cannot make any assertion about the impossibility of infinite series)

      • Well stated. The fact that the sum of all intermediate causes do not collectively arrive at a fulfillment of all prior causes is proof that causality, as you noted, never gets completely fulfilled. For that reason, and many others, Feser is happy to GRANT the Eternal Past Universe given that the math doesn't add up. The infinity of Intermediate Causes & Prior Causes never actually add up to the whole of Causality. As for the 4D Block, well, merely relocating change as per http://disq.us/p/1om31jt again leads us to a state of affairs where the math in the Perpetual Infinity fails to add up. The subtle hedge of equivocation just can't do the necessary work.

  • A choice between turtles, all the way down (causal ones), or an uncaused cause.

    Not going to be a popular choice amongst a certain cohort.

    • enchess

      Eh... not so much. I don't think most atheists are truly against the "uncaused cause", but they very well may argue what that cause is. "God" is certainly a massive leap from there. You are suddenly adding assumptions of purpose, intelligence, power, eternal nature, etc when a simple matter-spitting black box would accomplish the same thing (so apply Occam's). Actually, the uncaused cause doesn't necessarily even need to a physical thing, it could be a principle, such as "If nothing, then something". On the other hand, it could be enormous, such as "the universe is it's own uncaused cause".

      All that said, even turtles isn't quite as bad as it seems here, as often as I've used it to critique others. The normal issue with turtles all the way down is simply asserting unjustified explanations constantly. It is NOT that infinite regress is impossible by nature. This should be fairly obvious to anyone who has had math classes that deal with infinity and negative infinite. Negative infinity is difficult to imagine, but I see no metaphysical reason time couldn't go back forever, which removes any need for an uncaused cause. Likewise, a looped time structure should also be possible, eliminating a need for an uncaused cause. Even without time stretching infinitely both ways, one might imagine our universe behaving asymptotically with time=0, approaching an initial state but being totally undefined at time=0. This allows a beginning to time and STILL removes the need for uncaused cause AND the need for turtles all the way down. It also deals nicely with the problem of normal time 0 models: Uncaused Cause is nonsensical as it assumed something exists in negative time (which the model says there is none). Of course, all these may be empirically testable. I don't claim to be well-versed in physics enough to know if they already have been. Would welcome scientific rebuttals to any of the three time models I suggested.

    • True and obviously for one cohort such is the case because the math doesn’t add up, as per http://disq.us/p/1ovqgjz – The fallacy of composition comes in many forms but they all share the notion of arguing “As-If” cosmology and/or physics are convertible with ontology (in addition to the core fallacy of course). The radical category change in moving from non-being and into being added to those problems leaves quite a mess.

      D.B. Hart observes the following: "This is arguably the besetting mistake of all naturalist thinking, as it happens, in practically every sphere. In this context, the assumption at work is that if one could only reduce one’s picture of the original physical conditions of reality to the barest imaginable elements — say, the “quantum foam” and a handful of laws like the law of gravity, which all looks rather nothing-ish (relatively speaking) — then one will have succeeded in getting as near to nothing as makes no difference. [Yet] in fact, one will be starting no nearer to nonbeing than if one were to begin with an infinitely realized multiverse: the difference from non-being remains infinite in either case. All quantum states are states within an existing quantum system, and all the laws governing that system merely describe its regularities and constraints. Any quantum fluctuation therein that produces, say, a universe is a new state within that system, but not a sudden emergence of reality from nonbeing. Cosmology simply cannot become ontology. The only intellectually consistent course for the metaphysical naturalist is to say that physical reality “just is” and then to leave off there, accepting that this “just is” remains a truth entirely in excess of all physical properties and causes: the single ineradicable “super-natural” fact within which all natural facts are forever contained, but about which we ought not to let ourselves think too much.”

      That vector of “…entirely in excess of all physical properties and causes…” presses in, both upon the limits of scientism and upon the End of Reason, as per http://disq.us/p/1o5v88h

  • Who said Eternal-ism is compatible with anything?

    You. You're sayings it's compatible with theism. And what the heck is full stop eternalism? What's the difference between that and eternalism?

    On your (1), (2), & (3) your conclusions are (1) False and (2) False and (3) False.

    Nope. You need to show why they are false. Tell me how a god creates a universe from nothing that already exists.

    Because Presentism Full Stop leads to the same absurdities as does Eternalism Full Stop. The ontological interface between a. The Necessary and b. the Contingent, or we can say between a. The Always & The Already and b. Time, Tense, & Contingency is not a forced absurdity given the Christian metaphysic as it embraces *both*. Neither Eternalism nor Presentism is their own stopping point as the evidence, in either case, leads us beyond their own respective ends. Now, given your re-definitions of the Christian's terms it is of course such a forced absurdity and given

    Full stop what? Define that. It is incumbent on you to show how Christian ex nihilo creation is compatible with eternalism.

    So far you have either re-defined or else expunged the (actual) Christian metaphysic rather than interface with it. That sums to the fact that what you have done thus far is trade away one hard stop and its forced absurdities for another and in each case try to attribute "problems" to your re-definition of *GOD* / Being Itself.

    Not really. I'm simply regurgitating the various different ideas told to me. And I can easily show how other definitions face their own problems. My hard stop doesn't have forced absurdities, and any claims that it does is done out of ignorance. Dr Bonnette is extremely ignorant on the subject matter of eternalism, and I've showed over and over again how he doesn't even hold to a coherent position on the matter.

    Dr Bonnette also wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to have the PSR, while he rejects the very dichotomy the PSR forces one into. As such his position (and the position Thomists requires) is hopelessly incoherent and one giant special plead.

    • Half of the content is missing and being reviewed and or deleted apparently. That makes it challenging to move from point to point. I'll try to re-post it.

    • BTW, I didn't say Eternalism is compatible with theism. I made a distinction between Physics Full Stop in ANY theory of time on the one hand and, on the other hand, The A Theory and B Theory of Time in the setting of the Christian metaphysic with respect to the Divine Mind, Divine Simplicity, forced absurdities, and so on.

      This exchange is in part to demonstrate the predictable occurrence of the replies you've been giving here in that you are not including the Christian's landscape in your analysis of the Christian's landscape. Rather, you're "stopping" at Physics Full Stop and then finding a "problem" with the Christian landscape. See http://disq.us/p/1ob4819 and so on.

  • You asked what "Full Stop" means in another comment. Full Stop merely refers to Physics Full Stop, both with Eternalism and Presentism.

    Still don't understand. Explain eternalism full stop vs eternalism.

    None, simply because the evidence in either case leads one beyond the evidence in either case. Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to address the forced absurdities in your Eternalism Full Stop, as you’ve already made it clear that you hold that there are none. That’s satisfying and I’m happy to leave that point off there.

    Explain in more detail what the full stop stuff is and explain to me all alleged absurdities you think it has and maybe I can address it.

    Now, granted, as described in earlier comments, you've expunged The Necessary as per the Christian's terms and, so, you unavoidably run with what is left. Well what CAN you do but conflate the Necessary for the Contingent? Well nothing and so you do so and thereby upon finding the Contingent Block to be Non-Necessary, you shout No-God. And the Christian agrees: The Non-God your analytics discussed does not exist.

    I've read that by Craig before. It's flawed. He's still assuming a presentism ontology. An eternal block universe needs no sustainer because it doesn't come into or go out of existence.

    Let me ask you, is it logically necessary that god created our universe?

    As for the other quote from Craig, if god is ontologically timeless "prior" to creating the universe, god can't have done anything.

    P1. It is logically impossible to do something without doing something.
    P2. It is logically impossible to do something without change (even if everything is immaterial).
    P3. It is logically impossible for change to exist without time.
    C. As such, a timeless, changeless being cannot do anything.

    • Once again the content is being deleted or reviewed making it impossible to maintain content in dialogue. Sorry. I’ll try a re-post ....

    • Physics full stop vs. Theism? While I’m surprised the differences escape you, I’m not surprised that you reason here as if there are no differences.

      • What the hell does full stop mean? Explain.

        • A. Physics Full Stop
          B. Theism

          Too cryptic? Are you about to surprise me? I suppose one could expunge the differences by pretending there are none, or by arguing as if there are none, or by equating [1] the anthology of the Trinitarian metaphysic as per the Christian to [2] the anthology of Physics.

          • By (A) do you mean physicalism?

          • No. Why would you assume that? If it makes it easier, I'll repeat myself: Any Non-Theistic accounting of Time. Now, if you want to ADD something in addition to Physics to that "box", feel free to do so. Or, if you wish to begin and end in Physics as that "box", feel free to do so. Either way you're not defining X's here by the Christian's metaphysic and yet you claim a "problem" with .....the Christian metaphyic.

          • So far I have little idea what you're talking about. It's like you're trying to be as vague as possible. I prefer to KIS: Keep It Simple. My view is that the Christian metaphysic is incoherent, even when I fully embrace it. Merely asserting things that are actually impossible doesn't make them possible.

          • If you can't grasp the fact that there are real differences between [1] "Any Non-Theistic accounting of Time" one the one hand and, on the other hand, [2] the Christian's uniquely Trinitarian metaphysic, or, if you feel that comparing and contrasting [1] to [2] is "too vague" well then I cannot help you.

            Perhaps this is a good thing though. You have grown so accustomed to defining the Christian's terms according to ideas which are so foreign to the Christian definition and so similar to your own definitions that you now find the premise that there are real differences between "....Any Non-Theistic accounting of Time..." and the "...Christian metaphysic..." which is uniquely Trinitarian to be shocking or even bizarre, to be a kind of vague and blurry assertion as you reply with something akin to, "What differences?"

            QED.

          • I don't think theistic accounts of time can help you here. It is logically impossible to become a physical being, and claim you are pure act. If you're going to appeal to some kind of "god's a mystery we can't figure out" type of excuse, then let me know now, because I'd rather not waste my time with such gibberish.

            I'm simply taking the Thomist's own metaphysic and showing how it's wrong. I'm forcing it to be compatible with logic, which the Thomist hates.

          • There is no mystery. You simply don't use the Christian definitions with respect to Act and Potency. Well, those two plus many more, but, those two will do for the goal here of demonstrating your open refusal to use something other than your own re-defined "Christianity" as you go on about a "problem" with the Christian metaphysic. See http://disq.us/p/1ochtts and try again.

          • I think I actually understand act and potency better than you do, because I know for a fact that Thomists will continually assert contradictory things under their metaphysic and use fuzzy language to try and cover it up.

          • Yet you evade and hedge: http://disq.us/p/1od5f0c

          • A bit of context: http://disq.us/p/1obcmn3

          • Do not waste your time with this pseudo-philosopher Mike. He messaged me before with the same nonsense. When I refuted him, he began to disparage me. I then challenged him to a live broadcast debate and he ran away like a coward. He has no academic credentials and the philosophers and scientists he quotes from, I know personally! This individual is a classic Dunning-Krueger. @AtheismNTheCity:disqus

          • I think you meant Meta and not Mike :-}
            And yes some can be a bit tedious when it comes to getting past the illusive shadows of as-if.

          • His name is Mike. He is very dishonest and even pretended to know physics better than Dr. Michio Kaku. He is a classic Dunning-Krueger specimen.

    • The distinction between potentiality and actuality combined with your tendency to conflate categories is where you’re falling down. Act is perfection and not potency (which is the capacity to receive perfection), and:

      …He comprehends in Himself all the plentitude of perfection of all being,” according to Aquinas. There is nothing he could gain that He does not already have. Nor is there any place He could be moved to that He does not already fill…

      God-Gains-By-Creating is gibberish given the Christian metaphysic.

      Given that God is pure act, He is the coherent source of all possibility and all potentiality: “….For Aquinas God is that pure, initial, eternal act. God is the one who, as pure act, makes possible all possibility for us....”

      One must define The Good and prove by force of logic that “To Create” in fact increases The Good of the Good. Given the impossibility of that, and the Truth of its inverse, and love’s ceaseless Self-Outpouring vis-à-vis the Trinitarian Life as the Perfection of Good, The Good remains As-Is both with and without the Creative Act.

      To-Create or Not To Create lands in the same metrics: The Good. Further, the Concrete My/Thy of the Triune just is the Irreducibly Intentional amid Concrete Heavy-Meta Options, as in — Ceaseless Choice.

      • A few overlapping lines at http://disq.us/p/1obika2 Except for equating the Trinitarian Life to physical systems, the Non-Theistic methodology of 1. presenting Physics Full Stop and then 2. finding a “problem” with the Christian metaphysic is on point.

      • The distinction between potentiality and actuality combined with your tendency to conflate categories is where you’re falling down. Act is perfection and not potency (which is the capacity to receive perfection), and:

        God could gain a physical body. So you and Aquinas are wrong.

        God-Gains-By-Creating is gibberish given the Christian metaphysic.

        Christian metaphysics is gibberish. That's my whole point. It's sophisticated nonsense.

        Given that God is pure act, He is the coherent source of all possibility and all potentiality: “….For Aquinas God is that pure, initial, eternal act. God is the one who, as pure act, makes possible all possibility for us....”

        Except that god had the potential to become a physical man in Palestine. You can't just assert that that's not the case.

        One must define The Good and prove by force of logic that “To Create” in fact increases The Good of the Good. Given the impossibility of that, and the Truth of its inverse, and love’s ceaseless Self-Outpouring vis-à-vis the Trinitarian Life as the Perfection of Good, The Good remains As-Is both with and without the Creative Act.

        Then god can't create anything.

        To-Create or Not To Create lands in the same metrics: The Good. Further, the Concrete My/Thy of the Triune just is the Irreducibly Intentional amid Concrete Heavy-Meta Options, as in — Ceaseless Choice.

        More gibberish. I'm mostly concerned with god having the potential to become physical in Jesus. Once you claim Jesus is god, and Jesus becomes physical, you cannot keep asserting god has no potential and is pure actuality without looking foolish and uttering gibberish.

        EDIT: another way of looking at it is logically:

        God = Jesus, so

        G = J

        Jesus becomes physical, so

        J ⇒ P

        Therefore, you're saying:

        G = J,
        J ⇒ P,
        yet G = ¬P.

        That's logically impossible.

        • When you don't unpack the content, but merely demand that it fits within models of physical systems with parts, your labels are not justified. You did not answer the questions asked of you:

          [1] From whence the physical? From whence Being? Tie that into the terms Act and Potential. I mean as defined earlier, not as defined by your various Non-Christian metrics.

          [2] Define The Good and then prove by force of logic that “To Create” in fact increases The Good of the Good. Tie that into the terms Act and Potential. I mean as defined earlier, not as defined by your various Non-Christian metrics.

          [3] Regarding the Trinitarian Life and all progressions therein, the Concrete My/Thy of the Triune which just is the Irreducibly Intentional amid Concrete Heavy-Meta Options — as in — Ceaseless Choice — is something you are quite adept at expunging from the discussion as you label it nonsense and/or ignore it and/or redefine it. Yet, you haven't shown it to be nonsense. Well, you ask us to explain its "Parts" and so on, but that only reveals your unawareness of the content. It doesn't help support your claim.

          • (1) Being is the ontological default, not non-being.
            (2) Irrelevant. I care about whether god become physical.
            (3) Sure I can. Easily. You say god is necessary and necessarily triune. OK, I challenge you to make a logically deductive argument showing that god must be triune. Go ahead.

            FYI when I ask you to explain, it's not always because I don't understand. Sometimes I do and I know the answer is false. So I ask you to make it so I can show how it's false.

          • Again you want to change definitions? Of course Being is Necessary. That is why you're being asked this:

            [A] From whence the physical? Are you now a Physicalist? From whence Being? Tie that into the terms Act and Potential in relation to Being Itself and the Creative Act.

            I mean as defined earlier, not as defined by your various Non-Christian metrics.

            Again you want to change definitions when it comes to Act and Potential as they relate to the Creative Act? If not, then answer the following according to what the Christian is actually claiming, not according your notion of what you WISH Act and Potential meant:

            [B] Define The Good and then prove by force of logic that “To Create” in fact increases The Good of the Good. Tie that into the terms Act and Potential as it relates to Being Itself.

            I mean as defined earlier, not as defined by your various Non-Christian metrics.

            "Sure I can." Huh? So you've shown the Divine Mind and the Trinitarian Life to be nonsense? Where? Do you mean when you ask us to explain its "parts"?

            So far that's all I've seen. Point me to something better please. Recall the demonstrations here and your nicely provided examples of re-defining, evading, and expunging the Christian metaphysic from the Christian metaphysic as you find fault with the Christian metaphysic:

            You're not willing to interface with the actual Christian definition of X when it comes to Eternalism and Presentism and YET you claim there is a "problem" with the Christian's X, BOTH in relation to Eternalism / Presentism AND in general.

            It's a peculiar "tactic" and I'm actually curious if you're even aware that you've drifted so far afield in your "methodology".

          • [A] From whence the physical? Are you now a Physicalist? From whence Being? Tie that into the terms Act and Potential in relation to Being Itself and the Creative Act.

            The physical always existed. I'm an eternalist. Eternalism shatters Thomistic metaphysics to pieces. It's the silver bullet that kills off that antiquated and rancid idea.

            [B] Define The Good and then prove by force of logic that “To Create” in fact increases The Good of the Good. Tie that into the terms Act and Potential as it relates to Being Itself.

            As I said, it's irrelevant. What matters here is that god isn't pure act because he has potentials: Has the potential to create, has the potential to impregnate, has the potential to become physical. Special pleading won't help you here.

            You're not willing to interface with the actual Christian definition of X when it comes to Eternalism and Presentism and YET you claim there is a "problem" with the Christian's X, BOTH in relation to Eternalism / Presentism AND in general.

            What? I think you've gone mad. If anyone's redefining things it's you. You also can't define something into existence. You can't define god as a necessary being and think that settles whether or not god exists.

          • Also, where's that logically deductive argument showing that god must necessarily be triune? Go ahead.

          • You weren't asked "From whence the physical?" with respect to your or any other Non-Theistic or Pantheistic content. So why did you answer that way?

            You were asked that question in the setting of the Christian's specific metaphysic in relation to Act, Potential, Being and the Creative Act.

            We get that you're a Non-Theist. An Eternalist. Okay. I'm not refuting those positions. The only goal here is to once again, for what must be about the tenth time now, demonstrate your unwillingness to use the Christian's actual definitions. In case you forgot we were discussing your mis-use and/or non-use of the Christian terms of Act and Potential with respect to Being and the Creative Act. Another try:

            On the Christian metaphysic whence the physical? Tie that into Act and Potential. What do you mean when you say God "becomes" physical given that such is impossible on the Christian's terms?

            On the Christian metaphysic, define The Good and then prove by force of logic that “To Create” in fact increases The Good of the Good.

            On the Christian metaphysic tie that into the terms Act and Potential as it relates to Being Itself and the Creative Act.

            On the Christian metaphysic, tie all of that into the Principle of Proportionate Causality.

            You stated that Eternalism is SR taken at face value. So? Is SR Physics? Is SR the Full Stop of your analysis?

            You may want to consider two facts to help you move out of your Physics Full Stop definition of Christianity:

            First: The fact that Craig and others are open to Logic, Abstract Objects, and Eternalism in the setting of the Divine Mind.

            Second: The fact that there are no Christians who affirm Presentism in the setting of physics-full-stop, for such a paradigm must finally suffer the metaphysical baggage which all Non-Theism(s) suffer.

          • In case you forgot we were discussing your mis-use and/or non-use of the Christian terms of Act and Potential with respect to Being and the Creative Act. Another try:

            On the Christian metaphysic whence the physical? Tie that into Act and Potential. What do you mean when you say God "becomes" physical given that such is impossible on the Christian's terms?

            Your problem is you're being too vague. Trying to sound all fancy like Shakespeare is only going to get you more confusion. If you have something to ask just spell it out according to KIS standards.

            I know Thomistic Christians say it's impossible for god to become anything, but saying so doesn't make it so. I already mentioned this:

            God = Jesus, so
            G = J
            Jesus becomes physical, so
            J ⇒ P
            Therefore, you're saying:
            G = J,
            J ⇒ P,
            yet G = ¬P.
            That's logically impossible

            On the Christian metaphysic, define The Good and then prove by force of logic that “To Create” in fact increases The Good of the Good.

            Like I said, irrelevant.

            On the Christian metaphysic tie that into the terms Act and Potential as it relates to Being Itself and the Creative Act.

            A being of pure actuality would never be able to do anything, since to be capable of doing something requires the potential to do it.

            On the Christian metaphysic, tie all of that into the Principle of Proportionate Causality.

            The Principle of Proportionate Causality is false given Thomism. Assume god is the cause of everything in the universe, all those things are physical and in time, yet god is timeless and non-physical, so god can't be their cause. And if you say it doesn't have to be in the cause, then the concept is irrelevant.

            You stated that Eternalism is SR taken at face value. So? Is SR Physics? Is SR the Full Stop of your analysis?

            In terms of??? It depends on the subject matter. If we're talking things relevant to time/space and causality, it's a huge factor, not necessarily the only one.

            You may want to consider two facts to help you move out of your Physics Full Stop definition of Christianity:
            First: The fact that Craig and others are open to Logic, Abstract Objects, and Eternalism in the setting of the Divine Mind.
            Second: The fact that there are no Christians who affirm Presentism in the setting of physics-full-stop, for such a paradigm must finally suffer the metaphysical baggage which all Non-Theism(s) suffer.

            I don't think I define Christianity that way. As for Craig, irrelevant. What baggage do all non-theisms suffer?

          • A 12th hedge:

            On the Christian metaphysic whence the physical?

          • This presupposes there's one Christian metaphysic.

          • Will you now offer up a 13th evasion / hedge?

          • I've been answering all your babble. I've been more generous that one would expect given your ramblings.

          • “......all those things are physical and in time, yet god is timeless and non-physical, so god can't be their cause......”

            I appreciate your Non-Theism and Non-Christian progressions. That said: On the Christian metaphysic, whence the physical?

            “......since to be capable of doing something requires the potential to do it.......”

            I appreciate your Non-Theism and Non-Christian progressions. That said: On the Christian metaphysic, whence the physical? Tie it all into the earlier definitions rather than your own definitions.

            “.......Also, where's that logically deductive argument showing that god must necessarily be triune? Go ahead......”

            To repeat myself: I’m not interested in refuting your Non-Theism, nor defending the Christian metaphysic. The goal here is to demonstrate your unwillingness to use the Christian's actual definitions *even* *as* you claim there are problems with the Christian metaphysic because of This-Or-That-Bit-Of-Physics, and so on.

          • BTW, the stated goal comes from a general principle and not from anything related to you or your content specifically.

            I recall one bit of silliness of a Non-Theist asserting, quite strongly, that Christians believe people can walk on water — full stop as in all by themselves — and iron floats on water — full stop as in all by itself. That’s what “Miracle” “ Means” he assured us. Iron + Water = Iron-Floating, and “that” = “Miracle According To Christianity”.

            Obviously he left out far too much. Causal Agents can suspend physical systems on top of water. As causal agents we do it all the time. However, unlike his straw-man, and unlike your Eternalism Full Stop, there are Real Causal Agents amid Real Interfaces involved in changing the causal ecosystem surrounding the Fe and the H2O.

            The only place iron “just floats on water all by itself full stop” is in the magical slices of your Eternalism and in his silly Non-Christian straw-men definitions of Christian X’s.

            Only there do we find Fe-H2O magically changing “From” [Sinking- Iron via our Non-Changing Perception] “To” [Floating-Iron via our Non-Changing Perception].

            Now, if that’s got Eternalism all muddied up in your view, then here is my reply: granted.

            My goal isn’t there. Rather, the goal is as defined in the previous comment.

          • Christians don't agree on definitions. They disagree pretty much about everything. So stop lying that there's a single coherent Christian metaphysic.

          • T. Thinker,

            ...They disagree pretty much about everything. So stop lying...

            And yet they do not find contradiction pressing in through the means and ends of the Creative Act. With respect to Being Itself you assert that God cannot create the physical, and, also, you claim that God becomes physical. However, that is only when we speak "as-if" your definitions were in fact "What Christians Believe" with respect to Pure Act, Potential, the Creative Act, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, and so on. But the Christian finds that God can create physicality and that God does not “become” “physical”, and so on. What is being asked is something different than *your* definitions of “what Christians believe”. What is being asked is instead the following: Given the Christian metaphysic, from whence comes physicality? Tie that into Being Itself in fact "becoming physical".

          • And yet they do not find contradiction pressing in through the means and ends of the Creative Act.

            They do. Because some Christians think god is in time, and others think god is not in time, and they criticize the other's view.

            With respect to Being Itself you assert that God cannot create the physical, and, also, you claim that God becomes physical. However, that is only when we speak "as-if" your definitions were in fact "What Christians Believe" with respect to Pure Act, Potential, the Creative Act, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, and so on. But the Christian finds that God can create physicality and that God does not “become” “physical”, and so on. What is being asked is something different than *your* definitions of “what Christians believe”. What is being asked is instead the following: Given the Christian metaphysic, from whence comes physicality? Tie that into Being Itself in fact "becoming physical".

            As I said, there is no single Christian metaphysic. If you think there is, the burden is on you to show that. So your question begs the question.

          • And yet you still refuse to employ the Christian's definitions. About 14 times now in this thread I've asked you to justify your fallacious claim that [A] Being Itself [B] "becomes" [C] "physical" with respect to this:

            Given the Christian metaphysic, from whence physicality? Tie it all into Pure Act, Potential, the Creative Act, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, and so on with respect to Being Itself in fact "becoming" (as you say) "physical". Be sure to use the Christian's definitions and not your own equivocations thereof.

          • And I've told you 5 times now there is no "Christian metaphysic," there are many. Given Thomism, god can't become physical. God can't become anything. God can't do anything. God would have to be 100% impotent because to do anything requires change.

          • Whether God is in Time or not in Time is not relevant to your fallacious claim that Being Itself "becomes" "physical". Either way, given the Christian metaphysic, from whence physicality? Tie it all into Pure Act, Potential, the Creative Act, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, and so on with respect to Being Itself in fact "becoming" (as you say) "physical". Be sure to use the Christian's definitions and not your own equivocations thereof.

          • The problem here is that Thomism and the "Christian metaphysic" are illogical and therefore asking me to make sense of something illogical is of course something I can't do. You can ask a million times, you will get the same unsatisfying answer.

          • Yes, I know you're a Non-Theist. And so on. You're not being asked to make sense of Theism. You're simply being asked to justify your claim. From whence physicality? As per the Christian definitions, as discussed etc. Tie it all into Pure Act, Potential, the Creative Act, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, and so on with respect to Being Itself in fact "becoming" (as you say) "physical". Be sure to use the Christian's definitions and not your own equivocations of those terms. Also http://disq.us/p/1jmalut adds a few layers.

          • As per Christian definitions god can't do anything, so nothing physical comes. But I'm also told by those same Christians that all physical things come from god. So you're technically asking me to explain the impossible.

          • 1. There’s no problem given the Christian definition of Pure Act, Potential, Being, and so on.

            2. Given your definitions there’s a problem.

            You’re now up to about 15 demonstrations of your unwillingness to interact with the actual Christian metaphysic.

          • There is no single Christian metaphysic and you know that. So stop asserting that there is.

            1. Yes there is and there aren't single Christian definitions of pure act, potential, being, and so on.

            2. Given all definitions there is a problem. Why don't you define pure act and tell me how a being of pure act can do anything?

          • Twice now you've ignored the "Even If" and so, yet another demonstration of your evasive "analytics" or "modality" here from a reply made elsewhere in this same thread:

            Repeating your evasion doesn't help you. Hence even if there are these supposed different definitions, none of them claim that the Necessary "becomes" Contingent with respect to "from whence physicality".

            Or, to put it another way:

            None of the definitions here are new and, having been looked at for centuries – and centuries – they all deny, quite specifically, your fallacious claim that the Creative Act contradicts Pure Act, Potential, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, Being, Perfection, The Good, and so on. Given those rather long-standing definitions please explain, "From whence physicality?"

            You're being asked to use the Christian's definitions and then carry through to the end of his explanatory termini and be sure NOT to stop in Physics Full Stop. Rather, be sure to carry through to the Christian’s actual explanatory termini there in Reason Itself, there in Being Itself there in The Good, there in the Trinitarian Life, and all Progressions therein with respect to Logos, and so on, and tell us "...from whence physicality..." given, for the 17th-ish time now, that same topography in that same – Christian – metaphysic.

            So far you've either [A] expunged far too much of all of that or else you've [B] simply changed such definitions into what you WISH they "meant". But what you've NOT done yet is to carry through as described above.

            And so on.

          • While “Progressions” will do in this context, all “Processions” with respect to Logos is better etc.

          • Repeating your evasion doesn't help you. Hence even if there are these supposed different definitions, none of them claim that the Necessary "becomes" Contingent with respect to "from whence physicality".

            What something claims vs what something entails as you know are two different things. I can claim my worldview doesn't lead to X, but that doesn't mean it doesn't logically entail X.

            None of the definitions here are new and, having been looked at for centuries – and centuries – they all deny, quite specifically, your fallacious claim that the Creative Act contradicts Pure Act, Potential, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, Being, Perfection, The Good, and so on. Given those rather long-standing definitions please explain, "From whence physicality?"

            And OJ denied killing Nicole. So? Merely denying something means little. As I said, nothing physical could exist on pure act, and so the question makes no sense. The burden is on you to show how it's even logically possible a being incapable of change, time, who's pure act can do anything. So you can keep asking and I will keep saying it is impossible.

            But what you've NOT done yet is to carry through as described above.

            Because you're asking me to show something logically impossible. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Seems that's your agenda.

          • Claim vs. Entail? Yes, and you've either changed the Christian "claim" or else expunged large swaths of said "claim" in order to assert your "entails". It is neither the initial "claim" of the Christian nor your fallacious ending over inside of "entails" which is of interest, but, rather, it is something else, as in:

            When it is pointed out to you that you’ve made a claim about people’s claims which isn’t coherent with what those same people actually claim, you should consider slowing down, stopping, backing up, and trying again amid clarification and qualification.

            Instead, you plow ahead, fists clenched, eyes closed.

            It is not your's specifically, but, rather, it is what happens to be far too often the Non-Theist-ic as it were, "tactic" or "modality" of interacting with another person's, as in the Christian's, set of claims which this exercise is aimed at shedding a bit of light upon.

            It is unfortunate that it is demonstrable.

          • Christians are claiming, I'm just showing the logical entailments from their metaphysic that they do not know or do not want to know entails.

            Let me ask you this: God is timeless.

            True or false?

          • In Time or Out of Time, or even Both (be careful about the "Both" thing-y here) you claim that [A] Being Itself [B] "becomes" [C] "physical". If A entails B and B entails C, draw it out for us. With Physics + the Christian's ABC.

            Given the Christian metaphysic, from whence physicality? Tie it all into Pure Act, Potential, the Creative Act, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, and so on with respect to Being Itself in fact "becoming" (as you say) "physical".

          • I simple yes or no to my question will suffice.

          • As I just stated elsewhere to the same question from you, I’ve replied to the above three times now, each time staying on point with respect to the stated agenda of this exercise. Have you forgotten that agenda? You’re demonstrating that agenda’s goal right now, and it seems you will regardless of whether we take God to be Inside of Time or Outside of Time, or *both* visa-a-vis that peculiar stream of all ontic possibility and from whence such a unique current ultimately flows.

            And here is the proof: You think it helps you if it’s one way and not the other. So at best you’re 50% “helped” if we just assume that in Christendom it’s a 50/50 split. The reason you think “that” is because you’re misreading the actual premises. The fact is that you’re not helped either way.

            So, now, you’re pressed for a Yes or a No else you feel you can’t proceed. But you can proceed either way, and I’ve even given you a third option: The Divine Mind streams all ontic possibility, BOTH that of Time and that of Timelessness.

            Actuality in the Divine Mind necessarily precedes all realities, and, further, whatever “exists” is not found existing somehow “void of God”. So you’ve got three thing-y’s to use now and, you are STILL demonstrating, quite nicely, the goal of this exercise as you equivocate and hedge with the Christian’s “X” so as to morph it into “X-With-A-Twist”. That is to say, as you proceed to foist claims without justifying them and as you refuse to interact with the Christian’s actual metaphysic, and, of course, as you refuse to follow through with all such premises to the terminus of nothing less than the Trinitarian Life.

            Yes? No? Take your pick. Or take both.

          • So, now, you’re pressed for a Yes or a No else you feel you can’t proceed. But you can proceed either way, and I’ve even given you a third option: The Divine Mind streams all ontic possibility, BOTH that of Time and that of Timelessness.

            Since you continually assert there is a single Christian metaphysic I want to show using your own specific definitions your own problem. So I ask you a few simple questions and you refuse to answer. It's like you don't want me to address the singular, objective and completely non-debatable 'Christian metaphysic' that you claim exists and that you think I'm misrepresenting. And that means your claim that I "refuse to interact with the Christian’s actual metaphysic" is absurd. So this shows you're not an honest actor and something more akin to a troll.

            I will give you one last chance to redeem yourself. I still don't have an answer to this simple question below and until I get one I'm not going to bother answering you:
            God is timeless. True or false?

            I should get a one word response from you, not a copied and pasted diatribe. A simple true or false.

          • If you don't like my long-ago stated goals in this exercise, then bypass it and interact with Craig, or Feser, or both, or with God-In-Time, God-Out-of-Time, or... hint... Both, and simply do the work of following through to the Christian's explanatory terminus far, far beyond Physics over inside of the Trinitarian Life.

            I told you from the get-go that I'm not here to refute your Non-Theism, nor to defend my Theism, but.... but... do you recall? I openly told you that my agenda is to demonstrate your unwillingness to interface with the actual Christian metaphysic... well... not "you specifically", as was also pointed out, but, more generally, the unfortunate "tactic" or "modality" which is on occasion employed by a few, not most, of our Non-Theist friends, again as was also pointed out. Nice try on the pretense of Shock, Anger, and Surprise btw.

            Disagreements between Craig and Feser should help you. If they are not fringe enough for your liking well then that should actually help you as well.

            Or, perhaps you feel that interacting with all of that is NOT interacting with Christendom's internal discussions.

            But it is.

            So interact with it.

          • BTW, http://disq.us/p/1ojdtlc and convergence.

          • Yes and I replied, and, also, E. Feser has a post titled Walter Mitty Atheism and in the comment section of that blog post he has a two-part reply to “Vaal” in which he discusses Coyne’s bad habit of persisting with definitions which he is being told are not accurate. Now, as pointed out a few times, in fact several times now, it isn't "you specifically" but rather the more general occurrence of such unfortunate patterns because, well, once again it is NOT so much your approach here given that your modes here are not anywhere near as "far afield" nor as bad as the following Coyne-esc pattern described by E.F. in that two part reply to “Vaal” in the comment box.

          • And so I ask you to define terms so as to prove I'm not straw manning the 'Christian metphysic' and I get a refusal to answer. You literally respond with an 'any-definition-is-possible-esc' response. Feser is known for his habit using straw man definitions, and I know because I've read one of his books. It's like the pot calling the kettle black.

          • ....the 'Christian metphysic' ...

            "the"? See http://disq.us/p/1ojgbuu

            ...any-definition-is-possible-esc....

            Re-read once again because "any-definition" is certainly NOT possible nor was ANY definition given:

            God-In-Time, God-Out-of-Time, …Both…, Craig, Feser, Convergence, The Trinitarian Life vis-à-vis Christendom’s explanatory terminus, and, of course, my stated goals for "embarking" on this exercise.

            It’s all there freely offered to you, so there’s no need to take it, twist it, and then pretend to be interacting with it.

          • So is god timeless or not given "the Christian metaphysic" you kept mentioning earlier that I apparently got wrong?

          • Huh? Did I say God is "timeless or not"? Did I say there are no internal discussions with Christendom on these topics? Did I equate that to your "the"?

            If you wouldn't expunge content you would recall what I told you about the goal of this exercise: to challenge you on a premise, collect a bunch of examples of evasions, hedges, dances, and the proverbial expunging-of-content all of which will NOT carry through and reconstruct the Christian's premises through to the Christian's explanatory terminus with respect to the Trinitarian Life. In fact, you EVEN claim it is logically impossible to reconstruct another's argument accurately.

          • Huh? Did I say God is "timeless or not"? Did I say there are no internal discussions with Christendom on these topics? Did I equate that to your "the"?

            I'm literally quoting you when I write "the Christian metaphysic". Your term, not mine. And you've refused to take a stance on whether or not god is timeless, which is highly relevant to your goal of showing me to have redefined "the Christian metaphysic" in my own way.

            In fact, you EVEN claim it is logically impossible to reconstruct another's argument accurately.

            No I don't. I say their claims are technically logically impossible, but it is possible to make an argument that has a conclusion that is logically impossible.

          • So you equate my, "The Christian metaphysic finds...." to some form of this: "There are no internal discussions within Christendom with respect to Time."

            Odd.

            ...whether or not god is timeless, which is highly relevant to your goal of showing me to have redefined "the Christian metaphysic" in my own way...

            Not it isn't. My goal is to collect examples of you finding.. as in demonstrating... methods which AVOID interacting with God-In-Time, God-Outside-Of-Time, or BOTH.

            ....No I don't. I say their claims are....

            Of course it is possible to reconstruct another's argument accurately, which is why you ought to stop making the attempt while expunging huge swaths of content with respect to the Christian metaphysic.

            There is a reason I stated that Presentism Full Stop is not Christian just as Eternalism Full Stop isn't Christian, and, in the reverse direction, there is a key mode by which BOTH are in fact embraced by the Christian given the referents related to the Divine Mind with respect to Logos, the Trinitarian Life, the term "real", and so on.

          • So you equate my, "The Christian metaphysic finds...." to some form of this: "There are no internal discussions within Christendom with respect to Time."
            Odd

            Translation: So you equate my, "The car is." to some form of this: "There are no internal discussions with respect to whether there is more than one car."

            Not it isn't. My goal is to collect examples of you finding.. as in demonstrating... methods which AVOID interacting with God-In-Time, God-Outside-Of-Time, or BOTH.

            Oh so you purposely want to try and get me to say things you think are incorrect and are not even willing to get me to be correct at all? Is this so you can jump on a chair and shout you've shown an atheist to be foolish?

            There is a reason I stated that Presentism Full Stop is not Christian just as Eternalism Full Stop isn't Christian, and, in the reverse direction, there is a key mode by which BOTH are in fact embraced by the Christian given the referents related to the Divine Mind with respect to Logos, the Trinitarian Life, the term "real", and so on.

            I've never said either of those are Christian.

          • Actually, you missed a key point. Christendom has its metaphysic which begins and ends in the Trinitarian Life. That is why I mentioned the more peripheral disagreements among, say, Feser and Craig as a basic example, which is built on real discussions within the real Christendom and yet they fail to finally impede the more central convergence within the Christian's explanatory terminus.

            In fact, Feser and many others are even willing to GRANT the 4D Block and the reason is obvious: Physics Full Stop isn't the A and Z of the Christian metaphysic. The In-Time / Out-of-Time discussion within Christendom doesn't give you anything. That's a simple point that you didn't seem to catch onto. That is also why I've offered you several times BOTH as REAL options. Do you recall the items about BOTH Presentism and Eternalism being false IF we stop at physics and/or one (contingent) frame of reference, and, in the reverse direction, there are real modes in which BOTH are embraced by the Christian WHEN we arrive at various referents with respect to the Divine Mind and Logos and so on. Well it's all part of the whole-show. But to discuss the whole show you must, well, discuss the whole show. The whole metanarrative. The whole metaphysic. Or some such phraseology if it helps.

          • If it helps:

            The Contingent Frame of Reference and, then, quite different, The Absolute's Frame of Reference.

            Self-Reference arrives on scene as Contingent Consciousness and Infinite Consciousness speak or referent in the Noetic Frame of Communique. Segues there into Processions in and of and by the Trinitarian Life, Logos, the Infinite Knower, the Infinitely Known, and far more abound.

          • Christendom has its metaphysic which begins and ends in the Trinitarian Life. That is why I mentioned the more peripheral disagreements among, say, Feser and Craig as a basic example, which is built on real discussions within the real Christendom and yet they fail to finally impede the more central convergence within the Christian's explanatory terminus.

            I'm well aware of that, which is why I criticized your 'the'.

            In fact, Feser and many others are even willing to GRANT the 4D Block and the reason is obvious: Physics Full Stop isn't the A and Z of the Christian metaphysic.

            I know. The Christian metaphysic is hardly based on any physics at all, which is one reason why it's rubbish.

            The In-Time / Out-of-Time discussion within Christendom doesn't give you anything.

            I beg to differ.

            That is also why I've offered you several times BOTH as REAL options.

            I want to know what you think straight from the source of one who knows 'the' Christian metaphysic.

            Do you recall the items about BOTH Presentism and Eternalism being false IF we stop at physics and/or one (contingent) frame of reference, and, in the reverse direction, there are real modes in which BOTH are embraced by the Christian WHEN we arrive at various referents with respect to the Divine Mind and Logos and so on.

            I don't recall you ever showing presentism and eternalism both being false if we use physics. So no I don't recall those items, unless by items you just mean claims.

            Also, explain to me the 'Divine Mind' and how it operates. Is it timeless or in time?

          • I’m well aware of that

            Then we agree that the more peripheral disagreements within Christendom on the topic of Time fail to finally impede the more central convergence of Christendom’s various explanatory termini such that the final bifurcation you wish to find just isn’t there.

            The Christian metaphysic is hardly based on any physics at all

            So you really thought that “God” would begin and end at Physics-Full-Stop? Or, are you claiming some sort of solipsism or positivism or empiricism such that Nothing-But Physics will do? You continue muddying those same waters with the following:

            I don't recall you ever showing presentism and eternalism both being false if we use physics.

            You really do not read carefully enough. Here is what was stated: Given “God”, ANY Physics-Full-Stop accounting of “the universe” etc. is false, because the Full-Stop plugged in at the end of Physics amounts to this or that flavor of Naturalism. Then, in the reverse direction, GIVEN GOD AND GIVEN PHYSICS, it turns out that BOTH Etenralism and Presentism are affirmed by the Christian. For that to make any sense to you though you must carry through and go past where physics leaves off.

            For seven days now you’ve been twisting those words in some parts and expunging other parts. From seven days ago:

            Of course he rejects Eternalism. I didn’t say otherwise. Take smaller bites. Perhaps you feel he affirms Presentism Full Stop such that he finds no contradictions arising should he expunge his Theistic explanatory termini from Perception & the fundamental nature of reality as it relates to the coherence of this or that reference frame. But he doesn’t affirm “that” Presentism. Just as he doesn’t reject “that” Eternalism.

            You’re expunging what the Christian believes from your definitions of what the Christian believes. That would be okay IF you DIDN’T claim that there’s a problem with the Christian’s metaphysic.

            Hence the goal of this little exercise in this particular thread with this particular Non-Theist.

          • Pick one - and only one thread to continue on. I have little time for you.

          • You stated, “I ask for clarification as to what you think it means, a refusal to answer.”

            As presented to you several times over the last ten or twelve days, it means whatever Craig and/or Feser say. Why? Because I'm satisfied with those "boxes" sufficing for the goal of this exercise. So far I've been demonstrably correct about that. Well it’s simple enough in that given the actual referents of Christianity, your premises that God gains by Creating is gibberish.

            You replied, “Christian metaphysics is gibberish.”

            Upon asking you to lay out the Christian premises and Christian arguments to justify that reply, we see, well we see from you the point of this little exercise. So, take Craig and/or Feser and run with it. You've been avoiding that for about ten or twelve days now. Don't you think that's long enough?

            You stated, “Oh so you purposely want to try and get me to say things you think are incorrect and are not even willing to get me to be correct at all? Is this so you can jump on a chair and shout you've shown an atheist to be foolish?”

            See the comment in this thread which contains the following excerpt:

            Say things that are incorrect? Not willing to correct it all? No. For one thing: A simple, "What? You think X means THAT?” …..in fact I've EVEN told you that BOTH Presentism and Eternalism are FALSE IF we stop with physics and/or ONE frame of reference, and, also, that I've EVEN stated that BOTH are TRUE in key, fundamental modes IF we carry through to the end of the Christian's explanatory terminus in order to provide you even MORE "opportunity" to show us where it all falls apart for the Christian. Of course, all the while I felt comfortable that you'd not actually take the time to draw out your unique version and go the distance and carry through to the End that is Reason's Terminus there in Reason Itself, there in The Trinitarian Life. End excerpt.

          • Just answer whether god is timeless or not and we can move on.

          • Eternalism and Presentism converge as per the content of http://disq.us/p/1ob4a61

            I’ve affirmed not the Theistic Brand but instead the Trinitarian Brand of BOTH Eternalism AND Presentism, and I’ve pointed out that the Christian does NOT affirm ANY Physics Full Stop Brand of Eternalism or Presentism.

            THEN, on top of all of THAT, with respect to your request of “But... but… just say E or P…not all that other stuff!", well there too for 14 days now you've either ignored or expunged my reply to you with respect to my agenda here where I’ve told you I’m not here to refute Non-Theism nor to defend Theism, but to demonstrate a problem which Christian’s often face from our Non-Theist friends, which is that they simply will not interface with the ACTUAL Christian body of premises. You've just NOT interfaced with that stated agenda of mine put there from the get-go. Ignore. Expunge. Re-define. And then, after 14 days of "THAT", you infuse some sort of pretense to be surprised and aghast.

            On reconstructing the Christian's arguments and premises, somewhere you went so far as to claim that it is logically impossible to reconstruct another's argument accurately. Now, when called on to justify that you then pretended that you didn’t know you were being asked to reconstruct the Christian’s argument, but claimed that it is all logically impossible because Pure Act and so on and so on all forces your conclusion that God cannot do anything. Well, given your misuse and your re-defined terms, yes, you are correct. But you’re not being asked to follow through with YOUR explanatory terminus based on YOUR re-defined terms, but, rather, to reconstruct the Christian’s actual body of premises and follow through to the explanatory terminus “therein”.

            In short, someone points out this or that point of divergence in [A] Christian premises and [B] your use of those same premises and, then asks you to justify that divergence. Then [C] we observe either a point by point reconstruction along with said justification, or else [D] we observe a sort of Non-Theistic dance or tactic or mode. Perhaps for fourteen days. Not in general. And not in most settings. But primarily in such forums as these and a few others.

          • So is god timeless or not?

          • When Eternalism and Presentism converge, how is it stated that they converge? In Physics? In the Divine Mind? Or are both involved? Or is it something else? You seem to want to define God by Time and Physics, rather than Time and Physics by God.

            Which Eternalism is affirmed and which Presentism is affirmed in http://disq.us/p/1ob4a61 ?

            Where is this supposed "problem" you speak of?

          • Earlier I had stated the following, “Christendom has its metaphysic which begins and ends in the Trinitarian Life. That is why I mentioned the more peripheral disagreements among, say, Feser and Craig as a basic example, which are built on real discussions about Time and of course other topics and all within Christendom and, yet, they fail to finally impede the more central convergence within the Christian's explanatory terminus. So much so that Feser and others are happy to just GRANT the 4D Block.”

            You replied, “I'm well aware of that, which is why I criticized your 'the'… in “the Christian metaphysic”…”

            Your reply there seems to have completely missed the point with respect to the Terminus of the “the” in question. It seems, based on that reply, that we agree that the more peripheral disagreements within Christendom on the topic of Time fail to finally impede the more central convergence of Christendom’s various explanatory termini such that the final bifurcation you wish to find just isn’t there. God being found In-Time, God being found Out-of-Time, or BOTH, and so on, finally fails to bifurcate that far wider canopy and those far stronger vectors vis-à-vis the Christian metaphysic.

            Part of the “WHY” within all of that is the fact that we are not dealing with only TWO OPTIONS here, that of Eternalism and Presentism, but, instead, we are in fact dealing with and interfacing with FOUR OPTIONS because each of those initial two are themselves bifurcated into the Non-Theistic Brand and also the Theistic Brand – well – that’s not quite accurate as that last one, to actually push through to coherence, must be refined to this: the Trinitarian Brand.

          • So is god timeless or not?

          • Earlier you stated, “The Christian metaphysic is hardly based on any physics at all.”

            Which is why the Christian is happy to follow Physics as far as she will take us, and, then, to continue on, allowing logic’s demands for lucidity and reason’s refusal of reductions to absurdity to lead the way. What? Did you really think that “God” would begin and end at Physics Full Stop? Or, are you claiming some sort of solipsism or positivism or empiricism such that Nothing-But Physics will do? In many ways you continue muddying those SAME waters with the following:

            “I don't recall you ever showing presentism and eternalism both being false if we use physics.”

            You didn’t read carefully enough. Here is what was stated: Given “God”, ANY Physics Full Stop accounting of “the universe” etc. is false, because the Full-Stop plugged in at the end of Physics amounts to this or that flavor of Naturalism. Then, in the reverse direction, given God and given physics it turns out that BOTH Etenralism and Presentism are affirmed by the Christian. For that to make any sense to you though you must carry through and go past where physics leaves off.

            In far too many ways you are twisting those words in some parts and expunging other parts. Earlier I reminded you to include the Christian’s actual premises when I stated,

            “Of course he (Craig) rejects Eternalism. I didn’t say otherwise. Take smaller bites. No Christian affirms Presentism Full Stop either BTW. Perhaps you feel he affirms Presentism Full Stop such that he finds no contradictions arising should he expunge his Theistic explanatory termini from Perception & the fundamental nature of reality as it relates to the coherence of this or that reference frame. But he doesn’t affirm “that” Presentism. Just as he doesn’t reject “that” Eternalism. You’re expunging what the Christian believes from your definitions of what the Christian believes. That would be okay IF you DIDN’T claim that there’s a problem with the Christian’s metaphysic.”

          • You didn’t read carefully enough. Here is what was stated: Given “God”, ANY Physics Full Stop accounting of “the universe” etc. is false, because the Full-Stop plugged in at the end of Physics amounts to this or that flavor of Naturalism.

            You mean assume god exists?

            Then, in the reverse direction, given God and given physics it turns out that BOTH Etenralism and Presentism are affirmed by the Christian. For that to make any sense to you though you must carry through and go past where physics leaves off.

            Which is a logical contradiction of course.

            So is god timeless or not?

          • Show how the content of http://disq.us/p/1ob4a61 is a logical contradiction. Affirming both Eternalism and Presentism is not being done within Physics Full Stop. And therein lies your evasion.

          • No one is assuming God exists. Rather, Physics affirms what the Christian states is found beyond Physics, and to show otherwise you'll need to carry your reconstruction of the Christian premises to that location there beyond Physics Full Stop.

            Accurately. Once you've done that, then we can see if in fact there is a "problem".

          • That the Christian metaphysic affirms Eternalism seems to bother you. That the Christian metaphysic affirms Presentism seems to bother you. That is because you've assumed that the Christian metaphysic finds its Start and Stop within Physics Full Stop RATHER than by the explanatory termini presented to you.

            If you really, really, reeeealy are going to avoid the fact that both Eternalism and Presentism are affirmed, but not via Physics Full Stop, as discussed, then I'm happy to let you pick your own Physics Full Stop Brand of Eternalism or Presentism as my "answer". That way you can take whichever answer you like and show where it all falls apart on the Christian metaphysic.

            Of course that offer has been made to you from the start as, long ago in this thread, I offered to you that I'm happy to make my answer to be "God is In-Time", or, if you wish, "God is Outside of Time", or, if you wish, "Both".

            Now, here about ten days later you've not take me up on that offer, which makes sense given that the boundaries and explanatory termini which the anthology of physics forces will necessarily force the conversation beyond anything that same anthology can ever give to us. For you to do anything but ignore and evade and redefine the Christian’s actual premises would thrust your own philosophical and metaphysical presuppositions into the spotlight, at which point you’ll need to begin exposing your own painful attempts of distinction at each “Y” in the proverbial road. Meanwhile the Christian carries on, into the explanatory terminus of reason's only rational, lucid, Communique.

          • That the Christian metaphysic affirms Eternalism seems to bother you. That the Christian metaphysic affirms Presentism seems to bother you.

            I generally have problems with contradictions.

            That is because you've assumed that the Christian metaphysic finds its Start and Stop within Physics Full Stop RATHER than by the explanatory termini presented to you.

            Um no. I know for a fact that 'the' Christian metaphysic is not based on physics
            at all. So you have no idea what you're talking about.

            If you really, really, reeeealy are going to avoid the fact that both Eternalism and Presentism are affirmed,

            I need to see a logical argument from you that 'the' Christian metaphysic affirms both presentism and eternalism.

            Of course that offer has been made to you from the start as, long ago in this thread, I offered to you that I'm happy to make my answer to be "God is In-Time", or, if you wish, "God is Outside of Time", or, if you wish, "Both".

            I just need a single coherent stance, and the one you think is true.

            For you to do anything but ignore and evade and redefine the Christian’s actual premises would thrust your own philosophical and metaphysical presuppositions into the spotlight, at which point you’ll need to begin exposing your own painful attempts of distinction at each “Y” in the proverbial road. Meanwhile the Christian carries on, into the explanatory terminus of reason's only rational, lucid, Communique.

            No, because my metaphysical views on the subject are derived from theist's explaining their metaphysic. It isn't from any presupposition I've made up myself. I've just taken them to their logical conclusion, which the theist doesn't. And so that's why I demand you take a stance on god's relation to time. Give me 'the' Christian metaphysic so I don't come across as thrusting my own philosophical and metaphysical presuppositions 'into the spotlight'. And for 2 weeks you've refused to give me a single coherent stance, and the one you think is true.

          • “I generally have problems with contradictions.”

            Affirming both Eternalism and Presentism is not being done within Physics Full Stop. When the Christian tells you that Eternalism is true in reference to the Divine Mind as we press into Logos, the Necessary, and so on, he is not discussing physics, but meta-physics. When it is pointed out to you that Craig and others are open to Actuality, Logic, Abstract Objects, Eternalism, and so on in the setting of the Divine Mind as we move into reality’s fundamental rock-bottom, you’re avoiding both Christian content and application when you reply, "No, Craig rejects Eternalism".

            4 does not equal two. Like it or not it’s not a Two-Option incline of either Non-Theistic Eternalism or else Non-Theistic Presentism, but, rather, what you are being presented with is, first, those two, and then, from the Christian, not so much “Theistic” Eternalism and Presentism, but, instead, the specifically Trinitarian Brand of BOTH. It is those last two which, for nearly two weeks now, you’ve been put face to face with while I’ve sat back and allowed you to then demonstrate the goal of this exercise – namely your evasive moves which demonstrate an actual problem Christians often face when interacting with our Non-Theist friends, which is that said Non-Theists simply will not interface with the ACTUAL Christian body of premises.

            You’ve not reconstructed two of those four, which is odd because if you stop short of those last two well then you’re just not interacting with the Christian’s body of claims. You claim a contradiction in the content of http://disq.us/p/1ob4a61 but you haven’t shown us any such thing. Your attempt to do so while only interacting with two instead of four just won’t do.

          • Craig rejects eternalism in the divine mind too. He think's god is in time and he's agnostic god knows counter factuals.

            Simple answer what is asked of you here and we can move forward: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/strangenotions/why_an_infinite_regress_among_proper_causes_is_metaphysically_impossible/#comment-3670445539

            And let me know if god is timeless or not.

          • Craig and/or Feser think X? And? He also affirms Logic as the regress to the Divine Mind at its root. Do you mean to claim now, here, that he has a different explanatory terminus than the Divine Mind? A different terminus than the Trinitarian Life?

            Or, to help us get there: From whence physicality given the Christian metaphysic? From Non-Time? From Time? Do we find BOTH in play?

            You are stopping too soon in your narrow slices here. That is why when you stated, “I ask for clarification as to what you think it means, a refusal to answer...." I replied with this:

            "As presented to you several times over the last ten or twelve days, it means whatever Craig and/or Feser say. Why? Because I'm satisfied with those "boxes" sufficing for the goal of this exercise."

            Why did I reply that way? Because either way your mode of analytics here sums to a few sloppy half narratives and will run into various demonstrations as we put weight upon them, demonstrations that you're stopping to soon when you claim to find a point of incoherence.

            Perhaps if we expunge from Craig's and/or Feser's premises all of their Theistic explanatory termini we can point to a coherent set of claims? Well, of course not. That's just silly.

            But you claim to be faithfully reconstructing those explanations and to find a point of incoherence when you do so. But claiming it to be so is not the same as it being so.

            The exercise here is all about your reconstruction. Or, rather, the lack thereof.

          • Help me reconstruct: Is god timeless or not?

            Yes or no are the only options. Yes and no are not.

          • Both Eternalism and Presentism are affirmed by the Christian metaphysic. You are not willing to push past your own stopping points of Non-Theistic Eternaism and Non-Theistic Presentism and push into, and reconstruct for us, the logical progressions of Christian claims with respect to the Divine Mind, and Logos, and all Communique therein with respect to the Uncreated, the Absolute's Reference Frame, the Created, and the Contingent Being's Reference Frame.

            If you believe that Feser and Craig are willing to claim that they have a coherent view AFTER they expunge all of their Trinitarian explanatory termini and in fact do NOT land in the Divine Mind and in fact do NOT claim that said terminus is necessary else incoherence, well then, again, you are free to demonstrate that for us.

            But you won't because that will show that these discussions of Time are more peripheral and less weighty than the far more pervasive canopy and collocation of strong vectors which converge in The Christian Metaphysic.

            You're free to reconstruct the Christian's path there from physicality to the Trinitarian Life. See http://disq.us/p/1oqf77z as well as it may be of help.

          • Both Eternalism and Presentism are affirmed by the Christian metaphysic.

            I think I get what you're saying with this but I think it's totally false. You're saying that in the divine mind eternalism is true since all moments of time are real for god but in the terrestrial world presentism is true, correct?

            If you believe that Feser and Craig are willing to claim that they have a coherent view AFTER they expunge all of their Trinitarian explanatory termini and in fact do NOT land in the Divine Mind and in fact do NOT claim that said terminus is necessary else incoherence, well then, again, you are free to demonstrate that for us.

            Well Feser and Craig claim they have a coherent view WITHOUT expunging "all of their Trinitarian explanatory termini". That's what makes their termini false. There is no logically necessary reason why a trinitarian god must exist, it just does according to the Christian theist. It's a brute fact. If you disagree, please make an argument showing why a trinitarian god must exist. And the nature of god's time is relevant to this.

            You're free to reconstruct the Christian's path there from physicality to the Trinitarian Life

            Have I made any such assertions that would require I bear this burden?

          • Of course Craig and Feser keep going to X's beyond physics. So what? You're welcome to show where they fall down there in their premises into all such contours, but you won't.

            "....real for god but in the terrestrial world presentism is true, correct....?"

            It's your claim that there's a problem, so you tell me. What? Do you suppose that I'm here to defend Theism? To refute Non-Theism? If so then you have expunged something in order to convince yourself that I am here for something OTHER than to demonstrate your unwillingness to justify your claim that the Incarnation must entail [1] Being Itself [2] becoming [3] physical and to justify your claim that the Creative Act must entail incoherence, and, of course, to do so by accurately reconstructing the Christian's chain of premises all the way through to the Christian's explanatory terminus there in the Divine Mind, and Logos, and all Communique therein with respect to the Uncreated, the Absolute's Reference Frame, the Created, and the Contingent Being's Reference Frame.

            If you want to pretend to be aghast at the brick wall there as per http://disq.us/p/1or3gau well then that pretense itself also will demonstrate a part of the stated goal here.

          • I'm curious why you expect the Christian's explanatory termini to define God by Time and Physics instead of defining Time and Physics by God. ? "Is God In-Physics or Out-Of-Physics?" is an uninformed question if you don't include all which the Christian includes in those arrows. To do that you'll have to accurately reconstruct Four, rather than only Two, Brands which are in-play there.

          • I'm not assuming physics when I say time. I assume no physical theory of time at all. This is you imputing beliefs and assumptions onto me that simply aren't there, straw manning again and again.

            So is god in time or timeless?

          • I didn't say you're assuming Physics when you say Time. I said you're assuming Physics when the Christian says the Divine Mind, and Logos, and the Trinitarian Life, and the Conscious Observer.

          • What Contradictions? Four isn't two you know. You are avoiding the fact that both Eternalism and Presentism are affirmed NOT via Physics Full Stop but by very different explanatory termini. You are pretending that we're making Physics fight Physics, Ten days later I'm still offering to let you pick your own Non-Theistic Eternalism or Non-Theistic Presentism as my answer to "Is God Timeless or Not?" You can take whichever you wish my answer to be and show where it all falls apart on the Christian metaphysic.

            The Christian's explanatory terminus is the Trinitarian Life which is why the more peripheral discussions within Christendom about Time fail to finally impede the more central convergence within that terminus. So much so that folks are happy to just GRANT the 4D Block given that the unavoidable Conscious Observer and the Absolute's uncanny Reference Frame outperform all such grants.

            You replied to that with this, “I'm well aware of that, which is why I criticized your 'the'… in “the Christian metaphysic”…”

            Based on that reply we either agree or else you just don't want to accurately reconstruct the Christian's claims all the way to that pesky terminus.

            The final bifurcation you wish to find based on God being found In-Time, God being found Out-of-Time, or BOTH, and so on, just isn't there, as it's no match for that far wider canopy and those far stronger vectors which uniquely define Christianity amid that central convergence.

            Why? Because there are FOUR claims in play. One must not expunge the Theistic Brands, well, to actually push through to coherence those must be refined to the specifically Trinitarian Brands.

          • What Contradictions?

            You know, the one that violates non-contradiction

            You are avoiding the fact that both Eternalism and Presentism are affirmed NOT via Physics Full Stop but by very different explanatory termini.

            Fact? OK Prove that fact.

            You can take whichever you wish my answer to be and show where it all falls apart on the Christian metaphysic.

            I want the one you believe to be true, since you're the only one here who knows 'the' Chrristian metaphysic.

            The Christian's explanatory terminus is the Trinitarian Life which is why the more peripheral discussions within Christendom about Time fail to finally impede the more central convergence within that terminus.

            Is the trinitarian terminus logically necessary or is this a brute fact? Can you demonstrate why it's logically necessary that there be a trinitarian terminus?

            the unavoidable Conscious Observer and the Absolute's uncanny Reference Frame

            What the heck does this mean? I'm going to need you to define all your terms to prove they aren't religious/metaphysical gibberish. Define the capitalized terms here por favor.

            Why? Because there are FOUR claims in play. One must not expunge the Theistic Brands, well, to actually push through to coherence those must be refined to the specifically Trinitarian Brands.

            Which requires you logically prove trinitarianism is necessary. I don't think you can. In fact, I know you can't. You can't assert X must be X *3 without proof.

          • Prove what fact? The fact that the Christian's metaphysic begins and ends in something other than Physics Full Stop? Well, if you believe otherwise then that would explain the fact that you pretend to interact with the Christian's premises by expunging and re-defining all of those Other-Than-Physics termini.

            You want the one I believe to be true? I agree with both Feser and Craig, as I've already told you. Those two boxes will "suffice" for my agenda and so that is what you have. Interact with it or don't. I told you long ago here of that agenda and your pretense to be aghast all of a sudden isn't going to sell.

            Is the Christian's terminus logically necessary? Let's find out: From whence physicality given the Christian metaphysic? Remember that challenge to your strawman about 12 days ago? Still evading? Still not willing to reconstruct, accurately, the premises in play?

            Prove the fact that Trinity is necessary? The fact that the Christian's metaphysic begins and ends in something other than Physics Full Stop, in the Trinitarian Life? Well, if you believe otherwise then that would explain the fact that you pretend to interact with the Christian's premises by expunging and re-defining all of those Other-Than-Physics termini.

          • I've never said the the Christian's metaphysic begins and ends in something other than physics. In fact I've explicitly said that the Christian's metaphysic is made completely devoid of any - and contrary to - physics. Which is one reason why it's false. So I have no idea where this accusation comes from.

            You want the one I believe to be true? I agree with both Feser and Craig, as I've already told you. Those two boxes will "suffice" for my agenda and so that is what you have. Interact with it or don't.

            Then your view is incoherent because Feser and Craig have very different views on god's time. I'd rather not interact if you're really serious about this.

            Is the Christian's terminus logically necessary? Let's find out: From whence physicality given the Christian metaphysic? Remember that challenge to your strawman about 12 days ago? Still evading? Still not willing to reconstruct, accurately, the premises in play?

            Evading? No. I need to know if god is timeless or not to answer this since I really don't want to strawman anything and it's very rare that I encounter someone who knows 'the' Christian metaphysic correctly like you do. So is god timeless or not? Yes and no will not suffice. God is either in time or timeless.

            Well, if you believe otherwise then that would explain the fact that you pretend to interact with the Christian's premises by expunging and re-defining all of those Other-Than-Physics termini.

            For a person radically disposed to accusing others of strawmanning you sure do it yourself quite a lot.

          • After granting you God In Time and God Outside of Time, you're still not willing to reconstruct your path from physicality to the Trinitarian Life.

            Why not?

            Where is this supposed "problem" of incoherence in the logical progressions beginning at physicality and ending in the Trinitarian Life?

            Hence my agenda of demonstrating that you are only willing to lay out for us your fallacious half-narratives and, when challenged to carry through to the end of the Christian's actual metaphysic, you, like Coyne, are not willing to accurately reconstruct the Christian's argument, but, rather, you're only willing to reconstruct your half-narrative.

            After 12 days you're still demonstrating that pattern. Which is unfortunate. Why? Because, as this demonstrates, this is a problem which Christian's often face in such forums and it simply isn't necessary.

          • Where is this supposed "problem" of incoherence in the logical progressions beginning at physicality and ending in the Trinitarian Life?

            Because I need a single coherent answer that you actually think is true.

            After 12 days you're still demonstrating that pattern. Which is unfortunate. Why? Because, as this demonstrates, this is a problem which Christian's often face in such forums and it simply isn't necessary.

            Completely false, because I'm asking you, the expert on 'the' Christian metaphysic to define terms and answer ontological questions you after 12 days you refuse.

          • Your reply to my stated agenda is peculiar because your reply is actually "tweaking" all of that to insinuate that it is false that I informed you that I am not here to defend Theism, nor to refute Non-Theism, but to demonstrate your unwillingness to justify your claim that the Incarnation must entail [1] Being Itself [2] becoming [3] physical and to justify your claim that the Creative Act must entail incoherence, and, of course, to do so by accurately reconstructing the Christian's chain of premises all the way through to the Christian's explanatory terminus there in the Divine Mind, and Logos, and all Communique therein with respect to the Uncreated, the Absolute's Reference Frame, the Created, and the Contingent Being's Reference Frame.

            But if that is false, and I did NOT lay out said plan here, then, sure, your repeated attempts to shift my agenda or my attention over into defending Theism or over into refuting Non-Theism would make sense. But these repeated attempts of yours are doomed to hitting this same brick wall every... single... time.... You cannot believe otherwise unless you either ignore, expunge, or "tweak" very clear statements of said agenda.

            And you seem to believe otherwise.

            That's not entirely unexpected.

          • The one that violates non-contradiction?

            You're pretending that I'm pitting Physics against Physics. Because you've expunged all but physical metrics (Physics) from the Christian's premises and conclusions.

          • Not at all - and this is your strawman. Forget physics entirely. Nothing I'm saying relies on any physical theory of time whatsoever. Metaphysical theories of time are all I need. So is god timeless or in time, ie, does god/is god capable of change? God either is or isn't. So what is it?

          • Metaphysical theories are all you need and yet after granting you God In Time and God Outside of Time, you're still not willing to reconstruct your path from physicality to the Trinitarian Life. Where is this supposed "problem" of incoherence in the logical progressions beginning at physicality and ending in the Trinitarian Life?

            You've reconstructed a fallacy by redefining terms. Quiet Coyne-esc in that you're not willing to accurately reconstruct someone else's actual argument.

            The demonstration here is quite straightforward and yet you pretend I'm here to defend Theism when, long ago, you were informed otherwise. Why that pretense still now after twelve-ish days?

            Reconstruct that metaphysical path of Being, Becoming, and the Conscious Observer from physicality to the Trinitarian Life.

            If you can.

          • Where is this supposed "problem" of incoherence in the logical progressions beginning at physicality and ending in the Trinitarian Life?

            Because god can only either be in time or not in time. So pick one that's true.

            I've reconstructed no fallacy by redefining terms. I've even asked you to define the terms your own way to prove so and you still refuse. This is because you're not interested in a real intellectual exercise, you simply want to find a way to claim an atheist is strawmanning the theist. Very predictable.

            Reconstruct that metaphysical path of Being, Becoming, and the Conscious Observer from physicality to the Trinitarian Life.

            Sure. Just defined all those terms and explain why they're all necessarily true.

          • God can only be in time or not in time? Think it through and carry us to the end of that claim of yours. As in:

            The reality that is Time is logically impossible? The reality that is the Timeless is logically impossible? Show your work because unless you do you are left with realities and/or possibilities. That is where we discover that, oddly, you really believe that, on Christianity, there are realities and/or possibilities which Being Itself does NOT somehow permeate because, according to your Coyne-esc version of Christianity Being Itself must permeate something less than all such realities and/or possibilities.

            Both Time and Timeless press you into that pesky corner which you are not willing to reason yourself out of.

            If the Timeless, and/ or if Time, and/or if Physicality are realities and/or logical possibilities, then, on the Christian metaphysic, from whence said realities and/or logical possibilities?

            Explain these realities and possibilities which God CANNOT permeate because God MUST permeate SOME but not ALL said realities and/or logical possibilities.

            When the Christen tells you that Eternalism is on many levels True, and, also, that Presentism is on many levels True, he is not giving you "only" Physics, but, instead, he is giving you both Physics and Metaphysics.

            Both are true and the discussions within Christendom about the Narrower & Thinner stuff of Time and Tense do not define the Christian metaphysic, but, instead, all explanatory termini converge in the Wider & Thicker, there in nothing less than the Trinitarian Life.

            Why?

            Because Christians do not define the [A] Wider & Thicker – or God – by the [B] Narrower & Thinner – or Space-Time and Physics but instead the Christian metaphysic is the reverse because it defines the Narrower & Thinner by the Wider & Thicker, or, it defines Time and Physics by God. Time and Non-Time? Physics and Non-Physics? All such vectors are subservient to, dependent upon, God.

          • Still waiting for an answer: Is god in time or not?

          • The reality that is Time is logically impossible? The reality that is the Timeless is logically impossible? Yes or No on one or both ALL leave you with realities and/or logical possibilities and therein we discover that you really believe that, on Christianity, there are realities and/or logical possibilities which Being Itself does NOT somehow permeate because, according to your Coyne-like inventions which you call Christianity, we are to believe that Being Itself must permeate something less than all such realities and/or logical possibilities.

            Both Time and Non-Time, or Time & Timelessness, and Physics & Non-Physics, and so on, all press you into that pesky corner which you are not willing to reason yourself out of.

            If the Timeless, and/ or if Time, and/or if Physicality are realities and/or logical possibilities, then, on the actual Christian metaphysic, from whence said realities and/or logical possibilities?

            Reconstruct that map for us without leaving out critical distinctions. Explain these realities and possibilities which God CANNOT permeate because God MUST permeate SOME but not ALL said realities and/or logical possibilities.

            When the Christen tells you that Eternalism is on many levels True, and, also, that Presentism is on many levels True, he is not giving you "only" Physics, but, instead, he is giving you both Physics and Metaphysics.

            Both are true and the discussions within Christendom about the Narrower & Thinner stuff of Time and Tense do not define the Christian metaphysic, but, instead, all explanatory termini converge in the Wider & Thicker, there in nothing less than Being, or God, or the Trinitarian Life.

            The reason that is true is obviously because Christians do not define the [A] Wider & Thicker – or God – by the [B] Narrower & Thinner (Space-Time, Physics, Conscious Observers, Timelessness, Realities, and Logical Possibilities) but instead the Christian metaphysic is in the reverse "Arrow" because it defines the Narrower & Thinner by the Wider & Thicker.

            Time and Non-Time? Physics and Non-Physics? All such vectors are subservient to, narrower than, thinner than, dependent upon, God.

          • Reconstruction of one, and only one, brick wall is straightforward. As per http://disq.us/p/1osftko

          • Why would you expect me to contradict my own reason for being here as per http://disq.us/p/1orijms ?

          • Interacting with claims about a brick wall entails far more than pretending it does not exist. Coyne does not seem to believe people mean X when they say X and, so, carries on "as if" there is no X. As per http://disq.us/p/1osftko

          • As per http://disq.us/p/1o7rb88 you are asking if God is In-Trees or Not-In-Trees, or Rocks, or Time, and so on. Dr. Bonnette noted the obvious with respect to the limited ontic weight of Time with this:

            "....God can know and cause to be a kind of creation in which there is a beginning and an end, and in which reality progresses through the passage of time in such fashion that at every moment of that passage, the past no longer exists and the future does not yet exist. If such a reality itself is possible, then God can create it and know it as such...."

            Now, on your view there are Realities and/or Logical Possibilities which Being Itself somehow does NOT permeate.

          • If Time, and If Timeless, and If Tree, and If Treeless, and If Logical Possibility, we find that on all counts you have reversed the ontic orientation of the Christian “Arrow”.

          • But only one brick wall. As per http://disq.us/p/1osftko

          • Not only have you reversed the orientation of that Arrow, but you also ask which of those it is which *God* is NOT permeating. It’s fine for you to invent that god and opine about its problematic contours, but we still await your reconstruction of the *Christian* God.

          • In the future when a real person tells you there is a real brick wall at a real location X, as per http://disq.us/p/1orijms you should avoid ignoring or else expunging from your formulas the reality of that X or brick wall. Similar to Coyne you don't believe that people mean what they say and so you carry on "as-if" those statements do not need to be interacted with, or else you pretend to interact with it, when in fact you never have. Even to this day. Still you pretend to be aghast at the brick wall you were informed of weeks ago.

          • Prove that the Trinity is necessary? Did you forget the goal I stated ten or twelve days ago? Part of that agenda is to prove that the Christian's metaphysic begins and ends in something other than Physics Full Stop, in the Trinitarian Life, and that you fallaciously claim to accurately reconstruct the premises in play there as we trace out time, becoming, the creative act, and those Trinitarian explanatory termini.

            Do you believe the Christian's explanatory terminus is something else? Do you believe you've reconstructed the Christian's actual claims?

            That would explain the fact that you pretend to interact with the Christian's premises when in fact all you've done so far is to go on expunging and re-defining all of those Other-Than-Physics termini.

            This is all about your reconstruction. Or, rather, the lack thereof.

          • Do you believe the Christian's explanatory terminus is something else? Do you believe you've reconstructed the Christian's actual claims?

            Christians make many different mutually exclusive claims. So I have to work on the "true" one that only you seem to know since you know 'the' Christian metaphysic.

            So it seems for more than a week you've been telling me I'm making up my own definitions of terms in 'the' Christian metaphysic. I say I'm not trying to strawman the Christian view and I prove that by asking you to define the Christian terms in your own words to ensure this. Then you refuse to give answers. It's obvious that your real goal here is to find a way to accuse the atheist of strawmanning Christian metaphysics so you can pat yourself on your back and feel like you've 'exposed' how atheists strawman Christian views. Am I right, or am I right? If I'm not right, you'd have answered all my requests by now.

          • Your pretense of being aghast is fine, but, recall my agenda given to you two weeks ago. The demonstration here is quite straightforward and yet you pretend I'm here to defend Theism when, long ago, you were informed otherwise. Why that pretense still now after twelve-ish days? See http://disq.us/p/1oqf2zm

            Then reply, again, with The Aghast. Why? Well because it feeds into my nearly two week old claim as to the goal of this particular exercise in this particular thread.

          • I have another agenda. I don't care much for yours. Your agenda and mine may overlap, but I'm not going to just automatically met your agenda. By me asking you to define terms, I'm meeting part of your agenda, which as we all can see is a dishonest attempt to smear an atheist.

          • Asking me to define terms is not meeting my agenda. My agenda is for you to lay out, or reconstruct, your own progression of what you believe the Christian premises say. Also, my agenda is to demonstrate a problem which Christians sometimes bump into in forums such as these, which is that they are asked to defend the sort of Coyne-esc half-narratives which our Non-Theist friends foist as this or that version of, "Christian's claim X but X falls apart here at M and P and S....", when, in fact, the proverbial X is, from the get-go, not at all accurately reconstructed.

          • There's no need for you to ask me since you've already determined they're wrong. So given that you think they're wrong, you need to now show what's right so that you can show how my conclusions cannot be reached given 'the' correct Christian metaphysic you are an expert in. Start here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/strangenotions/why_an_infinite_regress_among_proper_causes_is_metaphysically_impossible/#comment-3673748564

          • Why would I defend any view of Theism? Why would I offer you any view of Theism? Why would I refute Non-Theism?

            The definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same attempt while expecting different results. I've repeatedly obtained, by each attempt there, to gain from you precisely the desired end, namely your evasive avoidance of showing us your reconstruction of the Christian premises in play and pointing to the problem you want to claim exists, Time or No-Time. Meanwhile, you're still attempting to get me to change my goals here despite your repeated gain of my initial statement to you when I informed you that I am not here to defend Theism, nor to refute Non-Theism, but to demonstrate your unwillingness to justify your claim that the Incarnation must entail [1] Being Itself [2] becoming [3] physical and to justify your claim that the Creative Act must entail incoherence, and, of course, to do so by accurately reconstructing the Christian's chain of premises all the way through to the Christian's explanatory terminus there in the Divine Mind, and Logos, and all Communique therein with respect to the Uncreated, the Absolute's Reference Frame, the Created, and the Contingent Being's Reference Frame, and so on.

            Now, had I NOT laid out that obvious game-plan here, then, sure, your repeated attempts to shift my agenda or my attention over into defending Theism or over into refuting Non-Theism would make sense. But these repeated attempts of yours sum to repeatedly trying to get different results by employing the same acts. Yet from the get-go you've been informed that all such attempts are doomed to hitting this same brick wall every... single... time.

            You cannot believe otherwise unless you either ignore, expunge, or "tweak" very clear statements of said agenda. The best you can do is to put on a pretense of being aghast at said brick wall (you've take a few steps down that rather sad road here and there).

            Yet, you really do seem to believe otherwise. Someone tells you X-Brick-Wall, and, inexplicably, you ignore or expunge what someone is telling you they mean and press on with your own version of what you wish were the case, fists clenched, head down, eyes closed, pretense of The Aghast in-hand.

            That too feeds into my stated goal here of reproducing those sort of Coyne-esc patterns, as linked to earlier.

          • Sorry I'm not interested in pursuing this further. You've exhausted my interest.

            I will only respond if you give a straight forward yes or no to this question:

            God is timeless?

          • "Is God Inside Logic or Outside Logic?" & "Is God Inside Reference-Frame-X or Outside Reference-Frame-X?" and so on down any... ontic... arrow. It's okay to pretend that there are Logical Possibilities and Ontological Realities which Being Itself does NOT permeate, such that there are SOME slices "touching" God while OTHER slices are somehow "void" of God, but it's not okay to expect the Christian to dance to such fallacious melodies. Even worse, the proverbial Brick Wall as per http://disq.us/p/1osftko

          • Ok well since you didn't answer, I'm ending this thread. Have a nice life.

          • The Absolute’s Frame of Reference. If you should ever decide to reconstruct such progressions for us be sure to include that particular Reference Frame. Also, be sure to explain your peculiar belief that the Absolute houses a fundamental relationship with SOME but not ALL reference frames, whether Possible or Actual.

          • "....God can know and cause to be a kind of creation in which there is a beginning and an end, and in which reality progresses through the passage of time in such fashion that at every moment of that passage, the past no longer exists and the future does not yet exist. If such a reality itself is possible, then God can create it and know it as such...." by Dr. Bonnette as per http://disq.us/p/1o7rb88

          • The question “Is God Inside of Reference Frame X or Outside of Reference Frame X?” carries us to the same Arrow and Ontic-Orientation as the question “Is God Inside of Time or Outside of Time?”. For completeness of demonstration we can add two more questions, that of “Is God Inside of Logic or Outside of Logic?” and, finally, “Is God Inside of All Logical & Ontic Possibility or is God Outside of All Logical & Ontic Possibility?

            These questions all reveal their own irrational premise that there are Logical Possibilities and Ontological Realities which Being Itself does NOT permeate, such that there are SOME slices "touching" God while OTHER slices are somehow "void" of God.

            At the end of the proverbial “ontic line” as it were each of those questions posed at the beginning is a nonsense question because it is based on a half-narrative which has expunged the Christian's explanatory terminus.

          • I'm curious as to why you believe Christians define the [A] Wider & Thicker – or God – by the [B] Narrower & Thinner – or Space-Time and Physics and so on – when in fact the Christian metaphysic is the revers because it defines Time and Physics by God. Your entire pattern here is one of stopping too soon with respect to that curious belief of yours. There’s only two options so far:

            Either you are aghast that Time and Physics should give way to Metaphysics, and, just as bad, you're aghast that you're being challenged to accurately reconstruct the Christian's actual pathway of premises there in that very same "give way to".

            Or, you AGREE with the Christian that Time and Physics must give way to said Heavy Meta, but, you're only willing to reconstruct a sloppy half-version of the Christian's pathway in that same "give way to".

          • Sorry, going to need you to write more clearly. KISS: keep it simple, stupid.

            the Christian metaphysic is the revers because it defines Time and Physics by God.

            Right, but that's false of course, since you can't trump a physical theory on time defined by physics with a metaphysical theory on time defined my religion. And no, I'm not saying physics or science always has the final or only say on everything. I'm just saying your metaphysics cannot trump physics when they conflict.

            Either you are aghast that Time and Physics should give way to Metaphysics, and, just as bad, you're aghast that you're being challenged to accurately reconstruct the Christian's actual pathway of premises there in that very same "give way to".
            Or, you AGREE with the Christian that Time and Physics must give way to said Heavy Meta, but, you're only willing to reconstruct a sloppy half-version of the Christian's pathway in that same "give way to".

            Just define all the relevant terms properly and tell me if god is timeless or not and I will accurately reconstruct the Christian's actual pathway. But since you refuse to do so, it's obvious this is not what you want.

          • To subsume and outreach is not to expunge and eliminate.

            IF you really are aghast that Time and Physics should "give way to" Metaphysics, then you've stopped at Physics Full Stop. That is fine to do, and the Christian embraces said Physics, and then keeps going, into Metaphysics. You're not required to do the same but staying behind and shouting "No! Stay here!" does you no good if you want to show where the Christian gets it wrong as he progresses onward, beyond Solipsism, beyond Positivism, beyond Physics, and into the Absolute's Reference Frame there in Unconditional Self Reference amid the Infinite Knower, the Infinitely Known, and all Communique therein.

            IF you really are aghast that you're being challenged to accurately reconstruct the Christian's actual pathway of premises there in that very same "give way to", then you'll have to tell us why because you are either pretending or else you've simply expunged the brick wall described in,

            a. http://disq.us/p/1or3dqk
            b. http://disq.us/p/1or353e

            If you really do AGREE with the Christian that Time and Physics must give way to said Heavy Meta, then we agree that Physics Full Stop, and Solipsism, and so on, give way to something wider and thicker.

            Unfortunately, you've only given a sloppy half-version of the Christian's pathway in that same "give way to".

          • I have no problem with physics giving way to metaphysics. I've never said otherwise. If you want to stop attacking strawmen please answer this: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/strangenotions/why_an_infinite_regress_among_proper_causes_is_metaphysically_impossible/#comment-3673748564

          • Space-Time giving-way to Heavy Meta. There's a thought. Of course the Narrower & Thinner contours of Space-Time, Timelessness, Realities, Conscious Observers, and Logical Possibilities all give way to the Wider & Thicker of this or that Heavy Meta. I've attacked no straw-man because you've never once reconstructed for us the Christian's logical progressions from the Narrow & Thinner and into the Thicker & Wider, which means I've had not even the possibility of [A] Straw to "attack" (do you mean discuss and unpack and argue?) nor of [B] Gold to agree with.

            That's not unexpected by the way.

          • Reconstruction does get expensive, well, as per http://disq.us/p/1osftko and so on,

          • "....But since you refuse to do so, it's obvious this is not what you want...."

            You are again running into that more than obvious brick wall http://disq.us/p/1or21yo

            Perhaps because you don't believe it exists. But believing something to be the case and the thing being the case are not the same thing.

          • You are. Because you don't believe people mean what they say they mean, but, instead, you ignore and/or expunge what they said, or you redefine it, as in http://disq.us/p/1orilns

          • Thank you for the chance, but, I constructed only one Brick Wall here and, so, there's no need for me to reconstruct it. As per http://disq.us/p/1osftko

          • Well, if you want to add another brick to the wall....

          • I'm curious, why do you believe I would defend any view of Theism? Why do you believe I would even offer any view of Theism? Why do you believe I would refute this or that view of Non-Theism?

            Someone tells you their reason for being here is ABCD with respect to the Coyne-like pattern of NOT accurately reconstructing for us the Christian's topographical map, and obtaining demonstrations of that "Not", yet you've somehow managed to ignore that, or expunge that, or redefine that, and, all the while, never getting around to laying out for us that Map without leaving out critical distinctions.

            Which brings me back to the curious question of why do you believe I would defend any view of Theism? Why do you believe I would even offer any view of Theism? Why do you believe I would refute this or that view of Non-Theism?

          • "Last Chance" ? Well, thank you but I've nothing to reconstruct. There's but one, single proverbial Brick Wall. As per http://disq.us/p/1osftko

          • BTW the reason the Christian is happy to affirm the anthology of physics as far as said anthology will carry us, such as, say, when Feser and others are happy to just GRANT the 4D Block, and so on, is because the boundaries and explanatory termini which the anthology of physics forces will necessarily force the conversation beyond anything that same anthology can ever give to us. For you to do anything but ignore and evade and redefine the Christian’s actual premises would thrust your own philosophical and metaphysical presuppositions into the spotlight, at which point you’ll need to begin exposing your own painful attempts of distinction at each “Y” in the proverbial road. Meanwhile the Christian carries on, into the explanatory terminus of reason's only rational, lucid, communique.

          • Which is a really good reason why you should tell me if god is timeless or not, so I dont "ignore and evade and redefine the Christian’s actual premises".

            So is god timeless or not?

          • You've looped back to http://disq.us/p/1ooez2q

          • In that loop, when it is pointed out to you that Craig and others are open to Actuality, Logic, Abstract Objects, and Eternalism in the setting of the Divine Mind as we move into reality’s fundamental rock-bottom, why do you reply "No, Craig rejects Eternalism" ? I didn’t say otherwise. You've left something out. For all the same reasons it has been pointed out to you that Craig and any other Christian rejects Presentism Full Stop, as in Presentism via Physics Full Stop. The necessary reference frames involved are not stand-alone little boxes all floating in midair never "touching" one another.

            To show otherwise you'll need to show that Craig, on Presentism, finds no contradictions arising should he expunge his Theistic explanatory termini from Perception & the fundamental nature of reality as it relates to the coherence of this or that reference frame.

            But he doesn’t affirm “that” Presentism. Just as he doesn’t reject “that” Eternalism. You’re expunging what the Christian believes from your definitions of what the Christian believes.

            That would be okay IF you DIDN’T claim that there’s a problem with the Christian’s metaphysic.

          • Now you're just copying and pasting your rants. At this point if you continue to do this without answering my simple question, I'm done with you.

            So is god timeless, yes or no?

          • That you don't like the answer isn't my problem. Interact with it. It's called Christianity. Non-Theistic Eternalism, Non-Theistic Presentism, and the specifically Trinitarian Brand of BOTH have been at your door for ten days now. You’ve not reconstructed two of those four, which is odd because if you stop short of those last two well then you’re just not interacting with the Christian’s body of claims. You claim a contradiction in the content of http://disq.us/p/1ob4a61 but you haven’t shown us any such thing. Your attempt to do so while only interacting with two instead of four just won’t do.

          • BOTH have been at your door for ten days now.

            No they haven't. You have to describe and prove your claims:

            (1) Non-Theistic Eternalism is true
            (2) Non-Theistic Presentism is true
            (3) Trinitarianism is necessarily true

            I can't interact with claims that are incoherent. Burden is on you to show these are all coherent with one another and requires definitions and evidence they are true.

          • You can't interact with claims that are incoherent? Okay, let's find out where this supposed incoherence and contradiction is. In other words, let's define the terms YOU use:

            From whence physicality given the Christian metaphysic? How does the Creative Act add to The Good? How does it add to Being Itself? Fallacy of accident? Cambridge? The Divine Mind vs. the Created with respect to Logos? Be sure to include such Christian thing-y's as you lay out OUR terms that YOU say WE mean and let's see where that gets us in this process of discovery.

            a. http://disq.us/p/1ojkj97
            b. http://disq.us/p/1ojltt8

          • Define "whence physicality".

            Define "the Christian metaphysic".

          • If you believe that physical things do not come from something non-physical according to the Christian body of premises, then it makes since that you don't understand why you're being asked where physicality comes from according to Christianity in order to justify your claims as you claim that Christianity is incoherent when it talks about where physicality comes from. To reconstruct something other than your own half-narrative on that logical progression from physicality to the Trinitarian Life isn't something you're willing to do.

            Regarding "the" you've not addressed it yet:

            a. http://disq.us/p/1op4q17
            b. http://disq.us/p/1ooez2q

          • If you believe that physical things do not come from something non-physical according to the Christian body of premises, then it makes since that you don't understand why you're being asked where physicality comes from according to Christianity in order to justify your claims as you claim that Christianity is incoherent when it talks about where physicality comes from.

            I'm well aware that god creates the physical - according to Christianity.

            To reconstruct something other than your own half-narrative on that logical progression from physicality to the Trinitarian Life isn't something you're willing to do.

            I've asked you 10 times now to show why a trinitarian god is logically necessary. No answer. Do you even believe a trinitarian god is logically necessary?

          • Once again, nearly two weeks later, you seem to be hitting that brick wall described in http://disq.us/p/1or21yo

          • Why would you expect anything other than http://disq.us/p/1orixk0 ? Don't you believe that people mean what they say? Coyne dose not.

          • Ending this thread. See other comments.

          • Ending patterns would be helpful, as per http://disq.us/p/1osftko

          • On the Conscious Observer, the landscape surrounding the Absolute's Reference Frame is quite different than our own Contingent Reference Frame, and those applications are all something you avoid which is, again, not my problem. The goal is simply to point out to you the fact that there are not merely Two Brands in play but instead there are Four Brands in play, and, then, to observe a demonstration of a bit of a problem which Christians on occasion find within the modes and analytics of their Non-Theist friends. As described earlier.

          • On the Conscious Observer, the landscape surrounding the Absolute's Reference Frame is quite different than our own Contingent Reference Frame, and those applications are all something you avoid which is, again, not my problem.

            Avoid? Sorry but you need to define these terms as you see them and prove that they are true. I cannot avoid something you make up and have no proof or evidence for. You act like your claim is somehow common knowledge.

          • I need to define the terms you use? Okay: From whence physicality given the Christian metaphysic? How does the Creative Act add to The Good? How does it add to Being Itself? Fallacy of accident? Cambridge? The Divine Mind vs. the Created with respect to Logos? Be sure to include such Christian thing-y's as you lay out OUR terms that YOU say WE mean and let's see where that gets us.

            You forget my stated agenda here from about 12 days ago. Or, you're ignoring it. Or, you've expunged it. You're demonstrating quite nicely the goal here, which is the not uncommon problem which the Christian faces when interacting with some, not most, Non-Theistic analytics. And that problem is that some such analytics pretend to interact with Christian premises by redefining them and then opining about their "problems".

          • And that problem is that some such analytics pretend to interact with Christian premises by redefining them and then opining about their "problems".

            And so I ask you for definitions and you promptly refuse. So you want your alleged problem to exist. You like it. And it shows you're not an honest actor.

            Giving you one last time on this thread. Define these terms:

            1. Conscious Observer
            2. the landscape surrounding the Absolute's Reference Frame
            3. Absolute's Reference Frame
            4. Contingent Reference Frame

          • The demonstration here is quite straightforward and yet you pretend I'm here to defend Theism when, long ago, you were informed otherwise. Why that pretense still now after twelve-ish days?

            Reconstruct that metaphysical path of Being, Becoming, and the Conscious Observer from physicality to the Trinitarian Life.

            As I ALSO told you twelve-ish days ago, I'm not here to refute your Non-Theism. Rather, the goal here is straightforward, as told to you almost two weeks ago, and yet you pretend to be unaware of said agenda on my part. Why that pretense?

            Here's the goal again after almost two weeks of repeating this very same X to you even as you ignore, expunge, or else evade this very same X along the way:

            My agenda is not to defend Theism. Nor to refute Non-Theism. My agenda is the demonstration of a common problem Christian's face, which I noticed in some of your modes and patterns, and so decided to demonstrate said X in this thread a few weeks ago. That agenda is demonstrating that you are only willing to lay out for us your fallacious half-narratives and, when challenged to carry through to the end of the Christian's actual metaphysic, you, like Coyne, are not willing to accurately reconstruct the Christian's argument, but, rather, you're only willing to reconstruct your half-narrative.

            Reconstruct that metaphysical path of Being, Becoming, and the Conscious Observer from physicality to the Trinitarian Life.

          • You seem to be hitting that brick wall described in http://disq.us/p/1or21yo

            That is not entirely unexpected. Expunging said repeats and expunging http://disq.us/p/1ob4a61 from the content are merely echoes of quite another, distant engine.

          • Why would you expect me to define anything? Sure, Coyne does not believe that people mean what they say and so he presses onward, head down, fists clenched, eyes closed. On your request that I defend and/or refute anything at all, you've expunged http://disq.us/p/1orijms and, of course, that demonstration of that mode or pattern is a part of the goal here.

          • So many threads and all for only one brick wall. As per http://disq.us/p/1osftko

          • Oh so you purposely want to try and get me to say things you think are incorrect and are not even willing to get me to be correct at all? Is this so you can jump on a chair and shout you've shown an atheist to be foolish?

            See http://disq.us/p/1ojq4kj

          • It’s all there freely offered to you, so there’s no need to take it, twist it, and then pretend to be interacting with it.

            Which is why I ask if god is timeless, and given that you've refused 15+ times now shows you're not a serious actor.

          • You have this seeming “need” for MY definition in order for you to lay out your argument against, say, Craig, or Feser, or both with respect to the Creative Act, and so on, EVEN THOUGH you were told long ago of my agenda for this exercise, which didn’t include refuting your Non-Theism nor defending Theism. Did you forget that? Expunge that? Ignore that?

          • You want to challenge me on a premise. And what specific premise is that?

          • Been gone for a week have you?

          • Nope. Just dealing fuzzy wuzzy theist.

          • I'm sorry that you find the following too vague and non-specific:

            I've presented a statement that what you've presented is misguided, and, I've told you I would not be refuting Non-Theism nor defending Theism, and, I've sat back and tossed in a few God-Inside-of-Time's and a few God-Outside-Of-Times and even BOTH in order to give you as much room for Christian-Error as you could possibly want, and, I've merely waited for you to draw out YOUR VERSION of the Christian argument, even as I informed you with my plainly stated agenda of merely looking for demonstrative evasions in the proverbial Non-Theistic "mode".

            In fact I've EVEN told you that BOTH Presentism and Eternalism are FALSE IF we stop with physics and/or ONE frame of reference, and, also, that I've EVEN stated that BOTH are TRUE in key, fundamental modes IF we carry through to the end of the Christian's explanatory terminus in order to provide you even MORE "opportunity" to show us where it all falls apart for the Christian.

            Of course, all the while I felt comfortable that you'd not ACTUALLY draw out "your" "version" and go the distance and carry through to the End that is Reason's Terminus there in Reason Itself, there in The Trinitarian Life.

          • Yes you've made contradictory statements, we get it. Presentism and eternalism cannot both be true.

          • I never said they were. Not on Physics-Full-Stop.

            Why did you expunge half of the actual argument?

            See http://disq.us/p/1ok5ue9

            Then recall the goal of this little exercise and my sincere appreciation for your help.

          • In http://disq.us/p/1odxhrh you repeated that same expunging-of-content.

            If the Christian tells you that Eternalism is true in reference to the Divine Mind as we press into Logos, he is not discussing physics, but meta-physics.

            Once the Christian does that, you reply as follows:

            The Christian metaphysic is hardly based on any physics at all, which is one reason why it's rubbish.

            There, and elsewhere btw, you've banned anything but Physics-Full-Stop from the conversation of the Christian's metaphysic even as you find fault with the Christian's metaphysic. Yet the Christian affirms Eternalism, which you do as well. Not "the" Eternalism you affirm, but, given "the" Christian metaphysic you will have to show where THAT argument, there beyond physics, works or doesn't work. But once we get beyond Physics-Full-Stop you start using words like Rubbish, rather than affirming, with the Christian, Eternalism. Even though you claim to affirm Eternalism. You seem a bit confused, a bit all over the map.

            Recall the goal of this little exercise and my sincere appreciation for your assistance.

          • -https://disqus.com/home/discussion/strangenotions/why_an_infinite_regress_among_proper_causes_is_metaphysically_impossible/#comment-3662818267

          • You just keep asking despite having been informed:

            You have this seeming “need” for MY definition in order for you to lay out your argument against, say, Craig, or Feser, or both with respect to the Creative Act, and so on, EVEN THOUGH you were told long ago of my agenda for this exercise, which didn’t include refuting your Non-Theism nor defending Theism. Did you forget that? Expunge that? Ignore that?

            But you keep asking because you think it helps you if it’s one way and not the other. So at best you’re 50% “helped” if we just assume that in Christendom it’s a 50/50 split. The reason you think “that” is because you’re misreading the actual premises. The fact is that you’re not helped either way.

            So, now, you’re pressed for a Yes or a No else you feel you can’t proceed. But you CAN proceed either way, and I’ve EVEN given you a THIRD option: From the Divine Mind streams all ontic possibility, BOTH that of Time AND that of Timelessness.

            If you wouldn't expunge content you would recall what I told you about the goal of this exercise: to challenge you on a premise, collect a bunch of examples of evasions, hedges, dances, and the proverbial expunging-of-content all of which will NOT carry through and reconstruct the Christian's premises through to the Christian's explanatory terminus with respect to the Trinitarian Life. In fact, you EVEN claim it is logically impossible to reconstruct another's argument accurately.

          • So, now, you’re pressed for a Yes or a No else you feel you can’t proceed. But you CAN proceed either way, and I’ve EVEN given you a THIRD option: From the Divine Mind streams all ontic possibility, BOTH that of Time AND that of Timelessness.

            If you accuse me of getting 'the' Christian metaphysic wrong and I ask for clarification as to what you think it means, a refusal to answer and say that it could be anyone of a number of things is beyond disingenuous.

          • ...and I ask for clarification as to what you think it means, a refusal to answer...

            For the 15th time: It means whatever Craig and/or Feser say. I'm satisfied with those "boxes" sufficing for the goal of this exercise. So far I've been demonstrably correct about that. Recall your treatment of all such boxes as you pretend to request what this or that X mean:

            "..... 'God-Gains-By-Creating is gibberish given the Christian metaphysic' -- Christian metaphysics is gibberish...."

            So, take Craig and/or Feser and run with it. You've been avoiding that for nine days now. Don't you think that's long enough?

          • ---https://disqus.com/home/discussion/strangenotions/why_an_infinite_regress_among_proper_causes_is_metaphysically_impossible/#comment-3662818267

          • When I say "and run with it" I mean the following: http://disq.us/p/1ojpst8

          • And a bit of this too: http://disq.us/p/1ojkupe

          • ....known for his habit of using straw man definitions...

            But what about http://disq.us/p/1oix2l1 ? And besides you may be right or you may be wrong, but, don't forget the goal of this exercise, which wasn't hidden from you, and which is not to refute your Non-Theism, nor to defend Theism, as stated previously.

          • Replied.

          • See My-Goal:

            Which is... well it's never been kept from you.... to demonstrate fallacious modes of some of our Non-Theist friends here in this thread, as in, to challenge you on a premise or two and then collect examples of you finding.. as in demonstrating... methods which AVOID interacting with God-In-Time, God-Outside-Of-Time, or BOTH.

            Goal.
            Posts.

          • Oh so you purposely want to try and get me to say things you think are incorrect and are not even willing to get me to be correct at all? Is this so you can jump on a chair and shout you've shown an atheist to be foolish?

          • Say things that are incorrect? Not willing to correct it all?

            No. For one thing: A simple, "What? You think X means THAT?" would offer enough "correction" (not my word choice) to pull it all back several clicks. For another thing, the goal was just what I asked you to do, which is to draw out your version of the Christian progression from A to B to C to D, and so on and to point out demonstrations of evasions, fallacious premises, and so on, as per the following:

            I've simply presented a statement that what you've presented is misguided, and, I've told you I would not be refuting Non-Theism nor defending Theism, and, I've sat back and tossed in a few God-Inside-of-Time's and a few God-Outside-Of-Times and even BOTH in order to give you as much room for Christian-Error as you could possibly want, and, I've merely waited for you to draw out YOUR VERSION of the Christian argument, even as I informed you with my plainly stated agenda of merely looking for demonstrative evasions in the proverbial Non-Theistic "mode".

            In fact I've EVEN told you that BOTH Presentism and Eternalism are FALSE IF we stop with physics and/or ONE frame of reference, and, also, that I've EVEN stated that BOTH are TRUE in key, fundamental modes IF we carry through to the end of the Christian's explanatory terminus in order to provide you even MORE "opportunity" to show us where it all falls apart for the Christian.

            Of course, all the while I felt comfortable that you'd not ACTUALLY draw out "your" "version" and go the distance and carry through to the End that is Reason's Terminus there in Reason Itself, there in The Trinitarian Life.

          • “.....Because you're asking me to show something logically impossible.....”

            It is not impossible to show us how the Christian, the Atheist, the Pantheist, the Baker, the Candle Stick Maker, or anyone else employs their definitions. To do so, however, you must actually know their actual definitions.

          • Great. Let me ask you this: God is timeless.
            True or false?

          • BTW, it's not impossible to reconstruct the Atheist's or Pantheist's or Idealist's or Panpsychist's arguments with precision, even when covering different viewpoints within each camp. In fact it's even sort of fun. It's odd that you think that such explorations of different arguments are a logical impossibility. Why is it logically impossible with all of those? Or, perhaps, you mean to claim it is a logically impossible task ONLY with respect to Christendom and the Creative Act.

          • I don't see an answer to my question.

            God is timeless.True or false?

          • BTW, your bit about "logically impossible" to actually reconstruct another's argument is another justification for the goal of this exercise.

          • Still don't see an answer. I asked 10 times now.

          • See the comment above and it's Proverbial-Lending-Tree.

          • This has been more fruitful than initially anticipated:

            [1] I’ve stated from the get-go my goals and agenda here, and yet you either didn’t read it, or else you’re ignoring it.
            [2] The Christian metaphysic thing-y – you’ve expunged some, seemingly ignored some, and apparently will not interact with some.
            [3] Granting you MULTIPLE vectors from within Christendom’s internal discussions on these topics strangely fails to affirm your claim of the supposed “lack” of Christendom’s single and unifying metaphysic. Why? Well, as alluded to, more peripheral disagreements fail to finally impede more central convergence vis-à-vis the explanatory terminus of The Trinitarian Life.

            http://disq.us/p/1ojey38
            http://disq.us/p/1ojdtlc

          • Ok Goodbye. If you're not even willing to work with me on the single and totally non-debatable 'Christian metaphysic' you've shown yourself to just be a troll.

            Yes I replied with http://disq.us/p/1ojghzf

          • When it is pointed out to you that you’ve made a claim about people’s claims which isn’t coherent with what those same people actually claim, you should consider slowing down, stopping, backing up, and trying again amid clarification and qualification. But you don’t do that. Instead, you press forward, fists clenched, eyes closed.

            .....Now, when someone like Coyne keeps attacking the same straw men over and over and over again, over the course of many years and despite the fact that even people who otherwise agree with him gently advise him to stop doing it, when he gets touchy even with atheist readers who call him out on it, when he doubles down on the rhetoric about how obviously stupid his opponents' arguments are, etc. -- well, that sort of behavior is pretty consistent with that of someone who is interested in convincing himself that he was right all along rather than that of someone who really wants to find out if he is in fact right. That is to say, it sounds like classic self-deception. And that's the kind of intellectual dishonesty I'm talking about.

            Second, it is true that analytic philosophers do, at least "officially" if (unfortunately) not always in practice, highly value a willingness and ability to try to reconstruct an opponent's arguments in as plausible and fair-minded a way as possible. Certainly that was something drilled into me in grad school, and I have always been grateful for it. Again, there are analytic philosophers who do not live up to this ideal, and I can certainly think of some analytic philosophers with a prominent online presence who do not even try to live up to it at all when they think that refraining from doing so might further some political cause they favor. Still, it is an ideal that analytic philosophers all know they should strive to live up to. It is also an ideal that Scholastic philosophers value highly.....(Feser)

            You've not reconstructed an opponent's argument in as plausible and fair-minded a way as possible but in fact have either [A] expunged large swaths of it or else [B] changed the actual definitions, referents, and premises of said arguments.

          • The Christian observes your use of his terms as you point out said “problem” and wonders, “What on earth is The Thinker talking about? He thinks X means THAT? Where did ever get such a silly idea?”

          • Just search the thread for the word "baggage" and abracadabra! the goals and agenda of this exercise suddenly appear ~

          • Perhaps someday you’ll stop pretending that the Christian definition of [X] is [X-Hedged].

            As of now, you’ve simply used your fallacious definitions of the Christian metaphysic to carefully set up your inventions and subsequently claim there is a problem with the Christian metaphysic with respect to “whence physicality”.

            The Christian observes your use of his terms as you point out said “problem” and wonders, “What on earth is The Thinker talking about? He thinks X means THAT? Where did ever get such a silly idea?”

            You’re telling the Christian that the Christian believes iron floats on water full stop. Not literally “here” as that is an analogy of what your claims look like to the Christian.

            Similarly:The Christian is telling you he claims that Causal Agents suspend physical systems in water all the time. Not literally “here” as that is again an analogy of what your claims look like to the Christian.

            To cryptic?

          • Perhaps someday you’ll stop pretending that the Christian definition of [X] is [X-Hedged].

            Perhaps one day you're realize there is no such thing as 'the Christian definition' of X.

            You’re telling the Christian that the Christian believes iron floats on water full stop. Not literally “here” as that is an analogy of what your claims look like to the Christian.

            Can you demonstrate this to be true?

            Similarly:The Christian is telling you he claims that Causal Agents suspend physical systems in water all the time. Not literally “here” as that is again an analogy of what your claims look like to the Christian.

            Too cryptic and too nonsensical. Define causal agents, and how they cause.

          • Even if there are different definitions none of them claim that the Necessary "becomes" Contingent with respect to "from whence physicality". None of the definitions here are new and, having been looked at for centuries – and centuries – they all deny, quite specifically, your fallacious claim that the Creative Act contradicts Pure Act, Potential, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, Being, Perfection, The Good, and so on. Given those rather long-standing definitions please explain, "From whence physicality?"

            "Can you demonstrate this to be true?"

            If it is false then the Christian agrees with you that their own metaphysic is false on pains of incoherence.

            "Too nonsensical."

            Yes, we know you claim that people cannot hold a rock up in water, because there is no cause, no change, no motion, and so on, or, instead of that, re-write it with whatever you'd like. It's your metaphysic so you can define it. As for the Christian metaphysic, you're being asked to use the Christian's definitions and then carry through to the end of his explanatory termini and therein show that people in fact cannot do so. Be sure not to stop in Physics Full Stop but carry through to the Christian’s actual explanatory termini. Then, again carry through to the end of his explanatory termini and tell us from whence physicality given, again, that same topography in that same – Christian – metaphysic.

            And so on.

          • God in time? God out of time? Being in time or out of time has nothing to do with your claim that there is a contradiction in the Creative Act. You like to foist such claims and then when pressed on it you evade and claim that Christendom has disagreements about something else, rather than about the Creative Act.

            Why? When it is pointed out to you that you’ve made a claim about people’s claims which isn’t coherent with what those same people actually claim, you should consider slowing down, stopping, backing up, and trying again amid clarification and qualification. But you don’t do that. Instead, you press forward, fists clenched, eyes closed.

          • God in time? God out of time? Being in time or out of time has nothing to do with your claim that there is a contradiction in the Creative Act.

            Of course it does. Let me ask you this: God is timeless.
            True or false?

            Why? When it is pointed out to you that you’ve made a claim about people’s claims which isn’t coherent with what those same people actually claim, you should consider slowing down, stopping, backing up, and trying again amid clarification and qualification. But you don’t do that. Instead, you press forward, fists clenched, eyes closed.

            I will show you your views are incoherent given definitions directly from you, ok? So to do this I will need to ask you question and I need concise honest answers. Start by answering the above.

          • In Time or Out of Time, or even Both (be careful about the "Both" thing-y here) you claim that [A] Being Itself [B] "becomes" [C] "physical". If A entails B and B entails C, draw it out for us. With Physics + the Christian's ABC.

            Given the Christian metaphysic: From whence physicality? Tie it all into Pure Act, Potential, the Creative Act, the Principle of Proportionate Causality, and so on with respect to Being Itself in fact "becoming" (as you say) "physical".

          • I will show you your views are incoherent given definitions directly from you, ok? So to do this I will need to ask you question and I need concise honest answers. Start by answering the above.

            I’ve replied to the above twice, staying on point with respect to the stated agenda of this exercise. Meanwhile you are all over the map:

            You’re claiming the Incarnation is the Necessary Being becoming Contingent, and, you’re also claiming the Necessary Being cannot do anything. You also claim that Physicality ultimately streams from the Necessary Being becoming physicality in some sort of Pantheistic assertion, even as you also claim that the Necessary Being can neither Become nor Create nor Do.

            And every bit of THAT messiness is (you tell us) “according to Christianity”.

            The messiness there isn’t found when I read, say, either Craig or Feser — despite their disagreements on a few points — and move from A to B to C to D and so on into the explanatory terminus of nothing less than the Trinitarian Life.

            Yet, when I read your half-narratives and swaths expunged of just enough, that same journey is now soaked through with said messiness.

            Your response is to say you’ll demonstrate that messiness in MY definitions. But you already have them, just as you have my explanatory terminus there in nothing less than the Trinitarian Life.

            Hence you’re right where you’ve always been.

          • I’ve replied to the above twice, staying on point with respect to the stated agenda of this exercise.

            I still don't have an answer to this simple question below and until I get one I'm not going to bother answering you:

            God is timeless. True or false?

          • See above with respect to the Proverbial-Lending-Tree.

            Also, you seem to have forgotten my agenda here, which has been openly stated from the get-go.

          • No sorry. Answer the question. Tell me this singular totally non-debatable 'Christian metaphysic' that I'm supposedly misrepresenting.

            God is timeless. True or false?

          • Non-debatable?
            No internal discussions within Christendom?
            Screaming that I don’t want to answer?
            via http://disq.us/p/1ojgbuu

          • If you wanted to answer, you would have done so at least a day ago.

          • More than a day ago I stated my goal in this exercise. And it wasn't to refute your Non-Theism, nor to defend Theism.

            You've somehow managed to... expunge ...that entire swath of content from the ongoing interface here.

          • Answering that question is relevant to your goal.

          • You just keep asking despite having been informed: http://disq.us/p/1ojnqqd

          • Then goodbye.

          • Your agenda is to show that I'm misrepresenting the singular non-debatable Christian metaphysic, so I ask you to give clear definitive views on the the singular non-debatable Christian metaphysic, and now you scream that you don't want to answer.

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/strangenotions/why_an_infinite_regress_among_proper_causes_is_metaphysically_impossible/#comment-3660566609

          • …single non-debatable Christian metaphysic…

            Huh?

            You should interact with what is actually stated to you by others and not by that sort of misrepresentation of others. Non-debatable? Christendom doesn’t have its own internal discussions on these topics?

            Re-read once again: God-In-Time, God-Out-of-Time, …Both…, Craig, Feser, Convergence, The Trinitarian Life vis-à-vis Christendom’s explanatory terminus, and, of course, my stated goals for "embarking" on this exercise. It’s all there freely offered to you, so there’s no need to take it, twist it, and then pretend to be interacting with it.

            http://disq.us/p/1ojey38
            http://disq.us/p/1ojdtlc

          • I'm obviously making fun of your implication that it is a singular non-debatable metaphysic since you kept acting as if there was, and I called you out on that a dozen times.

          • …single non-debatable Christian metaphysic…

            Huh? Non-debatable? Christendom doesn’t have its own internal discussions on these topics? http://disq.us/p/1ojgbuu

          • Which of course is what you kept saying 'the Christian metaphysic' dozens of times.

          • "the" and http://disq.us/p/1ojomil

            Odd.

          • Jim the Scott

            Wow! I just started debating "The thoughtless" he really is an idiot! His "weak scientism" view is at best trivial or at worst ambiguous and he actually thinks the Incarnation is the Necessary Being becoming Contingent?

            Seriously?

            So he just makes it up as he goes along? WOW! All I can say is Wow.

  • The end of the road for Brute Fact is not a charitable version of Opaque Skepticism, which sums to "We know A and B and C but nothing past those....in the syntax of empiricism & positivism & solipsism...".

    That's all fine. "Not Knowing The Whole" is not the "pivot-point".

    Rather, with respect to that same A and B and C just mentioned there, it ends in the unintelligible A and the unintelligible B and the unintelligible C, and the rest is just the same. In short, it is not a posture of, "Waiting For More To See" but rather it is a motion of, "Denial of What We Now See". Hence if you push long enough you can force the denial of "I exist" such that the Self sums, at some ontological seam somewhere, to non-being. That pesky "at some ontological seam somewhere" is of course the point.

    That is the fallacy of the proverbial "God Of The Gaps" complaint. It claims that God is used to fill in gaps, whereas, it isn't. Rather, it is at this or that proverbial "Y" in the road where the force of logic compels us into this or that X which is soaked through with those pesky "even in principle" compulsions forcing one of two options from "A" to "Z".

    A alluded to in the comments:

    [1] http://disq.us/p/1o5v88h
    [2] http://disq.us/p/1ociarg

    And so on.

  • On any Non-Theistic Brand of Eternalism or Perdurantism, we find that every slice of this or that World-Tube is real, actual, static, persisting – except for the slices that are not real. The Perdurantismist inexplicably expunges the slices of the worldtube which sum to “My-3D-Experience” as if “that” were not *also* static, tenseless, and persisting. Somehow he has arrived at something akin to this:

    The 4D Bock + A New Slice Called My 3D Experience

    And then upon arrival there he argues as if “that” New Slice wasn’t *itself* embedded, as if something besides the 4D Block makes its way into the show. If X = Illusion then “That X” is necessarily an embedded slice, itself static, tenseless, and persisting.

    Or, to say it another way: Perdurantism Full Stop eats itself alive – contra the Christian metaphysic which accommodates it beneath its far wider, more robust canopy.

    Examples of such self-inflicted pain are in W.L. Craig’s “Time and Eternity”, and the absurdities which any Physics-Full-Stop Version, or more precisely any Non-Theistic Version, or more precisely any Non-Trinitarian Version of Perdurantism self-inflicts are explored in the section titled, "The Problem of Intrinsic Change".

  • J. Razavi

    I found this article useful in understanding what is meant by 'cause' in this type of discussion, and therefore why the idea of an infinite regress might reasonably be objected to by some thinkers.
    But I must object to the metaphor of an "ontological welfare class". I can't believe I'm reading this sly denigration of the poor---which, by the way, puts the state, or perhaps taxpayers, in the position of God---on a site which seems to be Christian in outlook. I have no faith now, but I was raised Catholic. I can't bear to see a religion which I believe is noble reduced to such language. That too in the middle of a purported defence!
    In any case it is a bad metaphor, since no social class is the creator, and none the creature, of any other. Instead they rely on each other for their existence and character; an imperfect kind of human solidarity, perhaps, but one which should not be lost on the writer.